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BABE, DIARY, MAMA

PHOTOBOOKS!

22nd August 2017
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I hope it is not just me who is 2.5 years behind on Francie’s photo books! Our photo books are one of those things that are constantly on my mind and my to do lists yet I just get further and further behind as the days go by. That is why I think that photographer Robyn Davie‘s photo book service is the most fantastic idea. All you do is send Robyn a selection of your photos and she will do the rest, no more excuses mama! We chatted to Robyn about this fantastic offering!

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Tell us about your photo books?

Oh, I’m so excited about these photo books! This has been a passion project of mine that has been a long time coming – mostly because I’m an utter perfectionist and it has taken a good eight months to find a couple of printing companies, and the beautiful matt papers and covers that I’m happy with.

The part that I love the most is the A Year In Your Life photo books which I’ve just started working on this year – they’re gorgeous memory keepers, showcasing 20-30 images from each month of a year out of your life! These come in soft or hard cover, in 20×20 or A4, and are a fantastic way of cataloguing your life.

Here is a video of her 20×20 book which gives you an idea of how beautiful the books are.

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What inspired you to create this new offering?

As a photographer it breaks my heart to think of my own personal photos trapped inside my computer, and it always is such a wonderful trip down memory lane when I stumble across pictures from a forgotten holiday, dinner with friends or memorable moment. My aim is to get those treasured photos off your phone or computer and into print, because there is something truly magical about being able to run your fingers across the surface of an image, or to stand back and admire a big blown up photograph on your living room wall!

How does it work?

In order to get started on your order, send me an email and we’ll get chatting about prices and packages. I’ll then need 20-30 images (depending on the size of the book that you choose) per month from a year in your life – this is the fun part, where you get to look back and choose the best moments from that year, and they can be anything from bath time to visits from the grandparents to birthday parties.

And then I’ll gather up those images and curate a beautiful photo book for you! All in all the design and printing takes about 2-3 weeks, depending on the time of year. We’re a little busier around Christmas time, so give us a few extra weeks to process your order then.

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Are there different options to choose from?

I also offer three other gorgeous options when it comes to photo books – mini softcover flip books (with a similar feel to a magazine), hardcover A3 and A4 books (great for showcases a photo shoot, a family holiday or a special event), and premium genuine leather and linen covered books (great for the big life events – weddings, engagements and 60th birthdays!).

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Do you have tips for choosing images for the album?

Don’t just focus on the big significant moments, this album is a wonderful opportunity to include the tiny little things that really make you love your family – making pancakes on a Sunday morning, a trip to feed the ducks at the park, your little one absolutely covered in their favourite food and loving it!

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For more info click here.

 

READ

OUR FAVOURITE AFRIKAANS BOOKS

21st August 2017
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Since both Bailey and mine husbands are afrikaans, we are bringing up our children bilingual. We are always on the hunt for great Afrikaans story books and have had loads of mums ask us which are our favourite. So here is a list of Francie’s favourite Afrikaans books at the moment.

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  1. Die apies se dieretrein by Rosamund Haden & Tony Pinchuck
  2. Die krokodil wat vir water gegril het by Gemma Merino
  3. Hoera Beertjie by Julia Huberry and Coraline Pedler
  4. Die leeu wat saam was by Tiziana en John Bendall-Brunello
  5. Die Skilpad-besie se plan by Julia Donaldson*
  6. Die beer end die klavier by David Litchfield
  7. Tjokkie by  Julia Donaldson*
  8. Annabel en Beer by Lisa Stubbs

*All of Julia Donaldson’s books are a hit, the other we have are Kris de kat, Rower Rot, Stokman, Superwurm and Zok

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BABE, PLAY

ACTIVITIES AT HOME: STICKY WALLS

1st August 2017
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So many people have asked me on Instagram about the activities I set up for Francie Sugar and her cousins so now I am starting to blog about them.

This week I created “sticky walls” for Francie and Jack – they had the best time exploring how different stick on the vertical surface.

What you need:

A range of items: from leaves, to straws, bobby eyes and cotton wool. I used items that I found around the house. Items that stick easily are best, Francie’s favourites were bobble eyes, cotton wool and coloured paper.

Sticky plastic (i.e. contact paper)

Tape

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What to do: 

Using the tape stick your contact paper on the wall- sticky side up.

Lay out your little items

Let your little one start sticking!

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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.
BABE, DIARY, EAT, MAMA, PLAY

FRANCIE TURNS TWO!

19th April 2017
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My baby turned two! Sometimes I still feel that I am all new at this mom thing, as if I can use the excuse “I’m sorry I have just had a baby”. But here we are – twice around the sun and a whole lot fuller. There she is talking non stop, making up jokes and running almost too fast for us to catch her. But she still hooks on as if she were a baby koala, sucks her thumb to fall asleep and won’t let her dear old binkie out of her sight. She loves parties – specially singing happy birthday, she is obsessed with her ballet clothes and adores her cousins to the end of the earth. Here’s to another year beautiful one.
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To celebrate this milestone we threw a morning party in Kimmy & Bear’s garden. We had a Bloody Mary bar and served fresh croissants, French toast and maple syrup and muesli pots. My mama made the biscuits and my sister baked the cake. I made party hats for everyone. The four little girls dressed the same, Bailey drew a huge colouring in picture and the day flew by. We invited family and friends and had a delicious morning under the warm sun surrounded by love and joy.

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Pics by Robyn Davie Photography

BABE, BUMP, MAMA

MEET THE BUMP: AMY

18th April 2017
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Meet lovely, super-glam,  Amy, she is 33 weeks pregnant with her first babe. This growing little family live in an apartment in Illovo.

Are you finding out the gender of your babe? 

We haven’t found out the gender as we have always said we would leave it as a surprise. Our feeling is that so much in life is known, planned and controlled and it is the one thing you can leave to surprise. Having said that, every time we come back from a gynecologist visit, I secretly spend hours analyzing the scan photos and comparing them to gender scan images on google to see whether I can determine the gender. I still have absolutely no idea!

Tell us one thing you can’t live without while pregnant and why not?

My pregnancy pillow which was loaned to me by a friend from work. It is the most underrated pregnancy tool and helps me sleep a good eight hours every night. It is incredibly comfortable and takes the pressure off your back, pelvis and legs. My husband has taken a liking to it too and tries to steal it from me at night!

What is your favourite beauty product while pregnant and why do you love it so much?

I am obsessed with the Elemis Japanese Camellia oil, which was recommended to me by an Elemis beauty therapist. I was sold when she told me Victoria Beckham had used it for all her pregnancies. It’s incredibly light, not sticky at all and makes your skin feel beautifully supple and well-hydrated. I have been using it as an all-over body moisturizer in addition to focusing on areas where possible stretch marks may appear. I even use it on my face when I am in a rush to get to bed and don’t feel like doing my whole night-time beauty routine. Apparently you can even use it to massage your new baby. Suffice to say, I am on my third bottle!

What is your favourite food and have you had any cravings while pregnant?

In the first trimester, I craved  potatoes and would take a gourmet baked potatoes to work every day- I think everyone thought I was a bit mad. I have also kept a continuous supply of frozen grapes in the freezer (Woolies has a great deal on these!) and have a handful every night after supper when that sugar craving hits. I think they taste like sorbet and absolutely love this clever little treat.

What preggy books or apps are you using?

I haven’t been religious about following them but I use Nurture to follow my weeks and baby weight and What to Expect for informative articles. What to Expect has some great insight into the different pregnancy weeks, how your baby is developing and how you are feeling. It makes you feel a little less anxious to know that you are going through the same emotions as everyone else.

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

I have a friend who was about 6 months ahead of me and she gave me a whole bunch of hand-me-down, tight but casual  long dresses from Pick n Pay. She looked gorgeous in her pregnancy wearing these and encouraged me to do the same and show my bump . I have lived in these over the weekends! Dressing for a corporate role has been more tricky. I bought a whole bunch of shin-length, high-waisted skirts from H&M and River Island which I wear with silk blouses and heels to look professional and feel comfortable.

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

I used to be a regular runner but stopped running at about 12 weeks. Since then I have done a few gentle walks and lately have been attending pre-natal yoga classes as well as incorporating some pre-natal yoga at home (I use the YogaGlo app). Exercise has probably been the most challenging transition of my pregnancy and in the beginning I found it extremely difficult not to be able to run, have a good sweat and get that post-exercise endorphin high. However, I am now loving the gentle yoga and long meditative walks.

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

I would really love a natural birth but am not hung up on it. If I have to have a caesar for whatever reason, I am okay with it.

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

Only that the baby will be healthy and well and that I will have a good birth experience.

Dream babymoon destination?

I would love to go back to our honeymoon destination which was Lamu in Kenya. But it is a bit far to travel to and we have opted instead to spend a few days at Oakland’s Country Manor in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

What has surprised you the most about being pregnant?

How well I have generally felt and how much energy I have had. I feel as though I have had a really great and easy pregnancy which I have really enjoyed- I think I have been incredibly lucky not to be sick. I will miss my bump when it is gone!

What is the best pregnancy advice you have received?

To really listen and connect with your body. When your body is tired, let it rest. When your body is out of breath, slow down. When you body needs energy, eat well. And when your body needs engagement, connect.

BABE, BUMP, MAMA, NEST, PLAY, READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

13th April 2017
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Liv Tyler with her babes Sailor Gene and Lula Rose

Happy Easter weekend mamas and bunnies. Wishing you one filled with family, love, sunshine, laughter and Easter bunnies and egg hunting that brings endless joy.

Here 10 links that we book marked this week:

Ford Designs Car Simulator for Babies That Will Help You Sleep

Becoming a stepmom

Let’s talking about pumping!

How to naturally die Easter eggs

Toy-free kindergartens in Germany

Kids who do chores become more successful adults

Create a pocket playground for your kids

16 Ways to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

Great DIY free printable bunny mask for Easter

Love Emily Henderson! Here is her babe’s nursery

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