DEAR YOU

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


I was so inspired by Diana from Our City Lights “Dear You” blog post, I decided to do one of my own. At this time of the year I find it impossible not to look back on the year that was and also to look ahead at the year to come. Instead of posting my usual year in review or goals for next year, I am writing a letter to future me…

6 CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS WE'RE ALL OVER RIGHT NOW

Monday, December 19, 2016


Deep down in the truest part of my heart I am a complete and utter cheeseball. I think that is why I adore Christmas. There’s nothing about this time of the year that doesn’t make my heart glad. Having kids makes Christmas extra special, it’s like you get a chance to relive the magic of your childhood through their eyes. While I have no doubt in my mind that Sophie and Grace won’t remember the gifts they received from us, they will remember our family traditions. 

LIFE WITH 2 KIDS FEELS LIKE.... WHOA

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Yesterday I was outside in the garden and an airplane flew over the house. I looked up and thought about all the times I sat in one of those tiny seats awaiting a new adventure. How life changes. Now I am sitting on my bed with filthy hair, chipped toenail polish and smelling quite a lot like sour breast milk. Grace is sleeping in her cot like an absolute angel and for the first time in 3 weeks I have a chance to reflect on this whole parenting 2 kids business.

TEACHING MY TODDLER ABOUT HEALTHY EATING

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


We all carry little scars from our childhood – maybe it was a brat that called you an idiot on the playground or the time your boyfriend dumped you for another girl or when your high school friends went camping without you because your parents said no… Whatever that moment was to you, it will show up again when you become a parent. For me it was the extra weight I carried from puberty until today. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t hate my body. High school was a never-ending cycle of diets and weigh-ins and self-loathing. Having lived through those years of feeling ugly and depressed and so completely miserable in my skin, I have always vowed to never let me kids become overweight. I never want Sophie or Grace to struggle with those hurtful feelings. This resolve makes me a little psycho about food sometimes, but it has also encouraged a very important discussion in our household: the one about healthy eating.

GRACE’S BIRTH STORY

Friday, November 18, 2016


For me, becoming a mom was like experiencing my own personal big bang. The world as I knew it ended only to come back together as something more wonderful, more fulfilling and crammed with so much love I could barely breathe. Parenting Sophie for the last 3 years has been such a learning curve for me. People often say that children teach you more than you teach them and I am here to confirm that that is indeed a fact.

JUST A MINUTE : LIFE RIGHT NOW

Friday, November 04, 2016



Life lately could easily be summed up as “what the hell were we thinking having another baby?!?!?!?!”

Ok, not really, but in preparing for Human #2 I have had my fair share of freak-outs. While many friends with multiples have assured me that you do manage (disclaimer: no one has actually given specifics on how exactly you manage), I still can’t help the occasional panic. We’ve got just a few days to until our new little bundle of love arrives, and after 9 months of preparing, I almost feel ready. Almost.

Freak-outs aside, here are a few more things I’ve been up to lately:

CHOOSING MUST
Have you read The Crossroads Between Should and Must yet? If you find yourself in an internal struggle between the desire to achieve your goals and the obligations of daily life, this book is for you. You can buy the paperback here or download the free pdf here. It has changed the way I look at my wants and needs. Should is what everyone expects of us, must is the person calling from deep within; the one we often suppress or ignore. Go read it.

Fanta floats in whiskey glasses
WELCOMING SUMMER
Summer is slowly starting to show her sweaty face in Cape Town. While there have been a few lovely warm days, I am so happy that they have been spaced between one or two cloudy, cooler days. I am not ready for the heat just yet. Sophie, on the hand is in her absolute element. From demanding to wear princess dresses to school everyday to running around the garden barefoot and covered in sand. Side note: if you are looking for a great outdoor play space to take your little ones, I can highly recommend the River Rascals play are at the River Club in Observatory. It is divine. 

CELEBRATING FAMILY
I am so addicted to scarymommy.com – like millions of other moms, the posts just resonate on every level. This particular post really stuck out for me. I read it twice. I can’t tell you how many photos I have skipped out on because I feel too fat or too ugly or underdressed. I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and feel a disconnect between the mom they knew and the mom that appeared in 3 or 4 pictures. I want to be able to sit on my couch when I am 80 years old with my photo albums bursting with memories, I want to be able to pour over pictures of Regan and I with our daughters. So I have turned into that lunatic at family events that takes pictures and demands to be photographed as well. This is so far out of my comfort zone, but I am embracing it.



ACCEPTING THE LIMITS OF MY CONTROL
Gosh, one of the most common things to come out of my mouth over the past few months has got to be my soliloquy about how flippen tough it is living with a 3 year old. I have learned that the only way to control my feelings is to accept the lack of control I have. Sophie is growing so fast and it is the very definition of bittersweet, her thoughts, her opinions, her moods, they all feel like part of another life, one where I have a much older child. At this tender age she is demanding to be seen as an independent human being and that is so hard. It’s hard because for goodness sake you are 3, I know I know better and please just be a baby for a tiny bit longer.

A VERY HONEST POST ABOUT THAT BULLYING VIDEO

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Remember when radio DJ Aden Thomas posted a video on his Facebook page of a 15 year old girl threatening one of her peers? We all reacted. As parents, as consumers of digital content, as human beings… we all reacted. There is no version of the truth that would not classify this video as textbook cyber bullying. It was a disturbing thing to behold for a number of reasons:
  1. As a parent, bullying is one of my biggest fears.
  2. The age of the girls, coupled with the violent and aggressive content of the video was terrifying.
  3. I felt irrationally disgusted in this girl.
After watching the video I immediately clicked “share”- I mean, seriously, she brought this on herself by sending it out in the first place and bullies should never be coddled, right? Wrong. A few minutes later I deleted the shared post. I felt more ashamed of myself for sharing it than I initially did of the girl that made the video. Here’s why:

MOST OBVIOUSLY, THE BULLY IS A MINOR
By sharing the post to shame the bully, we, the adults, were actively enabling mass scale bullying of this girl. By sharing this post, I was becoming the very thing that enraged me enough to want to share it in the first place.

THIS GIRL IS BROKEN
I had my fair share of teen angst and melt downs, but I cannot remember ever feeling any kind of true animosity to anyone in my peer group. I never fought at school, I never had beef with anyone, I pretty much enjoyed my time in high school. I cannot relate to this girl at all, but as a 32 year old adult I can see that she is grappling with very real insecurities. Anyone who was truly happy with who they are would not feel the need to create this kind of video. She didn’t need thousands of adults attacking her physical appearance. Yes, her behavior and her words shocked us, but we, the grown ups should know better. 

HER STORY IS STILL MOSTLY UNWRITTEN
At 15 you are in the spring your life. You are not the person you will be at 21, you are not the person you will be at 35, you are not the person you will be at 50 – your life will evolve and grow based on every experience you have. This child has gone through something most of us will never really have to experience: a published account of the worst version of ourselves. This moment in her life does not need to define her and we should not define her for it either. It’s not up to us to condemn this girl. Imagine if your most shameful moment went viral. Would you want to be judged forever by that indiscretion?

At this point I feel I need to passionately state that I am 150% against all forms of bullying. While I have not been on the receiving end of this kind of abuse, I have witnessed what it can do to a child and it is crippling. Bullying should be criminalized so that the perpetrators feel real and actionable consequences for their hatred.

Bullying a bully is not justice, it’s just another version of the same abuse.

A HEALTHY DOSE OF PERSPECTIVE

Thursday, September 15, 2016


I am currently 31 weeks pregnant. Two weeks ago I started having a few pretty serious complications with my pregnancy and if I were to sum them up in one word, that word would be: TERRIFYING.

The thing about parenting is that fear and guilt become your resting emotions. There are seldom times when you don’t feel scared and hardly ever when you don’t feel guilty. The past 2 weeks have been like a master class on both fear and guilt. Facing the prospect of delivering my baby at 29 weeks was unfathomable. How does anyone come to terms with bringing a 1.4-kg infant into this world… knowing that she won’t be able to breathe on her own, knowing that she won’t be able to see, knowing that the chances of her developing a brain bleed that leads to cerebral palsy are very high, knowing that she might not make it home… TERROR.

Add to that the bubbly, gorgeous, innocent 3-year-old I have at home, oh hello guilt! Every second I spent worrying about the baby in my belly was an extra second of distraction from time Sophie was so desperate to spend with me. Every day in the hospital was a day away from my little sausage who is still very much a baby herself.

Crying, stressing out about my pregnancy, stressing out about work, fighting with Regan… the past 2 weeks have featured it all.

Now that we’re out of the woods and I’m not having premature contractions or bleeding (TMI I know) anymore, I can tell you two things with absolute certainty:

1] I am exhausted in a way that I have never been before. Mentally, physically, emotionally… I have nothing left.
2] I feel like through the fear and the guilt and the exhaustion, something wonderful has developed, and it’s called perspective.


Why is it that we can motor through life without stopping to take stock until something happens that forces us to stop? This whole experience has cleared the cobwebs from my brain in a way that nothing else could. Yes I know you only have to swing a cat on the internet to hit a post by a mom blogger blagging on about how family is everything. This is not that. This is me realising, for the first time since becoming a mother, the importance of my role in my family and how up until now, I have been running on a kind of parenting autopilot.

If I had to sit down and try to define what makes me the person I am, being a mother would feature among many other things, but it stands out as being the biggest, most important job of all. It’s simple to get caught in a wave of useless (life-shortening) stress that doesn’t matter, and it’s only when you face the kind of stress that does matter, the kind that makes you sick with worry and fills your whole existence with fear, that you realise how much you’ve wasted on the background noise.

So with all this fear still fresh in my mind, I am making myself a huge promise: DO MORE OF WHAT MATTERS WITH PEOPLE WHO MATTER.

Life is long and pretty fucking straightforward. We get so many chances to make mistakes and veer off course, but we get just as many opportunities to fix it all.


What have the past 2 week taught me?

It’s simple: don’t wait for life to scare you back on track, in our hearts we carry our hopes and dreams and passions and they’re ready and waiting to be pursued right now. You don’t need to go through a terrifying experience in order to realise how important the important stuff really is. 

THE BABY SHOWER OF MY DREAMS

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that baby showers are pretty topical in my life right now. I have been browsing all of my favourite event blogs, just drooling over all of the gorgeous themes and ideas out there. Yesterday I stumbled across this beautifully casual, minimalist one on http://www.100layercakelet.com/

I am absolutely in love with all of the textures and treatments that have been used to create this incredible celebration. 
Images via: 100layercakelet / Creative Direction & Photography: Jessica Eraso / Floral: Foxglove / Donuts: The Provo Bakery / Macarons: Macaron by Brian / Flatware: Diamond Rental / Leather Blankets: Gathre / Un Deux Trois Print: Rifle Paper Co. / Glass Vase & D├ęcor: Alice Lane Home

DEAR SOPHIE, YOU’RE GOING TO BE A BIG SISTER

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


My sweet angel, I know that this is a trying time in our house. With the news of your little sister, you are trying so desperately to figure out what this all means for you and where your new place in our little family is. I wish I could just take your tiny face in my hands and kiss all your anxiety away.
When daddy and I found out that we were having another little girl, my heart just swelled with unbridled joy. My little gumdrop, I wish I could tell you how to be a big sister, but you see, when your aunt Dani was born, I was younger than you. I don’t remember her arrival. I didn’t go through the emotional rollercoaster you seem to be riding. It breaks my heart that I can’t relate better to these feelings of yours.

But don’t worry. There are three things I can tell you with absolute conviction, as one big sister to another:

HAVING A SISTER IS THE GREATEST GIFT MOMMY & DADDY COULD EVER GIVE YOU

As you know, mommy has two sisters. Growing up with Celine & Dani was like growing up with built in best friends. I don’t remember ever feeling lonely. I don’t remember ever feeling bored. Having a sister is like having a constant confidant that will always love you no matter what. And as you get older, that bond only grows. You share with her the agony of your first period, the joy of your first kiss, your hatred of your parents (damn those teen years are rough) and then eventually you get to share the bliss of motherhood (if you chose to have children). Aside from these milestones, there will be so much more moments of sheer happiness and utter heartbreak in your life and your sister will be there for you in ways that mommy will never be able to. The specialness of this bond will never stop.

YOU DON’T NEED TO GUIDE HER

Being a big sister doesn’t mean that you need to guide your baby sister and be a constant beacon of properness. Trust me. So many people will tell you that you need to be an example for her; I will never be one of these people. You will always be your own person. Free to fall and stand back up again without the pressure of needing to guide another person. In the end, just by being human, you will be guiding and be teaching your sister. My greatest hope for you is not that you never fail, but that when you do, you just get up and keep moving forward. And looking at you now, I know you will.

3.       YOUR PLACE IS MY HEART IS FOREVER. FOREVER.

When you have a baby, you learn a capacity for love you never thought possible. It is so incredibly important to mommy that you know that having another baby will never mean that I will love you less. I couldn’t if I tried. From the moment I laid eyes on you, you became my world. Think of mommy’s love like a bubble. First, it was only daddy in the bubble, then you came along and the bubble got a little bigger and now your sister is coming and the bubble will stretch a little more. No love gets taken away, only added. Do you know what the most amazing part is? Mommy and daddy are not the only ones who will be adding extra love to their hearts, you will too. Even though I know you can’t imagine it now, trust me. Your heart will grow so with all the love you will feel for your little sister.

My darling Soph we are in the trenches right now, trying to show you the light and I know that you will only truly understand when you meet your sister for the first time. So for now, mommy will continue to cuddle and kiss every tantrum into submission. Just know that I love with every part of my being. When you feel afraid that my love for you might one day change, just remember that it can never.


Our love for you is like a mountain, unmoveable. It will always be. 

RECIPE: GREEKY MEATY RICE

Friday, July 15, 2016


There isn’t a mother on this planet that is not completely sick and tired of the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” question. Even me, someone who spends her days writing about all things food, has zero inspiration come Friday night.

One of my projects for this year was to get better at meal planning. So far it’s been a moderate failure, but there have been one or two wins. This recipe I made on a whim one evening when I scratched through the freezer and found a seemingly random set of ingredients. It’s turned in to one of our favourite quick, fuss-free mid-week suppers.

Ingredients:
A good glug of cooking olive oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
½ fresh, minced green chilli (optional)
1 handful of fresh, chopped coriander leaves
Woolworths savoury frozen rice
4-6 lamb and rosemary sausages – taken out of the casing and rolled into bite-sized meat balls
1 handful of fresh, shredded spinach
1 disc of feta cheese to serve
Freshly cracked black pepper and crushed sea salt to taste
Tzatziki to serve

Method:

Add olive oil to the pan
Add the fresh garlic and chilli
Fry the lamb meat balls until golden brown and cooked through
Remove the meat balls from the pan but leave the pan on the heat
Pour the rice into the pan (I use about half the bag for 4 adults) and cook according to pack instructions
Add the spinach and toss through the rice until wilted
Add the meat balls and chopped coriander
Take the pan off the heat
Season with salt and pepper
Crumble over feta and serve with tzatziki 

What are your go to easy eats? 

SLOW PARENTING AND LETTING GO OF THE RUSH

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Last night Sophie and I sat up in bed chatting, drawing and colouring. I watched her do a self-portrait and I almost burst into tears because for the first time ever I understood her rationale behind all the little squiggles and lines she draws. For me, it quickly turned into one of those profound “this is what life is all about moments”.

Now I am sitting around, listening to Simply Red, just in awe of this whole parenting another human being business. The music is egging on my already emotional state.

Like most other parents living on this planet, Regan and I often get stuck in the daily dash of adulting. Getting things done. Sorting things out. Getting from here to there. In the middle of it all, we have this remarkable 3-year-old that must sometimes feel like quite a passive spectator to her own life. We rarely slow down to her pace. We rarely stop and just exist in the world she knows and loves.

In the midst of a really stressful patch (life, work, baby number 2) I am suddenly struck by how important it is to let life unfold at Sophie’s pace.

Now, I don’t need to tell you that you only need to swing a cat on the internet to hit some kind of content about slow parenting. I will share a few of my favourite links at the bottom. Slow parenting is a concept I am buying into hook, line, and sinker. Why? Because it makes sense.

Allowing our lives to flow with a sense of simplicity, balance and mindfulness can only be a good thing. There are so many ways to define what slow parenting means, for me, essentially it is:

De-emphasising technology
Saying no to radical and unnecessary overscheduling
Creating simplistic play time that encourages creativity
Spending more time outside
Spending more time with family and friends
Giving Sophie the freedom to explore her interests
Slowing down
Being present
Promoting play
Choosing quality family time over all other activities.


Are you embarking on a slow parenting journey? Have you already started your journey? Do you have some tips and advice? I would love to hear it all.

Are you totally clueless about this whole slow parenting story? Here are some great links to get you started: 


BLOWING THE DUST OFF THE GOOD ‘OL BLOG

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Whoa! I feel like that girl that keeps breaking up with her boyfriend only to get back together with him a week or two later.

Remember when Ben Affleck dumped Salma Hayek for JLo? And then JLo and Ben gifted each other Bentley’s to show their love? And then Salma went on Oprah and was like, “you don’t show love with a Bentley, love is special and it needs to live in your heart, something just for you and your partner.”

As one of my new year’s resolutions, I wanted to try to share less. Less of myself, less of my family and less of my experiences. My reason was simple, I felt like every moment that I shared took something away from the specialness of the memory.

Mommy bloggers get a ton of digital flack. I don’t think there’s another content genre that is as open to scrutiny (and downright meanness sometimes) like parenting bloggers. Guys, all bloggers put a little bit of themselves into every post they publish. Sharing your ideas, thoughts, opinions, beliefs or whatever on the internet is incredibly personal. Towards the end of last year, I just couldn’t figure out what the hell I was doing. Why even blog? Why even make the effort to contribute? Who the hell cares?

But, the longer I left it, the more I missed it. Writing is a huge part of who I am. It’s what I do for a living and on this blog, it’s where I find my bliss. So yes I am back, but for me.

Because I really do love this.
xxx

THE STORY OF US

Wednesday, June 08, 2016




People always tell us that we're not supposed to fret about love. If it's meant to be, it will be. If you love something let it go or whatever that saying is. This is a story about all of that.

When I think about the person I was in my very late teens and early twenties I can't help but cringe. I was awkward, insecure, shy and I dressed terribly. Embarrassing. I mean, I embarrassed myself. This awkward, embarrassing phase of my life was also when I met Regan.

I was working at a clothing store for middle-aged women in Cavendish Square. It wasn't a cool, edgy store at all. There was a whole lot of khaki and mom jeans. Back in the day (before social media was the beast we know it to be today) it was quite normal for the following sort of thing to happen in malls:

Regan was/is a DJ and he was playing (djing? Mixing? Wrecking the decks? What do the cool kids call it these days?) at a club in town. In order to promote this event, he would hand out flyers and complimentary tickets to cool kids (aka not me) in malls. This one particular day I was stock taking and chatting away to the girl I worked with when Regan walked into our tiny little shop. I don't know if he knew how utterly out of place he looked in this shop for unfashionable middle-aged women but that's not the point.

He started talking (if you've met Regan you'll know why his voice threw me a bit) and I immediately turned around. I saw this smiling, dimpled face with the super gruff voice and whatever he was selling I was buying 2 of.

We gleefully accepted the pre-offered complimentary tickets to his gig and I rounded up my two best girlfriends and made a plan to go clubbing - nothing was spontaneous at this stage of life. Now you should also know that Regan did not introduce himself, there were 3 names on the lineup and as I was (and remain to not be) a fan of deep house, I had no idea who was who.

Off we went to the clurrrb, gussied up like goddamn show ponies, determined to make an impression. At least that was my only goal for the night. Well, it turns out I shared that goal with about 100 other girls in Cape Town because the venue, Longkloof Studios, was packed to the rafters with pretty girls looking for attention. Needless to say, I abandoned my mission and got white girl wasted instead.

Fast forward a couple of months, same story, but this time I actually chatted to Regan and it turned out that he lived a stone's throw from where I lived! Kismet!

This process repeated itself for a few months but it wasn't meant to be. Tears!

I went to Japan. Came home. Went to  Norway. Came home.

It was now 10 years later.

I was back from Norway. Living at home with my folks. Starting a new job. No car. No social life. No sign of this improving.

I used to take the train to work every day. I'd leave my parents house. Plug in my headphones. Walk to the station. Blast Pantha du Prince. Try to forget the world existed.

Then one day, I saw Regan on the station. I glanced his way and smiled but my eyes said to stay away prick. We repeated this strange exchange every morning for a couple of weeks.

Then my headphones (and phone) were stolen and I had no protection from the outside world. And by outside world, I mean Regan and his dimples.

I was forced to talk to him.

Ok, I wasn't forced. But Metrorail'sconsistently late trains meant prolonged periods on the platform as if I didn't speak to him it would have been beyond odd. Also, did I mention the dimples?

After a couple more weeks of awkward (read: embarrassing) flirting on public transport, we finally went for a drink. And have been totally obsessed with each other since.

Kind of. Regan will deny being obsessed with me but he definitely is.

Something I often think about is how our lives veered off in radically different directions. In that 10 year gap we dated other people, we experienced amazing moments and awful things, we were literally separated by continents. We did not communicate at all. And yet, quite soon after we went for those drinks, we knew.

I feel like my heart and Regan's heart was probably the same heart in a past life. Our love is comforting, friendly and passionate without being dramatic. He's my very best friend and while I may have lived a life without him, I never want to do that again.

This is our story.

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