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GIVEAWAY, MAMA, TRAVEL

MY TOP 10 ESSENTIALS FOR DECEMBER HOLIDAY (SPONSORED)

13th December 2017
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The December holidays are upon us! And that means packing bags for the whole family. While I am by no means a minimalist packer (that went out the window with the arrival of my twins), I try to keep anything beyond clothing to a minimum. However, no matter the destination, these are 10 items you’ll find in my suitcase at this time of year:

 

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  1. Dermikelp Moisturising Lotion: What I love about this product is that it’s a cure all for the whole family. I don’t need to pack a hundred different creams for different situations – this will work as a moisturiser, a soothing lotion on any skin irritation, a cooling lotion after a day on the beach, and even treat those pesky itchy bites. Dermikelp products are completely natural so I’m comfortable using it on my girls’ skin. They’re made from kelp extract, and are free from all the nasties (cortisone, parabens, and chemicals). Available from Dischem, and selected Pick ‘n Pay, Clicks and independent pharmacies.
  2. A giant sun hat: I am vigilant about sun protection for me and my babes, and am usually covered up at the beach (hence I arrive back from holiday as pale as ever!).
  3. Mangos: My absolute favourite fruit, and one that is synonymous with December holidays for me. I make sure a box finds its way into the cooler bag of food, and I stock up from padstals once my stash has been devoured.
  4. Artisan chocolate: To maintain balance (or just to feed my addiction) I don’t go anywhere without some good chocolate.
  5. Headphones: Travelling (and nap time!) is the perfect chance to catch up on all those podcasts I’ve been wanting to listen to. I am currently listening to Undisclosed, and Dirty John is next up on my playlist.
  6. Glass water bottle: I actually don’t leave my house without my water bottle. I am trying to reduce my use of plastic in any way I can, and this is such an easy way to do so. Also, it reminds to stay hydrated through the day.
  7. Books: One of my best things about being on holiday is all the reading I get to do as I am not distracted by every day life, chores, and to-do lists. You’ll find the whole family with noses buried into books when we’re on holiday. I am currently reading the obligatory The President’s Keepers with my jaw dropping open.
  8. Camera: I seldom go anywhere without my camera, and holiday is no exception!
  9. Bling: I don’t take my usual jewellery with me on holiday as I don’t want to be worrying about losing it on the beach. But I like to take one or two fun pieces to add to an outfit.
  10. Planner and a pen: A new year means a new diary, and I love that feeling of a whole year’s worth of blank pages. It is such a January ritual to fill in my new yearly planner,

 

PS. Don’t forget to enter our Dermikelp family hamper giveaway valued at R1300 and includes one of each Dermikelp products. Click here for all the details.

 

 

BABE, DIARY, MAMA, TRAVEL

TRAVEL GUIDE: PARIS WITH A TODDLER

18th October 2016
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We just got back from 10 days in Paris. So many people thought I was crazy taking a toddler to Paris but it was fantastic. Big cities are really geared up for kids and we all had such a great time.

First things first:

Surrender to the fact that your holiday will be different to pre-baby holidays. We forgot about late dinners or all-monring coffee stops and instead indulged in toddler friendly activities.

Where we stayed: 

As you may know Paris is divided up into different endorsements (areas) and each has a really specific vibe. My favourite androssiment to stay in when I visit the city is the 3rd/4th in the Marais. This area is a very old part of Paris, complete with tiny cobbled streets, great boutiques and even better restaurants. There are many cafes and bistros to try  and is centered around Place des Vosges which is one of the most people spots in Paris. It is also very central so it’s easy to explore the rest of Paris from here.

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We have given up on hotels, especially since having a baby so we turned to AirBnB. This is the one bedroom apartment we chose – it had the best location ever! And we really wanted an apartment which had a bath – to keep in our bedtime routine with Francie and also wanted a space where the one bedroom was closed off to the rest of the apartment. This one ticked those boxes but I must mention that it was 4 stories up with no lift. We left the pram at the bottom each night but  say those stairs where a killer.

How we got to our apartment from the airport:

There is a train from Charles de Gualle straight to Paris which we usually get but this time we decided to rather go for a pick up – with a babe, long flight, luggage and a pram we decided a car would be easier. We used Taxi Baby Seat – it was great, you book online and they meet you at the arrivals hall and then drop you off right at your apartment.

What we ate:

Crossiants! Haha. Croissants definitely became Francie’s favourite food while we were there so she had one everyday.

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Since we were in an apartment we gave Francie most of her meals at home and then anything she ate at cafes etc was a bonus. We headed to  the supermarkets Monoprix and FrancPrix for daily staples like yogurt, fruit purees and eggs. We used the markets or speciality stores for roast chickens, ham, cheese and fruit and salads and Francie also loved the quiches that we found.

We also used Picard. Picard is pretty amazing, it only sells the frozen food and I found Francie the most delicious meals there for lunch and dinner – think chicken, couscous and mixed veg or meatballs and rice. These we easily heated up on the stove and she loved them.

High chairs are not a big thing in France. Have you read Bringing Up Bebe? No cafes we went to had high chairs which suited Francie just fine, she sat in a chair and behaved like a little french babe. Laduree (which we visited once for a treat) is geared up for tourists so they had a high chair, as did Le Pain Quotidian, a favourite spot of ours.

Playgrounds: 

We decided to explore the playgrounds of Paris and made sure we hit at least one playground a day for Francie to explore, play and get much needed exercise. Here is a list of some of the best ones:

Place des Vosges: Although this playground is tiny, it is pretty awesome to play in such a beautiful square. There are also two big sandpits here which are great for babes. *Place des Vosges has free wifi, so while your babe plays you can catch up on some internet time.

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Also in the Marais, Square Charles-Victor Langois: we loved hanging out here as it was just round the corner from our house and Francie and I would often head there early in the morning while the rest of the city was still asleep. There isn’t much for small babes but Francie still loved to play on a few things and watch the other kids play. This park also had a ping pong table which I imagine would be fun for older kids and Francie found it fascinating to watch.

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The best play area: the playground in the Jardin du Luxembourg. There are so many wonderful things about this playground: it’s big, it has loads of play stations – big jungle gyms, play trains, buses to climb on, mini slides and climbing roles, bounce animals and an enormous sandpit. The sandpit also has a house and car in it with a pulley system which was such fun. I loved sitting here and watching Francie play with the little French children. Just outside the playground is a kiosk for coffees and other yum things and there is a carousal too – but its not one of those that you can stand with your babe, so it is better for bigger children.

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Francie’s favourite thing to do in Paris: ride of the Carousel in the Jardin des Tuileries. I think this is the most magical carousel. It’s perfect for littles as you can stand with them (and hold them!) We ended up visiting a number of times. Also in the Tuleries is a great playground and a trampoline park! The Tuleries brings back such wonderful memories for me as I used to live just around the corner so I may be bias, but I think it is the most beautiful garden in Paris – with the Louvre at one end and  the Concorde at the other . We spent many hours just strolling through the gardens – Francie found her shadow this holiday which  is pretty much the best thing ever.

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One afternoon we head up to the Canal St Martin – which I had never been to before. It was a wonderful area to wonder around and fun to walk along the canal. I also recommend popping into Antoine et Lili – a fantastic kids store on the corner (it’s painted bright yellow so hard to miss), I found some lovely little things for Francie and her cousins. Also in that area is the Jadin Villemin which has a fantastic playground and it is where Francie mastered the art of sliding.

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Tourist things and museums: 

Since we’ve spent lots of time in the city we didn’t feel the pressure that we had to do anything but of course being in Paris there are a couple things we didn’t want to miss. The gardens in the city are so wonderful so part of being in Paris was spending time in them, here are the other things that we enjoyed:

The Eiffel Tower – I wanted to get a snap of Francie near the tower – mostly to prove to her when she is older that she had been to Paris. We didn’t climb it though, but once again spent time in the playground on the Champs de Mar – it was quite something to see our little babe playing in a sandpit with the famous structure in the background (although she was, of course, oblivious!)

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Museums  – our approach to museums was limited time and to not try and see everything. She is of course only 18 months but I approached showing her the famous artworks the same way we look at any pictures in a book. We chose the fifth floor of the Musee d’Orsay to look at the impressionists. I pointed out the trains, flowers and ballet dancers. Francie liked Degas’s horse sculptures the best. We also went to Musée de l’Orangerie to look at Monet’s waterlillies, which of course are amazing. *I noticed many of the French mums take paper and crayons to museums and their little ones sit on the floor and draw while looking at the pictures, I will do this next time, for sure.

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Musee Rodin is also a great spot to visit with kids because once again it has a huge garden yet you are surrounded by beautiful sculptures. Plus there is no need to worry about keeping your babe quiet and there is space to run. We had a lovely afternoon there and once again ended up in a sandpit which is located at the end of the garden.

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The bridges! Aren’t the bridges across the Seine magical. We loved walking across the two pedestrian bridges (Passerelle Solférino is just near Musee d’Orsay and Pont des Arts is further up and deemed the most romantic bridge in Paris). We spent time looking at the boats and listening to the buskers.

Shopping:

I decided that I wouldn’t do loads of shopping while there but of course I couldn’t resist a few little spots. Here are the best shops for babes and all of them had great installations for her to play in.

BonTon – quintessential French brand. Their flagship is fantastic and we loved exploring the 3 floors.

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BHV – They have a great kids clothing and toy section with a few play stations set up and some great toy brands which we don’t have at home.

If you are in the Canal St Martin area Antoine et Lili was great. Francie happily played with the toy kitchen with I browsed.

WH Smith – this is the best English bookstore in Paris, if you ask me, and they have a great kids section upstairs. I was on the lookout for some great kids books about Paris to read while we were there and I found some fantastic ones.

Other tips: 

Make sure you take a baby carrier. While we loved using our pram, somehow all you need is a baby carrier. We used Bailey’s African Baby Carrier (from Yummy Mummy & Baby) and we loved it so much we are going to buy one of our own.

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We took the opportunity to explore new modes of transport with Francie. She learnt all about trains and buses. Hugolyne gave me the tip of using the app City Mapper and it is amazing. You simply put in your destination and it gives you all the options of how to get there and times. For example: this bus and then walk or that metro and then a bus etc.

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BABE, NEST, PLAY, TRAVEL

THE CUTEST TRAVELLING SLEEPING BAGS

27th September 2016
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We just came across these Travelling Sleeping Bags by South African brand Krokenoster and love them. Made by mama and daughter team these (easy to fold up and carry) snuggly sleeping bags “double up as watchdogs against monsters, boogymen and baddies, when you’re at home or on the go”. There are three characters: a lion, a frog and bunny and are available online at krokenoster.com.

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BABE, BUMP, MAMA, READ, TRAVEL, WEAR

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

19th April 2016
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Jamie King and her family in Vogue Italia

WOW! Where have we been? You may ask. We’re sorry – life as mamas ran away with us – we were busy with Francie turning one, the shoot for our Kimmy and Bear Clothing range (we cannot wait for you to see), sick babes (all better now!) and now we are going away for a week for our annual bush holiday – we cannot wait. When we are back, we’ll be back! Thanks for your patience and understand and in the meantime here a whole lot of links to read.

Time to get reading… 

We’re excited that Next has opened in SA (in Canal Walk in Cape Town and in Foschini in Sandton City). We love their babe clothes.

Top names in 2016, so far.

Blake Lively is pregnant again! 

The Problem of Babies and Airplanes – eek!

Should your babe share your bed?

Is domestic life the enemy of creative work?

Why kids should use their fingers in maths. 

Kids’ Grades Can Suffer When Mom Or Dad Is Depressed

One-on-one time with your kids. 

What happens when kids create their own playgrounds. 

Not all toys are equal 

And now because we are off on holiday here are some of our favourite travel posts:

Travelling in Joburg? Make sure you visit here.

Bailey’s guide to Cape Town with kids.

A mama from Vienna tells us all about it.

Tips for staying in a hotel with a babe.

The mosquito solution.

Tips for travelling with a tiny babe. 

DIARY, PLAY, TRAVEL

9 REASONS WHY I LOVE THE ZOO

23rd February 2016
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The other day we took our babes to the Johannesburg Zoo for the afternoon. Every time I go, I am reminded what a great outing it is for children and adults. Here are nine reasons why it’s one of our favourite things to do in the city:
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1. It’s outside. In Joburg we are blessed with close-to-perfect weather we may as well embrace being outdoors as much as possible.

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2. During the week there are no crowds. In fact, you hardly bump into anyone else at all so it’s like having a giant playground all to yourself.

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3. Aside from the odd zoo truck, there are no cars so it’s a great place to walk with my twins. I don’t need to carry them across busy roads or worry about them running too far. I always take the pram because you can cover quite a distance and walking is less fun at the end of the outing.

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4. The animals provide endless entertainment, learning, and talking points. As the zoo is so vast, we only choose a few animals each outing so we can spend time at each one.

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5. It’s around the corner from where we live and there’s loads of parking. I always used to think going to the zoo was a big mission that needs lots of planning but it is a really easy outing.

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6. There’s plenty of shade, open lawns, and jungle gyms which makes it a great place to meet up for playdates (and to escape the summer heat).

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7. Where else do you get to see an elephant when you’re living in the city?

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8. I love my kids getting to know the animals and learn their names. The farmyard is a hit with my toddlers and seeing Crown and Tom Tom the horses is a highlight. They also love the owls. We are still getting used to the spider monkeys.

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9. You can purchase an annual pass. This is not only a great way to support the zoo, but it also pays off if you visit 9 times a year. Children under three go free. I love having an annual pass as you don’t need to pay each time you go so even short visits in an afternoon are worthwhile.

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MAMA, TRAVEL

MAMAS AROUND THE WORLD: ANA FROM THE VIENNA

24th November 2015
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Meet the lovely Ana from Super Mom blog. Ana lives in Vienna with her husband, Michael and their one and a half year old son Masen Brooks. Ana has lived in Austria her whole life, she moved out of the city when she was a child but she moved back into Vienna when she was 18 because she loves the city so much.

www.maxroeder.com

What is the best thing about living in your city?

The best think about living in Vienna is that you never get bored! You can explore the city everyday and you will always find some new exiting stuff like restaurants, boutiques or just beautiful parks and historical buildings. The people in Vienna are very friendly and we have a lot of different cultures in the city. We also have a lot activities familys and kids.

Describe your house?

We live in a 3 bedroom apartment with a little garden, so Masen can enjoy playing outside.

Do you have a housekeeper/nanny/babysitter? What is the culture in your city regarding help with babies and child rearing?

I don‘t have a babysitter or housekeeper, I do all by myself. For me it‘s important that I can be with my child at home the first few years. So I can rease him the best way to be a good person and a little gentleman. Later on, he will go to kindergarten and then I will get back to work as an interior designer.

www.maxroeder.com

In our country you can stay home with your child until they are 3 old and get paid by the country.  So you don‘t have to go back to work imediatly after having a child.

At what age do you send your kids to school or kindergarten or play group in your city? Are they public or private? Is it difficult to get into these schools?

Masen will go to kindergarten when he is two and a half, next September. It‘s an awesome private Kindergarten not far away, with Montesorri principals and english native speakers. At kindergarten the kids can also learn to play an instrument, be more creative, do more maths and gardening. They learn a lot about our planet and the kindergarden also  has a little garden, so the kids can plant outside and take care of their own fruits and veggies… I love that idea.

It was hard finding the right place and the perfect kindergarten, so as soon as you get pregnant you have to get a kindergarten place for your child!

How do you get around town with your little ones?

We mostly take public transport in our city or just walk with the stroller in the neighborhood.

Where do you hang out with your babes for play time?

For playtime we love to go to parks, playgrounds or meet up with other mamas and go to the zoo or aqua zoo. We also often visit indoor playgrounds or go swimming. I do a lot with Masen, we go on an adventure everyday, he loves the bus and underground train the most. He just loves cars and stuff like that, so yeah he is totally a boy!

www.maxroeder.com

Do you have a favourite spot to head to when you need some “me” time? 

When I want to have some “me-time“ I mostly go to the mall to meet up with friends. We often grab a coffee at Starbucks and go for a manicure or shopping. What I also love is to do in my freetime is to get creative – mostly I end up redecorating Masens room. I also love to paint a lot,  it simply realaxes me.

Describe a typical Sunday. 

A typical Saturday in our family starts off by getting woken up by Masen. He always wakes me by saying: “mama Masen is hungry”, this boy can eat always. So I make a special breakfast for my family like pancakes or warm buttermilk biscuits. Then we all get dressed for church. Masen loves going to church and singing and playing with the kids and so do we! After church we often get invited or we invite some friends to come over for lunch. Then it’s nap time for Masen and my husband and I can have a little me-time. We often read in the bible cause we take the Sunday off and just spend the day with god! But sometimes we fall asleep with Masen… in the evening usally mine or his parents came to visit us and we have dinner. Sometimes we invite our neighbours and their kids for a playdate.

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What languages do you speak to your baby?

For me it‘s very important that Masen can speak different languages. He is ¼ serbian, so I speak that language to him too. So we are raising him to speak 3 languages: German, English and Serbian.

Where do you go on holiday as a family?

We went to Serbia and other places in Austria. But next summer we want to go to Italy or Croatia.

www.maxroeder.com

What tip would you give a family with a babe the same age as yours if they were visiting your home town?

They should contact me and I would love to show them my city or write them an e mail. It depends of the season. In summer you can go to the zoo or swimming in children aqua playground. In the winter you can go to indoor playgrounds (like the monekypark), aqua zoo, visit the Christmas markets or go to the children museums.

www.maxroeder.com

Follow Ana’s life as a mama on her blog Super Mom or on Instagram.

Some of the pics were snapped by Maximilian Roder for Super Mom. 

BABE, EAT, MAMA, READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

20th November 2015
James, Paul, and Stella. Southern France, 1978.

James, Paul McCartney, and Stella. Southern France, 1978. Photographed by Linda Mccartney, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery. (see the rest of the family album here)

Happy Friday lovely mamas. This has been a strange week, hasn’t it? Filled with sore hearts that terrorism has once again hit our precious world – we can’t seem to shake it off. Will you be talking to your kids about tragedy and terrorism? Here are two posts you might find useful: this post by Swiss Lark is about talking to kids about tragedy and this one gives 10 tips for talking about terrorism.

We wish you a weekend of peace and calmness, fun and excitement. We have lazy summer days planned…

Here are some links that caught our eye this week: 

Lake Bell talks mamahood – months, years…

And another Jimmy Kimmel – this time he talks to kids about a woman being president. 

I made this for dinner on Monday and it was yum.

Make raising kids less expensive!  YES please!

This mama talks about living with every mama’s nightmare.

Men do more at home, but not as much as they think.

Who is cooler than Obama?

Gwen Stefani talks about the motherhood/career balance. 

Being dishonest about ugliness! 

Teens and social media Oh gosh!

Bailey gave me this food idea and it’s Francie’s favourite – her first combination suggestion is a winner.

BABE, BUMP, MAMA, READ

FAMILY ALBUM & THIS WEEK’S READING LIST

13th November 2015
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 We heart Drew Barrymore – we think if we lived in New York we’d definitely be mama friends.

Happy weekend lovely mamas. We’re in for a quiet one… well, as quite as one gets with a baby. The last two weeks have been crazy with time away and then spending the nights at Kimmy because of Francie’s christening so we’re looking forward to hanging out at home – practising Francie Suagr’s sitting (she prefers to be on her tummy), giving dad some serious bonding time (aka mama’s time out) and going for walks – if it cools down.

Links that caught our eye:

This single mama makes a whole lot of money!

Boys vs girls toys.

How would you describe the modern family?

I need this book!

Heading back to work after maternity leave? 13 things you must know.

Stress is changing your kids’ genes – for the worse.

What’s making modern parenting miserable?

Dear mum of baby number 2.

This organising trick will save your life.

Time saving beauty heroes.

BABE, MAMA, TRAVEL

TIPS FOR STAYING IN A HOTEL WITH YOUR BABE

5th November 2015
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We just got back from a long weekend at the Oyster Box Hotel. It was fantastic to get out of town but staying in a fancy hotel is a whole new experience with a baby in tow – no more lying by the pool reading. Here are some tips which made our weekend so much easier.

1. Call ahead and speak to the conceige about your needs. We asked for a cot to be put in our room which saved us having to travel with one. We also booked an airport transfer which had a car chair available – again saving us travelling with one/having to hire one.

2. A head lamp! Haha! You may laugh at this one but it was the most useful thing to have with us. Sharing a room with our babe is not something that we do at home so I insisted on keeping the lights out. My husband used the headlamp to read at night and used it to find all those things that you need as soon as the light is out.

3. Plastic bags. This was Bailey’s tip and such a useful one. It so useful to have a number of plastic bag on hand to throw in the extremely dirty towel, the food stained clothes or the wet cosi at the end of the holiday.

4. New toys. I decided to but a few new little things and leave Francie’s usual toys at home. What a great idea? She was so excited to see something new in the morning that it gave my husband and I an extra few minutes to lie in which she played on the floor.

5. An enormous beach bag/tote. The thing with staying at a hotel is that overtime you need something you have to go up to your room to fetch it which is a pain and breaks up your activity. So I had a huge bag that went with me: nappies, snacks, lunch, spoons, bibs, a jersey, suncream, a toy, binki etc etc was thrown in and then I had everything on hand all the time. (I love this one)

6. Another one of Bailey’s tips: disposable bibs. Dirty bibs are one of my worst thing and having a whole bunch lying around ready to pack for home would be even worse. Pigeon disposable bibs are fantastic…

7. Use the bathroom. Our hotel room didn’t have black out curtains so the first morning Francie saw the sun shining in at 5am and she was wide awake! The next night I put Francie’s cot in the bathroom and voila! It was pitch black and she slept until 7am, plus we could turn on the light in the bedroom.

Have fun!

BABE, MAMA, TRAVEL, WEAR

THE MOSQUITO SOLUTION

28th October 2015
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As you know I first took Francie Sugar to the bush when she was just 4 weeks old and we’ve gone a couple times since. The first question everyone asks me is, “what do you do about the mosquitos?” I would rather not use non-natural creams and sprays s here is what I use, obsessively.

1. A mosquito net. I have a couple ‘travel nets’ which I use over Francie’s cot or pram – wherever she is sleeping. You get great nets with elastic at BabyCity or a hanging mosquito net from either Cape Union Mart or Mr Price Home. We have the Cape Union Mart one up permanently in Francie Sugar’s nursery.

2. Pure Beginnings 100% Natural Insect Repellent. This is easy to rub on those chubby legs and beautiful arms.

3. Fly Away – Fly & Insect Repellant (contains Citronella & Lavender Oil). We use this spray all over the babes rooms, and in the cot before she goes to sleep, I also spray it all over the area where I change Francie’s nappy. (I got mine from Health Works in Hyde Park).

4.  Chico Ultrasound Anti Mosquito Plug in/battery operated. Ultrasounds silently repel mosquitoes with no undesired effect on baby – no fumes, no odour, no chemicals. I have one plugged in at the wall i which ever room Francie Sugar sleeps and I have a couple of the battery operated ones too: in the bush I even wear one/have one in my pocket when when feeding her. (Available at BabyCity)

5. Dischem Insect Repellent patches (with Citronella oil). Bailey introduced me to these – you simply stick the patch on your babes clothing – for example their pyjamas or day time outfits.

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