Parenthood, Rosie Loves...

Win with Pure Beginnings

Do you know what you’re putting on your kid’s skin? Pure Beginnings does and they are celebrating over 10 years of working tirelessly to bring-to-market products that are natural and gentle to precious skin; from stocking a few health stores, to being available in Dis-chems and other stores throughout the country, they’ve always stayed true to themselves:

“We started Pure Beginnings with the vision to provide South African consumers with safer, healthier products for their babies and children. We are delighted that our products are now readily available in a wider range of stores, making it easier for parents to make informed choices.”

I first got my hands on their products from gifts at my baby showers and from there it’s been an intense relationship. If I buy their wipes, I actually have to keep them away from my husband because he uses them on his face as he says they smell like a spa.

I have incredibly sensitive skin – I’m almost pre-empting that my girls will have the same – and I adore the Pure Beginnings Probiotic Baby range because it’s so gentle and is fragrance free.

Yas my girls are adorable.

When I shower with Rosie, we use their big bottle of  shower gel because it’s easy for her to pump, and I’m most in love with their Sensitive Body Cream for covering all Cece’s gorgeous rolls.

The ingredients used are all Ecocert approved and they support African Communities and Biodiversity Conservation through fair trade and ethical sourcing.

But what is actually in normal high-street skincare products that is damaging your skin?

Mineral Oil 

It sounds so enriching….but it’s actually a by-product of petroleum and there is nothing beneficial in mineral oil except that it’s cheap and all the beauty giants love something that saves them money.

It’s chemical makeup means that it retains water and acts as a barrier for letting moisture in or out…which would be great if you were a wet suit. It actually cannot be absorbed fully by your skin and this leads to you getting more blackheads and spots. The same is true of paraffinum liquidum.


Parabens have been used for years to preserve products and keep away bacteria which sounds good but they have been linked with cancer and it doesn’t seem natural for something to last for 3 years +.

 Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate

SLS is the ingredient that helps products foam and bubble and it does a marvelous job of drying out your skin which then makes you apply more pore-blocking body creams and the cycle just continues. The idea that cleanliness can only be deduced by the amount of bubbles formed on your skin is cray cray.

Pure Beginnings rely on ingredients such as shea butter, aloe extract and chamomile, to name but a few, and they stand firm on the principles of only using ingredients that are rapidly biodegradable thereby being environmentally and water course friendly as well as ingredients that are approved by the Vegan Society, Beauty without Cruelty and Phytotrade Africa.


Because we both believe in giving your little one’s skin the care and attention it deserves, we’re giving away a special hamper of these three amazing products to one lucky winner.

To enter:

Follow Pure Beginnings on Instagram here

Follow me on Instagram here

Leave a comment and your email address so I can be in touch (don’t worry, your email won’t be shown)

For an extra entry, you can enter on Instagram

Terms & Conditions
The competition is open for SA only and ends on 24th February
The winner will be notified via email and has 2 days to claim their prize, failing that, another winner will be redrawn
Spam entrants will be blocked
This Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You acknowledge that all information and material that you submit to enter this Promotion is submitted to the Promoter and not Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and you agree that Facebook, Instagram or Twitter shall not be liable to you in any way in respect of this Promotion.
The Prize will be sent by Pure Beginnings and there is no cash alternative


Rose & Thorns is voted Photographic Blog of 2018!


I’m incredibly thrilled, and grateful, that this lovely little blog of mine won in the category of Best Photographic Blog 2018 in the SA Blog Awards!

The SA Blog Awards is the official showcase and recognition platform for the very best of South African blogs. The process works through public opinion, blogger opinion and social media expert’s opinion.

We’ll all admit that we’re doing what we love for more than public affirmation…but sometimes it’s really nice to receive an accolade like this.

Thank you to everyone who voted – your support helps me to continue to do what I love.

These quotes pretty much sum up my thoughts on photography and winning Best Photographic Blog:

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” Robert Frank

“Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar. Make your life be your art and you will never be forgotten.” Charlotte Eriksson

“Photographers tend not to photograph what they can’t see, which is the very reason one should try to attempt it. Otherwise we’re going to go on forever just photographing more faces and more rooms and more places. Photography has to transcend description. It has to go beyond description to bring insight into the subject, or reveal the subject, not as it looks, but how does it feel?”  Duane Michals

Oh, and to be totally shameless, if you want to book a shoot just give me a shout 😉


My favorite photos and moments of 2018

*do not say it. do not say it*

Wow, hasn’t this year gone by so quickly!?

I’ll be the one billionth person who utters that today but seriously…hasn’t it?

Where do I start on describing this year. I think I need to borrow a line from one of literature’s greatest novels –

It was the best of times, it was the most tired of times

On the 30th December 2017, I found out I was pregnant and on the 10th September 2018, my littlest Princess was born. So it’s no surprise that I have loved capturing the perfect features of my little Cece…and her precious big sister.

Two of these photos below are from the first time Rosie met her sister and she was besotted and has been ever since. The middle photo is day 3 at home, safe and warm in Daddy’s arms.

I tried to embrace my pregnancy more this time round. I was kinder to myself and my body…which meant I ate a lot more and didn’t work out as much. This made me feel unattractive at the best of times but it kept my round-ligament pain away. This photo was at 7 months and I wanted a few shots of the “tummy”.

Rosie and I went to England without Mr H and it was exhausting but still beautiful.

I planned, photographed and released the second #RosesForThorns series that focused on breaking the taboo of miscarriage and infertility. The women involved where incredible and it’s very tricky for me to pick just a couple of photos that I loved.

Rosie’s personality just BLOOMED. She is so feisty and fierce. She takes no kak. But she loves deeply and has a gorgeous sensitive streak that I don’t want to harm in my efforts to be a “good parent”.

We had the most incredible family photo shoot with Grand Little Adventure and the photos made me ugly cry.

My photography business boomed in the brand and product sphere and I have been blessed to work with the most incredible clients who allow me to be creative in how I capture their products and I think the results speak for themselves.

We celebrated another family Christmas together but Rosie is still not in that excited stage. I’m totally cool with that because it means she sleeps and doesn’t wake up ridiculously early in the morning to open presents. I think next year things will change.

It’s been busy and tiring but so rewarding at the same time. 2019 is going to be HUGE, I can feel it in my gin-filled waters 😉

Thank you to all of you who have followed our family journey, who have interacted, laughed and cried with us this year. Your support and love is everything.

Food & Drink

My 2018 jolly Festive Drinks Guide

A show of hands please for those who are looking for some festive drinks to enjoy over the holidays?

Every year I put together a little tipples list of the beverages I’ve enjoyed in the year, and those that I want to celebrate the festive season with.

Most of 2018 was spent shunning alcohol because I’ve been “up the duff”, but I have enjoyed a cheeky glass here and there – and a few more once baby was out because I needed to celebrate the strength of my downstairs.

I love cooking over Christmas, and enjoying long, lazy lunches with family and friends so this is my festive drinks guide featuring my picks of wine and gin that I think you’ll enjoy over the festive period and beyond, plus some yummy pairing suggestions.


Graham Beck Brut Zero

I used to, and this was a long time ago, not be a fan of MCC (Method Cap Classique…Champagne for the Frenchies). I know, what was wrong with me?! I was taken on a journey of discovery with Graham Beck at a function to celebrate their various offerings which featured a vintage tasting of their Blanc de Blanc (one of the best bubblies in the country) and a strong love was born. For a bubbly that’s bone-dry and great with sushi, or as an apperetif, their Brut Zero is a must.

R365 from Takealot

Brampton Sauvignon Blanc

This might come as a surprise, but I like my Sauvs to be on the green side. I figure that there’s enough fruity deliciousness in Chenin, so give me the green pepper, tart gooseberry and French herb mix in this Brampton wine and I’m stoked.

Pairing idea – Peach, tomato, mozzarella and basil salad | R69 from Makro Continue Reading…

Parenthood, Rosie Loves...

Crazy for Kiddylicious

How do you start a “praise” post about Kiddylicious without sounding like it’s forced? I really struggle with this – sounding genuine when you’re sharing your love of a particular product. Ah stuff it, ya’ll gonna hear me gush over these snacks and then you’re gonna try them yourself and come bouncing back here with a smile on your face because they are delicious!

I wanted to be one of those parents who makes their snacks for their kids but I’m not. I tried. Unfortunately, I a) don’t have the patience and b) I end up eating them all myself. My intentions are good, my willpower is not. I also happen to have one of the fussiest kids in the history of children; if it takes longer than 7 chews to swallow, NO. If it’s green, HELL NO. If it’s mashed potato, GET AWAY FROM ME NOW.

I tried very hard to buy snacks that were healthy but I’ve found that that is pretty darn tricky in South Africa compared to the UK but times are a’changing and there’s so much more variety now.

Kiddylicious – fun & tasty

We’ve been eating Kiddylicious snacks for the better part of a year, we first heard of them from our trips to the UK (their oaty banana bars are yummy!), and are now very happy that they’ve made it over here.

Did you know, Kiddylicious is now the fastest growing brand in the baby food market!? And they are the 2nd biggest brand in the UK baby and toddler snacking market. Continue Reading…


A family photo shoot with Grand Little Adventure

A few weeks ago, we were blessed with a family photo shoot which was everything real and authentic….it started like this:

“Rosie, we have someone very special coming to take photos of us today, are you going to show us your best smile?”

*Cue intense crying over smarties, lots of snot and more screaming because someone touched her building blocks.*

The inner perfectionist in me was having a minor meltdown but, as Tabitha from Grand Little Adventure calmly stated, this is REAL life! And those real moments of toddler tantrums actually gave us such incredible photos….finally followed by lovely smiling ones too.

I had been dying to have a family shoot and had asked if anyone wanted to collaborate with me – a shoot for a shoot – Tabs took the challenge and the cake.

Tabitha, so calm and bright-eyed in her waif-like beauty was completely un-phased even in the face of banshee-like screeching. She darted around, unobtrusively, capturing precious little moments that would usually completely escape my notice. In short, she was fantastic, but I’ll let the photos speak for her.

As someone who takes photos, I’m a) hardly ever in front of the camera with my family and b) incredibly pedantic about pictures – a shoot with Tabs annihilated any reservations I had and reduced me to an emotional wreck when I saw the sneak peeks…and again when I saw the finished photos.

It was so US.

It was my family, my moments of beautiful chaos; the brightest spark of my eldest daughter, and the gentle shimmer of my youngest. It was my handsome best friend, and his tender brown eyes. It was a hug here and lots of kisses there. It was my forever and always.

Thank you Tabs for using your gift to capture such amazing photos of myself with my loved ones – these are family photos I will cherish.

Continue Reading…


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…


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.


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…


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.


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.


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…