Browsing Tag

children

BABE, MAMA

WORK/MAMAHOOD BALANCE: ELISE FROM DOPE DONUTS

10th October 2017
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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.

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What’s your work schedule?

I always wake up really early in the morning. Besides for the fact that Stella is still waking up for feeds at night (thankfully only once), I do my best work first thing in the morning. So after I give Stella a bottle, I respond to my emails and orders that have been placed, check up on my social media accounts and then start making my donuts for the day.
I am also constant communication with the PR company, NougatPR, that I use throughout the day. They update on the progress on any campaigns we are working on, and we also fire ideas at each other.
How do you handle childcare?
Rose, comes in ever week day from 8 – 5pm. I hand over Stella as she arrives which gives me a chance to get ready and dressed for the day. She is like a best friend and I would be incredibly worn out without her. Nothing is too difficult for her – even though she has 3 kids of her own. She is dedicated to Stella’s wellbeing and adores like her own. I love Rose!
When do you typically hang out with your little one?
Thankfully I work from the comfort of my own home, which means that I am with Stella almost all day. Because I am so lucky, I don’t take this special time with my daughter for granted. I even take her to see clients.

Do you have any family rituals?

My husband and I bath Stella together and get her ready for bed. We also walk our dogs on the weekend.

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What do you enjoy most about your current set up?

I am so incredibly lucky to have my own business as this allows me to spend most of my day with Stella. Even when i’m working I can pop past Stella for a huge ‘smooch kiss’.

What’s the biggest challenge about your current set up?

Because I work from home and know that my daughter is only a step away, I find it hard to switch off from being a mom… It’s like having to be available for everybody, all the time.

What about time for yourself? Do you take timeouts? What do you get up to and how often?

Yes I do. I like to go for a manicure and pedicure once in a while to treat myself. Although, I occasionally bring Stella with and sit her on my lap. It only take a couple of minutes until she is whisked off though by one of the ladies that works there. 

Let’s talk about dinner – who handles dinner in your home?
I make dinner. I love cooking, and my husband doesn’t at all. I get satisfaction in feeding others, i’m a Jewish mama.
Top tip for the work/motherhood balance?

I would advice working moms to not put too much pressure on themselves. I want to be a great mom, first and foremost. That is what matters the most to me most. Yes, I run my own business and I love to see it succeed. but with the right help, I can get the balance right. The key is to not try and do everything yourself. Pride can be a terribly hard thing to pursue.

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Craving some delicious donuts? Visit Dope Donuts or follow them on Instagram. 

BABE, MAMA

MEET THE MAMA: STELLA

5th October 2017
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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.

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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?

Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox and The Very Itchy Bear by Nick Bland

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Stella has a beautiful Instagram feed so make sure you follow her and read her blog too.

 

BABE, READ, TRAVEL

HOLIDAY THEMED BOOKS: GOING ON SAFARI

21st September 2017
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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.”
  5. My First Book of Southern African Birds – again so not everything that flies is a bird and that is it!
  6. African Wildlife Alphabet and Number Book – we love this one for it’s great pictures.
BABE, GIFT GUIDES, GIVEAWAY, NEST

CLOSED: GIVEAWAY: A CUSTOMISED ARTWORK OF YOUR LITTLE ONE BY THE LITTLE ROSE COLLECTION

19th September 2017
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CONGRATULATIONS CARLA!

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

 

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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:

Instgram: @littlerosecollection and @ellenkimrose

Facebook: @littlerosecollection

Or visit her website: http://kimrose.co.za/tags/little-rose-collection

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.

 

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

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