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

BABE, MAMA

WHY THIS MAMA CHANGED HER BABE’S NAME AT 9 MONTHS

12th April 2017
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Nikki’s second baby is nine months old and she has just changed his name. I was completely fascinated by this and wanted to find out more so I asked Nikki to share some questions about the name change. As Nikki opens up to us you will see that this is more than a story about a name, it is a story of a mother who followed her instincts and listened to her heart, it is a story about a mom being brave despite what others may think, and it is a story that is full of inspiration for other mamas.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am passionate about animals, especially dogs. I opened my own pet grooming business when I first moved to Joburg nine years ago. Starting off as a mobile groomer, I ended up creating a beautiful little parlour from my home in Parkhurst once I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, and continued to groom hands-on until I was 41 weeks pregnant.

My mom had given birth naturally four times with ease so I was convinced that my journey would be much the same. I booked in at Genesis, and I waited eagerly for my baby to arrive. I had a traumatic, but life changing birth which ended an emergency caesarean, and my little girl was born.

My plan was to tie my baby to my chest and continue my business, and 2 weeks after she was born I re-opened. I was determined to not allow being a mother change me. But every mother knows that from the moment a child is born both you and your life are changed forever. When Sienna was three months old I realised that I needed to put us first, and I closed my business.

An armed robbery involving my little girl, two miscarriages, and building a home later, I found myself 35 weeks pregnant with my second baby, a little boy. A remarkable birth counsellor, reflexology, an osteopath, and hours of yoga found me, once again, determined for a successful v-bac, and knowing I only had 40 weeks until my doctor’s cut off, time was running out. My little boy was born via a beautiful Caesarian at just over 40 weeks and he was perfect.

My husband, Marcus, and I now have a magical three year old girl, Sienna, and a 9 month old boy Jude. My journey of motherhood has been like most others – intense happiness, desperate despair, and remarkable self discovery. I do not know the person I was before I became a mother because motherhood is my soul’s description and my purpose on this earth. 

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You decided to change your son’s name when he was nine months old. What was his name and what did you change it to? 

His name given at birth was Alexander, and his name now is Jude. We announced ‘Jude’ on social media at 9 months but we were calling him ‘Jude’ at home and with family a little while before that. 

 

What prompted you to change his name?

A name is such a powerful word. My belief is that, other than your own name, the sound of your child’s name should be the loveliest word to your ears. His birth name stopped sounding lovely to both my husband and I, and in discussion we both agreed that in the greater scheme of things it was ok to follow our hearts and simply change it. 

You mentioned your son chose his name. What do you mean by this?

My husband and I discovered Jude together, and both fell in love with his name. During my pregnancy I knew that he was a Jude. Marcus felt uncomfortable after realising that Sienna Miller and Jude Law were married, and I was forced to wipe the idea out of my mind. After his birth we didn’t have a name for three days, and Marcus and I settled on Alexander eventually because it is a beautiful name, and our families would be very accepting of it.

Days and months past and he simply didn’t feel like an Alexander so I asked advice from an older friend who is a physiologist specialising in mothers and sons. ‘Have you ever heard of this before?’ I begged. ‘My sons name is Jude – am I going mad!’ She replied that I should call him Jude for a week, feel his response, and see if it fits. I did this and the transition was easy. He responded immediately and it just felt right. All moms will know that babies are expert communicators long before they are bound to language and social appropriateness.

Was there a specific moment you just knew you had to change his name or did the feeling grow over a period of time?

The feeling definitely grew for me. I was intimidated by what my family, friends and Sienna would feel about this slightly crazy idea! I kept wiping it from my mind and forcing myself to just settle. It was Marcus that first said ‘should we change it?’ and then I knew I was not alone, and that together we were making the right decision for our child.

 

Were you never completely happy with his original name in the first place?

I was so relieved to have a beautiful, healthy child and a conscious, present and memorable birth that I didn’t really think about how completely happy I was with the name. I loved the name Alexander, and it was right there at the top of both of our lists!  But yes, looking back now, a voice inside me always knew that his name is Jude. 

How did you decide the name Alexander?

My husband and I both love the name. David is a family name so we loved Alexander David as it is strong and sounds good! 

 

How did you decide the name Jude?

I didn’t decide – Jude did 🙂 Honestly when I was pregnant the name Jude felt like it popped out of the pages every time I came across it. Before I was pregnant with him, I never ever thought I’d have a son called Jude. I thought I’d have one called Alexander! But now I look at him and he is a complete Jude inside and out! 

Was the name change your decision or a joint decision with your husband?

It was completely mutual and has been an incredibly bonding experience for my husband and I. I would never have taken the plunge without his support and I don’t think he would have without mine. 

  

How did you tell family members about the new name?

I told my family by having an emotional in-depth discussion about how we had made the wrong decision, and we felt we need to change it, describing all my thoughts and feelings in great lengths and depths. My husband sent an email to his family saying ‘Hi family my parents have changed my name to Jude. Please don’t be cross, they are a little crazy!’ 

 

Anything else you would like to share with us about your little boy’s wonderful name story?

It hasn’t all been easy. I lay awake many nights riddled with anxiety. I have been criticised and insulted. It’s been slightly embarrassing and really not something I would like to experience again. I am a spiritual person and have always felt that a name beyond all else carries incredible power and a strong sense of self. I would have loved to have named him Jude at birth and not gone through this confusion for my toddler and for everyone else, but this is his story and we have grown so much from it. If you cannot stand up for and beside your child, beyond all else, then parenting is not for you! 

Thanks for sharing a part of your motherhood story with us Nikki! And hello Jude!

BABE, EAT, MAMA, PLAY

ANNUAL CHARITY EASTER PLAY DATE AND TEA

11th April 2017
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Each year us three sisters host a charity Easter play date and tea in Kimmy & Bear’s garden. The afternoon is always fantastic, and filled with joy: there is a delicious tea for the mamas and loads of fun things for the babes like jumping castles and Easter egg hunts. This year we also did bunny mask making and biscuit icing.

This year we chose to suppose Miane Ainslie.

A year and a half ago, then 19 month old Miane Ainslie fell into a porta pool. She was underwater for about 10 minutes before she was found, after 23 minutes a heartbeat was found. Now nearly 3 Miane continues to need extensive medical treatment. Her mother is a single mother who gave up her job to look after her daughter and, without medical aid, relies entirely on donations for medical treatments, physio and medical equipment. 
For more information on how to donate to this worthy cause contact us or visit A Miracle for Miane Facebook page
Special thanks to Robyn Davie Photography for taking pics of the afternoon and capturing each mama and their babes – because really mamas don’t get enough pics of doing what they do!
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BABE, PLAY

DIY BUSY BAGS

10th April 2017
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Lately I have made some great busy bags/activities for Francie. I pack these activities away and bring them out when we need something new to do together or when we go on holiday and need some quiet, fun activities for the plane etc.

Here are some of my favourite free printables that I have found online (thanks Pinterest!) Simply print, laminate and cut/bind.

Shapes activity book 

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Animal Puzzles 

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Silhouette Matching Game

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Stick the stickers

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I posted this idea on Instagram and wow! You all loved it. Here it is again for those who missed it-this is a great fine motor skill/ hand-eye coordination activity.

All I did was draw funny shapes on a card and put big dots where she must put the stickers. I cut the stickers into small strips so it’s a super easy “do and throw away” task.

Don’t forget this Animal Matching Box which is also great.

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Colour/Peg matching

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I love hardwares and I especially love the paint sample cards so I was so excited when I spotted this great way to use them on Pinterest. If you want to make this activity make sure that you get two of each card so that you can cut one up to make the matching peg. Francie is a little young to decipher the different tones but the twins have loved mastering this one.

Printable roads

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I love these and have printed a whole lot and laminated them. The cars Francie Sugar has are these Melissa & Doug ones but any cars would be great.

BABE, BUMP, MAMA, READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

7th April 2017
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Beyonce, Jay Z and Blue Ivy visit the Grand Canyon.

WOW! What a day in South Africa – it was inspiring to see: matches, protests, and peaceful tributes.

I’m off to Cape Town this weekend for a little family get away… hence the busy bag post coming up next week and keep your eye on Instagram for what we get up to.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Here are some links from around the web for when you get a moment to read…

How To Teach Kids Where Their Food Comes From

The Day I Decided My Daughter Will Not Choose Her Own Friends

Music Lessons Were the Best Thing Your Parents Ever Did for You

I’ve always wondered: Do Dairy Foods Cause Mucus Production?

The Day I Fell in Love With Having Two Children

Everyone is talking about this essay: You May Want to Marry My Husband

IVF: One Couple’s Funny, Heartfelt Story

People have seen my boobs 

Are you spoiling your kids?

Sing to your bump: lullabies to babies in the womb decrease crying when they are born

How much should stay at home moms earn? Work it out! 

Raising Gifted Children: 6 Simple Tricks to Maximize Happiness

Having Kids Means Less Sleep For Women, But Not For Men

BABE, BUMP, MAMA

MEET THE BUMP: NATASHA PALIN

5th April 2017
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This gorgeous mama, Natasha, and her husband Mat live in Cape Town with their two and a half year old daughter Pepper (you may remember we featured Pepper’s birthday party on the blog last year). This little family is expanding by one soon as Natasha is 33 weeks pregnant.

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As your second pregnancy, how is this time round different from your first?

Not much has been different the second time round. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had two very healthy and uncomplicated pregnancies. If I had to really nitpick, it would be that I have felt a lot more movement with this pregnancy. It feels like our babe never stops moving.

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

Of course we found out! We are thrilled to be having a little boy. I read the end of a book before I read the beginning, so naturally we found out the sex of our babe as soon as we could. 

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

Without a shadow of doubt, it has been a product called Elemis spa@home instant refreshing gel. It’s like a cold version of deep heat and it is pregnancy friendly. I used this product throughout my pregnancy with Pepper and I am using it again now. It is the most incredible product and instantly soothes sore aching feet and an achey ‘evening’ back, as I call it. 

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

I use all of the Mama Mio products as I love how well the creams are absorbed and the gorgeous scents are totally addictive. I also go for regular QMS facials to keep pigmentation and preggie skin at bay.

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

I’ve developed a serious sweet tooth over the past couple of months. I live for Chuckles and Chocolate Nesquick and as with my first pregnancy, I have been craving Beer… of all things! 

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What preggy books or apps are you using? 

I’m ashamed to say, nothing! I honestly haven’t even thought about downloading a preggie app or even reading a book this second time round. Any spare time I have these days is spent researching ‘how to potty train’ and ‘why is my toddler moaning at night’ 😂

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

I’ve been living in T-shirt style dresses and Kaftans from Country Road and a few bodycon style dresses from Cotton On. I am not a fan of anything maternity other than gorgeous soft maternity pj’s which I have purchased from both Anna-Louise and Lila-Rose. As I get bigger I will resort to Cotton On tights and Country Road tee’s. 

What’s your exercise regime at the moment?

I am all for taking things very easy when pregnant. You definitely won’t catch me doing anything extreme… I do weekly pilates, walks on the prom with my family and a swim at the gym every now and then. 

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

I had an emergency c-section with my first babe and although I would love to try for a v-bac the second time round, I think, knowing that I have such a big babe on board, another c-section would be best for me. I just hope it will be a planned procedure and not another emergency. 

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

Without a doubt my biggest worry is that I won’t have enough time and energy to do all the things I usually do with my toddler. I don’t ever want her to feel neglected by me and it is something that I am very aware of. 

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How did you tell your husband you were pregnant? And when did you break the news to friends and family? 

When I was just 3 weeks pregnant, I had a dream that I was pregnant, and I woke up that morning and raced straight to the bathroom to do a test. When it came out positive, I just literally walked into the bedroom and screamed- “we’re pregnant”. My husband had barely opened his eyes! Haha. 

We told our family and close friends as soon as we had confirmed the pregnancy with our doc and the rest of the world when I was about 9 weeks. I’m not one for holding in such life changing news.

Dream babymoon destination?

A 2 week break on the beautiful Island of Mauritius with my Husband and Baby girl was given to me as a gift for my 30th from some very special people and it literally was a dream. 

What has surprised you the most about being pregnant?

Without the risk of sounding vain… I am super surprised at how much I love my body when I am pregnant. Even though I have put on so much weight and I have what feels like thee biggest booty, I absolutely love it and I love being so curvy.  I also feel incredibly healthy and content with life, which I am so grateful for as I know pregnancy can be very hard for a lot of woman. 

Photographs by Fiona Clair Photography

BABE, PLAY

BUSY BOX: ANIMAL MATCHING

3rd April 2017
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This busy box has been such a hit in our home. Francie Sugar  absolutely loves playing this matching game and often chooses to play it on her own.

All you need to do is buy some smallish plastic animals and find images of the same animals to match. Print them out, laminate them and away you go.

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We started off with a set of wild/safari animals and I’ve added to the game each time I have found interesting plastic animals, for example pets, ocean animals and now even insects. Francie has also learnt her insect names through this game.

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I simply used Google images to find the pics, they aren’t all the same size but I cut them into equal size cards.

(Looking for a free printable rather? Here is a great one)

BABE, MAMA, PLAY, READ

TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING TODDLERS

15th March 2017
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As your babes get older, they get more and more difficult to photograph as they are always on the move. We asked super star photographer Robyn Davie for her top tips for photographing toddlers:

Be prepared to get moving – toddlers (when awake) are always on the move – get on your feet and follow them!

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Get down on their level. Yip, on your hands and knees, as close to the ground as possible. This is super fun for close-ups, and for seeing the world from their angle.

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Fill the whole frame with the little munchkin. An attention grabbing pic excludes the background, and pulls all the attention onto your baba!

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Let them be kids! Smiling for the camera is lovely, but let’s see some funny faces 🙂

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Capture the every day moments. Yip, a posed pic when everyone is dressed up in their Sunday best is gorgeous, but I love the tiny in-between moments – the early morning deliciousness of a just-woken-up baba, the toddler who thinks bath time is as fun as pool time, and the quiet concentration of a little one completely absorbed in a moment of play.

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Follow Robyn on Instagram and book a photo session with her – we all know mamas need more pics of themselves and their babes.

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