Lifestyle

Rose & Thorns is the 2017 Best Photography Blog!

Last night the South African Mommy Blogger Awards celebrated and supported SA’s Mom bloggers by awarding bloggers in 19 categories. Rose & Thorns won Best Photography Blog 2017 and I am totally over the moon with gratitude and excitement. I’ve said it so many times before, but it bears repeating, I doubt any blogger joins the community to get recognized but when it does happen, it’s such an awesome feeling. Thank you One Messy Mama, Jacqui Bester, and all the sponsors and judges for giving us this platform.

How the awards happened:

Bloggers entered into three categories of their choice (out of a total of 19 categories), and submitted links to two of their posts for each category. Unlike the other awards that are around, the winners of these awards were determined by a panel of independent judges.

It was not a popularity contest. It didn’t matter how many likes and shares you were able to generate. The winners were be chosen by judges

  1. Pabi Maloi
  2. Brent Lindeque
  3. Bailey Schnieder
  4. Lorraine Kearney

and it was based on the quality of content produced. This meant that even if you were a complete newbie, your work stood on the same level as a blogging veteran because it was all about the content.

Here are the 19 deserving winners: Continue Reading…

Explore

10 things to do in Cape Town with young children

Need some inspiration for holiday fun with your children in Cape Town? Here are 10 great activities that will keep them, and you, entertained.

10 things to do in Cape Town with young children

Children's activities Cape Town

1. The Scratch Patch

Southern Africa is often considered the “gemstone capital of the world” as almost half of the world’s gemstones are found in this part of the world. At the Scratch Patch in either Simonstown or the V&A Waterfront, your can dig for your very own gems for just R17.

2. The Aquarium

Watch their little faces light up as they encounter beautiful and strange marine life at the V&A Waterfront. With 3,000 species on show, it calls itself one of the best in the world and for the more adventurous, there is a 3pm daily feeding of Ragged-tooth sharks.

3. Artjamming

The Artjamming studio at the V&A Waterfront will bring out the creative talents of any budding artist. The studio provides the canvas, brush and paints and you can happily let them create a masterpiece without the headache of having to clean up afterwards.
Art sessions start from R135.

4. Build-a-Bear Workshop

It might be more of a costly endeavor than most outings but for that special treat, treating your youngster to their own personalized bear experience that will be a memory cherished for years to come.

5. Company’s Gardens

On a clear day it’s a wonderful experience to let your family run through the open spaces of the gardens and spot the many resident squirrels. Depending on the season, beautiful roses can be seen, as well as vegetables and an array of bird life. Fancy a delicious slice of cake after all that running around? Head to the Company’s Gardens restaurant for well-priced food. Continue Reading…

Explore, Parenthood

Eight great family friendly wineries in South Africa

For those who love wine, heading to a winery over the weekend is a spirited breeze…when no children are involved. No one but a parent knows the pain of trying to leave the house with fully clothed, happy-ish children and heading to a venue that won’t cause an utter meltdown. Now imagine trying to enjoy a wine tasting whilst you have a bored kid climbing all over you. It’s pretty impossible, unless you know the best family-friendly wineries.

Obviously, there are many other outings that a family can go on that don’t include wine, but when you live in an award-winning, exciting wine country that is constantly wowing palates across the world, why wouldn’t you want to see what all the fuss is about?

With that being said, I’m hardly going to be taking Rosie on a cellar tour anytime soon, or sitting with a winemaker and talking about the harvest, these days we pick our wineries very carefully and whether the wine is a gold medallist doesn’t always matter.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for family-friendly wineries to visit with your kids, or a location to have a coffee date with other moms in your circle, then this list is for you. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

A Mommy & Me photoshoot with Veronique Mills

I know I’m not the only parent who has struggled relentlessly to be in the family photos instead of taking them. I manage to get a few blurry selfies now and again with Rosie, but the really beautiful ones are of Mr H and his wonder-child…because I took them. That’s not to say Mr H doesn’t take amazing pics – have you seen the ones he took of me in my #RosesForThorns shoot? He’s a legend. However, a styled shoot with my daughter and I, now that’s hard to come by…

So naturally, when Veronique Mills offered me a mini Mommy and Me Shoot I was so thrilled at the idea of getting some stunning pics taken of my princess and I – Veronique’s style of photography is very magical and romantic, she makes use of gorgeous props and has an enviable studio at her home.

The mini Floral and Foam session that she offered us, usual price of R1500, included stunning hand-made florals and props. The experience also included makeup which makes such a huge difference to a shoot; a choice of clothing is also available for you and your little one. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

The one question we need to stop asking women

There is a question that makes my blood boil. It turns my insides out, it makes me clench my fists and my teeth. It is a question asked by men and women…but it’s usually only directed at women.

It’s a question that is selfish. Rude. Inconsiderate. Abhorrent. Nosy.

The question is, “When are you going to have a (another) baby?”

Perhaps, to you, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this question. Perhaps you are a regular asker of this question. If you are, you need a heavy-handed reminder of why you have no right to be asking this.

I am guilty of opening my mouth and feeling the words spill out. It’s almost indoctrinated into our DNA to check on people’s milestones – When are you going to get engaged? When are you going to get married? When are you going to have a baby? When are you going to add a sibling? When are you going to die? Am I mentioned in your will? It’s never-ending.

So why is this question so bad?

This question can be heartbreaking

The question, perhaps innocent in its intent, is demeaning to women who are struggling to conceive.

  • Imagine, for the 12th month in a row, the pregnancy test has been a negative. You turn wearily to your partner, your heart at your feet, that pounding thud in your mind that beats “there is something wrong with you” and you show them yet another broken dream.
  • Imagine you have just experienced a miscarriage. It is so fresh that you are still wearing sanitary pads. Someone, a friend, a family member, a random stranger asks you “So when are you two going to finally try for a baby”. You feel the uncomfortable dull ache in your womb and you wish to scream “I did try, and now what’s left is collecting in my knickers!

When you ask this question, you have no idea what that person is going through. You have no idea how many tears they have shed over one blue line, over a scan that didn’t show a heartbeat and upon looking back into the toilet and seeing the first drop of blood.

When you miscarry, you feel labour pains, perhaps not so severe – that totally depends on the woman and how far along the miscarriage happens. When it happened to me, I lay on my couch with a hot water bottle feeling my body contract and remembering that the last time this happened, I was pushing out the most beautiful girl in the world. Continue Reading…

Explore

What to do in the Western Cape if you only have a week

Cape Town

I often get asked what there is to do in the Western Cape, Cape Town in particular, and why it’s a good place to visit. Aside from it housing one of the new 7 wonders of nature -Table Mountain in case you don’t live under our rock – it has a diverse culture and landscape, world-renowned food and wine, and a rich artistic musicality. I’m constantly trying to encourage my family to come over, especially those who appreciate wine and dining out as eating out in the UK is ridiculously expensive.

Another big draw is obviously the exchange rate, and though the Rand is clawing back at the pound and dollar, there is still a significantly big difference to be appreciated by travelers.

But what if you had limited time to spend in and around the Mother City? Well, here’s what I’d do if I only had a week to spend in Cape Town…

Enjoy Cape Town’s city life

As much as I dislike the word “vibe”, the ambiance of Cape Town is unlike any other city in the world. It has an eclectic mix of locals, tourists, languages and cultures and the result is a symphony of colour and sound. On every street corner is a delicious place to eat. There are numerous museums, architectural landmarks and plenty of places to take photos to fill your instragram feed.

The V&A Waterfront 

Perhaps it’s a bit of a cliche, but people watching at the Waterfront is epic. I love the bustling fill of tourists, the quality shops, beautiful views and yes, overly priced restaurants. Some places are just built for tourism and you have to embrace it. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

That time we thought we were having a boy

So, if you’ve already read my announcement post (here) then you will know that Mr H and I were adamant that we were having a boy this time. We were so sure of ourselves, or at least I was, that we shot some announcement posts in blue. Needless to say, they wont be used. But that’s not the only reason they won’t be used. Rosie REFUSED to be a part of the shoot. I have one usable image and you can’t even see her face. Needless to say, we tried a different set of images which required much bribery.

Here’s what we originally had planned, as well as Rosie’s glowing contribution.

I just love royal blue.

This is what we eventually went with…

The idea was a) to get Rosie to actually pose b) to show us putting away the blue and getting ready for more pink and I love how Rosie is pointing two fingers to show that there are going to be two beautiful princesses in our family.

Disclaimer: You don’t understand how hard I bribed Rosie to pose for these photos – she absolutely loves those books, so that helped…as did a few popcorn pieces. Okay, A LOT of popcorn pieces.

Anyway one else struggle with their birth announcement photos, or did you just keep it simple?
Parenthood

Our rainbow baby is on her way!!

I’m going to be a mummy to TWO girls.

Come September, Mr H is going to be well and truly outnumbered.

Wow, I feel so elated to be able to share this news, it’s been a tough few months keeping her under wrap, and also not letting fear hold me down. We’ve prayed so hard for this little one, prayed against my fears, prayed for my body and prayed that we would both be safe. I can’t deny that the innocence of my pregnancy with Rosie was marred by our miscarriage in October BUT, God is good, and in his timing we have trusted.

It’s been a difficult pregnancy. Mainly because I’ve been so worried, so paranoid.
I got scared at 8 weeks after having awful stomach pains, which I know was down to stress, and after two days of agony I took myself to the gynae to prove my fears wrongs.
At 10 weeks I got a terrible gastro bug and again, everyone went into high alert. Everything I eat I panic over.

I knew that this pregnancy was going to be completely different from the first – they always are right? I knew it would be hard, but contending with an overwhelming feeling of dread was not the emotion I was after.

I’ve had the most amazing people by my side – Mr H has, and always will be my champion – my friends who have known have been so supportive and I must give special thanks to two of my dear loves who are both pregnant and have practically put aside their baby news to check in on me all the time. I’m actually having a good cry whilst typing that, you two know who you are and I love you.

The 12 week scan was so emotional as I watched our little girl waving and twisting. Even though Mr H told me it was to be a girl, he was still in disbelief – we both thought it was a boy. We’re going to be saving loads not having to buy boys clothing. Whoop! Continue Reading…

Food & Drink

How I survived the South African Wine Industry

Did you know, I used to work in the wine industry? For four years I was an editor and social media manager for a big online wine database which I left to follow my own dreams after having Rosie. I don’t regret leaving it at all, but I am so grateful to have wet my feet in such an exciting industry…and industry that prior to my move to South Africa I would have balked at.

Before leaving England, I hated wine. My Gran always told me that it was an adult taste that I would grow into, like olives (which are disgusting), but all I could taste was bitterness and fumes…it could have been the Australian wines she was drinking though.

Something changed within me when I moved over here and realized that I needed to become involved and interested in this important factor of SA life. I couldn’t drive past another vineyard and not be intrigued and with the help of a good friend, and tour guide, I dived into wine research…and I grew to absolutely love the stuff.

It wasn’t enough though to just organize blind tastings or food and wine pairings at our home,  I needed more – I needed an immersive education so that I could pass on my new found passion. Then I got the perfect wine job and BAM, my life was completely revolved around wine.

It was the dream job but it was also a stressful one as I struggled to find my place in a strongly male-dominated field. My role required attending a large variety of events and in the beginning it took a while to feel accepted. I often found that I was observed as being too young – my gender didn’t help either. I felt the urge to shout louder just to be heard and I tried to emulate those around me which made me feel even more lost. Some days I felt like a complete and utter fraud because I couldn’t smell the foraged mushrooms in a Pinot Noir, or taste the pencil shavings in a Cab Sauv. Continue Reading…

Parenthood

Roses For Thorns: Angela Rea

In the silence of our room, I feel you move through the walls, through the duvet we once shared and the pillow that held your fair head; the curtains sway and I wish it to be you. But it isn’t. Purely just a memory from a time when my heart was fully beating.

Hi, I am Angela, a widowed mum to a toddler boy, Elijah Micah. We have two dogs, a Border Collie and a Border Scollie called Flop and Millie, and a Russian Blue cat called Spider Pig or just Pig for short. You can find me on my blog here.

When my son was seven months old I tragically lost the love of my life, my husband Darrell, while he was on duty putting out a fire in his helicopter.

My whole world came crashing down – literally – Darrell was my whole world.

Darrell was the chief pilot for a very large aviation firm and it was an exciting and different life. One becomes very close to their spouse as their working environment is so unconventional. We were either living in each others pockets as Darrell did a home standby, or we were pining for each other when Darrell was up North for the fire season. We would talk at least 20 times a day and were continuously on WhatsApp with each other. Continue Reading…