A Garden Party In Winter.

I recall sitting in bed on a stormy daydreaming about having a reason to create something magical. Don’t ask me to draw or paint you a picture – my creativity doesn’t lie there. But it lies within, brewing at the randomest of times.

I finally figured out what I could create – a beautiful boho Garden Party with some of my closest girl friends for my birthday, which was happening in a month. If you’re an August baby, you’ll know how challenging it is to plan an outdoor event for. You never know which season/s you’ll be getting on the day. But I remained hopeful, and started to create a concept board.

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I had such a specific image in my head, and in all honesty, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off. With the event industry really struggling due to the Pandemic, I wanted to support them by working with some of my favourites, but I wasn’t sure they’d be able or willing to collaborate.

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I was blown away by the enthusiasm and excitement in the responses I received. I’m always one to send out proposals confidently, but then I’m like, ‘crap, how am I actually going to make this happen?’, yet somehow I always do. I also usually work with someone who helps me make my concept a reality, but this time I decided to do it myself.

On set up day, I started wondering what on earth I was thinking. However, by the time the photographer had arrived, everything was exactly the way I had imagined it to be, and my heart was so happy. It looked magical. Just the way I’d promised it would be in my proposal to the brands.

Now part of why I do these collaborations is because I truly do believe in supporting local businesses. I love sharing the amazing experiences I’ve had with local creatives that deserve to be given some spotlight. I chose each of these businesses because, firstly, they’re owned & run by women, and also because of their amazing service. I’ll never share brands with you that I had bad experiences with – so trust me when I say that I was blown away by every single one of the following companies.

Balloons: Cape Town Balloon – over the years, I have formed such a wonderful relationship with Emma and her team. This year, I wanted something more boho inspired. They only use biodegradable balloons, which is the only reason why I use them. Before I had a balloon arch done by them at an event, I had no idea just how much of an impact it made on the overall décor. They were in and out within about 45 minutes, and they manage to make it all look so effortless.


Florist: Botanica Flowers – Rowenna was so quick to jump on board and after my initial conversation with her – just giving her a breakdown of the colour palette and spaces I needed filled, I left it in her hands. She arrived on the day with the majority of the arrangements already done and in the vases, and quietly worked on a few additional tweaks and arrangements. Her and her lovely Mom who assists her, even helped me finish off the table setting. Their work is just exquisite, and they just got it all perfect! The textures, colours, quantity, everything!


Décor: The Souk – I heard about The Souk years ago, and instantly fell in love. There have been so many events I’ve wanted to use them for, and just never quite got there. So I was over the moon when Emily, the owner was willing to trust my concept and jump on board. They have various curated packages you can choose from, or a catalogue with individual items which can be hired. I went for the Garden Birthday package which really comes with everything you need – the rugs, table, tablecloth, cushions, cane stool, gold table and it also comes with a bamboo tent and shepherd’s hooks, which I didn’t use. They are so punctual and reliable when it comes to delivering, if your car isn’t big enough to collect, which I found out the hard way. I loved finally having the opportunity to work with them – it was a dream.


Crockery & Cutlery: The Hire Haus – I indirectly used a few of their plates for our wedding in November last year, but this time I got to deal with them directly. The Hire Haus is owned and run by 4 lovely women who know the wedding and event industry inside out. I dealt with Cara who was so helpful in assisting me with making my selects for my event. It was all wrapped up securely and ready for me to collect on my day of collection. They have a stunning variety of table décor for any events – a birthday, special dinner, baby shower or wedding. They also have large quantities and are really affordable per item. It was an absolute pleasure working with them!


Candles: Amanda-Jayne Candles – I’ve been so lucky to have been gifted a few candles over the years from Amanda, and I am just so inspired by her. She is a wife, a boy mom and an incredibly talented Girl Boss. I currently have her Ginger Cake candle burning while I type this, because nothing leaves me more inspired on a gloomy Monday. All of her candles are hand poured in small batches. They are made with natural soy wax and scented with pure essential oil blends. Amanda assisted me in matching which scents to use together on the day – and we selected the Ginger Cake (my personal favourite) and Orange Blossom. The girls raved about what a special touch it was to not only be able to enjoy the visual aspects of the table setting, but to also have that scent and ambiance. I couldn’t have agreed more.


Savoury Platter: Plate & Platter – I was searching for a company that made beautiful platters that would fit the overall look and feel of the décor. I wanted something sophisticated, and also wanted a variety so that it could be our main snacks for the event. Linde was amazing, and recommended her Cheese Board which comes with 5/6 cheeses, preserves, nuts (guys, she does not skimp on nuts – there were even Pistachio nuts!!!), dried fruit, grapes, berries and crackers. I was blown away by the quantity, but also by how incredibly beautiful it gets presented! This was more than enough food for the 8 of us, and there was so much variety, none of us were left wishing she’d included anything else. Linde does a variety of platters – sweet, savoury, etc, and if you have a look at her Instagram page or website, you’ll know exactly why it didn’t take much for me to contact her. She knows what she is doing!


Sweet Platter: Roses Artisanal Confectionary – I discovered this incredible company when they’d reached out to me a few months back to send me a press drop to try out all of their delicious sweet treats. From truffles, to fudge to nougat and the best Turkish Delight I’ve ever tasted, they have the most delicious variety of decadent treats you’ll ever taste. It was a no brainer to ask them if they’d collab with me, and I was over the moon when they agreed. They sent me an abundance of their truffles from their Pick-a-mix range, and they added such a lovely touch. And they were enjoyed by everyone!


Cake: T Tarts – My dear friend, Tiana has baked a few cakes for parties over the years, and they are always such a treat! I had a very specific cake in mind this time, and sent her a picture of what I was wanting. I was blown away on the day, when she delivered it and it looked almost identical. Tiana is a Mom and also works at The Wedding Boutique – she was the one who did my wedding dress consults with me. But more than that, she is an incredibly talented chef and baker and just made the most divine cake that we all enjoyed for my birthday celebration.


Champagne: Graham Beck Bubbly – We all know that a Garden Party needs a Mimosa Bar. And a Mimosa Bar cannot be a Mimosa Bar without Bubbly. I was so excited to work with Graham Beck for my event, as I’ve always enjoyed their bubbles. Their Pinot Noir Rose 2014 was the perfect addition to my event. Honestly, I think the orange juice felt a bit left out, because after alcohol had been banned for so long, and the ban finally being lifted a few days before my event, nobody was interested in diluting this goodness. Not only does it look beautiful, but it tastes wonderful too.


Mimosa Bar Sign: Kikki & Franki – I cannot rave about this brand enough. I had sent an email through to Stacey and within an hour I had a response from her. But more than that, it wasn’t even a week and it had arrived at my doorstep – perfected. I was blown away by her efficiency and service. What a pleasure it is to work with a brand who just gets it done, and at a high standard. I loved the touch that this added to the Mimosa Bar, and I love that I can reuse this for future events too! They can custom make any vinyl & laser cut wall art for any occasion or space, but they also have a variety of other products available on their website, such as Mural Packs, lighting, an educational range, leather range, etc. I promise you, you can thank me later if this is the first time you are hearing about them!


Hair & Makeup: Makeup Mish – If you don’t know who Mish is by now, you clearly don’t take much notice of my posts from my shoots. Mish has become a very good friend of mine over the years – after she did my hair and makeup for my engagement shoot. She is such a talented makeup artist, and always gets it right! She is represented by Bird On A Wire when she works on set for commercials, etc. Ever needing a makeup artist for an event or shoot – her rates are so affordable for her skills. I also feel like I’m glowing once she’s done with me!


Photography: Life by Ayeh – I have known Ayeh for many years, and it has been so beautiful watching her talent unfold. Ayeh started out as a wedding photographer, and has traveled all over the world to photograph weddings. She has such a unique style, and just captures such raw and authentic moments and emotions. Ayeh has recently started photographing families, maternity, branding and portraits. I have no words for her talent and for the emotion that is portrayed through every single image. It was an honour to have her photograph my event, and she did such a wonderful job at capturing it just the way I wanted to portray it to you. If you are Cape Town based and need someone to photograph your products, or need a family shoot done – Ayeh is your girl!

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I think after reading about all of these amazing businesses, it’s quite clear as to why and how this event turned out so beautifully. I love bringing creatives together to create a magical space. And I feel like that is exactly what happened. We have so many talented individuals in Cape Town, and it was an absolute honour to work with just a handful of them.

I’m still in shock that I managed to pull this off, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of all of the above businesses. I was also in shock that we had a perfect summers day for the first time in ages! I hope you feel inspired to create something beautiful, and to do it for you! For nobody else. We all deserve to be surrounded by a little bit of magic that makes us happy, even if there’s no reason for it!

You can have a look at some of the other images I have posted from the event on my own personal Instagram account too!

Winter with Cotton On Kids

Winter clothing has started being unpacked in the shops, and although the sun is still shining outside, and days can be hot – the evenings have started cooling down, and the chill can be felt in the air as the sun goes down.

With my little boy being at the age that he is – 5 and a half, I’ve finally lost having my say in what he wears. He officially knows what he likes and what he doesn’t like, and dare I choose on behalf of him, we are in for trouble.

What I love about Cotton On Kids, however, is that I can let him loose in the store and I know that I’m going to like whatever he chooses. I appreciate their childlike designs and that they really allow and encourage kids to be kids. To embrace the characters, the bright colours and the cute patterns. And to play dress up and to truly be able to shift their mindsets into their own imaginary world.

But what I love most about the new range is that it’s comfortable. Many children have a shift around this age where textures of clothing can really frustrate and aggravate them. Jeans specifically – being too tight, restricting and rough. Not allowing them to move and sit comfortably. So having found these jeans (which are available in a variety of colours), with an elasticated waistband that can be tied to tighten or loosen as they grow has been a winner! They are super loose, and lightweight, meaning that he can move around and be a child. These are available in the girls section in a variety of colours, making them perfect for both boys and girls.  Shop these jeans.


This gorgeous jersey is super warm, but lightweight enough for the cooler summer evenings. It works perfectly over a couple of layered tops for the full blown winter days. The neck is wide enough to not have your child left in a meltdown having it pulled over their head. The quality is beautiful – and I appreciate that I don’t have to worry about the knits being pulled out after every wash. Shop this jersey. 

Every year, I find myself waiting in anticipation for Cotton On Kids’ Gumboots. And every year, it’s worth the wait. Guys, the quality of these are just amazing. They have such a stunning variety of colours for girls and boys, and they’re bound to keep your little ones feet dry this winter. Begging to go on adventures through puddles and through the long grass in the park while enjoying wintery afternoon walks. They have them in a large variety of sizes, started for babes who are just learning to take their first steps, up until older kids. Shop these boots. 

Lastly, I find my little guy going through so many long sleeves each day in winter. He always seems to find water or mud, and has wet sleeves before you can say, ‘don’t get your clothes wet’. I can find it challenging finding cute long sleeves that fit nicely, and again, with wide enough necklines. Cotton On Kids have the cutest range of long sleeves for boys are girls at the moment. They are super affordable, and you’ll find that they also have some great specials. Shop this long sleeve. 

Be sure to check out their latest collection for girls and boys in store. And don’t forget to add your bottle of water! All proceeds from Cotton On Foundation products go to helping build Ethekwini Primary School as well as Dr JL Dube High School. Shop Foundation Products. 

 

*Images by Primo Photography

How You’ve Helped Cotton On Foundation Provide Quality Schooling To Ethekwini Primary Students.

Many of you will know that over the past year I have worked a lot with Cotton On & Cotton On Kids. At first, I was just excited and honoured to be recognized by and working with a brand I loved so much. But as time went by, I learnt a few more things about this well known and loved international clothing brand – things I wasn’t aware of before, and many of you will probably be learning something new today by reading this too.

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A few years ago, I volunteered as a teacher in a creche in our local township. After having taught in a few other private schools, I thought there would be a huge culture shock. Truth is, the months spent in this creche was where I truly found myself – found happiness. This is where my heart was – knowing I could somehow make a small impact on the lives of these kids who came from so little yet came to school daily with such a desire to learn. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Keep reading.

 

If you live in South Africa, chances are you know and love Cotton On as much as I do. The baby & kids clothing either leaves me wishing I had another baby – or leaves me bankrupt because I buy everything I’d buy for my own baby for friends who have had babies. Their range for adults is always changing, and they’re so good at keeping with the trends. My point is, if you’ve ever shopped there, you’ll recall daydreaming while waiting to pay at the till area, and picking up the various cute, quirky and colourful merch as you approach the counter. The bottles of water, little packs of tissues, hair bands, bracelets, tins of mints, tote bags and cute little badges. You’ve either thought or said out loud to your friend – how cute is this? But I bet you had no idea how much of an impact it would make.

 

A few weeks ago, I flew up to Durban with the Cotton On Foundation as a Cotton On Ambassador along with a few other SA based influencers, journalists and press. Little did I know what I was in for. It was a two-day fieldtrip with a jam-packed itinerary – their intention being to share with us what they have managed to achieve for the impoverished community of KwaMashu already, which included 1200 educational places in the school that Cotton On Foundation has built – eThekwini Primary School. If you’re following me on Instagram, you would have seen various stories I posted over those two days, but I’m excited to share more with you.

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A few of the students from Ethekwini Primary School, KwaMashu proudly standing in front of their new & improved school.

I’ve never felt so overcome with emotion, yet seeing all of these kids thriving in their new school was just about too much for my heart to handle. But what moved me even more was knowing that so many of youare the reason that Cotton On Foundation can do this for these children. Did you even know that when purchasing the Cotton On Foundation merch I mentioned above, the ones that you look at and comment on – 100% of the proceeds from those exact items go to Cotton On Foundation – meaning that it goes towards building schools for these kids. And what excited me and continues to excite me is that we can continue to make the change by making that simple choice to support Cotton On Foundation when shopping at Cotton On stores.

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It’s just as easy to pop into Cotton On when you find yourself craving a bottle of water instead of heading into a grocery store. They’re currently at 3 in 5 customers purchasing a Cotton On Foundation product, can you imagine what 5 in 5 would do for our communities?

What really hit home with me while reflecting back on those two days was knowing how important and vital not only good education is, but just education in general. Yet so many kids don’t even have the option. They are born into a world of poverty – living in a community that is faced with violence and unemployment. A world that becomes a vicious cycle if nobody gives them a peak into what their world could potentially be. Providing these children with the opportunity to change this life they have come from – to create a future for themselves with hard work, determination, dedicated teachers and the knowledge of nutrition that they can take home with them, which enables them to have a healthy mind, healthy body and food in their little tummies, as many of them only get this one meal a day which is prepared for them by the Nutrition Mission at their school.

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As journalist, Lauren Hartzenberg from Bizcommunity.com explains, “The Foundation is focused on empowering youth through the delivery of quality educational projects that assist in breaking the cycle of poverty. “We know that our responsibility goes far beyond selling clothes. The Foundation was set up to both fundraise and oversee education projects in under-resourced regions,” explains Tara Stretch, South Africa manager of the Cotton On Foundation.” I’d love for you to read her full article here, which will give you a good view into all that the Foundation has done and continues to do: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/348/197929.html

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I loved being shown around the school, seeing all of these children happily learning in their brand new classrooms. The heat and humidity of KwaZulu Natal is something most people comment on, and their previous schooling conditions resulted in them learning beneath the trees in the blazing hot sun. Their new facilities allow them to learn in spacious classrooms. They have also added on 37 new ablution facilities.

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The Foundation believes in working with the schools and on their projects over a period of time, and providing them with the knowledge and facilities they require in order to ensure that what they do can be maintained. They don’t just hand over the money and leave. The Foundation fully commit themselves, and provide additional training to the teachers, and members of the community are invited to the Foundation’s education-based Nutrition Mission Programme. They teach the community how to prepare healthy, nutrient packed meals that will keep their families healthy at an affordable cost. It also teaches them about common health problems in their community – something that is so vital for them to be educated on, as so many of their kids are kept home because they are unwell from being malnourished.

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The Foundation also promotes a healthy and active lifestyle at the school through the fully equipped playgrounds they have built. These playgrounds are a space that they encourage learners to utilize as a safe space before and after school. A space that the older kids can eat their lunch in and chat, and the younger kids can play in. It encourages the learners to keep active and to just hang out. This will keep them out of trouble, and for many of them, is a better place to spend after school hours at rather than being at home.

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I could go on forever, but the message I am trying to get across to you is this – most of us are where we are today, as adults, because of the education we were provided with. I am in no way saying that our lives were perfect – but we can simply read this article because we are educated. We were given an opportunity to learn.

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Reading this, you’ll have had a little glimpse into just how much Cotton On Foundation has done for eThekwini Primary School – for KwaMashu as a community. What I haven’t even mentioned is that the Foundation also officially announced Dr JL Dube High School (just a few km away from eThekwini Primary School) as their second school project in South Africa. That means another 1200 children being given a life changing opportunity to be educated in a wonderful schooling environment. All of this can happen because of that bottle of water you chose to buy. That cute tote bag you oohed over. That pack of tissues you bought to add to a gift. It’s so simple to do your part, and to help change the lives of these kids in OUR community. Help them expand past just KZN, they are so hungry to help communities nationwide, and with your help, they will.

If you’d like to know more about the Foundation – feel free to pop me an email at onemodernmom@hotmail.comor ask by commenting on this article. Alternatively, you can read more about their projects here: https://www.cottononfoundation.org

You can also shop these items online now: SHOP NOW!

 

 

 

A Magical Day – Create Your Day Party.

As a busy mom, as birthdays approach I find myself wondering how I’ll make all of my sons birthday dreams a reality. Luckily, my sons expectations weren’t through the roof this year, and he simply and very confidently explained that all he really wanted was a Bear Grylls Adventure Party with a few of his friends.

Me being me, my imagination runs WILD, and I find myself overcomplicating things. I see everything through photographs, and become a bit of a perfectionist. Thankfully, I am an overly organized person at times, so I plan ahead. I recall visualizing exactly how I imagined the party, and my heart sort of dropped as I wasn’t sure how I’d find the things I needed to bring those thoughts to life.

And then, it all just happened. I somehow came across Create Your Day Party on Instagram. I realized she was based in Cape Town, and I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be. I contacted her to find out how we could use one of her existing themed boxes in order for it to still work within the Bear Grylls theme my son had set in his mind.

Before I knew it, the box overflowing with wild adventure had been delivered, and oh my heart, I don’t even have the words to express how content and relieved I was. This box had everything I needed and more. The decor, the activities, and more!

Inside your Wild Adventure box you will find:

  • Party decorations: bear plates, leaf napkins, cups and paper straws, cake toppers, garland ‘Adventure Awaits’ balloons, confetti, party bags.
  • Their inspirational guidebook full of tips and tricks, activities and a shopping list – which is basically like a printed out version of Pinterest.
  • Paper animal ears for all little adventurers, 1 ‘Billy the Bear’ mask and face paint.
  • Nature Scavenger Hunt list, including 1 magnifying glass and a bag of toy insects.
  • DIY slingshot set for all kids.
  • Personalised digital ‘Wild Adventure’ invitation.
  • Printable ‘Wild Adventure’ colouring picture.
  • Short video clip of the storyline.

The kids had the time of their lives! Give me the decor and idea challenge and I’ll throw you a beautiful party. Give me entertainment for 10 kids under the age of 5, and I’ll send them to Disneyland. Just kidding. But in all honesty, that part isn’t my forte’ which really gives me added stress when planning my sons party. Thankfully Create Your Day came to my rescue, and with using the guideline, I managed to keep the kids entertained for the duration of the party. We made slingshots, they hunted down the bear, they spent loads of time on their scavenger hunt in our own garden, and they just loved the independence and freedom it gave them. Some working in groups and some pottering around the garden on their own.

The decor was just exquisite! Apart from the beautiful environmentally friendly balloon garland done by Cape Town Balloons, everything else came from the box and complimented the theme and the party to perfection. I had a houseful of ‘wild animals’ roaming around the house, cake smeared over the faces and dirt on their hands from taking their Scavenger Hunt so seriously.

The parents raved about such a visually beautiful and interactive party. What I love is that you aren’t limited to a Wild Adventure party if you use Create Your Day. You can also choose from the following:

– Let’s Go Glamping
– Silly Circus
– Superhero
– Tea Party
– Tropical Fiesta

And even within those themes, you can really make it whatever you want it to be. I found that going this route was an affordable and convenient option. Because you aren’t having to drive around back and forth to find everything you need yourself, as well as having to buy in specific quantities, the Create Your Day option was the best I could have done, and honestly, I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to what I did for previous years.

I honestly didn’t know we had such exclusive and high end products available to us for parties in South Africa. But thanks to owner, Willemijn, a Dutchie living in Cape Town – mom to three kids – she brought her European standard with her.

This will be a party that won’t be forgotten by our family or my little birthday boy.

Supplier List: 

Decor & Party Box & Kids Accessories: Create Your Day
Balloon Garland: Cape Town Balloon
Photography: Kindred Kind
Cake: Sweet Lionheart
Letterboard: Fable Lifestyle & Baby
Ceramic Fox: Calico Ceramics

Creating a Visually Pleasing Wedding, SIMPLY, with Gather.

Let’s rewind back to the start of this year. It somehow feels like ages ago now that I look back on it. At that point, wedding planning seemed like a walk in the park. There was still so much time. Dreaming was happening, Pinterest was a nightly affair the moment my son was in bed and the kitchen was tidied.

I recall sitting at my desk at work and spending lunch break after lunch break trying to locate everything I had in my mind in terms of decor. My google search history was just a   blur of URL addresses. I’d revisit the same sites, and leave once more without getting anywhere. That feeling of frustration and almost being in limbo still comes flashing back in my memory vividly.

I’ll never forget being introduced to Gather. A Cape Town based hire platform for event professionals and brides. Their Instagram description read: “One Quote. One Payment. One Delivery.” I was sold.

I rushed over to their website and got lost in their endless variety of beautiful vases, delicate candlesticks and bold and playful decor items that are just begging to be chosen for your event or wedding day.

I loved that Gather had done all the work in selecting the top wedding decor suppliers as their hire partners. Each supplier having been properly checked to ensure that they are reliable, and of high quality.

I registered my account on their site, created our event, and sat down with my talented friend, Lauren and we started making our dreams a reality – one ‘add to event’ click at a time. Even typing this out now, I feel the butterflies rushing around as I relive that exciting time of planning and selecting the items to create our vision.


The variety available on Gather is applaudable. It is incredibly challenging to find everything you need in one place. You can honestly put together uncountable events with the items they supply.

I never imagined the process to make my life as a bride so easy, to be honest! Whether you’re planning a small event and just need a few items or are having something big – this is without a doubt a go-to before looking anywhere else.

You simply sign up, create your event with the date and location, select your items and the quantity. Once you’ve completed those steps, you request your quote and within 24 hours, you’ll have a quote awaiting your attention in your inbox which states the available quantity for your event date of each item, as well as a total quote cost. It’s that simple!


On the day of your wedding or event, you have your entire order delivered in one go, at the same time. There’s no stress in waiting around for multiple deliveries. There’s no need to coordinate delivery times. All of the ‘dirty’ work is done for you by Gather. They collect your order, and deliver it all in one piece.

I wish that words could describe how much of a relief this is for me as a bride. The thought of not having to even think twice on the day of our wedding takes so much stress away from me.

I can’t recommend Gather enough to brides to be and individuals who are planning an upcoming event – from parties, baby showers, to corporate events and weddings!

Check out their website for yourself, sign up and dream a little, plan a little and make that next event you’re planning happen! They are constantly uploading new items and inspiration on their Instagram account too. It’s where the bulk of my dreaming happens.