Monthly Archives

October 2014

BUMP

Pregnancy Style Crush

22nd October 2014
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I love this bump look, don’t you? It teaches me a style lesson: it’s not just about the dress… I have great dresses… it is also about accessorising. I have never been one for accessories but I think that this look shows just how great they can be.

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BABE, MAMA

Meet the mama: Julia

14th October 2014
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I went to primary school with Julia and her identical twin Coralie many years ago. She now lives in Durban with her husband Nick and their three beautiful children – four year old Chloe, two and a half year old Thomas, and 14 month old Mila.
 

Favourite product for moms and why? 


An over-sized handbag. I am always running around the clock getting from one child to another, from one extra mural to another, a friend for a play date or a kids party – whatever it may be. So with the often jam-packed afternoons in and out of the car, my big handbag caters for all things big and small that my children may need; from water bottles, to snacks, to dummies, wipes, sudo cream and nappies, it fits it all – such a convenience.

How has your style changed since becoming a mom? 

Goodbye heals, hello flats! Comfort whether it’s in my gym wear or a comfortable pair of my pants/jeans and a shirt. All with a splash of elegance meets my busy schedule in the best possible way.

Favourite product for babies and why? 

Baby Bjorn (baby carrier). I am a very hands-on mama and I like to be close to everything (with the exception of my gym work-out and/or some TLC) in a day with 1,2, or all 3 of my babies, and I can confidently say that this would have been close to impossible without my Baby Bjorn, especially in the early days of nursing. With three kids under the age of 4, it is often two in a trolley and one in the baby carrier or two on bikes and the baby in the carrier – be it on walks on the roads or on casual strolls along the promenade.

A baby essential you couldn’t live without and why? 

Baby wet wipes. I cannot go anywhere without a packet of wipes. This is by far the most useful product I’ve used in the last four years. I don’t know how I lived without them! For cleaning faces, bums, sticky hands, surfaces, clothes and everything else.  

Best gift you have received for your children and why? 

I will say that the best IDEA (but ultimately gift it will be for my three children) is the one I received from my sister-in-law, who sent me an email that was once circulating about creating an email account for each of your children and using it as an electronic diary/safe keep to mark each child’s special moments, stories, photos and events, and sharing the password to their account as a gift to them on their 18th or 21st birthdays.
Favourite book to read to your children and why? 

I found that all my kids as babies absolutely loved reading books about animals – touch and feel books about animals and the ones that have sounds to them.

Favourite song to sing to your babe/children or their favourite song to hear? 

My home language is French, and my mom sings a lot of French lullabies to her grandchildren, so I picked up on a couple. My absolute favourite is humming ‘A la belle menotte que j’ai’ as I rock my babies to sleep.  I sang it to my first and then again to my second and now I sing it to my third every night before bed. My eldest has heard it so much that she, too, sings it to her babies in imaginary play.


Where is your favourite place to go hang with your kids?


I would love to go to my favourite coffee shop with my 3 children, but this will happen on the go. I will take them to grab a take-away coffee with me as it is perfectly impossible to sit down for more than 30 minutes attending to the wants and desires of a 4 year old, 2 and a half year old and 14 month old, all in one sitting. So as funny as it sounds, my favourite place to spend time singing, playing, dancing and laughing with my kids, is in their playroom. We converted our double garage into a playroom for them and this was without a doubt the best investment we ever made.  It’s a kiddy haven for them and they absolutely love spending time there.

Favourite meal to give your kids? 

This would have to be hands-down, a home cooked spaghetti bolognaise or a good lasagna.  My youngest has proven to be quite different in her eating habits and will pick fruit and vegetables over anything.  Her favourite would have to be broccoli (she’ll eat sticks and sticks of it) and strawberries – and there was no recipe in getting that right – I promise – I call it a strike of luck! 
Naming your children always has a story. How did you pick your daughter’s names? 

Chloe: When my husband and I knew we were having a baby girl, we started thinking about names and knew that we wanted a name that sounded good in both French and in English and it was on one relaxed evening together over dinner – TV in the background – that I overheard the name ‘Chloe’ and it just illuminated like a bulb in my head that that was the perfect name for our baby girl.  I looked up the meaning and it meant ‘blooming’ and 4 years down the line, I can confidently say that it is by far the most apt name for a child that has bloomed into the most beautiful, gracious, gentle little being our world could have been graced with.

Thomas: 8 months pregnant and we had a short list of names for our son.  We decided that it felt best to decide what our son’s name was destined to be, once blessed with seeing him on his birthday. I held him for the first time on the 6th of December and my husband asked me: “So what do you think? What should we call him?”. Call it Mother’s instinct but straight away and with no hesitation, I said “Thomas!”. Thomas means ‘twin’ so interpreting it I have to believe that it is the right name for my son as I, myself, am a twin to one of my 3 adoring sisters and who I, so appropriately made the God Mother to my Thomas.

Mila: She was to be called ‘Zara’ for the most part of my pregnancy when suddenly it occurred to me (8.5 months into my pregnancy) that I needed a softer, gentler name for this creation.  Inspired by a friend, our name was decided and oh so perfect it rang with the soft sound of her siblings’ names; Chloe and Thomas. Mila means ‘miracle’ and a perfect miracle she is especially after the tremendous birth story of bringing this bundle into our world.

What surprises you most about being a mum? 


The incredible, overflowing love that you can have for each of your children is what surpasses me the most. Not one is loved more than the other. I love each of my children differently, but the one constant is that I love them all with the same UNCONDITIONAL love! Since becoming a mother, I have had the incredible desire to want to invest so much time in understanding the emotional and psychological being of children and the outcome and effects of this understanding has been remarkable.  In a nutshell, I’ve learnt to speak each of my children’s love languages, and this in turn has made the task of parenting so much more effective.

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

My husband, Nick, is the most incredible, humbling, gentle soul you’ll ever meet. I knew that about him before he became a father, but he certainly puts that to another level with the title of being a father of 3. His grace, gentleness, amazing abundance of patience and tolerance with his 3 children is something to marvel over.  Nick is so involved, positive, and nothing is ever a problem without a solution and just those beautiful traits transcends down to our kids in the best way possible and makes me want to be the best mother I can possibly be, from one day to the next, for our blessed little ones.


What one thing do you want to teach your child? 


I would like to teach my children how to respect one another and others. To love their family and to always put this beautiful union of love and unity, first.

I will strive to have them understand that their good doesn’t have to be the same measure of ‘good’ as their friend, but as long as they have tried their best than that in itself is something that they should be proud of. I will help them be individuals in their own right and love everything about themselves so that they can in turn love others.

I would like them each to grow understanding good values and morals so that they are equipped to fight the dangers of peer pressure in adolescence. 

Best piece of advice you could give moms of three babes. 

There are days that aren’t as easy as the last, but it’s important to take a deep breath (truly) and to take each moment as it comes, without letting frustrations get ahead of itself and loaded onto your children to bear.

Savour the preciousness of each milestone your child goes through, as the journey that is theirs, is so short and only lasts a short time before they fly to their own nests and start a family of their own.

Treat each child with respect. All children are unique and should be treated independent of their siblings without being compared. I strive to never use the words; “Look your sister/brother has done that, now you should do the same”.

Listen to your children.  Life is busy and there are always so many things to get done in a day, but take the time to listen to the voice of your child.  Often a child will play up, because s/he is frustrated or needy of a little more time and attention, love or encouragement.

But above all: love, laugh and play with your children. Too often than not we worry about our to-do lists (I’m talking from experience here – being a Virgo, the big green tick on my to-do on a daily basis was essential, until the juggling act of 3 kids, a husband, a home and more needed time and attention and the list just got too long to get through and you know what, I realized that it was okay, that list wasn’t going to go anywhere, whereas the time and rewarding effects of investing that valuable time with the people that mattered the most to me, was!).

Sometimes we don’t have to be grown up and responsible every second of our day and we can too, roll around on the floor and just be – fun and fulfilling for our children, on another level.

All said from the heart and sealed with the complete love of being a Mother
MAMA, WEAR

We love: Cinnamon’s new summer collection

13th October 2014
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As mamas or mamas-to-be we have had to surrender to our high heels being pushed to the back of our wardrobes for the most part and it’s all about flats for us. But this doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a great looking shoe which is why we absolutely love Cinnamon and their latest summer collection.

Here are our picks for the summer ahead:
Ps. The best news? You can shop Cinnamon shoes online, which makes it that much easy for us busy mamas. 

READ

Family album and this week’s reading list

11th October 2014
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Blake Lively announced that she is pregnant this week. Can you imagine a baby Blake cross Ryan? She annouced the news by sharing this pic, which her brother took, on her website Preserve.

Here are some links that caught our eye this week: 
What kids around the world eat for breakfast – this is crazy!
Jennifer Garner talks about her non-baby baby-bump.
Did you see the baby shower that pregnant Blake Lively threw for her BFF? 
What to say when other new parents ask how it is going. 
A lovely maternity dress. 
MAMA, TRAVEL

Mamas around the world: Jacqui from Dubai

9th October 2014
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Jacqui McArthur is mum of two, Brooke who is seven and Rhett who is almost five. She is also a blogger and interior designer of Brooke Eva. Jacqui lives with two babes in Dubai. They have spent almost seven years in Dubai. They left Dubai for a two-year stint in Singapore and have been back in Dubai for a year and half now. This is their tenth year of living out of South Africa.

How did you end up living in Dubai? 
My husband was offered a position with his then company and we jumped at the chance. We were very keen to have an ‘expat’ posting, thinking it would be a two year thing and ten years later here we are! It’s a very common tale amongst expats.
What is the best thing about living in Dubai? 
It’s so first world! And safety is a huge plus. We are very spoilt living here. I would have to say our friends are one of the biggest pluses; we have made some very special friends, being away from home your friends become like family.
Describe your house? 
We live in what I would describe as, a gated community. It’s a four-bedroom villa, which we bought in 2008.
Do you have a housekeeper/nanny/babysitter? What is the culture in your city regarding help with babies and child rearing? 
Yes I do! Thank goodness for her! We have a live in nanny, who takes care of our home and baby-sits the children when needed. This is very common in Dubai; most of my friends have live in help. For the most part it can be an essential, because we live away from home there are no grandparents or aunts and uncles to help out so having that extra set of hands is a Godsend! Especially for me as a working Mom. Your helper becomes a part of your family. 
At what age do you send your kids to school or kindergarten or play group in your city? Are they public or private? Is it difficult to get into these schools? 
Ah schools, its any parent’s worst nightmare in this city! Very much like South Africa, you need to put their names down at birth or you are going to struggle to find a place at a decent school. There are local government schools, for Emirati children, expat children mostly attend the private schools. Most children would attend nursery from around two years old.  However the first official school year in Dubai is called Foundation Stage One and the child would be four years old to attend that year, they learn to write their names at four! It’s pretty amazing. There is a very high level of education in Dubai. Thinking back to my school days, it’s always astounding to me how advanced the level of education is, Brooke at seven years old, is reading books that I probably would have read at around ten or eleven. 
How do you get around town with your little ones?
I use my car to get around, with two children at school and extra murals we are in that car a lot!
Where do you hang out with your babes for playtime?
In the Dubai summer indoor play areas are a mothers best friend as it’s just too hot to venture outside in summer. Mini Monsters or Cheeky Monkeys being our  favourite  in the cooler months we are outdoors as much as possible. Dubai has lovely parks and most afternoons would be spent in Al Barsha Park with friends, scooters and bikes. In the winter months we love Safa Park, there is a very cool market selling organic produce, they even have a gluten free bakery stall which is heaven for my little’s. We usually buy some yummy things to eat and sit beneath the trees and have a picnic.
Do you have pets? 
No. Unless you can count two goldfish as pets. To be honest, I’m not going to get away with that for much longer. My little’s are animal mad. 
Do you have a favourite coffee/lunch spot to head to with your babe?
My daughter Brooke has Celiac disease so eating out can be a challenge. However there are options. We love Lime Tree Cafe, they do organic gluten free pasta, which she loves, and Rocket Fuel is another favourite. Rainforest Cafe is the most requested eating spot in our house, it is a simulated rain forest complete with lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls, rainstorms complete with thunder and lightning, a crocodile, elephants, gorillas and butterflies. Total kiddie heaven!
Do you have a favourite spot to head to when you need some “me” time?
I do love a manicure and pedicure at N Bar, besides having a ‘thing’ for well-groomed hands and feet; it is one hour of peace! Another fave solo activity is breakfast at Tom and Serg, they have wifi so I can get some work done (uninterrupted) and they serve the best coffee in this city.  The super cool industrial decor fits the cool crowd that frequents this cafe and their yummy food.
What is your little one’s favourite food?
Brooke loves meat. She is a real South African in that way. Rhett loves salmon and French fries, which he is allowed as a treat on the weekends.
What is your favourite “Dubai” thing to do with your babes? 
Camping in the desert, what child doesn’t love being in an enormous sand pit and under the stars. The great thing about camping in Dubai is you literally head out of the city and pick a spot of desert anywhere. The added bonus for the kids is ‘dune bashing’ driving over the dunes always gets squeals of excitement out of the little’s. If you are really lucky you may even get to see the wild Oryx that roam the desert.
Describe a typical Saturday
Well, Saturday is actually our ‘Sunday’; the workweek in Dubai is Sunday through Thursday. Friday is the day that Muslims offer Jema’ah prayers. So it a day of rest. But a typical Saturday would start with the hope of getting a lie in. I know its wishful thinking. Once we are all up we take it really easy, often staying in our pyjamas for as long as possible. We usually join friends for lunch, all the kids’ play and we try and have a conversation amongst the chaos.  The Dubai Marina is fabulous, the kids can ride their bikes along the Marina and there are so many cafes and restaurants to stop in for lunch or an early dinner. 
What languages do you speak to your baby? 
English
Where do you go on holiday as a family? 
Well it’s usually coming home to South Africa to see family. We have a beautiful family farm in the Natal midlands, which is heaven on earth for the kids. They are out the door as they wake up and get stuck into grooming the horses and running around widely with the dogs. The fresh air and sense of freedom for them makes it a perfect place for a family break. However we have been to a few great places with the kids. We have been to Thailand a few times and Australia which was amazing. We recently met family in Mauritius, which was heaven too, we stayed at a club med which is the answer if you have young children, the kids club whisks them away for fun activities which means you get to chill on the beach and actually read a few pages of a book uninterrupted. 
What tip would you give a family with a babe the same age as yours if they were visiting your hometown? 
Travel with a car seat if you can, Dubai taxis have very few and more often than not they are not available. 
What is the one not-to-be-missed activity to do/place to visit with a baby in your hometown? 
Kidzania. It is truly amazing. It’s a complete city, scaled down to children level and children work and earn money for the job done. They get to role-play as a cashier at a supermarket check out or a firefighter in the fire station. They even get to be a pilot complete with Emirates Airlines uniform and cock pit. 
What is the biggest difference in raising children abroad? 
They are exposed to so much. Their world knowledge is definitely broader. The only down side, as I see it, is not having family around. Both Brooke and Rhett speak Mandarin after our two-year stint in Singapore, which is something I think is a huge benefit to them long term. I think the biggest bonus of living here is that it gives us the ability to travel. At seven years old Brooke has been to more countries than most adults. Something I think is amazing and broadens children’s horizons.
What do you miss the most about home? 
Besides my family, the natural beauty. Dubai is a desert and there is no natural vegetation. To have space, beautiful scenery and the openness and freedom that gives your children is amazing. That is what childhood is about, being outdoors, playing and exploring and all the memories that come with this. Oh and of course the food and wine – South Africans are spoilt for choice!

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On our bookshelf: Thank You Bear, Good Luck Bear, Don’t Worry Bear

8th October 2014
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Bailey has signed copies of these three books because she was friends with the author Greg Foley in New York but that’s not the only reason why we love them. Little bear is endearing guy who you cannot help but fall in love with. The twins are obsessed and want to read them every night. We are not the only fans!

“A perfect joy!”
David Bowie, Iman and Lexi (6 years old)
“It’s the new Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Karl Lagerfeld
“A wonderful early lesson of friendship, a joy to read with my children”
Claudia Schiffer

{Shop the books here, via Kalahari) 
MAMA

Instamama: Sara Strand

7th October 2014
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Sara Strand is a Norwegian fashion and lifestyle blogger for Stylemag. We were totally blown away by her uber cool preggy style and now absolutely adore her newborn baby boy Mikkel. 

NEST

A black & white nursery that gets it right

6th October 2014
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Three things we absolutely love about this nursery: (1) That spotty wall (2) The layered blankets hanging over the cot, especially that cloud one (3) The casualness of the pictures on the wall – hello washi tape.

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