Monthly Archives

May 2017

BABE, BUMP, MAMA

MEET THE BUMP: JUDITH BELLE

18th May 2017
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Lovely photographer Judith Belle is due any day now. Here she shares a bit more about her pregnancy with us.

 

Are you finding out the gender of your baby and why or why not?

I’m having a little girl! So excited to be a girl-mom! The pregnancy was enough of a surprise, having certainty about the gender helped me to prepare for this journey.

Tell us one thing you can’t live without while pregnant.

Comfortable shoes!! I’m a wedding & lifestyle photographer and need to move and walk a lot for my work! I bought the most gorgeous BluBetty All Season leather lace up ankle boots and wear them almost every day!

What is your favourite beauty product while pregnant?

My mom gave me Happy Event, it’s a wonderful lotion to moisturise and soften the skin, filled with olive oil and vitamen E. I’ve been using it every day since I got it at 15 weeks. It also smells amazing! I’m not saying it’s the lotion, but I have no stretch marks yet.

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What is your favorite food or are you having any cravings while pregnant?

I’ve had very healthy cravings, thank goodness. For the first 20 weeks everything made me nauseous, except fruit. I could eat any and all fruit without feeling sick. Pineapple is still my favourite.

What preggy books or apps are you using?

I’m reading Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman, since I adore and admire everything French (fashion, style, interior, living, food, photography) it only makes sense to learn a bit of insight from the French and their parenting style. I was actually also an au pair in France 10 years ago, so a lot of what I’m reading only makes sense now that I am also preparing for a baby.

How would you describe your pregnancy style and where do you shop for preggy clothes?

My style have always been influenced by a bit of boho chic. I’ve been incredibly lucky with not gaining weight other than around my bump, so most of my things actually still fit me. I’ve only bought 3 pairs of comfortable leggings and one white preggy specific oversized shirt. All 4 items from the lovely preggy range by Mea Mama. I’m all about a capsule wardrobe and keeping things very simple and stylish.

What I’ve enjoyed most, is taking my weekly self portraits. The idea behind that was to find my favourite outfit of the week and document what I can still wear in that particular week of pregnancy. Looking back at my series of now 13 photos (I started it on 19 weeks) I am really glad I documented the growth, journey and my style like this. I’m sure my little girl will love it one day!

You can see them here and with this hashtag: #LumenBelleBump

What’s your exercise regime at the moment? And how has it changed  with your pregnancy?

I have a very physical job, squatting, moving, walking a lot when I photograph weddings and other lifestyle shoots. Additional to that I try to walk at least 4-5 times a week with a friend. (good to catch up on each others lives too) and I attend the Preggy Yoga Classes once a week at Conscious Birth in Illovo.

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Have you decided on a birth plan, are you going natural or having a caesar?

I’m hoping that all goes well that I can have a natural birth with no pain medication. I have a wonderful doula (Katrina Meek) that is helping me with breathing, exercises and positie birth affirmations. A doula is there to be the emotional and physical support from the very first contractions until you hold your baby. I believe the women’s body is strong, but the mind is stronger. So for me it’s also about getting myself in the right headspace to do this the way nature intended.

In preparation for your baby what are your most over whelming thoughts/ worries/concerns?

Time management. I love my lifestyle and my work. I’ve been taking things a lot slower this year and not traveling and shooting as much as I would have. My hope is that I find a balance to be the mom I envision for my girl and also still manage a level of career and job satisfaction.

What has surprised you the most about being pregnant?

How strong I am. Emotioinally & physically this has been my biggest challenge of my life, but I am determined and happy with my choice to go through with this journey. The most amazing thing is to see how your body change and adapt every week. I’ve been following my gut instincts with regards to food, exercise and big decisions and it is actually amazing how your body and your instincts guide you.

What is the best pregnancy advice you have received?

Be kind to yourself. Do things on your own time, in your own way, don’t be influenced by partners/friends/family/doctors. It’s of course to hear everyone’s insight and suggestions, but in the end you are in charge. It’s your body, it’s your choice, it’s your baby.

Follow Judith on her two Instagram accounts: Judith_belle and Themeasureoflight

{photos by Robyn Davie}

BABE, MAMA

MOM TALK: WHAT IT IS LIKE HEADING BACK TO WORK AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE

16th May 2017
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Ashley and I walked our babes together pretty much everyday during her maternity leave so when a mama asked me do do a feature on returning back to work after maternity leave, I had to ask Ashley more about it.

What is your job?

I head up a team within Discovery Health which runs strategy and innovation-linked projects. We run like an internal management consulting firm and are deployed to various projects across the business as and when we are needed.

How long was your maternity leave? And how old was your babe when you headed back to work?

I was able to take 6 months of maternity leave, most of which I took after Harrison was born, so he was 5 months and 3 weeks old when I returned to work.

How old is your little one now?

He is now 2 (almost 2 and a half, but I like to round down so it seems like he isn’t growing up quite as fast as he is!)

What was the most daunting thing about heading back to work after your maternity leave?

It was so foreign to think about leaving my tiny babe at home all day while I headed off to meetings and brainstorming sessions – I couldn’t even start to imagine how that was going to work logistically, let alone how it was going to feel! I felt like I was constantly busy at work before I had Harrison and had felt equally busy looking after my little bundle at home on maternity leave so I had no idea where I was going to find the time to do both.

Once the time came did you feel ready? 

I remember reaching the four month mark of my maternity leave and thinking that I would never be ready to leave Harrison and go back to work, but by 5 and a half months I found myself more used to the idea, and itching to find out what new and exciting projects were on the go. I was moving into a new role on my return to work, so I had started to come in while Harrison napped to meet my new team and ease into things – I think that those short meetings and little pockets of time away from him helped to build my confidence so that I didn’t have to switch completely from one world into another for a long stretch right away.

What was your first day like? 

My first full day back was a total mix of emotions and took a lot of planning, because I was determined to keep breastfeeding Harrison (in between introducing solids) for as long as I could. I don’t remember much other than that I must have texted Harrison’s nanny about 20 times and that the day went really quickly – before I knew it, I was home with my little babe, who seemed completely happy and well-looked after, not to mention that he didn’t seem to even have realised that his mama had gotten through one of the hardest days in her recent memory by going back to work and leaving him at home. That made going to work on day 2 a bit easier.

How do you handle child care when things don’t go according to plan? For example a late meeting or a sick babe or your child care falls through?

I am incredibly lucky to have both my mom and my mom-in-law close-by, as well as an amazing live-in nanny. We decided early on that we wanted Harrison to stay at home while I was at work so that no matter what happened during my day (for example, an unplanned late meeting), he was in his home and his routine could go on unchanged, albeit without me if I happened to get caught at work. I also am fortunate enough to work in a company and for an amazing boss (also a mom) who allows me to work flexibly in terms of both time and venue. If I need to take Harrison to the doctor, or work from home to keep an eye on a little sickling, then I can usually move my meetings or take them via conference call. If all else fails, I call in the grannies! It absolutely takes a village to enable me to be a working mom and I am so fortunate to have a wonderful one.

Every mom (working or stay at home) feels the infamous “mom-guilt”, how do you deal with this feeling? 

The mom-guilt is such a real thing, and by no means do I think I’ve got it handled, but I do try to remind myself of that saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. I love my job and it plays a big part in making me feel happy and fulfilled, which means that I have more to give emotionally to everyone in my life when I’m challenged and happy at work. I know it sounds crazy, but after a long day at work, I find I have more energy to pour into quality time with Harrison than I do on weekends or when we are on holiday and I have all day with him. I think something about knowing that I have more limited time with him during the week helps me to be more present when I am at home with him.

I’m sure leaving one’s babe is difficult in the beginning, does it get easier?  

I think that, like all things with being a mom, there is a level of unpredictability and things really can change from day to day and be up one day and then down the next. I definitely learned to worry less and less about whether Harrison would be safe and well cared for without me, and got better and better at the logistics and planning required to juggle work and motherhood, but there were certainly patches in Harrison’s development which made leaving for work harder. For example, when he started to be able to vocalise that he didn’t want me to leave, or when he was going through the toddler separation anxiety phase, I battled. Recently it has gotten much easier because Harrison started going to crèche in the mornings and I don’t feel so much like I’m missing out on things that I would be present for if I was a stay-at-home mom.

What is your top tip for moms preparing on heading back to work after their maternity leave. 

Being organised has really helped me to strip out “unnecessary” activities so that I can spend as much of my time away from work as I can with Harrison. I completely changed my hours when I came back to work so that I am in early and can leave by 15:00; this means I don’t waste time in traffic and have a good few hours at home with my little boy before we start with supper, bath and bedtime. I also do a meal-plan and shop online for groceries on a Sunday night so that I don’t have to worry about what I’m making for supper and the inevitable trip to Woolies every night on the way home.

Having said that, I also think that being gentle on yourself is so important. Balance is not something that anyone really achieves 100% on a day-to-day basis and sometimes you won’t be in total control of your time, no matter how organised you try to be. Be flexible during those ebbs and flows, try to look at the bigger picture and remember that all your choices as a mom are made with your little one’s best interests at heart; going back to work is no different.

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Images by Robyn Davie

BABE, MAMA, NEST, PLAY

WE’RE AT DESIGN JOBURG

12th May 2017
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Kimmy & Bear Spaces is show casing at Design Joburg this weekend. For more on our Growing Up space, click here.

The Design Joburg show is set to become a new focus for exceptional design, quality and inspiration. Design Joburg is the perfect mix of a longstanding favourite local exhibition that highlights the best in the industry paired with the new innovators and emerging talent of South Africa.

Visitors to the show will be part of a unique audience of high end consumers as well as architects, designers, specifiers, developers, as well as multinational companies looking to source directly for their latest projects.

Friday 10am – 6pm

Saturday 10am – 6pm

Sunday 10am – 5pm

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Kimmy & Bear Spaces is a three-sisters interior design team working on family spaces – from nurseries, to playrooms, from art rooms and family gathering areas, to lounges and bedrooms. We believe in creating a sense of joy; we believe that how one feels in a room is of utmost importance; and we believe that what you do in a space is as important as what the space looks like. Our aim, through design, is to make the ordinary extraordinary as we redefine family spaces in the home.

For information or queries please contact cheska@kimmyandbear.com

MAMA, READ

MUST READ: THE MOMMY GROUP

9th May 2017
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One of my favourite genres to read is the momoir, memoirs written by mothers are relatable on an intimate level and speak to our common experiences as mother, no matter how different our lives may be. Recently, I read and absolutely loved Elizabeth Isadora Gold’s The Mommy Group, my pick for our recent beach vacation. I’m now recommending it to all the moms I know who are looking for a light but meaningful read – easy entertainment was balanced by the heartfelt wisdom about parenting in today’s world.

Elizabeth tells her story of becoming a mother, not always the easy road imagined, and of finding strength and friendship in her mommy group. However, as a journalist the author examines parenting issues and challenges in an informed and informing way. The importance of a supporting group of women throughout your parenting journey, especially during those early baby days, rings true and reminds me of the love such groups have brought me. I’m fortunate to live near my sisters and mother, who have formed my mommy group as is the traditional way. When my daughter was a baby though my sisters were not yet mothers and I formed a group that met every Wednesday morning for nearly 2 years. Treading common ground at the same time is a uniquely bonding experience amongst mothers and you’ll see yourself in much of this book.
The Mommy Group explores many facets of parenting from the heartbreaking experiences of miscarriage and postpartum depression to the potential toll on a marriage and returning to work. Each women in the group has a different experience, some harder than others, but they all gain strength through belonging to a mommy group and somehow the group allows them to experience the joy of being a new mother at a deeper level. Perhaps it’s the shared wonder and love of their babies, the shared experience of having your life change in unimaginable yet wonderful ways, and the generations-old truth of the strength women find in solidarity.
Now when I need to take a gift to an expecting mom, The Mommy Group is what I’ll give as I’ll be passing on a book that offers so much more insight and honest advice than any baby book and that advice is definitely more valuable than yet another swaddle.
Buy your copy via Exclusive Books.
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