Monthly Archives: November 2019


Go green this Christmas

As we all know, Christmas is all about plants – holly, mistletoe and Christmas fir or pine trees just for starters.  We decided to drop in and chat to both our gardening and our events teams to gather some great (and more unusual) decorating tips that incorporate some natural vegetation and plants and flowers for your home and table this festive season.

  1. Get creative with flowers from your garden: As we all know, at times like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, the prices of cut flowers rise because of the sudden increase in demand. Either choose flowers and foliage from your own garden or combine smaller bunches of bought flowers with greens and grasses from your garden and you’re sure to have table and home decorations that will create special memories.
  1. Create a festive season garland or wreath: Make these to either hang on your front door to welcome guests or to lay flat in the centre of your Christmas table. Either tie together a loop of thick rope or buy a readymade twig garland. Then secure some ever greens to this using florist wire. Cover the whole wreath with greenery and then add pine cones that you may have collected or glass baubles, tinsel and ribbons. If you want your creation to last, you can buy green oasis from a florist supply centre, cut it into a ring and then push the greenery, twigs and decorations into this. Soak in a basin every now and then to keep your greenery well-watered.
  1. Go twiggy: If you don’t like artificial trees and haven’t got space to replant a small sapling in your garden after Christmas, try collecting a bunch of small branches or twigs and then standing these upright in a pot or large vase using pebbles or gravel from your local garden centre. Depending on your colour scheme, you can either leave them as they are or spray them silver, gold or white before adding baubles and hanging decorations.
  1. Branch out: Again, bunches of twigs, small logs or even driftwood can make the perfect base for memorable table decorations. Arrange these along the centre of the table and then add baubles and tinsel, small vases or jars with a few flowers or even tiny lights. If you are dining outside, you can even hang some branches with baubles and lights for a natural chandelier!
  1. Leaf it this Christmas: Encourage your kids to gather different shaped dried leaves. When spray painted different colours, they make wonderful decorations either placed along the centre of your table or tied with cotton and hung on your Christmas or twig tree.
  1. Create a Christmas float: Create a magical festive table decoration in a large shallow bowl by cutting away the stems of large flowers such as ranunculus or proteas and letting them bob in the water. Add floating candles and even baubles for extra sparkle.
  1. Go festive with flowers: A beautiful decorative bowl is ideal for displaying a low arrangement of blooms in seasonal colours. A great choice is stalky amaryllis, which look dramatic when cut short and partnered with other vivid shades. Use some oasis from your florist supply store or some chicken wire moulded into the inside of the bowl to hold the flowers in place. You can also buy plants like bright potted chrysanthemums, orchids and poinsettias and slip them into festive containers and then position them on the dining table, side board or in the hallway to make a striking and low maintenance festive display.
  1. Festive season succulents: You can use these fascinating plants to make table decorations, wreaths and even mini Christmas trees. Whether you are using succulents from your garden or buying some from your local garden centre, simply snip off the heads, leaving as long a stem as possible. (If you put the stalks and roots that are left behind in a sunny spot, they’ll probably shoot again over Christmas). Using floral wire or oasis, push the succulent “flowers” into place and add any additional decorations if you’d like a little more sparkle. You can use different succulents or a cluster of the same ones, depending on your décor and taste. To make a mini Christmas tree, shape chicken wire into a cone and fill with moss. Spray with water and then insert your succulents. The beauty of using succulents as ornaments is that you can pop these hardy little plants in pots afterwards and add water so they can root for use in container gardens. You can even place small succulents in individual pots at place settings with name tags and give these to your guests as gifts to take home.


Granny Mouse provides a proper family Christmas lunch experience this year

We all have those festive horror stories – the singed turkey, the flopped pudding or the arrival of far more guests than you had planned – including that long lost great aunt twice removed who you’ve been avoiding for most of the year!

Because Christmas in South Africa usually means cooking up a storm in a hot kitchen at the height of summer, many of us don’t get to enjoy a Christmas holiday and are left completely burnt out with aching feet!

This year, why don’t you lose the stress and put the romance back into Christmas and head for the beautiful Midlands and a culinary delight accompanied by award-winning wine from our top cellar.

Whether you’re planning a short stay over or just coming for the day, Granny Mouse Country House & Spa is perfectly located – just 1 hour and 30 minutes from Durban and a friendly neighbour of Pietermaritzburg, right in the heart of Balgowan on the Midlands Meander route.

This year, Executive Culinary Artist, Theo Mannie, and his team in the kitchen, have created a scrumptious five course Christmas lunch on Wednesday December 25th.

Welcome drinks on arrival at 13h00, with guests being seated at 13h30 so the Christmas celebrations can begin.

The set menu kicks off with beetroot parfait (rosemary salt, goats cheese shortbread) complemented by Vrede & Lust The Jess Rose.

Following this scrumptious entrée is smoked salmon timbal (citrus cream cheese, marinated cucumber and champagne caviar) paired with Louisville unwooded Chardonnay.

Next up is seared duck breast (herbed polenta, glazed baby carrots and Asian jus with orange compote) accompanied by Newton Johnson Pinot Noir.

Then there is smoked lamb (caramelized peach puree, poached baby onions, mint jus and herbed ciabatta crisp) paired with Louisvale Dominique.

Both the meat dishes can be replaced by vegetarian options.

Ending off this feast is pumpkin spice panacotta (almond crumble, chocolate Chantilly cream and pumpkin seed bark) together with Kahlua liqueur.

Lunch costs R790 per person.

For those wanting something more exclusive, Granny Mouse can also accommodate one group of 10 people in their award winning cellar. This includes a dedicated waiter or waitress, coffee and tea with macaroons after the 5 course meal plus a gift per person on departure – all for only R1 000 per person.

Every year, Christmas bookings come in rapidly. So, for more information or to reserve your place, contact Veronica on 033 234 4071 or email Bookings close on Monday, 16th December 2019. T&C’s apply.