Our Community. Our Safety!

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Growing up in Cape Town has been one of the greatest privileges. With uncountable beaches and mountains in every direction of our home, we are honestly spoiled beyond belief. White sand, crystal blue oceans. Beautiful sunrises and unforgettable sunsets. Some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the world.

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How are we allowing for that to be taken from us right beneath our eyes. We are beginning to live in fear. Fear of taking our children to the beach with the uncertainty of ‘are we going to leave unharmed?’. Are we being watched? Can we let our kids run and play freely? I’ve started feeling anxious whenever I go to public places with my son. That fear of the unknown of what the result of the outing may be.

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Our economy and country needs every foreign visitor we can get to keep people employed, to bring money into our country. But why would anybody want to visit a place that they need to fear? The crime that is happening right on our doorstep is making international news – tourists being stabbed and left fighting for their lives doing something that every human being should feel safe doing – going for a walk on the beach.

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One of my favourite things to do with my son is taking him to the beach. He dreams of being a surfer like his Daddy, and loves more than anything, to go down to the beach for a swim and to build sandcastles. Truth is, I can’t always have somebody with me. This very beach pictured is one of the beaches where the crime rate is the highest. This is the very beach that people have been stabbed and harmed at. This is one of ours, and many others favourite beach.

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SO.. what now? Do we just sit back and allow for this to happen? What happens next? Are we just going to settle with the fact that these horrific people are taking something so special away from us? The mountains the surround us. The beaches that we love so very much? How do we stop this from happening to the next innocent victim? How do we take back the beaches that we grew up on? How do we make them safe again?

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Something needs to change. We pay so much attention to the small, petty issues that are happening in our communities. We spend too much of our energy worrying about what is happening in the back yards of our neighbours. But instead, we should be coming together as a community to fight for the safety of our people. We all deserve to be able to walk the mountains and beaches without feeling unsafe!

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That being said,  nothing will ever change if we just sit back and wait for the next person to do something about it. There’s no good in simply moaning about it, and telling our family and friends never to visit again from overseas. There’s no point in planning your exit route to immigrate. I can’t tell you the amount of conversations I have overheard about people deciding it is time to get their gun licence. But how is that going to make an impact to our community as a whole? This is our country. It is beautiful. We just need to take control. It is time to stand together as a community to create some kind of plan.

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Truth is, I am not quite sure what my plan is myself. I am far from politically clued up. But I just wanted to create this post to make YOU think.

I just wanted to take an exert out of a book I have been reading, ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell:

“There was a time, not very long ago, in the desperately poor New York City neigbourhoods of Brownsville and East New York, when the streets would turn into ghost towns at dusk. Ordinary working people wouldn’t walk on the sidewalks. Children wouldn’t ride their bicycles on the streets. Old folks wouldn’t sit on the stoops and park benches. The drug trade ran so rampant and gang warfare was so ubiquitous in that part of Brooklyn that most people would take to safety in their apartment at nightfall. Police officers who served in Brownsville in the 1980’s and early 1990’s say that, in those years, as soon as the sun went down their radios exploded with chatter between beat officers and their dispatchers over every conceivable kind of violent and dangerous crime. In 1992, there were 2,154 murders in New York City and 626,182 serious crimes, with the weight of those crimes falling hardest in places like Brownsville and East New York. But then something strange happened. At some mysterious and critical point, the crime rate began to turn. It tipped. Within five years, murders had dropped 64.3% to 770 and total crimes had fallen by almost 355.893. In Brownsville and East New York, the sidewalks filled up again, the bicycles came back, and old folks reappeared on the stoops.

The New York City police will tell you that what happened in New York was that the city’s policing strategies dramatically improved. Criminologists point to the decline of the crack trade and the aging of the population. Economists, meanwhile, say that the gradual improvement of in the city’s economy over the course of the 1990’s had the effect of employing those who might otherwise have become criminals. These are the conventional explanations for the rise and fall of social problems.”

A page later, he explains: ” The fall of New York’s crime rate is a textbook example of an epidemic in action. It gives a clear example of an epidemic in action. It wasn’t that some huge percentage of would be murderers sat up in 1993 and decided not to commit any more crimes. Nor was it that the police managed magically to intervene in a huge percentage of situations that would otherwise have turned deadly. What happened is that small number of people in the small number of situations in which the police or the new social forces had some impact started behaving differently, and that behavior somehow spread to other would-be criminals in similar situations. Somehow a large number of people in New York got ‘infected’ with an anti-crime virus in a short time.”

The book goes on explaining some incredibly logical and interesting examples of what had happened in New York City. But, to finish off, I wanted to share this last little bit: “These three characteristics – one, contagiousness; two, the fact that little causes can have big effects; and three, that change happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment.”


I feel that the above is a perfect example of how we CAN make a change in our community. Now, let’s just figure out how, and create a tipping point so we can take back the safety of our community!

How are you going to get involved?

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A Young(er) Moms Christmas Wish List.

If you don’t have a Christmas wish list at this time of the year – are you even human? I have put together my list of Christmas gems that are ALL from local South African companies. I truly believe that it is so important to browse and support local businesses who create such beautiful products. You can check out my list below, which I have attached links to so that you can shop that way if something catches your eye.

Earrings - Lichen and Leaf
Chandelier Earrings – Lichen & Leaf
Beautifully handcrafted and unique designs from local creative, Cynthia Edwards. Price: R400.00
Shop: http://lichenandleaf.com/tags/earrings

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Watch – Isabis
Beautiful vegan watches versatile enough to pair with anything in your wardrobe!
Shop: https://www.facebook.com/isabiswatch/

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Seasoned Candle – Amanda-Jayne
Beautifully natural scented Soy Candle, hand poured in Cape Town
Price: R350.00
Shop: https://www.amandajaynecandles.com/

 

Body Scrub – Kahve Skin
Coconut Matcha or Coffee Cinnamon
Price: R280.00
Shop: https://kahveskin.com/collections/all

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The Everyday Face Cream For Face & Body – Skin Creamery
Coconut Jojoba Baobab Oil 200ml (Organic Oils)
Price: R295.00
Shop: http://www.skincreamery.co.za/product/everyday-cream/

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Refreshing Tonic Mist – Lulu & Marula
For all skin types (Organic)
Price: R300.00
Shop: https://www.luluandmarula.co.za/collections/face/products/refreshing-moisture-mist

Mandarin Lip Balm - Wass

Mandarin Citrus Reticulata – Wass Skin
Repairs, Hydrates, Moistures. For dry lips and cuticles. Providing protection against harsh environments.
Price: R100.00 (15g)
Shop: https://wassskin.com/collections/skin-body/products/lip-balm-mandarin-peppermint

 

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Makeup Bag – Zana
Features 100% cotton exterior screen printed with our original design, waterproof lining and a brass zipper.
Price: R180.00
Shop: http://zanaproducts.co.za/shop/gold-triangle-makeup-bag/

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Mini Desktop Calendar – Fable Lifestyle
Beautiful water colour 2018 calendar with a wooden stand.
Price: R280.00
Shop: https://fable-lifestyle.com/collections/2018-botanical-calendar

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Large Pouch – Lichen & Leaf
Perfect to use as a toiletry or makeup bag, or even for stationary.
Price: R240.00
Shop: http://lichenandleaf.com/products/large-pouch-klee

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Pink Specks Toiletry Bag – Zana
The perfect travel companion. A fun toiletry bag with waterproof lining for all of your beauty, hair and skincare essentials on the go.
Price: R240.00
Shop: http://zanaproducts.co.za/shop/pink-specks-toiletry-bag/

 

oil milk cleanser skin creamery

Oil Milk Face Cleaner – Skin Creamery
Sesame Oil Baobab Melon Seed (Organic Oils)
Price: R320.00 (200ml)
Shop: http://www.skincreamery.co.za/product/oil-milk-cleanser/

Temple Oil - Wass Skin

 

Temple Day Oil – Wass Skin
Complete morning boost & concentration for the day ahead. Use daily when energy levels are low.
Price: R100.00
Shop: https://wassskin.com/collections/temple-oils/products/temple-oil-day

 

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New Floral Gin & Tonic – The Duchess
The brand new, and incredibly refreshing Virgin G&T has officially hit the shelves!
Shop: https://www.yuppiechef.com/the-duchess.htm?id=24627&name=The-Duchess-Non-Alcoholic-Gin-and-Tonic

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Festive Feast Box – UCOOK
This one should really be at the very top of my list! Who really wants to be in a shopping mall trying to remember all of their ingredients during the festive season? To me, that’s an absolute nightmare. My dream gift this Christmas is this Festive Feast Christmas Box that is bursting with the most decadent Christmas meal for your family and friends. That’s certainly one way to impress your guests!
Price: Dependent on how many people you are catering for!
Shop: https://feast.ucook.co.za/

PLEASE NOTE:

None of these photos are my own. I have taken them from each companies website.

My Summer Wardrobe Essentials.

If somebody told me to think about the ideal outfit for me, I would say something that is comfortable and flattering for a postpartum body. Something that shows the curves, but hides the lumps and bumps.

I have to admit that I really struggle to find garments I would be confident going out in to a special event, or for a night out. However, finding Sitting Pretty and their new range – it was like I finally found home.

I have fallen madly in love with the Coco Double V Neck Jumpsuit. It is incredibly comfortable, and is elasticated in all of the right places. It really suits my body type and shape, and I have had uncountable compliments when I have been out. I’ve paired it with a pair of sneakers, and also wore it to an event  with a pair of wedges. It is so easy to match with absolutely anything that you already own, and you can dress it up or down with ease. The quality is phenomenal! Jumpsuits and dresses with pockets are a winner for me! Made from 100% Rayon Linen, this garment keeps you cool on a hot day, and is just flawless!

Photos: Angela Rea Photography

The dress caught my eye because of its delicate detail. The little bit of lace really caught my attention. I love the way the dress flows as you move. The guava shade is quite a rare colour, but I couldn’t resist. It is fresh and perfect for Summer. I love that the dress has three quarter sleeves – it is ideal for cooler summer days or evenings. The dress is also elasticized around the waist area, which really creates some shape and emphasizes your good curves. It is so comfortable, and is also perfect for mom bods. Again, the quality is phenomenal, so this is a piece of clothing that will stay fashionable and maintain its quality for many years.

Photos: Criene Images

As I mentioned, I struggle to find clothes that really stand out from the rest. I struggle to find designers who get their sizing correct when buying online. And one of my flaws is always having high expectations, often leaving me disappointed – however, my expectations were blown, and I was highly impressed and happy with my order.

You can most certainly find some gorgeous essential garments to add to your wardrobe. Add them to your wish list for Christmas, or just simply spoil yourself! You deserve it! Their entire Spring/Summer 2018 collection is flawless!

It has been wonderful watching Sitting Pretty grow from strength to strength having started in 2009

Have a look at Sitting Pretty’s social media handles:

www.sittingpretty.co.za

Instagram.com/sittingprettysa

www.facebook.com/SittingPrettyApparel

What is that one staple garment in your wardrobe?

Hello Vegas!

Two weekends ago, myself, Olly and my friend Angela and her three year old son, Elijah drove through to Sea Point for an exciting weekend at the Los Vegas inspired Flamingo. The boys were squealing with excitement, and due to it being so close to home (just a 25 minute drive), as moms, we were obviously totally content with the fact that we weren’t having to travel long distance with two three year olds.

We arrived to a beautiful apartment, complete with 4 very modern en-suite bathrooms, a spare bathroom as well as a gigantic open plan kitchen, lounge, dining room and bar area. Again, being moms, we were thrilled to be greeted with a tiled living area knowing that any spills could be easily wiped up, but also for health reasons.

The entire apartment being air conditioned, we could have happily stayed in our entire stay. It was a warm weekend, so having fresh, cool air in the apartment was such a treat. The boys love how spacious the living area is – they could play games on the floor, play games and run around without being restricted.

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We obviously didn’t have much of a chance to use the bar area, but it is well equipped, and it also makes the apartment that much more suitable for a bachelor or bachelorette weekend. With the amount of people the home sleeps, it is so reasonably priced.

I have always said that it isn’t really a holiday if the place you are staying doesn’t have a dishwasher. Who wants to have to wash dishes while on holiday, right? First world problems, I know. But I was so happy to see a dishwasher on arrival, as well as a coffee machine and even washing machine! Woo hoo! Perfect for families that stay for awhile. I really appreciated the fact that they didn’t have any bath tubs due to our water crisis, however, with young kids, it could be a bit of an issue. I know I have a child who isn’t a huge fan of showering.

The main bedroom, which I stayed in had a TV, aircon, an extra length King size bed as well as a single bed, which was perfect for me as it meant that Olly could be in the same room as me, but didn’t have to share a bed. My bathroom also had a Sauna in it, which is divine for some down time to just relax and unwind.

The boys loved watching the paragliders from the window and we had a beautiful view of the mountains. It is in such a great spot, as we had such fun adventuring out to the Promenade and the V&A Waterfront. And our journey back was so quick. There is a wonderful variety of restaurants, coffee shops, etc within walking distance. Once you arrive, you honestly don’t have to drive anywhere!

I love the Sea Point life. I feel it is such a vibrant, active lifestyle. We all felt so happy and refreshed after our stay, and were sad to leave. The boys both asked us:  “When we come back again, can we stay forever?” and in conversations since then, both have spoken so much about ‘Sea Point’ and would go back in a heart beat.

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As moms, we found it was highly suitable for kids, the only noticeable con would be no baths. The entire apartment and rooms are spacious with no breakable décor which makes it that much more kid friendly. It would be a lovely go-to place for families and friends to meet that is central to many kid friendly places in the Atlantic Seaboard, as well as being so close by to some of the most pristine and beautiful beaches in Cape Town!

We were absolutely spoilt with vouchers for a donut and coffee for each of us downstairs at the Dairy Den. There is also a petrol garage with a shop, conveniently across the road. And lastly, we loved the security of having an alarm that we could set when we left the house. Knowing that our belongings were safe left us all feeling more relaxed.

We will be back again, as we found the experience of booking, checking out and checking out such a pleasure. We found the apartment in pristine condition, and the owners are on top of any little things that need to be sorted out.

You won’t be sorry, and will too leave feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated after your stay at Flamingo. I must add that I will definitely be heading there again next year for a girl’s weekend WITHOUT my son! I’m sure it will be a fantastic experience too, where we can let our hair loose and enjoy it in a different perspective.

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Do have a look at their Instagram page yourself to see what you are in for. And you can also read more reviews on their Airbnb account.

We loved staying in a place that was minimalist, clutter free and in with the times, and we cannot wait to return, or as our boys say – move in forever!

Photography: @radzphotography_cpt
Also featured: @oursunshinejourney

Should Potty Training Really Be Dreaded?

I quite honestly can’t take much credit for these Potty Training tips, because I have to admit that I was one of the lucky ones who wasn’t really the one who decided it was time. But, I often find myself in conversation with other parents who are struggling with getting their kids potty trained, and I thought it would be a good topic to touch on.

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Firstly, for us parents living in the Northern Hemisphere, we are currently the ones who have the perfect opportunity for Potty Training! Why? Because your kids can happily prance around the garden in undies or bare botty without getting cold and sick. Why do I mention this? Because this is exactly how it happened for us!

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Secondly, we get a long Christmas holiday (6 weeks), so it means that you are home more, and I will touch more on this shortly.

Olly came home from school at the end of second term with a report card. On that card it said: “Oliver uses the toilet independently at school…” Hold on, he what??? That’s when I knew that it was time. He had shown a very keen interest at about one and a half, and I know that many kids do, however, it fades. So at two and a half, we were all ready to rid of the diapers! I was, quite honestly at that point where I totally wouldn’t miss those poopie nappies, and having to cart around hoping that I remembered to pack some every time we left the house. The expense of nappies is a topic I am not ready to discuss!

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So, because the holidays were a decent length, I decided – THIS IS IT!!!

David took Olly on a special boys trip to Woolworths to choose his very own ‘big boy undies’. I think that trip in itself was an incredibly significant part of the whole transition. I can highly recommend this as the first step. (Keep in mind, you need to make sure that YOU are in it one hundred percent). Create an exciting thing out of what is happening – after all, it is a sign that your little one is reaching a level of independence that you should ALL be proud of. Give them the light – let them shine! Olly returned from the mall beaming. He had chosen three packs of undies (YOU DO NEED A LOT!!!) – some with patterns, some with pictures. They were all important and special to him.

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We tore open the packs and from that moment, he put on his first pair, and he hasn’t worn day nappies since. I decided that we were going to hibernate and be home bodies for the first week of the holidays, and it is honestly the best advice I have for parents who are potty training a toddler. Encourage them to go to the toilet or potty every half an hour. But, with him playing outside most of the time, it was a less messy experience. If he couldn’t make it to the toilet, he would pull down his undies and wee outside in the garden (Gross? Not at all! We all did it).

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Three days into Potty Training, I had to pop down to the store. Without even thinking, I took him without a nappy on. As we were in the queue, he looked with big eyes and said: “MOMMY, I NEED A WEEEEEE!”. Interestingly enough, I asked him if he could hold it in for five more minutes, and he did. We used a reward chart by Munchkins for every time he used the actual toilet (Olly has never wanted to use a potty). This made the process that much more exciting.

We of course did have a couple of accidents, but he learned very quickly that the feeling of wee running down his leg, or wet undies was uncomfortable.

I think that many parents make the mistake of trying to force potty training. Just as we, as adults hate being forced to do things – almost creating a negative bubble around the specific thing, our kids feel the same way. Instead, take them on that trip to the store to choose their special set of underwear. Create a positive mindset on it so that it doesn’t feel like it’s something they have to do, but rather something they want to do. Let them do it for THEM and not for YOU.

Alternatively, if you have a stubborn potty trainer, work out a system that works for your child. Perhaps, tell them that the money from the bag of nappies you would have used can instead go towards a special toy or experience they have been begging for once you get to the end of the month/end of their reward chart. It is a huge deal for them. And if you were going to be spending that money on nappies, you can put it towards a special reward.

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In closing, I really did just feel that this is the perfect time of the year, for the families who are in the Summer countries. It worked for us, however, it may not work for you. But it is a length process, one that you all need to be 100% on the same page for. Be persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day. This is all new to your child. They’ve been in nappies since Day 1, and it’s a bit scary for them. But, the day will come where you will see why it was worth the process.

I have to add – a week after Olly stopped day time nappies, he wasn’t interested in wearing them AT ALL! We just don’t allow him to drink fluids half an hour before bedtime, and he goes to the loo before he goes to sleep. The only two times in about 5 months that he has wet the bed, was when we had come home at night from being out and he was already asleep and we didn’t wake him to use the loo! Totally our own fault.

It can be done, and it can be a fun and exciting transition for the entire family!
Good luck!

I would love to hear your potty training success stories, and I would also love to be entertained by some funny potty training fails! So please do share your stories!!! I have a prize for the best tip or story as long as you are a South African resident! But, don’t let it stop you sharing your stories if you don’t!

*Note: You DO have to SUBSCRIBE in order to enter – which is super easy peasy to do! And then you won’t miss out on a thing! It will also be the only way you will be notified if you are the winner.

*On a side note: DO buy a couple pairs of nappies that have some toweling. Shown in the photos are a pair that I purchased about a year ago. They are great for any little drips.

Photos by @criene_images
Top two photos: Melissa Van Riel

A Christmas Tradition – Elf’s Pet

As if having a brand new, cute Elf on the shelf that you can dress up isn’t enough as a special Christmas tradition in your home, they had to go just that extra mile by creating an Elf’s Pet. Because we would hate for Elf to get lonely while we’re out over the Festive Season.

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Having a three-year-old who is already overly excited for Christmas, this truly makes it all just that extra bit more magical for him. As a parent, it is so wonderful to watch his eyes beam as he plays with his special Elf’s pet reindeer. (He was so excited when I told him that, unlike with the Elf on the shelf, he is allowed to play with his reindeer). Sneakily listening into their conversations, and hearing his own understanding of Christmas as they quietly chatter about it between themselves.

For the elf pets, children are encouraged to love their reindeer so that it will help Santa deliver the presents at Christmas, as well as continue to believe in Christmas to create Christmas spirit. And I just absolutely adore this ‘message’ behind the toy.

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The Elf Pets Reindeer is a box set which includes a vividly illustrated hardbound children’s book, which is absolutely beautiful as well as the Reindeer. Having spent some magical Christmases in the States, experiencing a real white, snowy Christmas – I really had a peek into how festive and exciting Christmas can be for a child. This has been one of the first times I have really felt like I have gone back in time to the younger version of myself remembering those moments watching the snowflakes gently fall to the ground with Christmas music blaring in the background. This book took me right back there, which is hard to do.

There are so many Christmas products available for kids these days, but it is still incredibly difficult to find something that really stands out from the rest. Something that has been designed with love in hope to put the magic back into Christmas for kids who seem to be quite a challenge to excite and please in this generation – to encourage them to really use their imaginations and to put themselves into a Christmas spirit just by playing and reading the book.

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It is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your kids this Festive season, reading the book, and getting the entire family into the Festive spirit. And, it will be the excitement of unpacking it each year for the next Christmas, and the memories that will be made year after year.

Traditions are truly something wonderful, and this is just one of the ways that I have chosen to enjoy new traditions with my little boy.

You can get yours, while they’re still available at http://www.jeffreystein.co.za/brands/the-elf-on-the-shelf/elf-pets-a-reindeer-tradition

DO give the little movie a watch on this page to get those butterflies going in your tummy as you watch the story unfold. These products really are just one notch above the rest, and it’s so nice to see some original products these days!

Make sure to check in again next week to find out what the last product is I will be reviewing, it’s amazing, slightly magical, and you could even WIN an amazing prize.

Stock Up Your Freezers – Fry’s Give Me Freedom.

We are currently sitting smack bam into a week.
I always find Wednesdays insane.
Half way through the week, but just out of reach of the weekend.

Hanging in there by a thread, longing for the craziness of the week to just slow down a little.
Olly is wild. I’ve started referring to Wednesday’s as ‘Wild Wednesday’,
He’s always a little more clingy, emotional and it’s generally a day of nagging.

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Dinner time arrives, and I used to find myself frantically scurrying through the freezer to find something I could just fry/pop in the oven or microwave.
I must admit that before I started giving Olly meat, I only gave him the Fry’s ‘meatless’ products.
So, they have always been safe in our home. I know he won’t complain, and his tummy will be full.

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That being said, I love having a freezer stocked up with these Fry’s Chicken styled Nuggets. I love them, Olly loves them and so does David.
I just pair them with some fresh baby tomatoes, some carrot sticks and tomato sauce and we are good to go. Everybody is happy.

Dinner time can become such a complicated time in your home sometimes.
I don’t like always feeling like I need to turn to overpriced takeaways when a day gets out of control.
Sometimes, we can plan ahead and stock up our freezers for those days instead.

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These chicken style nuggets are Olly’s absolute favourite out of the Fry’s Family products.
They literally just need to be popped in the oven for a couple of minutes, and BAM, dinner is served! They are also perfect for adults, might I add. They really aren’t just made for kids. They just love them.

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Also suitable for vegans, BUT, not for people who are gluten intolerant. They are packed with the perfect protein replacements, so one doesn’t need to worry about not getting their protein in their meals.

Fry’s has a large range of meat-free products, so there really is something for everyone. You can find them at most of the leading stores. I mostly buy mine from my local Pick ‘n Pay, just because they have a very large range, and it is just convenient for me.

They have lovely, very inspiring and insightful social media platforms that you can check out too:

Instagram
Facebook
Website
Twitter

Thank you to Angela Rea Photography for the photos!

Be sure to stock up, give them a try – and let me know your thoughts!

You’re welcome!!!

— @onemodernmom

Introducing New Christmas Traditions – The Elf On The Shelf.

This year is the first year that we have agreed that Olly is the perfect age to introduce the Elf on the shelf as a Christmas tradition in our home. I’ve done some research on them, and found that they have many benefits. Parents can use them for many different things – discipline, rewards, incentives, etc.

I must admit that when I stumbled upon some in the stores, I found them a bit creepy. I also didn’t really understand them. But, when I found this very special Elf on the Shelf over at Jefferey Stein (Pty) Ltd, which came with a book and DVD, I understood it so much better. I also sort of fell in love with the entire story and concept.

This sweet Elf, now named Nunu – isn’t just a cute soft toy that comes in a box. It comes with a story book that tells the story which explains not only to you but to your kids how special he/she is. It creates a very unique story in their minds and imaginations of why they have chosen your home, and your family and also encourages good behavior, and a sense of looking after and loving it as it becomes a part of your family for their entire childhood.

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The book is beautifully written and illustrated and has a whimsical and magical feel to it. The DVD that comes with it is a lovely length. Again, beautifully put together and Olly was so captivated watching it. He keeps asking to watch it again and again, and in just a short week, it has become an incredibly special part of our festive season. His elf, Nunu moves around each night to a new spot in the house, and monitors his behavior. The objective is that he reports to Father Christmas.

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Olly often chats to him once he’s found him that morning, and tells him stories and also secretly whispers in his ear what he would like for Christmas for him to pass on the message to Santa for him. Every time he glances up when he’s being slightly mischievous, he quickly adjusts his bad attitude because he doesn’t want the Elf to tell Father Christmas that he has been naughty.

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I love buying something that stands out from the rest. A product that you can see is created with so much love. Something that goes above and beyond. And that is this gorgeous Elf on the Shelf set that we received. I have no doubt that Olly will be sad to pack it away once Christmas is over. But it will be something that we will so look forward to unpacking each year as the festive season begins. It retails on their website for R499.90; but remember you only need ONE for their entire childhood. So you will never have to purchase another one. Also, what I like is that there is nothing breakable about him. It can be popped in the wash before getting packed away.

And just as you thought it couldn’t get any sweeter, any better. Along came a change of clothing for his Elf. Of course, every toddler is semi-obsessed with Super Hero’s, and seeing that this Elf has magical superpowers of his own, naturally he needed a super hero outfit. They also have, as shown below, a hoodie outfit you could choose instead.

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It comes separately to the Elf. And actually makes a nice little reward for good behavior. Something that they can be given in the holidays when they’ve done something that really stands out to you. I thought it was such a fun idea!

I know I have already mentioned this, but this is the most traditional and classic Elf on the shelf set I have seen. It truly has become apart of our family, and I feel that the perfect age to start the tradition is at 3 years old! They really do seem to connect with their Elf, and they just love it!

You can get yours here: http://www.jeffreystein.co.za/brands/the-elf-on-the-shelf

Please let me know if you purchase one, and how your kids and family reacted and responded to it being introduced in your home. You can do so in the comment section below. Do look out for my Christmas giveaways coming up weekly!

A Christmas Tradition

Traditions are near and dear to me.
Perhaps it partly has to do with being adopted, and grasping onto special memories that really made me feel like we were finally ‘home’ when we moved in with our parents.

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Or, maybe I am just more of a soppy person.
Having family in the States, and have had the opportunity to have a couple of white Christmases with a huge family that filled up the room.
Going on tours of the towns seeing all of the over the top light displays while the snow flakes fall to the ground.
Attending Church services with the most amazing Christmas plays, Christmas carolers stopping by your home, and food – so much delicious food!
Visiting shopping malls with Christmas music, and sales and decorations everywhere!!!


A house overflowing with family – all having driven in and flown in from different states around America – all to be in the same place for Christmas.
All of the kids sleeping on mattresses around the tree on the night of Christmas eve, watching Christmas movies with popcorn, hot cocoa and cookies.
The memories leave me wishing to be my five year old self again, back in this moment.

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But, the part that stands out the most to me is FAMILY.

The years that we weren’t in the States, our Christmas was small, intimate and quieter.
They were still just as special, just different.
We would attend the Carols by Candle light service at our Church at the seaside, in short sleeves, because we aint got no white Christmas here in South Africa.
Christmas morning would mean unwrapping gifts from Father Christmas and our parents.
And then we would rush off to Church for the Christmas Day service.
We would then return home or to whichever family members home and have a Christmas lunch.
When we were younger, we would alternate different family members homes. And then it became just a handful of us as everyone immigrated or after some of the older folks passed away.

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And then, my very own sweet family grew by one.
And, the meaning of Christmas changed oh so much for me.
There was a new spark that was added to Christmas. This year has been amazing to start really teaching Olly some of the Christmas stories. He just adores them.
He attempts to sing along to Christmas carols, and we write down his Christmas wish list for Santa together.
Christmas comes up daily from the day he sees the first Christmas decorations in the malls.

It has become exciting all over again.

Amazing what a little soul can do.

As you can see, traditions are something very close to my heart.
Each year on Christmas we bake Christmas cookies together. It is something I did with my mom, and something I really wanted to do with Olly.
The Christmas music plays throughout our home, and the smell of freshly baked cookies makes its way through our home.
Cinnamon, and peanut butter cookies come out tray by tray as if we are trying to break a world record.

The home turns into a mess. Colourful icing, sprinkles and flour everywhere.
Faces are filled with batter and fingers filled with sticky cookie dough.
The sink filled with mixing bowls and baking utensils.
Trays of imperfect cookies cover the counter.


It really is a happy day. And one that will always be a special memory to me. And I hope one that Olly has as a happy memory of Christmas Day as he grows older.

I know for many, Christmas isn’t a happy time of the year. And I do sometimes feel selfish for loving it as much as I do.
It reminds me of happy times with so many people who are no longer here with us.
It reminds me of times spent with family and friends who live thousands and thousands of miles away.

But mostly, it is a reminder of how many amazing memories are yet to be made with this family I get to call my very own.

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So, here’s to the countdown to Christmas. I must be honest by saying that I’m not sure how we are already here!
BUT, it certainly is the most magical time of the year for me.

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A huge thank you to the incredibly talented Carina at https://www.crieneimages.com/ for these magical photos of Olly and myself in the (early) spirit of Christmas.

I also have to add – the beautiful and fun products available for Christmas these days is just amazing. It really is a fun time to shop for Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, and bits and bobs for Christmas. The featured products were sourced from the following places:

Typo, Woolworths, Clicks and Hirsch’s Homestore to name a few. And, Olly was dressed by Dandylion Kids.

I love to hear about other families Christmas traditions. If you have one of your own, please do let me know in the comment tab below. And, keep an eye out for the exciting Christmas giveaways I have coming up weekly!

An Extra Daily Boost.

Thinking back on my childhood, I vividly recall my Dad having a shake each morning. I would be up for school early, and my Dad would have returned from gym or from a run, and he would be drinking the most amazing vanilla shake. I remember getting a sip every now and then, and I think I would occasionally have the chance to have my own. To this day, I remember the smell and taste. I loved it!

Fast forward, probably about 18 years, and I finally have my own Vanilla shake in my cupboards. The Xcell Mind Boost and Junior shake by Tempus Dynamics, to be precise. I use these shakes as an additional supplement to my diet and I really have noticed a major difference in mine and Olly’s energy levels. I often find that my energy levels drop severely around 12pm. My body craves some kind of pick me up. My fatigue can be so intense at times, I once thought I was pregnant because of how similar it was to that first trimester fatigue!

I have tried so many things, however found that the Xcell Mind Boost works really well for me. These shakes are packed with so much goodness! Plus for Olly, the Junior Shake allows me to give him all the essential vitamins and nutrients that his growing body needs, easy peasy, no fuss or effort!

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I know that many will read the label and perhaps be put off by the Soy in the shakes, however, I’ve learnt that the soy in the Xcell product range is certified GMO free! Also good to know is that the Xcell products are developed and are based on 20 years of research in cellular nutrition. It is specifically formulated for today’s stressful lifestyles, that so many of us can relate to and it feels good knowing that you nourishing yourself at a cellular level.

Many families and individuals think that ‘Hey, I take my dose of vitamins each day, I don’t need anything else.’ Or, ‘My kids eat enough fruit and veggies, and also take multi-vitamins each day, they’re good to go!’   What I’ve learnt is that MSM is often missing and is such an important component to our overall health and these shakes include MSM.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about MSM, it’s an essential nutrient has been overlooked by most leading health products. MSM is present in every cell of plants and animals but, somehow tends to be overlooked in the essential role it plays in human nutrition.

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MSM is good for so many things, Tempus Dynamics explained the following:

This forgotten nutrient is the 3rd largest component in your body and is very necessary to maintain optimum health.

Your body uses MSM on a cellular level to ensure that nutrients are delivered into the cells and that toxins are removed.  MSM is essential for the replacement of old cells with new healthy ones.  Your body is in a constant state of repair and supplementation with MSM ensures that your cell perform this function – but if you do not have all the essential nutrients the end result will be less than perfect.

MSM has even been termed nature’s beauty mineral because of its ability to maintain glossy hair and a clear youthful complexion.

Indeed, researchers have claimed that supplementation with MSM may alleviate the following;

  • Reduce stiffness and swelling
  • Improve joint flexibility
  • Alleviate stress and heartburn
  • Increase alertness and brain function
  • Improve circulation
  • Alleviate dehydration thereby improving detoxification
  • Reduce scar tissue
  • Inhibit chemical carcinogen
  • Discourage micro-organism infestation (including Candida Albicans)
  • Help with gum disease
  • Protect the sinuses from nasal congestion
  • Improve brittle hair and nails
  • Alleviate acne
  • Help with depression and memory loss

 MSM is a component of insulin, which regulates the uptake of glucose by the cells for use as energy.  Athletes may find MSM particularly useful in the reduction of lactic acid build-up.  Studies have shown that in athletes, along with reducing leg cramps, the recovery time of cramping in marathon runners who were given MSM dropped by 75%. 

I often wonder what Olly’s reaction to a new product that needs to be drank will be. He is like me in the way that he is a bit tactile intolerant. I struggle to eat, touch or drink things with a specific texture. I am physically unable to eat certain porridge or drink things that have bits in. But, we both loved the shake. I use this phrase a lot – You can’t taste the ‘health’ in it. But, it certainly seems to benefit both of us with our energy and concentration levels.
The benefits above are enough for anybody to be tempted to buy the product – but from my own personal experience, I do feel like it is really worth buying and having your family drink a shake each day.

They can choose between Chocolate and Vanilla flavor. I just always prefer vanilla drinks over chocolate, so I am unable to tell you what the chocolate is like, but if it’s anything like the vanilla flavor then it will be divine!

**I must add in that kids tend to be so much fussier these days when it comes to what they are willing to eat. It can be a battle in many homes to get kids to eat their veggies. And for some, it’s easier to just give in. As parents, we want what is best for our kids, and sometimes just making sure they have eaten something so they don’t go hungry is what is important to us. This means that they full up on things that don’t feed their brains. They go to school, and they are unable to concentrate, they’re tired and they get hungry quickly. For kids like that, this Xcell Junior shake really is a perfect substitute for kids aged 1 to 10. You could probably even add it into a smoothie for an extra kick!

You can get your hands on these products here: http://www.tempusdynamics.co.za/product/xcell-junior-1-10-years/

And

http://www.tempusdynamics.co.za/product/xcell-mind-boost/

Also, follow their social media handles to keep up with their range of products for the entire family:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tempusdynamicsSA/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tempusdynamics