Tag: in these stilettos

Design A Friend Doll Review And Giveaway

Design A Friend Doll Review And Giveaway

Still wondering what gifts to get for the festive season? Well look no further for the perfect gift for little fashionistas 🙂

The girls were recently sent a “Design a Friend” Doll and they are besotted, to say the least. She goes everywhere with them.

I never thought I would have “girly girls”, being a boy mom for so long, I hardly even know how to plait hair, let alone have daughters that love dolls, tea parties and all things pink. Funny how life works because my daughters ask to wear pretty dresses everyday, and their toys of choice? Any doll or baby.

We got “Candy” – she’s a gamer, just like my daughters brothers 🙂 As her name suggests she’s as sweet as can be but when it comes to gaming she’s as competitive as they come.  Each “Design a Friend” doll has their own special character, with a unique outfit and special charm bracelet.

Candy Girl measures 46cm tall, I love that she is so big, the girls “walk” with her and it really does make her feel like a “best friend”.

Candy wears the cutest pink ‘Gamer At Heart’ sweatshirt, a skater skirt, trainers with satin laces & super cute unicorn gamer headphones, can we make these in real life child sizes please?

She has blue eyes that close when lying down & super silky pink hair for styling in the latest trends. A super soft, huggable body for lots of cuddles, but can also raise her arms and legs in life like positions. Design A Friend dolls celebrate childhood, encourages imaginative play and inspires children to be themselves.

Designed for the love of fashion, every Design-a-Friend doll comes dressed in on-trend, fashion quality outfits so you can dress her, style her, change her outfits as you do every day. A little girl’s dream.

To find out more about the full range, check out more at www.designafriend.co.uk 


To celebrate the Festive Season, I’ll be giving away 1 x Design A Friend Doll (Candy) and 1 x Design A Friend Doughnut Time Pyjamas.

To enter:

Drop a quick comment below (In the comment section)

Make sure you are following @inthesestilettos on Instagram, and like and comment on the Design A Friend post there too.

That’s it! Quick and easy and you could be wrapping one of these beauties up as a gift

This post was written in collaboration with Design A Friend

Proudly South African Christmas Gift Guide

Proudly South African Christmas Gift Guide

Top Picks for a Proudly South African Christmas

2020 – a year of Gratitude

2020 – a year of Gratitude

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.

We went back to basics with crafts, with Raya Maryam starting to enjoy sensory play and at the same time we explored deeper activities with the boys, learning about crystals and science.

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!

Top Festive Finds With Game

Top Festive Finds With Game

Game Stores invokes Christmas memories, actually, it brings back memories of any toy shopping. Growing up in Botswana, for a while, Game was one of the only stores to shop for Christmas presents at. It has something for everyone; from your new baby’s first Christmas, to your tween’s music selection; presents for your gardening parent or your “DIY DAD”, end to end Game has you covered!

Here are our top 5 picks from Game’s diverse range of Christmas gifts this year. (I may or may not be forwarding this list onto grandparents 🙂 )

  • Extreme Guardian Bot – For the longest time my youngest son has wanted his own “Robot”, and I have been searching high and low for one for ages! This was immediately, the first thing that caught my eye in the Game Festive Catalogue because I knew it would be a winner! This little Robot Built in motion detectors, recognizes hand gestures and has different functions & actions. Available in both “Spy Bot” and “Guardian Bot”, retails from R699.99
  • Furreal Friends – Mama Josie and her Joeys – When I was browsing the catalogue with my daughter, she took one look at Mama Josie and said “ahhhh Kitty… Mwaaah”. We also don’t have a “real life” pet yet and this interactive “Pet toy”, responds to touch. R1,999
  • I-Play Electro Blocks – You know by now that anything STEM related is a firm feature on my blog. At R99.90 these colourful interlocking blocks and interchangeable gears can be used over and over again and encourage creative thinking.
  • I-Play Drifter Twister – Another Winner from Verimark. My mum bought an older version of this when the boys were younger and it was one of their most played with toys, the way the car twists and can climb up ramps and walls will be sure to entertain your kids for hours. It also “dances” to music with its own built in speaker. R899.99
  • Drizzy Ice-Cream Play Set – Mmmmmm, who doesn’t love ice cream? Especially pretend ice-cream made by your kids 🙂 This unique Play-Doh set comes with magical Play-Doh drizzle topping, you can drizzle a crazy candy coating onto your creations with pretend chocolate and silly strawberry topping. It’s a different way to decorate! It comes with 1 Play-Doh Drizzle bottles with a Play-Doh drizzle compound, a pretend syrup that instantly turns hard when you squeeze it on top of Play-Doh. Ill have a vanilla and chocolate please! R499.99

I also MUST mention that Game stocks a full range of the STEM kits I love so much. From candle making, wind chime making to at home Slime Kits. Such affordable options starting from as low as R65.00, depending on what you choose.

So, there you have it, our top “Wishlist”, this festive season, save time and do all your Christmas Shopping under one roof 🙂 Go to Game and “Ungrump” your Christmas!

Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Game Stores but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Orange Infused Creme Caramel

Orange Infused Creme Caramel

An orange scented custard, floating in a sea of toffee coloured sauce, topped with a deep rich caramel. Learn how to make this smooth, creamy caramel and fall head over heels with the combination of flavours. This easy pressure cooker dessert is sure to wow your guests and bring a touch of flair to the Christmas table.

There are few things in life that are better then a really good Creme Caramel, or Creme Brulee and one of the things I have been enjoying the most in my Instant Pot is experimenting with these custard desserts. From my white chocolate “Pot du Creme” last year, to Creme Brulee and now this Orange Infused Creme Caramel, Instant Pot has really made preparing these decadent desserts an easy task.

Queue endless dessert options for gatherings… (post COVID of course).

Christmas time in our house always features oranges for some reason, whether its an orange at the end of your stocking, or dried oranges in garlands or potpourri, we have always featured citrus. When I was thinking of a unique take on the Creme Caramel, gently infusing it with orange just made sense.

The whole thing is cooked from start to finish in the Instant Pot. From the toffee coloured caramel to the orange infused milk. This is a great addition to any festive table and can be ready in under 30 minutes (with overnight refrigeration). This recipe is a keeper and one I will turn to time and time again!

Orange Infused Creme Caramel

Creamy, orange infused Creme Caramel, made from start to finish in an Instant Pot. Wow your guests with this incredible simple, yet show stopping dessert this festive season.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Creme Caramel, Custard Desserts, Instant Pot Creme Caramel, Instant Pot Flan, Orange Infused Creme Caramel
Servings: 5


  • Pressure Cooker


For Caramel:

  • 3/4 cup (150g) white sugar
  • 80 ml water

For Custard:

  • 1 cup (250ml) full cream milk
  • 1 cup (250ml)  double thick cream 
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract 
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • Pinch of salt
  • Summer Berries to top


  • For the caramel: Switch on your Instant Pot and set to Sauté, wait until you see the "hot" display. Add the sugar and water and stir once to combine. Allow the sugar to caramelize and then gently swirl until everything is an even dark golden brown, careful not to burn it!  As soon as the golden colour has been achieved quickly remove the inner pot and carefully pour the caramel equally across your ramekins (you should get between 5 and 6). Allow the caramel syrup to cool.
  • Wash out your Inner Pot and once clean, set to Sauté once again. Heat up 1 cup (250ml) full cream milk and 1 cup (250ml) double thick cream. Add in your sugar, 2 tsp (10ml) vanilla extract, the orange zest and a pinch of salt to the warm milk. Stir until the sugar fully dissolves. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve.
  • Beat 3 eggs in a medium bowl. You are going to temper the eggs, so slowly bring the eggs' temperature up by pouring the warm milk mixture in little by little. Continue to whisk as you pour the remaining milk, make sure you are slow in this step, you don't want to "cook" your eggs.  Pour the mixture in the caramel-filled ramekins through a strainer. Cover each ramekin tightly with foil. 
  • Into clean inner pit, pour 1 cup cold water. Insert the steamer rack and put the covered ramekins on the rack. Secure the lid and move the vent to Sealing Position. Set to Pressure Cook on High for 9 minutes then allow a Natural Release.  
  • Once the valve drops, open lid carefully, try to make sure no water falls onto the foil.  Remove ramekins from Instant Pot and aside to cool, then refrigerate overnight.  When ready to serve, dip your ramekins into a bowl of warm water to allow them to invert easily, flip onto a plate and serve with some mint, berries and a touch of orange!
Finding Romance In Rome

Finding Romance In Rome

With its beautiful cobbled streets, historical fountains, picturesque piazza’s and grand monuments, Rome is without a doubt one of the most romantic destinations in the world. That’s not a word that gets used often on this page, “romantic”. It gets put on the back burner with 3 kids and 2 careers. Everyone had their own unique “love language” and mine are actions and travel. Travel… ahhhh… something else that has been put on the back burner since the arrival of our little munchkins.

Italy is an absolute must-visit country and undoubtedly, one of the most travelled to destinations in Europe, with so many unique highlights in one country, you certainly need more then one trip. I still haven’t touched the beautiful Tuscan Countryside, or the most romantic canals of Venice, but I have done the picturesque, cobblestones streets of Rome and the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.

Positano is the absolute gem of the Amalfi Coast and is undoubtedly one of the most charming, romantic towns in Italy. The views are what storybooks are made of (literally), and it is well worth taking 3 days to visit if you go to Italy, but lets leave that for its own blog. Here I want to focus on Rome, and my top romantic must see’s in this historical city. (I’ll take you there one day soon baby, I promise).

If you are going to visit Rome, I would recommend at least 3 full days. You could do it in two but allow for three to fully appreciate every single inch of history this cultural haven has to offer.

Where to stay:

Rome has no shortage of accommodation. My one piece of advice would be to choose something central, where it is easy to walk between the historical sites. Be careful though, the further “in” you go, the more pricey they become. Every time I have gone to stay in Rome, I stay in the same hotel, its right up the street from the Colosseum and a fairly easy walk to most landmark sites as well as the train station. The Grande Hotel Palatino, on Via Cavour. It’s not the fanciest, but its 4 star, is in an awesome location and has a certain “Ritz” feel. It’s also right across the street from a beautiful Basicilia that has the most incredible statue, Mosè di Michelangelo.

As you stroll through the postcard streets, these are some of my “must visit” landmarks:

Visit to the Colosseum

Seemingly obvious, but I had to include it. If you really are interested in seeing inside and learning the history it is absolute worth joining a tour. You can wait a little longer but I don’t regret this for one minute. Standing tall and proud next to the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, you can’t miss it. It is one of the largest of Rome’s ancient triumphal arches. It celebrates Emperor Constantine the Great’s victory and the battle that made Christianity the religion of Rome.

Stroll through the Roman Forum

Visit the Roman Forum – The “excavated heart” of the City. You can literally feel the history in every corner. The Trajan markets were the first “multi level shopping ‘Mall’” in the world. The views in the Roman Forum are absolutely breathtaking and you can imagine what the city looked like in all its glory.

Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill houses the ruins of the Imperial palaces. It is one of the most ancient parts of the city and still has the beautiful gardens and fragments of all the ancient wealth.

Trevi Fountain

You didn’t think I would miss out on one of my favourite landmarks do you? No trip to Rome is complete without tossing a coin into this majestical beauty. You should prioritise this for first thing in the morning, or later in the evening to get a good view and avoid the crowds. It’s far too busy midday so plan your day around it. After making your wish, stop by one of the local gelato stores to indulge in some authentic Italian ice cream.

The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica

Starting to see why I say three days now? Plan an entire morning for the Vatican and once again, GET THERE EARLY! We went first thing and didn’t regret it for a second. St Peter’s Basilica opens at 7am so you can start there and move onto the breathtaking Sistine chapel which houses Michelangelo’s masterpieces. Once again, I would recommend joining a tour group for this one. The knowledge that you gain is worth every cent, you can always peel off if it doesn’t suit your fancy, but we found it very valuable.

Watch the Sunset from Capitoline Hill

At the end of your day visit the historic Piazza del Campidoglio, which is considered to be one of Romes most beautiful squares. If you go around the back of the central building you can get the most beautiful city top panorama, with all the domes and Colosseum in the background. It is truly breathtaking.

Sign the Register at the Pantheon

The only ancient Roman temple to survive almost completely intact, this is one absolute must see! Take in the incredible stature of the building from the piazza before heading inside and staring in awe at the height and architecture of the building.

Piazza del Popolo

No trip to Rome is complete without a bit of “people watching”, and Piazza del Popolo or “the peoples square” is perfect for this. Grab a cappuccino and take in the sights. Always be careful of pickpockets!

Have a seat on the Spanish Steps

Would it be a romantic list without the “lovers steps”? Set in the beautiful Piazza Della Spagna, the fountains, buildings and ambience make it such a buzzing place to be with your loved one. In summer beautiful bougainvillea cascade down the steps, it’s the perfect spot to sit and have some gelato after indulging in a little shopping on Via dei Condotti.

The Tiber River

This river defines the city of Rome. Take a stroll along its banks along the beautiful St. Angelo Bridge as you literally walk through history. There are some fabulous cafes along it where you can enjoy a sundowner or coffee with your lover while watching the sun set across the ancient city.


Get Lost!

I had to add this one in there, because this is how I first “stumbled” across the Trevi Fountain, by “getting lost” along the tiny cobbled streets. It’s the best way to find the most authentic restaurants and traditional Italian shops minus the touristy stuff. With your map in hand you can be certain you will find your way again at some point.

If you need a quick escape from the hustle of the city, hop on the train to check out Sperlonga Beach. It is about an hour train ride from Rome and makes the perfect day trip. Its sandy beaches and crystal clear shallow waters make the perfect refresher after 3 days exploring the city.

If you are looking for the perfect romantic trip for you and your partner, or in my opinion, the perfect babymoon then Italy is one of your safest bets. I wouldn’t rush to take young kids to Rome, but I long to roam the streets hand in hand with my hubby. Travelstart has some incredible deals on trips to Rome, check out https://www.travelstart.co.za

Whats good to know:

Credit Cards and ATMs: Keep small cash handy for things like street souveniurs, on the go cafe lattes or gelato, but most of the tour operators and cafes accept foreign credit cards.

Electricity: European standards, so I would definitely recommend taking a travel adaptor.

Safety: Italy is generally a safe destination. However be on the look out for pickpockets and “gypsy” beggars. Mainly around the busier Piazza’s.

Getting Around: Rome is incredibly easy to walk around and there are loads of scooters to hire if you are brave enough to as well. If you venture a bit further, I loved travelling by train and it also makes you feel a little more “local” 🙂 It also gives you the opportunity to sit back and relax as you cross the beautiful countryside.

*This blog post was written in collaboration with TravelStart

** All photographs are my own, unless stated otherwise, and are subject to copyright.

***PPS: Cobbled streets? Not so great for the stilettos 🙂

Looking Back at 2019 – SA Blog Awards

Looking Back at 2019 – SA Blog Awards

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!

Times Are Changing – As You Turn Six

Times Are Changing – As You Turn Six

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.

Nap Time

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!

Baby teeth

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

A Weekend In Hartbeespoort

A Weekend In Hartbeespoort

We love exploring and adventuring and over the past two years we made it our mission to explore local surroundings as much as we can. With young children, anything within 3 or 4 hours as a maximum is considered. Thankfully “haarties” is only an hour away! There is so much to do in this area, we have stayed over weekends, and done day trips as well but I would really love to to go back and just have a solid 3 days there.

Here are some of the places we have explored as a family, that I would recommend, and a few that we haven’t had the chance to get to yet.

French Toast Koffie Kafee

If you cant afford the real deal (or just don’t have the time), a quick trip to “Paris” is always a good idea. This place is always packed on the weekends, so make sure to get there early for a good table and photo opportunities. The service may not be the quickest, but it’s worth the experience.

Haarties Aerial Cableway

The boys loved going up and down in the cable cars, the view is glorious and we were plesantly suprised by the quality of pizza at the top, a welcome reward, should you choose to hike the trail 🙂 Kids will delight at the awesome play area at the top and the views are truly spectacular.
This is such a great family excursion.

Elephant Sanctuary

It’s been on our bucket list for a while, but with the steep price, it’s got to be a special birthday experience or anniversary of some kind to justify it.
The Elephant Sanctuary offers an interactive elephant experience, including hands on educational interactions; elephant back riding; and even overnight accommodation.

Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary

The Monkey Sanctuary sanctuary is one of several sanctuaries in a group, including the elephant sanctuary; that provides for orphaned and abused animals. It is right alongside the Elephant sanctuary and it provides an environment where monkeys (primates) can be given their freedom in a natural environment It’s one of only eight free-release primate sanctuaries found globally. These are animals that have sadly been raised as household pets, or bred for the pet trade. They are given the chance to reside in as natural and environment as possible with thick, rich vegetation.

Jasmyn Farm Stall/ The Windmill Restaurant

It’s unlikely that you would have passed through Haarties without catching a glimpse of this iconic landmark, the Dutch-style windmill and thatch-roofed farm stall are hard to miss. Established in 2004 this market offers a treasure trove of treats, from organic goods, farm produce, cheeses (from Jasmyn’s own factory), fresh breads, dairy products, baked goods, meats, imported treats, flowers, curios and gifts too..

Van Gaalens Cheese Farm

Van Gaalen is open six days a week. A tour around the farm is a must (offered on a Wednesday and Saturday). Watch a demonstration of cheese making and tasting as well as a slice of cake and tea/juice. They have an in house restaurant and a farm shop that stocks a wide range of their cheeses, as well as preserves, souvenirs, Dutch favourites, sweets and other goodies. Picnics must be booked a day in advance but there is no better way to spend a day then by relaxing along the river banks. You can also get permits for the Skeepoort trails to go hiking, birding, mountain biking.

The Strawberry Farm

Pack a picnic blanket and spend a glorious morning picking organic strawberries straight from the ground. It’s a fully working farm which offers strawberry picking during spring. The small restaurant serves breakfast on weekends and public holidays, while I haven’t eaten there, I have had the decadent strawberry milkshakes and they are to die for! Seriously THE best I have ever had. It’s a family run, working farm, so don’t expect top class amenities. But, if you are looking for a day out picking fresh berries in season, I would highly recommend a visit.

Seasons Resort and Spa

A golf course, a fabulous water play area, accommodation and a superb spa. What more do you need? We would rate the accommodation as a 3 star, however the spa, is 5 star! The golf course is beautiful and whether you play or not, it’s wonderfully therapeutic with buck walking along the greens. The water play area is perfect for younger children with a shallow pool and small slides.

Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre

There is a no interaction/touching policy as the centre focused strictly on conservation and their animal well-being is of highest importance. However, you can still book a tour and go and see some of the animals they rehabilitate such as vultures, cheetahs, wild dogs and caracals.

Sunset Cruise

Whether you choose a sunset cruise or a slow Sunday brunch on board there is something magical about being on the water, surrounded by the hills. There are a number of different operators to choose from so take your pick and enjoy the view!

Harties Horse Trail Safaris

You don’t need riding experience to take a ride through the African bush surrounded by wildlife. Rides are typically between 1 and 2 hours and
children from the age of 6 can join. Ride between Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, Kudu and Nyala to name a few. Romantic picnics can be arranged as well.

Segwati Quad Bike Safari Trails

If horse riding is not for you, why not take in nature on a quad? I was pregnant when we went with a group of friends to do this and was so sad I didnt take part, I definitely need to go back and do this trail. 650 hectares of beautiful, unspoilt views of the mountains and open plains. An experience that is totally different from your luxury lodge or resort.

GOG Kids Harties

One of the newest lifestyle and adventure destinations, GOG Kids opened up last year in December is is located inside Chameleon Village. The venue plays host to party venues, a play area a pool and a great “Spray Pad” with no less than eight spray features and a safe, non-slip and porous rubber flooring. This is a welcome relief, especially if you are visiting during the summer months. Haarties gets hot!

Lion and Safari Park

While this isn’t technically “in” Haarties, its 10 minutes outside, so I am including it (and it used to be before they refurbished). Kids under 12 are free on all guided and self drive game drives. They offer Giraffe and Ostrich feeding, a crocodile enclosure, cheetah/cub interactions and guided tours. They also offer river rafting down the Crocodile River!

The Upside Down House

Possibly the weirdest thing you will encounter in Haarties, but one that will leave you laughing (and possibly quite dizzy). The upside down house is literally – a ‘world’ turned upside down…. You need to go and experience the magnificence and spectacular engineering of a ‘house’ turned on its roof, and of course take a picture in every room!

Image taken from website

These are just a few of the area’s that we have been to when we have visited. There are a number of lodges in the area and some fantastic self catering houses as well. If you are planning a “staycation” these summer holidays, why not book a few days in Haarties to explore the area?

Have you visited anywhere else? I would love to hear your recommendations for our next trip!