I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been feeling incredibly nostalgic lately and I keep thinking back to my childhood and wanting to recreate some of the special memories I have of those years with my own little family.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the majority of my most favourite memories revolve around food… I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing? Nonetheless, I absolutely love food, so I have no qualms with recreating a few of my favourite childhood memories and foodie-related family traditions with my own little family. Little things, like chip sandwiches on a Sunday evening (after church and a massive Sunday lunch), toasted hot cross buns with a cup of coffee for a lazy brunch, and even Friday ‘pizza and movie nights’ are small, seemingly insignificant family habits that I grew up with that bring me endless comfort and contentment when I do them with my own family now. There’s something about that sense of familiarity and the reminder of simpler, more carefree times that makes me so, so happy.
I’ve been thinking about little family traditions we can start following to help create a warmer, cosier, and more comforting daily routine for us all, and I’ve slowly but surely started to incorporate these into the day-to-day running of our lives. Some of these may seem a bit silly (perhaps even obvious?) to some, but after months of feeling quite unsettled after our move last year, we’ve had to find a new daily rhythm and these little habits and ‘traditions’ are definitely helping. Little things, like a mug of warm Rooibos tea and some toast waiting for Beanie when he gets home from school, Saturday morning pancakes with delicious Citron Curd, and afternoon tea (or coffee) and biscuits, all help to bring a little extra cheer to my day (and for some reason, little traditions and daily rituals like these also make me feel like a better mom). I’m forced to slow down, close my laptop, switch off my phone, and spend some much-needed quality time with my family.
One of my favourite little rituals (which we’ve actually been doing for a long time, but we didn’t always indulge in it at the same time, as a family) is our bedtime tea tradition. We usually do this about an hour after dinner time (and at least 40 minutes before Bean’s bedtime, so that there’s no need to worry about bed wetting), and it’s largely inspired by watching my grandparents and their nightly teatime tradition during my childhood years. Every evening, about two hours after dinner time, my Granny will pop on the kettle and grab a yoghurt for herself and my Grandpa… and she may even sneak in a biccie or two with her tea.
Now, both The Husband and I enjoy a cup of something warm a couple of hours after dinnertime (confession: I drink coffee right before bedtime, yet somehow I still manage to fall asleep), but I’ll usually drink mine in the bath or in bed, while he’ll have his in his office (if he’s on deadline) or in front of the TV. Lately, we’ve made it a rule that we spend our evenings together, as a family, regardless of how much work either one of us has. The two hours that make up dinnertime and the period right before Beanie’s bedtime are sacred family time, and we spend that time watching a family-friendly movie or an episode of something, reading to Beanie, playing boardgames, and catching up as a family. Again, this may seem very normal to other families, but it’s something that’s quite new for us as both of us have freelance careers that are made up of tight deadlines, odd hours, and plenty of hustling.
Our new nightly ritual means that work is set aside for the next couple of hours, while we each sip on our favourite hot beverage (tea or coffee for The Husband, coffee – ALWAYS coffee – for me, and a mini mug of Milo for Bean) while snuggling up on the couch and indulging in some quality family time. Occasionally (ok, more often than not), we bring out the biscuits and have a treat (or three)…
I recently received some of the most delicious teatime treats from Crabtree & Evelyn, who also stock the most incredible range of fine foods alongside the usual fragrances, hand lotions, and bath and body goodies we all know and love. The hamper of teatime treats included the most divine Triple Chocolate Chunk biscuits (more biscuits, here), and these have become firm favourites during our evening teatime tradition. In fact, if Beanie could eat these biccies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I swear he would! (In fact, so would I!)
I’m also really excited about establishing some of our own family traditions for Easter, especially now that Bean is a bit older and knows what Easter is truly about. I’m a big fan of chocolate, so there’ll definitely be Easter eggs, and I’ve already started stocking up on (and eating!) hot cross buns. My mom and I both have a bit of a hot cross bun addiction, so if we see them in the shops, we buy them by the dozen. This means I’ve had my fair share of hot cross buns throughout my life and I might even consider myself a bit of a hot cross bun aficionado – and I think I’ve finally found the perfect hot cross bun.
Years ago, before The Husband and I packed up and moved to Cape Town, one of my closest friends and I used to love visiting The Crabtree & Evelyn Tea Room at The Design Quarter in Fourways. I’d completely forgotten about this hidden gem until I received this fine specimen of hot cross bun and was instantly transported back in time and reminded of all the reasons why I loved visiting The Team Room in the first place. This is by far the best hot cross bun I’ve ever had, and I’m already planning a visit to The Tea Room next week for a little pre-Easter celebration.
I decided to go all out and topped my hot cross bun with Crabtree & Evelyn’s Citron Curd (R130), which instantly took it from an already pretty special treat to an over-the-top, mouthwateringly delicious indulgence. This Citron Curd also has a special place at our Saturday morning brunch table, where we like to smear it all over our pancakes, and even on toast. It’s so good!
Another tradition I’ll be carrying out going forward? Gifting all the men in my life with some shortbread from Crabtree & Evelyn (is it just me, or do all Grandpas love shortbread?), and treating my aunts to a jar of Citron Curd at Christmas time. I can’t think of a better gift, can you?