I hope you know how loved you are. How you changed my life and how you made me so brave. I hope you know how special you are and that your potential is limitless.
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. …
So here’s a post I have been sitting on for quite some time. I’ve debated clicking “post” for some time now because it’s not just MY story but OURS, for so long I wasn’t sure if it was just my experience, or others as well, but after speaking to so many of you on social media, I know I am not the only one to experience things, and I hope that this post can help some of you.
So here’s the truth about marriage….
The first 5 years of your marriage will be the hardest ever.
I’m grateful I went into my marriage completely open minded. I did not expect a fairy-tale, and I did not expect white horses. I knew my husband well enough to understand all of his personality traits and he knew me. I knew that there was so much more to marriage then then just “love”. It’s more about handling your expectations, tolerance and forgiveness, and self-respect.
However, even I was “unprepared” for everything that those first 5 years can throw at you. The changes you have to make to your lifestyle, especially as a woman and as you move through life’s stages. It is so important to note that my husband probably experienced ALL of the same things I did, in different ways. So I cannot speak on his behalf, this is my story.
You see, you go from being a “single” women, managing your own finances and doing whatever the hell you want really to suddenly adjusting to two of you. Now you may or may not have lived together before hand, we didn’t, so we had to find our feet when it came to finances. How should we split household costs, who does the cooking, who does the cleaning and whose money covers what. What each other’s EXPECTATIONS were of being a husband or being a wife. You have to learn how to cook for two people without too much food going to waste, and just as you fall into a little comfortable bubble, of you and your partner, lazy weekend mornings and sharing dish duty, bam….. you realise that you are pregnant (for some).
Your partner, who you have lovingly made the most important person in your life and adored on, needs to adjust. Nights filled with watching endless TV by themselves because you are simply too exhausted to move from growing another human. Your body and hormones changing and you are suddenly facing the reality that once this little human enters the world, your bubble is going to change (trust me, there is NO preparation for this). Who will assume the role as main breadwinner and who will be there 100% for your child? You have to be there for one another and support each other.
Enter your first child and suddenly, let’s be honest here, you forget to be a wife (I know I did). Actually, with one kid I think I was still alright, when the second came I was full on 100% focused on motherhood. Its OK. It happens, more often then you think. It’s a whole new roller-coaster of responsibility for you and your partner. Who does what? Do you share bedtime duty and diaper changes? Do you take turns to lie in on the weekends? Welcoming a baby SHOULD BE the happiest point of your marriage right? In many cases it is, BUT, in many cases, it is also the MOST stressful, and the MOST tested you will ever be.
Now, every partnership is different, but I can almost guarantee that at SOME point one party will assume a greater responsibility on these things. Whether it’s the cooking or the bedtime rituals at some point one of you will do it more, and with that comes a little resentment. Your nights of going out “together” will at some point become “your turn” versus “my turn” due to balancing baby sitting duties and you will miss being the “source of fun”. Every now and again though, you need to come back. You need to check in. While having children together is the most beautiful, bonding experience ever, it will also lead to the most intense struggles you have ever had. When to discipline, when it’s OK to lose your temper, what values are important to you; the list is endless, your partner and you were probably raised very differently and nothing brings that to light more then when you share a child.
In those first few years, you go from budgeting for 2 to suddenly budgeting for a family of 4 or 5. Figuring out how to cook family style meals and whose is paying for nappies, school fees or extra circulars.
The BIGGEST piece of advice I ever got is…and wait for it, this is going to ruffle feathers was; “not everything NEEDS to be equal, in fact in life nothing ever really is. You both have strengths and weaknesses. One of you will be able to carry more on their shoulders than the other. Work to your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get taken advantage of course, but don’t expect everything to be equal.” This is GOLD! Look at your strengths and weakness of support each other in them. If you can throw away your expectations, you are in for a happier marriage.
Know that you can’t change your partner. And you should never have too. You fell in love with ALL of them, so embrace ALL of them. Flaws and all. By change I’m referring to their innate personality, not necessarily picking up socks from the floor, because that is trainable (ask my husband, he trained me hahahaha) 🙂
Realise as much as you love each other, at some points, you will come pretty darn close to hating your partner. Yep it’s a strong word, but it is a very fine line. For it is only the people that you love the most in this world that can crawl under your skin so much. The people that know you the most. It is how you handle the conflict that will grow you the most.
The bottom line is the first 5 to 7 years of marriage are FREAKING tough. You are building your family and life throws all the change it can on you. Be realistic, check in with your partner and acknowledge the tough times. But celebrate! Celebrate everything beautiful, count your blessings and cherish them. Don’t lose sight of each other and why you chose to marry each other. Compromise. Focus on what is truly important and toss everything else out.
I can safely say after almost a decade of marriage and 20 years of being in my husbands life, I still love him more than anything. He drives me up the wall and down again, he is the most stubborn, hot headed person I know, but then again, so am I 🙂 Whether you like it or not he gives you the harsh, blunt truth and has a habit of not sugar coating anything.
I look forward to the next chapter of our marriage, we are about to welcome our fourth (and very final) baby into this world and I know over the next few months new hurdles will come our way. The one thing I know, is that he is my constant and insha’Allah, he will be forever.
It’s just past midnight on the 29th December 2020. The year the World “stood still”. Instead of jumping into bed as I planned on doing, I find myself typing at my computer, reminiscing on the year gone by.
You see, I am such a serial “planner” and “goal setter”, that I am always moving forward, thinking about the “next thing”. The New Year doesn’t mean much to me, to be honest, it’s just the start of another 12-month cycle, but what it does afford me is the time to actually stop. The time to pause and reflect on the months gone by and think about the possibilities moving forward.
Across the globe, the message is that 2020 sucked. It was the “year of COVID”, lockdowns, cancelled plans and disrupted schedules. It caused the whole world to rethink how we work and how we operate, but it also should us possibility and opportunity. It showed us which professions really truly mattered and it taught a large majority of the world, that working remotely, for most people, is actually possible. It taught us that we dont need exorbitant “Oscar” styled weddings or birthday parties that cost enough to feed a small orphanage. It gave the earth a chance to breathe, a pause from carbon emissions and thousands of feet walking through ancient cities. It gave us a chance to really miss those that are truly important to us, and it also showed us who we could do without.
Looking back at the year, once again, I find myself truly humbled and grateful. Under such circumstances there were truly some incredible moments and milestones that need to be celebrated.
It started off with winning an award, not just coming “runner up”, but actually winning in the “SA Blog Awards.” I didn’t dwell on it too much at the time, because there is a lot of drama involved in these awards, but actually, I should have. I work damn hard at what I do, creating content is not as easy as it seems, and it is something I am proud of. So THANK YOU, to each of you who took the time to vote. I haven’t entered again this year, I actually didn’t even get think about it, but it is something that I should be proud of, So thank you!
In February, literally a week before the world started to “lockdown”, we managed to spend two weeks with my sister and her beautiful family. An odd time for a “family holiday”, but look at Gods’ timing, giving us the chance just before we weren’t able to see each other again. We got to spend time in my family home all together, one last time before we said goodbye. My parents were surrounded by their grandchildren and days were filled with swimming and hammock naps. It’s been over 10 months since I have seen any family member now. My “baby” has grown up into a full blown, walking/talking toddler in that time and I am so grateful that we had those 2 weeks, at least.
We were thrown into juggling home schooling and working from home, as a family. Whilst I truly pray I never have to home school again, it taught me appreciation, like never before, for our teachers. I managed to find the balance that I always wanted, managing school drop offs, afternoon activities and work, yet I also realised that having “some” time in the office is sometimes a very good thing. I am in awe of the resilience our children taught us, taking every single thing in their stride. Never questioning “why” or “when will this end”. Wearing their masks every single day without complaint, they just accepted the new normal and moved on.
I realised, as a mother, that any guilt around screen time, especially during the hard lockdown period we faced in South Africa, should be thrown out the window. I was initially so against time on the PlayStation or too many cartoons, and had full days planned of activities to keep them busy. But, I actually realised, with the right games mind you, how it hasn’t hurt at all. In fact, it’s been a saving grace on many an afternoon when I have had deadlines looming. Of course, I try to balance it out with quality time, but I learnt to let go of misconceptions I once had.
It was the year that uncovered new passions, even pre-covid. Quizzing my aunts on old school household hacks and actually having the time to deep clean my home. I use the term home because, finally, our house started to resemble more of a “home”. Spending more time within it allowed us to give back more to it, with room renovations and painting, furniture restoring and ticking off goals. Without my handyman dad around, we were forced to do more ourselves and I can proudly proclaim that I now my way around a drill now, my husband is a pool expert and I have a re-found love for upscaling furniture. My organization skills were ramped up and I finally got around to projects like my pantry, kitchen cupboards and our constantly messy garage. All of these things deserve a moment of reflection and a “Wow, I did that” thought.
I was given the opportunity to work with brands that blow my mind, brands that I grew up with and companies that I stand behind wholeheartedly. Companies like Woolworths and Builders South Africa are a dream to me and to have the honour of working with them has been such a massive highlight of my year. My Instant Pot family have once again challenged me to rethink the way I cook and I adore being pushed to try new ways of cooking things, and boy did we cook this year! Who didn’t try recreating KFC or Nandos during lockdown? I am so grateful to every brand I have gotten to work with, being recognised by a product that you truly use everyday never ceases to amaze me. The team at Omo South Africa, Sunlight and Handy Andy, I am truly grateful. Being asked to contribute to LEGO will forever leave me in awe and words can’t begin to describe how much I value these opportunities.
2020 also gave us the biggest surprise, and challenge, yet. Finding out that we were expecting a 4th baby was no where near on our “plan”, but Allah is the best of planners. After the initial crash into a brick wall shock, we are both excited and can’t wait for our little girl to have another younger sibling to play with. Now I just have to deal with all my giving birth during a pandemic anxiety.
We threw ourselves into our work and while I do miss the office interaction, it also showed us just how much we could achieve at home. It was a year of promotions and awards, a year of learning and embracing new ways of working, new technologies and fresh portfolios. Pushing our knowledge into spaces we have never explored before.
It was a year which taught me value. The value of relationships, the value of our health, the value in every day moments and beautiful sunsets. Gratitude. Gratitude at keeping our heads above the water while the country around us battled this virus, not only physically but from an economical point of view. It gave us gratitude at the things we so often took for granted, being able to hop on a flight to visit our siblings or parents, or escaping the city for a “weekend break”. I experienced hurt and heartache, I saw competition and comparison rear its ugly head and a lack of support from areas I once turned to. Through it all though I am grateful, for showing me what is truly important and for the people I can truly turn to.
Gratitude in being able to pay our bills and provide our children with food, comfort and knowledge. It schooled me in thankfulness for my husband too. As much as I “complain”, I thank Allah everyday at the rock he has become. My foundation, my support. If you are reading this babe, I really, truly value you, and I am thankful for all that you do.
2020 was definitely a year of gratitude for me. I blogged slightly less, but I did more video content and like many of us, found myself on Tiktok more 🙂 Not taking myself so seriously.
For 2021, I have no grand plans or “goals”. I have prayers.
I pray for a healthy birth and delivery of our 4th child and I pray that Allah SWT keeps us safe from this virus. I pray for the people that have been affected, the families whose courses have changed. I pray that the vaccination is effective and quick to get here, because the 2nd quarter still seems very very far away. I pray for our economy, that we may recover somewhat, and that we are able to keep people employed. I pray that whatever may happen, my faith will continue to push me through and lift me up. We can get through this, day by day. 2021 is my year of hope, and lots of prayer.
Thank you, once again, for being a part of my community. Thank you for commenting, sharing and trying my ideas. Thank you for engaging and reaching out. We are all in this together, and without you reading this, my platform wouldn’t even exist! Happy New Year from us, and I look forward to growing more with you in 2021!
After well over 3 decades we have said goodbye to my childhood home. I never knew that something like this could have such a big impact on my emotions, but the fact is, I’m sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes. This was always “home”. My parents moved across the globe a number of times for work, but home was always there. Whether we were renting it out or not, it was always ours. It was always there.
When I was just 3 years old my parents bought a plot of dusty land about 20 minutes outside of Gaborone. Rocky, dusty, and filled with thorn trees, it was the start of something amazing. We didn’t even have a telephone line there, our first “phone” was a radio phone!
As a young girl, it was nothing short of magical. I played outside to my hearts content, running around barefoot, making forts under thorn trees and growing our own vegetables. We had so much freedom, riding our bicycles down the newly tared road, chasing cattle and donkeys out of the garden and saving our pets from snakes (puff adders and cobras mainly). I started driving down those farm roads at 12 years old with my dad and eventually at 14 would take my mums car out by myself (don’t tell the cops).
My mum always had grand plans of building a thatch style “farm” house, so to begin with, they put up a pre fabricated house, as a temporary start. Of course, life happens and the garden was developed around the house. Extensions were built and pipes laid, and that “prefab” house still stands today.
As a grew into my teenage years, I wished that my parents lived in town like the “cool” kids, it would make it easier for friends to fetch us or come visit us, nights out in town would have been easier but I am so very glad they never did.
The plan was always for my brother, sister and I to each have a portion of the plot as we grew up, and I always somehow felt that I would “return home” and take over my mums business. Life had other plans, and I settled down in another country and my grand life plan never did happen, but perhaps that’s why I still took every opportunity to visit home whenever I could, because some small part of me still clings to that ideal.
Whenever the stress of “city” life and growing up became too much, I drove towards home. Letting the rolling hills and thorn trees ease my stress and ground me again, the older I get the more I yearn for home. I love taking my children to experience the magic I feel. My sons love their narnie and grandpa’s house and I’m so grateful for the times I have managed to share with my older boys. We have picked veggies, roasted marshmallows on an open fire, looked for snakes, gone horse riding, ridden their bikes in the dirt and taken them on the river. We have swum from morning till sunset and checked if the chickens had any eggs. They’ve napped in the hammock and gone “shoeless” for days, relishing in playing with the kitties. Hopefully they will remember.
To see my children searching for “chongololos” or chasing the chickens around the garden like I did fills my heart with so much joy. Taking them at the crack of dawn to go pick their own vegetables, or letting them ride their bikes unsupervised is something I can never do living here in Johannesburg, but it’s something I did every chance I got when we were home. Washing as much of the “city” out of them as I could. Now that’s never going to be the same. They can never again wake up for a 6 am swim (In Botswana you can literally jump into the pool at any time of day its so hot), it will never be “our pool” again.
But what I have also realised is home is where the heart is. In this period my parents have lived in 5 different cities across the world, including islands in the South Pacific and the Caribbean. Wherever I visited, wherever they are is “home”.
I know it was a necessary move. As my parents grow older and need to downsize, this is the first move in the few that will see them land up in the UK, but I guess I just wanted more time. I wanted more time for my daughter to experience those things now. I wanted her toes to get all dusty and to take in the fresh “bush air”.
So as I say goodbye to our house for the past 3 decades, I realise it is just that. A house. It has a roof, a fireplace, a kitchen and a garden, It is two people that turned it in to a home. This house reflects the life and family my parents created together. The adventures and trials we have gone through together, and this home thrived because of them. So did I. I am always welcomed with open arms. I feel the most comfortable being me. I will always hold these memories and how they made me feel close to my heart. Memories of planting and selling vegetables to our local spar, spending Saturday mornings picking fresh spinach and radishes with my dad and rinsing them off in the swimming pool to taste. Building up bookshelves from scratch or redesigning my room for the 5th time. Having pool parties with my friends on the weekend or just driving around the farm roads blaring our favourite music to pass the time. This was the home that saw me through primary and secondary school, university and marriage. This was the home I brought all 3 of my children to as babies, to let Gogo Mary spoil them, as she spoilt me. This was the home that held first boyfriends and breakups, and staying up with friends until the sunrise and then trying to sneak back into the house. Weddings and family reunions, our house always had people in it, sitting under the lapa enjoying the cool of the shade.
So I may never drive down that gravel road again, the boys will never steal “chappies” from Mary’s shop again and I will miss seeing my mom’s garden bloom and flourish. I will miss walking into the house and seeing the familiar dark tiled floor or the cats water bowl in the kitchen, and It makes me sad. However, I also know that home is indeed where the heart is, and we will make new memories wherever my family goes.
Thank you Notwane, for giving me the most ideal childhood. For all the adventures and dramas, for all the love and warmth. I only hope that I can give my children the same freedom and sense of adventure that you gave me.
For many of us Mothers Day will not be the same this year as a result of COVID-19. That familiar hug and brunch with the family will be replaced by Zoom calls and smaller, more intimate family traditions.
Most shops are still shut, but if you have budget to shop there are a couple of options out there to look at to make Mothers Day during lockdown an extra special occasion.
Woolworths has their winter pyjama range out, which is always an annual Mothers Day gift in our home. Spoil mum with some of their PJ’s, some slippers and a super soft fleece blanket to snuggle up with. Or, if you are anything like me then the last 40 days have been spent living in sweatshirts and hoodies. Netflorist has a great range of personalised hoodies, gowns and cute socks to make mums day. Perfect for the colder weather we are heading into! I also adore this Charlotte Rhys scarf set which adds a little luxury back into life.
Why not stock up mums pantry for an online cooking course, or if you are living at home you can whip her up a MasterChef style 3 course meal.
You may not be able to take mum out for lunch or breakfast, but you can still support business by ordering through your favourite Restaurant through Uber Eats. Breakfast in Bed with croissants from Fournos or get some lunch delivered from our favourite Polpetta restaurant.
A pamper hamper is always a winner and thankfully bath and body products are considered essentials. Have a look at Netflorist’s range here for some super indulgent bath time treats. The Body Shop and Lush South Africa are also allowed to sell selected ranges.
Top on a lot of mothers wishlists’ is an Instant Pot, and trust me when I say this is one gift that will make her life a whole lot easier! Spoil the special mother in your life by getting her one from YuppieChef and while you are there you can shop for more Level 4 goods, including some specialised tea and coffees!
Most households have had to tighten the belt financially, so if you are looking for a few more homemade options why not consider a “home spa”? Have a look at our homemade bath salts, with a little essential oil added in these are such a wonderful bath time treat. Pair them with some homemade bath bombs for the ultimate pamper experience.
If bath products aren’t her thing, have a look at these 3 easy DIY alternatives, with a few basic craft supplies you can create some wonderful keepsake treasures for mum.
Say it with flowers
Flowers have always been a traditional Mothers Day gift and the incredible Fields of Colour has the most exquisite, freshest flowers in town! They are open for delivery and for every Mothers Day order you place, they will add in a free face shield to keep mum safe. Now that’s innovative thinking! Available for Gauteng only.
Upgrade her home office
I think we can all agree that lockdown has turned our houses into home offices. Suddenly we realise all the supplies we need at home that make our life easier. Printers, computers, stationery. Logitech has a sleek addition to add to mum’s desk with this portable Pebble Mouse. It’s a modern and sleek mouse that fits into your lifestyle wherever you go, perfect for throwing into your handbag when you need to work remotely. This slim mouse comes in three pretty colours to suit any personality off-white, graphite and rose pink.
Cherishing the memories
You may not be able to have a photo shoot to mark the special day, but why not book one for the future? Robyn Davie Family Lifestyle Photography is running a promotion on the most exquisite photo books that would make an incredible gift, or book a shoot for a future date with Kate Rankin Photography.
Happy Mothers Day to all mother figures out there and up in Heaven. 2020 is certainly one for the books, so lets make the most out of every moment!
A healthy diet is important to us all, but even more so if you are pregnant. There is so much conflicting advice out there on what to eat and what not to eat. In addition to all the worry on what you can and can’t take, you also have to deal with 3 or 4 months of having little to no appetite due to nausea, the next 3 months of eating everything in sight, and then your last 2 months of not being able to eat more then a golf ball sized amount before feeling full! Diet and your appetite in pregnancy is a roller-coaster ride!
I recently spent a morning with the team from NUK and Lila Bruk, a Registered Dietician, where we learnt about pregnancy and post pregnancy nutrition, and we got to cook up some balanced, healthy meals that are perfect for pre and post partum mums.
Here are some Top Tips to get you through a healthy pregnancy:
- Don’t Eat for Two – I know this one is easier said then done. Whilst I didn’t “eat for two” during any of my pregnancies, I certainly indulged in more then my fair share of ice cream! Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can predispose you to conditions, such as pre-eclampsia, so try to keep up a healthy, balanced diet as you usually would. I varied between gain 12 and 15 kgs throughout my three pregnancies.
- Increase your calcium – This is the serious part. Calcium is essential for your baby’s growth and if you don’t get enough calcium through your diet then your body will have to rely on your own stores to compensate for these needs (i.e; your teeth and bones. Yes my teeth suffered the most from my pregnancies). You can get calcium from dairy products (e.g. yoghurt, cheese, milk), but also in tofu, and fish with edible bones (e.g. kipper, sardines, pilchards). If you are taking your calcium as a supplement, be sure NOT to take it with fibre, caffeine or Iron as it interferes with absorption. (Another gem I didn’t know).
- Stock up on Healthy Fats – Essential for your baby’s health and brain development. Healthy fats include those found in nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil. It is especially important to ensure that you eat enough omega- 3 fatty acids, which are essential for your baby’s brain development. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish (e.g. sardines, pilchards, trout), walnuts and flaxseed. I couldn’t take Omega-3 supplements as they contributed to my nausea but I upped my nut and fish intake.
- Fill up on Fibre – Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I cant emphasize his one enough. Especially in my last pregnancy, I really had to actively increase my intake. You can get your fibre from oats, bran flakes, fruits, veggies, wholegrain starches, (e.g. brown rice) and legumes. I used to add a couple of spoons of oat bran to my yoghurt in the morning.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – When you are pregnancy your blood volume increases. Aim for at least 10 glasses per day to meet your fluid needs. Soups, water and herbal teas count as water, but anything with caffeine does not. If you don’t cut out caffeine completely, then keep it to a max of 2 to 3 cups per day. Funnily enough with my last pregnancy I couldn’t even stomach the thought of a cup of tea for the first 4 months!
- Pump up the Protein – You are building the muscles of a tiny human! Try to increase your protein by eating more fish, meat, eggs, poultry, cheese, legumes and dairy.
- Don’t forget the Folic acid – My doctor once told me, if you take only one thing during pregnancy, make sure it’s folic acid. Some pregnancy vitamins make me more nauseous, so her advice to me was to cut out the vitamins but keep taking the Folic acid. It is important for the development of your baby’s nervous system and is necessary to prevent neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida). Ideally you should start taking a folic acid supplement 3 months before conception.
- Check your iron levels – I struggle with this on a good day, and it is always a concern in my pregnancies. If you don’t get enough iron, you can develop anaemia and you may start to feel extremely fatigued, pale and lethargic. It is a good idea to focus on eating more iron-rich foods, such as red meat. DON’T do what I did and eat livers, because that can actually have bad side effects for your baby.
So what should I eat?
I have put together a table to make it easier for you. Personally, I would only focus on the “No” portion, and keep eating as you normally would, with an increased awareness of upping your vitamin and mineral intake. This was an eye opener for me, when I was in my last pregnancy my Iron levels were extremely low. So I turned to what I normally do when I feel anaemic, good old Nando’s livers. I had NO idea the effects that livers could have on my baby. Thank goodness I only had one or two!
Next week I’ll be sharing some more information from the morning, specifically for post-partum and breastfeeding mums. A healthy balanced diet is crucial to milk supply, so check in next week for more. Let me know below if you would like recipe ideas.
Thank you to the NUK team and Lila Bruk for sharing this knowledge with us!
Whether you are ready or not, the new school year is upon us, and with that approximately 197 lunch boxes to pack! Yep you read right, the average school year had 197 days in it. I don’t know about you, but I always start off the year strong, with a nice variety of options and creativity and then it dwindles with fatigue and exhaustion as the year progresses. Two heads are better then one, so “Mommalikeme” and I decided to get together and write about our top lunch box ideas, some of our store bought favourites and a few hacks to make your life easier throughout the year. Be sure to check our her blog post here.
My kids tend to “snack” more, and between all the playing at break time, bento style boxes work better for us, so most of my boxes are smaller portions with more options.
Daily Lunchbox Inspiration
- Pesto Pasta – I list this every year but it really is a winner with us. If your child prefers warm pasta you can buy those nifty flask type containers that keep your food warm as well.
- Yoghurt Pot
- Biltong Strips
- “Deconstructed Pita” – Basically Pita Bread with some Meatballs, Hummus and Cucumbers served separately.
- Grapes and Berries
- Nut Muffin
- Cheese Quesadilla (I toast two tortillas in a pan with melted cheese in the middle and cut into 4.
- Served with Avo (I have one that likes Avo and another that cant stand it, so I may omit the Avo as well)
- Yoghurt Choobie (Yoghurt tubes from woolies)
- Trail Mix – My kids love the one with little yoghurt drops in from woolies
- Chicken and Cheese Roll up Wrap
- Mozzarella String Cheese
- Banana Muffin – you can view my recipe for banana muffins here.
- Carrots/Sugar snap peas
- Egg Muffin Cup
- Cheese and baby tomato skewers
- Granola Bar
- Chocolate Covered Raisins as a treat
We’ve designed an easily printable “cheatsheet” list for you. Allowing you to quickly pick out options from each of the suggested food groups to create a healthy lunch box. Grab one thing from each category and you are good to go!
Store Bought Favourites
Now lets look at some of my store bought favourites. These are lunchbox fillers that I buy to make my life easier. Some friendly on the pocket, and some are definitely more of a splurge so it just depends on how we are for the month 🙂
In no particular order:
- Oven baked munchies (salt crackers)
- Playful Penguins (South Africa’s answer to goldfish)
- Granola and Nut Bars
- Biltong/ Dry Wors
- Yoghurt covered rice cakes
- Cheese flavoured rice crackers
- Fruit Bites
- Kiddylicious Cheese Straws
- Kiddylicious Coconut Rolls
- Kiddylicious Fruity Bakes
- Happy Kid Banana and Chocolate Bars
- Trail Mixes
- Nature Valley Granola Bars
- Chocolate covered raisins
- Laughing Cow cheese cubes
- Mozzarella Cheese String
- Yogi Choobes
- “Oh My Goodness” Moon Melts
Lastly here are some of my personal lunchbox “hacks”. Things that I do to make my mornings run as smoothly and as quickly as possible (and this is still a huge work in progress).
- Get your kids to “pack” their own lunches; “make a snack station”. Okay okay, my kids are a little young still, but this was a responsibility that I had from the age of about 12. So what I do is have a “snack shelf” in the pantry, where the kids can pull out their “store bought favs” from. Easily accessible they can choose what they would like to pack. If you are a little more organised then me, you could sort these into categories like proteins, fruits etc.
- Prepare what you can before hand– Pack all fruit, yoghurts etc the night before ready to go and on a Sunday night I normally prep what I can for the week ahead. For example; I will cook a whole bunch of drumsticks and sausages, ready to pop into lunchboxes when needed.
- Use Drinks as Ice packs – Freeze your water bottles and it will double up as an Ice Block in your cooler bag.
- Compartmentalise – if you don’t have a bento style lunchbox, use silicon muffin cases to hold and separate your foods.
- Use Skewers for small meats or cheese – Presenting things in a smaller, prettier way makes it more appealing for the kids to eat. I got some super cute skewers from Lily and Lace.
- Use Cookie or Sandwich Cutters (But don’t waste) – My pet peeve about using cookie cutters to shape bread is the amount of bread it wastes. Cloud and Co stock some awesome shapers that almost fit to size, ensuring that you don’t waste alot of the bread. I have my eye on the rocket ship!
- Make Use of a thermal flasks – again, Cloud and Co sell some super cute Thermal flasks which will increase what you are able to pack as lunch options.
- Send a little love note – Make use of pre-printed stickers like the ones from Tower Labels.
There you have it! I hope you have found these helpful and you use them in your daily planning. Don’t forget to head over to Mommalikeme for some more lunchbox inspiration!
WOW WOW WOW, What a year 2019 has been. Highs, lows, changes, babies, houses… At the end of each year I always like to look back on all that I have achieved and how we have grown as a family. Its so important to take a step back to recognise how far we have come.
On the blog side I have hit so many of my personal targets and worked with brands that I used to dream about. I am so incredibly grateful to you, my readers, for allowing me to grow on this journey with you. So THANK YOU THANK YOU, for supporting me and helping me to reach my dreams. I hope you have found inspiration and guidance when you needed it the most.
Once again, I have decided to enter the SA Blog Awards. I know many people have various things to say about the Blog Awards, but these awards are decided by you, the public. Its all of you who get to vote and decide. I have big dreams planned for my little happy space, and hopefully, together, we can get there. Please support me in this, by clicking on this link . I have entered into two categories, both are full of absolutely incredible bloggers and content creators, so even if I just made an appearance I’d be happy. Once voted, you will receive an email to verify your vote, which takes about 15 seconds – please do so, otherwise your vote is not verified. You can also vote by clicking on the badge on the right hand panel my home page. Voting ends on 31 December and it would mean the world to me to have your support.
Looking back at this year, we certainly received our greatest blessing with a healthy beautiful Raya Maryam being born into our family. She has completed our puzzle and is everyone’s absolute favourite being. The calm to our chaos. We have conquered and climbed the initial breastfeeding mountain and are comfortably in a routine now with solids and feeding. Mamas – the first 3 months are hell, but hang in there! It does get better! Incredibly grateful for all the support we have received and for the beautiful baby shower held by my Megan.
Aadam successfully completed grade R, and moves on up into the world of “grades” next year. He has been absolutely amazing to watch this year. From the tears and separation anxiety we battled in the beginning of the year, to literally running into school each day, he even asked to stay on for aftercare! Such huge milestones that we so quickly forget about. He excelled in his cricket and swimming and is an absolute joy to watch as he learns to write and read.
Our little Yusuf is as cheeky as ever, at 4 years old he thinks he is the boss of everyone, and if he could, he would live off cakes and sweets. Even though he acts all tough and confident, secretly he is the one whose confidence I need to build the most. He needs his mama so much still and I have tremendous guilt for not spending enough one on one time with him. He has learnt to swim like a “big boy” now, and gets hugely frustrated if his brother does something that he cant do yet.
On a personal note some of my highlights were working with some of my favourite brands, on campaigns close to my heart. Walking down the runway at 7 months pregnant with Jet; focusing on “self-love” and embracing women of all shapes and sizes. I also got to brand rep for my favourite maternity brand, Cherry Melon whose clothes I am STILL wearing, 8 months post partum! The boys got to do some “modelling” (kind of) for Keedo, a proudly South African brand that is VERY close to my heart. I am eternally grateful !
I managed to juggle the work-life thing…sometimes failing but mostly swimming. I realized that I will never be the “stepford wife” but that’s OK. It’s OK to forget things from time to time. The fact that I remembered P.E. and swimming days, what costume is needed when, charity days and afternoon activities MOST of the time, is enough for me. As long as my babies know how much their mama loves them, and as long as I raise kind, generous, hard working children – my job as a parent is done. We kept crafting this year, and had a bigger focus on more educational experiences. Learning behind what we “played” with. Some of my favourites were the “Dino Dig” Sensory tray, “Lifecycle of a frog”, Crafting with Cardboard, Outback Aussie and the collaboration we did with House of York.
We grew, not only in the number in our family, but as individuals as the boys become their own independent kids. We baked (a lot), from collaborations with Pillsbury to cookies with M&M’s we certainly got creative (and a little fatter). I also fully embraced my Instant Pot, I literally use it several times a week and enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen again!
We went farming, it wouldn’t be a year without it 🙂 From Dairy Cows to Strawberry picking, nothing makes me happier then being outdoors and in nature with the kids. We also explored the Drakensburg for the first time and I’m already yearning to go back. (Full blog post coming soon)
I ramped up our “What to do in Joburg” Series with a focus on FREE entertainment. With the economy in South Africa being the way it is, we all need a bit of relief from all the spending, and I updated our ultimate list of places to go with the kids for 2019 . As a mom to young kids these are invaluable, I know I certainly am always on the look out for new places. The latest one is on my festive entertainment guide for 2019.
Lastly, I focused a bit more on beauty (as I try to gain some of my youth back). I started exploring collagen more, and tried drinking it in a shake! I took care of my body with Bio-Oil and Natralogic and focused more on what goes into my skin, using products from Dermalogica and Skin & Tonic. I also took back my hair (take that post-partum hair loss) 🙂 Allowing myself to splurge a little is OK if it makes me feel good. Nicho from XOXO Studio certainly knows how to give my hair that va va voom. Invest in yourselves mamas, every little bit helps.
It certainly was a jam packed year and one that holds the best memories. Life is about making the most of EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. Making an impact on every single person you meet . It’s too short to be spent unhappy or complaining. Embrace the positive around you and be grateful for all that you have. That’s the main purpose of this post, Gratitude. For all the opportunities I have had, and all the new connections and friends made. For all the lessons I have learnt (some tough), and all the future that lies ahead. I also have big plans for this little blog of mine, and I hope to continue to grow and learn. If you want to , please take a look at the SA Blog awards, but more importantly; THANK YOU, for being a part of this parenting community. If there is any other content you would like, or advice you need let me know, I value you more than you know!
Happy Holidays everyone!
We have a birthday fast approaching in our house and it’s leaving me more than a little anxious. For me it signifies the end of a chapter, one that I loved with every single inch of my soul. One that I have a passion for, one that holds growth, learning and curiosity.
Six, it signifies the official end to the “preschool/toddler” years.. The start of being a “big boy”, am I going to lose my baby?
When I was an Au Pair, I used to joke that when I had kids, once they reached the age of 7, I would ship them off to my mum and dad until they reached the age of about 14, because it was my least favourite age to look after. Of course, my mindset has changed now that I actually am a mother myself. Yes, while these early childhood years have been tough – waking up multiple times in the night, trying to negotiate your way out of tantrums and dinner time, I can’t help but think about all the things I’m going to miss..…
Those chubby cheeks and hands.
Over the last year I’ve noticed how my sons’ body has changed (no we haven’t quite hit the teen years yet), but he’s lost his overall soft “roundness”. His hands have lost all chubbiness and his cheeks have evened out into a young boy’s face. His legs are becoming more athletic and take up so much more of the bed now.
I know most parents drop nap times a little earlier, but I have always insisted, that the boys nap in the day. My eldest can still pass out at the drop of a hat if we are in the car, and my youngest will fight it until he just cant open his eyes anymore, but for the most part they don’t nap in the day any longer. I’ll definitely miss that quiet zen time but most of all ill miss those “I just woke up” cuddles in the afternoon.
They just don’t keep still long enough to cuddle anymore. My eldest has already stopped giving me a big kiss at school in the morning (at least he still holds my hand). Bed time is our cuddle time, and I have the boys in each arm, though I know that this wont last for much longer. I’m holding onto every single hug while I can.
Endless days to explore and adventure
Up until Grade One, both my husband and I have always had a laid back approach to school/playschool. They aren’t in formal school yet and until they are, I steal every moment I can to spend with them exploring and going on adventures. We love taking a day to go to farms or parks, read books and bake at home. From next year however, the real school begins, and we wont be able to do this anytime we wish. Seeing the world as new through your child’s eyes is one of the most amazing things about being a parent and it’s something I’m going to miss witnessing first hand.
The cute way they talk
“Mommy, do you know….” Almost every sentence begins like this when you are 4. The excitement to tell me every single thing is electrifying, and sometimes they get so excited the sentences form too quickly for their little mouths to speak out. The made up words and overall grasp of the English language are one of my favourite things to listen to. Pretty soon though, all I will be hearing is “cool” and I’ll be an expert in all things slang.
My toddler mom group
There are no better friendships then the ones formed over toddler mom groups. I can already feel our paths diverging, with our kids in school more formally. Weekly meet ups have become bi monthly get-togethers or quick catch ups at birthday parties. I will love these ladies eternally and hold all of our fun memories so close to my heart. I’m going to miss our kids all playing and exploring together.
Their special toys
My eldest has a soft “kitty” teddy, a kitty who has been washed so many times he can practically roll up into the palm of your hand, a kitty who has been loved so much he only has one eye left. A kitty who is the one toy that will get selected to accompany us where ever we go. He has been a part of the “family” since Aadam was about 5 months old and has proudly been displayed at many “show and tell” days. For the last few months though, the requests for Kitty to be in the bed at night have dwindled.. a sure sign that times are changing, I think I know how Woody from Toy Story felt!
YES IM GOING TO MISS YOUR TEETH! Baby teeth are just so damn cute. Every day my eldest keeps asking, “mama is my tooth wobbly yet?”. I keep telling him that the longer he has his baby teeth the better, but he is just so darn excited for one to fall out like his classmates. Slow down my baby boy, I love those tiny little teeth of yours.
Being their entire world
For the past 6 years I have been everything to you (Ok Ok I’ll give your dad a bit of credit too :)), but my boy is a mommies boy (In a good way, and I’m proud of it). At times its been completely and utterly draining and I’ve sometimes wished you would ask for your dad more, but in all honesty, I have loved every single second. It’s what I was made to do, you gave my life a sense of purpose. The special bond we have had during these early childhood years has changed me as a person completely and I pray in some way, we can hold onto it forever.
Even though I’m mourning a chapter, I know this thing called “growing up” has to happen and I’m a little excited for the “bratty” years ahead. Seeing how you develop into an independent boy, watching your interests and hobbies grow and watching you learn all the basics of Maths and Science. All the sports days and swimming competitions we have to look forward to , and all the school projects ahead. Your first crush…
I just pray for the kind heart I see in you now to always stay firmly in place. For you to always wake up each day filled with optimism and hope. May you always be as affectionate and kind as you are now. Be a student in life, as well as a teacher. Learn from every opportunity, and when you know something, share your knowledge. I want you to win at all the thing you love, but I also want you to lose, with grace. For its from those failures that the wins become even sweeter and your character will be built. I hope you never stop dreaming, your dreams of becoming a Formula One Driver or Moto GP racer fill my heart with joy, and I hope you never lose that passion.
Happy Birthday to my Six Year Old! You changed our worlds for the better, and I am so grateful that God chose me to me your mama xx