The Little Leather Lifesaver – Tiptoe Mats.

Babies = mess.
Toddlers = messier.
Kids = planned mess.
Husbands = no comment.

I think back to the first few months of my sons life, and although I felt like things were a mess, I think that was mostly my fault. Being a sleep deprived mother to a newborn, I wasn’t totally in control of my home, and making sure everything was always in its place was just not happening. Life consisted of changing nappies and bibs, and doing laundry and more laundry! But my newborn, he wasn’t so messy.

The crawling began, and things started becoming slightly more chaotic. We started feeding him solids, and things became messy.  I felt like half of my life was spent wiping up or slipping on puree that had plonked onto the floor from a highly uncoordinated miniature human, hitting the ground with impact leading it to not only land in one neat pile, but rather in multiple places around his high chair. Laundry was never ending, the washing basket 90% consisting of food stained bibs.

Photo 2018-02-22, 12 06 00Photo 2018-02-22, 12 07 47 (1)

Then he became a toddler, waddling around, with a desire to be outdoors. Still reasonably easy to keep him entertained in one place – with perhaps some pots and pans filled with water, and some spoons or measuring cups.

Then he became a little boy. And just as one thought that surely kids get less messy as time goes by, that magical thought came to a halt, quite suddenly.

Mess was very quickly defined by paint being wiped on windows, clothes and carpets. Walls soon became the new drawing pad. Window sills the new chalk board. Stickers now being stuck in the most unimaginable places around the house. I would create an area at the dining table for Olly to do his art, but it would still end up in unwanted places – on the table cloth or on the wooden table. There is no such thing as controlled messy play inside. Food still gets flung around, but this time, it’s planned!
We all think that there must be a way to put this all to an end. But the truth is, there is no stop. This is the way that kids learn. They learn through messy play. They crave it. Without it, they wouldn’t develop the same way. So, we, as parents actually are the ones that need to learn how we can control the mess and how we can turn it into a positive thing rather than a negative thing.

I then discovered something genius! Something that almost left me with a feeling of jealousy because I never had access to the products when my son was a newborn. And something that I feel the desire to share with you moms, because it is simple, but lifechanging! Something that YOU need to have. Or that will make you the guest of the babyshower for giving as your gift.

Enter – Tiptoe Mats.
Home to bibs, changing mats, a small scallop high chair mat, small normal high chair mat, large mats, medium mats, bear eating mats, and a range of adult aprons for adults – ALL made from beautifully bonded leather.

These are quite honestly the only handful of keywords you need to know about their products:

– No Laundering Needed! (SOLD!)
– Waterproof
– Spill Proof
– Non Slip
– Super Durable Material
– Doesn’t get hot in the sun!
– Kid Proof (Kokies, crayons, paint, food, etc simply wipes off – the only thing that is a pain to remove is pen marks).

But, let me tell you a little bit more. Each product comes in a variety of the most gorgeous colours of soft leather. I am honestly quite blown away by how they can be folded up so small to be packed away in a small space or to be taken away with you on holiday.

Photo 2018-02-20, 09 41 12

I have loved putting our large mat down in the garden for when Olly eats his snack or lunch outdoors. Especially with the water crisis – meaning we barely have any lawn left, it isn’t pleasant for him to have to be sitting on spiky grass or sand. So, I love that I can place this on the ground. The leather means that there is nothing that pokes through, like it would through a blanket. The best part is being able to just wipe the mat down after use – any spills or mess honestly doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t need to be tossed in the wash which is a huge plus for Cape Tonians with the water crisis. Also, who needs more laundry?

We love taking ours to the beach. We are at the beach often, and it is so wonderful not having tons of sand coming home with us, because it is so easy to just shake the sand off before leaving. Painting and messy play has actually become FUN, and I find myself not feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the mess that comes with the activity, because I know that it is so easy to clean. There is no permanent mess left.

I wish I had access to the bibs when my son was a baby, because being able to just wipe down the mess would have been a dream. I felt that the hard plastic ones irritated my son. These are soft, light weight and comfy for babies and their sensitive necks. They also fold up nicely to pack in their nappy bags when you are going out.

Photo 2018-02-15, 17 43 37

Now lastly, the mats that can be strategically placed beneath the high chair is simply genius. The large mat would have been needed for me, because the distance my little guy could flick puree was phenomenal – he would have probably qualified for Olympics had they made it a sport! That being said, it would mean that I could just sit down and enjoy feeding time, and then clean it all up afterwards, without having to worry about food seeping into the carpets in the lounge/dining room that we had in our home that we were renting at that stage.

I love that these products haven’t been made from plastic, but rather from leather. Something that will last a long time, and that can be folded up!

Again, any of the above products would make such a fun, and unique gift for a baby shower – and definitely products that I would have absolutely adored as a mom to be.

If you’d like to see the full range, or if you don’t even want to see them, but just want to BUY – then head over here: https://hellopretty.co.za/tip-toe

You can also see some of their products being used here:

Instagram

Facebook

I am also excited to announce that I will be running a giveaway with Tiptoe in the next couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled so that you can see which of their amazing products you can WIN!

Advertisements

Eliminating Sugar – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

Sugar, sugar, sugar.

As a child, I remember sugar and sweet treats predominantly being party food. Dessert consisted of peaches and ice cream or jelly and custard, once a week. It wasn’t a privilege, it was a luxury. Something we knew not to even bother asking about. We knew when it was allowed.

P1071529-Edit

Fast forward to 2018. Lunch boxes are packed with treats and snacks packed with sugar. Schools have to send notes home to parents requesting for junk food to NOT be sent in their lunch boxes. I see families out with their young kids with fizzy drinks bubbling away in their juice bottles. What is the world coming to?

Sugar doesn’t full a child’s stomach.
It doesn’t feed their brains.
It feeds cancer cells.
It creates obesity.
Sugar is an addiction.

Feeding your kids wholesome foods and keeping sugary treats for parties, and special occasions is not depriving them. It is doing them a favour. Providing your child’s body with goodness is one of the best things you can do for them.

P1071439-Edit

I’ve heard many parents saying that it is easier for them (perhaps working parents) to just throw a couple of snacks into a lunchbox because they don’t have time to prepare lunches. I don’t agree! This post was created for those parents. It is possible to choose healthier alternatives to junk food.

P1071443-Edit

Here’s my list featured in the photos:

– Rice Crackers (the ones without any flavouring – avoid the ones that are covered in a powdery flavouring). My son also loved the ones covered in carob and yoghurt as a toddler.
– Droerwors (I buy a few sticks, and then just break the longer strips into about ¾ pieces. This goes a long way!)
– Dried fruit (Again, I buy a big pack, and only put 2-3 pieces into his lunchbox – remember, even when feeding your child healthy snacks – it’s about portion control).
– Berries/fruit (I wouldn’t usually add both fruit and dried fruit into his lunchbox on the same day, but just wanted to show options).
– Animal crackers (I buy them from Woolies, they’re plain with no flavouring).
– Baby Tomatoes / Baby Carrots / Cucumber

#Ceresfruitjuice challenged me to creating three nutrient packed lunches for Olly over three weeks. Less sugar – more goodness relating it to the new lunch box solution – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

P1071539-Edit

They have already diluted the juice with water meaning that there is no fuss and no arguments with the tiny humans. They taste delicious, and are perfect for party packs, outings, and school lunch boxes. I’ve seen the difference in my 3 year olds behavior and attention span when unnatural sugars are eliminated from his daily diet.

The Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl comes in three delicious flavours:

– Apple: 45% Less sugar than Ceres 100% Apple Juice
– Raspberry & Apple: 40% Less sugar than Ceres 100% Secrets of the Valley.
– Fruit Punch: 50% less sugar than Ceres 100% Medley of Fruit.

P1071505-Edit

They taste great with the benefit of less sugar and are high in Vitamin C.

They are available in all major retail stores.

Tell me which healthy snacks you add to your kids lunchboxes on days where you are in a rush. Do you keep things on hand for days like these?

Share your thoughts & ideas, and you could win one of the Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl flavours in a pack of 6.


#Sponsored

Photos by Criene Images.

Getting Creative – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

When my three and a half year old son returns from school, I often find myself feeling rather uninspired by what to give him for lunch. Sometimes he’s so exhausted when he gets home that he goes straight to his bed for a nap, but other times he’s starving.

It was actually great to be challenged by Ceres to create a nutritious lunch for him, which has really made me think out of the box. What he eats for lunch AFTER school, is just as important as what I put in his lunch box. It needs to fuel his brain and give him energy for the rest of the day. I often find that when he has junk – his attention span goes from 10-1 in the blink of an eye and the tantrums begin. My son really is sensitive to sugar, and as he gets older I notice it more.

P107885-Edit

He thrives from wholesome food and meals that are packed with nutrition. Being a growing boy, he needs to be fed food that is healthy rather than food that has been processed. I’ve often said that you know you’ve done a healthy grocery shop when you haven’t gone down any of the middle aisles of the grocery store, simply sticking to the bordering aisles which are home to all the fresh food.

He squealed with delight when he saw his dinosaur themed lunch – it was amazing watching him remain calm while eating, and being able to wind down because there was no junk. Had I added any sugary treats or junk, he would have wound up and become wild instead. I do believe that when their food has created to be appealing to the eye, even the fussier kids are more likely to eat it. Perhaps decide on a weekly theme with your little ones to keep things exciting!

P107894-Edit

I also love being able to simply grab one of the new Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl juice boxes to add to his lunch. Keeping hydrated, especially in this hot, dry weather that Cape Town is handing us, I love that these are diluted with water too. As good as fruit juice tastes on a hot day, as well as the natural sugar giving us the energy that we need, the water is really what quenches our thirst. Again, instead of having to add water myself to dilute his juice, it has already been done for us! This specific one featured – Fruit Punch has 50% less sugar that Ceres 100% Medley of Fruit. This is phenomenal for our little people. Giving them just the right proportions of each.

It is boiling hot in Cape Town today, and instead of giving my son ice cream to cool him down and as a treat, we will instead be enjoying fun ice lollies made from these juice boxes!

P107742-Edit

Kids are so sensitive to sugar and they don’t understand why they are feeling hyped up, or feeling strange because of their energy crashing down after the sugar high wears off. And we often take our frustration of not understanding why they are behaving differently out on them. I’ve seen how sugar affects my son, it always has. It isn’t a pretty site. And I am learning to keep junk food out of the house which means that it is kept sacred for parties and special occasions. So, I really do love that Ceres has launched this new Fruit and Water Swirl which is just an extra helping hand to us moms to limit the sugar intake for our kids. Keeping their bodies as well as teeth healthier.


I would love for you to share your thoughts with me, telling me how you control your childs sugar intake. And I will choose one of you who I will send a pack of the Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl 6 packs to to try for yourself!

#CeresFruitJuice


*This post was in collaboration with Ceres.
*Photography: Criene Images
*Wardrobe: Minimi Atelier

Let’s Be Blunt. A Letter To Businesses & PR Companies.

So what is it that you actually want? I wanted to take a moment to get very real with some thoughts that have been crossing my mind lately. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody in particular, but I do find that situations accumulate to the point where something needs to be said.

 

I work with brands and businesses, big and small. Local and international. Each company I work with seems to have a different view on how things work when working with/collaborating with a blogger or an influencer. So, let me make it easy for everyone to understand.

 

  1. When you request to work with me, I will always respond accordingly with my media kit and rate card. Stated in these documents, which I have spent a lot of time and thought compiling for you – is everything you need to know as to how I work, how payments need to be made, and regarding what you will receive from me. I also state what I require from you, as the business owner, or PR agency. Just as you expect for me to stick to my end of the deal – I expect the same from you.
  2. When a company agrees to send you product, please do not send me the sample to keep. Something that has been passed on from one person to another over a long period of time. That’s basically like me copying and pasting a review that I have previously written for somebody else. I do believe that I have standards, and that I deserve to review and keep a product that has been made with love and that, for example, isn’t stained or chipped, or faded.
  3. If you are a PR company, send me a press release that I get closure from at the end. Some press releases are so open ended, I don’t know if you are just wanting me to copy and paste the info, which means that there is no monetary value, (which I will then ignore), or if you are wanting me to attend an event, therefore, please give me more information. I understand that many of you are sending in bulk, but take a moment to personalize it which will mean that I am more willing to do something with that information.
  4. Please stop just expecting. My content is created with many weeks or months of planning. Nothing happens over night. I work with a handful of photographers only. They have a high standard of work. I will not just simply send you all of the images. Again, if we have made a verbal or written agreement that you will get (x) amount of edited images from a shoot, this will happen. BUT, then be sure to tag and credit all relevant parties, and do not go off and crop or edit the images the way you want it/or to just show your product. This is ruining the photo. You may as well take a permanent marker to a painting or piece of artwork in your home, because these images have been created by a team of creatives. They are worth money.
  5. Don’t go behind my back and use my images. If you love a photo which may feature one of your products, (I spend a lot of money buying products to complete a photo/story I am working on), that makes them mine. I own it. Just because I am a blogger doesn’t mean I am entitled to tag you. This also means that the photograph belongs to me. You can send me a message to request using the photo, which I may or may not agree to.
  6. My son. He is little and precious, and I am not always happy having companies reshare or post photographs on him. So, unless I send you a photo of him – please do not use photographs of him without my permission.
  7. After almost 4 years of blogging, I have come to the point where I do predominantly take on paid work only. This does not mean that I take on everything that comes my way. I firmly believe in working with and associating myself with brands that are authentic to I am as an individual as well as to what my family stands for. However, please do respect me, as well as my standard of work by requesting my rate card and media kit if you would like to work with me.
  8. If you do not have the budget to work with me/have received my rate card and would prefer not to work with me – then please be respectable enough to just respond and thank me for my time. I feel that mutual respect moves mountains.
  9. DO NOT ask to send me something without even having requested my rate card or media kit and then send me 500 messages asking me when I will be reviewing/photographing/posting about it. That is not the agreement. If I love it enough, I may mention it. But, I do not work this way. Don’t be sneaky by pretending to be kind and sending me something when you are just trying to get free marketing. It isn’t happening. Don’t be cheap.
  10. Lastly, if you are a company/PR agency who is sending me a product to review, please don’t tell me that it will be delivered on a certain day and then not keep in touch with me if it doesn’t get sent that day. I do have to shift things around to make sure that myself or somebody else is home in that specific time frame to sign for it.

 

That is just a list of things I know that many influencers and bloggers feel. Just as many companies often feel used by a handful of bloggers, we often also find ourselves feeling used and expected a lot of for nothing in exchange.

Please be mindful of the above when choosing to work with me. I do not expect a lot, but I do expect respect. I put my all into everything I do, and always fulfill what I promise a brand.

Thank you for taking the time to read through these things, and I hope to work with some of you in the near future!

Lisa x

Feeding Their Brains With Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

As moms, many of us find that part of our household responsibility is doing the grocery shopping. We make most of the decisions as to what we will be putting in our children’s lunch boxes – ensuring that they have energy and are well fed. Either us or our child’s carer will prepare meals for them when they return from school, but generally influenced by us.

We are officially back into the swing of things with our kids back at school. And, when better a time to start a healthy routine for your kids than now? In the beginning of the first term.

P1071425-Edit

Something I am a firm believer in is keeping my toddlers lunch boxes free of any junk food. I like to only put fresh food in his lunch box, which means that I avoid anything that has been processed. In fact, one of the reasons I chose the school that he goes to is because of their strict lunchbox guidelines.

P1071104-Edit

Ceres challenged me to prepare nutritional lunches for my son. This was a simple task for me, because it is an honest post from my side as we always prepare healthy lunches that are sent to school with him.  I truly do believe that sugar does nothing for a child. Kids need food that will feed their brains, keeping them awake, alert and eager to learn. Sugar gives a child an unhealthy high that leaves them crashing in record breaking time.

P1071118

I don’t know about you, but I have always diluted Olly’s fruit juice with water. It’s a 50/50 ratio of water to juice. I do sometimes find it challenging, especially with the water crisis in Cape Town  – we are either running short of bottled water, or the bottle is so big that I end up spilling half of it when adding it to his juice bottle. But now, Ceres has launched a brand-new Fruit and Water Swirl juice box in three flavours!

– Apple

– Raspberry & Apple

– Fruit Punch

Tasting them myself, I could really taste just how diluted they have made them – which is great! I love that I can send fruit juice with him to school that is exactly how I would have done it myself. They really are the perfect lunchbox solution! I love that it still has the same taste, but with less sugar! I feel that many parents get lazy and just allow their kids to drink juice because of the ‘effort’ it takes to dilute it.

P1071238-Edit

I was curious to see my three and a half year old sons reaction to the new Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl options, because when he does occasionally get juice boxes, they aren’t diluted which I have no control over. However, he just loved it and didn’t seem at all phased by the ‘change in taste’. I now feel better knowing that if we are rushing out of the house, I can just grab a juice box without cringing at knowing that I haven’t had the opportunity to dilute it.

P1071129-Edit

I want to challenge you to contribute to this conversation by telling me how you control your childs sugar intake. I will send one reader who has commented a 6 pack of Ceres Fruit and Water Swirl in the flavor of their choice to try.

#CeresFruitJuice


Photos: Carina Konig – @criene_images

This post is in collaboration with Ceres.