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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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!

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A Letter To My Wild Three Year Old.

To my wild three year old boy,

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This feeling. It is intense. Thinking back to holding you as a newborn baby, I would have never thought that there would be days that I just did not like you. I feel guilty typing this, but I feel that somebody has to air the laundry.

My blood has boiled so many times over the past week that I feel any medical professional would tell me to take a step back because it’s dangerous to my health. I didn’t know that a human as tiny as you could be quite so powerful. How is it possible that I can say no to somebody my own age and stick to my guns, yet with you, a three year old – you have the power to somehow get me to sway.

I’ve been on my hands and knees wiping up spills since before the sun came up, and until after the sun went down. And, IT’S SUMMER! Which means that its light for more hours than it’s dark… I’ve muttered ‘Are you kidding me?’ more times than I can count. I’ve shouted, I’ve cried, I’ve had a migraine from your screeching, and I have even had to finish off your dirty work of shoving your poop down the drain in the bathroom basin because it was too far gone to save it. You woke me up this morning (on YOUR mattress on MY bedroom floor, might I add) after a sleepless night (because of you) by spraying me in the face with water from the handheld fan and spray bottle you somehow stole from your grandmothers bedroom. I have stood by the stove making your favourite pasta that you begged for to have you say that you are full after two bites purely because you insisted on hunting down a banana and a hot crossed bun that you shoved in before I could say ‘not before dinner’.

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You know, this is motherhood. Some days suck. Some days I find myself laughing hysterically at the end of the day looking back on it, wondering if and how the day that has gone by could have actually happened, and then end up in a heap in tears because motherhood is a whirlwind of confusing emotions. I love you so much, but you also make me so mad sometimes.

But then, then you go to sleep. And I tiptoe in to tuck you in and give you your final kiss for the night, and that crazy, wild three year old boy who is just oh so independent now – he’s just an innocent little boy. Your resting body leaves your lips in the position that they were as a newborn baby. Your face angelic again. And I wonder how I allow myself to dislike something so perfect.

Some days I don’t like you. But, I will always love you – and there will be days as you grow up where you don’t like me either. It may be because I do something you don’t like or because I don’t allow you to do something you’re so wishing to do. Maybe I won’t let you go watch a movie with your friends because you have school the next day. There will be days where we simply disagree and bash heads.

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But know, that I love you. I love you as big as the world. But, some days – I just don’t like you. Never misinterpret that. Dig deep in your heart to understand what that phrase truly means. And someday, when you are a parent – you will finally click and say: “Oh! That’s what she meant.”

 

Your Mama x

What To Do When Extended Rear Facing Car Seat Isn’t An Option?

I have often found myself in a situation where I have felt guilty about having my three year old son in a forward facing car seat rather than in a rear facing car seat.  This feeling generally occurs after I have had a discussion with another mom whose child has been in a rear facing seat since birth. I’ve found myself feeling very anxious and perhaps even slightly uneducated when it has come to car seat safety – so I decided to brush up on my knowledge.

And, for those of you who may be in the same boat as me – with a child who is in a front facing car seat, I actually have some good news for you.

Did you know that a high end forward facing car seat may very well be safer than a 123 seat that can rear face?

As a parent, we always want to do what is best for our kids, yet sometimes it can all be quite overwhelming and confusing. But, sometimes we just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. Being a new mom is even more overwhelming and I recall so vividly being on the verge of an emotional breakdown when car seat shopping for my newborn. There was far too much to choose from, and I just wanted somebody with the correct knowledge to tell me exactly what I needed. My belly and myself did not do a good job at walking down the car seat aisle of the local baby stores because truth is, it isn’t all about the price – but about the tiny details of each car seat that is so incredibly important. Why didn’t anybody tell me this?

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I had my son in a rear facing car seat from the moment he left the hospital until the day he outgrew it. With money being tight, I wasn’t able to afford a decent rear facing car seat. My heart sank. Now what? I had seen so much about the benefits of a rear facing seat for your kids until they were much older than what my son was at this point, but I just couldn’t afford it. I settled with a higher end front facing car seat, and oh how comfortable my little man was.

I made sure that our chosen car seat installed safely in our car and that it matched the weight, height and age of my son. Always be sure to try to have the seat you are buying fitted into your car and have your child sit in the seat before you purchase it. Most stores will allow you to do this. Some seats do not fit your car or your child, which is the first no-no! Having a seat that doesn’t properly fit in your car can be incredibly dangerous. So even if you can afford a rear facing car seat, make 100% sure that it fits safely in YOUR car. If it can’t install properly, according to the manual; it offers no protection in a crash.

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A few facts for when you are buying a car seat:

1. The base of the seat should not move more than an inch in any direction when you give it a firm shake.

2.The harness height on a forward facing seat should be in line with or just above the shoulders.

3.The head rest should be easy to adjust, so that your child’s head and neck are always protected.

4.You should never put a child under 13kg’s or 1 year old in a forward facing car seat. They need to be in a rear facing seat designed specifically for infants until 13kgs, or 75cm. Their bodies cannot withstand a crash at any speed forward facing when younger because their neck is incredibly weak and their head is a huge percentage of their body weight.

I’ve sadly come across moms who tried to keep their baby or child in a car seat for as long as possible to try and save money, however, you cannot keep your toddler in their baby car seat, nor put a baby in a toddlers car seat because they have each been created for specific weights and lengths for the safety of your child.

When browsing for car seats, you may come across seats that say they are from birth to 36kgs. These seats are much higher up to allow them to be used for older children. What this means is that the child is closer to the roof of the car than they should be, which can be incredibly dangerous in a roll over.

If you find yourself in a situation, like me – where you really cannot afford an exclusively rear facing car seat, then you need to use the above tips to ensure that you find the safest front facing seat for your child.

Moms, what I am saying is that your child’s car seat safety will never come cheaply. But it is worth every cent of investing in the best car seat that you can afford for your child. And if you find that the your best investment is in a front facing car seat, like I did – then make sure that you get the safest one that you can find that is in your budget.

Do your research, and follow a trusted source such as #CarseatFullstop. I find that just because another parent is suggesting one or another car seat brand, it is vital to do some research of your own with your own child.

With statistics saying that up to 93% of people aren’t strapping in their kids… We ALL know somebody who is adding to that number.

You have the power to save a little life.

One share, seen by one person, who straps in one child, saves a life.
#CarseatFullstop. Every child. Every time. No matter what.

Please follow us on our social media channels and share them to encourage others to follow along too.

https://www.facebook.com/CarseatFullstop/

https://twitter.com/CarseatFullstopxx

https://www.instagram.com/carseatfullstop/

https://plus.google.com/+CarseatfullstopOrg

Sign up for our newsletter

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support@carseatfullstop.org

If you have an old unused car seat gathering dust in your garage, please consider donating it to our very favourite NPO, Wheel Well. You can drop your seat at your closest Renault dealership and they will get the seat to Wheel Well. They will clean and safety check it, before giving it a new home with somebody in need for a small donation.

What kind of seat do you use for your little one? And please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

– One Modern Mom
http://instagram.com/onemodernmom

The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

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Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

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You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

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I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

Behind The Lens With Radz Photography

I recently shot with the very talented and creative Radiefa Peters from Radz Photography along the beautiful Sea Point Promenade. What a wonderful, strong team of women to work with – Hannah Kruyer from @shewolfsa who did my hair and makeup (I’ve never felt so beautiful) and my wardrobe from Movepretty.

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What I wanted to achieve was a special bond between mother and son. I do try to live a healthy and active lifestyle, and I try not to let being a mother and having a busy life with a toddler, being a work from home mom as an excuse to not have the time to be active – because it is so easy to include them in your workouts, especially from home or not in a gym environment.

I was nervous to climb into gym clothes and in front of the camera – exposing my jiggly mommy tum and prancing around showing it off in one of the most active areas in Cape Town – along the Promenade. But, WOW! I was immediately made feel comfortable and beautiful working with Radiefa (who just knew exactly what she was doing, the best angles and poses). The shoot was quick and simple. We were also blessed to have Hannah on our team who was fantastic to have on set. I think all in all, it was just the best group to work with.

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I got my photos back within the next few days, and was actually blown away by the photos. She just captured us beyond my expectations. Radiefa generally shoots weddings and fashion, and not so much children. But, she is incredibly talented and was just so gentle and guided us so well, that I would highly recommend working with her as a family.

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I was bursting with excitement to share this Behind The Lens with you. So, do keep reading to find out more about Radiefa and how she started in this highly competitive industry as a photographer:

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1. When did you first realize that you could make magic with a camera?
I’d say this was in 2011 after I shot my shot my first wedding! So much people commented after I posted my first wedding pic! Well let’s just say the rest is history lol or atleast still in progression.

2. How old were you when you picked up your first camera?
Hmm probably around 11 years old, My dads old compact camera.

3. What inspires you to keep going in this industry?
There’s obviously so much competition and it can become tough at times but I the fact that it’s my dream to be a photographer,travel and become internationally known, that’s definitely what keeps me going! Also, my lovely clients 🙂

4. Three facts about you…
Go Getter, Love to laugh & Be around happy people

5. A little paragraph on family life.
Family, something so close to my heart, the tears, laughter, fun, secrets.. things that are shared mostly with them.Family is enjoying each other’s company and spending a lot of time doing things together! Family is love. Family is Home.

6. What is your favourite content to photograph?
Happy People! I mostly photograph weddings but I thoroughly enjoy the random Family Portraits 😉

7. If you could choose one wedding to photograph, whose would it be, and why?
I haven’t thought about who yet but someone who would fly me over to Italy/Switzerland even Some tropical island! Yup,that will be EPIC hehe

8. We did a family, lifestyle shoot together, and you were amazing with my son, do you often do kids photography?
When I get asked to yes, I use to do it every weekend but lately I’ve been so busy shooting weddings

9. Your favourite memory since you’ve been in the industry?
Definitely when Kwaito legend Doc Shebeleza called me to shoot his surprise Wedding Anniversary gift to he’s wife! He asked her to re-marry him and he flew her down from Jhb to CPT just to do that! Eek how cute.

10. A few words of advice for someone starting out in the photography industry…
Shoot Shoot and Shoot some more! It’s the only way you going to perfect your lighting and techniques. Also, watch a few tutorials online and give yourself shooting goals!

11. How can we keep up to date with your latest work, specials and news?
You can find me on Facebook under –Radz Photography– , Instagram @radzphotography_cpt or simply email me on info@radzphotography.co.za

12. Lastly, what social platforms do you use to showcase the beautiful moments you capture?
Instagram Mostly but I’m quite active on Facebook as well.