Sunshine. My Only Sunshine.

A little boy feels lonely. He wonders what it would be like to find a little girl to befriend and love.

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He sees a shape in the distance, and notices beautiful long hair dancing in the breeze, golden – having been caught by the sunlight. She’s coming towards him. Her frilly white dress swaying as she runs in his direction.

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And, in a moment, she stands there. As if she had been there all along. It all felt normal. She belonged. Just as beautiful as he had imagined.

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He finally, for the first time truly felt complete. Just having her around, even without having to exchange words – they were just meant to be friends.

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For the rest of their lives, they enjoyed summer afternoons picnicking and being in their favourite place – where they met.

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He always treated her like the princess she was. 

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He loved her for her imperfections, for he believed that that was what made her perfect. And that, that is the truest form of love.

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The End.


 

Photography: Criene Images
Wardrobe: Minimi Atelier
Set Styling: Lauren McCreath Interiors

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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

Just Me,You & The Love Box.

Your relationship – It’s golden. It’s valuable. It’s something that you couldn’t imagine your life without.

We threw a kid into the mix quite early into our relationship. Pressure. Emotions. A new tiny, perfect being to adjust all of our attention to. All of it. We get the love, cuddles, and feeling of being needed by someone that we once craved and received from our partner. Conversations become revolved around his day at work and my day at home with baby. And on weekends we spend our day taking turns on napping so we can catch up on sleep. And it goes on. It’s as if our relationship is on repeat. Instead of moving forward.

A relationship was never meant to be easy, just like most things in life. The things that are valuable always need to be worked towards. And, in this case – money cannot buy a healthy relationship.

As a couple, we found that something was lacking in our relationship. We just weren’t talking quite as much.. you know that happy chatter that naturally takes place when you’re driving in the car. The sweet conversations about nothing in particular. It’s quite normal really. So, it’s not like there was anything bad going down in our relationship.

We just realized that we needed to start investing more time and attention on one another. Something that is such an essential in a relationship. Talking, focusing, paying attention and listening to the other person. We change so much as time goes by. We change when we become parents. Our passions, desires and hobbies change. We make new friends, we stumble across new things that interest us. And, without talking to our other half, we lose out on knowing what is going on in the others life.

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I came across The Love Box. A fellow local blogger, who owns a blog called Date Nights. Her blog is packed with the most real and beautiful content. She provides advice on date night ideas, chats about her journey and shares the most insightful information on all sorts of things that are relationship based.

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One can order the Love Box on her blog for R595 (FREE DELIVERY NATIONWIDE). The purpose of the box is for it to come out on date night with all sorts of goodies inside which can add a little spark, and intimacy. Intimacy isn’t only sexual by the way. The box has a little voucher book inside as well as a pack that is labeled ‘Let’s Talk’ which has mini cards inside with really important questions to ask your partner. This starts a really valuable conversation and gives you both the opportunity to understand the other and to learn something new about the other. I was honestly amazed at the answers I received.

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We enjoyed our Love Box while we were away (See article: https://onemodernmomblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/a-wintery-mini-getaway/) We enjoyed our slab of dark chocolate with the candle burning, chatting away through the questions, and then enjoyed a massage with the divine massage oil that was also included in the box. I even got a chance to have a divine candle lit bath with the bath salts (David is too tall for the bath, hahaha) and felt so relaxed when I got out. There is so much thought put into the boxes, and I think that something like this is such fun, and so beneficial to a relationship.

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You can order your box here: https://datenights.co.za/product/the-love-box-4/
And, also subscribe to her blog so that you can get some ideas and do some valuable reading to help keep your relationship healthy.

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A healthy relationship will leave you and your entire family feeling happier! Check out her social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mydatenights/
Instagram: @mydatenights

BONUS: The first five readers who order The Love Box can use this coupon code: OMMLoveBox

I would love to hear about your experience with yours if you order one in the future. They are such fun! And such a clever idea.

 

A Wintery Mini-Getaway.

Writing this post on a stormy winter-like evening wrapped up in a blanket in front of a fire, sipping on a hot, creamy cup of Milo is quite possibly the best way to relive our mini-getaway to Riverstone House over the weekend. When I heard that it was going to be stormy mid-week, I actually decided to wait until now to write about our time away, because I figured that I would be able to play with my mind, and take it back to Saturday evening out in the rainy Wolseley.

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Five years is a decent amount of time with a partner. Add a child into the mix, and you might as well triple that time. Your relationship becomes THAT much more serious, and life becomes so real – financially, and emotionally. Life runs away with us, and we often forget to prioritize our relationships – one on one time with our partners. Something that is so incredibly vital not only for ourselves, but for our kids too!

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Olly was born 2 years and 9 months ago, and I’m embarrassed to admit that David and I haven’t spent a night away (together) without him since he was born. We’ve had the occasional date night, but we’ve had such a desire to actually go away, but just haven’t taken the step.

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So, our 5 year anniversary arrived, and we decided, what better way to celebrate US than to go away for a night, just the two of us. I hunted high and low, and just couldn’t find a place that stood out to me. I didn’t want to go somewhere that would have 100 distractions, but I also didn’t want to end up feeling bored…

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I came across the gorgeous Riverstone House which is situated in Wolseley. For those of you (like me) who had no idea where that is, it’s close to Ceres, Tulbagh, Riebeek Kasteel and Worcester. Just a short hour and a half drive from Cape Town. I booked without thinking twice, not only because of the friendly response I received from Candice, their booking agent – but also because of the trendy, up to date interior of the beautiful home.

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I was so looking forward to our time away, and the day finally arrived. It felt so strange simply packing two bags and not having to pack an entire car with kids toys, clothes, toiletries, etc. We took a slow drive up, stopped at a cute farmers market to get some groceries (as it is self-catering) and then arrived. We drove up the dirt road, past their blueberry tunnels and drove up our drive way between their pear trees. We pulled up to the house, and I couldn’t get inside fast enough.

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Walking through the front doors, directly into the open plan kitchen which looks into the lounge and dining room. I was actually in awe – honestly, I think I spent the first day just talking about how beautiful the house was, and about what I loved most, and how I would do anything to live in a house just like it. I then made my way through the house so I could decide which out of the four bedrooms we should sleep in. The two main bedrooms have fire places, which was PERFECT for the windy, rainy night we were about to encounter.

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We cooked a delicious dinner, made so incredibly easy with the kitchen being so well equipped. I kid you not, if you ever got stuck there, you would have everything you’d ever need, from general cooking utensils to coffee plungers to baking utensils – even cookie cutters! We didn’t have to wash a single dish as we could simply pack the dishwasher and forget about the mess! The kitchen is huge, and just so gorgeous. Perfect for if you went away with a family or with a large group of people.

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We had so much fun cooking together, chatting and laughing about silly things. Something that so rarely happens for us when we are back home for some reason.

I think I potentially had one of the best baths I’ve had since having a child. I spent about 40 minutes having a candle lit bubble bath, while sipping on a hot cup of coffee.

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With there being no tv, we actually spent time after dinner TALKING to each other and focusing on just the two of us over a glass of wine, enjoying the gentle sound of rain. We snuggled up and went to bed early, both feeling totally content and relaxed. We fell asleep quickly in such a comfy bed. There’s just something about down feather duvets!

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We woke up early the next morning, but managed to fall back asleep and had the first opportunity in years to sleep in until about 9:30am! Magic! We had a slow morning, made french toast for breakfast and then went for a walk around the farm. We walked down to the river and then up between the pear trees. The crisp, fresh air leaving our noses bright red. Laughing while we walked hand in hand together, feeling like kids fresh in love again as we breathed out ‘smoke’ from the icy air. I was truly content.

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We then made our way back to the house, and just relaxed in the lounge area, drinking yet another cup of coffee, and just taking in the beauty surrounding us, our time together as well as the amazing decor that had so thoughtfully been placed in their particular places.

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I found that it was the simple things that really made my heart skip a beat. The bowl of lemons between two beautiful lanterns with white candles placed on the wooden dining table. The fresh palm leaves in the over sized jar on a little table in the corner of the dining room. The deer head on the wall between the bedrooms and the one bathroom.

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The gorgeous, over-sized cushions on the couch that begged you to just dive onto it and sink in while reading a good magazine. Each bedroom being unique in its own way… the jar with everything in that you may have left at home, be it a razor, plasters, tablets, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. The little hand picked purple flowers that were delicately placed in each bedroom on the towels just to make you know that you’ve been thought of as they have made up the house for you.

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I’m struggling to explain in words just how perfect and wonderful the Riverstone House truly is. I wish I could just take you all with me. You all know that I’m about supporting local, and something that made me so proud was that in different spots in the house, they have framed photographs that show selected nearby businesses. For instance a wall featuring beautiful horse back rides, and a little note telling you all about them and how you can get in touch with them to book your ride while you’re there. I love this!

Riverstone House is a free standing house with four bedrooms – two main rooms with a double bed and a fire place, and other bedrooms (one with three single beds; and one with two single beds). This means that the house sleeps 9 people – that’s two families. There are also two huge bathrooms, both with a shower and a bath, one toilet and two basins. The kitchen has two washing machines, and a dishwasher. A gas stove, with a gas kettle as well as a normal kettle. A huge oven which begs have a home cooked meal or some baking done in it, as well as a microwave and a large fridge.

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There is a fenced off grassy area outside, which is perfect for when you have kids with you, as just down the stairs is a river. This way, you know that they are safe when they are playing outdoors. It is also pet-friendly which means you can take your dogs with you (they even have a dog bowl in their cupboard!!!) and you know that they have an area that is secure if need be. They are allowed indoors too, but aren’t allowed on the furniture, and if they mess on anything, it’s at your own expense. But, I think that it is quite amazing to be allowed to take your dogs into such a beautiful home.

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I found that this was just the perfect place for David and I to escape to. It was quiet, secluded, and peaceful. And it encouraged us to sit down and to focus on US.

Whether you’re looking to go away with just your partner, your entire family or with a group of friends – this is such a perfect place! It’s even a cool idea for a Bachelorrette or your honeymoon! Spacious, open plan and totally inviting for memories to be made.

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If you are a lover for good decor – then this is the place for you! Seriously. My photos do NOT do it justice. I have taken a little video tour which I hope to get up early next week – but for now, I hope that my explanation has given you a good idea of how amazing it was. I wish we could have stayed longer! But, we had a little munchkin to get back to, and we also had to get back to reality before we decided to stay forever!

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Thank you Riverstone House for your amazing hospitality, for understanding just how vital it is to focus on your relationship, for your personalized note and little treats. We left feeling so spoilt, relaxed and ready to take on the next five years! We hope to see you again soon. Til next time…

I just saw that they have a third fireplace that is being installed inside the house.. that’s THREE fireplaces in one home. Perfect for winter! And it’s also a perfect place to stay this winter being so close to Ceres!

Head over to their social media platforms so that you can see their own video of their stunning location:

Website: http://www.theriverstonehouse.co.za/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theriverstonehouse/

Please do subscribe so you don’t miss any of my posts, and especially so that you don’t miss any upcoming giveaways!

Instagram: @onemodernmom
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onemodernmom/

 

Love Them A Little Harder. Live In The Now.

Most of you know Angela Rea by now, beautiful mama to sweet Elijah. She features quite regularly on my blog. But, many of you aren’t aware of her story. Angela lost her husband, tragically two years ago. Darrell was and will remain a hero in many of our hearts. He saved many lives from blazing fires as he sacrificed uncountable hours away from his family to put out fires in a helicopter. Angela has written this very beautiful, yet heart wrenching article on her memories that will remain with her forever, as well as where she is at this point of her life.



I lied at our wedding. When I said I would love Darrell till death do us part I lied. I still love him and always will. Just because he is not here anymore does not mean I love him any less. We never fell out of love nor never got bored of each other, we never wanted to leave each other or in fact. E separated in anyway. We wanted to be by each other’s side forever. Doing life with each other, being each other’s number one. He was my hero, my soul mate, my husband, the father of my son.

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Two years. Two whole years have passed since I last heard Darrell’s very distinctive footsteps echoing all the way down the passage of our old Victorian house for the last time. It feels like only a second ago he was squeezing my hand while we both cried when we heard our baby’s heart beating for the first time. But also a life time ago. It feels like a life time ago since he looked at me with his twinkly, long lashed, blue eyes, half smiling whilst trying to convince me to make him his morning cup of coffee at 5am. Which I always gladly did. I was always rewarded with a lovely big snuggle in bed and then the most imperfectly made cup of Earl Grey. I never told him. I always drank it.

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For those that do not know, my husband, Darrell Norman Rea (I never used to be able to say his very serious sounding name without a giggle and now I cry when I say it) died tragically on duty putting out fires in a helicopter accident on 22 April 2015. He was 39 years old. He was the chief pilot at the company he worked for and was an exceptionally gifted pilot and instructor and just altogether my favourite person in the whole world.

Looking back on these two years I struggle to remember most of it. My head seems as it it has been stuffed with cotton wool and I have acquired a sort of amnesia, grief induced. In that time Elijah has continued to sprout up, at times I feel a bit robbed as I seemed to have missed a lot of it. I will not say that I have grown as a person over these passed years as I feel like I am constantly swimming upstream and periodically having my head dunked under water. But I am definitely more present now. Elijah, the two and a half year old is such a joy. He looks like me but he has his fathers height (thank goodness for that!) and coloring. He has also definitely inherited his fathers charm and is always smiling and saying hello to strangers in the shop.
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Five months after Darrell’s tragic death, Elijah, Floppy the dog, Millie the dog and Dinah, Moses, Spider Pig and I all moved from our beloved Tulbagh, a very small town in the Western Cape to Cape Town. It was ,in hindsight, too soon to make any major life decisions but it was necessary. Life was such a blur at that stage that waking up was just an effort. But it was the right move and it has been lovely reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. When tragedy strikes it really does show you who your true friends are and I am eternally grateful for those of you who picked me up and kept me going. Also who can say no to having three sets of fantastic grandparents close by.


When I think about our idyllic life in sleepy Tulbagh I get so homesick. I miss Darrell so much, but I also miss the mountains, the space, my friends, our beautiful home, our garden. The garden we both worked side by side to create something outstanding out of almost rubble, obviously helped along by Tulbagh’s fertile soil. I miss the vineyards, the orchards in Spring, the place we got married, the crazy Main Road on a Saturday morning. I miss Darrell.

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If I close my eyes tight enough while sitting in my new house in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and listen to all the suburban sounds around me I can almost imagine I never left Cape Town for Tulbagh, never married Darrell, never truly felt loved or knew what it is to be in love, and that all frightens me so much. This is what keeps waking me up at night. Literally my worst nightmare. And then I open my eyes and I just want to remember. I want and need to remember all the mundane things, every time he changed Elijah’s nappy, every time he cooked me dinner, every time I fetched him from the airport, every time I went to meet him at his helicopter with his favorite ice lolly. Every time he made me smile. Every time he held my hand. Every time I said goodbye to him and told him to fly safe.

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