Category: Toddler life

Learning To Read : A Whole New Chapter

Learning To Read : A Whole New Chapter

There are many noteworthy milestones in a child’s life, but learning to read has to be right up there. The whole “learning to read” process is incredible and something that is so unique to each child. To see everything just slowly starting to click is wondrous, an entirely new world opens up and I cannot wait till we fully dive into it. My eldest (5) is learning phonics at school at the moment. When his class teach mentioned in the beginning of the year that me may even be able to read by the end of the year, I thought she was joking, he’s only in grade R, but let me tell you, phonics are an INCREDIBLE THING!

Each week they have a different “focus” letter at school, “curly kuh” or “kicking kuh”, “annie apple” or “harry hat man”. Activities are then related to that letter and each time they speak about the pronunciation of it. We have to duly cut out pictures being with that letter every weekend and art for the week is focused on it. Just a few weeks ago Aadam read his very first word! R-E-D, he saw it on TV and said “Rra – ehhh – daaa”, “RED mama” !! I want to pause that moment in time forever. My heart was so proud it could have exploded! We are far from reading properly and I am in no way going to force him, but since then he has “read” a few other words by himself as well, “sun” , “dog” and “mat”.

I am by no means a teacher, I’m not a professional in any way, but we’ve done a few activities over the years at home that have focused on letter recognition and I think at this age it all starts coming together. Reading and writing go hand in hand and by practicing letter recognition with some fun activities, reading can quickly follow.

Here are a few fun activities you can do at home to practice letter recognition. It’s all learning through playing so your child wont feel like they are “working” in any way.

Spray the letter

Write out letters randomly on an outside wall with some chalk and give your child a spray bottle or water pistol. Get them to “spray” out the letters from words such as their name or other simple 3 letter words.

Letter hunt

I purchased some crafty foam letters and flash cards from our favourite book and stationary store, CNA , and hid the foam letters in some rainbow rice. Place a flashcard out and get your little one to dig through the rice to find the matching letters. As they are matching the letters, sound them out individually. The 3 letter words are always an easy start.

Word Tubes

These are so ridiculously easy to make and such a fun way to learn. We have made 2 different kinds before. The first is done simply by taking two paper cups. On one of them write out common endings like “at”, “all” and “it” and on the other write out letters like “m”, “f”, and “s”. Cut a window through the outer cup and twist to form the words. It can also be easily done with plastic eggs (I told you those little guys are versatile). Again on one side write one letter and on the bottom write the common endings. Sit with your child as they twist the egg and sound out each word.

Read Read Read

As simple as it may sound, but reading to your children is the best way to teach them how to read themselves. Making books part of your daily life is so important. They watch your lips move and form words, improves language skills, shows them that words represent sounds and concepts, words are read from left to write, and stories continue when you flip the page. Start from as young as possible to foster a love for reading with bedtime stories or library time. CNA has some great phonics books, in additional to all their reading books for kids, if you are interested in diving deeper into a more structured learning approach at home.

Writing out letters

Whether its tracing them out in a wipe and erase book, or using more Montessori type activities such as writing them out in Sand, using a brush with rice or even shaping the letters out of playdough. Its all about recognition and muscle memory. Sounding out each letter as you go and then practice by linking the sounds.

Watching a child enter this whole new world of literacy is just so magical. I am in awe of how quickly children can pick up on things and how many doors of opportunity this will open. Though i know on the other hand its going to open up a whole new ball game in parenting. Newspaper and magazine headlines will bring numerous questions and conversations but I cannot wait! There are some fantastic resources available to help us on this journey as parents, free printables online or books and learning aids from stationary stores. Reading is truly one of the greatest gifts for a child to learn and one that every single child should have a chance to learn.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by CNA

Ramadan Traditions

Ramadan Traditions

I often get asked by my non-muslim friends about our traditions and practices in Islam, in particular around our holy month of Ramadan. When I first reverted to Islam I had a close circle of friends who were all so incredibly welcoming and open in their practise of Islam, sending around food to neighbours (muslim or not) just before Iftaar (the break of fast each evening). They would always set extra places at the table, and the food, somehow, was always enough. One of my closest friends at the time Fatima, is a shining example of what a good Muslimah should be. She could whip up a feast in literally half an hour, without any warning, and make absolutely anyone feel at home. If you reading this Fats, I love you, and I’ll always look up to you!

I digress, I’ve gotten a few questions recently about how we “celebrate” Ramadan, specifically with the kids, and when I asked on instagram recently if anyone was interested to see what we have in our little Ramadan boxes, 100% of you said yes. So here I am sharing 🙂

Last year (with a lot more time on my hands), I made up a gorgeous little Ramadan corner in our playroom. The bookshelf was cleared of everything else and items related to Islam and Ramadan were placed on the shelves. We made up little “Dua Books” (Prayer books) for the boys to write in – On each page we wrote what we were grateful for and learnt a short prayer. We did a number of activities related to the crescent moon (Ramadan follows the cycle of the moon, so the sighting of the crescent moon signifies the start and end of Ramadan). These included making our own moon sighting binoculars, making moons out of plates and sticking on buttons. We also made our own Ramadan calendar (a little like an advent) and in each pocket, for each day, we had a different activity to do. Things like : bake cookies, learn a new Kalima, give money to charity etc.

I reused a lot of these things this year, as you can imagine with a newborn around, time is a little more limited. While I would have loved to have redone or purchased everything new, both time and money were limited!

Ramadan “boxes” are all the trend, so this year I made up a box for the boys. In it, I put a selection of our favourite Islamic children’s books, all from Suhayla Kids. I put together a blog last year on some of my favourite books around Ramadan, and Suhayla Kids has even more titles available this year; you can read up on some of them here.

New cloaks were also put into their boxes, alongside their prayer mats (the boys have always been obsessed with having their own special prayer mats), and a tasbeeh (prayer beads). When I have a little more time I would like to do that as a separate craft, have the boys make up their own prayer beads. I chucked in a couple of colouring books and the Sadaqah Jar (money for charity) we made up last year. We also received the cutest little personalized Wudu towels from their cousin that I added in (Wudu is the act of ablution one makes before praying).

I haven’t got any fancy activities planned for this year, though every week we will be focused on teaching the boys the 99 names of Allah.
The names can often seem complicated and abstract to children. They don’t really know what they “mean”, but by associating the names with an activity or craft, we show the children a more concrete representation, creating a connection and a memory. Apart from that I really would like to take them to an orphanage or charity to get hands on involved in helping others.

So that’s how I prepared the boys Ramadan boxes, I’ve been dying to get Ramadan PJ’s made for them but the closest I got this year was new Pyjamas with the moon on them (close enough right?).

How do you get your kids excited for Ramadan and do you have any special family traditions?

Things To Do With The Kids In Gauteng – For Free!

Things To Do With The Kids In Gauteng – For Free!

Il’l be honest, when we moved back to Joburg one of my biggest fears was that doing stuff with the kids was going to cost a fortune. In the Western Cape there are so many things to explore in nature that you didn’t have to spend any money to have a great day out. In a “big city lifestyle” however, chances are you’ll have to pay an entrance fee wherever you go.

Well maybe not….. Here are a few places I like to take the boys for free in Joburg (Ok ok, so maybe under R50)

Museums/ Educational

Ditshong – National Museum of Natural History

Since going the first time we have literally been back twice! There is so much to see and because the boys were little still attention spans weren’t too long. The National Museum of Natural History also has a section made for littlies, where they can explore with their senses. At R20 for kids and R35 for adults, it comes in under our R50 mark! Such a fun, educational day out and the dinosaur skeletons in the garden will have you coming back time and again!

James Hall Museum of Transport

Another hidden gem in the heart of Jozi that more people should really visit. Especially if you have transport obsessed kiddos like me! You’ll spot everything from animal drawn cars, to bicycles from the 17th century! They even have a collection of steam vehicles. Entrance to the Museum is absolutely FREE!! Donations are welcome.

If you do have budget to spend, why not make a day of it and get there by jumping on the Johannesburg “Hop on Hop Off” red bus trips. One of the stops is the museum and it will add to your transport theme!

Immerse yourself in culture at the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple

For a truly educational, architectural feast, visit the Nan Hua Buddhist Temple in Bronkhorstspruit. The red glazed roof, vibrant murals and beautifully kept gardens make for a wonderful day out. The temple is open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 09h00 to 16h00, free of charge. On the weekends they host vegetarian lunches that cost a little as R30.

South African National Museum of Military History

If you follow me on Instagram, you will clearly see just how much we love this place. The boys have honestly asked to go there no less than 10 times. We make a day of it and get dressed up in our “finest” military gear. They love learning about the aeroplanes, tanks and weapons and afterwards our treat is to go and get an ice cream from the guys who stand by the zoo wall and sit on the steps of the beautiful commemoration arch. It’s also a fabulous party venue, for kids and adults alike. At R30 for kids and R40 for adults it also meets our R50 budget 🙂

The Johannesburg Planetarium

The Planetarium is an age old favourite in Joburg, for both kids and adults alike! Its fun, educational and what kid doesn’t like to learn about planets and space? There is a show catered for younger kids called “space travel” which follows Thomas the astronomer in his “giant rocket”. Entry is from R40. Call 011 717 1390 for more info.

The Johannesburg Art Gallery

Ever considered taking the kids to an art gallery? The Johannesburg Art Gallery often referred to as JAG, is located in the centre of Joubert Park in downtown Johannesburg. The building is architecturally beautiful, and it houses one of the biggest art collections in the country. It offers heaps of art and history and entrance is completely free. It’s a little neglected, but as with all places in Gauteng, the more we support these historical gems, the more we can contribute to their longevity. They are child friendly and offer art classes on a Saturday. We have ubered there in the past, which I would recommend as its downtown city centre.


Pushing this one into it, JUST. Children are R40 over 3 years of age, so that just makes the mark, but adults are R60. If you haven’t heard of the Sci-Bono centre you may have been living under a rock 🙂 It’s the perfect outing for rainy days or an educational morning. It’s a state-of-the-art interactive science and technology centre where kids — big and small — will learn to love science. They run various programs, with a specific focus on holidays too so phone in beforehand to see what they have on offer! Call 011 639 8400 for more info.

Wits Art Museum

The Wits Art Museum has won a number of awards and is situated in Braamfontein. It houses the biggest collection of African Art from all across the continent. I have found them to be hugely child friendly and the exhibitions kept the boys interest. Admission is free and they are open from Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Visit to the fire station

With a little bit of pre-planning this is one activity your kids will remember for a long long time. Our favourites include Sandton and Lonehill fire stations, Lonehill even has a fab play area and the firemen and women are always very accommodating. Sadly, Lonehill hasn’t had an operational truck for quite sometime though, but hopefully that should be restored soon and if you go in a large enough group they can somtimes “borrow” one from a neighbouring station.

Parks and Outdoors

Relax at Zoo Lake

Zoo Lake will always be a firm favourite for lazing under the shady trees, with kids kicking a ball around you and the smell of braai’s filling the air. Feed the ducks (careful, they bombard you), or ride your bikes on the paved paths. For a small fee you can even rent a canoe and have fun splashing about on the water.

Take advantage of the awesome play area at Delta Park

The first Joburg park we fell in love with after coming back from Cape Town. Delta Park has the best (in my opinion), kiddies play area and several walking trails to explore. Its HUGE and it even has an awesome environmental center which is open from Monday to Friday where kids from Grade R through to Grade 11 can learn about the environment.

Feed the ducks at Emmarentia Dam

One of our favourite places for a Sunday stroll. Visit the botanical gardens, take along a canoe for a paddle or bring along some bread to feed the ducks. There is always something happening at the park and you would probably catch a music show for free as well.

Go for a Hike in a Nature Reserve

Put on your walking shoes and head to Kloofendal or Klipriviersberg nature reserves in Johannesburg. You may want to go in a slightly larger crowd, but we have done Klipriviersberg a few times and always felt perfectly safe. You will be amazed at the amount of wildlife you can spot along the way! Hennops

Wonderboom Nature Reserve
Have you ever seen a 1000-year old tree? This gem is between Pretoria and Magaliesburg and is open from 7am up until 4pm daily. The Wonderboom fig tree spans over 50 meters wide and is truly a sight not to be missed! R37 gets adults in and between R13 and R21 for kids age dependent. Take a hike to try and find the waterfall or see how many Zebra and Impala you can spot along the way.

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

Get back to nature by visiting this glorious garden in the west of Johannesburg. Home to a “insta-famour” waterfall, a pair of breeding Verreaux’s eagles, hiking trails and picnic spots there’s no shortage of stuff to keep the kids busy. Kids get in for R15 (if you’re under 6 it’s free) and adults are charged R40. They often have family events on so hop onto the facebook page to keen an eye on up coming events.

Junior Traffic Center – Fontainebleau

The amount of fun we have had here is priceless and I have held two birthday parties there personally, and have attended many more. The centre can be visited by anyone, we tend to get a group of people together and go and take picnic blankets while the kids ride their bikes around. It has small roads, stop signs, circles and sharp corners where children can ride bicycles and tricycles to learn the laws of the road. Its best to pop by beforehand to get a visit booked. The best part is its absolutely free, even birthday parties!

Rand Society of Model Engineers

Open the first and third Sundays of each month, this requires a little pre planning but absolutely worth it. Entrance is free and train rides are from R10 each. Take a picnic blanket and enjoy a day out with the family with the kids marvelling at how trains work. If you’re in Pretoria, Centurion has one as well, and is open every Sunday from 10am. The scenery is beautiful!

Animal Interactions

Bunny Hop Bunny Haven

Recently re-opened, its a sanctuary for small farm animals and houses over 200 animals, mainly bunnies, rescued from across Johannesburg. R40 per adult and R30 per child.

Irene Dairy Farm

Entrance and strolling around the farm are free. If may decide to have a delicious scone at the restaurant or purchase fresh produce from the Deli, but for a beautiful scenic walk and a chance to see cows being milked or feed the swans, its free! You aren’t allowed to take in a picnic blanket or any food/drink but it’s a beautiful family morning out and great to get back into nature.

Public swimming pools

Believe it or not, Joburg still has a few public swimming pools that are relatively well maintained and good to swim at. The entrance fee is minimal, literally like R12 per person. Our favourites are Linden (which is heated and indoor, can you say winter swimming?), and Zoo Lake (You can pack a picnic and sit on the grass), but I believe Parkhurst and Roosevelt Park are also well maintained. They are perfect for larger playdates!

Public Libraries

Yup, we have done these to and you will be surprised by some of the activities planned for kids, especially during the holidays. Our favourites includes Olivedale and Randburg. Across these March/April holidays you can expect activities like an Easter egg hunt and craft at Parkview, Blackheath is hosting an Easter Story Time and across Johannesburg the Libraries will deliver 30-minute puppet shows. Our local Rivonia library hosts a story hour on a Thursday at 3pm. So, select your closest one and phone ahead to see if they have anything planned!

Shopping Malls

What? How on earth are shopping malls free? Well in terms of entertainment you’d be surprised. Across the holidays most of Gauteng’s major malls have some sort of entertainment available for kids. Mall of Africa, Sandton City and Cradlestone Mall often have holiday specific entertainment just do a quick google search. In Sandton we have seen Paw Patrol Live, Shimmer and Shine on stage and even the Nutcracker live. Cradlestone currently has a “Space Wonder” exhibition on where your little ones can see a “Space Chamber”, check out a couple of robots, or play on an inflatable UFO Space Ship. Last year we checked out their jungle wonderland as well as the Dinosaur Exhibition.

So there you have it. There is quite a lot to do in terms of activities that fall under R50 around Gauteng. Some just require a little more forward planning and thought but are well well worth the effort. Id love to hear your thoughts if you have gone to any of the places or if you know of anymore? Please leave a comment below xxx

Love Local – My Eco Sprout – Getting Our Kids A Little “Greener”

Love Local – My Eco Sprout – Getting Our Kids A Little “Greener”

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but, I am NOT a city girl. I may live in South Africa’s largest city, but I grew up a “bush girl”. Literally barefoot and hunting down snakes in the long grass on our plot in Botswana. It drives my husband crazy, I still walk around barefoot whenever I am at home and I hate being cooped up inside the house. I need to be outdoors, in fresh air, and I want the same for my children. I see “city” “tweens” walking around the big malls with their hair slicked back at the age of 12, and it send shivers down my spine. Children should be outside, getting dirty, playing and learning.

Some of the fondest memories I have growing up, are spending the weekends with my dad in our vegetable garden. Harvesting organic, fresh carrots, spinach or radishes and then going to sell them directly to our local grocer. In fact, when we moved into our townhouse in Johannesburg the first thing I did with the boys was plant our own carrots 🙂

When I came across”My Eco Sprout” and what they stand for, I knew I had to feature them in the “Love Local” series. With today being “Plant A Flower Day”, it’s the perfect day to introduce you to a product that encourages our children to “get greener” and get in the garden. Fellow mama and founder of “My Eco Sprout”, Copeland Koorts, chats to me a little bit more about how it came about.

Tell me more about yourself and what you currently do?

I grew up on a farm close to a small town called Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape. I am part of a big family of six. We are a close family and treasure every minute we spend with one another.

Most of my school years were spent in Bloemfontein and I completed my tertiary education in Stellenbosch. I am the mother of two beautiful girls and spouse to a lovely husband. I have been quite busy during the past year building the My Eco Sprout range that launched in November 2018.

How did “My Eco Sprout” come about?

My love for children and passion for gardening married and from there My Eco Sprout was born. Although I grew up on a farm, I lived in an urban environment since I was 16 years old. Our urban environment is threatening the ‘growing culture’ since there is a misperception of how much space is needed to grow your own edible food. My Eco Sprout would like to change this and give families and children the tools and information, by making growing kits available that would spark an interest in growing your own food, whether it be on a balcony, indoors, on a windowsill or in a garden bed.

What did you study – was it in this field or something different?

It was definitely quite different. I studied Fashion Design and have a Bachelors in Consumer Science.

 What was your first job and how did you progress to this?

My very first job was being a waitress. From there I started as a sales assistant for Burberry in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Shortly after I was the Head of Visual Merchandising for Burberry South Africa in JHB. I relocated back to CT in 2014 and started working for The Foschini Group as a Visual Coordinator. In 2015 I had my first little girl and became a full-time stay at home Mommy? Since I had my little girl, I always wanted to start my own business.

What have been the highlights of starting your own business? 

The highlights are endless, but the ones most significant are the realisation of how much opportunity there is to grow your own business and the noticeable change it makes in the lives of families.

What’s the best part of your job?

Receiving photos and feedback about how much fun children are having growing their kits.

What is the most challenging part?

Living up to my own expectations of the vision I have for My Eco Sprout.

Describe a typical day in your life.

Mornings start off with breakfast and taking the kids to daycare. Once back at home/office;) , all deliveries need to go out and new ones needs to be booked. There is quite a bit of admin and new product/program development happening now and it keeps me tied in meetings, research and bookkeeping. I pick the girls up just before one and then head home for lunch. The afternoons are quite random, as they are still very young, but it includes some gardening, sleeping, grocery shopping and chilling. When it comes to 19:00 the bed time routine starts, and I usually end up working a bit after they have gone to bed.

What are the “secrets” to your success?

Being positive gives me the energy to see things through during the tough times.

How do you balance having a family and starting your own business?

It is a challenge! I have learnt to utilise those 5-minute breaks between feedings, parenting and everything else. They add up quickly and before I know it, I have completed one more thing on the to do list. Try it! ?

What is your dream for My Eco Sprout?

My dream of My Eco Spout is to GET KIDS GROWING. One of the most wonderful aspects of home-grown food is creating engrained food connection memories with children, amongst many others. Most children have no idea where their food comes from, other than the grocery store. My Eco Sprout wishes to change this as the further removed we get from our food the less we understand it and would like to eat.  There is another dream of My Eco Sprout and this is to enable families to spend quality time and making memories with one another whilst growing their own edible plants.  The benefits of growing your own food is endless but the most rewarding is the tangible benefits, like picking cherry tomatoes for lunchboxes from plants grown by yourself.

 Any tips for people wanting to take the leap and start their own business?

Do not postpone! Start today! It takes a lot of baby steps to eventually launch your own business; Every step, is a step closer to your dream.

Visit My Eco Sprout on their website to order your very own “Grow Kits” and to see the full product line. PS, they also do the most fantastic “Kids Part favours”, so if you are looking for an alternative to sugary sweets for your guests, these are the perfect giveaway!

Win your own My Eco Sprout growing kit hamper!

My Eco Sprout wants to spoil one lucky little gardener with their own growing kits.

The hamper includes:

  • A 2019 Calendar
  • 1 Sprout House
  • 1x Strawberry Popcorn Kit
  • 1x Cherry Tomatoes Party Favour Kit
  • The Wheatgrass Kit

How to enter:

  1. Comment below and tell us what you would have the most fun growing?
  2. Follow @Inthesestilettos and @my_eco_sprout on Instagram  AND / OR
  3. Like @Inthesestilettos and @MyEcoSprout on Facebook.


  1. Entries are via Instagram, Facebook or comments left below.
  2. Instagram and Facebook are in no way associated with this giveaway.
  3. You need to follow both @Inthesestilettos and @my_eco_sprout on Instagram and / or Facebook to qualify.
  4. Competition only open to South African residents residing in South Africa.
  5.  The winner is picked at random and competition closes Friday 22 March 2019.
  6. This prize is not exchangeable or refundable.
  7. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with their details, failing which a new winner will be drawn.
Crafting With House Of York – Easy Crafts With HouseHold Items

Crafting With House Of York – Easy Crafts With HouseHold Items

March is officially “Craft Month” and boy oh boy, do we have a lot up our sleeves 🙂

The beauty of crafting with kids is that it often uses things typically found around the house. Egg cartons, tooth picks, pegs, cupcake cases, you name it; we will find something to craft with it 🙂

I also love that arts and crafts expand our children’s imaginations. They encourage independent and pragmatic thinking, which in a world filled with television and media, is something we so need to work on!

Together with House of York, one of South Africa’s most loves household brands, we have been playing around with everyday wooden objects that we could turn into Arts and Crafts.

First up in our craft spree are their skewers.

Traditionally used in South Africa for braai’s, we incorporated the skewers into some fine motor skill building sticks.

Stick a skewer into some playdough and let your kids thread cheerio’s, froot loops, or pasta onto the sticks. It requires huge concentration for little hands to thread those objects onto the skewers. Add in beads or use different coloured fruits to bring in pattern recognition; get your kids to follow an order of objects that you placed to encourage repetition. A simple, fun, learning activity that the little one’s love!

Next up are toothpicks.

The possibilities here are endless, I honestly had to limit myself to two activities.

First up we worked on our STEM skills. I built a molecular structure that the boys then had to replicate with their toothpicks and baby marshmallows (you can use sweets, or any fruits like grapes or apples for this as well). My 5-year-old worked on this with uninterrupted concentration and asked me to make more! My little one however (he’s 3), managed the basic concept of a square and triangle. This activity encourages 3D thinking and I LOVE the concentration that took place.

I then took a whole bunch of toothpicks and dyed them different colours with food colouring. They are so pretty, this could have been an activity, toothpick rainbows? Why not?

The activity I chose was based around creating pictures. To up the interest a little, I took some sticky plastic wrap (the kind you cover books with) and stuck it onto the sliding door. You could use paper, but I just did want to get hands too sticky with glue. The kids stuck their toothpicks onto the contact plastic and created their own pictures.

Lastly, let’s look to one of our favourite household items to create with, pegs!

Not only are they super affordable, but they are a perfect size for little hands to hold and play with. They also offer one of the best fine motor activities you can ever give to a child; simply hanging clothes on a line. The pincher grasp and squeeze of a peg is crucial for healthy development, and that really doesn’t take any creativity!

OK, I may have gotten involved in a some of the finer detail on these ones, but the boys painted the wooden pegs. We then decided on what animals we wanted to create and how we would do it. We made crocodiles, birds on a “branch” (Skewer), a Giraffe as well as some super easy butterflies, which the kids pretty much did themselves.

I LOVE how these turned out and they are now proudly displayed on our “Gallery” wall.

So, there you have it. Using affordable items, often found around the house, we created several different craft activities. This “Crafting” Month of March I encourage you all to spend more time doing things WITH your kids. Whatever it may be, the act of doing something with them is priceless and they will value the time with you forever.

Creative Cardboard – Thinking Out Of The Box

Creative Cardboard – Thinking Out Of The Box

We are pretty big fans of making things out of cardboard in our house. I love how a simple box can be turned into, well, anything your heart desires really! It drives my husband insane but I keep every single box after a delivery for the boys and I to turn into a magical masterpiece. Cardboard sneaks into your home every time you do the shopping, and you can get boxes for free at most stores just by asking for them.

Apart from simply using flat pieces of cardboard as a canvas, you can build things with it using only tape or glue. It’s recyclable as well, so the possibilities are endless.

I thought I’d put together a list of some of the things we have made to inspire you to get creative. March is national craft month after all.

1. A Market Stall

I kid you not, we are going onto year 3 of pulling out our market stall. You’ll need a slightly bigger box for this one (think washing machines, fridges etc). Cut out a window and have fun getting creative.

2. A Rocket Ship

Would it be an article about cardboard crafts without one? We slightly cheated with this one and bought a “flat pack” cardboard rocket ship. I wanted to use it as a craft for Aadam’s party so the kids could all paint it. I can’t remember where we got it from but Makedo sell awesome “assemble your own” cardboard construction kits which you can buy from Takealot.

3. A Marble Run

One of the most iconic ways to use cardboard tubes and it provides hours of endless fun. If you are worried about marbles with your little ones you can also do the same thing with Pom-Poms. Turn it into a colour sorting activity for your pompoms.

4. A Mini Town

Let your imagination guide you here, the possibilities are endless. Just find a nice sturdy box that’s the right height and create away!

5. A Car Ramp

One of our favourite ways to “race” our Hot Wheels or Monster Trucks. Find a bigger box and open it up. A glue gun comes in handy with this one to stick the different lanes on. The boys played for hours comparing which car went faster!

6. A Mini Aquarium

The perfect craft for a cereal box, and a little boy for was dying for a fish 🙂 The boys did all the painting and bits of cutting here and mummy did need to get involved with the hot glue gun to stick some of the sea weed and suspend the fish. This still sits in our dining room today!

7. A Post Box

After all our family left last year to return oversea’s we were feeling very sorry for ourselves. Combine that with a few movie runs of “Postman Pat”, it wasnt long before the boys wanted to “post” letters to their grandparents and aunts and uncles. A simple small box does the trick here with cut up toilet roll for the legs. Make sure you cut a “door” in the back to retrieve your letters once posted!

8. A Letter Or Number Sorter

This is the perfect educational craft to make out of a shoe box for the kids. We chose to do ours with corresponding uppercase and lowercase letters, to help with recognition. But you can do whatever you want! For smaller kids you don’t need to even use letters or numbers, it’s a fantastic fine motor skill activity in its own!

9. Art, Art, Art

Cardboard really does make the best canvas. Its thick, sturdy and a ton of fun to experiment with. Paint landscapes or portraits, abstract or 3D, just give your kids a piece of a box and let them paint away!

10. A Car

Would a childhood be complete without making your own box car? Have a “drive in” movie night at home and get the kids to make their own box cars. You can see we didn’t even get to decorating ours before Aadam jumped in and was “vrooming” away. He just got frustrated because it didn’t actually go anywhere 🙂

11. A House

Yes, of course I would finish my list without getting to a house. Whether it’s a big house for the kids to play in (you’ll need much larger boxes for that again), or a smaller house for their dolls (or action heroes); making a house out of cardboard is a must! Mummy got involved again cutting out the smaller detail like the windows and glueing the slightly uneven floors, but the boys designed and painted to their heart’s content!


A few other ideas to give you inspiration, but I didn’t necessarily have “photographic” evidence”:

  • A space helmet – perfect for little heads and oh so easy to make, even easier if you have any “build-a-bear” boxes lying around the house, they were almost made for this!
  • A guitar – Super easy to make, and all you need to do is add a few elastic bands. We have made a number of impromptu guitars out of shoe boxes before!
  • An oven/stove – Fairly simple to make because of the square shape and I have seen some fantastic ones on pintrest. Bottle tops make the perfect temperature dials.
  • A Petrol/ Fuel Pump – Another fab one to all get involved with. The rectangular shape is nice and easy so you can have fun and get really involved in the painting and design detail of it.

There you have it, 15 quick and fun ways to get creative with cardboard. It really is one of the things the boys and I turn to often and I love hoe it expands their imagination. With almost all of these things my eldest has come to me with the idea, and whenever we get a box as a gift or with a delivery he’s the first one to say “mummy, lets turn this into a……”

Happy crafting month and I hope some of these ideas gave you inspiration!



Affordable Valentine’s Ideas For The Family

Affordable Valentine’s Ideas For The Family

How many times have we heard complaints, “Valentines Day is too commercialised”, “its just a money-making scheme”, “its only for couples”. Out of all the special occasion holidays, Valentines has to be my favourite, because of what it stands for. I wrote a blog last year on why I choose love (and always will), because in a world filled with so much hate and judgement, let’s be honest, we all need to love a little more!

This Valentines I have focused on a few, inexpensive things you can do to celebrate with the kids. Since having kids I go all out on the day of love, I think it’s so important to create a sense of excitement for our children and educate them on the importance of loving one another and being kind.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive day. Trust me, I despise red roses, and yes I’ll jump on the “money making scheme” band wagon here. I have never expected to receive roses, there are so many other ways. As parents we also don’t have the luxury of being able to go out and enjoy a fancy dinner (well we could but that would involve getting in a babysitter and to be honest when valentines falls mid-week I am often too tired by dinner time to think about going anywhere :))

My perfect Valentines Dinner would involve dinner (ideally not made by me), or a picnic under the stars, followed by an evening of our favourite Netflix shows 🙂 When we lived in Cape Town one year we had the most amazing evening at Galileo open air cinemas, and watched Casablanca under the stars at a wine farm! It was such a great evening.

But I digress from the reason of this post.

Here are a few, inexpensive activities and things you can do to make this Valentines a bit more special for your family.

  • Breakfast – Flapjacks are our thing for valentines breakfasts, if it falls on a weekend they are homemade and a little more adventurous and if it’s on a school day, Woolworth’s comes to the rescue. Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape them into a heart. I also cut strawberries into a heart shape to add to the romance 🙂 Another super quick and easy option is a fruit parfait, layers of red fruit, yoghurt and muesli placed in a pretty jar.

  • Lunches/packed lunches – the boys have been in school for the past few valentines so I like to do cute treats in their lunch bags. A personalised note, a heart shaped sandwich, watermelon or fruit cut into hearts. Anything I have time for really, but always a bit of a treat.

  • Baked goods – For teachers, or friends at school, we always make our treats at home to save a little money. It also gets the boys involved and they adore baking so it’s a win win. We have made sugar cookies and heart-shaped brownies to give out as treats.

  • Homemade presents – Not only are they a money saver, but while the boys are younger, I really do believe you don’t get better than a homemade gift. Last year we made “salt dough” jewellery, pressing out hearts in small heart shapes to thread onto a necklace or a bracelet, that they boys gave out. We dyed the salt dough pink and red and pressed in patterns and words like “loved”. For cards we have experimented with different mediums over the years, from puffy paint, to “blowing paint” and marbling the cards with shaving foam and food colouring.

  • Activities – I always do a bit of a “build up” to valentines day, from sensory trays, chocolate soap foam, “melting hearts” (up on the blog later today) to cardboard crafts, I love theming the activities.

  • Family Picnic – Whether it’s under the stars or in your lounge, the best way to spend the day/night with sharing love filled food with friends and family.

So there are a few ideas for you to do with the kids this valentines. I don’t believe we can ever show our kids “to much love” and I think Valentines is the perfect day to show them, and let them show others how kindness and love can make a difference!

Kids Entertainment around Johannesburg 2019 – An Updated List

Kids Entertainment around Johannesburg 2019 – An Updated List

Looking for places and spaces to take your children around Johannesburg? I have consolidated and updated my lists and I have a feeling that this is one of those posts I’ll have to “redo” annually, or at least every 2 years. At least once a week I get messages asking about the best places to take kids to in Johannesburg, and I know I’m always looking for new places as well!

I’ve updated our ultimate list from 2017, taken out some which have closed down and added in some new hot spots as well. Are there any other places you would recommend that I may have missed? I’ve tried to “categorize” them into applicable activities. Animal related, park related, cafes etc and links to all original articles with full lists of places are attached as well.

I don’t want to ever hear “but there is nothing to do in Joburg with kids” again 🙂 Theres a ton!

Happy reading and exploring 🙂

Animal Interactions:

Lion and Safari Park (Lanseria) – New and improved, the recently re-opened Lion and Safari park is bigger, better and has a lot more interaction for kids.

Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve (Kromdraai, Krugersdorp) – Our most favourite “Nearest Faraway Place”, the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve really does cater for the whole family. With a lovely restaurant (thatch cafe), an incredible BMX bike and all the animal enclosures are super spacious. Theres a “nursery” for cub interaction and you can even feed Sonny the Giraffe!

Crocodile City (Just before Lanseria) – We had such a good time at our outing to Croc City. They boys got an educational talk on crocs, on how thick their skin is and got to hold and observe their eggs. They also house a number of reptiles and much to my horror my boys lined up to hold the snakes. After a tour of the croc park the kids ran around counting and feeding as many tortoises as they could. The play area of course provided hours of entertainment. For the braver kids, why not try zip-lining across the croc enclosure?

Old MacDonald’s Farm Yard (The Fat Olive Restaurant/ Beach Bar) (Lanseria) – This is a true hidden gem. Home to the Fat Olive restaurant and a Beach bar, Old MacDonald’s has free roaming Zebras, geese, duck and a whole mini farmyard for kids to feed/interact with. It doubles up as a party venue as well as a restaurant. Theres even canoes to take out on a paddle on the small lake.

Crazy Kids Farmyard (Randburg) – A diamond in the middle of a bustling city. Crazy Kids has also recently had a bit of a refresh with some new animals (including another pony and a friendly pig). It is literally smack bang in the middle of a residential area in Randburg. It has a huge variety of play equipment for kids, a ton of bikes to ride around and an epic sandpit. This is a winner, everyday of the week.

Bird Garden – Monte Casino (Fourways) – We have been going here since the boys were small. The only bird park of its kind in Africa and perfect for all ages! Take a stroll through the gardens and aviary and see a wide variety of bird life, reptiles, and other exotic animals. It also has a café and a cute kids play area.

The Johannesburg Zoo – A timeless classic and always good for a family day out.

The Irene Dairy Farm – Every child’s dream, right on our doorstep! A working dairy farm situated right in the heart of Gauteng. Kids can enjoy seeing the cows being milked, ride on one of the numerous tractors and enjoy an ice cream underneath the beautiful shady trees. We were lucky enough to go when the construction was still occurring, it was every little boys dream, with tractors, trucks and diggers to watch!


Lori Park Zoo (Midrand) – Holds a nice variety of crocodiles, predator birds and of course lions/ leopards – though I do feel for the bigger cats as their enclosures are very, very small.

Cafes and Play Area’s:

For a full list see my previous article here.

Pappachinos – No Johannesburg list would be complete without one – Broadacres seems like the biggest, Clearwater mall also has a bike track)

Clay Café (Irene) – About twenty minutes out of Johannesburg Clay Café is opposite the iconic Red Barn in Irene. Kids can choose from a large variety of ceramics to paint with lots of accessories to add patterns/ shapes to their masterpieces.

Kiddilicious (Bedfordview) – You will never regret paying this child friendly cafe a visit. The staff are always friendly, there is endless play equipment for the kids and they even offer various classes and workshops from ante-natal to baby massage. One of my favourite places discovered in 2018.

256 on Smit (Fairlands) – Friendly staff with a super little hairdresser and masseuse right next door this is also set in an unassuming suburb in Fairlands. The play area is cleverly designed in the middle so you can watch your little ones from pretty much anywhere. They also have an aviary and some bunnies.

The Momentum World of Golf – Yes yes, its “Golf”, but it’s so much more. The World of Golf has an incredible kiddies play area, they offer free “masterclass” coaching sessions for kids and Kids can hit at the driving range, bunker pits and the chip and putt to their heart’s content. They also offer sand art on the weekends for kids and they can make their own pizzas. What more do you need? Oh i forgot to mention, there is a Camelot Spa there too for mums 🙂

Glitter Factory Craft Shop (Fourways)– Just off Witkoppen, next to the fabulous State 5 coffee shop and restaurant, the glitter factory craft shop offers a ton of messy fun! From painting ceramics and wood to creating mosaic’s, it’s a fabulous outing for both parents and kids. The State 5 coffee shop next door offers such a huge selection of treats for the kids as well as a fun play area.

Hyto Tyto(Olifantsfontein)- Fairly new on the scene it offers a brilliant kids play area and eatery with an epic bike track. It’s a bit of a drive if you are in central Joburg but worth it I think. They have really put a lot of thought into the design of the kiddies play area.

Art Jamming (Across Gauteng)I love how they have pegged the term “The art of paintertainment”. Paintertainment is exactly what it is! Whether you are young or old, time spent at art jamming feeds your soul. Our favourites are in Cresta and Melrose Arch. For younger kids they have also introduced “messy play”. Contact stores for more detail.

27 Boxes (Melville) – Not the most conventional place to take your kids but its right across the road from Bambanani (kiddies restaurant and play area). They have recently redone their outdoor play area and its pretty impressive! You can also find “Kitchen Concepts” there for your little ones to try their hand at baking and cooking!

Bounce – Take your pick from venues across the city, our favourite is at Fourways Mall. You pay per hour (it flys by), and you and the kids can bounce, run, jump, play basketball, soccer or run the obstacle course to your heart’s content. Download the Entertainer app and receive 2 for 1 specials if you have a larger family! Well worth the deal!

Adventure Golf – An afternoon of fun for everyone! Theres 3 to choose from across Gauteng, but again our favourite is at Fourways Mall (you could really spend the entire day there with the kids). Its open daily until 10pm and they offer various packages and birthday parties. What kid doesn’t love putt-putt? Especially when you have to navigate through streams and waterfalls.

Happy Island Waterworld (Muldersdrift) – It opened its gates in December 2018, and although it still actually had its “official” opening yet, (there are a few slides and rides that have not been complete), its taken Jozi by storm! The Pre launch has been extended so you can enjoy discounted rates if you dont mind not having access to the lockers etc. Its a waterworld filled with slides, pools and a guaranteed day of fun! (I would try to go either mid week or early morning to avoid crowds).

GOG Lifestyle Park (Nooitgedacht) – The original outdoor adventure park for families – Gauteng now boasts 3, one in Lanseria, Haarties and Soweto. Haarties opened up in November and it offers beach area’s, swimming pools, spray pads and slides. The one in Lanseria offers climbing walls, frames, a number of pools and slides and lots of water feature fun!

Sci Bono Center  (Newtown)- A must visit on a rainy day (well actually any day). The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is situated in the vibrant and safe precinct of Newtown. It offers over 350 exhibits to encourage Math, Science and Technology in kids. Its ideal from ages 3-12 and they host birthday parties!

Ditsong National Military Museum (Forest Town) – The boys love going here! Not only is it aesthetically beautiful (we always eat ice creams underneath the huge war memorial), but its packed to the brim of old history, real aeroplanes and tanks and old artifacts. For a super reasonable price its a jam-packed day for the whole family.

Outdoor parks and Farm spots:

For a full list of our favourite parks and picnic spots click here.

Kids Days at Leafy Greens Cafe (HoneyDew)- Kids days or not, Leafy Greens and Casalinga are legitimately one of our most favourite weekend spots to venture out too. There is nothing better than walking through the glorious gardens, seeing all the incredible vegetables and flowers and having a bite to eat. We take the boys bikes with and they ride across the huge fields to their heart’s content. This is the closest I get to my “bush” Botswana life here in Jozi and I relish every chance I get to visit. Leafy Greens hosts Kids Adventure days from time to time and for a small fee, children can pick their own vegetables and make a little treat fresh from the garden!

The Herb Farm (Midrand) – A botanical gem in the heart of Gauteng. Boasting over 400 herbal plants in a beautiful garden setting and it has a gorgeous play area for kids. It has an outdoor educational facility for kids, where they can get their hands dirty and play in the garden. Now that’s my kind of place!

Delta Park – Probably holds the best play area out of all Joburg parks. It also has glorious walking paths with gigantic trees shading them.

Lonehill Park – Between Lonehill Park and Angelo’s Restaurant you are guaranteed a good time with the kids. Lonehill Park has a beautiful enclosed play area for kids and Angelo’s Kitchen borders onto the park with additional jungle gyms, bike tracks and games for kids.

Mushroom Park – Our go to park for mid-week fun. Mushroom park is a little piece of green forest in amongst Sandton’s high-rise buildings. It has the perfect tracks for kids to ride their bikes on and has over 5 jungle gyms and a large sandpit area. Perfect for soaking up the winter sun, and when it is in operation, also holds the Hyundai Hot Air Balloon.

Raspberry Picking at Fieldberry Farm (When in Season) – A morning spent in the fields at Fieldberry farm is a morning well spent. A beautiful day out for the entire family, kids will have an amazing time selecting and picking the juiciest berries to pick. After all their hard work mum and dad can relax on hay bales around the play area while sipping on a handmade smoothie. My boys had sooo much fun. Raspberry season typically ends around April.

Alliepad Alpakkas – A bit of a drive out of Johannesburg, Alliepad Alpakkas is just before Magaliesburg and has the most adorable fluffy Alpacas to go crazy over. Make it a weekend drive or wait for one of their festival days when you can get a tour around the farm, learn more about how they get wool and feed the Alpacas.


Willow Feather Farm(Pretoria) – Originally started off as an Indigenous tree farm, Willow Feather now hosts a nursery, tea garden and awesome Farmyard for kids. They have a number of interactive activities for kids and the number of animals in the Farmyard is exceptional. Alpacas, pigs, bunnies, cows. Kids can get up close and personal to the animals and of course participate in feeding. There’s also a wonderful kiddies play area to keep little ones busy while moms can enjoy hot tea and scones.

Two Trees Bakery (Mulbarton) – Under the shade of blue gum trees, this gem is in the South of Joburg. It possibly has the biggest selection of climbing equipment, monkey swings and zip lines that I’ve seen in a restaurant. They specialise in pizza’s, burgers, and yummy baked goods. Super friendly staff and a mass to do with the kids, my boys cried when they left!

TreeTop Adventures – Across Gauteng. We love Riversands, situated in amongst an old pine forest, Treetops have constructed different obstacles at varying heights catering from about 2 years of age right through to an adult course! Kids can climb through the trees, complete an obstacle course, and if brave enough (my 4-year-old was), zipline across the river!

Tres Jolie(Ruimsig) – Traditionally thought of as more of a wedding venue, Tres Jolie actually is a littler wonder world for kids. They offer a touch and feel farmyard, giant sand pit, pony and camel rides, and a big jungle gym. You can bring your own food to feed the animals or buy packets at the Kiosk.

These are just some of the places I’ve explored with my boys and I know there are probably hundreds of more hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The list is on going, and ever-expanding. Where are some of your favourite places to go?

Back to School – Our Essentials List

Back to School – Our Essentials List

I couldn’t bear to post this earlier. Although schools are going back a whole week earlier this year, my mind would still not allow me to think about school (or work) until after the December Holiday.

I’m a “last-minute Minnie” on a normal day but thankfully I have some fantastic products to make my life a little easier.

This is our first year of receiving the dreaded “stationery” list, though with that the excitement around buying all new sets and labeling is still new and both my son and I have already packed his school bag. It brings back flash backs of my own childhood staying up the night before school started wrapping all my books in my favourite paper, insisting that I needed all new everything every year at school, with my mum ensuring me it didn’t all need to be brand new.

CNA has always and will always be my go to store for all things stationery. Whether it was matching purple files for me during my high school years or fresh jumbo crayons for my son about to start big boy school, they have always been my first point of call. It was only recently that I realised however, that they really do cover all back to school needs, from school bags and books to lunch tins and juice bottles! We were in and out of our local store within 30 minutes, with all items ticked off. All items are also available online and if you spend over R350, your delivery is free.

Here are some of my favourites from the back to school selection:

The ”Roamer” range at CNA offers a wide variety of durable and affordable school bags and lunch bags. The type that can be passed down year after year. Have a look at some of the options here.

We adore our bento style lunch boxes and I have been using them for the boys for well over a year now. CNA stocks a wide variety including the ever popular Sistema and Addis ranges. Whether your little ones are into cars, Spiderman, Barbie or something a little more refined, I’m confident you could find your choice in store. This year we have gone with the Sistema Bottles where you can freeze the inner part to keep your water cool throughout the day.

I couldn’t help but pick up a “space case” for my son, while he still let’s me choose his stationery. This is a nice flat one from Penflex and he can decorate it with whatever stickers he wants. It’s an absolute steal!

Talking about stickers …. I am so incredibly thankful that we have moved on a bit from the old “hand stitched” labels in clothes. I found an old ream of about 200 labels from my school days when I went home the other day. To think of the hours spent stitching those into school clothes sends shivers down my spine ! Tower labels has a brand new range of labels specifically designed for school, and making parents lives a little easier.  TOWER are Southern Africa’s largest office stationery and label supplier and pride themselves on delivering products of the broadest range and highest quality, and you can actually purchase a lot of their products at CNA, including their super cute “reward” and “lunchbox love note” stickers!

We received the standard and pre school pack to try out, though there are four new offerings,
including a Standard Pack (R225.00), Mini Pack (R125.00), Iron-On Pack (50 for R90.00) and Pre-School Pack (R150.00). You can customise your order online here, and can include everything from your child’s name to grade, subject and even their school logo if you wish!

The Standard Pack for Aadam literally contained everything we needed for his first year at big boy school, including:

  • 2 Bag Tags
  • 8 Shoe Labels
  • 44 mini labels
  • 30 Book Labels
  • 60 Wrap-Around Labels
  • 50 Iron-On Labels
  • 44 Stationery Labels

The Preschool Pack

We got this for Yusuf and I love the fact that it includes little Happy Birthday labels, I just wish you could add a little colour or a character to this one. The pack contained:

  • 1 Bag Tag
  • 21 Birthday Labels
  • 60 Wrap-Around Labels
  • 30 Book Labels
  • 44 Mini Labels
  • 50 Iron-On Labels
  • 44 Stationery Labels

The Mini Pack

This is also perfect for preschoolers or small playgroups. You can add your child’s name, grade and school logo to the stickers and the pack contains the following:

  • 1 Bag Tag
  • 4 Shoe Labels
  • 12 Book Labels
  • 42 Wrap-Around Labels
  • 30 Iron-On Labels
  • 22 Stationery Labels

The Iron-On Pack

With this package you can choose between 50 and 100 iron-on labels with your child’s name, grade and school logo.

The stationery labels as well as the Mini-labels are all dishwasher safe, goodness knows how many juice bottles we lost on the playground last year, so this is a real life saver! The shoe stickers are perfect for Yusuf just beginning to distinguish between his left and right feet. Top Tip: Cut the sticker in half and place half in each side of the shoe. That way your child can look at the shoe and “match up” the stickers to place on the correct foot!

I’ll definitely be ordering for years to come through MyTowerLabels, they offer a door to door courier service, affordable prices and a quick turn around time. In fact, if you choose to order your labels through TOWER, you can use a special “inthesestilettos” discount code to get 10% off your order

Simply visit their website at make your selection and on checkout add in the “Inthesestilettos” code. Its valid until 30 June 2019.

There you have it, that’s how we have survived the “Back to School” rush. Bring on the 9th January, “Big School”, we are ready for you! Good Luck to all newbies starting out, its the first day of an incredibly exciting journey!

Do you have any back to school products or services that made your life easier? I’d love to hear about them!


*Sponsored post – however all thoughts and views expressed are my own.


To My Second Child

To My Second Child

To my baby boy….

I realised something on this long weekend. We have been so very unfair to you.

You are still a baby, yet we treat you like you’re a big boy. You still need me so much but we just “expect you” to be the same or handle things the same way as your big brother does.

The age gap between you and your big brother is so small that you have grown up too quickly! You were crawling before 6 months, you said your first words at 10 months and were walking before your 1st birthday! All you wanted was to keep up with your big brother and do all the things he was doing, and you have never let anything stop you or get in your way. Because of that however, we have also treated you largely the same way, forgetting that you need to find your own path, and have your own experiences.

I was so busy running around after your brother when you were a baby and I didn’t really stop to savour your milestones and moments, I never really had quality time with you, teaching you colours and reading you stories like I did before. Have I forced you to grow up too quickly?

Looking back at this past weekend, all you needed and wanted was me. While the “big boys” were fishing, you sat next to me and played with your cars in the sand, we swam together, we went exploring together. Sitting next to me at mealtimes wasn’t enough, you had to sit on my lap. I held you as you fell asleep and it was then I realised, you just needed extra love.

You are only 3 years old, but we expect you to act like a 5-year-old and for that I’m sorry my baby. I’m sorry for all the times I haven’t let you vent your frustrations or all the times I have told you to be a big boy. You don’t have to be my love. I am here for you always, and from now on, you can take as long as you need.

I watch in amazement at your excitement of becoming a big brother. All you have ever wanted since before you even turned 2 was a “baby”, and this is “your baby” as you say. At 3 years old you are telling us how “you wont share any of your toys with baby as they are too dangerous and she could choke, but you will give her all of your “soft toys””. My baby boy, you are too sweet for words. In amongst all your feisty, stubborn temperaments is just a little boy with the sweetest heart filled with love (and a love for sweet things).

The guilt washes over me, have I shown you enough love or given you enough time. Do you know how incredibly proud of you I am? From day one, you have impressed me beyond measure. You were one of the happiest babies I have ever met. I had it easy with you. You just rolled into our routine (apart from always crying in the car). Your cheeky smile is contagious and never fails to cheer me up. Your ability to negotiate for a 3-year-old is well beyond your years and the absolute favourite part in my day is when you insist I hold you as you fall asleep. The only time in your full 9 hour day that you actually stop and rest and let me hold you.

So, this one is for you my sweet, cheeky boy. We love you more than you will ever know, so please, take your time in growing up. I will never put my expectations unfairly onto you again. While I may not have a perfectly filled out baby book for you as I did with your brother, you amaze me. Every step of the way!