Monthly Archives

September 2015

READ

READING TO YOUR BABES IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAT WE THOUGHT

30th September 2015
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It as always been said that reading to your children is important – of course we all know it is a wonderful bonding experience to cuddle up on the couch, arm around tiny shoulders and read to your littlie. Now Huffington Post reports on a study published in the Journal of Paediatrics which talks about the the positive effects reading has on a developing child’s brain. Parents who spend time reading to their children “create nurturing relationships, which are important for a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development.” This new study that provides evidence that reading is important in stimulating the parts of young children’s  brains that help with “mental imagery and understanding narrative”which is crucial for the development of language and literacy.
This study actually proves that reading aloud to you child has a biological impact on brain function- so keep reading to your babes!

You can read the full article here.

BABE, NEST, WEAR

ONE OF THE BEST COLLABORATIONS YET

29th September 2015
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We are generally fans of cool collaborations but when two of our favourite brands get together it pretty much sends us off the edge: introducing Gap and Aden Anais collaboration and the result is fantastic.

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The collection shows three colour waves: pink, blue and neutrals (grey) and includes blankets, bibs, sleep sacs, gowns and soothers. We have added pretty much the entire collection to our new baby wish list and I am especially swooning after those sleep sacs for Francie Sugar.

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BABE, MAMA

MEET THE MAMA: CARLA

29th September 2015
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Carla is one super mama! Not only is she mama to gorgeous Nikolaas but she is also owner of Pretty Organised. That’s right this mama organises for a living – putting the rest of us to shame!

How has your style changed since becoming a mom?

I love wearing dresses all year around. Since becoming a momma, I had to carefully buy dresses that make it easy to breastfeed. I also found it easier to shop online and then try on at home, to shop with a little busy rascal can get tricky. When Nikolaas was five months old I cut my hair really short, and I love it!

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Favourite product for babies and why?

Oh Lief Natural Olive Bum Balm, I also love their multi purpose wax and sneakily use it on myself sometimes.

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

Our Stokke pram, it is so easy to handle and convenient for park walks and mall outings. 

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Best gift you have received for your baby?

My mother-in-law brought us a lovely illustrated Baby Book from the book series “Guess How Much I love You”. I am so sentimental and this book is perfect to document special milestones and memories.

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Favourite book to read to our baby and why?

My husband reads to our baby every evening before bedtime. Some of their favourites include Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a collection of Julia Donaldson books and Beatrix Potter.

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

We go for a walk almost every afternoon at the George Hay park in Parkview, it is a quick trip from our home. If we feel like having a cup of coffee the W Cafe in Killarney Mall is the perfect meeting place. 

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Naming your children always has a story. How did you pick your child’s names?

We decided to keep our baby’s gender a surprise for ourselves. We had two names ready. Picking out a girl’s name was easy. We considered many boy names but my husband was not set on one of them. Nearing the end of my pregnancy we went to Cape Town for a weekend away. I read a book and one of the characters was named Nicolaas. I mentioned the name to my husband and he liked it straight away. Once we read up on the meaning and discovered it means “Victorious” it was a done deal. Nikolaas and I both have Dutch citizenship, so we decided to spell his name the Dutch way.

What surprises you most about being a mum?

How quickly I adjusted to being a mom and that being a mom is enough for me.

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

I fell in love with him all over again! Now that Nikolaas is a little older and interacting more and more, it is fun to see Neet enjoy reading and playing with him. They have their own little routines on weekends. He is a brilliant dad!

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What one thing do you want to teach your child?

Respect people and show it in your actions and to be sincere and honest.

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

Boys are busy! Have a variety of toys and objects readily available. From kitchen utensils to rattles they will smash it and chew it, from the word go!

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Carla’s beautiful pics were snapped by Cilla Bloom

BABE, WEAR

NEW COTTON ON BABY COLLECTION

28th September 2015
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You know we love Cotton On, so we cannot resist sharing their new collection each time a new range hits stores. We’re excited that this new collection includes more rompers and accessories. The zip detail makes dressing your babes so much easier than a million buttons and we just love the soft, calm colours. Also new to this collection are a whole lot of beanies, mittens, booties, muslin wraps, comforter bunnies and a waterproof change mat, which can be easily washed and is the perfect size – folding down so mums on the go can store easily in their nappy bag. Thanks Cotton On!

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BABE, BUMP, EAT, MAMA, NEST, WEAR

IT’S ROCK A BABY THIS WEEKEND

25th September 2015
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By now you know how excited we are about Rock a Baby this weekend. We cannot wait. Rock-a-Baby is a curated baby and mommy experience – South Africa’s most beautiful baby fair. For the mommy-in-the-know, Rock-a-Baby showcases creative and beautiful items produced by select vendors. Expect the best items for babes, kids and moms – like gorgeous clothes, to die for sleepwear, cute accessories, playful toys… the list goes on and on. Of course, there will also be delicious food and drinks on the day.

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Here is all the info that you need to know:

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We partnered with Rock a Baby to feature some of their vendors in our “meet the maker” series, and we are literally counting down the hours until we can shop their products now:

Little Black Ant

Lullaby Rock

Dash of Cute

Happy Toddler Beds

Mokopu

La Fede

Jean Kelly

For live up dates on the day, follow Rock a Baby on Instagram.

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MAMA

MEET THE MAMA: CANDICE

22nd September 2015
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Meet the lovely Candice. She is the amazing mama to Madison Grace (6), Paige Lily (4) and Benjamin Christopher (7 months).

Favourite product for moms and why?

Does Diemersfontein Pinotage count?

Favourite product for babies and why?

While not technically a product, I have really loved reading and applying the principles from Kath Megaw’s book called Real Food, Healthy, Happy children. It was invaluable in the process of introducing Benjamin to solids. Her focus on whole, healthy, delicious food really resonates with me and the recipes are amazing when work and everything else take over and leave no room for inspirational meal planning.

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Best gift you have received for your baby and why?

Being able to be a mom of three and still have a career is a privilege, but at the same time, a significant logistical undertaking that comes with sacrifices and feelings of guilt at times. For me, without a doubt the biggest gift I have received since the birth of my youngest, is peace of mind. Ellen is Ben’s nanny and her unconditional love for him allows me to be away from him during the day with absolute faith that he is being taken care of as if I was with him and my gratitude for that is endless.

Favourite book to read to your little girls and why?

Story time in our house is actually largely a time for Paul to be with the girls. He reads them a story in bed every night and then he asks each of them 3 questions about what they heard. Paige is 4 and has only recently been able to participate fully in the question session, but seeing the pride and delight on her face when she gets her questions right really just emphasizes how much they treasure this time with their dad.

Do you have any family rituals?

Every night at the dinner table we play two games, the Thank-you game and the Glad-favourite / Sad-favourite game. Each person takes a turn to say first what they are grateful for and then what their most and least favourite part of the day was. We started when Madison was quite young and couldn’t remember the words “most” and “least” favourite and she coined the phrases glad favourite and sad favourite. It helps give us insight into our kids’ lives and at the same time helps to teach them and us to be thankful people.

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With 3 kids, do you have any rituals of one on one time with each one? How do you make this happen/work for you?

I have been a lot more conscious of this since Benjamin arrived because I think a new baby in the house can at times be tough for young children. So from the time we brought him home from the hospital we aim at least once a month to have a “date day” with Madi or Paige individually. The day is then all about them and they get to choose what they would like to do and with which parent.

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

We really love Blandford Manor because for us, they have a great balance between great playground facilities for the kids, beautiful outdoor setting and decent food, which I think is quite a rare find.

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What one thing we will never catch you doing as a mama?

Saying never. One thing I have learnt being a mom of three very different little humans is that, while structure and discipline are important, you need to be flexible enough to do what works for you and each child in any given situation.

What is the biggest surprise to you about having children?

I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of nature vs nurture and seeing how different each of my kids are from each other and what very definite personalities each of them have had from day 1 has been absolutely fascinating to me.

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

Paul teaches me so much through his relationship with our kids and I so often am inspired by him to be better in my own relationship with them. He is the most intelligent, generous and patient person I know and from the day Madi was born has been 100% present and involved in the kids’ lives. We have shared parenthood fifty-fifty without exception, which I think is a very rare and special privilege for both me as his wife and co-parent and for our children.

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Any advice on balancing motherhood and marriage?

This is a tricky one because I think in the face of the immediate demands of a career and small children, marriage tends to be the first thing that needs to survive without attention for a time. And while it may sound very clichéd I think the only answer is to maintain consistent open lines of communication. Because as long as both parents are aware that their relationship may take a bit of a backseat in the face of more pressing demands, things will continue to work well until the very intense phase of young children passes and you are able to focus on each other again. What also makes a huge difference for us is sharing the parental responsibility equally. Neither of us then feels resentful or neglected because we are in it together.

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We know you are a working mama, what’s your best advice for balancing work and motherhood?

I think the most important thing to remember is that balance is not something that can be achieved upfront. Rather than simply deciding to create balance, it requires constant focus and energy. And at the same time, understanding that there are ebbs and flows in both your career and your family life will help you to not be too hard on yourself when one or the other demands a bit more of you than usual.

What one thing do you want to teach your children?

Gratitude. Which I believe is the key to a happy life.

Best piece of advice you could give moms of 3 little ones.

Get a PhD in organisation. There is a very narrow line between peace and utter chaos in our house at all times, and bringing up my children in a peaceful and unchaotic environment is something that is very important to me. This year has become particularly challenging with the birth of Ben (who stays at home with Ellen) and Madi going to primary school which means that our kids are in three different places at any given time. The key to creating a sense of calm, however tenuous, is forward planning, online shopping and many, many lists.

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These beautiful family pics were snapped by Reaching Robyn

BABE, NEST, PLAY

MEET THE MAKER: LITTLE BLACK ANT

21st September 2015
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We’re excited to have partnered with Rock a Baby (South Africa’s most beautiful baby fair) to meet some super creative people who are making beautiful products for kids, babes and mama. These vendors will be at the fair on Sunday, 27 September. Get your tickets now!

Antonella is the under creative behind Little Black Ant. When she found out she was pregnant with her baby boy, she started sewing – and we are so glad that she did. Little Black Ant items are some of our favourites and we always choose these dolls to give to our friends living overseas.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I currently have a range of handmade multicultural rag dolls and mermaids.  With all the beautiful people living in South Africa I felt inspired to make dolls of all different skin colours and genders.  Added to that there is a sleepy fox plush range and sleepy fox pillows.  All are extremely huggable and lovable and totally safe for all ages

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What inspired your business?

Little black ant was created in 2011 by me after a few years of dabbling in doll making.  I started by making one for my baby boy, then another to give to a friend’s baby for her birthday, then another friend asked me to make a dark skinned African doll and so it started.

With so many beautiful fabrics on the market it is a delight to imagine the next creation.  Fashion and kids fashion also constantly inspire me.  I love the old fashioned idea of a rag doll mixed with modern day fabrics and fashion.

Working out of my garden studio, I feel very lucky to be creating something that brings joy, smiles and laughter to the young and the young at heart alike.

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How does your business fit your lifestyle?

As soon as I’ve taken the children to school in the mornings, I go for a walk or do a yoga class, then get straight to work in my studio.  Afternoons are spent feeding hungry children, doing homework, chilling.  In the evenings I usually work a bit more updating my online shop, or stuffing dolls.  I also choose 3 or 4 markets to sell at every year.

What is your favourite product and why? 

My ragdolls are my favourite.  They are timeless and appeal all different age groups.  Right now I’m loving these polka dot beauties.

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See Little Black Ant at Rock a Baby this Sunday, 27 September.

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BABE, WEAR

GET READY FOR COTTON ON KIDS SWIMWEAR

19th September 2015
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At last we can say that summer is here which, in South Africa, means loads of time spent in the pool (or on the beach). We just love Cotton On Kids’ latest swimwear range – it’s so much fun. The highly-anticipated range caters from baby through to tween and boasts cool new prints and styles including one pieces, separates, boardies, rashies, bucket hats and sunnies. The new range can be mixed-and-matched, encouraging shoppers to get creative and inject some of their own personalities into their beach ensembles.

The girls swimwear range (for ages 2 – 8) includes one pieces, bikinis, tankinis, boardies and rashies in a range of bright, bold colours and prints that are synonymous with summer such as watermelons, lemon, cherries and ice-cream cones.

Palm trees, pineapples and octopuses are featured throughout the boys range (for ages 2 – 8) which boasts a pastel colour palette including peach, mint and yellow.

And the fun doesn’t stop there – youngsters and their families can enjoy summer at the beach with some old favourites making a comeback including beach cricket and fly disc, as well as inflatable beach toys, umbrellas and hooded towels.

In stores now – happy shopping!

BABE, MAMA, TRAVEL

HOW THIS MAMA RELOCATED WITH A TODDLER

17th September 2015
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Kim Gray has just done something huge: she relocated from Cape Town to Dublin with her toddler, Harry. We chatted to her to find out how she did it, the ups and downs…

How did you prepare Harry for the move? 

I didn’t really consciously think this through before the time to be honest – but I did make sure to keep some familiar things on us, like a couple plush toys, his blanket and a few books/small toys. I think I was more prepared for the aeroplane than anything – snacks, stickers, colouring in books, reading books, mini aeroplane set and cars to mirror what was going on around us, and Panando!

What was the hardest part of relocating with a toddler?

I was fortunate enough to have my mom come with me and help me out for two weeks, but after that I would say trying to get all the paper work done, look after Harry full time, settling him at night (he’s not a good sleeper at the best of times let alone a new environment), keep my blogs running, finding and discovering our new surrounds i.e. homework on hospitals, doctors etc has been exhausting. Also having so much to think about has had me rather pre-occupied and so I feel as though Harry’s maybe felt a bit neglected in the process.

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What’s the best thing about a new place with a young babe?

Discovering new things together has been awesome. We take daily walks and every day we discover something new or have to cope with a new experience together. It’s really awesome to see how much Harry is learning though this new journey.

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How did you make the process easier for Harry?

We discovered Scout – he really was the game changer! It didn’t happen over night, but now Harry is able to go down on his own. Scout sings bedtime songs and you can programme him to say your child’s name in the song and completely personalise him. He’s become a bedtime comfort for Harry and distraction from us leaving the room. This toy has saved me from 2 hours of sitting next to Harry until he falls asleep.

What three things did you take with you?

Formula – we don’t have the same brands here in Ireland as in South Africa so I had to take over a couple tines incase Harry didn’t like the taste etc and then ween him onto the new one – thankfully, a success! Same went for his meds and vitamins to buy me time to find new brands here in Ireland.

Not really a ‘have to’ but I stocked up on my favourite Oh-Lief baby products and Cherubs baby wipes because I love and swear by them.

Harry’s Richard Scary book. This was given to us by one of my best school friends and Harry adores this book. The pages are all torn and it’s about to fall apart but he is obsessed with it and I knew it would be a life saver on the plane and in a new environment.

Is there anything you wish you had taken? 
Probably Harry’s high chair – he is a wriggler! Oh, and gum boots.
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What do you love most so far about Dublin?
Everyday is an adventure discovering new products, places and people. The parks here are fantastic and totally geared up for kids. I love the stylish coffee shops and eateries and being a fashion blogger (kimgray.co.za) I’m loving admiring all the street style. Harry is absolutely loving all the trains and busses.
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What do you miss about home?
Obviously friends and family. Not knowing anyone here yet and having stayed with my folks out of town a month before moving Harry has had no social interaction with other kids really so he’s become very clingy with me.
Also our nanny – she was the ‘mother hen’ in our home and part of the family. Childcare is ridiculously expensive in Ireland, some double income households have one salary solely for childcare.
I can’t find Macadamia nut butter and I miss that a lot!
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Top tip for anyone relocating with young children. 
Try and keep your cool, children totally feed off your energy. And pack your wine quota!
For more of Kim Gray have a look at her mom/baby blog Kim Gray Petite, her fashion blog Kim Gray.
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