It is not every day that we are invited to be house guests.  But we have some pretty special friends who have somewhat temporarily relocated to Cape Town, and graciously welcomed all six of us into their home.  For a whole week.

We ate ourselves silly, surrounded by the magnificent natural beauty of the area.  And here are the highlights (in no particular order):

  1. The views in Cape Town are spectacular.  Surrounded by mountains and two oceans, the natural beauty is unlike any other city I know.  And staying up on a hill in Camps Bay, we were spoiled by sunsets, ocean vistas and Lions Head outside the kitchen window.

2. Chefs Warehouse. Don't be put off by the need to queue.  This casual dining space turned out the best food we ate in Cape Town.  Exquisitely executed, perfectly flavoured, yet not fussy. And the most delicious lemon posset.

3. Halleluja. I knew I would love it here the second we walked through the door.  The walls are covered in flamingo wallpaper and with only a few dishes on the menu (and no substitutions), we ordered one of everything, and then one more again.  The highlight were the margheritas with tamarind, orange, yuzu and a grating of dark chocolate and wins my award for my favourite cocktail ever.

4. Boulders Beach. While I would never profess to be the worlds greatest animal lover, I do have a soft spot for penguins, and seeing them roaming around on the beach was a highlight.  Not to be missed if you are visiting the area.

5. The Old Biscuit Mill hosts a buzzing Saturday market with food and crafts, and is as much a social scene as a purchasing opportunity.

6. Rosetta Roastery was my first coffee in Cape Town and the best.  I don't think I need to say any more! I stumbled across it while visiting the Woodstock Exchange, an incredible converted warehouse with retail and office space and a fabulous vibe.

7. Truth Coffee Steampunk Cafe  is probably the most exciting cafe I have ever set foot into.  Filled with old machines, pipework and metres of intricate metal panels, breakfast (and of course the coffee) is also pretty marvellous.  And the best coffee art on a hot chocolate for the littlest one.......

8. I cannot visit a city without at least a few hours agonising over how I will transport back the new collection of homewares.  After a fair amount of damage in the shop at Chef Warehouse, I followed the instructions of my host and popped into Blink and Lim, where I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to decide about Wonki Ware and wooden spoons with my family patiently in tow.

9. Babylonstoren ticks both my design and food boxes.  Set in the wine country about an hour outside of Cape Town, the 17th Century Dutch farm and hotel prides itself on its exquisite gardens and the ultimate farm to table restaurant and cafe. While we dined at both, I absolutely loved the greenhouse and the opportunity to make my own tea blend from the tea chest where I selected my own herbs and flowers (from their gardens) for an infusion. I am desperate to stay there on our next visit. I can only imagine breakfast may trump everything else.

10. The Braai.  While we ate some truly memorable restaurant meals, our best times were together, on the terrace with a view over the Atlantic and the most incredible bbq.  Set into the chimney stack on the outside of the house, the perfectly designed wood fired stove and the braai provided the ultimate Cape Town experience.

Thank you for a superb week.  Can't wait for our next visit.