The Shop That You SHOULD Take Your Kids To!

How many times have you glanced through the windows of a beautiful store, but dragged your kids in the opposite direction? Each time you do your grocery shop at that shopping center, that shop pops back into your mind, but the thought of all of the things your kids will want to touch and may break just creates an urge to ‘go inside to browse next time without the kids rather’.

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It is incredibly rare to find a shop like Diggers and Dandelions, which can be found at the Checkers entrance of the Sun Valley Shopping Mall. A hidden gem that stocks some of the highest quality, exclusive pregnancy, newborn, baby, toddler and kids products. The owner, Jurika, supports local South African designers and brands, and you will find a handful of the most breathtaking products which she has hand selected herself. She only has three international brands stocked in her store, including the well loved Melissa and Doug.

Back to my point – what makes Diggers & Dandelions so rare? They encourage the kids to touch and play with everything in the shop while mom browses. Did you hear me? THEY TELL YOUR KIDS TO PLAY WITH THE PRODUCTS IN THE STORE WHILE YOU SHOP!!! There are two gorgeous areas in each corner of the shop that have little set up areas where the kids can quickly snap into their imaginary world, they are allowed to go around the shop and touch, feel, pick up and play with the gorgeous products that are in store. I was in the shop for about an hour, and my three and a half year old son was totally fascinated and entertained the entire time. This never happens!

Jurika believes that every person who comes into her shop should be able to leave with something, no matter how big or small, that makes them feel special. Whether it be a handmade dummy clip or something larger like a hand crafted wooden reading nook. She has created a place that has products of all price ranges, and after browsing her store in depth, I noticed that even the high end products are priced at a very affordable cost!

The baby clothing is just divine. Some really unique and high end garments made locally. It certainly makes me wish to have a baby to dress up again. They have a wonderful selection of wooden toys from the well loved toy collection – (Melissa and Doug, which you could win an R800 voucher for, to choose a toy of your choice!).

What I loved about the shop is that from the moment you step food through their door, it’s almost like stepping into a fantasy world – partly for moms, because, well…when do we ever get the opportunity to really look at a shop? And for kids, having the opportunity to explore. But, apart from that – seeing so many new products in a shop that you haven’t seen before. I love that! I so  often walk into a shop and just find shelves packed with the same thing I saw at the last shop. So, I really do find it so refreshing to see some original products, but to also see the well loved ones snuck in there too.

I really encourage you to pop into their store at the Sun Valley center when you happen to be that side. For baby shower gifts, there is no doubt you will leave with something truly special, or even for your own baby, or a gift for a toddler. They have also recently launched a maternity range, which is awesome!

You can also shop online, so if you aren’t in the area, don’t fret! You can do your shopping from the comfort of your own home here:

Want to find out how you can win a Diggers & Dandelion voucher valued at R350 AND a Melissa and Doug prize valued at R800 (of your choice). Pop over here to enter the competition:

Enter Here

I truly do wish for each of you to visit the beautiful Diggers and Dandelions store, because my photos really don’t do it justice. I would love to know if you do visit, and would also love to hear your thoughts on it.

DO take your kids, and DON’T avoid it because you have them with you. There really are no excuses!

Happy Birthday, Diggers & Dandelions! To the next 2 years of providing beautiful products to the Valley.

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The Little Leather Lifesaver – Tiptoe Mats.

Babies = mess.
Toddlers = messier.
Kids = planned mess.
Husbands = no comment.

I think back to the first few months of my sons life, and although I felt like things were a mess, I think that was mostly my fault. Being a sleep deprived mother to a newborn, I wasn’t totally in control of my home, and making sure everything was always in its place was just not happening. Life consisted of changing nappies and bibs, and doing laundry and more laundry! But my newborn, he wasn’t so messy.

The crawling began, and things started becoming slightly more chaotic. We started feeding him solids, and things became messy.  I felt like half of my life was spent wiping up or slipping on puree that had plonked onto the floor from a highly uncoordinated miniature human, hitting the ground with impact leading it to not only land in one neat pile, but rather in multiple places around his high chair. Laundry was never ending, the washing basket 90% consisting of food stained bibs.

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Then he became a toddler, waddling around, with a desire to be outdoors. Still reasonably easy to keep him entertained in one place – with perhaps some pots and pans filled with water, and some spoons or measuring cups.

Then he became a little boy. And just as one thought that surely kids get less messy as time goes by, that magical thought came to a halt, quite suddenly.

Mess was very quickly defined by paint being wiped on windows, clothes and carpets. Walls soon became the new drawing pad. Window sills the new chalk board. Stickers now being stuck in the most unimaginable places around the house. I would create an area at the dining table for Olly to do his art, but it would still end up in unwanted places – on the table cloth or on the wooden table. There is no such thing as controlled messy play inside. Food still gets flung around, but this time, it’s planned!
We all think that there must be a way to put this all to an end. But the truth is, there is no stop. This is the way that kids learn. They learn through messy play. They crave it. Without it, they wouldn’t develop the same way. So, we, as parents actually are the ones that need to learn how we can control the mess and how we can turn it into a positive thing rather than a negative thing.

I then discovered something genius! Something that almost left me with a feeling of jealousy because I never had access to the products when my son was a newborn. And something that I feel the desire to share with you moms, because it is simple, but lifechanging! Something that YOU need to have. Or that will make you the guest of the babyshower for giving as your gift.

Enter – Tiptoe Mats.
Home to bibs, changing mats, a small scallop high chair mat, small normal high chair mat, large mats, medium mats, bear eating mats, and a range of adult aprons for adults – ALL made from beautifully bonded leather.

These are quite honestly the only handful of keywords you need to know about their products:

– No Laundering Needed! (SOLD!)
– Waterproof
– Spill Proof
– Non Slip
– Super Durable Material
– Doesn’t get hot in the sun!
– Kid Proof (Kokies, crayons, paint, food, etc simply wipes off – the only thing that is a pain to remove is pen marks).

But, let me tell you a little bit more. Each product comes in a variety of the most gorgeous colours of soft leather. I am honestly quite blown away by how they can be folded up so small to be packed away in a small space or to be taken away with you on holiday.

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I have loved putting our large mat down in the garden for when Olly eats his snack or lunch outdoors. Especially with the water crisis – meaning we barely have any lawn left, it isn’t pleasant for him to have to be sitting on spiky grass or sand. So, I love that I can place this on the ground. The leather means that there is nothing that pokes through, like it would through a blanket. The best part is being able to just wipe the mat down after use – any spills or mess honestly doesn’t matter anymore. It doesn’t need to be tossed in the wash which is a huge plus for Cape Tonians with the water crisis. Also, who needs more laundry?

We love taking ours to the beach. We are at the beach often, and it is so wonderful not having tons of sand coming home with us, because it is so easy to just shake the sand off before leaving. Painting and messy play has actually become FUN, and I find myself not feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the mess that comes with the activity, because I know that it is so easy to clean. There is no permanent mess left.

I wish I had access to the bibs when my son was a baby, because being able to just wipe down the mess would have been a dream. I felt that the hard plastic ones irritated my son. These are soft, light weight and comfy for babies and their sensitive necks. They also fold up nicely to pack in their nappy bags when you are going out.

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Now lastly, the mats that can be strategically placed beneath the high chair is simply genius. The large mat would have been needed for me, because the distance my little guy could flick puree was phenomenal – he would have probably qualified for Olympics had they made it a sport! That being said, it would mean that I could just sit down and enjoy feeding time, and then clean it all up afterwards, without having to worry about food seeping into the carpets in the lounge/dining room that we had in our home that we were renting at that stage.

I love that these products haven’t been made from plastic, but rather from leather. Something that will last a long time, and that can be folded up!

Again, any of the above products would make such a fun, and unique gift for a baby shower – and definitely products that I would have absolutely adored as a mom to be.

If you’d like to see the full range, or if you don’t even want to see them, but just want to BUY – then head over here: https://hellopretty.co.za/tip-toe

You can also see some of their products being used here:

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I am also excited to announce that I will be running a giveaway with Tiptoe in the next couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled so that you can see which of their amazing products you can WIN!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have the power to save a little life.

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

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

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

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