Parenthood, Rosie Loves...

Girls will be Girls – Styled Shoot

As a mother of girls – and as a woman myself – I’m constantly fighting off advances from mainstream media and “the man” that would try and put girls into a box. I am bombarded with images of girls in pink, wearing glitter, and professing to be princesses that need saving. I’m subtly subjected to the image of a woman as a mother, a cleaner, a cook and a house manager – the only roles were we seemingly can find gratification and if we stray from this path, should we not want children, society deems us undesirable. We are often taught how to be beguiling, interesting and attractive for the opposite sex, whilst keeping our mouths shut and our hearts covered.

There is nothing wrong with pretty dresses and sparkling tiaras. I love putting Rosie in pink. I adore seeing her twirl in a tutu. Barbies have always been played with  in my household, and I thoroughly enjoy being a mother. I do mind seeing her reduced to a supporting character when she is the heroine. I do mind that the choices available are still often shrouded from girls. I mind because there is so much inside a female that can’t be limited to a simple storybook ending.

We were never meant to cower in the pages, waiting for the right to speak. We are adventurous, wild, bold and enchanting. And our girls should be encouraged to follow any and all paths, to be fearless, to be rescuers, to be relentless…to just “be”.

Girls will BE girls. They will redefine history. They will sweep the world off its feet. They will allow love to grow, and sometimes, have to cut it down. They will find that ivory tower and scale it with their bare hands.

No matter what your preference, be it pink and fluffy, or bold and abstract, there is no right or wrong way to be a girl.

My darling girls, claim your crown as a custodian of this world, not as an extra. Be you. Unashamedly.

Special thanks to:

My Tiny Teepee – For the blue-trimmed white teepee

Minimi Atelier – For the white and denim shirt

Bow ties and Braces – For the two bow ties

Natasha Wilson  – For the pink tutus


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Lifestyle

Fun ways to celebrate turning 30 in Cape Town

On the 1st July I’m turning the big 30. I think about it a lot. I will have been on this earth for 3 decades and I feel like once you hit your 30s, people expect you to have all your sh*t together. I also feel like your 30’s are the years of “hard adulting” – as if there wasn’t enough pressure in your late 20’s. I’ve really liked being in a different decade than my husband too! Okay, but seriously, despite the mild panic that is bubbly up inside me, I have been planning a small shindig to celebrate this new age adventure.

Being pregnant and having a two year old means that celebration ideas are a little limited – we don’t have family close by to help with babysitting and at 8 months pregnant, it’s not like I’m going to be surrounding myself with fancy wines. To celebrate this year I’ve decided to do an evening dinner party with my nearest and dearest at home with catering provided by Karen Dudley (full post on the party planning to come) and a gold and black theme.

Whilst I have my idea planned, it got me thinking about what other ways one could welcome in their 30s….

Hire a villa and live it up for the weekend

I’m definitely thinking of doing this next year with a bunch of friends and our kids. The kids can entertain each other and no one needs to worry about babysitting. The only issue is what food to bring, who will cook (I’d propose taking it in turns) and making sure the accommodation has a dishwasher, a washing machine and enough bathrooms.

If grandparents/family were able to help, or you had no kids, going away with just friends would also be brilliant and I’d definitely recommend Rivers Edge in Stanford which sleeps 8 and is right on the river. Stanford is one of those romantic villages that is lovely to walk around and explore, brimming with art cafes and antique shops. There’s also great wineries in the area, hikes and outdoor pursuits.

Oh, and if you’ve got R45,000 to spare, you could always hire out Lothian Vineyards in Grabouw- it’s like something out of an episode of Cribs. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

10 things I wished I knew before giving birth

Being a first time mom is tough. Everyone has an opinion that they want to share with you even if you didn’t ask. You try and prepare yourself for the coming baby by reading books, blog posts, listening to advice from friends and family but inevitably, it can all be a bit too much. With so much information, you’re going to hear ideas that clash, you’ll be given horror stories that make you want to close your legs for all eternity, and basically, it feels like no one has any viable answers because there’s just too much going on.

With the second baby on the way, I love that I’m going into the birth with my eyes open. I’m going to be holding my newborn baby and feel a little more secure in my knowledge and experiences, knowing that whilst there are certain things I have to face, I can overcome them.

Here are my top 10 things I’m glad I now know:

  1.  Nothing goes to plan but don’t let that stop you from having a birth plan. I was determined not to have any pain killers. I wanted to give birth “naturally”. Perhaps, if I hadn’t have been induced, I might have been able to go without drugs but, at 8 1/2 cm dilation, I got myself an epidural and whilst I still felt the ring of fire, I was very happy not to feel as though my stomach was trying to break through my skin. This might not have been in the plan, but it’s okay. I stuck to my guns on not having forceps used on me and I made sure Mr H knew what I did and didn’t want. Expect that it might not be perfect.
  2. Having your waters broken is uncomfortable. Rosie was a week overdue and I was beyond it, I asked to be induced and we tried the liquid form first but I was already dilated so the next step was to have that nice knitting-needle style apparatus shoved up my V-jay. The first time didn’t work properly, but the second time, within 30 minutes I was in full labor agony. Whilst I knew there would be pain, no one had told me that there wouldn’t be the nice ebbing and flowing of contractions, that it would be constant and unrelenting. If the same has to happen again, at least I know now that the experience will be intense.
  3. There will be blood. I don’t know how this escaped me in biology or sex-ed, but I really didn’t know until reading up on labor that I would need sanitary towels afterwards. Thankfully I read a very honest and graphic blog post on items you should have after a natural birth (like a water syringe for cleaning the “downstairs”) and it definitely helped.
  4. You don’t need to bath your baby straight away at the hospital. I wish I didn’t let the nurses bath Rosie. I actually found this a little traumatic and unnecessary experience, one which doesn’t make sense. A number of studies have shown that vernix caseosa, the waxy coating on your newborn’s skin, is a natural moisturizer and cleanser – it even protects against infection. This time I will be holding off.
  5. You will need breast-pads! If you’re planning on breastfeeding and it works out for you, make sure you stock up on breast-pads. I advise staying away from the reusable/washable ones too! The reusable ones have no sticky backs and become sodden rags against your raging boobs. They shift around and end up being as useful as pissing in the wind.
  6. If you’re breastfeeding, prepare to buy more clothes. I loved the way my body sprang back after giving birth, but I couldn’t wear what I wanted to because I needed to have easy access to the breasts. I should have been more prepared with nursing tops and I won’t make that mistake again.
  7. Breastfeeding hurts! I read stupid articles that stated that if feeding is hurting you, you’re doing it wrong and in the beginning, I took it as gospel. But why on earth wouldn’t it hurt?! You’ve got a hungry mouth attached to a part of your body that is naturally sensitive. After two weeks, the pain went away but I was grateful for lanolin nipple cream and freezer-cold cotton wool pads that I had soaked in water. Don’t panic if it’s hurting (unless of course the pain is unbearable). You know what you can withstand, but don’t let your first thought be that you’re doing it wrong.
  8. Get out as much as you can with a newborn. Up to 3 months, on the boob, a baby can go anywhere with you. Revel in this freedom and hit the road.
  9. A sleeping child trumps everything. I take nap time and bedtime very seriously and I don’t like breaking it for anything. Whilst Rosie has fitted in with our life in a beautiful way, when it comes to sleeping, her needs supersede everything else because we know what happens when she doesn’t sleep. Yes, this does mean that we have to say no to going out at certain times and having dinner by friends is difficult. But, Rosie getting enough sleep, at the right times, is just vital for everyone’s sanity. I thought, in the beginning, that she might fit around our lifestyle but when I finally relinquished control of the sleeping aspect, it has made life so much easier.
  10. Your motherly instinct will kick in as if by miracle. All the things you really panicked about will probably happen, but you will be so much more prepared than you actually think. It’s amazing how in-tune you are with your kid and how you can actually face issues with a clear mind then they arise. Trust your instinct mom!

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Explore

6 places to take a warm winter break

My requirements for a winter break during the cold months are simple, I’m looking for a fireplace and somewhere cozy. Oh, and obviously, child-friendly. Don’t forget that.

With life being so busy, the idea of a long weekend break is very appealing and I was tasked with putting together a list of some places that would be suitable for a weekend getaway and honestly, I’m now craving a holiday.

One of the beautiful things about living in Cape Town is being close to so many varied landscapes, quaint villages, and historical locations. Getting away from city life couldn’t be easier and whether you want to go somewhere super chilly, somewhere near the sea, or a location away from everyone and everything, you’ll find it within 4 hours of Cape Town. Which, when you have kids in the car, is a blessing.

Right, let’s pack our bags and go find the perfect place to get all cozy and content, whether it’s just us and the kids, or with some friends.

Breede River Valley

It’s one of the largest wine-producing areas in the country and has all the markings of serene country life. There’s plenty of outdoor activities to get involved with and everywhere you turn, you’re met with scenic views.

Kingsbury Cottage

Kingsbury cottage is set on the edge of vineyards and has two bedrooms and a sleeper couch in the office. For those prone to the cold, there is underfloor heating throughout the house and a snug fireplace.

With wifi access you can still stay connected to the world whilst enjoying the beautiful views that surround you. The living room is equipped with TV, DStv, sound system and DVD player to give kids some ogling time whilst you rest.

Weather dependent, a large number of birds can be spotted filling the garden and at the nearby damn you can go Bass fishing and kayaking.

Riverstone’s Fam Tin

This is definitely a spot for older children and I had to include it because it’s such a well-created space. Exclusively positioned on the dam, Riverstone’s Fam Tin is a container conversion, beautifully designed and able to sleep 4 people in two en-suite rooms. Both rooms have mountain views…but the main view I care about is the one from the dining room and lounge which overlooks the mountain and the damn…where you have your very own jetty.

Got pets? Brilliant, bring them with. There is an enclosed dog paddock behind the unit and you can even get a pet sitter on request…I wonder if they offer kid sitters too?!

To keep the unit warm during winter, there is a wood burning stove. Continue Reading…

Food & Drink

Anthonij Rupert Winter Menu

It’s been a long time since I was last at Terra del Capo Antipasti Bar – situated at the Anthonij Rupert estate in Franschhoek. The last time I was there I was pregnant (and hiding it). Again, I visited whilst pregnant but there was no need to hide my growing bump or the food baby I left with.

Invited to sample the new winter menu with its tapas-style dishes, I left feeling so ridiculously full and happy that I could have just curled up in my car and slept in the parking lot.

Tapas can often get a bad rep because dishes are small and often bland. This is absolutely not the case at Terra del Capo. Each dish is bursting with so much flavor that they stand apart from each other in glorified triumph. I don’t know how many dishes I ate, but all of them were delicious. For the breads alone, I’ll be back!

What to expect

Chef HW and his team love to hero local ingredients often using vegetables grown in the L’Ormarins gardens. Expect to find delicious vegetable dishes that will win over even the hardest of meat-lovers. The most popular dish of the day was the fresh Ceviche prepared from local Franschhoek Trout, dressed with honey, lime and ginger. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

I’m starting to panic about the new baby


I’m not one to really panic. Yes, I get stressed, but I tend to be more logical than flat-out hysterical. Yet I’m having a bit of a “moment”.

Last night Mr H and I finished watching another episode of Australian MKR, wondering why on earth people are so bitchy…and why they enter a cooking show if they can’t even cook. We turned off the TV, rolled into our comfortable sleeping positions and as I felt Bumpette’s persistent bladder kicks, I began to think about her impeding arrival. I thought about finishing the nursery and that glorious newborn smell, reminiscing about the moment she gets placed in my arms and in a split-second, I’ve memorized her entire face. But then my mind began to wonder to the actual practicalities and I began to panic.

I felt chills run like water down my body as I realized that I’m actually bloody nervous about it all. As much as I want to meet her face-to-face, I know I need to face labour again, crowning, breastfeeding, sleepless nights, constant panic, the delicacy of human life when it is so new.

This didn’t sound so daunting the first time round because a) I had no idea what I was actually going to face and b) I was so over being pregnant. This time, I’m going to be caring for a new baby AND a toddler. I’m going into this with my eyes fully open, I know how hard it can be, there’s no pretense.

I will undoubtedly experience moments of running to the bathroom with leaky boobs AND a crying baby, AND a needy toddler. There will be times when they are both crying at the same time. There will be times when I’m crying at the same time. What if I don’t get Rosie out of nappies before the baby arrives (potty training is kicking my ass parents!)? Will I be able ever shower or go to the toilet on my own again?

And my biggest fear, the fear that I pray against ALL THE TIME. What if Rosie reacts really badly to a new baby?

I want to tell myself that I’m focusing too negatively on this but am I? Did any of you feel these same fears the second, third time round? How did you counter-act them?

Also, Rosie doesn’t know about baby, not from lack of us talking about her, she’s just too young to comprehend. How then do I prepare her for meeting her sister?

I’d love to get your first-hand advice. Perhaps you are a pregnant mother, or doting father, who is feeling the same way?

Parenthood

10 things we’ll be doing differently with baby no 2


We’ve passed the halfway mark with baby No 2 and honestly, if I knew that the second pregnancy was going to go so much quicker, I would have done it first! Man, that’s such a lame joke for a Friday morning. Sorry guys, the Mr and I have been operating on low sleep because Rosie, being back at creche, has been full of  cold and cough and general yuckiness and was refusing to sleep anywhere but our bed. At first, we tried to fight the co-sleeping because I have this underlining feeling of panic that if she doesn’t get back to a routine quick, I’m going to have a bed full of kids, but really, whatever keeps her from screaming. It’s not forever…or is it…arghhh! Irrational thoughts aside and completely ignoring the fact that I almost weed on the toilet last night with the lid down (it was a very cold sensation), all is good and I am thoroughly enjoying being pregnant the second time around. Yes, there are days when I feel very unfit and I have an internal struggle with my weight but there haven’t been any signs of sciatica and hip issues, and I’m definitely in a better head space with this little bump.

Feeling less stressed, more content and not wishing any of the time away, I’ve been thinking about how much I will do differently this time around. It started with the pregnancy, the conscious effort to not overdo anything and to listen to my body and I’m almost feeling that “glowy” second trimester vibe. With baby no 2, I will be listening to what worked with Rosie, and what I missed doing, or shouldn’t have put effort into. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

A letter to my almost two year old

Because I’m in it for the records, for the ability to look back at our time together; because I want my daughter to see, in writing, what I sometimes stutter, and don’t say right.

To my dearest Rose,

I’m writing this in bed whilst you kick me for the umpteenth time. We’ve been moving around England on our 4 week holiday and your routine is entirely off so sleeping next to me seems to be your one place of safety and continuity. I don’t really mind, in between getting up for the loo and having your foot in my face, the magical moments of hearing you breathe and having you wrap your arms around me makes it a moment to be treasured. You’ve really been so amazing on this trip, coping with my exhaustion, new faces, new rooms, road trips and not having your Daddy with you. You’ve been a delight with everyone and you’re so smart and so intuitive. I have realized since this holiday how much you need routine and how much you are like me. We, being alphas, are so reliant on order and things known and I promise that I will do my best to make sure that you always feel secure and comfortable in all environments. Continue Reading…

Parenthood, Rosie Loves...

Birthday Present ideas for two year old girls

Rosie is turning two on the 3rd May!

I’m rocking slightly just typing that because it feels as though someone has sped up my life and I’m desperately trying to catchup. Wasn’t she in 3-6 month clothing a couple of weeks ago?

I’m planning a breakfast brunch for her with friends and family and it’s a carnival theme – I’ll share pics of the party when it’s done and I’ve caught my breathe. In the meantime, I’m getting questions about what to get for Rosie as a present and it got me thinking about what we’re actually going to buy and wrap up for her. She’s such an interactive little girl, loving things she can build, quick at putting together puzzles and basically enraptured by anything which requires her hands. There are also presents that aren’t toys that I’ve got my eye on and I think I’ve got some pretty good ideas now, after much deliberating, of what she’ll like.

Here are my birthday picks for girl toddlers

Hands-on Play

These chunky wooden blocks and sorting cube are great for hand-eye coordination and learning about shapes and colours. R245

For fine motor skills, these lacing beads are great for concentration  R262

Rosie received an early birthday present in the form of this very cool Mega Bloks Tree house Adventures which she loves. It makes a tree house with a swing and it has boy and girl characters. Her imagination likes to turn it into a tower, a train and she even tries to sit on the swing herself! R299.99 Continue Reading…

Parenthood, Rosie Loves...

Lekker Local South African Baby & Children brands

It’s impossible to live in South Africa and not admire the huge number of local brands and individuals who saw a market need and turned something they love into a successful business. I feel as though this country is so remarkably set up with allowing for new brands and new ideas, and we’re a nation of advocates for the “little guy”. Being a Mommy Blogger, I am fortunate enough to work alongside a lot of children and baby brands and it blows my mind how much hard work goes into starting a business and maintaining it.

From a small idea, to the hard planning of finding materials and fabrics – in some cases, a seamstress and in others, a sewing machine – and the space to set up your station; a courier is needed, one that is reliable and fast; marketing is a must and that all important social media page and website. Then comes the waiting and the hoping and the active looking for people to celebrate your creations with you. Rejection and loss is inevitable, but making sales and knowing you’re making customers happy with your products is such a validating experience. Continue Reading…