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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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10 Romantic Valentines Day Ideas – Under R100!

Valentines Day can be a day of expectations and disappointment. In my own personal opinion, it is a money making day for businesses. However, it’s difficult to not find yourself feeling somewhat jealous or upset when you log onto social media and scroll down post after post of couples who are having romantic days.

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Money is tight for many, and this day can creep up on us very suddenly. We realize that we haven’t had a chance to go out and buy some special gift for our other half. It hits us – ‘he’s going to be so disappointed’, or ‘he’s going to be so sad when he realizes I haven’t made an effort’.

This is where I am stepping in – loving another person isn’t shown through materialistic gifts you can give to them. It isn’t shown by the amount of money you can spend.

So, I decided that I would share some romantic Valentines Day ideas with you, that won’t have you rushing out to the store, won’t have you wasting your hard earned money and that may also change your mindset on what the day is actually about.

  1. Set up a picnic in your garden, in your lounge or at your favourite outdoor place – because Valentines Day is in summer here in South Africa, it means that there is still plenty of light after work hours. Make dinner, as you would usually – perhaps some finger foods and set up a pretty picnic outside. Put on your favourite music, and just enjoy having some time together.
  2. Sundowners – always a hit! Take a drive to a place nearby that means something to the two of you as a couple. I love Chapmans Peak, but there are so many beautiful places to watch the sunset, have a drink and just spend some time investing in one another. There is nothing more peaceful than being outdoors surrounded by nature and each other.
  3. Go for a walk on the beach, grab an ice cream and a takeaway coffee, and just spend some time together chatting. It won’t cost you more than R100, and you’re more likely to actually spend time chatting, unlike when you’re in a busy restaurant.
  4. Netflix & Chill – it’s a real thing. Find a series or good movie to watch together, order in some takeaways and just enjoy being in each others presence. There’s nothing that reminds me more of when hubby and I first met than takeaway Chinese food and a funny series. This may even take you for a little walk down memory lane – and probably also more suitable for parents that aren’t able to escape for an evening.
  5. If you’re more of a sentimental couple – perhaps put together a few photographic memories in a special book. Something that you can update as the years go by. I did a little boudoir shoot for hubby last year, and put them into a book that was something special for his eyes only. It barely cost me anything, and effort is always appreciated.
  6. If you’d like to go out for dinner, suggest that you push your Valentines Day to a different day – all restaurants take advantage of the day, and it is totally overpriced! So, change the day, and go to your favourite restaurant or a new place you’d like to try on another day instead.
  7. Can’t escape the kids? Set something special up for them to enjoy and keep them entertained too. Maybe a special movie and snacks for them, while the two of you can have some quality time together. It is possible.
  8. Put on some sexy lingerie, that you already own. New or old lingerie doesn’t mean anything to a man when he’s looking at his woman with hardly any clothes on! Have confidence in your body, just the way it is and enjoy having some intimacy with your other half. This is so important, and it is something that can be put to the bottom of the priority list for so many couples, especially after you have kids.
  9. Make him something instead. Rather than going out and buying an overpriced box of chocolates – check out how to make your own on Pinterest. There are always such great ideas, that WORK. I always appreciate a little bit of effort, even when it is sometimes a flop.
  10. Take the time to write them a special letter telling them how much you appreciate them and all that they do for you. Whether it is long or short, even if you aren’t good at expressing yourself, a letter is something that catches so many off guard – in a good way! Put your thoughts and your wishes for the future onto a piece of paper, instead of an overpriced store bought card that hundreds of others have bought too.

 

That being said, I hate that a day of love is even out there. That something as important, intimate and fragile as love has become commercialized. Couples should treat each other with love every single day. One day should never make somebody feel worthless because they are unable to buy an overpriced bouquet of flowers for their wife or girlfriend or a silly card and chocolates for their man. For those of you that do this – good on you! But, I just feel that it can be a day that is incredibly hard for so many, and making others feel that they aren’t good enough because perhaps they don’t have the budget for a day like this, isn’t fair.


So, I hope that my suggestions shed some light on the day from my perspective. I also hope that some of you found a little spark in my ideas. Just love your partner, put down your phones, computers, and switch off the TV and just take time to listen to them. Talk. Laugh and enjoy your time with one another. That is what is most important. Getting to know the person who you are going through life with.

Have a beautiful day. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Flying With Children – Travelstart.

Traveling with children can be quite a challenging task, but flying with kids is a whole other ball game. We haven’t had the opportunity to fly with my three and a half year old son yet, which we hope to do soon once we find some cheap return flights to Cape Town at the right time – however, I chatted to a few friends of mine as well as family who have flown with their kids of all different ages. Many of them having only done short trips, and then some family members who have had longer international flights.

For some, they found it to not be as bad as they thought it would be, and for others it was the complete opposite. Each gave their own personal tips that they found worked for them, but each of them gave one piece of advice that was the same for all of them – PREPARATION. Preparation is key for many things in life, but it will save your sanity when flying with kids.

I just love this video about families who have flown with their kids put together by Travelstart which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPt5DTFE6iA

Here are a few of my own tips you can try when preparing for a flight:

– Collect some special activities for your kids – things that can be done without making a mess. Be sure to keep these packed away until you are in the airport or on the plane. You want them to be kept occupied and entertained. Make sure you find activities that are not disruptive to other passengers on the plane. Worrying about your kids disturbing others can be stressful.

– Make sure you have packed a change of clothing for your kids. Meals on the planes can easily be knocked over or drinks can be spilled. You don’t want your child to be restless and irritable because they are uncomfortable.

– Do research on flights and try to find the best suitable time to fly with your young family. Try to pick a time that your little ones would nap, or at a time where they are usually well rested, if a short flight. You’ll be kicking yourself if you’ve chosen a bad time that throws you all off.

– Be sure to educate your kids on flying. Make sure that they understand that they need to be respectful of other passengers. Also try and make it an exciting and special thing so that they see it as something fun rather than something they dread or are afraid of.

– Something I learnt from traveling a lot as a child with my family is TIME MANAGEMENT. Leave home early so that you have plenty of time. There may be an accident or traffic which means that you will be unexpectedly late or left with limited time. You never know what may come up with young kids in tow, so rather have an extra hour to waste than having to rush around frantically once you arrive at the airport. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re about to miss your flight!

– Double and triple check that you have everyones travel documents packed and in a safe place the night before, especially if you have a large family. Keep it all in one place so that it isn’t stressful when checking in and boarding.

Those are just a few of my tips, but see Travelstarts 10 Tips For Flying With Children below:

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Flying with your children should be an exciting adventure – for me, I still look back on our family trips, and the ones that stood out to me most were when we got to fly. I can’t wait to do some traveling with my small family, and my son chats excitedly about all of his dreams of going on an airplane oneday.

I would love to hear your tips on traveling with children. If you have done some flying, do share your advice on what you found worked. Or even share some funny stories about what went terribly wrong.

Wanting to do some traveling soon and on the hunt for Cheap Flights From Johannesburg to Cape Town and just awaiting some good deals? Check out some of Travelstarts amazing flight specials!

DISCLAIMER: This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart.

A Year Of Adventure.

I had first heard about the Adventure Clubs app that had recently made its appearance in South Africa shortly after Olly was born. It sounded like such fun, but there were a few things holding me back from actually giving it a try…

Firstly, I was a younger mom. I wasn’t sure that I would connect with any of the other moms who had booked to go on the same adventure. And, secondly, I was a bit nervous to go on an adventure without knowing anybody else.

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I had downloaded the app on my phone, and would frequently check out the new adventures loaded for my sons age in our area. I found myself feeling really bummed that I was missing out on so many fun activities happening so close to home. Things that my son was bound to love! I was also stopping myself from making new friends.

Believe it or not, it took me over three years to finally choose an adventure to go on, and boy, am I glad I finally took that leap! We chose a surfing adventure at one of our local beaches with Surf Emporium, where not only did they get a surf lesson with a trained instructor, but were also taught some important lessons about our environment and looking after our beaches. We chose the surfing lesson because it is something that is part of our lifestyle, and I was so keen to have Olly have a proper lesson with an instructor to give him some extra confidence. It was such a fun morning! We made some new friends, and of course, the kids just gel with the others without second thought.

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I honestly cannot believe that we hadn’t gone on an adventure sooner! Every week, there will be multiple adventures added to the app in different areas, ages and categories. The festive season had the App packed with baking gingerbread houses and making Christmas decorations as well as special safari rides and outdoor activities. You generally find that you get a discount for the activity in comparison to what you would be paying to do it if you didn’t go through the arranged adventure, and you may even find that the adventures are very specially arranged, and you wouldn’t be able to do it without it being through the Adventure Clubs.

The App is FREE to download, and then you simply add in your details and you can get ready to browse the list of adventures in either Cape Town, Johannesberg or Durban.

I wanted to give one of you the opportunity to WIN and experience an adventure valued at R300 (you can choose which adventure you would like to do) in your area.

Simply download the App and tell us which adventure you would choose if you won the prize! How simple is that?

And, you have an entire year (2018) to use your prize!

I hope that you enjoy the adventures as much as we have. And maybe we will even be on an adventure together soon!

— One Modern Mom

Images by Anneke Jagau

Shimmy Your Way Through Summer.

It has been awhile since I last visited Shimmy Beach Club. Probably about 4 and a half years since the last time to put it into perspective. I clearly remember dressing up for a night out with some girls, and having the best night ever!

Fast forward to today, I had kind of pushed the thought of revisiting out of my mind, because I just wouldn’t have a chance to with a kid in tow. There had been times when we visited the Waterfront where I saw the turn off to Shimmy at the circle, and imagined how perfect a place it would be to take my toddler to. With a divine swimming pool and beach sand – as well as it being outdoors and spacious. What I would do to return.

I was then told that Shimmy, in fact, has been misperceived as a venue that only caters for the rich and famous, as well as a venue for parties. I suppose I was one of those who once felt that way, having only really visited in the evenings many years ago for that very reason – to party!

I couldn’t wait to return – WITH my toddler this time.

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We had the best day ever! Words cannot actually begin to describe how relaxed I felt. That rarely happens. With two swimming pools – you’d think that being a mom with a toddler, you’d be stressed out more than ever, but with there being a lifeguard at each pool keeping close watch over your kids for that extra bit of safety, I was totally at ease knowing that if he happened to make his way to the pool without me seeing, there was somebody there to watch him.

 

They also have a large jumping castle set up in between the two pools which is directly in the middle of all seating areas. That way, parents can keep an eye on their kids from their tables or the pool. My 3 and a half year old son just loved this – especially once he was wet from the pool which helped him slide faster. There was a large variety of ages of kids, and they were all just as happy as the other!

Apart from that, there is also an indoor play area at Shimmy. Believe it or not, they have an au pair that looks after the kids. The play area is complete with everything a child could possibly need to keep busy and entertained. Jungle gyms, soft play, a ball pit, slides, an imaginary dress up corner and even an arts and crafts section. The au pair was divine, and each time I went back to check on my son, he had her close by helping him with the sand art he was busy with.

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The food was out of this world. I have never eaten so much, and having had the opportunity to taste a variety of options from their menu, I can confidently tell you, THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE!

I tried the following, and all were out of this world:

 


– Margarita Classico with fior di late , fresh tomato and basil (their pizzas are on the most decadent thin base, I have never tasted anything like it before! They do have a cauli base too).
– Burgers were all homemade and the patty was light weight and very tasty – I also enjoy mine well basted, which they were. Absolutely divine!
– We had veggie and cheese spring rolls which were the nicest I’ve ever had in my entire life. The pastry was crispy and fresh, and very thin. It came with the most incredible dip!
– Chicken kebabs (fresh, well-seasoned and extremely tender!)

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– Kids had the chicken strips with chips – it is a generous portion of both, and the chicken wasn’t oily which I love. It will definitely full up your little ones tummies!
– The kids then finished off their day with a bowl of ice cream & chocolate sauce – it’s not just any vanilla ice cream, and again – the portion size is generous. The chocolate sauce is melted dark chocolate which I even licked out of the bowl after pouring it over his ice cream!!!

*The table was also given a sushi platter, but I don’t eat sushi – so I can’t rate it. But it looked amazing. Shimmy is also the first restaurant in Cape Town to offer carb conscious sushi – which means that they change the sushi rice to cauliflower rice which has been raved about!

The menu offers a wide variety of food which means that nobody gets left out! They have incredible cocktails, which is what I loved about Shimmy when I used to visit before I fell pregnant. I personally find their prices to be affordable (after having experienced the value for money and the amount of food and quality of food you are getting).

I have to admit that I was worried that I would feel a bit self-conscious getting into my costume with the group of people I imagined being there – but within the first 10 minutes, we were in our costumes and joining other families in the pool. There was a lovely group of people – tourists, families, grandparents, older couples and ladies coming for a cocktail and some tanning. Not once did I feel that it was superficial. I actually felt as if I was on holiday at a resort. It sort of reminded me of being in Mauritius as a teenager.

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I will definitely be back. I think Shimmy has moved to the top of my list for sunny weekend mornings with my family. We really did have such a wonderful day, and my son is already asking me when we can go back!

If you are visiting Cape Town, or live here – do make sure to visit Shimmy when you are in Town area. They are just around the corner from the V&A Waterfront. You won’t be sorry! Your kids will thank you, and you can finally have that much needed glass of bubbly to reward yourself for all of your hard work as a parent! Take advantage of the au pair, and be sure to take your swimming togs and kids armbands!

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You can see their menu ahead of time, as well as any other information on their website: http://www.shimmybeachclub.com/

I hope you do go and visit, and also hope that when you do, your experience is just as wonderful as our was today! Can we go back now?

#ShimmyFamily

Hello Vegas!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photography: @radzphotography_cpt
Also featured: @oursunshinejourney

Introducing New Christmas Traditions – The Elf On The Shelf.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Christmas Tradition

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

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


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

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

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

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

It has become exciting all over again.

Amazing what a little soul can do.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Extra Daily Boost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And

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

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

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