Posted by: inthesestilettos | August 14, 2017

My V-Bac Experience

Let me start by saying that I did not choose to have a V-bac to be “more of a woman”, or to fulfil some right of passage that is bestowed upon all women, because to be honest, in my opinion, that is a load of rubbish. Regardless of the way you give birth you are still a bloody strong woman, in fact dare I say, having a c-section is far worse than giving birth naturally.

It was for that reason, in fact, that I was so adamant to give birth naturally. So many of my close friends had their baby’s naturally, most without an inch of pain relief and their recovery periods were so much easier compared to mine with my first C-section.

You see, there are 16 months between my boys, and my eldest was so active I couldn’t bear to be flat on my back recovering and in pain while he was running around. He was the only reason I was so determined, and I haven’t looked back for a second.

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The importance of this article for me is to bring awareness to a term I heard from Tracey over at The Milk Memoirs of “birth without fear”. Thanks to TV shows and movies, we see women screaming their heads off in pain and it creates this subconscious fear of giving birth. Yes, let’s not get it twisted, having a baby is certainly no Sunday stroll in the park, but as my husband so obnoxiously put it “You can see God created a woman’s body to have babies, I don’t know what all the fuss is about” (I wanted to slap him in that moment), yet his words do ring true.

So let’s go back 4 years to my first birth story. I was 41 weeks pregnant, and one day away from being induced when my waters broke, thankfully at home. Off we went to the hospital and got the news that my waters had in indeed broken, but baby had not dropped at all, he was floating somewhere up there and I was nowhere even close to dilating. My doctor gave me a choice in that moment, you can either go through 30+ hours of painful labour which may have complications and will end up in an emergency C-section , or you can chose the C-section route and we operate right now.

As first time parents we had no clue, despite having a “birth plan” and “Enya” downloaded on my iPod we said whatever is best for the baby. 45 minutes later, I was crying on a nurses’ shoulder with a spinal block in my back and my husband was still downstairs filling in admin paper. Yes, the whole “birth” was smooth and my baby was perfectly healthy, he latched straight away and we had story book skin to skin contact, but when the meds wore off and the pain kicked in, OUCH! I remember trying to stand for the first time when I showered and trying to wash my hair, I felt like I had ripped apart my stomach all over again. When we eventually went home and my baby was crying, I ended up crying too because I couldn’t get out of bed to tend to him. The house was filled with visitors but for me to get up out of bed to go and greet them, I felt like I was an 84 year old women with a hunch back, shuffling to go and say hi…

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My Big Boy coming to meet his baby brother

Fast forward 16 months later, in a new town and with an open minded doctor, I laid out my grand plans and she absolutely supported me. Of course, if you want to have a V-Bac the doctor will lay down certain, very important “clauses”. You cannot go over 40 weeks, you have to dilate 1cm per hour, no epidurals allowed (I wasn’t allowed one because if there is risk of your C-section scar rupturing you need to be able to feel it). Typically you are meant to “wait” 18 months between them, well mine was 16.

I went into labour at 8pm the Friday before I was going to be induced (again, my babies like to wait it out the full gestation 🙂 ). My mum was staying with us and in “her generation” all the women had C-sections, in fact, all the women in my family had C-sections and we were told it was something to do with “being short” or “having small feet”, despite the fact that my hips are about 3 meters apart 🙂 . She started to panicked immediately, as mums do, and couldn’t understand why on earth I wanted to do this naturally. She wanted me to go straight to the hospital. From all of my research I knew the hospital was the last place I wanted to be so early, so I took a shower and went to sleep. By 2am the contractions had moved into that sort of second phase, when you are REALLY sure that this is painful now and you kind of have to hunch over and stop what you are doing. I woke up and saw my toddler and husband sleeping next to me and couldn’t bear to wake them, and managed to hold on until 4am before going into the hospital.

My doctor arrived at just after 7am I think, right about that time where your body starts to move into a “trance mode”, you know where people are talking around you but you can’t answer them, you can’t count the seconds between contractions anymore and your body automatically emits this animal type of moan (I swear that wasn’t coming from me?). My mum was messaging both me and my husband and kept saying to me, “don’t be a martyr, just take the C-section”, little did she know I wasn’t doing it to prove anything to anyone, I was doing it for me, for my little boy.

They tried to give me happy gas which I absolutely cannot take, I just cannot inhale a gas when something is covering my mouth like that at all, so I kept pushing it away, though I did get a shot of pethidine (which I actually regret and if I could turn back and not take it, I would). Thanks to the pethidine I was floating on clouds up in the air and feel like I didn’t get that immediate “connection” to my second baba. I wasn’t focused, my mind was floating. Through it all, at 10h45 on a rainy Saturday morning in the Western Cape, my second baby boy was born, and I did it, on my own!

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The rest of the stuff that comes with a natural birth is pretty shameless, well actually the whole process of giving birth is shameless with the whole birth room seeing you butt naked. But the high that comes after natural childbirth is unforgettable. The REAL high, the pethadine and worn off by then. I felt like I had run a marathon. I pushed my baby and I into our room for the night and proceeding to scoff down three full meals (OK, it was nearly lunch time and I hadn’t eaten anything since the night before). But still, the mobility afterward was a joy, Yes, as any mum knows there are certain damn sore area’s , but in comparison to the C-section I was in heaven. 3 days later I was walking around a grocery store with my 16 month old. WORTH IT? Totally!!

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Swollen face from Pethidine

Please note: Every single woman’s birth experience is completely unique and different. This is MY experience and MY opinion and I know some people’s reality is vastly different. The aim of this article is to encourage BIRTH WITHOUT FEAR, bar any medical reasons, you can do it !!!

Posted by: inthesestilettos | August 11, 2017

Soap Foam Recipe

Foam is one of those things I do for my kids at least once a month, and to be honest, I think it’s more for me than for them, it keeps them busy and out of my hair for at least 20 minutes! My kids are going through a super “whiney” phase which is driving me nuts, so I’m looking to all the distractions I can get 🙂

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As I don’t supervise this activity as close as others, (I let them go buck wild), I prefer them to be made out of more natural ingredients. I know there are a ton of more “foamy” foam recipes out there, but I prefer using these as the ingredients are more simple.

 

So here is my go to foam recipe, and all you need is dishwashing liquid, water and an electric beater. Food colouring is optional.

Put about 2 TBSP of dish washing liquid in a large mixing bowl that contains about 1/4 cup of water. Using an electric beater, place it on high until lots of foam forms. I normally add in the water bit by bit as I prefer a “stiffer” foam. You can add a drop of food colouring if you wish, just be careful, the darker colours stain a bit more (see picture below, whoops 🙂 ).

NOTE: The MORE dish soap you use the stiffer/ foamier your foam is, have fun!

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Posted by: inthesestilettos | July 28, 2017

Giveaway – Johnson’s Baby Hamper

~~~COMPETITION TIME~~~~
Have you been reading? Following onto my last blog on baby skincare, together with the kind folks over at @JohnsonsBabySA , I’ll be giving away a Johnson’s Baby Hamper worth R1000 !

To enter:
All you have to do is make sure you are following both the @inthesestilettos page as well as @JohnsonsBabySA on Facebook.
Comment below on how much thinner a baby’s skin is in comparison to an adults.
While you are at it why not tag your mummy friends or share this page?

Rules:
1. The competition is open only to residents in South Africa.
2. Giveaway ends on the 4th August 2017 and winner will be announced on the 5th August 2017
3. Delivery of the Hamper is the responsibility of the PR company
4. Winner will have 48 hours to claim the Hamper before a new winner is drawn .

GOOD LUCK !!!!

Posted by: inthesestilettos | July 27, 2017

Perfect Puffy Paint

A while back I helped out at my son’s playschool and the theme for the week was “Night Sky”. I had so much fun researching and testing out activities and crafts to do with the kids.

I settled on two hands on crafts for the children, one being a galaxy playdough. It wasn’t just normal playdough, this one had gelatine cooked into it for a little extra stretch. (ill post the recipe up soon).The second activity was painting of the night sky using different mediums, with the focus being on the moon made with puffy paint.

Now, I’ve tried a number of different “Puffy Paint” recipes with my boys, including ones that you put into the microwave. This however, is far more superior than all the rest. The puffiness is incredible! It dries nice and hard and lasts indefinitely, so I thought I had to share!

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After much testing I found the best one to be a recipe from “Meaningful Mama” , so a huge thank you to her for coming up with the perfect combination, well actually she gave a few, but this one was definitely my winner! You can see her original post here . Dependent on the type of art you want to do you can either place it into a Ziploc bag and snip of the corner, like a piping bag (do this for more refined lines or writing), or just paint directly with a paint brush. We chose the paintbrush route to give the moon “craters” and dips.

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3 simple ingredients are all you need:

White art and craft glue

Shaving cream

Flour

Food colouring (optional)

Mix up ¾ cup shaving cream to ¼ cup white glue, then add a little flour at a time until you get your desired consistency (up to 1/4 cup) . If you chose to use food colouring I would probably add it into the shaving cream and glue to ensure it mixes correctly. We didn’t use any as I wanted the off white colour for the moon.

If you want a slightly runnier texture you can water it down slightly.

It takes about 2-3 hours to dry properly and once dry the puffy texture remains.

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Happy Painting! I hope you have as much fun with this as I did!

I’d love to hear how what creations you made with it.

Posted by: inthesestilettos | July 26, 2017

Three ways you didn’t realise you were harming your baby’s skin

Writing my blog on breastfeeding recently got me reminiscing on that newborn mummy stage of sweet milk scented kisses, gurgles and the oh kissable soft skin of your baby. Broody much??

I learnt recently from the launch of the Johnson’s Baby Healthy Skin Project, which aims to improve the health of more than 3 million babies by 2020, that a baby’s skin is 30% thinner than an adults. Our skin is also our first line of defence when it comes infection and a newborn’s skin and immune system are super delicate. Here in South Africa in particular, babies are exposed to harsher elements, combined with Socio economic problems, skin related issues are more of a common occurrence.

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As a mummy you tend to imagine your baby will be born with perfectly soft unblemished skin, but the reality is that it’s quite normal for babies to have skin problems. Newborn’s can typically experience a range of issues from milia (little white spots), acne and rashes and it’s important to remember these can be common occurrences, how we treat them makes the difference. With my first born I really battled in the first few months with his skincare and he developed severe eczema. Looking back, I realize a lot of it was probably as a result of me, trying to be a “storybook” mummy with long baths every afternoon followed by heavily scented sleep time oils and keeping him wrapped up too warm.

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So to all the new mums out there here are a couple of tips I’ve learned along the way:

Myth 1: Newborns need to be bathed everyday.

Actually ….. NO ! Apart from the occasional sick up and nappy explosion, a newborn isn’t really getting dirty. 1 or 2 baths a week should suffice followed by a gentle, unscented moisturiser applied to damp skin to lock in all that moisture. “Top and Tailing” is essential for every day, wiping babies face and nappy area with cotton wool and warm water to clean the essential areas.

By giving my baby long, warm baths daily I was stripping his skin of the essential oils and the heavily scented products I was using afterwards aggravated his eczema even more. Bath time should be in a luke warm water and not for longer than ten minutes. There are many proven benefits to baby massage, which I am a firm believer in as it also encourages you to be more in touch with baba’s skin so you can pick up on any issues. This doesn’t need to be done with heavy oils though, a few drops of something like the ever classic Johnson’s Baby Oil, the new Johnsons Top to Toe Massage oil, or coconut oil should do the trick.

As babies get a bit older around 4 months or so, you can begin to establish more of a routine with bath time, it’s both my boys favourite time of day, they literally run to the bath now and it can calm down any evening meltdowns.

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Myth number 2 – baby should always be wrapped up in lots of blankets

I think in Africa in particular, we’ve grown up with traditions like wrapping baby up in excessively thick blankets even though it’s sunny and 28 Degrees Celsius outside! Wrapping up baby too heavily can cause issues such as Contact Dermatitis from baby sweating too much. We also have a tendency to keep heaters on in the room baby is in. This is fine, though I would personally recommend using a humidifier in the room as well as heaters can strip the air of any moisture left which can lead to dryness of skin (especially in Johannesburg where the air is so thin). Overheating a room can also increase the risk of SIDS and babies should never sleep next to a heater. Rather keep baby comfortable by layering with thin clothing and a lighter blanket.

Myth 3 – Babies need direct sunlight

So yes, babies do need a daily dose of sunlight, but we need to try and keep them out of the DIRECT harsh sun. Their skin is thin and fragile and loses moisture 2 x faster than an adults. So its super important to protect newborn’s from over exposure. Doctors and dermatologists often recommend not using suncream until babies are at least over 6 months old. My youngest’ s skin is so sensitive that even after he was a year old he would complain that the “baby” sun cream I was using stung him. It’s important when giving baba his or her daily dose of Vitamin D to make sure their outfit is fully breathable so they don’t overheat, and to shield baby’s scalp face and eyes with a suitable sun hat. Try to avoid the mid-day sun and if baby is jaundiced, the sunlight through a clear glass window should be adequate.

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Tradition can cause old wives tales and with our culture’s obsession with cleanliness, I’ve heard stories of skincare routines including trying to scrub away baby acne and adding antiseptic liquid to the bath water!! PLEASE DON’T DO THAT. Nothing more is better for baby’s gentle skin than a mother’s touch, lots of love, a gentle soap and soft moisturiser.

Just as our skincare needs change we need to adjust baby’s skincare routine through the seasons as well. In Johannesburg we get extremely harsh winters and baby’s delicate skin needs to be protected and nurtured so we can smother them in kisses all day long!

Posted by: inthesestilettos | July 17, 2017

5 toddler friendly Science experiments to expand young minds

So I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a “Pintrest” mum…. with such great ideas out there, who has time to come up with their own original ideas right ? With it being “holiday season” with various mid year breaks coming up its perfect timing to get some new ideas on how to spend time with your kids.

My eldest (3 turning 4) is really getting into a “reaction” phase, he loves to see things coming together causing a reaction, everything from plants growing, cars crashing (really) to materials reacting. I too, have a slight “science” obsession, though my High School teachers may beg to differ (or that might have been laziness), I love to play and see chemical reactions, or grow your own crystals etc. I actually can’t wait for him to get older and we can start playing with more complex ideas.

Here’s a list of my favourite “Science experiments” to do with my kids. I would say age appropriate from about 18 months through to 6 years old?

All courtesy of Pintrest, of course 🙂 I bought all containers used from Plasticland and everything else is everyday household items.

1. Make your own lava lamp

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Simple, Quick and easy. Often most effective in a really tall jar or bottle.

Ingredients Needed:

Water

Oil

Food Colouring

Eno Sachets/ Disprin

Fill the Jar/Vase about 1/3 full with water and add a drop of food colouring. Top up the jar (leaving a little breathe room at the top) with Oil. You can use baby oil or vegetable, I used vegetable. Add the reactor 🙂 I used a sachet of Eno (In the USA they use Alka-Seltzer which of course contains a little aspirin) so in addition to the Eno I crushed half a disprin as well. Sit back and watch in amazement at how the bubbles react with the oil

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2. “Magic Milk”

This SIMPLE experiment held my boys attention for at least 15 minutes.

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Ingredients Needed:

Milk

Food Colouring

Dishwash

Earbud/ Q-tip

Pour the milk into a bowl (I used a nice long one for more surface area). Add in drops of food colouring all around, I mixed up the colours to add some interest. Then simply dip your ear bud (Q-tip) into some dishwashing liquid and touch the milk. Voila! The milk molecules are repelled off of the dishwash and magically bounce away. It’s fantastic!

3.Fizz reaction – Age old favourite of Bicarbonate of soda mixed with vinegar.

Also a favourite with my boys made with two simple ingredients to create a fizzy bomb. This has to be one of the most classic “Science experiments” and a great entry to the concept.

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Ingredients Needed:

Vinegar

Food colouring (optional)

Bicarbonate of Soda

Medicine Droppers/ Syringe

Place the Bicarbonate onto a tray/ roasting pan, get the kids to suck up the vinegar with the medicine dropper/ syringe (great for fine motor skills) and squeeze it out onto the Bicarb. I mixed up a couple of different colours with food colouring (just make sure the littlies know that it’s not “juice”). Most of the time they will carry on until the plate is one messy paste but it’s fantastic to see the level of concentration involved.

4.Rain Clouds 

The simplest way to explain the concept of rain to little minds.

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Ingredients Needed:

A Vase/ tall jar

Water

Shaving cream

dropper/ syringes

Fill a vase about half way – three quarter full with water and create a big “cloud” on top with shaving cream. Use the dropper to “fill” the cloud with Food colouring. Watch how the food colouring “falls” through when it gets too heavy for the cloud.

5. The ever popular slime

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See previous blog post here Slime recipe for full recipe, but it’s basically art and craft glue, water, borax and food colouring. So simple and hours of fun!

Enjoy all the free time with your kids, this time goes so quickly and before we know it we will be begging them to spend time with them! I love to do these experiments and crafts with my boys, to see how children learn through play and how young minds comments!

So there is phase of motherhood that no one really “tells you about”… You know all about the milestones and a little about the burping and sleep patterns, but everyone fails to mention those first 8 weeks, where as a new mother, your body aches in places you never knew existed. If you have chosen the breastfeeding route, you feel as if someone has put you through 12 rounds of a boxing ring. The one thing you don’t see in those cosy cute pictures of mammas breastfeeding their babe’s is the endless hours of “back end” work to get them there. Soothing hot towels, cabbage leaves to reduce swelling, nipple creams slathered on 🙂

So let me set the record straight, Breastfeeding, in the early days is PAINFUL! Before everyone jumps on and shouts at me to say Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, I’m not referring to the ACTUAL act of breastfeeding, I’m referring to everything around it. Your breasts are adapting, your milk kicks in and they are they are full, hot, swollen and bruised and then dealing with a baby learning to latch correctly you can get all sorts of issues happening with your nipples (I looked for a more kosher word but sorry, there isn’t one 🙂 ). Let me say this does only normally last for about 3 weeks, the pain does go away, but in that moment, it can feel like a lifetime. I encourage all mums to HANG IN THERE! Please, continue on in your breastfeeding journey, if you can, it is one of the worlds most beautiful experiences.

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This blog is focused on products that can help you through that, and hopefully, get you on track to one of the most rewarding experiences ever. I managed to exclusively breastfeed both of my boys for over a year each (I don’t have anything against formula, I personally just found it more convenient to breastfeed.) Here are some of the things that helped me through:

A lanolin based salve can do wonders for sore, cracked nipples in the early days. I tried both Medela and Lansinoh. My personal favourite was Lansinoh – it has no horrible “stickiness” to it.

Seamless nursing bra – A good nursing bra is a God send, you will literally spend 24 hours a day, and then some in them 🙂  Personally I used “Carriwell”, and used both the normal t-shirt ones and the ones with extra padding. The extra padding can really help especially when baby starts sleeping for longer stretches.

Electric pump – Personally for me, this was my best friend and I would never have lasted so long in my breastfeeding journey without my Medela swing pump. I actually started off with the single swing pump, and after spending 20 mins each side expressing thought I should switch to the double. Ironically, the single pump was waaay more effective and remains my staple. Going back to work when expressing is always fun, I would hide myself in a locked interview room pumping while interviews were taking place in the rooms around me J. I will say I HATED the time spent pumping, I felt like I was wasting time (though I know the end result was far from that), often I considered pumping on the way home whilst stuck in traffic and I know many mums that successfully do so. Pumping also helps to stimulate milk production if you have a dip in your supply.

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Nursing pads – I started off using the Phillips range and to this day that was by far my favourite. Soft, non itchy and disposable but for some reason I couldn’t find them anymore in South Africa, so I switched to Pigeon. Once your milk is more settled and more of a routine formed I switched to cotton based, washable ones which were a big cost saver.

Cooling Gel Pads – Can be used hot (to stimulate your milk production) or cold (to soothe the pain). I will be honest, I didn’t use mine . I found them a bit uncomfortable and heavy, and in the early days the ONLY thing that worked for me was warm wash cloths and cabbage leaves J YES, Cabbage leaves. However I know a lot of new mums that swear by them.

Extra Vitamins – This is a must! breastfeeding, coupled with lack of sleep, or rather broken sleep, drains you! You need essential vitamins to promote healthy supply. Continue with your prenatal vitamins even after birth. You need all of those extra vitamins for breastfeeding. Personally the found the hugely popular Preg-Omega disagreed with me, the Salmon Oil content (or something) was too high and made me terribly nauseas. I switched early on to a generic pharmaceutical brand and that worked like a dream. My best breastfeeding tonic was Vitaforce’s Schlehen Blackthorn Berry Elixir (with my firstborn I swore by it). I would make up litres of jungle juice to store in the fridge. With my second, I just took a good old tablespoon every time I felt I needed it. The other thing you desperately need is WATER, and lots of it!

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C Shaped nursing pillows – These are life changing. They take all the weight off your arms and baba sits at the perfect position, so no wriggly awkwardness. If you have had a c-section, it also protects your scar.

Nursing Cover/ Breastfeeding blanket – Debatable … Ummmm I will admit I never really used it. Nothing that a good old muslin blanket won’t quickly cover up when you need it to and IF your baby doesn’t mind the cover over him/her.

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Whatever your breastfeeding journey is, or for however long it lasts, remember each day is an accomplishment. You have given your baby precious anti bodies and created a beautiful bond. Try and join your local la Leche league to invaluable advice and encouragement.

I’d love to hear your breastfeeding stories, one thing I have learnt is to talk about it more. Every woman who has had children and gone through the same thing but for some reason, the struggles around breastfeeding aren’t spoken about enough. The aim of this blog is to open that up. Its okay, we have been there, and as fellow mother’s we should all support each other. Every way we can.

Posted by: inthesestilettos | June 9, 2017

Empowering our future, making South Africa a better place.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

There is nothing more that breaks my heart than the fact that around the world there is STILL no balance in terms of education. I was fortunate to grow up in a country where we didn’t have racial divide, or rather, social issues CREATED BY racial divide. As such we didn’t see “townships” and at that point, our main concern was helping orphans. As such it really makes my blood boil to think that not everyone has an equal right to education, this is the very founding of our future. 

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Every single child deserves the right to a full education.  That, as a society, is the LEAST we can do. This is how we can start by building a better nation, this is how we eradicate social injustice, this is how we can alleviate poverty.

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 Our adventure clubs outing this week took us to the Kya Sands Container Pre School, created by “Build the Future”. Build the future has 3 projects within South Africa, a preschool in KZN, Gogos Soup Kitchen in Soweto and the Kya Sands preschool.

I really feel it’s important to instil in my children, from as young as possible, that we are all one, and as human beings we should always try to do our best and give to those that have less than us. So before we went the boys went to their toys to pick out ones they don’t play with any more and to choose books that they thought other children would like to read. My 3 year old was so enthusiastic about it and proudly wanted to give his SOME of his toys to children that had less than he did. (Proud mummy moment). They then took the selected toys along with some soup and bread to give the children at snack time and together they enjoyed story time and a competitive game of soccer.

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But more on the fantastic work that Build the Future is doing:

Build the future was founded in 2006 and since then they have made tremendous ground in establishing early learning development in informal settlements in South Africa. Their mission is to plant container schools throughout the country. Children are given a safe haven in which to play and learn and they are also fed healthy meals twice a day. If memory serves correctly, they started off with one container for 40 children and now have 3 classrooms with over 100 children. At Kya Sands they have their own vegetable garden, teaching sustainable development, which had a fantastic array of green beans, spinach, and cabbage to name a few.

 So how can you help?

There are a number of ways to assist the preschool. Firstly you could sponsor a child for R350 per month, this covers the costs of food and education for one child. Secondly they often host “Work days” which are great days where you can get involved in the community. Food donations are always welcome and they are always looking for nutritional food donations and cooking supplies. Lastly of course, get in touch with them to see if you can volunteer your time or expertise. The children loved having visitors and you could sing songs, do puzzles or get involved on a weekly basis with some of the preschool projects.

Build the Future is also always on the lookout for artisans to volunteer their time or expertise. Even if you are not able to make a financial contribution, maintenance and upkeep of the schools is always needed.

Being in containers and exposed to the harsh elements, winter in particular is a harder time. If you can knit beanies or can give a donation of warm clothes/ shoes this would also help a great deal.

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 So with all the uncertainty of the world happening around us, and South Africa officially being in a “recession”, lets all work together to improve our lives, one child at a time. Nelson Mandela so truly quoted again, There is no better judge of society than the way in which we treat our children.

Lets Rise up and create a better future for ourselves, and our children.

Contact details for Build the Future:

Director of Build the Future Phillip Shapriro 0823438886 or visit the website to donate through there at www.buildthefuture.org or email info@buildthefuture.org.za

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So I keep getting people asking me for tips on where to go and what to do with their kids. I’ve been trying to sit down and write a list for a while now but as any multi-tasking, working mum would know every day seems to escape me and my to do list just keeps getting longer.

Firstly I have to pay homage to the Adventure Clubs app. What an absolute life changer that was for me.

After our move back to Johannesburg from Cape Town I was at a loss of what to do with my boys in a big city and struggled to find a mums group like I had in Cape Town. In Johannesburg I find most mums have less flexibility with their working hours …. Until a friend suggested a download the adventure clubs app and our lives changed forever 🙂 It’s opened up my eyes to a whole new Johannesburg, discovering hidden gems and unique places to take my boys. So thank you thank you thank you!

That being said, here’s my list, together with some of the places we have discovered with Adventure Clubs, of fun things to do, with your kids in the big city:

 

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

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 L.. 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.

Old MacDonald’s Farm Yard (Lanseria Side) – 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.

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Old Macdonalds Farm

 

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), Crazy Kids 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.

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Feeding the Pony at CrazyKidz

 

 

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.

Pappachinos (of course – Broadacres seems like the biggest, Clearwater mall also has a bike track)

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.

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Lori Park Zoo

 

 

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

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

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. SO 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 mums can enjoy hot tea and scones.

If its rainy (or sunny) – Yeesh for Kids in Woodmead is a firm favourite of ours. With a huge soft kids play area, Yeesh goes the extra mile by hosting cupcake/cookie decorating sessions, as well as an art corner where kids can paint a range of items ranging from t-shirts to canvas to ceramic ornaments.

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Ball Pit at Yeesh!

 

 

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. Where are some of your favourite places to go?

Posted by: inthesestilettos | March 13, 2017

Cloud dough/ Moon sand recipe 

It’s been a while since we did this one, in fact shockingly, I don’t think I’ve ever made it for my youngest ! (Hides behind hands).

Moon Sand or Cloud dough as its sometimes referred to in the USA promises at least 40 minutes to an hour of exploration for my little ones. With a consistency similar to beach sand (obviously alot softer), the possibilities are endless. You can make cakes, or castles, pies or if you’re a mum of boys like me, everything turns into a quarry and the sand will end up being transported in dump trucks!

Another idea is to create a sensory tray and hide treasures at the bottom, little ones can then dig through the sand to find the treasures.
Recipe takes less than 5 minutes with common ingredients.

8 cups flour to approximately 1 cup of oil. You can either use a vegetable oil or baby oil. I’ve used both and obviously vegetable oil is safer with smaller kids. Just mix it together in a bug bowl until the right consistency.

Have fun 🙂
Ps. Excuse the pyjamas I always like to do messy play in the mornings before we get dressed for the day 🙂 

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