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The “Christmas Eve Box” and other Family Traditions

Christmas is almost here, and I’m so excited! We aren’t Christian, so for us Christmas is all about food, presents, food, being at home with family, food, childhood wonder, food… and food.

The “Christmas Eve Box” is a new tradition, and I love putting it together just as much as the kids love opening it.

We’ve started cutting down on the gifts for Christmas because we’ve found that like so many kids, Kivesh and Thavina are often overwhelmed by the number of toys they receive, throughout the year and especially during Christmas. A mere 2 months down the line (if that), the toy is forgotten, and there’s a need for a newer, new toy.

We are constantly stressing the lesson on being grateful and taking care of the belongings, toys included, that they do have. This year we’re cutting down even more on gifts, the kids both still believe in Santa, so he gets the credit for the gifts anyway. The “Box” is a great way to fulfil their gifting needs yet make it special and more about family time than the gift itself.

The box is in no way limited to Christmas, a goodie box like this can be put together at anytime and with any theme. the main focus is to spend some time together. In fact as I typed the previous sentence my mind jumped to a whole bunch of other ‘boxes’ I could put together for me and the kids to enjoy.

Our Christmas Eve Box usually consists of the following;

  • New Pjs, if I can find Christmas themed ones its even better!
  • A personal Christmas decoration for the tree – these are kept in their own little box, they will one day leave home with these, and their first Christmas will be guaranteed to be filled with memories of their childhood.
  • A Christmas themed story book
  • A Family themed, or an old time favourite movie
  • Popcorn / snacks for the movie or story time
  • Some yummy hot-chocolate sachets
  • Biscuits for Santa (and the kids) – optional extra: Oats for the reindeer and mini donuts for the elves

An absolute must have for Christmas is the “A Reindeer in Here” book and plush toy available at Modern Mama . This gorgeous book belongs in  a home with little kids who believe in magic and wonder and all things extraordinary.  It’s definitely on my wish list for this years box!

I love this new tradition of ours, and it reinforces the whole family bonding experience. We read the book/s together and re-read them another 10000 times more, the kids also have a personal collection of Christmas ornaments that they will keep and have when they eventually have trees of their own to decorate. Last year I am attempting knitting a mouse for the kids. Hardest thing I have ever done in my life… yes, I’ve given birth twice, donated a kidney and gotten a degree in microbiology and zoology… knitting at this point is getting the better of me. This year I wanted to do a LEGO blanket…also not going that well.

Other family traditions in our house is of course setting the scene, as mentioned in a previous post, I am big on footprints. Anyone that’s looked for bigfoot or a unicorn, will know that footprints = proof that they exist. On Christmas morning it is not unusual to find snowy glittery footprints in our lounge. We spend the rest of the day eating, with a possible quick visit to some family and then back home for more eating.

Whatever your tradition is, keep it alive. My memories of childhood traditions mean so much to me, and I’m sure to you as well, so they will definitely mean the world to our kids.

For more on fun festive family traditions check out my article in the latest edition of Milestones magazine.

Love Yash

 

Toys. Toys. Toys. I think about it all the time…

Every kids dream, and often a parent’s nightmare.

I have to be honest I am habitually out of the loop with what’s considered ‘in’, and what’s ‘trending’ with the cool kids. I usually google ‘age appropriate gifts’ for my own kids as well as for any presents we may have to buy. Which made me eternally grateful to have received a delivery from PRIMA TOYS, and I wasn’t the only one. Kivesh and Thavina were super thrilled to receive some of PRIMA’S latest releases to play with and review. And I have to be honest it got me off the hook and I was granted ‘Best Mum Ever’ status… until I had to tell them to pack it away and wash up for lunch.

So let’s talk about toys in general… what is your toy purchasing style? A toy whenever something new comes out? A toy whenever you go out? A toy strictly for special occasions (birthdays and Christmas or their equivalents). When we had just Kivesh we were a lot more cavalier with our spending and would often purchase toys unnecessarily, and ‘just because’ we were out, or visiting a mall. A few years later, a crazy economy, a little sister, school fees, not to mention increasingly expensive taste in toys etc. etc. and we are definitely not entertaining the “Christmas mentality” every time we go to the Pavillion. We are trying to minimise frivolous purchases and also teach the kids to respect money and what toys they do have. It got to a point where Kivesh would get a toy on the weekend and by the very next weekend it would be deemed ”old”, and he would then need a “new toy”.

That being said, we do live in an age on indulgence and when we do get that opportunity to spoil them, we do. I cannot negate the need for toys entirely. Sometimes I hear them playing in their room and its nothing short of amazing. Kivesh loves his LEGO and it just lets his imagination take flight, and I’m so pleased to see him pass this on to his little sister. I’m leaning towards fewer but ‘bigger’ set orientated toys, like a doll house, with its accessories, a pirate ship, a castle, dinosaurs and volcanoes. All these things stimulate a natural storyteller in our kids that we need to take advantage of, especially in the age of technology, where X boxes and tablets, etc. are much cooler. And I’m not putting down those things either they also have their place in the pros corner, its just that some good old fashioned creative play is always a good idea. Learning through play is important for a child to make sense of the world around them, they’re able to develop socially as well as cognitively. A book titled “Einstein never used flash cards”; five elements of play are listed as;

  • Play must be pleasurable and enjoyable.
  • Play must have no extrinsic goals; there is no prescribed learning that must occur.
  • Play is spontaneous and voluntary.
  • Play involves active engagement on the part of the player.
  • Play involves an element of make-believe.

So back to PRIMA, they are quite literally at the forefront of kids toy production, affiliated with the most popular brands and characters. From Baby Born and Fingerlings to Disney Princesses and Marvel the likelihood is that you own a lot more PRIMA Toys than you realise. The kids were given toys from the ‘BEN10’ range as well as a ‘Baby Love – Baby Thando’ to play with and review and what a treat it was.

To start of we had to play a little catch up with BEN10 the series has come quite a long way, and we watched a few of the earlier episodes to get Kivesh familiar with the characters and the plot of the show. He was enormously excited, especially at the idea of telling his friends all about his new toys. He was given an Omnitrix, which if you aren’t jacked up with the series is the watch-like do-hicky that causes Ben to turn into various alien heroes.

Heres a little synopsis of the show as well as the toys available.

Ben 10 – A True Hero

Benjamin Tennyson is not your average 10 year old boy. He also moonlights as Ben 10, a superhero with special powers that he discovered from a young age when his signature Omnitrix device miraculously attached itself to his wrist. The Omnitrix gives Ben 10 the power to alter his genetic makeup and transform into 10 alien creatures that help the world and prevent disasters, save people from alien invasions and fight off the bad guys. The streets are always safe when Ben 10 is around.

Now all Ben 10 fans can recreate their own scenarios with a range of brand new Ben 10 toys and products. Brand new action figures are available in various sizes, each with their own special movement capabilities. There is also a range of exciting playsets including the Rustbucket Deluxe Playset and the Ben 10 Transform & Battle Set, which features a favourite alien along with a gauntlet mask to match.

Alien figurines include Alien X – known for his ability to warp time, space and reality. Then there is Four Arms who is known for his incredible strength and his ability to break through most objects. Heatblast is Ben 10’s go-to alien when he needs to melt or burn anything in a flash, because Heatblast is made up of live volcanic magma.  Each figurine is available in a variety of sizes including mini, basic, large and deluxe.

Any Ben 10 fan knows that you cannot recreate a truly great Ben 10 story without the fantastic Omnitrix. Get yours and see if you can unleash your very own powers or if you can transform your subjects with your favourite Ben 10 alien too.

Other Ben 10 accessories include Transform n Battle role-play sets with mask and glove. Ben 10 is ideal for boys aged 4 to 9 years of age.

Thavina received the amazing Baby Thando from the Baby Love range. She comes with a few accessories, so you can feed her and put her to bed. But her key feature is that she has a number of programmed phrases that she says in English and then repeats in isiZulu. It’s been such fun learning Zulu with Thavina and baby Thando. Tip – don’t sleep with baby Thando, she is liable to start talking in her sleep.

   

 

Heres more info on Baby Thando and the Baby Love range

Baby Thando – SA’s first Zulu-speaking doll

Baby Thando is an adorable new doll that is also the first of its kind, because this doll speaks Zulu. Baby Thando is a baby doll designed specifically for little girls in South Africa and is set to pave the way for a new generation of dolls.

Baby Thando is the very first Zulu-speaking doll, made especially for South African girls. With the push of a button on her belly, the doll speaks 25 phrases in English and 25 phrases in Zulu. She first says a phrase in English which is then followed by the Zulu translation. Phrases include: “I love you/ Ngiyakuthanda”, and “I’m hungry/ Ngilambile.”

“Baby Thando is no ordinary doll. She speaks Zulu and this makes her the first of her kind. The fact that she also has an educational aspect is a huge plus for both parents and children. She is the perfect companion for children who want to learn English, a language which is not their mother tongue. Thando also provides the opportunity for children to start speaking Zulu or add to their vocabulary,” says Sphe Zikode – Brand Manager for Prima Toys.

Baby Thando is a soft bodied doll. What’s more, the doll has perfect skin tone, something which was an extremely important factor during the design stages of the product. “We tried to ensure that we created the right skin tone for Baby Thando, a tone that South African girls can identify with. This was very important,” continues Zikode.

The range includes two other dolls – Baba Tasha and Baby Bella. Baba Tasha speaks 50 phrases in Afrikaans, including “Ek is honger” and “Ek is lief vir jou” and many more. Baby Bella is English-speaking and also features 50 phrases.Baby Thando, Baby Bella and Baba Tasha are ideal for girls aged two and over. Each doll comes with a plate, spoon, fork, bottle and dummy for loads of fun play

All these toys as well as many more are available at all toy stores and retailers countrywide. For more information, visit www.primatoys.co.za or go to www.Facebook.com/Primatoys

We have a special treat for two lucky kids. To stand a chance to win either a BEN10 or Baby Thando enter the form below.

Question : Please specify if you would like BEN or THANDO.

Good Luck

Yash

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Beatrix Potter and The Tale of Peter Rabbit

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the works of Beatrix Potter, but for my sisters and I her whimsical tales were an essential part of our childhood. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was to find out that a Peter Rabbit movie was being released this year.

As the story goes, Beatrix’s writing began with a picture letter to the son of her governess. She was initially rejected by several publishers, before her work was acknowledged. In 1901 Beatrix published 250 copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit herself, these were for family and friends. The book’s instant success encouraged Frederick Warne & Co., who had previously turned it down, to reconsider their decision, offering to take it on as long as Beatrix re-illustrated it in colour. On publication in October 1902, it was an immediate bestseller. The following year, Beatrix published The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tailor of Gloucester with Frederick Warne, and the rest of her legendary tales followed. Check out the amazing Peter Rabbit website for more info on all Beatrix’s stories —> (https://www.peterrabbit.com/about-beatrix-potter/)

I have vivid memories of having these stories read to me and my sisters, as well as us watching the tv series starring Niamh Cusack. I’ve borrowed my mums copy of The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter, and I’ve begun reading to the kids (I can’t believe I hadn’t already done this). So, before the movie is released, they should be familiar with the magic world of Beatrix Potter. I’ve even gotten my hands on a few episodes of the original TV series, and just the opening credits immediately transported me back 25 years (yes, I’m that old).

Let me back track ever so slightly and give you a quick summary of these quirky tales, The Tale of Peter Rabbit is about a naughty little rabbit and his misadventures in Mr. Mc Gregor’s garden. Peter has 3 siblings, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton Tail, (considerably well behaved compared to Peter). Their mum warns them not to play in Mr. Mc Gregors garden because apparently their dad was caught and put in pie. Peter of course doesn’t listen and gets up to all sorts of mischief in the garden. Other characters in the books are Squirrel Nutkin, Pig Robinson, Mrs Tittlemouse, Jemima Puddleduck and so many more. There are 23 original title in total, including 2 nursery rhyme collections.

As always, my posts wind down do spending quality time with your family and making amazing memories. If you are looking for the best bedtime read (and movies for rainy days), then look no further than Beatrix Potter and The Tale of Peter Rabbit. You will not regret watching this movie and buying her books, (and the DVD when it is released). This will be a family favourite well into your kids’ adulthood; I am living proof of that.

Peter Rabbit is out on the 29th March, just in time for Easter, and features the vocal talents, of James Corden , Rose Byrne, Sia, Sam Neill and Margot Robbie, to name just a few. The movie is inspired by the books but is not a direct adaptation of the Beatrix Potter stories. It is a new adventure for a cinema audience!

I have managed to get my hands on two of the cutest Peter Rabbit movie hampers to giveaway. The hampers consist of Peter Rabbit themed;

  •  Gardening Set
  •  Keyring
  •  Stickers
  •  Reading Set

                

         

To stand a chance at winning one of these hampers fill out the form below and answer the question.

Question – Which Peter Rabbit character are you most excited to see on the big screen?

 

BONUS – Follow this link to some amazing printable Peter Rabbit activities (FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY PLEASE) https://www.mamaslearningcorner.com/tale-peter-rabbit-printables/

Spread the news and share the competition to your favourite social media sites and invite friends to like the A Family Blog facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/A-Family-Blog-606018749561713/

Goodluck

Love

Yash

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Positive Assertiveness

The journey continues, searching for the ever-elusive ‘wellbeing’, be it at work or in our personal lives. Another slice of personal wellness is being able to ‘positively assert’ one’s self. Late last year I attended a mini workshop on Positive Assertiveness and I’m going to let you in on a few behavioural changes that we need to make in order to lead more fulfilling lives. (Not that our families don’t already fulfil and complete us, obviously 😉 )

 

To start we need to stop blaming others for how we feel. Personally, I find that difficult; my mood is frequently affected by my interactions with others. I am often the culprit of a bad mood ripple effect. I take a ‘miffed’ feeling home and the miffness spreads. Also we can’t just walk around like aloof zombies, not taking any cognisance of people, their behaviour and their relations with us. In either a workplace or personal situation, we are very often ‘bullied’ and we don’t realise it and we don’t do anything about it. A co-worker, friend or even partner is much more confident and assertive, so our thoughts, ideas and needs are over-looked and made unimportant. So, what do we do… we need to ensure our voice is being heard and our needs are being addressed. The key to positive assertiveness is self-respect, putting your feelings and needs on the table, and to stop being apologetic and self-depreciating. It has to begin with you.

The behaviour pattern of the ‘offending party’, for lack of a better term, is most likely habitual. This pattern needs to be identified, so that the ‘confrontation’ can be planned. Summon up the strength words you will need to stand up for yourself. I’m talking one of those pump yourself up in front of the mirror pep talks. (I’ll post a few at the end… just for ideas)

Emotions need to be kept in check, a situation shouldn’t be tackled when you’re emotional. Again, planning the confrontation will mean you have a better chance of remaining in control and as calm as possible.

Your approach needs to be;

  • Direct
  • Honest
  • Respectful
  • Appropriate

Choose assertive words and make sure you are the priority by using “I”, and where possible add details. (Ladies you know how we remember E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G)

Eg 1. It’s Friday night and the family wants to get take-away, we always go for fried chicken, but I’ve been craving a pizza. (I know you’re thinking let’s just get separate things for each person, but life will not tailor make itself to give us what we each want). So what do I do? Put my needs and feelings on the table. “Hey guys can we get something different tonight? We’ve gotten fried chicken for 4 weeks in a row. How about a pizza tonight, I’ve been really craving one!”

I know this is almost a silly example, but do you get what I’m saying? If we leave so many things unsaid it starts to eat away at us and break us down. From a more assertive partner to an arrogant co-worker. They all need to know that we are important and we need to (and will) be heard.

Eg 2. I’ve been asked to compile a report for a meeting…in an hour. This sort of work takes at least a full day, and this isn’t the first time. A possible way to respond – “There really isn’t enough time to complete this report. In future tasks such as this need to be given to me at least a day before, so I have adequate time to put forward a report that is of a standard we are both happy with”.

Additional Tips

Body Language – Try maintaining eye contact, like staring into the eye of (someone you want to stand up to…), maintain a firm and confident posture and tone.

Practice – This behaviour needs to be practiced until it becomes a habit. Your first few attempts might still be overlooked, but in time, you will succeed

Consequences – If there is an “or else” at the end of your assertive confrontation, follow through with it.

Journaling – Keep tabs of incidents, your reaction and the outcomes, whether it was negative or positive

There’s so much more to it than just what I’ve said, so if you feel like you need to bolster up your assertiveness, I suggest attending one of these little crash courses. I attended via our work ‘Gender Forum’ programme, and BYTES SOLUTIONS ran the course, if I remember correctly. (They do not sponsor this post in any way).

Good Luck on your journey to owning 2018. You have a voice you have feelings and you have needs. You deserve to be heard you deserve validation YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Was this post useful? Did it even make sense? Did I just write absolute garbage? Okay I need to work on that self-esteem again…

Here’s one of the positive affirmation vids I mentioned #CutenessOverload #Affirmation #GirlPower

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNtPVgblzWY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg

Love

Yash

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Midmar madness

Our road-trip for December was exploring a little more of KZN’s famous ‘Midlands Meander’. We used Airbnb for the first time and stayed over in Howick for a few days an we visited the gorgeous Midmar Dam for the first time ever. I don’t know why we hadn’t already made this trip. It was just beautiful, a whole different world. I felt like I was in one of those movies where people ‘vacation at Cape Cod’, or, whats the other place… in New York… The Hamptons, lol, yes that’s it. I know I know, the Midlands aren’t quite The Hamptons, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s pretty darn close.

      

The drive up was relatively easy. Again I can say this, because I am never the one doing the driving. In the words of Kivesh (our 7 year old), “Midmar Dam is so peaceful”…. because that’s exactly what all 7 year olds look for in a holiday. Anyway, it was more than just peaceful, it was perfect. Plenty tress to find a shady spot to park and have a picnic, the kids splashed in the slipway (concrete area where boats are launched – yes I just googled that), and afterwards they rode their bikes, it was a perfect way to spend the day.

The following day we visited the amazing Umgeni Nature Reserve, took the kids on a never ending hike and saw some of the most beautiful wild flowers.

                                 

These little bursts of outdoor adventures are so important and so good for the family. We are everyday getting deeper and deeper into the comfort of home, a wifi connection and our tablets, so these mud and bugs trips are a necessity. I did find it hilarious when I overheard a conversation between Kivesh and Thavina that went a little something like this’

Kivesh – “This place is weird it doesn’t have a television”

Thavina – “Ya, and it doesn’t have a TV too”

Some amazing Midmar Dam / Umgeni River  facts;

  • The dam covers a surface area of over 16km2 (according to google, that’s big!) , has an average depth of 12m and a shoreline of 40km.
  • The dam is fed by the Umgeni River
  • The dam then feeds back to the river and onto Howick Falls, which is approximately 95m tall.
  • The falls then feed back into the Umgeni River. It really was amazing seeing the same river that runs just a few kms from our home.
  • The  Umgeni River features in the Dusi Canoe Marathon, which is the biggest canoeing event on the African continent.

Another super exciting even that takes place in The Midlands, is The Midmar Mile. The Midmar Mile is the world’s largest open water swim, and is taking place over the weekend of the 10 / 11 Feb, that’s just a week away. The race is for serious swimmers and one can enter as an individual or as a various assortment of teams. The first race took place in 1973, with 153 entrants, a number which is now in excess of 20 thousand.

To celebrate these amazing events, I have a Spurt ZA hamper to giveaway. Spurt is a leading brand in swimming apparel and accessories such as goggles, caps, fins and swim dri towels. They are known for their innovative colours and patterns and their incredibly comfortable fit. Spurt have the most adorable range of kids swimming caps, from unicorns and cats, to sharks, fish and skulls.

Our guest reviewer Isiphile Mbhele is a water baby of note. This little lady has been swimming since she was 2 years old. She is an incredibly confident swimmer and never misses a chance to be in the pool. Isi loves the cool colour of her cap and googles and says that it’s very comfortable.

To win a hamper consisting of a swimming cap, goggles and a nose plug (pictured below), fill out the form below.  You can also have a look at the amazing Spurt range here :- http://spurt.co.za/

Question – Can you swim?

Much Love and happy adveture-ing

Yash

 

 

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“5 Million Meals”- Feed a child, feed a dream in 2018 – A campaign by Albany Bakeries

For most of us and our kids, a healthy breakfast and a nutritious lunch is a definite certainty, but the reality is quite the opposite for many children in South Africa. Thousands of children start school on an empty stomach and often have no lunch either.

Albany Bakeries aims to feed 5 million hungry children in Mzansi! –

 FEED A CHILD, FEED A DREAM IN 2018!

Committed to spreading the spirit of Ubuntu, Albany Bakeries, one of South Africa’s award-winning brands in the Sunday Times Top Brand Awards, is celebrating school children returning to the classroom with the “5 Million Meals” campaign, running up until 11 February 2018. In partnership with the Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchen, the campaign aims to deliver five million meals to underprivileged children across South Africa.

 

“We are committed to improving the lives of vulnerable school children and their communities by focusing on nutritional and educational enhancement,” says Albany Bakeries Marketing Manager Pondo Belot.

 

Hunger, poor quality food and education continue to plague South Africa’s children. Recently, the Annual South African Child Gauge reported that about 53 children under the age of five die in South Africa every day — and three-quarters of them do not live to see their first birthday. Malnutrition doesn’t only threaten children’s survival, it undermines their ability to thrive and achieve their full potential. In 2018, Albany Bakeries is reaching out to citizens across the country to join hands in making a difference.

Mzansi has the ability to help hungry children achieve their dreams, but it all starts with a nutritional meal to help them concentrate at school.  For every loaf of Albany Superior and Everyday bread purchased during the campaign at SPAR, Shoprite Checkers, Pick n Pay and spaza shops, a child in need will be fed and given a fresh and healthy start. Added to this, consumers stand a chance to help a school win R10 000 in cash towards a nutritional and/or feeding scheme. In total 50 schools across South Africa will benefit from Albany Bakeries generosity.

True to the African proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”, apart from fulfilling the dream to deliver  five million meals, Albany Bakeries is in partnership with LoveToGive, a non-for profit organisation that feeds 2300 malnourished and hungry children, while empowering unemployed women with skills training, mentorship and monthly food parcels.

Together with Albany, the NGO currently provides a nutritious filling meal every morning to disadvantaged children to ensure they don’t go to school hungry. To date, 63 699 learners from impoverished communities across the country have been provided with a hot, nutritious breakfast every day.

For the past three years, Albany Bakeries has also been involved in a feeding scheme with Shoprite’s Mobile Soup Kitchen providing a nutritional meal of soup and Albany bread to more than 300 000 South Africans in need every month.

With malnutrition a major underlying cause of death in 64% of South Africa’s children under the age of five, as reported by Unicef South Africa, food and nutrition are an essential element in the prevention of this growing epidemic. Bread is a staple food that provides carbohydrates, the energy provider that both fills a child’s stomach and keeps them fuelled for longer. Filled with nutritious benefits and fortified with vitamins and minerals, bread prevents energy ‘highs and lows’ and sustains energy for much longer.

Help improve a child’s wellbeing by purchasing a loaf of Albany bread at your local Spar, Shoprite Checkers, Pick n Pay and spaza shops.

About Albany

 Albany Bakeries have been dedicated to baking the freshest goods since 1970, offering superior quality and nutrition that has been helping South African families start their day right and keep them full for longer. The largest range of baked goods is offered in South Africa from Albany Superior White and Brown bread, to low GI variants such as Albany Superior low GI White, Superior low GI Seeded Brown and Superior low GI Wholewheat and buns and rolls. Kids’ favourites are Albany Superior White and Best of Both White Bread. Over the years, Albany Bakeries have proven to be leaders in innovation, long lasting freshness, great taste and superior quality. Albany has launched Albany Ultima health range to meet the requirements of a healthy balanced lifestyle. Albany is the most awarded brand of bread having won awards such as the 2016/2017 TGI SA’s Kasi Star Brands; 2017/2018 Icon Brand Awards and the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards.

Find out more about Albany and their amazing campaign at http://www.albany.co.za/

Love

Yash

P.S – This post was not sponsored or paid for, but was largely written by an Albany representative.

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Barbie through the ages

When I heard that Barbie was doing another movie, it got me thinking about my childhood memories of Barbie, and her influence on my own kids. My first Barbie was the 1989 Friendship Barbie. I have a clear image of her in my mind, and when I googled her the memories just came flooding back and I was transported to my childhood and it was just the best feeling.

                                                    

 

 Barbie was first launched in 1959, by inventor and mother, Ruth Handler, and named after her daughter. Ruth believed that through the doll, a little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie was there to represent the fact that woman have choices. 55 years latter Mattel has stayed true to this philosophy, with over 180 career dolls, countless accessories and even fantasy roles, Barbie is a global icon, encouraging girls everywhere to dream big. She offers limitless storytelling and career possibilities. Hands up if you’ve seen the awesome advert with little Gwyneth lecturing a group of university students on the complexity of the brain, and Maddie coaching a team of footballers #KneesUpLikeAUnicorn .

You can watch the inspirational Barbie advert here –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1vnsqbnAkk

And look at their website here – http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/you-can-be-anything.html

When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become. You can be anything – Barbie

Thavina has been lucky enough to be gifted some gorgeous Barbie dolls and movies, including two singing dolls from Barbie the Princess and the Pauper movie. It really is amazing watching her act own scenes and let her imagination take flight.

For those of you that think the dolls are archaic and create negative stereotypes of women, you will be delighted to hear that aside from the promotion of any and all career choices, Barbie also has an amazing “Shero” doll collection, featuring the likes of Body Activist – Ashley Graham, and Olympic Fencer – Ibtihaj Muhammad among others. This constant movement forward is the reason why I will comfortable and happy to have my little girl playing with her Barbie dolls and watching the movies.

The latest addition to the Barbie franchise is the movie, Barbie Dolphin Magic. Kids (and parents), can join Barbie and her sisters Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea as they go on an adventure to a tropical island where Ken is doing a marine biology internship, #CareerGoals. While snorkelling, they discover a young dolphin trapped in an enclosure—but this is not just any dolphin, it’s a beautiful bright green Gemstone Dolphin! Barbie then meets a mysterious friend named Isla, who turns out to be a magical mermaid! Soon after, the girls discover that Marlo, the biologist Ken is interning with, is holding the dolphin captive. Her intentions are to make money by exhibiting the dolphin for its unique traits. They must work together to free the dolphin so he can be reunited with his Gemstone Dolphin family before Marlo sends him away.

To celebrate the release of the movie, we have 5 Barbie lucky packets to give away. They consist of the following Barbie branded items;

  • one of four collectable variations of Barbie activity cards
  • puzzles
  • stickers
  • posters
  • bubbles
  • plus a candy

Two winners will be picked from the blog, another two on Facebook and one on Instagram.

To be one of our blog winners, fill out the form below and answer the question.

Good Luck (Check out Facebook and Instagram for more chances to win)

Love

Yash

Question: If you were tasked with creating a new themed Barbie doll, what would you create?

 

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Dinovember and magical childhood memories

By now many of you will know about my insane obsession with creating fantastical magical childhood memories and traditions for my kids.

From glittery Tooth Fairy foot prints, to snowy Santa footprints and even muddy Easter Bunny footprints (There are a lot of footprints involved in these traditions). One of my favourites is Dinovember, every November all our dinosaurs come to life and get up to mischief in the house.

They paint or bake, have bubble baths, get into the freezer to have ice-cream and even rip into the cereal boxes. We have tried all sorts of things to keep them under control, we’ve locked them in cages and boxes, but they always make their way out. Behind the scenes, I usually set things up the night before, or early in the morning, and when the kids wake up, they discover a “frozen in time” dino scene.

I’ve done this for about 3 or 4 years now, and I think Kivesh might just be catching on. When he “discovers” the scene in the morning, I see a mischievous-ness in him that wants to join in on the ‘scene setting’. This leads me to my current dilemma of when to break the news to the kids, there is no Santa… theres no magic… that’s a hard one. Kivesh will be 8 next year, so I’m thinking it might be right to let him in on the secret, and let him assist with the magic, for the dinos at-least, we’ll see how it goes with Santa

So the point of this post is to take advantage of the now, I know it’s a cliché, but they’re only little once, and they really do grow up so quick. Pretty soon they will figure out that the world can be harsh and magic can be hard to find. I know we read all these beautiful forwarded messages on how to look for magic in everyday and appreciate the small things in life, but lets be honest as adults that can be so hard to do sometimes.

So,  let the kids be kids, do everything you can, to make their childhood full of amazement and wonder, …and then of-course assign them chores so they learn responsibility.

Love

Yash

 

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Clicks Baby Club #BabyMeetUp

 

When it comes to affordable, high quality baby items, Clicks is the absolute leader of the pack. With their already low prices, coupled with amazing specials and the Baby Club by Clicks program, they’re, in my mind, second to none.

I had the absolute pleasure of attending the #BabyMeetUp a few weeks ago. It was a full day event with talks from some really amazing mums and dads. The day was co-ordinated by the renowned Meg Faure, co-author of the best-selling baby care series. The day was divided into 3 sessions, with a few mini talks in each session. The sessions were “Pregnancy Sense”, “Parent Sense” and “Baby Sense”. https://www.megfaure.com/ 

I unfortunately couldn’t stay for the entire day, and missed out on most of the “Baby Sense ” session, but here’s a quick summary of my favourite talks from the day. The host for the event was the hilarious Chris Forrest. I must say adding a comedian dad to the line up was an excellent decision and a few jokes in between our speakers kept the mood light and energised. http://chrisforrest.co.za/

     

The first session – Pregnancy Sense was kicked of with Living and Loving Editor, Sonya Naude, talking to us about enjoying our precious bumps. The highlight of this session for me was Marietjie Strydom, and her revelation on bonding. Marietjie is a consultant social worker, and play therapist. She started off her talk letting us know that she was going to be cheeky and say that the information she was about to give us would be our “AHA” moment. and in the end, it really was. Marietjie spoke about the Disruption and Repair cycle that is necessary for bonding to take place. so many of us think being a good parent and bonding with our children is a seemless event of perfection and never dropping “the ball”. When in fact, its about continuously dropping the ball and picking it up, each and every time. Basically, for you to be there for your child, and for them to understand that you are someone they can rely on and depend on, they have to first “need ” you. If you run around making sure they are constantly seen to before they even reaslise they have a need, there’s no room for a connection between parent and child.  A few of her main points were;

  • Everything your baby will learn about relationships they will first learn from you, their parent.
  • As parents we need to understand and take care of ourselves to facilitate a positive attachment experience for baby.
  • Perfection does not mean connection – A secure attachment is a process.

We were then exposed to the musical genius that is Jeremy Olivier. The story of his family, and their youngest son Noah told to us in song gave us all “the feels”, and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. When you get a chance to, look up Beautiful – Jeremy Olivier, and give it a listen, it puts life into perspective and makes you appreciate everything and everyone in your life. http://jeremyolivier.com/

During the little tea break, we got to visit a few brands that were part of the “expo” portion of the day. I chatted to the people from Colief, about their variety of products that help with the infamous colic and the less talked about cradle cap, as well as a Vitamin D supplement for both mum and baby. If you’re a new mum or you are expecting all 3 of these products are a definite must –  https://www.facebook.com/coliefsa/ 

Clicks was there in full force, signing up new mums to their fabulous Baby Club. The club is for expectant mums, and mums with kids up to the age of 3 years old. I’ve  been a member with both my kids, you get amazing discounts and specials, as well as bonus points on Clicks Baby purchases. Its definitely worth signing up to, and you can read more about it here : https://clicks.co.za/babyClubLandingPage

Clicks has also launched a gorgeous new baby range ” Made for Baby”. Everything you need for your little one can be found at clicks, from medication, to wet-wipes, nappies and even bottles. And you get your cash back vouchers as a bonus. All new sign-ups received this handy tub, with some baby essentials. I also visited the Colgate stand and heard about the fantastic Minions electric tooth brush and the “colour changing” tooth paste (for adults). Both products are designed to encourage the brusher to brush for a minimum of 2 minutes, and yes, I did go out and immediately buy some of the colour changing toothpaste! Yes, it does work, it is seriously the coolest thing ever, the kids are amazed and entertained…as am I.

                       

My last stand visit was to the Old Mutual, where I signed up to be contacted regarding investment plans for my little ones, and boy am I glad that I did! After the break I was left a little speechless listening to the presentation by Priya Naicker of Old Mutual. Most of the figures and timelines in her talk swirled in and out of my head but the take home message was ” Don’t waste time”, when we invest our money needs time to grow, so the sooner we start the better. Imagine, in essence, saving for your child’s retirement when they’re born. I know the idea might seem a little out there, but saving in any form should be a priority, and I strongly suggest you give an Old Mutual financial adviser a shout to look at your financial status and where and how you could start creating a nice little nest egg for both you and your children. I’m glad I put my name down to be contacted by an adviser, and I’m quite proud of myself for implementing a little savings plan, its easy on my wallet, and will add to both the kids and my future. Have a look at the website and fill in the form to get a consultant to call you back , you will not regret it – https://www.oldmutual.co.za/financial-advice-and-planning 

To end it all was a topic very dear to me, and that is Wellness. The ever elusive balance that us mums search for. Whether you work, full-time or part-time, or if you’re a stay at home mum, being a parent is hard hard work that often leaves us emotionally and physically drained. Michelle Pitt (no relation to Brad I would assume), is a woman that knows and understands the reality of being a working mum, she spoke to us on really just making peace with our new lives, honestly accepting our new body’s and our new priorities. She runs an amazing brand called “Bits and Bobs for moms”, focusing on balancing your lifestyle as a mum.  Check her out here :- https://www.bitsandbobsformoms.co.za/ 

I can’t end this off without mentioning inspirational speaker, author and all around real man, real dad, Craig Wilkinson. he is the founder of Father A Nation (FAN), an NPO that works with men to equip, inspire and support them in becoming great fathers, role-models and mentors. With fresh, wholesome and realistic insight on the relationship between a father and his children his energetic talk was another eye opener on how we traditionally view men and the relationship between father and son. Follow this link to check out he FAN website http://www.fatheranation.co.za/ .

There were so many other speakers, all of them interesting, vibrant and informative. This is an event you need to add to your list, irrespective of the parenting “phase” you’re in. The insight and “Sense worth Sharing” dispensed on the day was simply priceless.

This has been a longer post than most of my others, but it really just was such an amazing day. To reward you for taking the time to read my post about all the amazing people I had the opportunity to listen to, I have an incredible giveaway.The lovely people at Clicks, and Meg Faure have given me some of the goodie bags the ladies received at the event to give away to five lucky new mums or dads. (2X nappy bags and clicks essentials tubs, 3X clicks essentials tubs).

To stand a chance to be one of the 5 lucky winners, fill out the form below and answer the question.

Please note the competition is limited to Durban mums, and specifically those who were unable to attend the event

(FYI – the prizes have new born nappy samples in them).

Question: Have a look at the speakers list or the show guide for the event  and let us know which of the amazing speakers you would have been most excited to have listened to.

Show guide – https://issuu.com/babymeetup/docs/2017-dbn-clicks_baby_meetup_guide-i

Speaker list – https://www.babymeetup.co.za/speakers/

Good Luck

Love Yash

*** The competition will run from 25th October till 8th November. Winners announced by the 13th November ***

 

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Keep Calm….

This post was penned quite sometime ago, June 17th to be exact.

At the time I had just had a glorious, magnificent, tremendous argument with my “SO”, notice how I magnanimously left out the B in that acronym.

When in the midst of any such argument there is often no backing down, on either side, things are said and feelings definitely hurt. I sometimes hate being the “bigger person” and backing down, but in an attempt to avoid unwanted heartache and backlash, it is often necessary. I found it quite cosmic, that while sitting here, stewing in my apparent defeat, I’ve come across an article in the recent YOUR FAMILY Magazine on how to remain calm in certain situations. The article seemed to be written more for panic attacks, but I  felt that the tips mentioned could benefit anyone needing a little more calm in their lives. It spoke mostly on how to achieve a long-term state of personal well-being as opposed to “backing-down” or defeat, which is what comes to my mind when I think of staying calm during a fight. Just as a disclaimer I ain’t no brawler there is no McGregor blood in me! I just get verbally mean and defensive.

Some of the helpful tips for immediate results were;

  • Distraction – using music, photos, or even smells to separate yourself from the rising rage or anxiety that might be enveloping you.
  • Breathing – don’t we see this tip almost everywhere. slow deep breathing (usually with your eyes closed) can do wonders for an over stimulated environment.

And on a more long term lifestyle note;

  • Stop Multi-tasking and multi-thinking – think of the saying “The straw that broke that camels back”. If you’re  in a constantly high-strung, emotional, exhausted state, it’s only a matter of time before something relatively minor causes a major meltdown.
  • Put the phone away – we all now that a “quick checkin on FB” can last for up to 2 hours. Think of all the stuff, work-wise and de-stressing wise, you could have done in that time. be mindful of the time you spend on your devices so that it doesn’t place unnecessary pressure on you later.
  • Tick of that list – I love making lists, but hardly tick anything off, I’m jumping between tasks and never really completing anything. Focus on what needs to be done and do it. The fact that its done, combined with the satisfaction of crossing it off is priceless.
  • Let go of activities – Contrary to the point above, this speaks about prioritising and actioning what is necessary. asking the question “Will not doing it immediately, matter in a month”. It sounds like procrastination, so don’t fall into the trap of leaving too much to get done later, but rather look at a task and decide on it’s importance at this immediate point in time.
  • Get more active – Again, a tip we have heard over and over again, but rarely heed. but being more active does have the obvious health benefits and helps with managing stress, what with all those endorphins being released. I guess when you’re about to freak out, a quick jog on the spot, star jumps could alleviate some tension, but a decent exercise routine should be set up.

So there you have it, whether you’re a panic mechanic, or a hot head that tends to rise to the challenge when in the middle of an argument, hopefully these few tips can help alleviate some emotional stress and tension.

I’ll let you know if I manage to implement these and how I manage an argument the next time around.

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Good Luck

Love

Yash

 

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