The Only Thing I’ve Judged Another Parent For.

Driving back home from one of the best weekends I’ve had with my little family at our old family farm up at the Breede River, we decided to take the longer, scenic drive back through Robertson instead of our usual route back through Caledon. We weren’t even the tiniest bit phased by the toddler tunes on repeat blaring in the car, or the extra bit of traffic. We were just in our element.

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Dark crept upon us, and we made our way through the Hugenot Tunnel just after Worcester. Still happily chatting about exciting family events to come as well as our special weekend away; a sudden chill hit us as we saw a car that had recently drove over the edge and was smashed up. Added to the scene were emergency lights, and a crowd of people – paramedics, etc. One of my least favourite things to see, especially on a long, happy journey home.

Not even having a chance to get that visual out of my mind, I glance to the left on a road that one can drive 120km/hr and literally find myself taking a second look. My heart sinks, I feel my blood pressure rise at a rapid speed. A little girl younger than my own son – couldn’t have been older than two running back and forth on the back seat of her parents car, jumping forward between the driver and passenger seat. This sounds terrible, but I wanted to get out and just shake her parents. Didn’t they just see the accident? What if that was them? It could have been, and one day it could be!!!

I am shaking, and I feel sick even typing this. If they can afford to have a car, and if they can afford to put petrol into their car – they can afford to prioritize a car seat for their precious little girl! They can afford to protect their baby girl from an accident that can so easily happen. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, these things happen in a heartbeat!

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You know, I often find myself feeling anxious when we go on long trips, and we have a great car seat! I find myself nervous because I know that accidents happen, and my child is securely fastened in his car seat! I find myself praying throughout our long trips because I know that there could be someone who is texting or drunk and an accident can happen, and we spent thousands on a car seat for our son to protect him.

Yet, another parent, their childs life just as precious and fragile as my own child, couldn’t care less to take the precautions to potentially save their daughters life. One doesn’t even need to be educated to know! If you can drive a car, you are educated enough to work out that a child needs to be in a car seat! If you can drive a car, especially one like this family was in, YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A DECENT CAR SEAT! Your child’s life is far more valuable!!!

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I am not a judgmental person. And I will never put another parent into a situation where they feel like they are not good enough. Whether you formula feed or breastfeed, whether you had a natural birth or a c-section, you are good enough. Whether you rock your baby to sleep or let them fall asleep on their own, you’re perfect. BUT, the one thing that I will voice my incredibly strong opinion on is putting your child in a car seat! If you are reading this, and don’t and feel offended, or guilty – I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.

Being a parent means that you need to do what is best for your kids. Sometimes having to invest in something like a car seat is just something that you need to do. Sometimes you have to let your child cry even when they don’t want to be in their car seat, or sometimes your already long trip means stopping an extra 10 times because your kid needs a break from their car seat. But, there are no excuses.

STRAP YOUR CHILD INTO A CAR SEAT.
EDUCATE YOURSELF.
EDUCATE OTHER PARENTS.
SPREAD THE WORD TO PARENTS TO BE!

I can’t express myself enough.

Do the right thing!

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/

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