So… Thursday was a public holiday… and my Mom wanted to “do something” with the kids and I.

Nick has been renovating the floors of our bedroom – so I left him to his own devices, and decided to give my Mom a different coffee shop experience (apart from the usual visit to Mugg & Bean at a mall).

I don’t like malls.  At all.  Here’s the 3 main reasons why I don’t like malls:

  1. Malls are kitsch and ostentatious.  There’s lots of bling, lots of marble, lots of brass embellishments, lots of ‘flash’… it’s just too much of too much.
  2. Advertising and Big Brands scream…. SCREAM… at you – from every angle.  Buy this!  Buy this!  Buy! Buy! Buy!  Spend! Spend! Spend!  Sale! Sale! Sale! (again… too much of too much!)
  3. It’s noisy and loud.  Every shop has their own sound system which plays their own music… additionally, the mall has it’s own sound system too…  there’s TV’s blaring… ’round the clock advertising and marketing… music playing… children screaming…. mothers scolding… people yelling… sounds of plates and cutlery clinking (from the hundreds of franchised food places)… and at the risk of sounding… umm… (old?)… I can’t stand the noise.  I already have too much noise going on in my head…  mall noise adds to the chaos and I start feeling… frenzied.

Here’s the 3 main reasons why I’m forced to visit malls:

  1. To do banking (ugh!)
  2. To go and watch a movie (because most movie theatres are in malls, except for a tiny smattering of independent cinemas like The Bioscope).
  3. To get to Exclusive Books (I am a fan of the huge Exclusive Books in Hyde Park Shopping Centre… which serves fantastic fair trade coffee too – so I can enjoy a decadent morning of reading as many books and magazines as I like… while slurping on endless lattes… *bliss*)

Anyway – I’ve gone off the topic….

So… anyway… I packed Mom and the kids in the car – and we drove straight to Fresh Earth Food Store in Emmarentia.  Now, I never believed it was possible – but these guys make healthy food taste DIVINE!  They only stock organic food – and serve a choice of vegetarian / vegan / gluten free foods.  I love going there – because it inspires me to think differently about food.  Unfortunately (and as a direct result of all my years of dieting) – I have a very limited idea (in my head) of what healthy food looks like.  My head tells me that “healthy food” is bland and horrible.  “Healthy Food” is a grilled, skinless chicken breast accompanied by a sad, limp pile of steamed veggies (ugh!).  “Healthy Food” is dry provitas with some plain, fat-free cottage cheese (ugh!).  “Healthy Food” is a bowl of All-Bran Flakes with skim milk (ugh!).  You get the picture?

Fresh Earth Food Store continues to prove me wrong.  Everything I’ve eaten there tastes delicious!  My favourite, however, is the haloumi and avo sarmie on rye… and they serve yummy fair-trade coffee too!

Here’s two pics I lifted from their website:

Mom was delighted with Fresh Earth.  We sat outside and shared a huge slice of apple pie between the 4 of us.  Mom and I also enjoyed very yum cappuccinos.  On that day, Fresh Earth was also supporting a woman who had knitted and embroidered jerseys, hats and table cloths and was selling them to support herself and her children.  Mom was in a generous mood and decided to buy Joah a hand-knitted jersey.  The sleeves were way too long – but it’s certainly cozy and it put a big smile on the face of the lady who was selling them.

Mom – trying to persuade Morgan to try on a hand-knitted beret…. (Morgan was having none of it)…

The lady selling her wares outside Fresh Earth Food Store…

Joah wearing his new handmade jersey…

After Fresh Earth, we drove up the road to Melville and the Bamboo Centre.  First, we stopped at a tiny, independent kids toy shop.  They have some lovely things in there – I loved their collection of puppets, especially.  We got a small toy each for the kids – and then moved next door to Love Books… one of the nicest independent book stores in Jozi.

My mom and the kids exploring Love Books…

They have loads of beautiful kids books… plus a reading chair and cute pillows where kids can sit and listen to stories…

Joah and Morgan didn’t want to leave…

I like this idea…. they had a big, dead tree branch… suspended from the ceiling… with various twigs randomly wrapped with colourful fabric. I’m inspired to make one!

Love Books leads right on to The Service Station – which is a fantastic place to eat.  At lunch time, they load a table full of salads, quiches and other interesting yummies.  I ordered more coffee… and some stringy toasted sarmies for the kids.  Mom ordered a cheese platter (which she loved).  I love the vibe that’s happening at the Bamboo Centre.  Lots of creative creatures in the vicinity – loads of interesting conversations… and the types of people who also hold a certain disdain towards malls, big brands and franchised food.

Some of the salads on the buffet table at The Service Station…

Mom and her cheese platter…

Joah and the stringy cheese…

Yum!

The table says it all…

After a different, interesting morning – it was time for Mom to go back home.  That evening, Nick and I went out with our good friends, Josh and Meegs – and watched a lovely movie called “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” starring Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.  Despite the fact that I was forced to go to Rosebank Mall (to get to Cinema Nouveau to see the movie)… it was, in all, a lovely day (mall-and-all).