Although bath time (like in any home that is filled with children) is very much part of our end-of-day routine. I love it. I love the chats that sum up our day, the singing accompanied by splashed and of course the quite moments of cuddles and breast feeding. It is often during these everyday moments that as a mother one is made even more aware of how quickly things change, a slippery baby turns to a sitting toddler and then into a water confident, splash making little girl. I asked photographer Judith Bell to come capture our bath time before it changes again. Here are some of the pics, which I love.
Although we have been “online mama friends” with Sarah and her gorgeous little girl Aria for quite a while we loved meeting them in person the other day. Sarah is the mama behind Mascara and Mimosas and sweet babe Aria is just delicious.
Favourite product for toddlers and why?
Aria doesn’t use ton of products, we are very lucky that she hasn’t suffered from anything like eczema or severe nappy rash. Two products that I make sure that I always have for her though are:
Kiehl’s nurturing oil for mom and baby – this nourishes Aria’s skin like a bomb and a little really goes a long way.
Shampooheads Awesome Annie Detangler – Aria has very knotty hair and this detangler gets those really nasty tangles and knots out pretty easily and with minimal discomfort.
As for toys, it’s a tricky question as Aria’s preferences change as often as we change her nappy! But the toys that she loves the most are her doll, her wagon, books and crayons and paper for drawing.
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
To be honest, it hasn’t changed that much, I have always been a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal as it’s what I find most comfortable.
Best gift you have received for Aria?
Wow, we received so many amazing gifts for Aria. Practically, her princess tent has been fab to keep all of her toys hidden away in and her chair and table set is really great for her to sit at to do a whole bunch of different activities. For her dedication, Aria received some really gorgeous jewellery that I have put away to give her one day when she’s older and will really treasure them for the sentimental gifts that they are.
Favourite book to read toAria?
She has a ton of books, lately we have been reading Frog and the Whale in a Princess Tale by Tina Scotford. It is both written and illustrated by South Africans which is such a treat.
Where is your favourite place to go hang with Aria?
Without a doubt, Kiddilicious. It’s a great restaurant in Bedfordview with the most wonderful kids playground as well as really good coffee. Can’t go wrong!
Favourite meal to give Aria?
Bangers and mash is definitely her favourite meal, but my favourite is anything that’s quick and easy, ha!
What is the biggest surprise to you about having a toddler?
How quickly they change – one day they don’t know much and the next day it seems like they’ve swallowed an encyclopaedia! It really is amazing to watch a little person grow and learn.
You have a successful mom blogger – Any advice on balancing motherhood and work?
Don’t beat yourself up, you won’t always get it right. Balancing motherhood, work, my marriage, friendships as well as taking time out for myself is really difficult and most of the time I neglect one aspect but I have learnt not to be too hard on myself, I’m only human. At the end of the day, if I can go to sleep knowing that I did my best, that’s enough for me.
What one thing do you want to teach Aria?
Kindness, I think that it’s such an important virtue to have.
Photography: Kiss Kiss Photography
If you don’t know that we love doing art with our babes then you definitely haven’t been following us for very long. Afternoons spent in our art room are some of our happiest, and our babes love getting creative (and dirty) with paint, pastels, and all sorts of craft materials.
So really, it is no surprise that we are huge fans of mama-run businesses that love kids and all things creative. Two of our favourite companies are: Firstly, Bumble Box – a coffee table art book of all your child’s art. That’s right, mama and former teacher Paula turns kids’ art into the most treasured book. Secondly, Minimi Artelier – whose PLAY2LEARN line includes garments designed to protect children’s clothes while doing arts and crafts, cooking, baking and more, at school and at home.
The other day, we invited Kiss Kiss Photography to our home, threw on our kids’ Minimi Artelier Play2Learn overalls, and let them paint to their hearts desire. Here is the result:
We then packed up all our artwork from the past couple months and sent it off to Bumble Box.
Look at our book that we got back! I am so excited with it, it almost makes me weep.
We are so excited to have partnered with Bumble Box and Minimi Artelier to bring you this #winwithart giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a 60 page Bumble Box art book and a Minimi Artelier Play2Learn Overall.
Here is how to enter:
This competition closes on 15 November so get painting.
I know that they have been around for a while but we absolutely love Herbivore products, they are so delicious and super healthy too, making great food and snacks for the whole family.
- All Herbivore products are raw vegan in formulation, dehydrated at low temperatures to ensure they retain as much of the nutrients supplied by mother nature as possible.
- All Herbivore products are also free from any animal products, contain no added cane sugar, are naturally gluten free and without preservatives or additives.
- They strive to use ingredients that are organic, farmed sustainably and harvested fresh.
Here are the products:
Kale Chips in Birds Eye Chilli, Sour Cream & Onion and Cheezy.
*Our fave is the Sour Cream.
Super Cereal in Coconut Cacao, Fig & Cinnamon, Gingerbread and Vanilla Pecan
*Our fave is the Coconut Cacao
What’s in the cereal? Sprouted buckwheat, sprouted quinoa, dates, banana, pecan nuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia, Himalayan salt, vanilla bean
And we cannot wait to try the Power Porridge which will be launching soon.
Meet lovely Elise who is mama to 10 month old daughter, Stella and also makes the most decadent donuts in Jo’burg, so this mama knows all about juggling it all.
What inspired you to start Dope Donuts?
I was constantly made aware of these amazing looking donuts available in other countries besides our own. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create my own, homemade donuts which were available online.
What’s your work schedule?
We have been huge fans of Flynn Jaxon since they started and their new summer collection has not disappointed. We love it. Their fabrics are amazingly soft and super comfy and the items always fit well. Here are some of our favourite pieces:
Sleeved baby vest – in black and grey. (It’s so hard to find babygros in black so these are a win!)
Pink harems (I bought these for Francie Sugar).
They also come in navy, grey and black.
The onsie. This is just amazing!
The Romper – these are probably our favourite product. Super soft and easy to pull on. The twins live in theirs in summer. (again so many other prints and colours are available).
Make sure you have a look at their website for all they products. Their shorties and track tops are great too.
Lovely Stella lives in Noordhoek, Cape Town with her husband Robin and 2 kids, Noah (aged 2.5 years) and Kaia (aged 9 months). She is a stay at home mama with dreams of selling a few baby products, which she is currently designing – we can’t wait to see them.
Favourite product for babies/kids and why?
- The Bugaboo Donkey stroller. I love Bugaboo period. An amazing brand where design and practicality go hand in hand. This product is so well thought out and is a life saver when it comes to carting around two kids. Although its on the bulkier side, we’ve even traveled across the world with it.
- The 360 Ergobaby carrier. Definitely our most used baby item by far. It is so comfortable to use and doesn’t hurt my shoulders or lower back like other carriers sometimes do. My babes have spent hours upon hours in it. I use it for running errands, for naps, for settling when baby is irate, for traveling on planes, for traveling period, for beach walks, coffee runs, you name it. I even use it for hiking! I love this carrier so much. Like, so much.
- A snot sucker. Ours is the NoseFrida from Fridababy but I’m sure a few brands make them. Little lifesavers for those unavoidable snotty noses.
- The Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib by the Guava Family. After the Ergobaby, this is by far our most used baby item and also one of our most favourite. We travel a lot and no matter where we go, this travel crib comes with us everywhere (like the name!!). It is super light and the size of a carry on. It can be set up and folded down in a matter of seconds, and most importantly, our kids sleep amazingly in it. Cannot fault it.
- The Baby Bjoern bouncer. The design of this bouncer just speaks to babies. I’ve heard from many mamas that this bouncer is always a hit with their kids and I couldn’t agree more.
- Bonds Wondersuits. Probably one of my all-time favourite baby products. Such a simple design yet so few brands manage to combine comfortable, soft, zip up sleep suits with stylish and sweet designs. Bonds manage to do this. My 2.5 year old toddler still wears them at night and I don’t think either of my babes have ever owned a different brand of pyjamas!
- The Pure Beginnings organic bamboo baby wipes. I have travelled all over the world with my kids and hence bought wipes and diapers and creams and baby snacks literally all over the world. These wipes are my all-time favourite. They are so soft, moist enough (but not too moist!), they aren’t too thin, nor too thick, and most importantly, they smell amazing. Oh and they are biodegradable. They are seriously perfect.
- The Swaddle UP sleep suits from Love to Dream. Oh how I love these! My second babe slept in hers from birth up until nearly 6 months! They gives babies wriggle wrong, whilst still hugging and cocooning them tight for safety and comfort. Really love these.
- There are many sound machine out there and I’m sure lots of them are really great. I’ve only tried the My Baby Sound Spa by Homedics and used it religiously every nap and night time sleep for both my babies. I definitely think it helped them sleep soundly. I used the ocean sound, but there is a white noise option, as well as heart beat or lullaby option too.
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
If showers are a luxury with a newborn, then you can bet that getting dressed are too! In the first few months I undoubtedly live in stretchy yoga pants and breastfeeding singlets. The same ones on repeat. Very uninspiring, but really all that matters at that point is that your clothes are washable and comfortable. Eventually, around the 4 month post partum mark, life and body shape seem to return to normal-ish again for me. That is when the jeans become a regular choice again and I start switching up breastfeeding singlets with tshirts – how adventurous of me!
Now that I am a Mama of two, my style prioritizes comfort above anything else. I love my comfortable jeans, black leggings (Lululemon wunderunder leggings for life!), casual t-shirts, sneakers, UGG boots and flip flops. My style has also become more simple and basic, with less sass and less fuss. I love that. I don’t worry whether my wardrobe has enough colour in it, I simply buy what makes me happy. The greys, the blacks, and the whites are my staples. I buy less but I ensure that what I buy is higher quality and more comfortable.
Best gift you have received for your baby and for you child?
A link to a sound track called ‘Sounds for Silence.’ Six tracks of different sound rhythms and noises that are soothing and relaxing for babies. One would never think them to be, just like one wouldn’t think white noise to be soothing for babies, but this soundtrack is absolute magic in what it does for calming newborns. I have the soundtrack on my phone and used it so much for both Noah and Kaia as little ones, pretty much from day one. The person that developed this soundtrack is called Harry Zehnwirth and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
Favourite book to read to your children?
Do you have any family rituals?
We create Birthday Tables when it is someone’s birthday. It is a tradition I was lucky enough to grow up with and I want to be able to create the same special memories for my children (and my husband!) that I hold dear in my heart. The night before someone’s birthday, I will decorate our dining table with candles, balloons, confetti, a homemade cake, a card and lots of beautifully wrapped presents. We then start the birthday with singing, opening presents and lots of cuddles and kisses.
Another ritual I’ve started since having our kids, is that both my husband and myself will write a letter to our kids on their birthdays. These then get safeguarded in a special place for the years to come. It is something we want to continue doing until they are at least 18 years old, so that they get to one day hold these thoughtful and heartfelt letters as their very own keepsake.
Where is your favourite place to go hang with your children?
We live in Noordhoek and have the most picturesque little farm village down the road from our house. We often stroll there by foot (Kaia in the pram and Noah on his little bicycle) and can easily spend a couple of hours there. They have a sweet little playground (which is enclosed by a fence – so key!), an amazing bakery and deli, an ice creamery, a raw juice bar and the most important, a delicious take away coffee shop. The place ticks all the boxes and just makes us so happy.
And when Papa has time to hang with us as well, then nothing beats the beach. Especially our local beach here in Noordhoek. Big open space, salty air, tiny sandy toes, and endless opportunities for making the best sand castles.
Favourite meal to give your children?
Pancakes. Because homemade pancakes for us means slow mornings on weekends, filled with family time. Nothing beats those.
Now if pancakes don’t pass as a meal (which I would totally understand), then I would answer with a big slice of lasagna, a lentil curry, a hearty quinoa dish or a plate of homemade spaghetti bolognaise. Basically, any shared meal that my husband and I have at night. Unfortunately, Noah is a toddler and as much as I would love him eating exactly what we eat, he chooses to eat plain pasta or rice, plain or crumbed chicken, and, our saving grace, a wide range of plain cooked veggies like corn, peas, beans, sweet potatoes, cucumber or avocado slices. Thank goodness for those!
What one thing we will never catch you doing as a mama?
I am strict when it comes to safety and politeness. I am a total pushover when it comes to everything else. So with that in mind, you’ll probably catch me doing most things as a mama.
What is the biggest surprise to you about having children?
That parenting was so much easier when I raised my non-existent children hypothetically! I do a lot of things that I always vowed I would never do as a mother. Like using screens to entertain my child, especially when out in public. Oh how wrong I was. Two and a half years and two babies later and convenience wins every time. Or letting my child consume sugar, co-sleep, and thinking that I can handle a public toddler tantrum, or better yet, that my child will never have a full blown public toddler tantrum. How I laugh looking back at those thoughts. But alas, what would life be if there were no surprises, no challenges and no learnings as a result!? So I guess my biggest surprise is that I’ve surprised myself many times over!
Also, the realization that parents definitely do not know all the answers and how all the clichés that you’ve ever heard about motherhood are so utterly true – the lack of sleep, the amount of poop, the juggling, the chaos, and the love – oh the love! There really is nothing quite like it.
What do you love most about your husband being a dad?
How his playfulness has come out! He turns into a child himself when he spends time with Noah and Kaia and I love it.
What one thing do you want to teach your children?
I try to keep our conversations focused on authenticity, humor, kindness, generosity, intelligence and curiosity. These are the traits I want her to cultivate, to look for in a friend.
To love, respect, appreciate, learn and embrace. That’s more than one thing isn’t it? Oh dear. I guess, if it were only one thing I could teach them, it would be to love. Because where there is love, there is life.
I am very generous with my affection because to me, love is one of the most important values of all. It sets the foundation for so many other values in our life – honesty, consideration/empathy, compassion, justice…to name a few. I try to always openly demonstrate my love and affection for the people in my life, whether it is their father, or their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. And I don’t let a day pass (most probably, not even an hour!!), where I do not express my affection for my children by saying I love you, hugging, kissing, squeezing, and cuddling. I hope to always make time for doing special things for each of my children like placing a little note in their lunch boxes, taking them out for a milkshake date, taping a heart to the bathroom mirror or simply giving them a hug for no reason at all.
Best piece of advice you could give moms of two kids.
The step up from one to two kids was monumental for me. Much more crazy than no kids to one kid, and no one warned me it was going to be so full on! The advice I would give to a soon-to-be-mama of two kids is that the crazy will feel normal soon. The jump from one kid to two is overwhelming and can feel like a lot so remember to take help when you can and remember that you’re not alone. And get baby number two used to doing everything in a baby carrier – my ring sling and Ergobaby were life savers for me!
And also, as clichéd as it sounds, this time, when our kids are so young, passes so quickly. Let yourself feel attached and don’t have any shame in saying that your kids are your life these days. There is a time and a place, especially when they are this young. Let yourself enjoy it.
We’re off to the bush tomorrow so I thought I would share some of the books that I have chosen to take along with us. Of course we have taken some of our favourite story books but I like to take some books which teach our babes about the environment that we are in. Here are six favourites, all about animals and birds.
- First 100 Animals Sticker Books – it’s great to have an activity book for the trip for plane rides, rest or quiet time. Francie loves sticker books like these.
- My First Book of Mammals – so that all antelopes are not just buck and to talk about the difference between animals before they disappear behind the trees or into a bush.
- Amazing Animal Babies – “Travel around the globe and meet some incredible baby animals as they begin their journey through life in this beautiful, fact-filled non-fiction picture book by wildlife expert, Chris Packham.”
- Amazing Animal Journeys – “Every year billions of animals migrate from one part of our planet to another. Travel around the world to meet some of the masters of migration as they take you with them on some incredible journeys.”
- My First Book of Southern African Birds – again so not everything that flies is a bird and that is it!
- African Wildlife Alphabet and Number Book – we love this one for it’s great pictures.
My oldest friend, Kim Rose, is an incredibly talented artist. She has just launched a new line of work creating on customised paintings of children. She sent me a painting of my twin girls and I was completely amazed at how well she captured my girls. It is a very treasured artwork in our home and I am sure my girls will feel like that many years down the line.
We interviewed Kim to find out a bit more about the Little Rose Collection.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I live in Newlands, Cape Town with my husband, son, and two dogs. I’m a stay-at-home mom to my 3 year old son, William, and I work part-time as an artist/illustrator. I LOVE my job and the variety of work that I do. I’m a real homebody and love walking on the mountain and in Kirstenbosch. If I’m not doing the above, I’m probably drinking tea with my nose in a book.
Tell us about the Little Rose Collection
The Little Rose Collection offers custom-made character artworks for nurseries and children’s rooms. The paintings are nostalgic and aim to capture the simple joys and moments of a childhood filled with wonder.
It came about quite unexpectedly this year when a friend asked me to create four artworks for her daughter’s nursery. She’d been inspired by art she’d had in her room as a child, vintage french illustrations, childhood memories, beautiful clothing and she had a few reference artworks for me. We worked together in creating four seasonal artworks – she gave me input on clothes and the activities she wanted the character to wear and do. LRC grew from there.
This is a new focus for you as an artist. What inspired you to create this collection?
I loved the process of working with a client to create something uniquely special for their family. My other art requires quite an isolated and insular process (which suits me) but it was great doing something different, more playful and colourful. These days capturing memories or moments of childhood is so easily done with a phone camera. Instead of losing those pictures to a file on your computer I loved the idea of taking a collection of photos and special moments/toys/outfits to combine them into one or a few paintings. It’s something that you can treasure for a long time – your own child or children as characters of their own life story. I am very much inspired by children’s book illustrators – like how Christopher Robin’s imagination and toys were captured forever in the beautiful original illustrations from Winnie-the-pooh.
What is a key difference between these artworks and your beautiful botanicals that you are known for?
My process is quite similar. The one difference I can think of is that I create two drawings (a sketch and final drawing) in making a LRC artwork and I always send the sketch to the client for approval before I begin painting (like in any illustration process). Whereas in creating the botanicals my sketch and final artwork are the same thing.
What are the different artwork offerings available?
I currently offer originals only. I mainly create custom-made artworks which can be theme-based, although I do have a few originals for sale on my website that are not commissioned. I would like to offer prints of a set of characters in future (I’m working on it!).
Your customised offering is really special. If some one would like to order one, how does it work?
They would need to contact me via email, Instagram or Facebook. We’d discuss size,content, colour and any other inspiration for the artwork . I would ask for reference pictures and information on the ‘character’ to be created. The more information given to me, the better. For example if the child has a favourite toy, outfit or activity, or if there is an activity/item/season that is special to your family.
Are there different options to choose from?
Artwork sizes are standard 13 x 13cm however I do make larger sizes if requested.
Do you have tips for choosing the photograph to be painted?
There are two ways to go about it. I can work directly from a photo (if it is a good one – I’d need to approve it). Otherwise I can take bits from a collection of photos and piece them together (this is quite fun actually). If I do work directly from a photo, ideally it should be taken at eye level with the child – not from above – and in natural light. I also like to include the whole body.
Typically how long does it take?
The whole process usually takes about a week (from contact to sending it off). It does depend on how busy I am. I only work from 8 30 to 12am during the school calendar week, and occasionally on weekends. I can be working on a few pictures at a time though. If the client is quick to send pictures and give feedback on the sketches it definitely helps.
What is the cost of a customised artwork?
For this year 2017 my prices are set as follows: Unframed custom original (13 x 13cm) R750. Framed custom original (SA only – 24,5 x 24,5cm frame size) R1100
We are so excited to be doing a give away with Kim and the Little Rose Collection. You can win the a customised framed artwork of your child. To enter, like Little Rose Collection on Facebook and Instagram, and comment below telling us why you would love to win this prize.
Give away information:
Value of prize -R1200 (shipping included)
Size – artwork 13x13cm frame 24.5×24.5cm
Open to South African residents only
Painting limited to one child
For more information on The Little Rose Collection, and to keep up to date with Kim’s beautiful creations, follow her on:
Or visit her website: http://kimrose.co.za/tags/little-rose-collection
It was a freezing cold Saturday morning in August. Everyone was bundled up in big jerseys and scarves as they arrived to celebrate my girls’ Unicorn and Rainbow fourth birthday party.
I asked Chloe of Kiss Kiss Photography to come and take some photographs of the morning. I find that when you’re hosting a birthday party you are so busy running around that you don’t have much time to take any pics.
She came a bit before the party began and snapped some shots of us the girls and their cousins getting ready, as well as the party itself. I love the intimacy of her documentary style and will treasure these photographs of this sweet day.
Giant balloons adorned the table which we decorated with a sparkly runner, rainbow of flowers, confetti, hooray flags, and beautifully iced rainbow and unicorn biscuits from Sprinkles. We served a breakfast spread of croissants and cold meats and cheeses, bowls of fruit, home made carrot cake, and my mom’s famous chocolate biscuits. We also served magical unicorn cake pops from Lion Heart Patisserie Studio (which we shipped from Cape Town, all the while holding thumbs that they didn’t break!).
It was the first of my girls’ birthday parties that they were really excited about and didn’t spend on my hip. It was so sweet to see them having a wonderful morning with their cousins, and friends old and new. They looks of delight on their faces, especially as they enjoyed mini pony rides around the garden. We also had a fairy dust treasure hunt and a colouring in table for the kids.
My babes and I baked their cake the day before (it’s become a bit of a tradition for us). I added unicorn figurines and lots of edible gold glitter and, although it was a bit wonky, as a non-baker I was thrilled with how it turned out. I think the girls’ favourite part of the party (of any party actually) was blowing out their candles, and singing happy birthday a 100 different ways.