Posted in Family Life, Parenting

Mountains … A letter to my younger self

Day 16 of the #blogbosswinterblogchallenge called me to write a letter to my younger self.

As the mom of teens and young adults now I think one of the first lessons I would want myself to know at that age is that life comes with hurdles.

There will always be a mountain Infront of you. This could be an obstacle in your life, career or relationship. It’s how you climb that mountain that counts.

Lifes mountains

( First shared on Sparkarella in 2016)

We all come to the mountains in our life and stare up in wonder and trepidation.
How malviolently looming those mountains seem to our inexperience.

Many of us, choose to turn back on the path we came, never to summit the overbearing mountain before us. Too afraid to attempt to discover what’s on the other side.

Others have no choice but to climb as the mountain looms as an obtrusive obstacle in their path to a desired destination.

They struggle with each agonizing step, left breathless and exhausted by the height and magnitude of the mountain.

Most reach the top but many are lost amid the cracks and crevices.

But some, view the mountain ahead and instinctively, whip out the hiking boots , grab the compass and navigate the best route over the mountains path. They mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for the hurdle and endure the climb step by step.

And so it is with the problems we face in our daily lives . There are so many ways for us to approach and handle them.

We can ignore them, in our fear, knowing they don’t go away and never discovering our own strength or the joyful reward once the problem has diminished.

We can struggle through them begrudgingly , negative and feeling sorry for ourselves , leaving us emotionally and mentally drained. Having lost a part of our souls in an issue that is long past.

Or we can choose to acknowledge the problem and deal with it the best we can, positively and confident that this too shall pass.

I choose to climb my mountains victoriously …. What do you choose?

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life, Parenting

Hamish and friends on the Expresso show with Meg Faure and Lara Schoenfeld

On Thursday Hamish was invited to the Expresso studios to be part of a group of adorable toddler’s who would feature on the Morning shows segment with Meg Faure and Lara Schoenfeld from Playsense as they discussed music and toddlers and introduced their new cd Dinosaurstomp.

We woke at 5am to be at the studio for 7.30am. I’m still trying to process the 45 minute drive with a half asleep toddler in the back as he sipped on his tea and kept telling me it was dark outside.

The Expresso staff are amazing. So warm and welcoming

The toddlers arrived and Hamish was in his element, now dressed as a fireman. We have a huge box of dress up clothing at home so for him dress up always means fun.

The adorable stars were each dressed up as a variety of characters to represent the imaginative songs on the cd.

There was a fireman, dinosaur, princess, tiger and Spiderman.

So much of excitement as they waited the hour to go live. Their parents were equally as excited 😋

Thankfully we were kept in a comfortable waiting area where the kids could be as loud as they needed, have a snack breakfast and play.

Meg Faure popped by to greet the kiddies and took the time to sit on the floor with them and play the fireman song.

And then, they were called into the studio.

Hamish was immediately impressed with Thabiso Makhubela and ran up to him to give him a spontaneous hug.

This amazing man hugged straight back, put down his tablet and greeted each child at their level.

And before we had time to take it all in it was time for action as the children found their way infront of the cameras and Lara Schoenfeld led them into the fireman song.

They were just the cutest group of toddler stars.

After their singing and dancing, Hamish decided to follow Lara onto the couch and finished the segment near her.

Then it was over and time for us all to grab a few photos before heading back to the real world.

Hamish was by now catching up with the gorgeous Leigh-Anne Williams about all things fireman, as she helped him put his walkie talkie onto his fireman suit.

He had so much fun with all his new friends that he honestly didn’t want to leave the studio 😂

Thank you Expresso for such a fun, child friendly experience.

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life

Mandela Day 2019

Today we celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela.

Since 2010, we’ve celebrated Nelson Mandela Day in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

It’s an occasion for all of South Africa to join together in hope and take action to assist others in the spirit of Ubuntu.

Why 67 minutes?

Mandela Day is held annually on July 18, the day Nelson Mandela was born.

2019 marks 10 years since Mandela International Day was launched in 2009 at the 2009 UN General Assembly.

But why 67 minutes?

The 67 minutes represent one minute counted for every year that Mandela spent making South Africa a better place from 1942 to 2009. A total of 67 years.

How can you help?

Each year most non profit organisations and caring corporates collaborate to arrange an event that will allow people to donate 67 minutes of their time in the service of others.

Jenny Morris and Cape quarter

Last year, we joined Jenny Morris, celebrity chef and broadcast personality, at the Cape Quarter to cut vegetables at a soup kitchen that would become soup to feed the cold and hungry.

This year we returned, joining hundreds of caring South Africans both young and old to celebrate Mandela Day.

I was proud to take Ronan with me this year and met up with my husband and his boss.

The public are asked to donate fresh vegetables, cans of food and their time so in order to make hundreds of litres of soup.

For us, the day has a determined happiness and air of sharing. If only for 67 minutes, people remember to smile and unite for a greater purpose.

Along with a giant loaf of bread delicious muffins were baked and sold for R20. The sale of each muffin gives two people a safe warm shelter for a night.

A worthy inicitive that we look forward to assisting again next year.

Posted in Crafts, Family Life, Parenting

3 Christmas baking ideas for toddlers from just 1 recipe

I’m a simple mom and am happiest when I can use one recipe for a multitude of items and so last year Hamish and I created these three cute biscuit gifts from just one recipe.


Basic Butter Biscuits
(Recipe Credit unknown)

250g Butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup Maizena (corn flour)
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
+-2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until creamy and white.

Add oil, vanilla essence, maizena and baking powder and mix well.

Add enough flour to make a soft dough.

Roll and cut with a cutter or pipe through a nozzle.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes.

Decorate as desired

To make each biscuit

1. Reindeer cookie

You will need to roll out your dough and with a knife cut large heart shapes. Sprinkle with sugar before baking.

To decorate use a paint brush or ear bud dipped into food colouring to draw on facial features.

2. Name banner

I used a large floral shape cutter to help Hamish cut out enough banner shapes to spell out his name.

Ice each biscuit with your favourite icing recipe and using food colouring on an ear bud write your child’s name.

3. Snowflakes

To make the snowflake I used the same floral cutter and iced the cookies in white icing. Hamish then used raisins to form snowflake patterns.

Happy baking

Posted in Family Life

5 photos … My story

Day 7 of #blogbosswinterblogchallenge ask that I choose 5 photos and say what they mean to me.

With thousands of photos in my galleries I chose to share 5 photos from the photos I took this week.

Photo 1 …. Coffee

How do you start your day? I start and end every day with a cup of coffee.

Usually strong with a hint of sugar and no milk ( as I’m lactose intolerant) .

Occasionally I spoil myself with a cupaccino …. Not that I should.

This cup was from the Bokeh event at V and A Waterfront.

Photo 2 … The view

I never tire of the harbour view. Not just this picture perfect luxury setting but the working docks and dry dock as well.

There’s a beauty and a bustle I can’t explain. That combined with the ocean scent and mountain background are the reason I’ve filled hundreds of digital albums of random boat pictures.

Photo 3 … Noble square

Nobel square is situated at V and A Waterfront and shows our South African hero’s who have earned Nobel Peace prizes.

These statues are one of the first images I photographed when moving to Cape Town, 5 years ago.

They remind me that ordinary people can do great things!

Photo 4 … The rhinos are coming

If you’ve visited the V and A waterfront you’ve seen the amazing The Rhinos are coming collection of artistically designed rhino statues.

Each rhino has been designed and painted by a different artist to represent a theme.

I don’t have a single favourite …I love them all.

Photo 5 …. A little history

I love history. You can find me as happy as a pig in mud exploring museums and I often will do the walking tour at the V and A Waterfront.

It’s free. Grab a map and follow the signage to discover the rich history of this area.

Great fun if you feel like a tourist in your city moment.

What are some of your favourite photos?

Posted in Blog posts, Family Life, Parenting

The person who influenced me… My grandmother

Day 4 of the #Blogbosswinterblogchallenge.

The person who influenced me

My grandmother, Edith Marion Owen Jones was born the daughter of the mayor of Stanger,KZN.

As a young girl she would tell me the most amazing stories from her youth. Stories of a loving father and a strict authoritive mother capable of yanking table cloths off a fully set table if it was not in place.

She would speak fondly of her 3 siblings and tell tales of how she played piano and sang opera.

She always wore a dress and stockings. Her hair was neatly brushed and she had just a hint of make up.

I spent much of my young life with her.

I remember endless porcelain tea set parties and her sitting next to me teaching be to play piano.

I remember going to go shopping and stopping for blue soft serve Ice cream cones and holding her hand as she walked me to Sunday school.

As I grew we did other crazy things together like make our own perfume and feed birds. She read me stories and we sat and sang country western songs together.

We danced in her kitchen and she taught me to bake.

I was 6 when I got my first embroidery ring from her and when she first started telling me the story of how she came to be a toy maker.

She made the first Miss SA a feathered doll as part of her prize.

When I entered school she did home work with me and we explored the ocean. She would become a mermaid as we swam in the waves and together we build giant sand castles.

She moaned that I read to much and taught me to make tassle dolls which I sold and kept the money.

She bought me fancy dresses to twirl in and brushed my always nitty hair with care. She let me feed the ducks alone and bought the sweets I needed to feed the “poor children” on the farm.

She filled my days with dolls and dress up clothing, fairies and fancy tea parties.

In my teens I heard her life story, and I began to learn this amazing strong woman who had guided me to believe in myself, stand alone and find my inner courage.

At 19 she met a Belgian man and they were married. Two sons later she discovered he was still married in Belgium and her father helped her have the wedding annuled.

Over night she was a single mom with two small boys to care for.

Needing to go back to work her mother refused to allow her to come back home. Her father assisted her financially and she went back to work in her oversized maternity clothing to put food on her boys table.

There were many jobs, much hardship and an abortion before she met my mother’s father.

Her boys were 9 and 10 years old and she met my grandfather when she rented out her rooms to lodgers. He was a builder from Holland.

They married and had a little girl. For 16 years she was blissfully happy and her love for my grandfather was always expressed in a soft voice.

He passed away on New year’s Day 1974, I was born 8 months later.

She went on to marry 3 more times.

My grandmother made many waves in her life. She spoke her truth, called a spade a spade and wasn’t afraid to stand up for the down trodden.

Her heart was her largest asset and she would often in my adult years tell me the tales of her good deeds, and how others had let her down not having the same heart.

She ran several businesses from shell collecting, baking, making home made pickles, selling antiques, African curios and soft toys.

She taught me to hustle. She taught me to never give up and to think creatively.

We would sit in the lounge and look at a new velvet gown I’d bought and both reach for scissors… Her to make chokers and me to sew spiders.

We rumaged vintage shops for buttons and broaches to make accessories and she taught me to make the bodies of my hand moulded clay dolls.

We painted roosters with glass paint all over her kitchen windows and she allowed me to complete a mural on her lounge wall of the wishing tree.

As an adult we spoke daily on the phone. A week did not go by without a visit. I’d find her in the kitchen roasting chicken and baking for the kids.

She would hold my children and sing to them. She would tell crazy stories and put them on the bed for imaginary train rides.

And her and I would spend late nights talking about motherhood and children and the war and her life.

In so many ways I see our similarities. I see the strengths that she passed down to me and if I’m half as amazing as she is one day my children will say ….

She wasn’t perfect but she loved me ♥️

Posted in Blog posts, Brands we love, Family Life

Canal walk presents The Little Mermaid

The highlight of our school holiday had to be Hamish and Amelia’s playdate to Canal walk to watch their musical production of the children’s classic, The Little Mermaid.

The show

Audience were invited to immerse themselves under the sea where Hans Christian Anderson’s timeless characters became real.

Through the use of beautiful props, quirky puppets and gorgeous outfits the underwater world came alive to retell the story of a young mermaid so eager to go to land that she sells her voice to the sea witch to find true love.

Our experience

Our play date was to watch The little mermaid. So as moms do, we decided to keep our plans secret and we didn’t tell the kids until in the car. By then the excitement was overwhelming.

We arrived and collected our tickets, these two were beaming from ear to ear. They proudly showed off their tickets as we waited, admiring the sea animals in the auditorium whilst waiting for the show to start.

From the very first second that Ariel dives on stage Hamish was engrossed.

He clapped, and spoke back to the characters. He danced with the sea witch and her crazy fish and he felt each emotion of the story.

At one stage he told me Ursela’s powerful voice was singing straight from her tummy.


Once again an outstanding family production and I can only imagine the amount of hard work and practice that goes into creating such a show.

A wonderfully modern version of the classic tale. The effects, puppets, outfits and props are awesome. From glittery pink dolphins and singing clams to the mighty king Neptune.

The little mermaid is truly gorgeous and her prince incredibly regal but the narrator turtle was a firm favourite as he dotted around sharing words of wisdom.

Thank you for a wonderful show.


Posted in Blog posts, Brands we love, Family Life

Family photoshoot by Mariede Designs

We recently had a family photoshoot with the talented Lisa-marie from Mariede Designs.

The location was Signal hill and I was excited to do both our first real family shoot, as I normally just book a shoot for Hamish and my first location shoot. I’ve only ever done studio shoots up until this.

We arrived to find Lisa-marie waiting for us, camera ready.

I was immediately at ease with her friendly nature and a few minutes into the shoot I started to relax.

I had tried not to dress us far from what we would normally look like as I always want our photos to reflect who we are and Lisa- Marie captured us brilliantly.

Each of our personalities shining through with every image.

The backdrop was the highlight to these images as we spend as much time exploring Cape Town as we can with Hamish.

Our shoot lasted about 30 minutes and that was more than enough for us.

I’m camera shy ( not that you would say so 😂) and Hamish wanted to just explore.

Thank you Lisa-Marie for our beautiful family photos, precious memories and forever moments.

To book your own photo shoot contact Lisa-Marie

Posted in Family Life, Parenting

Dear mom who can’t hold on

Today I was scrolling through a community page and I saw that a young girl I assisted commited suicide.I don’t know her personally, although I had met her once, but I followed her story.I watched from behind the scenes, having been a teen mom myself, cheering her successes and looking if we had any means to help her on her set backs.I had and still have so much admiration for this young girl who was trying her hardest to give her son a future.I remember one night she collected a tin of milk and nappies Hamish couldn’t use and she was gentle, polite and so proud as I asked after her son.I don’t know her full circumstances. I will never try to speculate them.

But as a mother….

I know how alone and desperate she must have felt. How fearful for her son’s future and mostly how she must have believed she failed him.And so, the world became too much and there’s a young boy who is no longer tucked in by his mommy or read a bedtime story. He will no longer get a warm kiss or night time cuddle. No longer can he lie against her chest and feel safe in her loving arms.This has upset me all day.


We read about terrible things all the time. I’m no stranger to teen suicide or the harshness of this world.

So why this one story ….

Because each time I look at Hamish, who is almost the same age as this little boy, I wonder how he would live without mommy and I see images of a lost, lonely, confused little boy.

I see how young this girl was and I see my own elder children. How does a parent live with this level of loss? And I think how much the world has changed in my many years of parenting. The village is no longer a group of wizened grey haired mother’s passing down their knowledge or holding a new mom’s hand through her darkness.Today moms are in competition for everything. We as society have become so self absorbed we’ve forgotten to look at our neighbour and check she is ok.We’ve forgotten that kindness costs nothing. If you are a mom who needs to talk. If you need someone to listen or advise. If you looking for answers, I may not have them but I promise we can find someone who does ….

Please contact me !

Let me loan you my strength. Please don’t let your children wake up without you tomorrow ….they need you….just as you are.

You can email me

Or DM on any of my social media platforms ♥️

Posted in Brands we love, Education, Family Life

5 Apps I can’t live without

Day 3 for the #blogbosswinterblogchallenge asks me what 5 Apps I can’t live without.

I was born in a time where we used to find our information in hard cover encyclopedias not at the click of a Google search so I’m still not much of an App fan.

I do however see the benefit of a great App and I use several daily to keep in contact and work.

On my phone the top 5 Apps I use are :

1.Social Media ( Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp)

These are my means to communicate with friends and family worldwide. It allows me to share one idea, thought, event or post and just tag the relevant people.

I also use them for business, to make new contacts, network, engage and interact with people reading my blogs.

2. You tube

I have a toddler we need to watch baby shark and Pink Fong somewhere 🤷

Seriously though, I use YouTube for tutorials to enhance my skills, quickly catch up on trends and for music.

3. Google

What would I do without Google ? From looking up information, finding things to do, reading new magazines, job opportunities, maps and 1001 other uses each day.

4. WordPress

I couldn’t run my blogs without the WordPress App. In fact I write all my personal blogs from my phone straight to the App.

5. Banking App

I need this one at least once a month 😂 Online banking is much easier on my phone but I really do delete it way too often to have enough space for my photos.

What are the 5 Apps you can’t live without?