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.

 

 

Swinging Into Winter.

Some of my most relaxing memories of my childhood were swinging in our family hammock out on the balcony of our house on a sunny day. I’d often find myself dozing off after finishing my homework, while reading a book or even while studying! That feeling of gently swinging while listening to the birds singing, or the cars drive past on the distant streets, I always just found it all strangely therapeutic. I’m sure you can relate.

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I decided that Olly was old enough to enjoy a hammock now too. And although these photographs only show him enjoying it outdoors, I’m working on getting hooks put indoors so that he can enjoy looking at books while swinging in his hammock when it’s too cold or wet outside. I always wished to have one inside, as there were so many times I couldn’t use our hammock in the cold winter months.


I love this one in particular. It reminds me of a fishing net. Its a nice clean colour, with an organic, wooden looking detail. It’s so easy to have in any home because it compliments anything you already have. I did find that toddlers are tricky in hammocks simply because they are unable to shift their weight like we do. But, it’s almost a blessing in disguise because he keeps still deliberately. 😉

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I wouldn’t leave him unattended it the hammock yet just because of the above. I still like to check to make sure that his weight is even so that he doesn’t fall out, but he loves it, and asks to go in his ‘mock’ all the time. I must just suggest that with this particular hammock, you need to pull it as tight as you can to attach to your hooks, as it does sink quite low once you apply weight. It is strong enough to hold adults too, so it’s a great investment as your entire family can enjoy it!

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You can find them on the Clever Little Monkey website: https://cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/product/woven-hammock/

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I actually wish hubby would get our hooks up for us with this crazy, stormy Cape Town weather. There’s nothing like a gentle swing in a hammock, wrapped up with blankets while reading a good book listening to the rain pour down. But, we will have it up soon, and have an entire, long winter ahead of us.

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Also featured in the photographs are the following:

Fox Scatter: https://cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/product/fox-scatter/
Little Bear Scatter: https://cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/product/little-bear-scatter/

Adventure Tribal Scatter: https://cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/product/adventure-tribal-scatter/

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Keep checking regularly for updates on Clever Little Monkey, as there may be another giveaway coming up before too long, and they really do have the most amazing collection of goodies!

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Instagram: @cleverlittlemonkey
Website: http://www.cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cleverlittlemonkey

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PLEASE NOTE: The hammock DOES NOT come with the wooden stand shown in some of the photographs!!!

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A huge thank you to Lerone’ Lazenby from LaBelle Vita Foto for the photos of Olly in the hammock next to the pool. The other photos were taken by me: @onemodernmom

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaBelleVitaFoto/
Instagram: @labellevitafoto

The Power Of Touch.

Hands up if, as a parent, you’ve heard something along the lines of ‘stop smothering your child’. Well … don’t! Today I talk about how important the power of touch actually is, and how it differs from child to child.

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If you’re anything like most parents, you don’t want to stop kissing, cuddling and feeling your baby’s delicate skin. Truth is, this rarely changes as your kids grow from babies to toddlers to young children. Many parents have mentioned that they’ve heard remarks like ‘stop smothering your child’. Well… don’t!

Want to know why? Touch is the first of our senses to develop. Touch is a love language. Touch plays a huge role for babies even before they enter the world. Think back to the days you spent lying down and stroking your belly, enjoying the little flutters in your stomach. Then, as baby grew, they started responding to your belly strokes and tickles.

Once a mother has given birth, direct skin-to-skin contact has proven to provide a number of benefits for your infant. Months pass by and the story doesn’t change… a simple kiss on your little one’s stomach can have them cooing with a toothless smile on their face. I loved massaging my little boy after his baths, and I continue to do this. He often goes from wild child to completely calm in a matter of minutes.

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Touch gives you a sense of security. How do you feel when you’re scared or anxious, and your other half gives you a tight hug? Or when you’re upset or happy and a parent or family member holds you close? You feel safe, calm, and loved.

Some children get over stimulated by too much touch, so be sure to understand your child’s body language so that you know when to stop. Light touch (stroking, rubbing etc.) is more likely to make a sensory sensitive child reach his brim faster, but firm pressure (hugs, rough-and-tumble play, massages and playful squeezes) are calming and reassuring for almost all children – and adults for that matter.

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Many believe that a parent’s touch wears off as a child gets older. False! An older child needs your physical attention just as much. The way you administer it just changes a bit, like a hand on the back, a bear hug or even playing a game with your child that requires skin contact. Skin contact releases positive brain chemicals which will leave both you and your child feeling happy and loved.

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The power of touch is a mind blowing thing. Sometimes we struggle to describe how much we love our child in words, yet a simple hug can explain it all in a matter of seconds. Holding their hand can trigger an out pour of emotions which could have been trapped inside before. A gesture as simple as placing your hand on your child’s shoulder and saying ‘I understand’ or ‘I forgive you’ can move mountains.

So, I encourage you to ignore opinions on how much touch is too much for your child. You know your child’s needs more than anybody else – positive touch is healthy and crucial for children, just as it is for you and me. Touch is a powerful healing tool and is vital for building your child’s confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

XX – @onemodernmom

PS. Be sure to click ‘subscribe’ if you’d like to get an email when a post gets published. I would hate for you to miss out on any new topics or giveaways!

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments tab below!

A Toddlers Essentials – Mumu & Me

Funnily enough, for a change Mumu & Me stumbled upon me and wanted to find out more about my blog. I sometimes am quite reluctant to review brands that contact me – but went over to their website to see what their brand was about.

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I logged on, and instantly felt a content feeling rush over me. Beautiful, clean photography that showed off their products well. An easy to navigate website that was simple and uncluttered, and lovely products.

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I chatted to Elizabeth, mom and owner behind the brand – and wanted to find out a little bit more about her company. After a few emails, I chose a couple of products I wanted to try out.

I love everything about stripes on kids. The navy and white striped long sleeve tee won it’s way to my heart immediately. They had his size! Yes!!! Add to cart. I then went on over to the toy section and fell in love with the wooden ‘ABC Sorting’ . Olly is surprisingly quite good with his letters, even though he calls them numbers – but knows the alphabet off by heart and can even fill in the gaps when I sing the alphabet to him and stop at random numbers. But seeing letters is of course a totally different thing. I was curious to see how he would react to the activity.

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He loved it! He squealed with delight when he opened the box and immediately found the closest seat, sat down, put his head down and got stuck in. I was honestly quite surprised to see how well he did at such a young age. I am a sucker for educational toys, and I must be honest by saying that I was really hoping that there wouldn’t be any little splinters or anything in the wood, and that the wood would be neatly sanded down. IT WAS! Joy.

Olly continues to love this activity, it’s a toy that he won’t ever lose interest in. He always goes back to it.

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The long sleeve is stunning. The stripes make those gorgeous blue eyes stand out and there’s just something about the cut that really makes him look so cute! The top is flawless, and I love that on the inside tag, Elizabeth has taken the time to add a little scripture verse. I love it when people add a little something that not only makes a product unique – but tells the buyer a little bit about who they are and what they stand for.

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Their entire range of products are lovely. I felt that they had some handmade toys that are available elsewhere, but made beautifully – such as their kids wooden cameras. They have made them beautifully and with a bit of a twist.

There are stunning birthday party gifts for kids available – such nice ideas for kids between the age of 1-5 (to be safe). Their products are handmade with care and with every little detail worried about.

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They are totally child safe, and I love that I don’t have to worry about having Olly choke on anything that may fall off.

I am so happy that Mumu & Me got in touch with me, I would have lost out and have been so sad to not have the opportunity to share such a lovely small, local brand with you.

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Definitely get your hands on some of their long sleeve tees for your little ones for this Winter. They are a winter wardrobe essential and unisex!

Check out their social media platforms:

Instagram: @mumuandme_shop
Website: www.mumuandmeshop.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mumuandmeblog/

 

A Morning of Appreciation.

A couple weeks back I found an invitation to the Kids Emporium Bloggers breakfast in my email inbox. Having always loved Kids Emporium since my journey through pregnancy and motherhood, it was more than that – it was two other more important things. Firstly, I remember back to about a year ago, my mom had visited and left behind a little cut out of Lauren’s (founder of KE) inspirational story of how she started Kids Emporium, and her journey to becoming such a successful ‘mompreneur’. Back then, I felt motivated and encouraged by her article in the newspaper. Secondly, being recognized as a blogger felt totally rewarding.

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Lauren De Swardt inspiring us!

Fast forward to today. Leaving the house toddler-less, and having a reason to slap on some makeup, straighten my hair and to feel pretty felt pretty damn good. Arriving at a beautiful location, and being greeted by a room full of amazing bloggers was magic! Knowing that we all had totally different stories to tell, but one thing in common – being moms was refreshing. All open, raw and real moms who aren’t afraid to speak about the realities of parenting – the good, the bad and the ugly.

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With the beautiful Cassan Ferguson from http://www.leatherjacketfoxes.com

I think I experienced about 20 emotions in the three hours I was there. I felt appreciated, respected and honoured. I felt that for one of the first times in my three years of blogging, was it actually seen for what it truly is. Being a blogger is hard work. With it being one of my main forms of income, and where I spend many hours of each day – I finally felt like somebody understood what it takes to create a platform for moms to turn to to feel like THEY are understood and where they can relate and realize that what they are going through is absolutely normal and that they are NOT ALONE!

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Lauren has honestly left me feeling like I am worthy. That WE are worthy. This morning wasn’t all about blogging. It was about us. The real moms that are sitting behind the computer screens. The moms that juggle kids, school drops, errands, work, cooking, home maintenance and still try to keep themselves remotely sane. The moms that find themselves awake at night rocking their crying baby to sleep just praying that the other kids in the house won’t wake up because of the noise. The moms who work so incredibly hard and have to sacrifice time with their kids because they need to earn a salary. The moms who work from home, and the moms who stay home with their kids. She made us feel that none of it is easy, and none of it should ever be underestimated – because no matter which mom you are, you work bloody hard each day.

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I still feel emotional even typing this, but I felt like I needed to touch on today, because I truly did leave feeling like I haven’t felt in such a long time. It was a power house in that room today. Women that were not afraid to speak about their feelings. Strong women from all walks of life, together, in one room all motivating, encouraging and helping one another.

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We walked away with not only have had one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, good coffee, and mimosa’s. It wasn’t the divine gift boxes we received or the gorgeous cactus. It was about the personalized notes of encouragement – it was about the support and the words that we left with that will remain with me forever. New friendships, and support groups.

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From today onwards, I pledge to always be real on my blog. Because if I can encourage, motivate or give ONE mom some advice that will change her life – then that is enough for me. We all deserve to feel worthy and loved as moms. We all have our days that we feel like crap, days where we feel like we are the worst moms to our kids, maybe a terrible wife/partner – but even we have our bad days – and that’s ok! And we need to know that it’s ok.

Thank you to Lauren De Swardt and the Kids Emporium team for leaving me feeling appreciated and respected. For a beautiful morning that I will never forget. You ladies are gold! And to the sponsors – Nutribullet SA, Elizabeth Arden & Thompsons Holiday, THANK YOU!

 

— One Modern Mom x

A Cowboys Wonderland.

A bedroom fit for a royal cowboy, built by an empire of local companies was created just a few months ago. Set in a little castle on a hill with the view of the ocean and the mountain became home to little Oliver.

His mommy spent months and months doing research on the best local, mostly mommy owned home and decor companies that were based in South Africa. Having picked out what would work the very best for this magical land of Olly’s with the help of the very talented Lauren McCreath, we set to work. First working on a story behind the bedroom that would be a true reflection of the little cowboy himself, we decided on a wonderland that would be authentic to his life.

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Cue, hand crafted rocking horses, whimsical origami horses that gallop around with the gentle breeze that invites itself in through the window, and a magical light that enters the room late afternoon. The white curtains delicately blow on a sunny afternoon while he exits reality and enters his imagination station. With the wooden blocks being built high, and all of his beautiful, handmade soft toys being unpacked, I sit quietly on the soft rug, sipping on my tea whilst watching my toddler play so contently in his own world.

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The tiny details still have me take second glances and leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. The wooden book ledges, filled with all of his favourite stories that we love reading together oh so much, some having been mine that I remember reading with my mommy with such fond memories, that I can now retell him without even looking. The wooden memory blocks that have his birth information on piled up one on top of the other complete with three scripture verses that have molded my life, that I hope to influence his too as he grows up.

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Little Olly can be heard from downstairs racing his cars or playing with his plastic animals up and over the beautiful hills and forest that were hand painted by the incredibly talented Nadine from Sugar Knox. Having been requested to do the mural just two days before the shoot, she created this masterpiece without a second thought.

There’s the little touches of greenery that were purposefully placed around the room, to bring in some life, some nature – some natural beauty. The sweet glass jar with a dinosaur just to add a touch of something unique. This room, it’s magic. Every corner you look, you will find yourself mesmerized by something new that will jump out at you and catch your attention. Each shelf, uncluttered, but complete with truly beautiful, special things that are personalized, but are available right on your doorstep!

A tent bed hand made by little Olly’s daddy, perfect for stories and adventurous dreams – complete with an inside light for stories and chats. A little wooden desk and bench placed purposefully with educational activities in mind, as well as a sweet wooden bunny stool which he loves to sit on when ‘reading’ stories to his soft toys.

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A task that was completely new to me, but one of the most exciting adventures I’ve ever been on. My dream for the bedroom was not only to create something truly magical, but to support these smaller companies, and to hopefully gain some extra exposure for them. My wish was to end up in a magazine that would show off their work, their talent. We all end up shopping at the huge stores, and we forget that there is so much available right on our doorstep. You can literally shop online, with the right resources and create an entire bedroom by simply clicking ‘add to cart’.

I had absolutely no idea how much was actually available out there until I really educated myself by doing the research. So, I have decided to do the work for you. You can find below the list of companies who I collaborated with to make this magical bedroom come alive. This being said, I couldn’t have gotten past Day 1 without Lauren McCreath Interiors and Leslie Hochfellner by my side. You two literally saved my sanity, and helped create something truly spectacular. Thank you.

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So, last but not least, our dreams came true and Garden & Home came in to shoot the bedroom. We are so blessed to have been featured in such a well loved South African magazine. You can also see more of their features on their website: http://www.gardenandhome.co.za/

But, please do get your hands on the May 2017 (available now) issue to see the complete article on how we managed to transform the bedroom.

Bedroom Photography: Karl Rogers



Stockist List:
You can find most of these stores on Instagram & Facebook

Rocking Horse: My Little Woods
Chalk Board: Simply Child
Lorena Canals Aztec Rug: Clever Little Monkey
Black Crochet Rug: Dragonfly Twist
Wall Mural: Sugar Knox
Origami Horse Mobile: Mononoke
Floating Shelves: Simply Child
Block Shelves: Simply Child
Wooden Stump: Coral & Hive
Teepee Cushions: Kideroo
Indian Floppie Darling: Floppie
Racoon: Lily & Grace
Personalized Blocks: Work of Heart
Wooden Rainbow: Sprouts Kids Co.
Bunny Stool: Dovetail
Desk & Bench: KE Manufacturing
Macrame Wall Hanging: Tigerlily Tots
Monochrome Soft Pot: Scandi Home Decor
Round Playmat: LittleME Decor
Campfire Plushie: Clever Little Monkey
Horse Stool: Fox & Moon
Pallet Crate: The Storage Studio
(INSIDE CRATE)
Monochrome Bear: Panda & Frost
Brown Bear (Front): La Fede
Brown Bear: Clever Little Monkey
Fox: Clever Little Monkey Monochrome
Monochrome Fox: Squiggle & Squeak
Lamp: Illumina Lighting

Bed: Timbertouch
Duvet Cover: Clever Little Monkey Green
Blanket: H&M Monochrome
Cushion: Bunny & Clyde
Terracotta Fox: La Fede
Mustard Cushion: Clever Little Monkey
Back Cushion: H&M
Monochrome Felt Garland: Simply Child

Fake Tree: Mr Price Home
Paper Storage Bag: Little Love Kids
Cactus Prints: Homie
Monochrome Soft Pot (on shelf): Scandi Home Décor

Shelf above bed:
Wooden Accessories: Nanook Furniture
Personalized Acrylic sign: Ma Petite SA
Side Table: Stylists Own
Curtains: Woolworths

On Table:
Wooden Nesting Dolls: Tigerlily Tots
Fox Head: Stowe & so
Wooden House: H&M
Wooden Blocks: Nanook Furniture
Wire Baskets: H&M
Blue Wooden Cross: Rose & Vickory

Olly Wears: Romper by Little i
Wooden Crosses: Rose & Vickory
House Blocks: Nanook Furniture
Nesting Dolls: Tigerlily Tots
Bunny Chalk Board: H&M

Illustrations on Wall: Bright Owl
Grey Blanket: Sprouts Kids Co.
‘Lala Bubba’ nightlight: Lily & Grace
Moose Picture Frame: H&M
Leather Shoes: Grace Leathers
Peg Men: Rose & Vickory