Lifestyle

If my online presence isn’t pretty, do I even exist?

I wrote a blog about people of colour (POC), and I touched a nerve. A nerve that I want to soothe because it’s detracting from the real issue. If you haven’t read the post, please do so and then pop back here and let me dive straight into sorting a few complaints out….

I don’t see the problem Shante, except with you disregarding white bloggers

A few folks felt very threatened by my blog post about celebrating POC bloggers , thinking that I was slagging of white bloggers and making their work look easy. NOTHING could be further from the truth, and in no way did I mention white bloggers in my piece.

I also read comments stating that this whole POC exclusion thing wasn’t an issue and I will admit that I was so angry upon receiving that feedback because it completely disregarded the purpose of the post. If a group of people, a large group, feel ostracized, who are we, as white people, to say that they are lying? It makes a mockery of people’s feelings. I liken it to folks who tell those suffering with depression to “suck it up”.

To those who felt upset by my post, be you a blogger, or a brand, ask yourself, have you ever supported any of the people on the list by sharing their content or by offering them assistance to grow? I know I’m guilty of not always showing my support.

But Shante, why did you mention teepees?

If anyone thought it was direct attack at a particular brand, it wasn’t. I used teepees because they are such an “in” thing. I could have used shoes, bikes, wooden shelves, prints, nursery rugs, organic food. Do you get me? The product used wasn’t the point. Continue Reading…

Lifestyle

Making the blogger circle bigger

Last year was, for me, a great 365 days of blogging. I became better acquainted with some amazingly fierce individuals who are juggling life, whilst writing about it. I was involved in some great campaigns with LG, Minimi Atelier, SA Venues, and many more. For life as a lifestyle and parenting blogger, 2017 was good.

But, I noticed something that really bugged me:

  • I saw so many of those gorgeous baby brands, the #localislekker ones, posting beautifully styled product shoots….with white babies. Which is weird, because I kinda thought this was a rainbow nation? I’ll admit, I’m getting so bored with seeing gorgeous teepees in white-washed rooms, with white-washed children. I don’t want to see another pink tutu on a blonde kid…yes, this does rule out Rosie (even though she would look ADORABLE in one).
  • Alcohol brands seemed to either target affluent looking whites, or the “black diamond” demographic. There didn’t seem to be a happy medium. Again, weird, because I know a majority of POC bloggers who enjoy a fantastic glass of wine.
  • Food brands, especially toddler and baby food, could have made waves if they sent drops to a more inclusive group of influencers.

Brands, why aren’t you increasing your market share by expanding your focus?!

Okay, before I whip myself into too much of a frenzy, let’s look at both sides of the coins:

Is this a matter of POC Bloggers not having big enough audiences?
I am guilty of not always expanding on my reading material, sticking with bloggers I know because I find their blogs to be easy to read, familiar, safe. I’m also guilty of not always reading blog posts, tending to stay in the social media sphere of involvement. If reach is the issue, it could be down to there not being enough effort to share content of others. I’ve seen quite a few bloggers who are so self-involved/self-important, never commenting on others posts (be it social or blog post) never doing anything to big up their fellow comrades. But we all started somewhere, we all deserve to have a little push, and to have our hard work recognized. Imagine the power of backing your fellow bloggers, and the growth that we could all be a part of? Continue Reading…

Lifestyle

My 2018 Resolutions

I’ve been thinking a lot about my choice of resolutions for this year – I don’t want to make wild promises and not keep them. But then, I also don’t want to not be accountable for anything.

I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard as I did in 2017. It was the year of feeling burned out a lot of the time. But it was also the year that I saw how far I can actually push myself, how much I can do and where my strengths lie. Without the burning out factor, I definitely want to continue on this uphill climb.

This year, my word is definitely organisation – I’m upping my game, but with more direction.  It’s going to be an intense year, and I want to be prepped for it. With that said, these are my resolutions, my goals, for making 2018 highly successful for me:

At Work

I grafted hard last year, and I plan on doing the same this year, with a tighter focus:

  • With my Copywriting & Social Media Management agency (Sweet Lemon Communications), I’ve got a great list of clients but I could always expand – I know that my copy is good, and I work well with clients who need to meet tight deadlines (it’s almost as though I strive on stress too). I need to put more faith in my worth. As many freelancers will agree, we get taken for a ride way too often, having to chase payments way after work has been completed…which makes us feel like crap. This year I plan on being stricter with my time, and my invoicing.
  • With my photography, I want to move more into the wedding scene, because a wedding truly is a magical, unique day which totally appeals to my “it’s so pretty!” nature.

Continue Reading…

Food & Drink

Sip into the festive season

If water is scarce, let’s drink more wine…or any other beverage that relieves some of the pressure off our dwindling water supplies.

There’s only a week left until Christmas, which means that everyone is doing their crazy last-minute stock-ups for all the social gatherings they have planned. I’m no different. I’m finishing my meal plans, unpacking my maternity pants (overeating is key) and making sure I have a lovely drink on hand for sipping on the dying lawn.

Need some spirit-filled inspiration? Check out my list of tasty tipples for the holidays that include Wine, Gin, Beer, and a little something extra – you might even find that perfect gift for someone special!

The most wine-derful time of the year

We all know that wine choices are subjective as everyone’s tastebuds vary…even mine. If you’d have asked me last year what whites I would be drinking, wooded Chardonnays would feature heavily. This year I’m pleasantly surprised by how my selection has changed to include greener, leaner styles – I’m just really loving that snap pea, lime zest quality in some of our cooler climate wines. But don’t worry, I’ve included some creamier options too, so make space in your fridges everybody and stock up on my current faves:

Groot Constantia Governors Reserve White

Did you know, I am a HUGE semillon fan. Few people do it as a single varietal, and when blended, most winemakers tend to make it very crisp and bright. BUT, I love the waxy, creamy notes of wooded semillon and coupled with my current desire for Sauvignon Blanc, I am naming Groot Constantia’s 75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon blanc blend as my WINE OF THE YEAR. With gorgeous notes of peach, jasmine, a touch of vanilla, and a hint of lime, it displays fresh, layered fruit flavours, with just enough oak to please the fans of more creamier wines. R215

Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Moving on

It’s been a month since the miscarriage, and what I thought was me handling it was actually me burying it and waiting for it to disappear from memory. The problem with burying something is that it demands a large portion of control…which is tested when things go wrong and man did things go wrong last month. For every fault, the cracks in the facade start to show and it becomes a lot harder to pretend like everything is okay.

Part of me feels angry that I care at all

It was only 6 weeks. But I think I do. I know I do. I’m angry because we had plans, our families had plans. I’m angry because getting pregnant is not easy, as some people seem to make it out to be. And I’m angry that I had to learn that the hard way. And the newborn shoot I did last week was a kick in the gut; getting my period was a sh*t show, and then having someone at Rosie’s playgroup ask me when I was having another one was just another moment when I had to simply smile and nod.

So, instead of throwing myself straight back into work, ignoring any potential feelings, I should have taken some time to rest, because right now I get a few moments when I feel like I’m drowning and all the lifelines that are being thrown at me just keep slipping through my hands.

Worst still, by trying to hold back emotion, I became really angry and the only person who I could direct it at without a restraining order was Mr H so he got the full brunt of this hurricane.

People are pretty bad in a tragedy

The miscarriage has definitely been an eye-opener in terms of defining friendships – knowing who has got your back – and seeing who is just offering lip service, or lack of any service. When I broke the news, there was a lot of condolences, many from people who don’t owe me anything and that was truly touching.  Beautiful stories of similar situations were sent to me and reading them helped me connect to so many other women…as well as give me the right words to describe my own confusing emotions. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Roses For Thorns: Blogger Series

I have something to share with you. Something that has kept me up at night, has taken over my mind, my house, my relationships. It’s something that started off so small and is now a blinding star, unmissable.

I have something to show you, to offer you, to reveal to you….

The heart of five very real, and very different women.

It began after Rosie was born; it was an overwhelming emotional tug at my heart whenever I thought about my mother and the loss of my brother. Despite losing her baby, she had to keep going. She didn’t have the option of crawling under the duvet and shouting “I’m not doing this anymore”, she didn’t have the luxury of grieving. I will never know how much her heart hurt, the un-shed tears, and thoughts that kept her up at night – I am truly grateful for her strength.

Mum, you are incredible…In the darkness I create, you will forever hold the candle for my escape.

It was this realization of a mother’s love that began to unfold in my mind, bringing forth an idea.

The day-to-day of parenting never ceases to amaze me – the constant struggle to put everyone first – and I realized that there must be millions of stories across the world of parents who wake up each day with a heavy, breaking heart that has to take a backseat because the family needs to be cared for. Thus #RosesForThorns was born, a series focusing on mothers who continue parenting despite their everyday thorns and the tragedies of life that never really leave them, the cloak of subtle darkness that sits heavily on their weary shoulders. It was to be a celebration of their strengths, and an acknowledgment of their pain. Continue Reading…

Lifestyle

The leggings your body deserves

There are some fashion/beauty items that I will always spend money on:
– Trainers
– Hair products
– Suncream
– Lipstick

and now, leggings.

I’m so fed up with buying a pair of leggings that then become see-through after four washes. As someone who is constantly picking up a toddler, or doing photo shoots that require lots of movement, I want to be comfortable, demure, and not flashing my “oh behave” at anyone.

I took to Twitter to voice my irritation, and to find out where I could find the best leggings and Melissa de la Croix from Pretty Messy Melon was adamant that Inner Secrets was the ONLY way to go…which is weird, because I assumed they only did lingerie. Bemused, I honestly thought she was thinking of tights, until Inner Secrets got in touch with me to lay down the gauntlet and dare me to meet my match. I obliged and arranged a visit to their V & A Waterfront store to try on a pair of the Spanx Essential Very Black Leggings.

Upon arrival I was directed to their huge range of leggings, and when the assistant pulled out a size small I gulped – I have rather stocky thighs, the quintessential pear shape, and I could physically feel them twitching (laughing actually) at this tiny pair of leggings that I was supposed to pull over my lower body. Sucking it all in I headed to the changing room, pulled them on…and had a total “hot damn” moment. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Being a responsible adult…and other funny stories

Ah, the good old days of having to worry about homework, what’s showing at the cinema, when you’ll get your pocket money in time, and if your mum or guardian had cooked your favorite dinner…I miss those days. The freedom. The lack of responsibility.
The end of the year is closing fast and I feel like I’m in a downhill spiral of trying to maintain a vague level of coolness, whilst meeting deadlines and planning festive activities…oh, and doing all the adult things that no one taught you about in high school.

I’d gladly have given up physics lessons to learn how to adult properly, and the many tests of being a responsible adult, such as….

Raising children

This is obviously the biggest adult responsibility I’m facing right now. Adult life is a total balancing act and if you ever stop to look down, you’ll be freaked out by how much you actually manage to juggle. In my teens, I thought that having to study for more than one exam was stressful, but right now I’d be glad for the opportunity to just have my world focused on one thing. How do people with more than one kid do it?!

Grocery Shopping

Man, I miss the days of coming home from school, raiding the kitchen cupboards and complaining to my mum that the large assortment of biscuits, fruit and yogurt meant that there was “nothing to eat”. Young me was such a jerk.

Now, I’m trying to plan my meals more efficiently (like fellow bloggers Making Mountains and Caffeine & Fairydust, who have weekly meal plans), making sure I’m not wasting produce by not using it in time.

I am very tempted to make use of Woolie’s delivery service but I’m waiting to hear more concrete positives for it….anyone have any experience with them? Continue Reading…

Lifestyle

Family life with the LG NeoChef Microwave

If I had to list all the appliances in the kitchen that I use on a daily basis, a microwave would be at the top of my list.
I’ve had my trusty LG solardrome since 2011 and whilst it has seen better days, it’s a stalwart, being able to cook bacon, legs of lamb, cakes and much more, without breaking a sweat. But, whilst I love my old LG, it has a stationary cooking plate (it doesn’t spin) so when heating something up, you have to put up with one side that’s hotter than Mordor and the opposite being an extra from Frozen. So we’ve been looking to buy a new one and this new microwave needs to:

  • Heat food evenly and quickly
  • Be easy to clean because there will be days when I forget to wipe some splodges away
  • Be multi-functional
  • Be easy to use on those days when I just want to shove some food in, press a button and be done.

So, I was thrilled when LG offered to send me the new LG NeoChef Microwave to replace my old one, and help make family cooking a little easier.

Continue Reading…

Rosie Loves...

Rosie loves: My Tiny Teepee

There once was a little girl who loved to explore her world. She enjoyed picking flowers, reading books, and spending moments lost in activity. Then, one day, she was gifted a very special present which gave her so much joy, she almost couldn’t be taken away from it…until her mummy bribed her with cheerios.

My Tiny Teepee offer beautiful, custom-made teepees that, as you can see, have captured Rosie’s attention. Run by Olivia Fox and her mum, it’s a passion project that has blossomed into an epicenter of creative, inspired fun for children.

I “met” Olivia via social media and we’ve had a very honest, down-to-earth online relationship. She wears her heart on her sleeve and encourages you to do the same. Her zeal for living a creative life is so catchy, she exudes this loving realness which translates across her brand. If you’re not following MTT on instagram, then you’re really missing out on a bunch of heart-warming shares and posts.

But lets get back to the teepees…Olivia contacted me to ask what colour Rosie’s room was and upon showing her a few pics, she sent me this gorgeous white one with duck-egg trim, perfect for my girl’s bedroom…but it didn’t stay there for long. It’s moved from bedroom, to lounge, to garden and I even took it with us to the forest for a photo shoot with friends. Continue Reading…