Tag: inthesestilettos

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!



10 “At Home” Activities For Kids To Do During The Holidays

10 “At Home” Activities For Kids To Do During The Holidays

Previously holiday breaks during the school term were never a big thing, because I worked from home and had my mornings free, it meant that I was on hand to entertain the kids. We would adventure, we would play, we would explore. Fast-forward a few years and now I’m not at home, I’m in an office, (like 80% of South African mothers), and my “mom guilt” is going into overdrive that my kids are sitting watching TV all day. I now fully understand “holiday clubs” at school.

So, I’ve been thinking…. thinking of activities to set up for the boys that they can play with limited supervision. I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic nanny to take care of them so they can enjoy a bit of a break from school, but, she has other work to do and is not on hand every single second to supervise activities. Enter good old “google”, and I am shocked. Almost all the “holiday activities” designed for children require mom to be around or set up… Scrap that plan. So, I do what I do best and get to thinking of crafts to keep them busy. That’s why I enjoy crafts so much, they stimulate kids but they also don’t require much supervision. So, they can get on with sticking, creating and crafting and everyone else can get on with their work too.

So here is my top 10 list of crafts (Ok there are 11 but I couldnt choose) to keep your kids entertained these school holidays. These do require some forward-thinking mums and dads. Setting up the night before and putting the crafts out, it shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes and are ideally suited to children up to the age of about 7.

Paint and Play Day

Set up some paint and a variety of materials for the kids to paint on and play with. Sponges, brushes, flowers and stamps make great tools for the kids to explore with and play with different texture canvases such as foil, cardboard and bubble wrap. Make sure you place a suitable ground cover down to stop the paint from getting all over your floors.

Create a Collage

Cut up a big piece of cardboard from a leftover box to use as a nice big canvas for little hands. Gather up a variety of items, ribbons, stickers, magazine cut outs, paper doilies, muffin cases, pomp oms, anything your heart desires. Better still I normally do a craft cupboard stock up at CNA before the holidays start. You could get creative and chose specific colours. Kids love nothing more than gluing and sticking. Trust me, it’s a winner every time! Lay out all the materials on a tray for them with the glue and canvas and let them stick to their hearts content.

Create a Scavenger Hunt around the house

Hide a few objects around the house (choose distinctive things or specific pictures). Draw up a list of all the things hidden and tell the kids to go on a treasure hunt! Once they tick everything off their list tell your caregiver he/she can give them a small treat.

Clay Play

Get some good old fashioned air dry clay OR modelling clay. I prefer air dry clay as I can keep their creations forever. You can find this at any stationery store like CNA or your plastic-land/ Westpack stores. Make up a bowl yourself the night before, I often find if I am not there it is easier for my kids to see what to do when they have an example to follow. Ask your caregiver (if you aren’t home) to place down a floor protector and give each child a nice fist sized amount of clay. Let them create to their hearts content and let the final product dry in the sun. Once dry (probably by the time you are home), let them paint it.

Movie Day

I’m pretty sure this is one we have all done before. Surprise them by renting their favourite movie, or download it on Netflix. Layout some blankets and pillows (or a tent if you have one) in the lounge and pre- make some popcorn before you go to work. Let them stay in their PJ’s for the morning and watch their favourite Netflix while snuggling up with some popcorn and hot chocolate.

Create a mini activity centre

This could be done in or outside the house dependent on your situation. Create a “bean bag” toss – put a strip of tape down as the standing line and some “Hoola-Hoops”. The aim is to try and get the bag into the target area. Bowling – If you done have tenpin pins at home grab some paper cups and stack them together in a triangle shape. Using a ball or a bean bag, let your child try to knock down the cups. Golf putting – Simply take a plastic cup to use as your “hole”, the kids must try and put their ball into the cup to sink it. The possibilities are endless here.

Have a baking day

Yes, this is possible, even If you aren’t home. If your caregiver knows how to cook buy some pre- mixes from snowflake or Pillsbury. Easy ones like muffins or brownies. Lay out the ingredients the night before and the kids can mix away and then whoever is home can pop it into the oven. OR if you aren’t comfortable with the “baking” aspect they could ice some Marie Biscuits (Just make up the icing the evening before), or make some Jelly.

Montessori inspired Activities

Have a look at my blog post on my favourite Montessori activities for toddlers around the house. Most of these are independent and allow for easy clean up. Another great “keep busy” one is a good old peg board! Developing those fine motor skills while keeping them focused.

Sidewalk chalk

Buy a pack of good old sidewalk chalk from your local stationery store or plastic land. Let them draw their masterpieces wherever they feel free (outside of course). It’s the only time my boys are allowed to draw all over the walls, and the pavement outside. A quick rinse with the hose, or a rain shower will leave absolutely no trace of Picasso’s masterpiece.

Playdough invitation to play trays

My only disclaimer here would be, if your kids are younger and they will be playing partially unsupervised, maybe make your own playdough. I have a super quick recipe here. That way you can have peace of mind that it is non-toxic and “safe” if they decide to swallow a mouthful. Set out the playdough on a tray and put individual items of interest in separate containers around it. You could theme it, for example; construction you could make a brown dough, add in a few toy diggers and some “stones” (fake or real), some sticks and tools. Let them create their own little universe. Alternatively, pre- order some carefully thought out themed packs from party play dough.

Sensory Trays

Limited supervision required depending on the route you take. I often post up our sensory tray adventures on Instagram and then forget to post them on the blog, so if you are looking for ideas make sure you follow my Instagram account here. Ideas to do could include a winter wonderland (with snow made from Bicarbonate of Soda and white conditioner), an undersea adventure, either made with jelly, cornflour and water or sludge, or an outer space galaxy made with some painted black rice, marbles, stars and figurines.

You can have a look at my sensory mud tray here or a cloud dough experience here.


So there are some activities to get you going, now that I’ve started I have a couple more up my sleeve. Sometimes you just have to write things out a little to get your mind going! I hope I’ve inspired you in some way. The “Mom Guilt” will never subside but we can make ourselves feel a little better.

Cadbury’s chocolate popping candy cookies

Cadbury’s chocolate popping candy cookies

I have a little obsession with the Marvellous Creations popping candy chocolate that Cadbury’s released a few years ago … so when I came across a cookie recipe that had the chocolate in I knew I had to give it a go. Choc chip cookies are another one of my downfalls, this recipe is really moving to the top of my ultimate soft cookie list.

It’s actually quite surprising that any of the actual chocolate made it into the cookie dough!


50g softened butter

100g muscovado sugar

1 egg

25g cocoa powder

125g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

70g of chopped up Cadbury’s popping candy chocolate.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius .

Beat the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy, add in the egg and beat again until combined.

Add in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa, at this point mix in by hand so you don’t overbeat it.

Finally fold in the chocolate bits. Scoop up a heaped teaspoon of the cookie dough and roll it into a ball between you two hands (my kids did this).

Place the balls on a lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes .

Try not to eat all of them at once, personally I like them a little warm still so the chocolate is gooey.


Picky eaters – 6 hidden vegetable meals to put your mind at ease

Picky eaters – 6 hidden vegetable meals to put your mind at ease

Lets talk about picky eaters, because I know, at some point it is something every single mum will experience.

Up until a couple of months ago I would have said my boys were pretty good eaters, in fact, I was confident that they were eating a good, balanced diet. Aadam loves his “mealies”, broccoli, raw carrots and peas, (He will not however, touch raw tomatoes, potatoes, butternut) and Yusuf eats pretty much EVERYTHING. Fast forward a few months and I find myself getting stuck in a rut and I feel like he’s surviving on bread, pasta, carrot sticks and cucumber. (partly due to my own laziness).

Lessons learnt

When Aadam started solids I pretty much pureed and mashed everything up for him for FAR FAR too long. I think it’s the first time mum syndrome, you are paranoid your child is not eating enough so you mash it up and make it easy for yourself to quickly feed them. Funnily enough, he used to eat a TON of mashed potato and butternut then (explains a lot now). With Yusuf however, at about 4 months old he grabbed a piece of wors (sausage) from my hand one day, and literally stuffed it in his mouth, our sign he was ready. With him I took more of a “baby led weaning” approach, pretty much letting him eat whatever he wanted as long as it was easy enough to hold and soft enough to dissolve. I do think that has made a huge difference in their eating habits, and if we were to have a third child I would definitely do that again.

I’ve noticed a definite difference as well with 2 things. By my kids picking the veggies themselves, they are more likely to eat them! I’ve learnt through this that Yusuf loves Celery and Aadam adores Aubergine ! Secondly, getting them involved in the cooking peaks their interest and they have more desire to taste the food they have created, so wherever you can, get them involved in the prep work. One of my boys favourite things to do is to peel corn and top and tail beans!

That being said, here are 6 of my favourite “hidden veggie” recipes, for all of those days/times I feel like my kids have not have a balanced diets and I need to be a bit sneakier :

  1. Chicken fried rice – This is my non brainer for a Sunday evening, especially if you have left over rice or chicken in the fridge. Sautee some diced onion in olive oil with some garlic until soft. Add in chicken, if its uncooked fry until lightly browned (I flavour mine with chicken spice, garlic and rustic herb and a pinch of paprika). Next, I add finely diced peppers (red and yellow) together with a cup of the good old McCain mixed veggies (peas, carrots and mealies) and soften down. Add in your rice and mix well. I push everything to the side and add in a beaten egg and scramble it in the same pan at this point and then incorporate into the rest of the pan. Finally I add in a bit of Soy Sauce and Tomato Sauce for the kids.
  2. Lasagna – Always a sure way to get Veggies into my kids. I finally dice up peppers, carrots and sometimes mushroom to add in mine
  3. Stews are a no brainer – I have to be careful here though, Aadam refuses to eat cooked carrots (beats me as he will eat a whole pack raw), so when I dish for him I have to mash the carrot up a little so it’s not as obvious
  4. Hidden Veggie Chicken + Rice – This is a one pot wonder and another one of my favourites. You can view the full recipe here , I have tried it out with diced up cauliflower and broccoli added in as well and it’s been fabulous
  5. Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce – I’ve always used Annabel Karmels’ recipe for this one and the whole family loves it! It includes peppers, carrots and courgettes.
  6. Ratatouille – Funnily enough – with all my kids quirks, they both LOVE ratatouille! I add pretty much whatever I have in the fridge but typically its aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, onions and peppers. I serve it with Bulgur wheat, which we call “special rice”.

A lot of this I only have myself to blame, for example, I never thought to give them soup (though I love it), I left it too late and now they won’t touch it! Smoked Salmon/ Trout is another example, I sat in awe the other day watching a friend’s 1 year old happily munch away on smoked trout, if I tried to give it to my boys I’m sure they would throw it in my face! Again, my own fault, I never thought to give it to them.

Studies do show that if you put vegetables on your child’s plate every night, within a few months they will eat those vegetables, so it’s all about exposure and leading by example I guess. We will keep persisting.

What tips/ tricks do you have with your kids? I’d love to hear about your experiences with fussy eaters.

Dear New Mummy – you are not alone

Dear New Mummy – you are not alone

Dear New Mommy,

You are not alone… These first few weeks can seem so daunting. You thought you had read every book to prepare you for the arrival of your bundle of joy, you had attended every workshop. Yet you feel so unprepared and helpless at the thought of looking after this little human. Every single gurgle or grunt you question yourself, is she too hot/ is she too cold? Is he breathing? Why is he making that grunting sound? He’s not feeding enough, he’s feeding too long. He’s not sleeping long enough, or he’s sleeping too much. She is lethargic today… You know the feeling. You feel inadequate, this is not what you expected. You feel alone.

All of these thoughts and feelings you experience are helping you develop your intuition as a mother. No, it’s not something you are born with. It’s something you develop over time, by connecting with your baby. By getting to know them and their bodies, their reactions and movements. You may cry every time you hold him, unable to soothe his cramps or crying due to sheer exhaustion. IT’S OK Mama, hold your baby, all he needs is your love.

Days turn to nights, the world outside slips further and further away. You feel “stuck”, feeding, changing, sleeping, and burping. You finally get your sleeping bundle down and place her in her crib like she is a package of dynamite, carefully loosening your fingers when BOOM. The crying starts again. Lie down, sleep with her on your chest. Sleep together. The world can wait for now. All she needs if your love.

Dear mommy, it’s exhausting I know. The broken sleep, the crying, the fear of harming your child. You can’t quite see the end and you don’t know how other mothers have done it. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. The best advice I could ever give you is take each day as it comes, each day you make it through is another day of raising a strong, healthy child. One more tick through the calendar of life. Each day that breaks your baby is another day stronger, because of you.

You will grow and develop a relationship in your OWN way, you will discover your perfect style of parenting in your OWN time. You will become a heroine, nursing night fevers and numerous amount of sick up, you will survive the days on 3 hours of broken sleep. You will become the PERFECT mother to YOUR CHILD. Your child is like no other in the world. You will develop a network of “mummy’ friends, all walking the same exhausting routine together, you will connect and grow stronger.

So listen to others if you would like, compare with friends if you wish but always know that you are in charge of your own journey through motherhood.

When you are feeling alone, staring out the window as your feed your baby for the 9th time that day, know that you are not. We are walking beside you every step of the way. Reach out to other moms, there is a whole new beautiful world of connections to help you through.

There is no other mother like you, and YOU are PERFECT to them.

Lunch Box inspiration #1

Lunch Box inspiration #1

I think every single mum in the universe is constantly looking for new or different idea’s for their child’s lunch at school, I certainly know I do. This will be the first in a few series I’ll be doing on lunch box ideas for your kids. I am certainly not reinventing the wheel in any Continue reading “Lunch Box inspiration #1”

The one thing you need to save money in 2018: The Entertainer App! {Giveaway}

The one thing you need to save money in 2018: The Entertainer App! {Giveaway}

Any parent would know the moment you have your first child your life changes dramatically, not just your life rather, your lifestyle. Living in a city your lifestyle is typically centered around going out, whether its to eat, watch a movie or have a little weekend away, “BC” we used to go out a lot. Continue reading “The one thing you need to save money in 2018: The Entertainer App! {Giveaway}”

My ultimate Christmas Wish List

My ultimate Christmas Wish List

I really am not a hard person to please, I like pretty things, breakfast in bed and maybe a good sleep in. It is that easy 🙂

December is a busy time in our household with birthdays, anniversaries, and of course, the Christmas season. So I thought I’d make it easier for those around me to Continue reading “My ultimate Christmas Wish List”