BABE, MAMA, READ

WORK/MAMA BALANCE: CHEREEN OF FOR THE BEAUTY OF IT

25th August 2016
Sean-Chereen-Noah

Last year we featured a Work/Mama Balance series and we received such great feedback on this topic so we thought we would do it again. Over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring a whole lot of super mamas who balance it all.

Today we chat to Chereen, the blogger at For the Beauty of It and the social media agency, which also does PR. Chereen and her husband, Sean, both work for themselves and from home, so they have a pretty unconventional set up. Their son, Noah, is three and a half, and although he goes to play school every weekday morning, Sean and Chereen usually take turns keeping him occupied during the afternoons. Here is how Chereen balances it all:

What’s your work schedule?

Varied! I’ve really struggled with enforcing a routine in the past and tended to work all the time, but I started working with Caitlyn De Beer, a fantastic life coach, earlier this year and that’s really helped me to find a bit more balance. I try to do the bulk of my work in the mornings while Noah is at play school, and then I’ll typically switch off during the afternoons so that I can focus on Noah. If it’s a busy time for me, my husband will take over during the afternoons so that I can get back to work as soon as I’ve fetched Noah from play school. Although I’m trying to get out of the habit of working in the evenings, I do tend to do the majority of my blogging work late at night, after Noah’s bedtime.

How do you handle childcare?                       

Noah goes to play school from 8:30am – 12pm on weekdays, but once he gets home from school, my husband and I take turns. We recently came up with a system that’s working really well for us and sees one of us watching Noah in the afternoon while the other one works, and then we switch at 5pm. So, for example, if I spent the afternoon ‘off’ work and playing with Noah, Sean will take over at 5pm and do the bath-time and bedtime ritual so that I can catch up on any emails or work  during that time. It works well for the majority of the time, but when there are hiccups (like corresponding deadlines), my mom helps out. She’s been a massive support ever since Noah was born, and spent the first two years of his life watching him on a daily basis. I don’t know what we would’ve done without her!

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When do you typically hang out with you Noah? 

I spend most afternoons with Noah and we also have a bath together most nights, which is by far my favourite time of the day. It’s then that I’ll ask him about his day and find out what he learnt at school that day – he’s not usually up for much conversation in the afternoons when I pick him up from school!

My husband and I love taking Noah (and our dog!) for regular walks around the neighbourhood during the late afternoons when we’re both quiet, and we often visit the nearby Vergelegen Wine Estate to explore the gardens.

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Do you have any family rituals? 

Wandering around the grounds at Vergelegen, as mentioned above, is definitely becoming one of our family rituals. Both my husband and I work in creative industries, so whenever one of us is feeling ‘blocked’, we find ourselves exploring Vergelegen for some much-needed inspiration.

We also love taking mini road trips and exploring the Western Cape as a family. Most Saturday mornings you’ll find us packing a picnic basket (we take the gas burner and my prized Le Creuset kettle, too) and heading out on our next adventure. When we find a scenic spot that we like, we’ll set up our little fold-out camping table and benches, light up the gas burner, and make some tea and coffee to enjoy while admiring the view. It’s one of our favourite things to do together as a family.

On Saturday mornings when we’re not out adventuring, you’ll most likely find us tucked up in bed – the three of us, our dog and two cats – watching a family movie together. Nothing better than family snuggles!

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What do you enjoy most about your current set up?

I love the flexibility of working for myself and setting my own hours. In the beginning, I found this aspect quite difficult to adapt to, but now that Noah’s older, I’m really grateful that can be around for him whenever he needs me. If anything unexpected crops up – like when he wakes up with a fever and has to stay home from school – I don’t have to do a mad scramble to organise childcare. If I’m not incredibly busy work-wise or don’t have any meetings or launches lined up for that day, I can take the day off and catch up on my work later that evening or during his naps. If I am frantic or have places to be, Sean is usually able to take over, so it really works quite well. (It does mean frequent late nights, of course, but it’s well worth it I think!)

What’s the biggest challenge about your current set up?

Trying to focus on all my different roles – business owner, blogger, mother, wife, friend – equally and not spreading myself too thin. It’s really tough, and I’ve recently come to the realisation that I can only really focus on one thing at a time: I’m either incredibly on the ball work-wise, but then my home-life suffers (I don’t get to spend as much quality time with Noah, my husband and I don’t get any time together, and the house is in a serious state), or I’m a domestic goddess (baking with my son, cooking elaborate meals, and owner of a spick and span kitchen), but my inbox is bursting at the seams. I’ve made peace with the fact that some weeks are ‘work weeks’, while others are ‘mom weeks’. When I feel my productivity and energy surge, I make sure that I make the most of it, because I know that peek is likely to dip after a week or so, before it starts do climb again.

What about time for yourself? Do you take timeouts? What do you get up to and how often?

It sounds odd, but to me, there’s nothing better than a good ol’ soak in the tub and I try to have a long bath most nights. It’s how I escape from the world, and it signals that my word day has officially ended. Sometimes it’s a quick bath, but other times I go all out: think bath oil, face masks, body scrubs… the works!

Let’s talk about dinner – who handles dinner in your home?

Sean and I take turns. I became a vegetarian almost two years ago, and I’m transitioning to becoming vegan at the moment, so this means that I have taken on more of the cooking duty, if only because I love experimenting and trying new recipes. That said, when I’m very busy work-wise, I find that I have no energy for cooking, so Sean usually takes the brunt and ends up cooking more during those weeks. I rely on Umatie, a range of home-cooked baby and toddler foods, to ensure that I always have delicious, healthy and homemade meals on hand for Noah. I always have a few tubs in the freezer so I can just heat them up for Noah on lazy nights.

Top tip for the work/motherhood balance? 

Argh. I don’t think I have one? I find that balancing work and motherhood is ever-evolving and constantly changing. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, something comes along to tip the apple cart, so I never really feel like I’ve got it all figured out. That said, working with a life coach really helped me to establish what my priorities are and to put boundaries into place, especially in terms of my work. Me-time is also really important to me – that saying about not being able to pour from an empty cup really resonates with me! And one last thing: stop comparing yourself to others! This has been my biggest downfall in the past; constantly looking to other moms for inspiration, but finding that all it did was make me feel even worse about myself. You never know what’s really going on in someone else’s life, so quit trying to be what you’re not and just do you.

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Follow Chereen on Instagram and visit her blog For the Beauty of It.

Last week we chatted to Kalika of Amavi.

Missed last year’s series? Here are the posts:

Leila of Pass the Salt

Freelance writer and content producer,  Lynette

Christine co-founder of Oh Lief

Katie, owner of Yummy Mummy

Andrea, owner of Anatomy Design

Belinda of Making Mountains

Angie who does a million things including the blog Lucky Pony

GIVEAWAY, NEST

WIN WITH KIMMY & BEAR SPACES

24th August 2016
WIN K&B Spaces

Kimmy & Bear Spaces redefines baby and child spaces in the home – we are Johannesburg-based sisters perfecting the art of children’s interiors. We love to work on nurseries, bedrooms and, of course, playrooms or play areas. We are all about beautiful, fun spaces which will wow your minis, suit their specific age needs and fit with a high design aesthetic. With a passion for all things beautiful, an inside knowledge of where to find gorgeous on-trend items and a keen eye for colour and texture combined with our practical experience as mamas, Kimmy & Bear’s meticulous design in creating  beautiful spaces is unmatched.

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We are excited to be giving away an Online Interior Design Consultation worth R2000. 

This includes a personalised design kits for clients who love design but just aren’t sure how to achieve the look they want. The starting point for a design kit is the client completing a thorough design questionnaire and providing photos and measurements of the room via email. You will receive a thoughtfully curated mood board as a first response, following feedback you will receive a final mood board with product shopping list. The products featured in your unique design are easily available.

To enter comment below telling us why you would love to win this prize.

Competition closes 7 September 2016.

Ts&Cs apply. 

BABE, PLAY

SERIOUSLY COOL TEETHING TOYS

23rd August 2016
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The Paci Clip 

We are so excited to have discovered Gnash – the brand behind these super cool baby teethers.  Nicole is a Cape Town mama of two and has really got it right when it comes to her cool, Scandinavian inspired design of these baby teethers.

All Silicone is food grade – BPA / Lead / Cadmium and Mercusry free and the products are dishwasher safe (top shelf only).

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Lunaire Teether

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Cross Teether

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Chaîne Teether

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Orbit Teether

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Deux Mixte Teether

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Geometric Teether

BABE, DIARY, MAMA

HOLIDAY PHOTO SERIES

22nd August 2016
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April 2015 – 4 weeks

Our holidays to the bush are my favourite. This is where we grew up going on holiday, learning to drive a Landy and playing in the mud, hanging out around a camp fire and tracking down animals… it really is my favourite place in the world. I feel so lucky and excited that I now get to take my little girl to the same place and show her the same things- I know she already loves it as much as I do.

I  take a picture of us together, in the same spot each time we go. We are currently in the bush for the fifth time together so next week I will have a new snap to add to my collection but here it is so far:

September 2015 – 6 months

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April 2016 – 13 months

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July 2016 – 16 months

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PS. Wow! My babe has grown!

BABE, BUMP, MAMA, READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

19th August 2016
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Behati Prinsloo 34 weeks pregnant, image via Instagram

Woohoo! We’re off to the bush for a week. We cannot wait, we feel so lucky to bring up our babes going on holiday to the bush, they love the landcover rides, getting dirty, playing in the mud, spotting animals, quietly watching birds, treasure hunts, family meals, family baths, family bedtime. It’s all a bit crazy or as my husband describes it, “a military operation” of moving us all to the Low Veld for a week but it’s our favourite time together.

While we are away posts will carry on as usual, so enjoy.

Here are 10 links for the weekend:

The Power of One Focused Hour a Day

How to raise internally motivated kids

Are you ready to send your kids to school?

A parenting trick to try tonight.

On my reading list

Gisele Bündchen’s Chicest Mommy-and-Me Moment Ever

Why your 3 year old should help with chores

Such a fun painting project 

Dad’s mood effects child development.

Just ’cause: An African wedding featured in Vogue!

BABE, MAMA, NEST, PLAY, READ

INTRODUCING KIMMY & BEAR SPACES

18th August 2016
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We are so excited to introduce KIMMY & BEAR SPACES. Kimmy & Bear Spaces redefines baby and child spaces in the home – we are Johannesburg-based sisters perfecting the art of children’s interiors. We love to work on nurseries, bedrooms and, of course, playrooms or play areas. We are all about beautiful, fun spaces which will wow your minis, suit their specific age needs and fit with a high design aesthetic. With a passion for all things beautiful, an inside knowledge of where to find gorgeous on-trend items and a keen eye for colour and texture combined with our practical experience as mamas, Kimmy & Bear’s meticulous design in creating  beautiful spaces is unmatched.

For more information click here.

BABE, BUMP, MAMA

WORK/MAMA BALANCE: KALIKA OF AMAVI

18th August 2016
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Last year we featured a Work/Mama Balance series and we received such great feedback on this topic so we thought we would do it again. Over the next few weeks we’ll be featuring a whole lot of super mamas who balance it all.

First up is Kalika who is mama to Kate just turned 4 and Stella is 9 months. She is an interior designer by trade but from the beginning of this year she has been working on fulfilling a lifelong dream of creating and curating beautiful products in her store Amavi.

What’s your work schedule?

After the morning rush that every parent knows about, I start off my day with a very strong coffee and head off to meet with my business partner & co-founder of Amavi, Zita Muller.

We meet with suppliers, artisans and the usual run around for the run up to the opening of our first store in Linden, Johannesburg the 1st of September. Thank goodness mornings are normally filled with driving around and meeting awesome like-minded people. 
The afternoons, after I’ve picked up Kate from School, is spent with Stella and doing admin inbetween, I have to admit that even tough I “could” multitask before having kids after becoming a mom, the phrase has taken a whole new meaning! I really believe in the more you do, the more you can do!
How do you handle childcare?
We are super blessed that Kate is in a fabulous play school which keeps her busy till 1pm and our little one stays with her second mom, Faith our housekeeper in the mornings. Afternoons are for quality time with them, especially when I know I have had a productive morning.
When do you typically hang out with your littles?
Early mornings, afternoons and most weekends. Stella and I also attend a moms and babes class on Thursday mornings too.
Do you have any family rituals?
Yes! Every morning when our “alarm” goes off we load the girls into our bed, make coffee and “jol” with them till its time for the morning routine. My hubby tries to be home every night before bath time so we can share this fun and very wet event.
What do you enjoy most about your current set up?
The creative freedom and flexible time that comes with having your own business, as well as the benefit of having a business partner who is also a mom!  Also the age gap between the girls help, because Kate really tries “assist” with her little sister. 
What’s the biggest challenge about your current set up?
Putting a priority on my “me time” and ensuring that my husband and I have some alone time.
So, what about time for yourself? 
Yes!! As I mentioned above, normally the first thing that falls by the weigh side is mommy’s “me-time” and it is my responsibility to take that time to reflect. If I’m not going to do it, no one will make that decision for me. One of the things that I am to do 3 mornings a week is train at Crossfit Platinum and fellowship on Sundays at His People.
Let’s talk about dinner – who handles dinner in your home?
Mostly me, but when everything is just a bit too much Daddy will get something on his way home..phew that you Woolies!
Top tip for the work/motherhood balance?
Quality time over quantity time, both in work and with my kiddos. Also, I made a decision that I wanted to show my girls that mommy also has interests other than just being their mom. Yes, that is my number 1 job and the most important one, but I want them to see me achieving certain of my own dreams/goals. I’m still an individual even though I’m part of a loving household. Healthy family makes everything else possible.
Thanks Kalika! Visit Amavi Store or follow Kalika on Instagram.

Missed last year’s series? Here are the posts:

Leila of Pass the Salt

Freelance writer and content producer,  Lynette

Christine co-founder of Oh Lief

Katie, owner of Yummy Mummy

Andrea, owner of Anatomy Design

Belinda of Making Mountains

Angie who does a million things including the blog Lucky Pony

DIARY

ONE MONTH UNTIL ROCK-A-BABY

17th August 2016
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Hey Joburg mamas, and mamas-to-be, mark your diaries. Rock-a-Baby is taking place on Saturday, 17 September (9am – 4pm) and Sunday, 18 September (9am – 2pm), at an all new venue – The Tin Factory Kramerville. This is the third year the fair is taking place and it’s going to be better than ever.

 

Fifty creative vendors have been chosen to participate and visitors can expect a wide range of products for moms, expectant moms, and their babes. As an alternative to the existing commercial expos, Rock-a-Baby is an experience where moms can discover deluxe baby goods, mingle and meet like-minded moms, and enjoy delicious food (think frozen yogurt, to-die-for brownies, fresh juices, and gourmet sandwiches). Gathered under one roof are those hard-to-find but much- loved items, from luxurious pyjamas for moms to handmade dolls and party accessories, heirloom blankets and on-trend clothing to nursery furniture and stylish maternity wear. Rock-a-Baby supports the best of local designers, small businesses and innovative products in this niche mom and baby space. Rock-a-Baby has also become a network of women supporting each other’s business growth and success.

 

We will be running ticket and product giveaways in the coming weeks as we count down to the fair.

For more information visit the Rock-a-Baby website, Facebook page, or Instagram.

DIARY

FRANCIE SUGAR (YEAR 2) – 52 PORTARITS ROUND UP – JULY

16th August 2016
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Week 15: You are so full of cuddles this week, spontaneously running up to me wanting hugs and often those are followed by endless kisses. When I hold you on my hip you rest you head down on my shoulder and stay there in comfort. You grip me tight with both arms and hug into my chest… of course this is my favourite thing in the whole world.

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Week 16: Hello four new teeth… we’ve had a week of playing koala bear on mama, during the day you are attached to my hip and at night you sleep best in froggy position on my chest. Motherhood is strange, you want your sleep, you want to be alone but then your babe cuddles up on you and it feels like the best thing. You soft body melts onto mine and you feel as light as a newborn again.

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Week 17: There are so many things that I love about this photo: your sweet little hands, which have fascinated me since the day you were born, your beautiful big smile as if saying, ‘here I am, world’ and that hair, that magical, curly, wonderful hair. I also love that this photo was taken about 1 minute after you woke from your afternoon nap – your blushed cheeks are evidence of this – but this is how you wake, you roll over, sit up and say “hi” as if you have been awake the whole time, no grumpy pants, just your smiley self.

Each week you learn new words, your latest being “ba” which refers to a “bag” you haven’t quite mastered the “g” and “bu” which refers to a bucket – basically your two favourite things at the moment. You carry either a bag or a bucket around wherever you go, hooked onto your arm, size does not put you off – you pulled around my nappy bag this afternoon, and activities don’t matter either – your bucket joins you in the bath and on your changing table.

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Week 18: You have tugged at my heart this week, I can see a giant leap in you and I see such a sweet little girl when I watch you. This past weekend you and I headed to Ingwelala with Kimmy & Bear – just us four for four days. You thrived, you thrived being the only child, you thrived on Kimmy’s lap. You seemed to know that you were the only baby and soaked up the attention with delight. You made us laugh the entire weekend. You growled at the lions and you said a whole bunch of new words like “imi” (for Kimmy), “be” (for bear), “where” while you held out your arms and shrugged your shoulders and you learnt to make a hyena sound which now sounds like “uh uh”. You would blow your nose and make the funniest sound which made us laugh, which made you do it more. Each morning, during our early morning drive, you would cuddle up on Kimmy’s lap and not move as if we couldn’t see you hidden under your hat and blankets and each afternoon you would potter around the camp entertaining us- always while dragging your binki behind you.

BABE, BUMP, MAMA

MEET THE MAMA: UNE

15th August 2016
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We met Une over (wait for it) Instagram! And we are big fans. Une lives in Durban with her husband, Ryan and their nearly two year old son Aron. Une is currently 7 months pregnant with another little boy – as she puts it, “it’s always been our dream to have two little surfer boys”. At the moment Une is a stay at home mom, she’s originally from Cape Town, where she was a model, she then met her hubby and he convinced her to move to Durban, she says she “can’t complain though, it’s like living in paradise.” Une also blogs at Mama Gypsey.

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Favourite product for babies and why? 

I am a firm believer in natural products, I try keep it as natural as possible with my little one, for body – I love Oh Lief products, and when he was smaller I loved my baby carrier, it’s just the best having your baby close to you. I use the Stokke carrier, it’s the most comfortable carrier and we also travel a lot for my husbands work, so having a comfortable baby carriers is key!

Best gift you have received for your baby?

My Angel care monitor- as a first time mom, all you think about is your little person, the angel care monitor even picks up their breathing pattern with the pad that is placed underneath their mattress, it was our life saver.

Favourite book to read to your Aron?

I’m so happy that he love books, we’ve made a whole reading nook for Aron in his room, his favorite books are ‘Where’s spot’ ( the one with the flip covers) and The dinosaur that pooped the past, ha ha yes you heard right, it’s so perfectly written and illustrated, Aron and I both laugh whilst reading it.

Do you have any mum icons, either celebrity or real women?

My two sisters and my mom of course! I’ve learnt it all from them!! They are just the best mothers in the world.

Do you have any family rituals?

We are a real beach family, my husband being a surfer, so our boy(s) are raised on the beach and in the sun, so when the sun is out you will find us on the beach and in the ocean, my husbands biggest pleasure in life is getting Aron on a board.

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What is the most important thing mamahood has taught you?

Patience- I’m a Taurus ( I’m not a very patient person) and what love really is, as soon as you hold your baby, there is no love like that kind of love!

What is the biggest surprise to you about having children?

Biggest surprise, that every kid is different, my sisters are both a lot older than me, and I grew up watching them raising their kids, so I mentally prepared myself on how I would one day raise my children, and then you have your own baby and it just doesn’t work like that at all, all kids are different and do things differently. You have to find your own flow.

What do you cherish most about being a mama?

Being able to watch my son grow, to be with him everyday and to see how he learns. I just love the love he has for my husband and I, and when he hugs me tight…. My heart melts!

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What do you love most about your husband being a dad?

Honestly, when we met he always told me he is not too keen on kids, not that he didn’t want them, but both of our lifestyles were extremely busy, we both travelled a lot for work. Then I fell pregnant! Today he is the most protective father, with so much patience, love and kindness! Aron loves his dada so much, and I just love watching the two of them. Did I mention he even did some night duties when Aron was younger, and he’s the one that needs to go to work the next day. He is a super dad!

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Any advice on balancing motherhood and marriage?

I think it’s very important to have some alone time with hubby, we make a point of going on date nights at least once a week, sometimes it gets a little crazy and it just doesn’t happen, and yes we fight it’s only human and healthy I guess, I also try be by myself a bit,even if it is getting my nails done or a massage or even coffee with friends, just where you can not be covered with sticky fingers is certainly needed sometimes.

What one thing do you want to teach your child?

Kindness and compassion! It’s a big thing in our family, to be kind and to have compassion, these days there’s not much of that in the world.

Best piece of advice you could give moms of little boys.

Boys are boys, they will be busy, they will do things faster, they don’t like to sit still for hours (like my sisters girl ) and have you relax with a coffee, you will run and your house will be messy, but boys have a different kind of love for their mommas, I see it everyday with Aron, I think I’m definitely meant to be a boys mama. Just enjoy them!

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Follow Une on Instagram.

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