Getting Creative – Ceres Fruit & Water Swirl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

#CeresFruitJuice


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

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Saving Money With LG NeoChef Microwave Oven Grill.

Goodness Gracious! Where do I even begin?
When David and I moved in together back in 2012, we didn’t have a large budget for going on a wild shopping spree to purchase new appliances and household items.
But, with me moving in straight from my parents home, and him moving from sharing a place with a friend, we were basically starting from scratch.

Cue, family members from all over wanting to do their part by handing down an old appliance or some ‘must-have’ pots and pans that were, quite frankly long past their life expectancy. For the past few years we have been using an ancient Convection Microwave, BUT, the one time I did use the convection, I swore to never use it again!

My mom is an avid baker. She swears by her convection oven for 99% of her baking. As we grew up, our birthday cakes and any other baked goods were religiously done in that oven. I only realized just how much of a lifesaver that was when I became a mom, AND when we started having to cover our own electricity bills.

When LG contacted me about their Neochef Microwave Oven with Smart Inverter Technology, I just knew I had to have it. With the chic, minimalistic design, which is such a lovely size (in comparison to our previous one that took up our entire counter top), and the fact that they have incorporated a range of hygiene-enhancing features, including Anti-Bacterial EasyClean which helps users keep their ovens clean and fresh is just a total win.

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I can already see the how simple meal time has become in my home. I’m looking forward to see our electricity bill at the end of the month to see how much of an impact not using a normal oven has made. This is a phenomenal appliance for somebody who lives in a small, limited space to own – you won’t need to find space for a bulky oven!
I love that they have designed this elegant LG NeoChef to not only deliver the ultimate precision and user-convenience, but to seamlessly blend in with the décor of any kitchen!

I’ve officially and successfully defrosted, microwaved and used the convection oven so far. And I am hooked. They have advertised the LG NeoChef by saying: ‘There’s no cooking job the LG NeoChef can’t handle’, and so far it has lived up to its word.

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I must admit that I am a bit useless with some appliances, and I am so grateful to have David around to help me navigate how to set them up, and how exactly to use them – but I have had a wonderful experience with how easy this one in particular is to use. I’ve mostly figured it out myself, and the book that comes with it really lays it all out very well. They also have a phenomenal, information packed video that one can revert to. View here: http://www.lg.com/us/kitchen/discovercooking/countertop-microwave-ovens
Here’s to some delicious meals, some baked goods for upcoming special occasions and just making life as a mom easier altogether!

Do find out more about this product here: http://www.lg.com/za

And, be sure to read some of the other bloggers reviews on the product, as individuals do have their own experiences with products.

LG’s Social media channels

– Instagram:

@lgsouthafrica https://www.instagram.com/lgsouthafrica/

– YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LGSouthAfrica

– Facebook:

@LGSouthAfrica https://www.facebook.com/LGSouthAfrica/

– Twitter:

@LGSouthAfrica https://twitter.com/lgsouthafrica

#PaidAd


@lg_homeappliances
@LGSouthAfrica
#LGNeoChef

Taking Back My Freedom – LG Smart Inverter Top-Loader Washing Machine.

‘LAUNDRY’.

It may be one of the most used and dreaded words in a mothers dictionary. A chore that is unforgiving of us if we have had a busy or bad day. And a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’

If only I had the time to tell you the stories of the washing machines I’ve had in my short life after having left home and moving in with my partner. But, I will save you the stress. We had never actually purchased a brand new washing machine before – the first was, well to be quite honest, I am not even sure where it came from. It just was. When that one died on us, we bought a second, third or maybe even fourth hand one which I recall being so excited about because it had a baby function on – (no, not for washing your baby… but for baby clothes). When we moved in with my mother in law, her already having a washing machine lead to ours being re homed outside undercover. And, slowly over time, it became a toy for my toddler who would sneakily collect sand from the garden to pretend to use as the washing powder which he had been putting in the detergent draw. Oh the joys. Another one bites the dust – quite literally speaking!

SO… having been using my mother in laws front loader which is reasonably small – only being capable of dealing with a normal load of washing each time, meaning that I often felt like my washing pile never lessened, I was thrilled to be contacted by LG to receive and review one of their LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machines, especially because I was able to choose one that holds up to 17kg.

 

Having a hubby that is a carpenter, a toddler and dogs – I often feel that there are times where there is no other option but to WASH THE CLOTHES! There are times where my toddler wets his bed, he comes home from school with clothes that are filthy and with four dogs, I have to wash their bed covers. Hubbies clothes need to be washed as he has a physical job. The beauty of having the LG Top Loader that holds 17kg’s means that I am able to do one large wash once or at most twice a week.

 


With Cape Towns water crisis, I do feel that this is helpful. Although the washing machine does use more water due to its size, it also means that I cut down on washing as much as I used to! Which means that I do tend to use LESS water than what I was before. We try our utmost best to re wear our clothing as much as we possibly can before just tossing them in the wash. Denim I find lasts the longest which is great! And, with summer, clothing isn’t as bulky which means I can really fit almost a week of laundry in one wash! YES!

 

I chose the Silver Top Loader option purely because I feel that it fits in nicely with everything else in my home, and if we move someday, it is versatile.

 

SO WHAT MAKES THE LG SMART INVERTER WASHING MACHINE SO SPECIAL?

  1. Energy Saving with Smart Inverter Control:
    Smart Inverter Technology eliminates wasted operation by efficiently controlling energy use.
  2. Smart Motion:
    Smart Motion is 3 kinds of motions created by Smart Inverter for optimized washing by fabric type.
  3. Turbo Drum™:
    TurboDrum™ enables the most powerful wash and removes even the toughest dirt through strong water stream of rotating drum and pulsator in the opposite direction.

A few things I have come to love about my washing machine:

  • An embarrassing fact, I’m not sure you’d even think possible is that I have slammed my finger and my toddlers finger in our washing machine door. I’ve even dropped the lid of my parents top loader on my finger before, and it isn’t a pleasant experience. So I love that this Top Loader has a slow closing function. It automatically closes on its own when you push it downwards, in a way that WILL NOT hurt you or your toddler!
  • Having said the above regarding my toddler filling up my detergent drawer of my previous washing machine with sand and stones, I am so relieved the detergent drawer of my new LG Top Loader is in fact inside the washing machine and not accessible from the outside.
  • I truly do love that I can accumulate a good 3-5 days of laundry and can do it all in one go without feeling guilty about it.
  • Having boys that sure know how to mess on their clothes, which can be so frustrating, I have loved how little effort it now takes to remove stains and dirt from their clothing.
  • I also love that it has an Auto Restart function. Living in South Africa, you never know what tricks may be pulled, and a huge frustration is when the power goes off when you have a load of laundry on. With the LG Smart Inverter, it automatically restarts from the position it stops to adjust accordingly!
  • Standby Power Save: Even if the power cord is plugged in while power is off, only extremely little electricity will run through the washer. You don’t need to worry about wasted electricity.
  • Having a young baby or family – a washing machine can be a huge distraction or problem when trying to get them to sleep. I love that you barely know that your washing machine is on because it really is so quiet due to less vibration, however, it has higher durability.

Being a stay at home, work from home mom – I know how laundry can start to rule your life. I am loving the freedom that my 17kg Top Loader gives me. Having to only do laundry once or twice a week is a walk in the park! I can highly recommend getting either the 15kg or 17kg.

Do check out the LG website for the complete list of facts and features on the 17kg LG Smart Inverter Top Loader here: http://www.lg.com/za/washing-machines/lg-T1766NEFTF

#LGSmartInverter / #SmartInverter

A Letter To My Wild Three Year Old.

To my wild three year old boy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Your Mama x

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 Young(er) Moms Christmas Wish List.

If you don’t have a Christmas wish list at this time of the year – are you even human? I have put together my list of Christmas gems that are ALL from local South African companies. I truly believe that it is so important to browse and support local businesses who create such beautiful products. You can check out my list below, which I have attached links to so that you can shop that way if something catches your eye.

Earrings - Lichen and Leaf
Chandelier Earrings – Lichen & Leaf
Beautifully handcrafted and unique designs from local creative, Cynthia Edwards. Price: R400.00
Shop: http://lichenandleaf.com/tags/earrings

isabis
Watch – Isabis
Beautiful vegan watches versatile enough to pair with anything in your wardrobe!
Shop: https://www.facebook.com/isabiswatch/

amanda jayne

Seasoned Candle – Amanda-Jayne
Beautifully natural scented Soy Candle, hand poured in Cape Town
Price: R350.00
Shop: https://www.amandajaynecandles.com/

 

Body Scrub – Kahve Skin
Coconut Matcha or Coffee Cinnamon
Price: R280.00
Shop: https://kahveskin.com/collections/all

every day cream skin creamery
The Everyday Face Cream For Face & Body – Skin Creamery
Coconut Jojoba Baobab Oil 200ml (Organic Oils)
Price: R295.00
Shop: http://www.skincreamery.co.za/product/everyday-cream/

Lulu and Marula

Refreshing Tonic Mist – Lulu & Marula
For all skin types (Organic)
Price: R300.00
Shop: https://www.luluandmarula.co.za/collections/face/products/refreshing-moisture-mist

Mandarin Lip Balm - Wass

Mandarin Citrus Reticulata – Wass Skin
Repairs, Hydrates, Moistures. For dry lips and cuticles. Providing protection against harsh environments.
Price: R100.00 (15g)
Shop: https://wassskin.com/collections/skin-body/products/lip-balm-mandarin-peppermint

 

zana makeup bag

 

Makeup Bag – Zana
Features 100% cotton exterior screen printed with our original design, waterproof lining and a brass zipper.
Price: R180.00
Shop: http://zanaproducts.co.za/shop/gold-triangle-makeup-bag/

fable

 

Mini Desktop Calendar – Fable Lifestyle
Beautiful water colour 2018 calendar with a wooden stand.
Price: R280.00
Shop: https://fable-lifestyle.com/collections/2018-botanical-calendar

lichen and leaf pouch

Large Pouch – Lichen & Leaf
Perfect to use as a toiletry or makeup bag, or even for stationary.
Price: R240.00
Shop: http://lichenandleaf.com/products/large-pouch-klee

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Pink Specks Toiletry Bag – Zana
The perfect travel companion. A fun toiletry bag with waterproof lining for all of your beauty, hair and skincare essentials on the go.
Price: R240.00
Shop: http://zanaproducts.co.za/shop/pink-specks-toiletry-bag/

 

oil milk cleanser skin creamery

Oil Milk Face Cleaner – Skin Creamery
Sesame Oil Baobab Melon Seed (Organic Oils)
Price: R320.00 (200ml)
Shop: http://www.skincreamery.co.za/product/oil-milk-cleanser/

Temple Oil - Wass Skin

 

Temple Day Oil – Wass Skin
Complete morning boost & concentration for the day ahead. Use daily when energy levels are low.
Price: R100.00
Shop: https://wassskin.com/collections/temple-oils/products/temple-oil-day

 

duchess

 

New Floral Gin & Tonic – The Duchess
The brand new, and incredibly refreshing Virgin G&T has officially hit the shelves!
Shop: https://www.yuppiechef.com/the-duchess.htm?id=24627&name=The-Duchess-Non-Alcoholic-Gin-and-Tonic

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Festive Feast Box – UCOOK
This one should really be at the very top of my list! Who really wants to be in a shopping mall trying to remember all of their ingredients during the festive season? To me, that’s an absolute nightmare. My dream gift this Christmas is this Festive Feast Christmas Box that is bursting with the most decadent Christmas meal for your family and friends. That’s certainly one way to impress your guests!
Price: Dependent on how many people you are catering for!
Shop: https://feast.ucook.co.za/

PLEASE NOTE:

None of these photos are my own. I have taken them from each companies website.

My Summer Wardrobe Essentials.

If somebody told me to think about the ideal outfit for me, I would say something that is comfortable and flattering for a postpartum body. Something that shows the curves, but hides the lumps and bumps.

I have to admit that I really struggle to find garments I would be confident going out in to a special event, or for a night out. However, finding Sitting Pretty and their new range – it was like I finally found home.

I have fallen madly in love with the Coco Double V Neck Jumpsuit. It is incredibly comfortable, and is elasticated in all of the right places. It really suits my body type and shape, and I have had uncountable compliments when I have been out. I’ve paired it with a pair of sneakers, and also wore it to an event  with a pair of wedges. It is so easy to match with absolutely anything that you already own, and you can dress it up or down with ease. The quality is phenomenal! Jumpsuits and dresses with pockets are a winner for me! Made from 100% Rayon Linen, this garment keeps you cool on a hot day, and is just flawless!

Photos: Angela Rea Photography

The dress caught my eye because of its delicate detail. The little bit of lace really caught my attention. I love the way the dress flows as you move. The guava shade is quite a rare colour, but I couldn’t resist. It is fresh and perfect for Summer. I love that the dress has three quarter sleeves – it is ideal for cooler summer days or evenings. The dress is also elasticized around the waist area, which really creates some shape and emphasizes your good curves. It is so comfortable, and is also perfect for mom bods. Again, the quality is phenomenal, so this is a piece of clothing that will stay fashionable and maintain its quality for many years.

Photos: Criene Images

As I mentioned, I struggle to find clothes that really stand out from the rest. I struggle to find designers who get their sizing correct when buying online. And one of my flaws is always having high expectations, often leaving me disappointed – however, my expectations were blown, and I was highly impressed and happy with my order.

You can most certainly find some gorgeous essential garments to add to your wardrobe. Add them to your wish list for Christmas, or just simply spoil yourself! You deserve it! Their entire Spring/Summer 2018 collection is flawless!

It has been wonderful watching Sitting Pretty grow from strength to strength having started in 2009

Have a look at Sitting Pretty’s social media handles:

www.sittingpretty.co.za

Instagram.com/sittingprettysa

www.facebook.com/SittingPrettyApparel

What is that one staple garment in your wardrobe?

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!

Why Did Nobody Warn Me?

It felt like just yesterday that I waited in anticipation to return to the bathroom to look at the pregnancy test to see if there would be one or two lines. It felt like yesterday that I saw two faint lines, and was flooded with emotions – scared and excited. It felt like yesterday that I experienced a million changes in my body – from growing a belly with a baby inside, to the many other changes my body encountered.

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It feels as if it was just the other day that I gave birth to a healthy little boy, held him in my arms for the very first time, and nursed him through long, dark nights. Then he turned one, then two, and uncountable milestones greeted us in between. We felt as if he was such a big boy when he started playschool at the start of the year, and then when he told us he was ready to get rid of nappies, and then turned three. And now, last night, he decided that it was time to go to bed at night in his undies, and no more nappies.

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How have we reached this point of independence already? Where did my baby go?
Nobody explains to you that this, too is one of the challenges of parenthood. It isn’t only exhausting moments, the tears, the tantrums and the constant debates we have with them when they are little. It isn’t only the sleepless nights, the struggle to get them to latch when they are newborns. It isn’t only all of that that leaves us in an emotional state. It’s also watching them grow up right before our very own eyes, and not quite understanding how they got to that point so quickly.

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My little boy can have full conversations with me – telling me exactly what he wants or needs. He wants to do everything on his own. Snuggles are less – but when they do get handed out, they’re shared with meaning and so much love. He doesn’t just mimic me by returning the ‘I love you’, but says it when he really feels it’s the time to use the words. Instead of just asking me for help, just because – he now only asks me when he really feels that he has tried hard and truly does need a little bit of assistance. He doesn’t always need me to read stories to him anymore, but I get to sit around the corner quietly, listening to him repeat and make up words to his favourite stories that we once read together. Once we would tell him what activities he would do, but now he chooses what he loves, and it’s such a joy watching him giggle and to see the happiness beam through his eyes as he takes on these activities, and watching him thrive in what he has chosen.

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It’s truly beautiful, and as emotional as it can be – I feel that we choose how to deal with our kids growing up. And, my goal for the rest of the year and for next year is to live more in the moment. I am 100% one for taking photographs and little videos of cute moments – and that is my way of storing memories for him to look back on when he is older. But, I am also going to be putting away my phone and camera to truly live in these precious moments. Because if we aren’t living in the moment, where are we really?

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I love having a three year old, and before I know it, I will probably be chatting about how I love having a four year old, and then a five year old. And that’s ok, too.
So — although you will encounter many people everywhere you go (especially when you have a newborn) who tell you ‘Enjoy this moment, because they grow up so fast’, smile – and believe them. Because it does. But you get to choose how you will enjoy it.

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Toddler Stimulation – Hello Shongololo

Ladies, I don’t know about you, but I have a nature lover on my hands. Come rain or shine, my little guy wants more than anything to just be outside, exploring – toys or no toys.

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He will return to our big sliding door with mud dripping from his hands to his toes, with mud marks wiped across his face as if he’s just returned from being lost in a jungle. And the tales he has to tell from his adventures in our garden are worth writing a book about.
I’m not one to spend money quickly. I’m THAT mom who does research on a product before I purchase it. I feel that kids don’t need a lot of toys, because the imagination really happens when you place them in what’s already surrounding them. Also, being a stay at home mom that only earns an income from my blog, I don’t have extra money lying around to just spend every time I see a cute toy.

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And then, low and behond – I heard about Shongololo. Huh? You may be thinking, or may have even blurted out loud to yourself, with your kids most likely hollering: “What? What’s huh mommy? Whaaaaat?” (That’s if they’re anything like mine.)
Let me explain quickly – Hello Shongololo is home to a range of beautifully packaged activities for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

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Now, I have once before ordered a box for Olly which was created with a similar idea in mind. It arrived (late) and arrived with literally three rubbish products in the box. Let me just say that it stirred not even an inch of stimulation and was not at all educational. It was overpriced and the products seemed to have been thrown in after being purchased from China Town. There was no theme and just no care involved. It definitely put me off.

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BUT.. there is always hope, and sometimes one just needs to do a little bit of research – and that’s what makes my blog useful to other moms. I make the mistakes for you, and then help you SAVE money and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I did.
So, here is your go-to for an activity box, and I will tell you why now!

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Olly excitedly opened up his beautifully packaged box, and out popped a gorgeous little bag with a zip complete with a gorgeous wooden Shongololo. He carefully unzipped it with beaming eyes, and shouted ‘WOOOOOAH, COOL!!!’ Out tumbled a bunch of ‘Shongololo In The Garden’ themed goodies that had been chosen and placed in the box with so much thought and care. A desire to enhance your kids hand-eye co-ordination, to encourage creative play and to improve dexterity.
The Shongololo In The Garden box specifically teaches kids about the wonders of nature found in our very own gardens. It contains the following:

– Bug Kit
– Scavenger Hunt (This is my favourite part, and such a fun way to spend a beautiful day outdoors with your child).
– Seeds and Planting fun
– Butterfly Craft
– Felt Tip Pens
– Exciting Story Book
– DIY Gooey Snail Slime (Great for kids with sensory issues)
And the best part is that every one of these products is great quality! They aren’t cheap products that your kid is going to loose interest in our break while playing with them.
Olly has loved his box so far. We haven’t had too much of a chance to go through all of the activities yet, but looking through it has been so much fun, and I promise to post some more photos of him enjoying his Scavenger Hunt and doing some bug catching.
The boxes are wonderful for rainy days, but even for beautiful summer days to go outside and explore! Kids need to get their hands dirty and to potter around the beautiful garden in order to learn, and in order to truly experience what is around them.
As I say, my little guy is happiest when he is outside!

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Now onto the facts – the activity boxes are split between two age groups. 1.5 – 3 years and 3-5 years. We ordered the 3-5 year box.

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The boxes cost R350 which is such good value for what you get! This includes delivery and it takes between 2-7 working days to be delivered. They make wonderful birthday gifts too! You can even order one of their travel kits (GENIUS!!!) to keep your little ones busy on a long flight or on a road trip. Those are priced between R165 and R240, however that cost does not include delivery.

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Do yourself a favour and read the ‘About Us’ section on their website. I always love to learn a little more about the face behind a brand, and it truly shows the passion and love that Natasha has for what she does.IMG_6752-300x300 Another thing that is obvious is that she has a little one and is so educated on what little bodies need to stimulate them and on what they can learn from without even being aware.

You can order your box at Hello Shongololo
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