THE AGE OF AGEING – 5 TIPS FOR BETTER HAIR CARE IN YOUR 30’S

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Cape Town, South Africa





I turned 34 this year. I’ve never felt old. I’ve never felt like I looked old. But this year, on my 34th birthday I did something I had never done before, I dyed my hair. Leading up to my birthday I began to notice subtle, and then not so subtle changes to my hair, it went from being beautiful and glossy to been dull and brittle and full of grey. Ah ageing, you piece of pure filth.

A NEW TOY FOR SOPHIE + WHY ALL TOYS ARE ACTUALLY GENDER NEUTRAL

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A while ago we were browsing the aisles of our local toy store when Soph told me she was going to the “girls section”. I looked around and thought, “hmm, this whole shop is technically the girls section, and the boys section”. If we’ve learned one thing from Toy Story, it’s that toys don’t care who plays with them, only that they get played with. I know my child doesn’t care that she plays with her tool belt as frequently as she plays with her Barbie’s. So if Sophie doesn’t care, and I don’t care and the toys definitely don’t care, why do the toyshops and the toy manufactures care?

LET’S LOOK AT THE GENDER STEREOTYPING OF TOYS


We know that as a society we need to move away from thinking of boys as one way and girls as one way. So now we just need to apply this newfound knowledge to all areas of our world. I don’t need to get into a whole long diatribe about why I think it’s toxic to box my child into a world where she can only play with dolls and wear pink and be a fragile little princess. I know that encouraging a healthy appreciation for diversity is important. I want Sophie to ride a monster truck in her princess dress and roar ferociously at the world. I want the world to look at her doing that and not bat an eyelid.


We recently received a very cool press drop from Mattel South Africa, a Talking Zeg Truck. Zeg is one of the characters on Sophie’s favourite show, Blaze and the Monster Machines. He is kind of a monster machine, but also a triceratops. Zeg’s a total brute who loves nothing more than to smash and pulverize things, but deep down he’s also a big ol’ softie. This truck is cool because it says all of Zeg’s catch phrases and has those super-huge tires you’d expect to find on a Monster machine. It’s perfect for my imaginative little girl who will no doubt spend hours recreating her favourite adventures from the show.

I love Blaze because it is one of the few shows that feels truly neutral (Paw Patrol is another one). As soon as I showed Soph her new Talking Zeg, she freaked out. She started talking in a weird, garbled monster voice and tried to smash things. Grace started howling because she wanted a turn too. Looking at this complete state of chaos, my two girls literally having a tiff about who’s turn it was to play with the monster machine, just underscored how absolutely limiting, misguided and unfair it is to impose gender labeling on kids toys.

LET YOUR KIDS CHOSE HOW THEY PLAY


If I haven’t convinced you yet, consider the following:
  • Your children should be allowed to decide for themselves what they think is fun. 
  • Children need diverse play in order to develop and grow emotionally. 
  • Your child does not think about toys in terms of gender….yet. You have the power to ensure that they never do. 
  • The world has moved on, these gender stereotypes are tired and dusty and we need to pack them away for good.


HOW DOES PLAY AFFECT YOUR CHILD?


Speaking to NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), Judith Elaine Blakemore – professor of psychology and associate dean of Arts and Sciences for Faculty Development at Indiana University−Purdue University in the United States – discusses a study on the impact of toys on children’s play.

In the study, toys traditionally associated with being ‘for boys’ were seen as violent, competitive, exciting and dangerous, while ‘girls’ toys’ were found to be associated with physical attractiveness, nurturing and domestic skill.

Interestingly, educational toys were often classified as neutral or ‘moderately masculine’. Based on the research, Blakemore states her message to educators and parents loud and clear: ‘If you want to develop children’s physical, cognitive, academic, musical, and artistic skills, toys that are not strongly gender-typed are more likely to do this.’

BUT DOES IT ACTUALLY MATTER?


In an article for The Guardian, bearing the headline ‘Are pink toys turning girls into passive princesses?’, science writer and broadcaster Kat Arney asks the same question.


‘Does it actually matter? Considering everything I’ve found out about this subject recently, I can’t help feeling that it does.’

Labelling, colour-coding and marketing toys based on gender leads to a lack of active, challenging, educational toys for girls, says Arney; it is these toys which encourage development of spatial and analytical skills – and therefore it is these skills that girls are missing out at an early age without the toys. Instead, the current situation, she argues, is far from ideal: ‘[girls are] pushed towards being passive princesses, surrounded by fashion dolls, kiddie make-up and miniaturised vacuum cleaners. And at the same time, boys are denied opportunities for more social and imaginative play.’

As parents, we are able to petition stores and manufactures to scrap their gender labeling (I mean why aim to appeal to only half your possible target market anyway?) but more importantly, we should be championing our child’s right to play at home. We need to be giving them access to whatever they need to develop their minds and discover their world. So when your little boy asks for a doll and a pram, just get it for him. When you little girl demands power tools for her birthday, indulge her. Doing the maximum means you are raising a child who will know that there is literally no limit to what or who they become.

Nikki
Xxx

10 MOMS YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING IN INSTAGRAM

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Cape Town, South Africa


Instagram can often be the source of a lot of angst. On one hand, it is filled with so much inspirational and aspirational content which can be so empowering, and on the other, it just feels like a game of “Who’s life is better” and you’re always losing.

FROG MOUNTAIN LODGE - THE ULTIMATE FAMILY GETAWAY

Friday, February 09, 2018 Cape Town, South Africa


Far down a winding (dirt) road, nestled in a valley of green, you will find Frog Mountain Lodge. When it comes to perfect family getaway places, Frog Mountain in Swellendam comes out tops. Why? Well that’s easy: its modest, comfortable accommodation is perfectly with paired with the most beautiful mountain scenery around. And if that’s not enough, it is packed full of fun things for the kids, not one of which involves a TV or a tablet.

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Here are some pictures from our recent trip to this little slice of heaven.


Sophie and Ella were totally obsessed with all the cows. Our house faced one of the cow paddies and there were endless rounds of human and bovine "mooing". 


The wooden playground is a little walk down a dirt road. It is lush and green and comes complete with mini soccer field, play house, trampoline and awesome jungle gym. 


Soph absolutely loved the playhouse because it was made from wood and was actually big enough for her to walk into without bending. Guys, my child is a giant so this was a massive win for both of us. 


Bouncing under the mountain, what could be better? Honestly guys, this place is pure heaven. 


Why sit on a chair when you can climb on the table? The one thing I love most about holidays is how relaxed I feel. I don't fuss or fret with the kids. If they fancy a bowl of crisps for lunch, then so be it. Oh and every day is braai day, obviously! 


Not sure what's going on with this pose, but I love this picture of Regs, he works so hard and holidays are always incredible for me because I know it's the one time he truly relaxes. 


Sister, sister I love you so! This was the first time my sister and I (and our families) went away together. It was so incredible. We usually do family holidays that involve like, my whole family. It was so special to just go away with our two little families. 


If you're not sure which house to chose at Frog Mountain, I can recommend the one we stayed in, Nguni Cottage. it's quaint, uncluttered and oh so farmy. 


Just a snippet of that incredible scenery I was telling you about. Honestly, it's impossible to be stressed when you are surrounded by such magnificent views. 


Pure magic. That is the best way I could describe our stay at Frog Mountain. It is everything I wanted from a family resort destination. The owner Peter is kind and helpful and made himself available at any time of the day to assist us with any and every thing. If you feel like venturing beyond this paradise, the town os Swellendam is so beautiful. I had no idea how picturesque and quaint it is. And so so green. Which was a thing to behold given the drought stricken state that most of Cape Town finds itself in. 

5 stars for good old family fun! 

Nikki
Xxx









WE MOVED TO A SMALL HOUSE AND IT HAS BEEN AMAZING

Thursday, February 08, 2018 Cape Town, South Africa



4 years ago I started following a blog that changed the way I looked at family living spaces. 600 sq ft and a baby is a blog about a family living in a small apartment in a big city. It’s beautiful and curated and makes it seem like small living is indeed attainable. For years (literally) I would sit at my desk and dream about a day when I could have a family home, and in my dreams it would be small.

How weird is that? Aren’t we all conditioned to dreaming big, excessive and unnecessary dreams? Don’t we all need a kitchen that Martha Stewart would envy? Are rolling lawns and massive swimming pools not the key to happiness?

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