Rosie Loves...

Making traveling fun with Trunki

When you’re traveling with kids, it can sometimes feel like you need a holiday after the holiday. That’s why we love including Rosie in the holiday vibe with her own travel essential, her Trunki.

I’ve been on the receiving end of many a toddler melt-down. They seem to have an innate ability to know when something around them is about to change and it can completely shift their emotions. Going on holiday is something different, and packing for it was sure to nudge some alarm bells in Rosie.  Which is why I’m so grateful for her Trunki and how it made her feel involved in our plans…whilst also making her feel like a big girl.

We’re all going on a family holiday

Can you beat waking up to sound of cows lulling or the smell of the sea or the freshness of salty air as it whips around your face? Two weeks ago we took a break to Stanford and Cape Agulhas and it was just perfect. Find out where we stayed and what we did in this post.

Obviously, the days of throwing some clothing and toiletries in a bag and dashing off on holiday are long gone now that we have a kid. Everything needs to be a lot more methodical and packing can feel like such a mission when you realize you need extra clothes FOR the extra clothes that you’ve packed.

To make our travels more fun, Trunki SA sent Rosie her very own Una the Unicorn Trunki earlier in the year and it’s been our steadfast travel companion for Rosie ever since. With glittery stickers, a sparkly horn and silky tail, it’s the most epic Trunki ever PLUS, it has wheels and can be ridden….like a unicorn! I know, it’s genius.

To get us all excited for the holiday, and to help Rosie feel 100% included, I allowed Rosie to pack her Trunki, which was hilarious.

In went a single sock, a book, underpants, wipes, a lid from the Tupperware cupboard and some dirty clothes that happened to be lying on the floor. I did congratulate her…but later repacked it to hold items she would actually use.

What did we pack?

    • 3 x books
    • 3 x blankets
    • hair accessories
    • coloring books
    • Wipes
    • Shoes
    • A coat

Then we closed it together and she happily sat on top of her noble steed feeling very proud of herself.

When we got to our first stop, Stanford, we let Rosie unpack it and then she took her Trunki out onto the patio and rode it around happily before taking a brush to its tail…because grooming is very important for Unicorns. It gave us time to unpack our own bags and settle down.

Why we love our Trunki

Aside from the fact it looks like a unicorn?!

The wheels mean Rosie can pull it all by herself and the harness means I can carry it when she’s had enough. I’ve tested it on an airplane too and it can be easily stowed in the overhead compartments or, because it’s streamlined enough, put at your feet.

It has a dual function of being an actual rideable unicorn when Rosie sits on it an I pull her. Now that’s magic.

Its serious features include:

  • 8 LITRES CAPACITY: Lots of space to pack toys and games.
  • SECURE LOCKABLE CATCHES: Keep favourite possessions safe inside for the ride.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND DURABLE: The same high-quality plastic as grown-up cases.
  • COMFY SADDLE: Rest tired legs in queues and you’ll never hear my feet hurt‚ again!
  • HORN GRIPS FOR STABILITY: Grab the horns to steer your Trunki.
  • TOW STRAP WITH KEY: To make sure your contents are secure and never get lost.
  • CARRY HANDLE: Easy to grab for a departure gate dash.
  • SOFT RUBBER TRIM: To protect little fingers while packing.
  • INTERNAL POCKET: Keep treasures inside for easy access.
  • TEDDY BEAR SEATBELTS: Keep teddy safe with his very own seatbelt

If you want to see all the other cool Trunki’s available in SA, head here – but be warned, they are too cute!

Parenthood

Choices I’ve made as a parent that I’m grateful for

Parenting is a minefield. No matter how you prepare yourself, you’re gonna feel kicked in the face most days. Whatever ideals you had before kids can easily go up in smoke when faced with a screaming toddler who keeps flinging themselves on the floor in frustration. I had so many rules and regulations that I was going to try and enforce. It started in pregnancy, as I told myself I was going to only eat healthily and listen to classical music. Ha. Oh Shante, you funny little sea urchin. Now, I just work around Rosie’s personality and how our family works best and it keeps us sane and at peace.

I’ve always been a pretty chilled mother. Sure, there are some things I can’t deal with such as barefoot kids in public (no judgies), or leaving the house without hand sanitizer, but when it comes to other “obstacles” that could have incurred a meltdown, I’ve let them slide. We’ve also looked at particular patterns of behavior in both us as parents, and in Rosie, that could be potentially harmful and we’ve made choices based on making sure we all stay happy and content. Here’s what I’m very glad we have chosen to do:

  1. Serving milk cold. I’ve mentioned before how difficult it was to get Rosie to take to a bottle but after much perseverance, we now can’t get her off them. One thing I’m very grateful for is for not warming up her milk. I had a few raised eyebrows from folks when I mentioned it originally and a few jokes about how it was mean, but knowing that I can be anywhere and I don’t need to look for a warming facility is awesome.
  2. Letting her cry. Moving Rosie into her own room and into her cot falls jut behind having to endure the ring of fire in labor. The first night of letting her cry was so traumatic. However, she was the type of kid that just wanted to be on the boob, or rocked to sleep and she would wake every 30mins and it was crushingly exhausting. I know a few people will tell me that I should have just endured and enjoyed the moments because she wanted to be with me, but you also need to keep yourself mentally healthy. The first night was rough. The second night was better and the third night, we seemed to have broken through the wall. No, it didn’t mean she slept through the night, or that we didn’t struggle going forward, but it made life easier. Now, we have a good bedtime pattern…even if there are nights when she doesn’t sleep through.
  3. Being stern with my Nos. I’m the first to admit I’m not a warm person. I like my own space far too much to have it encroached on and when Rosie was born, a few people wanted to be in our space. I was very firm about it and I don’t regret that. It takes a lot of energy to get me to leave my introverted bubble, energy that I was pouring into my baby. I won’t jeopardize what works for our family for social events – it sounds restrictive, but kids benefit from their routine and if I go to a braai with her and we only start eating after 8pm, I’m done. I’m going home. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
  4. Choosing creche. Okay, this one is difficult because I have days, mainly when she gets sick, that I wish I hadn’t put her in creche but, for the most part, it has been great for us. This sounds like a selfish thing to admit, but for the sake of being able to grow our businesses and offer Rosie, and ourselves, the best life, we have to graft hard. It’s also boosted her immune system as she has been exposed to all sorts of bugs, and I’m glad shes stronger now before the new baby arrives.
  5. Letting her explore. If you’ve seen this post, you’ll know that our house is very open. We keep our cupboards door-free and right by Rosie’s play area, we have a book shelf. By not constantly saying “no, don’t do that”, and keeping things in the open, Rosie hasn’t been tempted – because we ALL know that kids want what they can’t have. So amazingly, she doesn’t scale the shelves and isn’t interested in unpacking cupboards because it’s not off limits; She knows to be gentle and to play “softly” and I strongly believe that by showing her how we take care of our things, it has instilled that same sense in her. We were told by so many people that we would need to childproof our home and we haven’t because we haven’t made anything seem appealing by constantly telling her “no, don’t touch that!”
  6. Ignoring people when it comes to parenting advice. I am the type of person who will do the exact opposite of the advice you have given me just because I want to discover what works for me…and because I’m so stubborn. A lot of the advice that I did listen to turned out to be kak and it just reinforced the truth that you can’t learn everything from other people, you do need to experience it for yourself because each and every child is different. It’s also extremely important to myself and my husband that we discover and appreciate Rosie’s own personality and what we stand for without trying to fit ourselves into other’s moulds.
  7. Letting Rosie be. She’s a shy kid. At parties and social gatherings it can take her a full hour before she releases herself from me and goes and plays. When she meets new people, or even people she knows, she doesn’t always say hello. In the beginning I used to feel awkward about it, I used to try and force her to greet people and then I realized that she is only two. She has her whole life to demonstrate social decorum but I’m not going to lose my head over her not wanting to greet everyone. As for hugging and kissing, her body, her rules. I will NEVER force her to hug or kiss anyone. It will probably cause issue with some family, and be misconstrued as rude, but if I’m telling her that she can’t let a boy at school kiss her, why is it okay to make her kiss Aunty Ruth? It’s not. P.s, she is fantastic at saying goodbye. You won’t meet a kid who can say farewell with such enthusiasm as my daughter.
Explore

Visiting Cape Agulhas

A few weeks ago we packed our bags for a mini getaway to the Overberg and it was the perfect holiday escape for us. We did many firsts with Rosie, which we’ll always cherish, and we spent quality time together before baby arrives. We first stayed in Stanford and you can read about our accommodation here. Our second stop was the Southern tip of Africa, Cape Agulhas.

We stayed in a superb guest house, Agulhas Ocean House , overlooking the sea, and run by a wonderful, loving couple who pretty much made the holiday for us.  With five spacious bedrooms and the most amazing morning breakfasts, it’s a peaceful spot for using as a base to explore the area.

We stayed in the Zen View room which had an unobstructed view of the sea and a balcony overlooking the mountains behind. There was a private sitting room for us and plenty of space to put up a camper cot for Rosie. With no water restrictions, we all had a bath!

We spent two nights in the area, though we would have loved to have stayed longer. Here’s what we did: Continue Reading…

Explore

Blue Gum Country Estate

Sometimes all you need is to get away from home, explore somewhere new, and look at a different view to feel a million times more like you. That’s how it feels having gone away for mid-week break.

Last week we got away to Stanford and Cape Agulhas on a really mini baby-moon to spend some time together as a three before the new she arrives. The entire journey in total took around 2 hours 45mins which, with a toddler and a pregnant woman, is a good amount of time to spend cooped up in a car; I love the drive over the pass, stopping at Peregrine Farm Stall for a pie, and feeling the holiday spirit driving through Hermanus and then to pretty little Stanford.

Stanford has that old-town charm that encourages slow living. It’s home to great cheese, antiques and art shops and is great for walking around. Our accommodation was Blue Gum Country Estate – just 15 minutes from the town, positioned between the mountains and just far enough away that you feel secluded from the world…without missing out on all the home comforts.

It’s incredibly charming – and I love that word; from the moment we parked and left the car, all we could hear was birdsong and the gentle lull of nearby cattle. It was peaceful and safe.

Our room was one of the family-friendly mountain-view rooms and it was incredibly spacious, comfortable and backing on to a beautiful lawn.

I love the English country decor and the bed they put up for Rosie, but I think the view and the natural light stole the show. Continue Reading…

Wine News

The Breedekloof Soetes & Soup Festival: a feast for the senses!

Chocolate; Chicken Curry; Beef & Red Onion Marmalade; Waterblommetjie; Mexican Meatball; and biltong and blue cheese – these are just a few of the soups being served at this year’s Breedekloof Soetes & Soup festival, taking place on Friday, 20 and Saturday, 21 July.

This lively winter celebration, which is hosted at various wineries in the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini, and Breede River areas, will serve you complimentary cups of steaming homemade country soup accompanied by a glass of red or dessert wines.  Soetes & Soup is a showcase of the Breedekloof’s finest wines and hearty homemade soups– once again affirming why this valley is fast becoming known as “South Africa’s most generous wine route”.

Highlights over the festival weekend include live entertainment by various artists, including Jazz-rock artist Michael Meiring at Bergsig Estate, upbeat hits by DJ Chris Erasmus at Badsberg Cellar, the talented acoustic duo Jaco & Isabella at Jason’s Hill, as well as the famous and much-loved Afrikaans singers Emile Swiegers and Valiant Swart as well as Handré Meyer at Opstal Estate. Husband and wife team, The Romantix will be performing at Deetlefs Estate and there will be live entertainment by Case Closed as well as the brilliant guitarist Loki Rothman with Daschbosch and Goudini Wines at uniWines Vineyards. The Gospel duo Kaleidoskoop’s performance at Bosjes promises to be a hit, too. Continue Reading…

Rosie Loves...

Why we love Tommee Tippee

It’s always difficult writing a post like this because you’re trying to be sincere without sounding like a stuck record.

How many times have you read a blog that was so filled with simpering adjectives and shallow praise that you needed a strong G&T to wash the sycophant away?

However, as a parenting blogger, I get asked my opinion on essentials for babies and toddlers, as well as pregnancy must-haves and finding the right way to do it, without sounding like a parrot is where we often go wrong. If I get it wrong, it’s only because I’m trying to express our love for a brand that I’ve used since Rosie was a baby.

There are brands that you try that stick with you forever. They are faithful stalwarts that make elements of life easier and they are the ones that you’ll suggest to friends when asked. Tommee Tippee is that brand. Being a well-known brand in the UK, I was very aware of them, and the bottle set and breast pump had been on my list of items to get as we prepared for our first baby’s arrival. My mum gifted me with a set of bottles and sterilizer at Rosie’s babyshower and they are still going strong! Continue Reading…

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


Continue Reading…

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!

Continue Reading…

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…