Lifestyle

I put Environ Focus Care™ to the test on tired, dry skin

I trialed Environ Focus Care™ for a month and the results surprised me.

When it comes to my skin, I strongly believe that the best defense is a good offense. Why try and correct damage and aging when it’s already happened? I want to be proactively preventing it…as much as I humanly can.

I’m not one for drinking bucket-loads of water because I always forget, but I do make sure my skincare has an SPF factor, and an anti-aging component. It’s also got to be simple. I can’t be faffing around in the morning with 300 different lotions. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

When Rubybox got in touch with me to ask if I’d be keen on trialing three Environ products, I physically jumped at the opportunity, keen to rub some life into my face again. Within a few days, they sent the following products, stressing that they were to be used in conjunction with my present skincare routine.

The tri-factor

Focus Care™ Youth+ Avance Elixir (R1360)

Avance Elixir contains Měiritage, a unique blend of extracts from Chinese roots used in traditional medicine, which has been shown to be effective in reducing the effects of oxidative stress (UV radiation and pollution) and improving the appearance of uneven skin tone. It also contains a combination of three powerful peptide complexes that may assist in improving the overall structure of the skin. This powerful combination of ingredients in this multifunctional serum may leave the skin looking radiantly luminous and resiliently younger for longer. Avance Elixir may be added to your daily routine when the signs of sun damage and ageing are present. 

It aims to leave your skin looking more youthful, with an even and luminous skin tone. Continue Reading…

Food & Drink

I’m dreaming of a white chocolate Christmas

I am MAD about Christmas…and so is Cadbury.

I have so many personal and family traditions that I keep to at this time of the year, e.g. Putting up the tree on the 1st December, dusting off Michael Buble CDs, watching Home Alone on repeat and sneakily buying presents for the family and hiding them in random spots around the house. Shhhh!

If someone tells you that they hate this time of the year, they are sorely missing out on a big helping of JOY. Yes, we could say that it’s all got a bit too commercial, but actually Christmas is what you make of it. Personally, I love it when brands get all jolly holiday, and bring out lovely festive-inspired variations of their classics – like Cadbury.

They’ve released their funky tree baubles – which are filled with mini versions of Cadbury faves (Flake, Dairy Milk, Top Deck and Dairy Milk Bubbly) – I obviously have to keep a keen eye on these baubles because little hands (and big daddy hands) keep opening them up and taking out the chocolates!


Also hitting the shelves is their Festive Whisper Dairy Milk slab and someone has already called dibs on this bar. And a firm favorite, the White Chocolate Whispers are making an appearance.

The whole range is such a merry treat for helping spread a little chocolatey joy around the house.

Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I’m totally keeping the Cadbury’s Whispers to myself because I have a thing for white chocolate. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Christmas gift guide for new mothers and babies

There is something in the water…EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE PREGNANT!? The birth announcements keep coming in thick and fast and I’m a little relieved that no one in my immediate friendship circle is knocked up so that I’m not completely out of pocket come January.

It doesn’t stop me from looking around though and thinking about ideas that will work well for baby showers or Christmas gifts. So, based on what I’m loving and using, and those products I’ve seen and fallen in love with, here are a few fantastic gift ideas to treat the beautiful new mothers your life this Christmas, whether the gift is for them personally, or something they can use then baby arrives.

Pure Beginnings

The whole range is really something special for your skin, and your babies. Not only are the products organic, but the ingredients are free from nasty chemicals and ingredients that should not be anywhere near your skin (such as mineral oil).

Pure Beginnings are incredibly fastidious about making sure they triple check all their ingredients, and this isn’t a “made in the garage” brand – whilst they started small, they are now able to combine scientific treatments and testing with their chosen natural ingredients to create products that are gentle, kind and yummy. They smell so good, you want to eat them and I promise you, you’ll be totally loved by any mother who receives this.

If you’re worried about the essential oils and plants used in the products, their sensitive range is my go-to. It’s fragrance-free and is formulated to boost the skin’s microbiome with the inclusion of prebiotic and probiotic ingredients. Basically, it’s goodness in a pot and it’s a staple in our household.

Bear Baby Muslin

Finding Muslin in SA is very tricky. Sure, you could probably pick up a cheap, Chinese import that, once washed, becomes stiffer than an ironing board. Not so with the Bear Baby 100% bamboo muslin. Guys, it’s so soft. Like, baby’s bottom soft. The material makes it breathable and it’s naturally chemical free and hypoallergenic for even the most sensitive skin. The geometric print is also totally on point.

Gnash

Retro is in full swing at Gnash – run by Nicole, a kick-ass Cape Town Mom with two darling kids – the theme is very much on-trend Scandinavian and you can see that emulated in the pieces that she sells. It’s beyond trendy, it’s timeless. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Christmas gift ideas for the kids

There are going to inevitably be so many Christmas gift guides circulating already but honestly, when it comes to getting the perfect gift for your kids, sometimes you can’t have too many ideas!

I’ve decided this year that I’m not going to be getting a host of little things, but rather something educational, and one larger present – I love the look on Rosie’s face when she opens her presents but then we end up accumulating so much rubbish. Know what I mean?

So, if you’re a little stretched for ideas, why not browse through my 2018 Christmas gift guide for ideas with a mixture of overseas and local products, designed for ages 0-8.

Trunki

Can you imagine the smiles when your kids unwrap their very own ride-along suitcase, the Trunki?! They are the ultimate travel accessories, combing practicality with fun and helping kids feel part of the journey. We’ve taken ours overseas and on weekend getaways in the Cape and Rosie loves packing it herself…and being pulled along on it – We have the awesome Una The Unicorn.
If you want to know more about how Trunki works in our household, give this post a read, and if you want to buy it, you can find them here.

PaddlePak

Thinking of heading to the beach or the public pool this December holidays? You’re going to want to get one of these PaddlePaks for your kids to keep all their goodies dry.  Made from lightweight and durable material, they are water-resistant and come in a variety of shapes and characters. Rosie has Chuckle the Clown Fish, and he’s even been to the Aquarium with her! Continue Reading…

Explore, Parenthood

Fun locations to visit with the kids in JHB & Cape Town

Whilst Christmas time is full of joy and good cheer, it’s also a period of acute fatigue (mainly for the parents), potential tantrums, and desperate searching for child-friendly location suggestions as we try and find ways to entertain our kids during the holidays.

We’re heading up to Jozi in December to visit Mr H’s family and spend an early Christmas with them. We did it last year and it was so relaxing and merry BUT, I know that’s not the always the case – most of the time we’re running around inwardly screaming because the kids just uttered the dreaded “I’m bored” line.

To help us exhaust some of the energy our kids seem to have in boat loads, here’s a few choice locations we can run to over the holidays:

Cape Town

Two Oceans Aquarium

The Two Oceans Aquarium is such a brilliant day out for kids. From a stunning jellyfish display and eerie static spider crabs, to watching rays and skates gliding over your head as you walk down glass tunnels – I’m really tempted to get an annual pass because it was such an epic day out for us all. Under 3’s are also free, which is handy.

Dunstone Winery

We all know that I love a good winery, but I’m gonna be even happier when I can visit a wine farm with the whole family and feel relaxed. The Stone Kitchen Bistro at Dunstone offers classic, homely food alongside their select wines and that’s not the best bit. No. The important factor is the outdoor AND indoor play area, the latter with large soft play equipment, a Lego table, mini kitchen and a climbing wall.

If your dogs are your kids, you can even bring well behaved pooches with you! Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Love To Dream because I Love to sleep

You know that awesome idiom, “Sleeping like a baby”? Remember how people used to use it to denote a good night’s sleep? Let’s all laugh at that shall we.

When has anyone ever wished to sleep like a baby unless they legitimately want to wake up every hour, need constant shushing and soothing, and get cross because their own hand hit them in the eye?!

Well, we’ve definitely got the whole “sleeping like a baby” vibe happening in our house, and whilst we have become more accustomed to a serious lack of sleep, it’s still a toughie. I’ve tried a lot of methods to try and help get Cece past the stage of waking up every 60-90 minutes but she just doesn’t seem bothered that mummy and daddy need their rest. So selfish.

I did think it was getting better and I even posted about it. Sadly I learnt the hard way that one should never state in writing that something is going well – basically, as soon as you sound even the tiniest bit smug, life bites you in the ass. For instance, I posted on Instagram (here) that the sleeping had gotten a little better and that I wasn’t having to give up dairy because I couldn’t see it making a difference to Cece and her cramps. Ha. Ha bloomin’ ha. Guess what folks, I’m now off dairy. And each day I seem to add a new item to the list of things that I can’t eat. So far, the list stands at:

Chocolate – maaaan I miss this baby
Dairy
Citrus
Strawberries (I can have a few in my morning smoothie)

I’ve taken to having almond milk in my tea but because it tastes so gross in coffee, I’m now not getting my morning cup o’ joy anymore. Oh the things we do for the love of our children. Giving these food items up has made a remarkable difference though in terms of her not screaming. Not that she was a screamer – I have this fear that I’m painting life with my newborn as much tougher than it really is. It’s not. She’s a pretty chilled-ish child. She just doesn’t like certain food in her breast milk and she upchucks a lot. Oh, and she doesn’t like sleeping long at night.

Throughout all our sleeping research (it’s been an interesting 5 weeks), we’ve found a few key changes and products that have worked for us and one of them has been the Love To Dream Swaddle Up.

The main issue with her sleeping is 1) she currently has a cold so she snores, snarls, coughs and gurgles and it wakes herself up, 2) she likes to be in mum’s arms, 3) she jerks herself awake with her crazy arm movements.

Now the Love To Dream Swaddle Up can’t really assist with the first two but it does do the following for us:

1. It stops her scratching herself in the face/hitting herself awake – she can easily move her arms to her face but because of the gentle way it swaddles, it prevents jerky movements that will hurt her.
2. It stops her scratching me.
3. It stops her getting her hands in the way when I want to feed her at night.
4. It gives her the opportunity to self-soothe. It doesn’t entirely restrict movement like a normal swaddling cloth would, but it still offers the benefit of helping baby feel secure..which in turn, makes them feel calm.

Traditional swaddling has always made me a little anxious – mainly because I was always hopeless at origami and swaddling looks way too hard. I also always thought of it as too restrictive. The Love To Dream Swaddle Up allows access for baby’s hands which is vital for development and self-soothing (you’ve seen how babies are constantly touching their faces in the womb right, yeah, well, it’s because it’s comforting). The Swaddle Up also has two zips which makes for easy changing – you can just whip the legs out the bottom – and you won’t find that in a traditional swaddle.

Every night is different though and sometimes, no matter what we do, she still wakes up super niggly but that again could be because her nose is blocked so it will be interesting to see how much better the Swaddle Up works for us when her nose is clear and she doesn’t sound like T-Rex.

Competition time!

Because I know the importance of sleep, I’m giving way a Love To Dream Swaddle Up Original (worth R429.99) in mint green. Yay. To stand a chance to win, you can enter two ways (doing both doubles your chances but it’s not a requisite).

To enter via the blog:

Comment on this post telling me who you would like to win this for (yourself and your baby, or a friend, or a very small pet etc). Please make sure you leave your valid email address, we will use that to contact you.
Follow Love To Dream on Facebook (We will check)

To enter via Instagram

Find the Comp post that I have shared here, like it, make sure you’re following me, make sure you’re following Love To Dream and comment what colour swaddle I’m giving away.

Simple. No “tag 5 million friends” needed.

This competition is running until 30th October. The winner must be in SA

P.s, I’m actually giving away a swaddle in dove grey but I wanted to check how many of you cheeky blighters actually read the full posts -I see you!

Explore

Five reasons to visit Franschhoek with the Family

I could be totally biased choosing Franschhoek as a travel destination seeing as it’s only 45 minutes away from me, but when it comes to visiting an area that makes you feel like you’re in a totally different country, Franschhoek is the perfect spot.

The town has an almost magical quality to it and the valley is home to some of the best wineries in South Africa, more specifically, the best MCC (bubbly) houses. But this is a post about families and aside from wine, Franschhoek has a lot on offer for those with younger kids and teens.

Why Franschhoek?

It’s a culinary hotspot and an achingly beautiful part of South Africa, it’s not vast in size so it has this small-town buzz to it that I love and which makes it perfect for a long weekend away.

I’m all about mini getaways and that’s mainly because the husband never stops working (being your own boss is a heavy title to bear) so we like to do small breaks and often…or we did until we had another kid, and I think we need a few weeks to settle before attempting a holiday as the awesome foursome. But let me not digress, you’ve come to this post to find out why I think Franschhoek works so well for a family visit and here are my top five reasons:

Boschendal.
It’s definitely one of the more dynamic and beautiful wineries with a purpose other than just wine. It’s a fully working farm, balancing agriculture, delicious food, stunning gardens and plenty of locations to get lost in. It’s a one-stop spot for spending the whole day at with horse and pony rides available and in better weather, their picnics are delicious and always in demand. Food-wise the deli has a child-friendly, relaxed environment or you could opt for finer dining at The Werf restaurant. There is even a Splish Splash play area inside the main werf area and plans to create a tree house are in the pipeline.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram
This may feel like a strange addition considering you’re with your family but it’s not just about the wine (that’s just a bonus for the grownups) – with eight hop-on hop-off lines to choose from, each visiting different wine estates, it’s a great way to see Franschhoek and it gives you the freedom to choose. Many of the wineries are family-friendly and I’d definitely look at doing the Purple line Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns: Nikki Lincoln

I’m Nikki, the mom and blogger behind We Are The Humans. We live in a little semi-detached slice of heaven in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. This “we” I speak of, consists of me, my hairy, farting, bearded, dream man, Regan and our two girls, Sophie and Grace, who hate vegetables almost as much as they hate to sleep.

I have a blog that is pretty much a labour of love and often it feels more like a labour than a love. I am fiercely passionate about motherhood, I love writing about my experiences, my struggles, my triumphs. I love celebrating other mamas and I hope through sharing my experiences, you’ll embrace your own motherhood journey.

You can follow our story here:

Blog: http://www.wearethehumans.co.za/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nikkilincoln/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wearethehumansblog/

I’ve had three miscarriages.

I’m currently sitting cross legged on my bed, listening to our nanny potter around in the kitchen while Grace sleeps. I am home from work because I have a really bad case of the flu. So I’m sitting here, staring at the blinking cursor, trying to find the words to put this all these painful and jumbled thoughts together.

I’ve had three miscarriages. I told you that already. It feels profound though, like I needed to say it twice. Because what it really means is that I have had my heart shattered three times. Shattered might seem like a dramatic word. But that is what it felt like to me.

The first time it happened I was 24. I wasn’t trying to fall pregnant, it was an “oops” or maybe an “oh holy shit what the hell?!”. I had a boyfriend that I adored. He hadn’t told me that he loved me yet. I loved him though. We were happy. Young, carefree happy… My sister had just had my niece. She was adorable – a squishy, angry little baby who I loved fiercely. I remember the first day I met her I thought, gosh, if I love her this much, imagine what loving my own child would feel like.  Anyway, I realized my period was late… I was terrified and excited and happy (there’s that word again). I took a pregnancy test and freaked out. It was positive. I can’t really remember everything that went through my mind. What I do remember is feeling overwhelmed with happiness and a little afraid. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

That one time I couldn’t have an epidural

Who doesn’t like a good birth story?

Once upon a time…ah, I wish giving birth was like a dainty fairy story full of magical unicorns pooping rainbows and candy. Truth is, it’s completely and utterly NUTS. It is impossible to box, to categorize or to prepare for. Birth is one of the most unique experiences on the planet. I’ve experienced a natural birth twice now and both were entirely different.

My First

With Rosie, it required me to have my waters broken because we were at 41 weeks, my skin was eating me alive and I needed to get this baby out. My waters were broken at 5:30pm and within 30 minutes I was having full blown, extremely painful contractions. At 9pm I begged for an epidural and by 10:35pm she was born. However, because the epidural was done at 8cm, I still felt the ring of fire and the pulling of the placenta. There was no tearing though and recovery was super quick. Continue Reading…

Roses For Thorns

Roses For Thorns: Chenel Kruger

Hi, I’m Chenel, I’m a young mom, 25, of two boys and I married the love of my life whom I met at the age of 18. I have an incredible passion for photography and for my kids. I used to only photograph weddings but now I’ve shifted my business and I am photographing births – it’s probably the most incredible thing ever to witness and capture.

I (accidentally) started a blog two years ago where I chat about all things mama-related and show you my world through my eyes.

www.jamesandjaxson.co.za  | Instagram : @james.and.jaxson |www.chenelkruger.co.za

I was told at the age of 18 that I might struggle to have a baby one day as I only got my period every 3 or 4 months. At that age, I didn’t think too much of it until I was actually married…when it sort of counted. With our first child James, it took well over a year and that was tough enough, but with our second,  it was even more intense. I was not ovulating at all and my estrogen was low it was pretty much non-existent. I went to a couple of gynecologist appointments, scans and blood tests – the hospital felt like my home. Eventually, the doctor put me on ovulation-inducing medication with added rounds of estrogen. It gave us hope which was, little by little, eaten away at as I was still not getting pregnant.


Month after month I carefully listened to my body and googled pregnancy symptoms. I became obsessed.

I bought so many ovulation and pregnancy tests we could have probably paid for IVF. Month after month, seeing negative tests, broke me.

It hurt me more than I thought it would. I was so sick of going for scans and being told my eggs weren’t big enough when they are released or some other stupid reason. I was so mad at my own body! Continue Reading…