Back in the blogosphere

So 2016 was a year for many tragedies. Not only was it the year that saw in excess of 80 stars lose their lives in just the first four months, it was also just a generally tough year for many people and us included. You can read about our loss here

So while we are still plagued with secondary infertility and all the questions (with no answers) that this brings… we are determined to make 2017 a great year. We have so many things planned! For one, we hope to return back to the sunny shores of Cape Town in time for Christmas but before that, we have a “bucket list” of things we want to do and see before we voetsak back to SA.

The decision has not come lightly and we have been met with mixed responses from various people but at the end of the day, it is a decision we have made as a family unit and one we are looking forward to. I am back in the blogosphere and hope to blog about all of our experiences in our last year in the UK. I want to open up about our experience packing up our lives and making the big move and focus on the challenges we face when we get there (I have no doubt there will be a few).

In the meantime, I have been looking for a saying that could help me feel less in limbo and rather help me to live in the now and I have found one! My motto for this year will be “appreciate the moment” and not just when things are going well but also when things get tough. We only know love because we have felt hurt and we know what happiness is because we have felt sadness so I am going to try my damnedest to “appreciate the moment” at every twist and turn of this journey.

We have put a A-Z “bucket list” together and it is not complete so your help is required. We want activities to do in and around London and the UK for us to tick off before we go. I will be documenting each one (Not necessarily in alphabetical order) and hope you will come on this journey with us!

Here’s hoping 2017 will be one of the better years!

Bucket list
A-afternoon tea (Ritz)
B-Borough market
C-Cutty Sark/Camden market
D-
E-eye (London eye)
F-family friendly festival (Jamie O or Jimmy’s)
G-
H-Hyde pak concert/Hamleys
I-Ireland (Northern Ireland)
J-Jamie O restaurant (Barbecoa)
K-
L-Lion King/Lego land
M-
N-
O-open air cinema
P-Portobello road (We have done this but want to do it again)
Q-
R-Roka (I’ve eaten there but Matthew has not)
S-Shoreditch market/shakesphere globe
T-Transport museum
U-
V-Venice (Not UK but still on bucket list)
W-Waterloo vaults
X-
Y-
Z-Zuma restaurant

Letting Go On The Ocean Breeze

I haven’t posted here for a while and there are reasons for this. My first post for the year was so full of joy, hope and expectation for a great year with wonderful things to look forward to. Truth is, this year has been tough. Tougher than I ever imagined it would be… I never anticipated for one second that I would have a miscarriage. When we found out we were pregnant, we were overjoyed! A sibling for Emily! How wonderful. We started to talk about the baby room, if it was a boy or a girl, how we wanted to spend the next 8 months before baby arrived, how we were going to break the news to Emily when the time was right… But then, everything changed.

That moment you begin to bleed but it takes you a second to register… “But, I’m pregnant, this does not seem right??!!” You go to the doctor and she confirms what you have been dreading… you are miscarrying. It’s taboo, nobody talks about it… like you are ashamed of your body and how it has ‘malfunctioned’ and left you with a gaping hole in your soul. Grief overtakes and your heart breaks into millions of tiny little pieces. All the joy, excitement and hope, shattered.

I am not new to loss or grief. My father has never been around. My mother died when I was 13, my gran shortly after, leaving my sister and I with virtually no family except my wonderful Aunt and Uncle and each other. Life has been hard, a roller coaster and I have hated life and the hand I have been dealt and other times, I feel liberated for my struggles because I am the person I am today because of my hardships. Hindsight is a wonderful thing… Emily was born on the same date my mother died. It was like God saying to me, enough sorrow and heartache, here take this child, be it’s mother. I am giving you something back for your loss.

When you are in the midst of your grief, it can be difficult to see the woods for the trees, and months later, I still sometimes feel this way. I find it difficult to comprehend, to digest and sometimes, I struggle to believe it even happened. “Why me?”. “What did I do wrong?”. “It’s my fault!”. “Was there something I could have done to prevent it?” These are some of the the things that have been on repeat in my head. But the truth is, miscarriage happens… to many woman. I am not alone in my suffering. I never realised just how many woman trudge their way through this life experience in silence, until I started to talk about it. I realised that most woman I know have experienced miscarriage at some point and in some way it is comforting. Please don’t get me wrong, I would never wish this on anyone but knowing that there are other people out there who know what you are going through, can offer words of comfort and advice makes me feel less isolated, less alone and that in itself is part of the healing process.

I am also acutely aware that this happened to Matthew too. Sometimes we can forget that although the dads are not carrying the child, they feel the loss the same way we do. Although he has suffered so much through this, he has been a rock and my strength. We have leaned on each other and we are stronger for weathering this together.

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We recently spent time back in South Africa with family and friends. We took some time out one day in Cape Town and drove around the west coast. We arrived in Melkbosstrand and took a walk on the beach. There is something about the ocean that is healing and restorative. Some of my biggest decisions in my life have been made while walking along one of the beaches of South Africa. As we were walking I separated from Matthew and Emily and took a few minutes to myself. I watched the two of them walk, laugh and collect shells together and my heart filled with joy. I am lucky to have the family I have and I am so grateful for them. And while I still find my mind drifting to our baby and how far I would be in my pregnancy now, I took that moment and let him/her go. Like as if the wind on the beach that day scooped him/her up and drifted out to sea. I cried and then let go. Turned around to face my family and busied myself with helping my daughter pick up the best shells on the beach we could find. We have not fallen pregnant since the miscarriage and I have no idea what the future holds for our family but if you ever wondered if we would like to have another child… My answer would simply be, Yes!… desperately.

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*Thank you to family and friends who have been such a lifeline and support. We are so grateful to each of you for asking how we are doing, allowing us to talk about it openly and for allowing me to cry on your shoulders. Some of you are so far away but so dear to our hearts.*

 

 

My Inspirational Women

It is international woman’s day and with this in mind, I thought I would take time to mention some of the women who I find fascinating, strong and some who have changed the course of my life forever.

Woman’s day is an opportunity to talk about issues facing woman in this modern world. Although, when you list all the challenges that woman have to face in this modern society, it doesn’t feel very modern at all. It almost seems surreal that we should still have to deal with issues such as the gender pay gap, harassment and the more sinister forced marriage, abuse, female genital mutilation and other horrors. But the world is full of amazing, inspirational stories of strength, resilience and breaking all barriers. It is these woman who lead by example and make me feel so positive and full of hope for our future.

Of course, there are so many inspirational women that it would take me an eternity to mention all of them. However, these women have made a difference to MY life.

1 – Anne Frank

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Anne Frank’s journal made her famous and highlighted her short time in hiding from the Nazi’s during WWII. Her entire family hid in a secret annex that was situated behind a bookcase, above the Opekta offices (one of the businesses Anne’s father owned) in Amsterdam. Her entries are terrifying and sad while some of them sweet and humorous. She talks about life with her older sister and all the typical sibling rivalry as well as a love interest when another family joins them in hiding. She also talks about living in terrible conditions, desperately afraid everyday of being caught. I first heard of her as a little girl when South Africa was going though tremendous change. I had no understanding of what was happening around me but through her diary, I realised that a spirit of inclusion for ALL people was vital for a good future. She provides a message of love and not hatred and she challenges our internal prejudices… “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

2- Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, poet and author. She worked with Martin Luther King Jnr and Malcolm X during the civil rights movement, was a journalist in Africa during the decolonisation and wrote a number of books and autobiographies. She is an inspiration to me because of her will to fight in the face of injustice. I love her outlook on life and some of her poems are simply beautiful. She stood up and had a voice when no one wanted to listen, especially if your voice was female African American. That takes guts and courage, guts I wish I had sometimes! Her words have brought me comfort and strength at times when I needed them most. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

3- Natalie du Toit

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When Natalie was 17, she was riding her scooter home after swimming practice. She was hit by a car and due to her injuries, lost her left leg. She was back in the pool before she had learnt to walk again with the aid of a prosthetic. She inspires me because she never allowed anything to get in the way of her dreams. Despite the tragedy she faced, she was determined to reach her goals. She has won countless medals and in 2008 qualified for the Olympics and competed against able bodied swimmers. She is an inspiration to me because… well, do I even need to explain? She is just amazing! What a superstar! “I have always had a dream to take part in an Olympic Games, and losing my leg didn’t change anything.” Natalie du Toit

4- My Aunt Betty

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Where do I even start. This woman literally saved my life! My mom passed away when I was 14 and my sister was 12. My gran then died shortly after that and I wasn’t sure how we were going to cope. She saw the living conditions we were left in with our stepfather and decided she couldn’t turn a blind eye. She took us in, loved us, looked after us, guided us and without her, I do not think we would have survived. To me, she is the ultimate inspirational woman. She never ceases to amaze me. Constantly giving without any expectation of receiving anything in return. This is the woman I most want to be like. The everyday superwoman. I love her more than words could ever imagine and I try to live my life in such a way that makes the sacrifices she made and risks she took to bring us up, worth it! Thank you Aunty B for being my ultimate inspirational woman!

There are so many more inspirational woman and I surely do not have the space on this blog or the time to write about all of them. So as we celebrate all the wonderful, amazing woman today, let’s spend some time looking inwards… What are YOU doing today to inspire someone? Are you making a difference? Are you standing up and making your voice heard? Be the change you want to see in this world… be the solution. Happy woman’s Day!

Some other inspirational woman:
Oprah Winfrey (Came from nothing to become a global phenomenon)
Thuli Madonsela (Girls got guts to publicaly stand up against our corrupt SA president)
Mother Teresa (She had an overflowing capacity to love and make a difference)
Aung Sang Suu Kyi (Spent 15 years in house arrest for standing up for democracy in Burma)

 

 

New Year, new beginnings

So, 2016 has rolled around and I have spent some time thinking about how I intend to spend the year. I took some time away from the blog, not because I wasn’t enjoying it… because actually, I love this little space I have created but because I wanted to re-evaluate this little site. I do find it challenging to keep writing regular posts while at the same time juggling work and family life. I was seriously considering letting the blog go because I felt that if I couldn’t post regularly, then I wasn’t doing this whole blog thing right…

We celebrated the New Year in Cornwall this year. Just the 3 of us… which is a first and honestly, it was great! We spent some wonderful time together as a little family. We ate fish and chips at Rick Stein’s fish and chip restaurant in Padstow. Walked the beaches in Fowey and explored the Eden project. Most of all, we spoke about the new year, our goals, dreams and wishes as a family.

I decided that I love blogging and wanted to keep the site. I need to allocate more time to doing this which I hope to do this year. I have begun planning posts already as well as having a think about some of the messages I want to put out there this year. What’s my ethos? And how best do I get these messages across? I also realised that the blog should really be anything I want it to be. It is by me for me, well… at least it is for now. It’s an archive of some of my happiest moments and I am fond of this little space.

Aside from this, I have decided to focus on other areas of my life such as my health and eating clean. Focusing on our house and doing up the some of the rooms that have been lacking attention. We also want to travel a bit this year and we have a list of some of the places we would like to visit. So this year is looking good. Exciting even. So here is to 2016. May it be a year full of adventure, love and excitement!

 

 

The Mother Lode of All Tantrums

If you ever thought you were alone when it comes to your toddler putting on an incredible performance, well I can assure you…you are not.

Emily’s tantrum last night was certainly something to behold. I was busy cooking dinner and she likes to play this little game… where she dresses her doll up, packs her bag and knocks on the kitchen door to drop Rosie (her doll) off at school (I’m the teacher) and heads off to “work”. It’s a cute game and I enjoy playing it with her. She was taking a while so I opened the door and stuck my head around to see where she was… Well, I don’t know why, but this made her so upset she slumped to the floor and began to cry. “Sorry Emi, come knock on the door” I say to her…that seemed to offend her even more. So I figure, OK… a bath may help. I get her in but now she refuses to brush her teeth, normally I can brush her teeth for her once she is out the bath and in her towel… when I attempted to do this well she screamed so loud I thought she was actually going to make herself sick. I cuddled her a bit to see if I could calm her, nope…nothing worked. In the end, I lay her on her bed, cuddled her, gave her a kiss and said she must call me if she needs me. She lay there for about 15 minutes having a good cry and she then called out “Mamma, I are ready!”

By this time daddy had arrived home which offered a distraction and she then calmed down. Sjoe!! I needed a glass of wine after that!

As I think back, I could have done a few things differently to change the situation or handled some aspects of her tantrum better but also on reflection, I think she just needed a good cry. Most of us hold our kids to an incredibly high standard. Sometimes higher than we could ever achieve ourselves and we forget that they are little humans with emotions and feelings. I know I have been guilty of doing this! But as a “grown up” (as she likes to call us) I realise that I have my days where I am in a bad mood, I am snappy, miserable and sometimes sulk in a corner and cry.

If us as adults do this regularly, how on earth can we expect our children not to? I am on this journey of discovery and there are many lessons I am learning along the way but one thing I have leant is to show some understanding to my little girl and let them know that you are there for them through thick and thin.

This morning was like nothing had happened and she was back to her happy, lively and playful self. Nothing a good cry can’t fix eh?

Thanks Emily for teaching me about humility and to watch myself and my actions but also, thanks Emi for being you!

Reminiscing 1995

With the clash of the titans tomorrow, it certainly feels very reminiscent of the day before the final in 1995. It’s a big game and no matter if we win or lose, once again… this game is bringing the country together and that makes me proud to be a South African.

So with this in mind, I thought I would spend a little bit of time back in 1995 and I thought you may want to come with me! Some of the things I remember about that time were…

The films I watched
I am a BIG film fan and to be honest, I have not watched a new film in almost a year (the sad truth of being a parent!) but I spent a lot of my teenage years at the cinema and the films I recall watching in ’95 are Toy Story, Braveheart and Seven. Loved them all and I have actually watched each of these a second and maybe even a third time!

The television shows
Some of the greatest TV shows came from that time and I was obsessed with Friends, ER and X-Files. I can still hear the X-files theme song in my head!

And… Oprah looked like this!

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Miss South Africa
This was the year that Bernelee Daniell won the pageant. I absolutely love her! She is now a mom and business woman and is known for her work with the charity STEPS which raises awareness and money for people with clubbed feet which she was actually born with!

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Fashion
I may have dressed like this… T-shirt under strappy dresses and the dungarees which, surprisingly, seems to come back into fashion every now and then…

James Small
Well, he was the flavour of the year for sure and I may have been known to have a small school girl crush on him. I recall in the lead up to the final game in ’95, the Springboks made appearances at various restaurants, My mom took me to meet him and she bought a bunch of flowers for me to give to him. I thought she was crazy and dismissed the idea immediately. I mean… who gives a rugby player built like a brick shit house a bunch of flowers!! We got to the front of the queue, I shook his hand and blushed… my mom gave him the flowers and wished him luck for the game. He then leaned over the counter, thanked her and gave her a kiss… A KISS!!!… ON THE LIPS!!! Arrrggg!! How did she know!!! I did not speak to her for the rest of the day.

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Winning the trophy
Of course, this happened…

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When Joel Stransky scored that drop goal in extra time, my gran dropped to her knees and cried with sheer joy, my mom pretty much sobbed the entire match and I ran outside into the streets which came alive with people everywhere, hugging each other, crying and spraying beer everywhere. There were parties in the streets until late that night. As a girl who knew very little of the massive impact this would have for my country, I still felt the shift and it felt great!

The 1995 Springboks are here in London and will be running 2 miles around the city on Saturday morning and have invited everyone to join them. It will begin at 07.30 from Trafalgar square. I wish I could go but we have ballet class for Emily which she looks forward to but if you do go, please share your experience…

So, while I bring myself back to the present, I can’t help but feel that we all need this match. A renewed unity for us all to show the world what true ubuntu means. Of course I want us to win, like I did in 1995 but coming together, sharing the experience with each other with love and acceptance… That is true winning! So good luck Boks, the nation is behind you.

Where were you in ’95, I’d love to hear!

A cook off amongst friends – Olé!!

Because the Stassen’s won the last cook off, they hosted this most recent one and the theme they chose was Mexican. We had the most wonderful day and we even had a guest team…Team Taylor…. joining us from South Africa. So without further a do, I present to you the Mexican cook off!!

We started the day off with some nachos and desperado’s. It was a lovely warm day so we ate these outside watching the kids run about in the garden. There was a delicious, spicy guacamole and sour cream for dipping. What a great start to the cook off and a great scene setter for what was to come.

Team Breetzke
So, this team kicked off the challenge by going first. They did burritos filled with slow roast beef, spicy rice and topped with tomato and cheese. They made a home-made tomato salsa for dipping with guacamole and sour cream. The juicy beef  just melted in your mouth and the spicy tomato rounded this dish off perfectly. What a fabulous dish!

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Team May
We went next with spiced pulled pork fajitas with a mango salsa. I have to say that the pulled pork on its own was sublime and the mango salsa was amazing with chilli and lime juice. But in my honest opinion, when we put all the ingredients together it wasn’t as amazing I thought it would be. Not to say the dish couldn’t be amazing but I confess I didn’t practice our dish and in hindsight, I should have. Well, suffice to say, I shall be practising the next dish to make sure it is perfect for next time! We still scored really well with the “judges” so everyone still seemed to enjoy them…

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Team Stassen
The Stassen’s were next with chicken quesadillas with chorizo, cheese and chilli and home-made guacamole and chilli sauce for dipping. Crispy, spicy and cheesy… all the good things you expect from a good Mexican dish. Lip smackingly good and so easy to make, it would literally take you a few minutes to rustle up!

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Team Taylor
So our lovely guests, Mr and Mrs T contributed to the day and seeing as they were there for the very first cook off (steak) it was so fitting to have them join us for this one. On this occasion, they presented mince Chimichangas. They are traditionally deep fried but on this occasion we had them soft and gooey. They were filled with spicy mince and refined beans with a home-made chilli sauce for dipping. The mince and beans were such a good combination and the chilli sauce just added the kick you needed at the end. They were absolutely delicious and I would love to try their fried counterpart too!

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Team Jooste
So this team is always the one to watch and this was no exception! They did beautifully plated sweetcorn fritters, pulled pork, crushed tortilla chips, feta and a sprinkle of chipotle chilli. so so good! The feta added a depth to this dish that was instantaneous! Such a lovely combination of flavours!

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We were so stuffed by the end of the day we couldn’t eat another thing but what a fabulous afternoon! Good food, good friends and lots of laughs.  The voting for this one was nerve racking! I personally didn’t think my dish was that good and the Breetzke’s were ready for a win.

After counting, the Stassen’s gave us the great news that the winner of the Mexican feast was…..

Team Breetzke!!

They took home the small roaming trophy and a bottle of tequila. Well done guys! A very well deserved win and we look forward to what you have in store for us at the next cook off!

Keep an eye on the recipe tab of the blog for some recipes from the day. If you want one in particular, do contact me.

Nos Vemos (Till next time)…

Eweleaze Farm – The PERFECT camping spot

If you are looking for a great camp site that is around 3 hours drive from South London… We have the spot just for you. We were invited to join friends of friends last year that were camping at Eweleaze and we decided to jump at it. We hadn’t been camping since before we had Emily so it seemed like the perfect time. We loved it so much, we did it again this year!

The farm is a running farm for 11 months of the year and they open up their fields to the public for the month of August. It is located a short distance from Weymouth with the most beautiful views of the sea. It is situated on a hill top and at various vantage points on the site, you feel like you are on top of the world!

Family Friendly
It is a family friendly camp-site, with fantastic activities for children. They have an indoor and outdoor, hay bale, obstacle course, scheduled times to walk the puppies and petting times for the smaller animals. They also have arts and crafts activities to give the mums and dads a break. Full timetables of these activities are found in the brochure you receive at check in.

Amenities
Ok, the list is too long but some of them are: A shop filled with local, organic produce. Local ciders, beers and wine. Full camping equipment section, in case you forget the pesky torch!! A full organic bakery with freshly baked bread, pastries and pies every day. A barrister to make your favourite coffee, ice cream shop, wood fired pizza oven and restaurant. There is also a sauna and spa as well as yoga and other exercise actives for you take part in.

Beach
This little gem of a camp-site is situated on the Jurassic coast. Their private beach is a short walk from the camp-site and it is a great place to look for shells and fossils which will capture the imagination of your little explorers!

Weymouth
Weymouth is a short drive from the camp-site with all you can expect from a large town. Shops, restaurants and of course the bustling promenade with the lovely sandy beach.

We spent 4 nights in this beautiful spot and our spirits couldn’t be dampened even though it rained for the first 36 hours of our stay. We just wrapped the kiddies in rain coats and wellies and off we went!! As the rain dried up, we were gifted with the most beautiful sunset. From then on, the weather was amazing! Gorgeous sunshine and it was warm enough for some of us to actually have a dip in the sea!

Because we are a large group of people we try and set up our tents in a “kraal” style so we have the centre space for socialising. This is great at meal times and we all try and bring something for everyone to enjoy such as cheese platters, cake and I always bake my aunt’s famous rusks which everybody loves! Of course, we did what any respectable South African would do when camping and had a potjie (A slow cooked stew done on the coals of a fire in a cast iron pot). We had 3 varieties and all of them were delish! We also braaied… a lot! and did the compulsory marshmallows on sticks… the only thing we didn’t do was sing kumbaya.

It was important (for our sanity) that the children had various activities so not only did we take advantage of some of the activities on offer but we also came up with a few games ourselves such as painting the rocks around the fire pit, playing go fish, egg and spoon race and bubbles!! It is so wonderful to see them run around with wild abandon, they almost didn’t know what to do with all the space!

So, if you are looking for a great little spot, with so much to offer, this camp-site comes out trumps for me!! We are looking forward to our trip next year and hope to hear your wonderful happy stories of your visit to this little slice of Dorset heaven.

For more photos, visit their Facebook page

Happy Campers!!

My new baby essentials list

When you are a first time mom, all of the items available for your baby can be overwhelming. It can be hard to separate the necessities from the gimmicks. I was drawn in by a few things that I did not use in the end so, here is my list of baby goodies that I found invaluable, hopefully you will too…

Pram/Buggy
You will definitely want a travel system. Make sure the baby car seat fits into the frame of the buggy. It will make the world of difference when you are out and about. I found having a buggy with one handle bar made all the difference in steering the buggy while holding bags or a cup of coffee and also make sure that the buggy is light and easy to fold.

Bottles and microwave steriliser
Pick your bottles and make sure that the microwave steriliser fits into your microwave. You will be using this a few times a day in the beginning.

Baby monitor
There are many on the market so go for the one that suits your budget and needs. Some have cameras and other have breathing sensors. We didn’t need all the fancy add on features so we went with a simple monitor that included lullaby’s and a temperature/humidity reading.

Aden and Anais BIG muslin squares
These Aden and Anais muzzies are great and so versatile! They are made with muslin cloth and great for swaddling in the summer months, covering the buggy while baby is asleep, a blanket for baby to sit on, a towel for around the pool…The list is endless! They come in a range of designs so I am sure you will find one that suits you and baby perfectly!

Grobags/sleep bags
You really can’t go wrong with these. They take the worry away that baby’s blanket will land up over their head and if baby is restless, you can be assured they are snug and warm the entire night. Think about your baby’s age in relation to the season… so 0.5 – 1 tog for summer and 2 – 2.5 tog for winter.

Buggy sun shade
These are great black out shades for your buggy to help baby sleep while you are out and about. They are fully breathable and UV protected.

Floor playmat
These entertain and develop your baby. The bright colours and dangly toys help to develop their sight and motor skills as they try to grab the toys. It also helps to keep your little one occupied during tummy time.

Digital ear thermometer
These are the easiest to use and the most accurate. When your baby is not well, you want to be able to assess the situation as easily and quickly as possible. A digital thermometer is definitely the way to go.

Bath thermometer
Babies have such delicate skin, they can only handle temperatures of 37 degrees. A bath thermometer helps you to make sure the bath is just the right temperature for their little body.

Changing bag
This ultimately becomes mommy’s handbag too so choose one that you really like. I love my PacaPod bag but there are so many to choose from. One piece of advice, just like the PacaPod has changing pod, I would strongly suggest you buy a small bag that will fit nappies, wipes, nappy bags, changing mat and some bum cream. It will make changing your little one much easier while you are out and about or on a plane. You just grab the changing pod and go.

Baby sling
Again, there are many types out there but the BabyBjorn is the best in my opinion. Babies… especially new borns, like to be close to their moms. This can be challenging when you want to head out for a walk, put a load of washing on or have something to eat. This sling is great as it allows you to have baby close but gives you the freedom to move around.

Sheepskin
For baby to lie on, sit on, play on, sleep on. It is a great play mat for the winter months. The floor is cold and the sheep skin will help keep them warm. Get 100% sheepskin. It keeps baby cool in summer and warm in winter. Emily sleeps on her’s throughout the entire year. One of our BEST buys!

Feeding cushion
These offer great support during your pregnancy while you sleep or sit on the sofa but even more support while you feed your baby. Whether you bottle or breastfeed, babies can take up to 45 minutes to feed in the beginning. Having a cushion you can rest baby on means you are not trying to hold up your little one on your own for that period of time.

Some sort of comfortable rocking chair in the nursery
It’s 2am and your baby has woken up unsettled. You give them a bottle and sing them back to sleep but the whole process takes 40 minutes. Do you stand in their room? Or do you sit? Some baby’s can take a while so having something you can sit on in the room will be a life saver! Make sure to incorporate one in your baby’s room today!

Swaddling and cellular blankets
Most newborns like to be swaddled, having something you can wrap them tight in means they will settle better. All blankets should be breathable so cellular blankets are the best.

Dimmer switch
Add this to your baby’s main light switch. A side lamp is actually really bright so when baby is unsettled in the middle of the night, a dimmer switch on the main light means you can keep the lighting in the room really low.

Moses basket
Or something similar for next to your bed. When baby is new, having to get out of bed 5 times a night for feeding can be exhausting. You simply have to turn over and pick baby up for feeding. Also, I was comforted to just put my hand on Emily’s chest to feel her breathing right next to me.

General essentials
Of course you will need other various bits and bobs such as nappies (a lot of them), changing mat, bath seat for the bath (no need to buy a baby bath), vests and babygro’s, toiletries, mobile for the cot, baby bouncy chair (For those that want one) and so on.

If you are about to embark on motherhood! Congratulations! I hope this list offers you some help.

Are you a mum and have a few items that you found invaluable? Do share these if they are not on the list.

Happy shopping!

My Favourite Things

Everybody has them… those little things in their lives that bring them so much joy. That piece of jewellery, that item of furniture that you bought that you love or the handbag that you spent a months salary on. These are MY favourite things.

My bed
This sits at the top of the list for good reason…some wise person told me that the majority of your life will be spent at work or in bed, make both places great places to be! This is so true!! When we bought our house we decided to buy a really good quality mattress which we love. I adore our White Company, Egyptian cotton linen that feels so cool and luxurious. We have a down duvet and pillows and the most decadent aspect of our bed is our down mattress protector from The White Company. This was a gift from my sister in law and it is thicker than our duvet! Getting into bed at the end of the day is like a beautiful, feathery hug! What more could you ask for really…

Artwork from our travels
We always try and purchase a piece of art when we travel. We have recently hauled all the paintings out from their storage place and decided to display them. I love how artwork turns a house into a home and each piece has a story. I look at each of them and I am reminded of some of the wonderful places we have been to and the memories we have created there.

My fragrances
I have many fragrances but these 3 are my favourite. The Davidoff, Cool Water is my “go to” summer fragrance. It is cool, fresh and floral. Dolce and Gabbana, The One is my winter/evening fragrance. It is warm and exotic and suits a cold winters day or an evening out, perfectly. My Clarins, Eau Ressourcante is my every day fragrance. I love this fragrance because it is subtle enough for everyday use and I have been known to actually wear it underneath other fragrances. These 3 are the ones I use the most… as you can see by the almost empty bottles!! (at least my birthday and Christmas is coming up! *hint, hint*)

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Charm bracelets
I received my own lovely bracelet as a gift from my bestie on my 30th. At the time, I had spoken to her about my mothers bracelet and how wonderful it was and how I wished I could get it back (long story…). When I opened my little box and saw the new bracelet with the “C” on it, I immediately got all teary! Since then, I have managed to get my mothers bracelet back and my sister and I chose which charms we wanted. I have now given her our mother’s original bracelet with the cleaned and polished charms that she chose. The remainder of the charms will be put on a new bracelet and worn by me with pride and joy. Its amazing how one small item can produce so much emotion.

Our garden
So much hard work, love and attention has gone into our garden. Matthew has done most of the work and I love him for it. I don’t have very green fingers but I love beautiful spaces so when I told Matthew what I saw our garden looking like, he turned what I had in my head into reality. Honestly, this is the best “room” in the house.

The Nespresso machine
I am a lover of all things coffee but I am quite fussy. I like freshly brewed coffee and the stronger the better. Our Nespresso machine offers us the opportunity to have fresh coffee at our finger tips. We love this little wonder and can’t remember our pre-Nespresso days… No instant coffee here, people!!

Of course, there are so many more favourite things, I could go on for days. Emily’s bedroom with all her little trinkets is such a happy space, some of my books including Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom and the Ken Follett collection.

Other special pieces of my late mother’s jewellery that remind me so much of her. My beautiful Carol Boyes serving spoon and salad servers. My lovely big dining room table for family meals and dinner parties… the list goes on. It is great to look around you and feel appreciation for the lovely things you have worked hard to buy, the memories that some items bring back for you and the beautiful pieces that are passed down from generation to generation. What are your favourite things?