Author: Rebecca

Eucerin’s Ato-Control Range; The Perfect Solution For Soft, Healthy Skin

Eucerin’s Ato-Control Range; The Perfect Solution For Soft, Healthy Skin

All of my children have suffered with eczema concerns as babies, some more severe than others but it’s always a conversation I end up having at our 6 week check-up.  The one brand my clinic sister has always recommended is Eucerin, yes, even for babies!

The Ato Control range is designed to care and protect dry, irritated skin. We were sent some to review and I’ve been quite surprised by the results.

Our personal favourite is the Eucerin Ato Control Bath & Shower Oil, it’s formulated with Omega-3 and Omega-6 Oils and replenishes the skins barrier to prevent drying. If I’m using it myself, I apply it directly onto damp skin. If I’m using it for the kids, I add a little into their bath water. Its fragrance and preservative free and my daughter loves adding her “special oil” into the bath. If you suffer from Atopic Dermatitis or eczema flare ups this will work wonders. They are tremendously hydrating and provide instant relief for dry, itchy skin.

The Eucerin Ato Control Lotion is suitable for newborns and babies, it provides instant moisture and strengthens the skins barrier, its quite a thick formula but surprisingly absorbs really quickly. It’s made up of more than 60% natural oils and it’s fragrance and paraben free (as are all the Ato Control range.)

Last but not least is the Acute care cream (and this has been a winner for my husband) – Ask any psoriasis or eczema sufferer what keeps them up at night. Itching! The acute care cream soothes and calms redness and irritation and provides welcome relief to get a good, restful nights sleep.

I love the fact that there is one brand we can use across the whole family (especially when it comes to packing for road trips). Eucerin Ato Control is suitable for newborns right the way through to mum and dad (and Granny and Grandpa too)! Available through Clicks and Dischem pharmacies nationwide.

**Body Wash is suitable from newborn and the Acute Care Cream and lotion is suitable from 4 weeks.**

**This article was written in collaboration with Eucerin, all thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Managing Fevers in children

Managing Fevers in children

With 4 children I have certainly managed my fair share of fever’s in 8 years. It still constantly amazes me how each child’s body react differently to fevers. As a first time parent one of the scariest things is not knowing how to bring a fever down.

I was laying in bed, after a night of dealing with 2 feverish children, thinking of all the old wives tales out there and I suddenly thought I should write down my tips in a blog post. First and foremost, I am not a medical doctor. I am merely a mum of 4. Always follow your doctors advice, and hopefully this article won’t go against any of it.

I follow some incredible doctors and have an exceptional Paed as well, check out their websites here (Dr Maraschin) and here (Dr Nadia Khan).

A temperature is your body’s natural response to fighting an infection, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but, it does need to be monitored and managed. I think it’s also very important to know your own child’s “core temperature” as well. For example, I have one child (my eldest), who typically ALWAYS feels ‘warmer to touch’, so when he gets a fever – he burns up quickly, like roasting, and often peaks over 38 Degrees Celsius. I also know, that with him, the second he hits that 39 mark, his bodies natural reaction is to puke (happens every time he gets a fever like clockwork). So we do everything we can to keep it low and monitor him closely. I have 2 other children that are naturally ‘cooler to touch’. Now with them it’s actually harder to tell when they have a fever, sometimes the only way I can see it is if i touch their chest or under their feet (without a thermometer). Their fevers generally take a bit longer to climb.

I’ve heard way too many old wives tales over the years, vinegar socks (please don’t) or vicks on your feet to name a few. Regardless of them, a fever needs to be managed and a high fever can cause seizures so it is important to keep an eye on them and control them.

Here are some of the top (medically approved) tips I’ve learnt over the years:

Don’t forget to always seek professional medical advice.

A new look and formulation for our favourite all purpose cleaner. Handy Andy goes greener !

A new look and formulation for our favourite all purpose cleaner. Handy Andy goes greener !

You may have noticed a bit of a change to your beloved Handy Andy Cream. In keeping up with Unilever’s Clean Future Strategy, the new bottles of Handy Andy cream feature a new modern look, improved product formulation and an innovative packaging.

The bottles are now 100% recyclable and is actually made with partly
recycled materials, while the cream itself has an improved formula
consisting of 100% natural cleaning particles and a 100% biodegradable fragrance. Yes it may be gentler on the environment, but its certainly tough on stubborn dirt and grease, leaving shiny clean surfaces with no harmful residue. You can clean the grease and grime off your kitchen counter with an easy to rinse formulation that allows you to simply wipe off the dirt and enjoy hygienically clean and beautiful surfaces.

As South Africans we are looking for effective cleaners, that are safe for our families and the environment. A product, like Handy Andy Cream, that we can use across different surfaces and for various different uses. It leaves no harsh residues behind and is easy to rinse, this is great news for parents who worry with their children crawling everywhere!

Tying in with the more natural feel, Handy Andy has also replaced Ammonia with a new, uplifting Eucalyptus fragrance. This new variant comes in 500ml, 750ml and 5L. It leaves behind a wonderful, fresh scent and is harnesses on the powerful properties of Eucalyptus.

The Handy Andy cream is available at all major leading supermarkets across the country.

** This article is written in collaboration with Unilever and Handy Andy South Africa.**

Proudly South African Christmas Gift Guide

Proudly South African Christmas Gift Guide

Top Picks for a Proudly South African Christmas

Handy Andy makes it easier to go green.

Handy Andy makes it easier to go green.

We all want to “go greener”, but it’s often harder to achieve then we thought, especially when it comes to cleaning products. Handy Andy launches a new innovative Floor and All-Purpose in bid to reduce consumer plastic waste

Have you seen the new Handy Andy Floor and All-Purpose concentrated refill? The new 200ml refill allows consumers to refill and reuse their Handy Andy 750ml Floor and All-purpose bottles for life.

Unilever’s commitment to decreasing the use of virgin plastic and single-use plastic is part of their Clean Future Strategy and the 200ml and 750ml bottles are 100% recyclable once the plastic cap and labels are removed. Unilever has committed that by 2025 it will halve its use of virgin plastic, by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes and accelerating its use of recycled plastic.

The refill contains a 3,75x concentrated formula, delivering the same superior clean for which Handy Andy is known and loved. It’s made with 60% less plastic (compared to a 750 ml bottle). In this case, going smaller is certainly better; as the refills are lightweight, on both your pocket and on space which is something I ALWAYS need. The 200ml Concentrated Refill contains Handy Andy’s cleaning expertise, combined with the germ-killing power of Domestos that kills 99.9% of germs while leaving your home smelling great with that added streak-free shine. An added plus for me is that there no bleach in Handy Andy Floor and All-Purpose products, giving me more peace of mind with the kids always all over the floor.

To dilute; simply pour 200ml concentrated refill into an empty 750ml Hand Andy Floor and All-purpose bottles and fill with 550ml water. Close lid and shake well to mix. The 200ml Concentrated Refill comes in 3 variants, Ocean Fresh, Lavender Fresh and Pine Fresh. Handy Andy floor and all-purpose cleaner can be used on laminate flooring, tiles, or polished concrete, so you can have shiny clean floors and surfaces in the kitchen, bathroom, and all areas of your home. Not recommended for painted wood or metal, or linoleum floors.

Handy Andy offers a range of home cleaning products with great, fresh scents, to cater for your every cleaning need. For more ideas and tips, check out :

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Handy Andy South Africa

Travel with peace of mind this holiday season – with Ring Security

December holidays are just around the corner, with that comes the inevitable worry about home security and time spent away from home. Travel with peace of mind knowing Ring’s range of smart tech security home solutions and devices are safeguarding what’s most important to you.

You may remember that last year I reviewed the Spotlight Camera from Ring, a nifty little camera that helps me monitor my outdoor spaces from anywhere, it even lets me communicate directly to my children in the garden! The range continues to develop and there are some brilliant new releases to give you peace of mind.

Expecting deliveries? The Ring Video Doorbell (2020 Release) (R1999) allows you to watch over your house and valuables in crystal-clear 1080HD video via the Ring app on your phone. You can hear and speak to visitors from anywhere thanks to instant mobile alerts and two-way talk, enabling you to answer the doorbell from your smartphone, tablet and PC.

Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 is easy to install and includes a quick-release, rechargeable battery so you can charge your Doorbell without removing the device.

For pet owners, house sitters or nanny cam’s there is the affordable Ring Indoor Cam (R1299), which brings smart security into the home.  Put one in the living room to watch over pets, another showing your garden and perimeter and maybe one in the children’s room for when the family is at home, when you can’t be physically in the same room.

As we head into Holiday Season, have peace of mind by shopping any of the fantastic Ring Products available in South Africa. Tailored to suit your needs and easy to install, with Ring, you’re always home.

Why we should start embracing messy play

Why we should start embracing messy play

A whopping 49% of parents in South Africa, according to the latest LEGO Play Well report – aren’t quite on board with the muddy, sticky play that most children love. Most parents shudder at the thought of cleaning up all the mess, but I want to give you a few reasons WHY you need to start embracing messy play, in all its glory, and why it is so essential for our children. If you ask me to picture my childhood, it was running around outside in the dusty Botswana sand, barefoot, making forts under trees. It was happy, it was carefree. Life has changed a lot in the last 30 years, and in today’s world, a large majority of children don’t get to play outside like I did. This is one of the reasons messy play is so important.
Messy play incorporates all of the senses and allows children to explore, the benefits of messy play are huge and totally worth the minimal inconvenience.

By using different materials to explore various textures, children get used to different sensations using their hands and fingers or even toes and feet! Some children are more sensitive to different sensations, and messy play is a great way to ease them into new experiences without overwhelming them.

Messy play fosters creativity and imagination, encourages language and communication skills, practices concentration, and promotes physical development. Ive watched my 15 month old daughter play on her own for hours, exploring the concepts of pouring sand out of a container and filling another with water. Watching them mix and create mud, its early science and it is so exciting for them! These are all brilliant occupational therapy skills and are crucial for physical development.

Here are a few ideas for messy play:

1) “Jelly Cubes” – Make these up either with real Jelly or with a Gelatine and food colouring mixture, as I did here (that way there is no added sugar). Cut up the Jelly into ice cube sizes and let your children go wild! Some will mix, some will squish, others may choose to “bake”, whatever they do let them have fun and go wild. It washes out easily 🙂

2) Rainbow Spaghetti – One of the best “first play” ingredients to give to baby – Rainbow spaghetti is colourful, sticky, and tons of fun to play with. The more that ends up in the hair the better 🙂

3) Edible “Beach Sand” – If you don’t live by the coast – bring the coast to you! Place some flour on a baking tray and bake in the oven on low. Mix in a little oil when it’s done and crumble up to resemble beach sand. Place into a large tray with a few utensils like a fork, cup and watch baby feel the sand sensation and play.

4) Edible “mud” – the next best thing if you don’t have access to the real deal – you can do this two ways; either mix up a little chocolate pudding with some water and flour, or you could mix cornflour, water and cocoa powder together. Incorporate some learning into it by setting up a farmyard scene or throwing in some diggers and delight in the squishy sensation!

5) Baby safe slime/ Oobleck – My ultimate “go to” activity if the kids are whiny around dinner time. With just two ingredients, cornflour and water – this is the basis of a lot of our messy play. Let the kids mix and bake away and watch in amazement how this “magical” fluid can turn from a solid into a liquid in seconds!

6) Chickpea foam / Aquafaba – One of the best discoveries I have ever made. Using an electric beater, blend up the brine left over from chickpeas. Add in some colour if you like, but blend up until it forms a meringue like consistency. The kids will love playing with this. If you don’t have any chickpeas on hand you can do the same with a little dishwashing liquid and water, it just won’t be as stiff.

7) Rescuing objects from the Ice – You can do this with anything including toy cars, animal figurines, but we have chosen lego, of course. Place your selected objects into a large container, or choose to freeze them individually into ice cubes. Once frozen place them on a tray and let your children try to “release” them. I give the kids plastic syringes, spray bottles and containers to pour water over the ice to see if they can melt it.

8) Painting with lego – using your lego or duplo blocks, let the kids dip them into some paint and create paintings with the different shapes. Remember with messy play, there is no end goal in mind, so whatever they choose to paint or create, that is up to them! Some children are more structured, and others are completely abstract, let them have fun, explore the different shapes and get messy.

9) Lego and shaving foam – Shaving foam is another essential in our messy play cupboard. With just a few sprays you can turn anything to an adventure. I literally chucked in some Duplo blocks for my 1 year old, adding in some shaving cream and let her explore. I keep a bucket of clean water by her side, so she can cover the blocks and then rinse them again, but it was fun to watch her explore.

10) Create Sensory Worlds – This is fun for slightly older kids. I choose a theme and then we create a world around it with messy play items. Rainbow coloured rice, salt sand or cornflour and water. We then chuck in figurines like fish, or space themed objects and create a world to explore and play in. It incorporates structured learning with messy fun and they love it. Their top 3 worlds have been a crocodile swamp, the lifecycle of a frog with squishy water beads and a space themed tray with black rice and different substances for the planets.

This article was written in partnership with Lego South Africa, for the full article and more detail click here.

5 Habits To Implement Today To Keep A Tidy Home

5 Habits To Implement Today To Keep A Tidy Home

We all have that one family member or friend who just knows how to keep a clean house. It never really matters what time of day you visit them; their home always looks the same, spotless! There are no dishes in the sink, kids toys or clothes strewn around, no dust and grime build up on their surfaces. It’s something I DREAM about, having 4 kids in a pretty open plan house, you will always find bowls in my sink and toys scattered everywhere. Staying at home as much as we have has forced me to try to be more organised and neat, just to maintain some sense of sanity.

The truth is though, keeping a tidy home does not always mean having to spend long hours cleaning from top to bottom. In reality, all it takes is a few good housekeeping habits to help you keep your home tidy, with minimal effort. Together with Handy Andy, I have put together five of my best daily cleaning and organization habits, to try to keep my home in order.

1. Freshen up your bedroom first thing every morning

All those TikTok videos and boarding school rules can’t be wrong! While many people might see this as the “least essential” task in cleaning, something as simple as making the bed sets the tone for keeping your space neat and tidy. It also helps you start the day productively, which is likely to be carried out throughout the day.

2. Clean as you go

We have all heard this one before, even though we often forget just how important it is. Putting things away immediately after using them or cleaning up even the tiniest messes can be the difference between a tidy home and an unkempt one, TRUST ME, this has been one of the biggest lessions learn’t cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for 6 everyday. Adopting this habit will make your life just a little easier while allowing you to use your time purposefully. For example, when walking from room to room, tidy up while you move along. Teach your children that before they take out a new toy to play with, they need to put the other ones back. Wash your plate immediately after eating, or wash those utensils while the food is cooking. Next time you’re in the kitchen waiting for the water in the kettle to boil, try grabbing your cloth and your trusted cleaning product to get a quick clean. It’s amazing what you can get done in those 5 minutes. For a quick spray on and wipe off clean, try the Handy Andy Kitchen Spray. It is fast-acting and highly effective on daily kitchen dirt, leaving your surfaces hygienically clean in just 10 seconds.

3. Don’t forget your floors

Floors are the one surface in your home that experience the most traffic, which means they can get quite messy quicker than any other surface in your home, especially when you have white tiles like we do! When your floors are clean, it lifts the entire room, it’s definitely worth the time put in. The cleaning products you use on your floors also matter, so make sure that you invest in quality products that get the job done efficiently and don’t leave a sticky residue. A product like the Handy Andy floor and All-Purpose cleaner is an excellent example of a product worth purchasing for your home. Not only does it clean stubborn dirt on floors and other surfaces around the house, while killing 99.9% of germs I might add, but it also leaves a streak-free shine and a fresh fragrance.

4. One room at a time

The thought of having to clean various spaces at the same time can often leave you feeling overwhelmed before you even begin. To avoid that daunting feeling you get when it comes to cleaning, try tackling one room at a time. I’ve learnt for example, to NOT start with my kitchen, in fact it doesnt even make sense to go in there until after everyone has finished their breakfast runs. Dedicate specific days to deep cleaning certain areas and use a multiple purpose cleaner so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of swapping out products based on the room you are focusing on. The country’s most trusted multi-purpose cleaner, the Handy Andy Cream, gets rid of grease and stubborn dirt with ease making it the perfect tool to help you tackle the dirt around various surfaces around your home. Everyone loves a product that gets the job done right in a fraction of the time, right?

5. Have a spot for everything

Finally, and this has been my pet project over the last year, the tidest homes often “have a place for everything.” This means being a lot more organised and, at times, chucking out the things you might no longer need. Keeping your home tidy daily becomes much easier when you know where everything needs to go. Put things back in their designated spots immediately after using them, (don’t put it down, put it away), hang up your clothes if they are clean after taking them off or simply throw them into the laundry basket immediately after use. Try strategically placing storage baskets or containers around the house, for example, we keep a basket on our stairs for shoes. I went label mad last year and now everything has it’s own place.

So there you have it, five daily habits for a clean and tidy home which have helped me, as one of the world’s messiest people, get my life back in order. Hopefully, these tips will motivate you to begin making these minor changes for a spotless home. Remember that adjusting to new habits may take time, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, ust take it one room at a time. Try out what seems manageable for you, and set yourself “15 minute” challenges. Did any of these help? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

  • Disclaimer – This article was written in collaboration with Handy Andy South Africa.
Unplanned, Unassisted Home Birth – How our daughter arrived in style.

Unplanned, Unassisted Home Birth – How our daughter arrived in style.

The first thing you should know is that somewhere deep down, I have always wanted a home-birth. The calm, tranquil environment and being in the comfort of your own home always appealed to me. But with having a V-Bac, I always had the “what ifs” in the back of my mind. I have also opted for a shot of pethadine with my other 2 children, so I knew that having a birth with no pain relief of any sort, wasn’t really something I was sold on. My gynae and I joked about it and I said I didn’t think I was strong enough, and how much I admired those women who could “sneeze a kid out”…. Well, be careful what you wish for 🙂 This is the story of how my fourth child entered this world.

It started off like any other day. My second day of maternity leave, I dropped the kids at school, played with my almost two year old toddler, did some grocery shopping, homework and afternoon activity pick ups. I had been feeling generally uncomfortable the whole day but nothing out of the ordinary for 38+ weeks and all of its general bowel and constipation issues 🙂 I made dinner for the family and tried to do a few yoga stretches to relieve the feeling. Taking the kids up to bed, I remember snapping at their hooligan antics at bedtime, telling them my tummy was sore and they should just relax and go to sleep. After putting them to bed, I took a long warm bath to help relieve the discomfort and general feeling of pressure but there certainly weren’t any contractions to take note of. My previous pregnancies also went all the way upto 41 weeks, so I wasn’t expecting anything different this time around either.

At about 10h45 pm I remember feeling the first few contractions (or surges if you follow hypnobirthing), but they weren’t very strong and certainly weren’t in any sort of pattern yet. Never the less, I told my husband to come to bed early because we may be making a hospital trip at 3 or 4 am (based on my previous labors). He came up to bed at about 11h30 pm and at this stage they were more frequent and definitely strong enough to be considered  a “contraction”. I started to actively time them, but they still weren’t lasting for a minute so I thought we still had a long night ahead. I plugged in my ear phones and played 2 Surah Maryams (verses from the Holy Qu’ran) as I lay down to try and rest as much as I could at home. By midnight, my eldest son had jumped into our bed and in the next 5 minutes the contractions went from bearable, to me actively having to focus on breathing through the pain. Time to switch up to my “rainbow rhythm meditations”. I was going to get up to move my son back to his bed at this point but the next contraction was a little more painful and I let out a little whimper so I thought right, time to shower and get to the hospital now. Husband and son fast asleep in bed, I went into the bathroom and was suddenly hit with another contraction. Swearing under my breath at the “stupid meditations not working” (well rather not the meditations itself but me for not being able to relax), I focused my breathing into my tummy like I was told (so grateful for that hypnobirthing course now) and decided to draw a bath instead of a shower (thank goodness). The moment I jumped into the bath at about 00h28 (I checked because I was timing those contractions now), I felt my waters break, but not a normal break like they did with my son or daughter, a huge gush. “OH SHIT” I thought, there is no more time. “OK BABY… OK BABY…. I’m coming, hold on for me, we getting up now, we’re going” I literally said out loud, like my baby could hear me and was going to hold on.

Gripping onto the side of the bath for support I stood up and felt baby’s head. Crap….. “What happens if my husband doesn’t hear me” was my first thought, my second was I could hear my two year old crying in her room so now the kids were awake too, and my third thought was this baby is coming now! “Ahmed…. Ahmed….. BAAAABY” I cried to my husband, “Whaaat”… a sleepy sound emerging from the bedroom came back, obviously roused by my daughters crying too, “Heeelp BAAAAABY”.. 1 x sleepy husband stumbled into the bathroom in a shocked state “What? What do you mean? What must I do ?” “CATCH HER” I said and in literally two breaths (I literally don’t think I even pushed), one for head and one for her body, this super rocket human was brought into the world. Thankfully, I married a skilled cricketer and he caught his daughter before her head touched the water, I pulled her forward onto my chest and lay back in the warm water. Less then 10 minutes from the time my water broke to the time when my baby girl made her appearance. There was no time to “feel pain”, no time to “panic”, my body knew instinctively what to do and I just followed it. This little angel basically birthed herself.

“Go back to the room” I heard my husband telling our son, who clearly had heard everything and was in a shivering state, “I’ll come to you now, just stay in the room”. “What must I do” my husband repeated again. “Call an ambulance and get me some towels”. Trying to assess my newborn in a dark, candle lit room (Yes I actually freaking lit a candle before jumping into that bath), I noticed she was wriggling in a weird way and was still quite blue, then I saw the cord around her neck. Alhumdulliah, THANK YOU to God, for showing me that in time. I unhooked the cord and held her close to me. I can hear my husband swearing at the operator on the phone and realised he had phoned 10111. “NO MAN” I shouted “Call Netcare” (Our private ambulance service).. Thankfully my cell phone was in arms reach and we both ended up calling them at the same time. I can still hear the sheer shock in my voice as I replay the conversation to the operator. “Hello Mam, I need an ambulance, I just had a baby” :), not quite believing it myself. Ahmed brought some towels to me, and then went to tend to the kids, My poor children, had NO IDEA what was going on. Thankfully we have the most incredible live in nanny so next up on speed dial was Servie to come and sit with the children.

The Netcare ambulance were amazing. Within 10 minutes, we dialled them at 00h37 and they were literally there by 00h47. The female paramedic came in and cut baby’s cord, handing our princess to her partner to wrap and warm up. We sat in the bath for about 5 more minutes waiting to see if the placenta would come as contractions had already re-started, but no such luck yet. She suggested we get out the bath and transfer me to the hospital as I needed to deliver the placenta as soon as possible. I got up, put a gown on, my husband grabbed the hospital bags and off I climbed into an ambulance at 1 am holding my newborn baby. YAY now the second round of contractions were really starting. Can we just speed this up I mumbled.. I begged the ambulance to transfer me to Parklane hospital which is where my doctor is, and not TOO far away, however emergency protocol dictates they drive to the closest hospital, which in this case, was Sunninghill.

Here’s where the story turns a little nightmarish…. The casualty ward at this hospital has no maternity casualty unit attached to it. They have a maternity ward, but no maternity casualty facilities and there was no OBGYN on duty. Now for a labour to progress effectively, you as a mama, need to be relaxed and your body needs to be producing that oxytocin, a casualty unit is really not very conducive to a calm, serene environment.
For first time mums, if you are planning a natural birth, after you give birth in a hospital, you normally receive a shot of oxytocin to help deliver the placenta faster. It should come by itself, but this just speeds it up if need be. So whilst my baby girl was safely in my arms, her other “home”, my placenta, was still inside me. The longer it’s inside after birth, the higher your chance of haemorrhaging.

So there I was, like a deer in headlights in this casualty unit. The staff take their time and do all the admin work, connect me to those battery wired heart monitors, and literally joke about how they have no experience with maternity patients to the doctor. I’m hearing all of this, and looking around this strange, cold room and everyone is “waiting” for me to deliver this placenta. The contractions are now beyond painful, worse than the birth itself and in comes in the head casualty doctor/surgeon dude (and he was a big guy). “MAM he said, I need to catheterize you”, we need your bladder to come down do we can get this placenta out now, “No Sir (I literally called him “Sir”, please wait I’m in the middle of a contraction, please don’t do that now, just wait 5 minutes… “I cant wait, you are cramping because the placenta is still inside you, we need to get it out now” he says as he starts to punch my stomach. “You are punching my stomach while I am having a contraction, PLEASE STOP”, I shouted… “MAM if you do not push this placenta out I am taking you to theatre”….( I did not go through a homebirth just to go into theatre dude) “Do you not have a gynae on duty, Is there no midwife here?”, I asked. In between all of this I had a lab guy come into the room to take my blood and to do my COVID SWAB ( I punched the guy, I’m sorry lab guy, it was bad timing), (Seriously, no wonder I couldn’t deliver the damn thing).

Then, I heard someone mention Syntocinon (a synthetic form of oxytocin), (It was the female paramedic who came on check on things) “YES”, I shouted “Do you not have any synthetic oxytocin, please, that will help me.” FINALLY after 45 minutes in ER and 7 failed attempts to find my veins, they insert a drip with the Syntocinon. Less then 3 minutes of that being injected, Sergeant Major doctor dude was back punching my stomach, again I remember telling him to please “STOP THAT” (as my 2 year old shouts), wait for the oxytocin to kick in. “MAM this placenta is retained, it is not going to come out, I am taking you to theatre”…

Queue the singing angels as I see a midwife in a maroon uniform finally enter the room. FINALLY… almost 45 minutes of absolute agony, I have SOMEONE by my side who knows what they are doing. “OK, let’s see why we are having trouble here” She said, and in the correct manner, apologising and saying “Sorry mam”, I’m going to have to check you internally” (take note sergeant major) she told me to push and with a little pull from her side and a push from mine, one fully intact (thank you God) placenta was delivered, and I now burst into tears. “THANK YOU THANK YOU” I said to her, thank you so much for helping me.. And also , screw you Sergeant Major.

All this time my sweet baby girl was being handed from nurse to nurse to hold. I kept asking them to remove the towels and wrap her in blankets. Finally, after the whole ordeal was over they wrapped her up for me. At about 4h30 am I was wheeled into a general ward, my husband went home at about 5h30am to check on the kids and get some rest and I was finally transferred to the maternity unit at 6am. At last, I could relax. Of course, any new mom will know I got ZERO sleep until 8pm that night, but it was worth every minute.

So there it is.. Our little Aaliyah’s dramatic entrance into the world. One thing is for sure babygirl, you were born one determined little sausage. The first thing I noticed was your beautiful almond shaped eyes and your mop of dark hair. You didn’t give a loud cry or scream like your siblings with all the bright hospital lights, but rather some gentle gurgling sounds. Your warm body lay on my chest for 15 minutes just you and I, quiet in our moment and in a bit of shock at what just happened. Your birth was BEAUTIFUL and I wouldn’t change it for the world (except for maybe actually planning it and having a midwife to call instead of going into the hospital), but still, you gave me what I subconsciously wanted, an unmedicated, unassisted, home-birth. A water birth in a sense lol. You gave that to me and you took away any pain. I cannot wait to see the plans that Allah has for you. You are incredible and I thank you for showing and teaching me so much strength. One week later and I am still in absolute awe of what out bodies can do. What we are capable of. This is a salute to all women out there. WE ARE AMAZING. If you are planning a natural birth, TRUST your body. You CAN do this. I hope this inspired you in some way. …

Sensory play with Disney Pixar’s Luca

Sensory play with Disney Pixar’s Luca

I’ve spoken about my love of Italy before, so when I heard about Disney Pixar’s new release “Luca”, I knew it would be a movie we’d be setting our reminders for. Set in the unmistakeable beauty of the Italian Riviera, Luca is the coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Follow along as Luca and Alberto experience adventure with their newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: Luca is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface. Together the two embark on a summer filled with the magic of youth and friendship as they brave the water’s surface to venture to the human town of Portorosso.

We wanted to tap in on some of these seaside moments with a little unique Italian flair. A coral reef mini world made out of pasta! Unlock your child’s imagination with some sensory play to celebrate this fun family movie which hits Cinemas on 18 June 2021 and we can’t wait to follow along on his seaside adventures.

To make your “Underwater Coral Reef” Small World is super easy.

Create a base out of “edible sand”. This is super easy to make with flour, water and food colouring baked at short intervals in the oven. I then crushed up some cereal to add in some depth to the colour.

Dye your Pasta – Take a large Ziplock bag, put about ¼ cup vinegar (or rubbing alcohol) and food colouring. The more food colouring you use, the more vibrant your colours will be. Massage the colours around until mixed and then add in about 2 cups of dry pasta. Dry in the sun. Another option for slightly older children would be to just mix the dry pasta up with some acrylic paint.

Add in a few sea creatures, I used my little Toobs characters, as well as a few small pebbles and shells. Let your kids explore the magical “undersea” wonderland and use the opportunity to teach them about the ocean and the beauty of the reef.

Please note: All activities should be supervised, even though this activity may be “taste safe”, small pasta pieces can still be a choking hazard.

I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the beautiful movie then to play with pasta. You could also get stuck into some play safe “Ice Cream Dough” to resemble the glorious flavours of gelato. You can see that recipe here.

Whatever you choose to make, take the time to create beautiful memories and have fun celebrating the rich history of Italy. Directed by Academy Award nominee Enrico Casarosa and produced by Andrea Warren “Luca” hits cinemas across Africa from June 18, 2021 and you can bet we will be first in line to watch it !