Hello to our new (PINK!) Chicken Coop!

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When we lived at the bottom of my in-law’s garden, there was already an established chicken run, complete with laying hens. It was wonderful having our own fresh supply of eggs (especially as Everly eats 2 eggs just about every day for breakfast…click here to read more about her ‘real food’ weaning & feeding journey) but also because Granny & Grandpa were a mere minute away for visits.

While there is a very old and rusty metal chicken house in one of the farm sheds, Farmboy has been wanting to make his own one for a good number of years now, and so our new home was just the prompting he needed t get started on the project. I will have you know, the pink colour was not my idea, but of course, I am thrilled with it! As there were two options for a primer for the wood (white or pink) the choice seemed obvious to my dear husband, and voila…the pink coop!

Farmboy didn’t work from any plans when we put it together, working from an idea on Pinterest, and his own clever farmboy mind, he whipped together a very snazzy A-frame house, complete with double story roosting space inside, and a hinged door on the side to collect eggs from. The chickens are locked up at night (to keep them safe and sound) and during the day are let out to wonder around their enclosure. We do let them out into the garden too, but they are such social creatures that they are ALWAYS making themselves at home on our verandah, and leaving ‘evidence’ behind that is just impossible to clean.

Here are some photos of the behind the scenes set up, as well as some photo of Everly collecting the first egg (it was promptly dropped, much to our horror) but luckily that evening there were another 5 eggs waiting for us.

We put all of our garden refuse/mulch into their pen, as they love pecking around in it. We also make sure the have straw for roosting and laying their eggs. Oh and don’t forget about Edgar, the man about town. He’s our friendy garden rooster, who lives in the garden, eating insects and other little bits and pieces…he sleeps in the trees! And everyone morning comes along with us to check on his ladies and make sure they are all happy. Funny little thing.

Enjoy

x

Pokkelokkie Newborn Cloth Nappy Review - Sleepy Dust Night Hemp Fitted & Dawn Patrol Day Cotton Fleece Fitted

Pokkelokkie Newborn Cloth Nappy Review Sleepy Dust Fitted Dawn Patrol Fitted-01-01.png

If you’re a part of any of the South African cloth nappy Facebook groups (click here for the official group…it’s where I learned everything I know!) and you ask about newborn cloth nappies, 9 times out of 10, people will recommend you use flats and covers, and then Pokkelokkie will be the brand most moms will talk about.

Pokkelokkie is owned and run by the lovely Kerryn, who is most famous for her hemp cloth nappies. She whips up her creations from her home in Brenton-On-Sea , right here in South Africa, with Pokkelokkie HQ taking up residence in her basement. Her slogan for her business is “buy once, buy well” and I learned the hard way when I first started out. I bought some newborn hemp flats from another company, and I was so disappointed in how they ended up looking after just a few washes. I then bought some bigger flats from another brand and the colours ran and ran and ran, and still run to this day. I won’t ever waste my time on any other brand of hemp flats (even if I’m trying to save costs) I’d rather just save a bit more and buy from Pokkelokkie.

When I found out I was pregnant with Aaron (click here to read more posts on my pregnancy) I knew that I was going to use a lot of Pokkelokkie nappies. I bought a whole stash of newborn sized hemp flats, and Kerryn got in touch and asked me whether I’d like to try out her Sleepy Dust Night Fitted nappy, as well as her Dawn Patrol Day Fitted.

Here are my thoughts…


Sleepy Dust Night Fitted (Hemp)

Pokkelokkie Newborn Cloth Nappy Sleepy Dust fitted review by Roxy Hutton CityGirlSearching Blog

I love this nappy! It’s squishy super absorbant, and I just LOVE the colour (it would be as beautiful on a girl as on a boy).

This nappy comes in either dusty blue or teal green (this is the one I have) and comes in a range of sizes; small medium & large. I have been testing out the Small size, which is recommended from birth to about 7kgs. Aaron is now 8 weeks old, and weighs about 5.5 kgs, but he is quite chunky and as he has been sleeping such long hours at night & has stopped pooing at night (yay & long may this last!) I don’t change him at night at all and so need to boost the nappy a bit. This makes it bulkier, and so I probably only have a couple of weeks of wear left. BUT, Everly was much smaller than him at birth, and I probably would have been able to use this nappy on her up until about 3/4 months.

The elastic around the legs is wonderful, as it really helps to contain those runny newborn poos. Aaron usually gives this nappy the ‘poop of approval’ during his first feed of the day, and I have yet to have a leak. As it’s a hemp nappy, it does need a waterproof cover. I prefer using PUL covers at night, my favourite right now being Blueberry Coveralls & my one and only Thirsties cover (these were all bought overseas and brought over by family) but you can buy Blueberry covers from TineyHiney (click here).

You will also need a snappy/pin to close the nappy. You can buy these from Pokkelokkie or you can get them at Pep/Ackermans.

Pictured below are all the extra bits that come with this nappy…

  • The ‘outer shell’, which is hemp

  • One hemp booster

  • A fleece liner

The Sleepy Dust Night Fitted nappy costs R165 for the small size (to fit newborn - +-7kgs), R360 for medium (to fit +-6-10kgs) & R390 for large (to fit +-9/10 - 15kgs).

Click here to head on over to the Pokkelokkie shop.

Here are a few pics of Aaron rocking his night nappy. The only con for me, I wish I had more! I plan on buying some in the bigger size too.


Dawn Patrol Day Fitted - Cotton Fleece

Pokkelokkie Newborn Cloth Nappy Review - Sleepy Dust Night Hemp Fitted & Dawn Patrol Day Cotton Fleece Fitted

Man oh man I love this nappy for day time use. The best part, the velcro straps! It makes putting this nappy on a breeze (especially for Dads!). The Dawn Patrol Day fitted nappy is made from Cotton Fleece, which means it’s not as absorbent as the hemp nappy, so it wouldn’t work well as a night nappy but it’s perfect for day time use when you would be changing every 2 - 3 hours anyway. Because it’s Cotton Fleece and not hemp, the bigger sizes are also a bit cheaper than the Sleepy Dust Night Fitteds, which is great because you would need a few of them for day time wear, vs just one or two hemp night nappies.

We have yet to have any leaks with this nappy. This nappy isn’t waterproof and also requires a cover (PUL, fleece or Wool are your options) and as I mentioned above, I like to use PUL covers, my favourite being the Blueberry Coveralls.

There are two velcro ‘settings’ on this nappy, meaning it can be adjusted to fit smaller and slightly heftier/older babies. Aaron is wearing the Small/Size 1 nappy, which first from birth to about 6kg’s. At 8 weeks he is just about too big for it, but I’m going to try and squeeze a few more weeks of wear out of it as Iove it so much!

The nappy comes with a cotton fleece ‘rectangular’ booster, and a smaller, round cotton fleece booster. It also comes in two colours, grey and the most gorgeous rust colour. It comes in three sizes, just like the Sleepy Dust Night fitted; Size 1/Small to fit birth to +-6kgs, Medium/Size 2 to fit +-5-10kgs and Large/Size3 to fit +-10-16/17kgs.

Pricing is as follows:

  • Small - R165

  • Medium - R250

  • Large - R275

Click here to head on over to the Pokkelokkie shop

All in all I’ve loved trying out these nappies, and will definitely be buying them both in bigger sizes for Aaron, and would highly recommend them both. Do you use cloth nappies? Is there any reason why you don’t/are scared to? Drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you! And I LOVE sharing my love for cloth nappies, so perhaps I’ll be able to bring you over to the cloth side :)

Here are all my posts on cloth nappies if you’d like to read more about our cloth nappy journey (we have used cloth nappies on both our babes from newborn, and Everly is still in cloth nappies at 19 months):

Disclosure: these nappies were sent to me as a gift to try, but all thoughts and views are honest, and my own.

How I store dirty cloth nappies in between wash days

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I’ve been using cloth nappies full time, right from newborn with my little girl (she’s 18 months old now) and now on my little boy (he’s 6 weeks old now) and I am often asked about the best way to keep/store dirty nappies if you’re not washing every day.

Most of the info out there recommends storing dirty cloth nappies in a basket/container with holes in it, as this gives the nappies air which, contrary to what you might think, makes them less smelly. I didn’t like the idea of having an open nappy bin, and so want to share what I use to store dirty nappies.

As I wash every second day, my dirty nappies aren’t left to get terribly smelly. I also rinse Everly’s night nappies straight away in hot water, and then leave these in a bucket next to the washing machine until wash day. So the nappies that go into the nappy bin are mostly wet (wee) nappies. For poo nappies, I ‘deposit’ the solids into the toilet (depending on just how ‘solid’ things are I may need to also rinse anything left behind off the nappy). I do this with a pair of gloves in the toilet. Then that nappy is either put in the bucket with her night nappies (if it was a shocker of a poo nappy) otherwise it goes into the nappy bin.

I wanted a nappy bin that looked nice in her nursery, and that’s where the Korbell Nappy Bin wins hands down. Even though it’s designed as a disposable nappy bin (and you use it with refillable nappy sack things) I just use it without them and use a washable pail liner from Biddykins instead. On wash day, I take out the pail liner full of nappies, and put everything into the washing machine (pail liner included).

I’ve got two pail liners for Everly…a pink one and a white one. So when one is in the wash, I alway have the other in the nappy bin.

I had planned on using Everly’s nappy bin for Aaron, but seeing as Everly is still in nappies (she is only 18 months), and the fact that newborns go through SOOOOO many nappies…they can’t practically share one bin. And so, I found another one second hand (I also bought Everly’s second hand) and then bought two more pail liners for Aaron’s bin…a blue and a grey one. If you’re wondering where to look for second hand baby items, I’ve always had great luck with Facebook marketplace!

I have yet to have any stink issues when using this nappy bin to store dirty nappies, but if you aren’t able to wash every day/every second day, then it might be a different story. When we go away, I generally wash every day as I don’t take ALL our nappies with us, and then I often just use an ordinary bucket. And I have to say, even though the bucket has no lid, it’s not very smelly either. So you could use something similar. I have been told a laundry basket (the ones with the holes in the sides) works well too, and it’s been said that you can add a few drops of tea tree oil on a face cloth and pop that in the nappy bin to help with the smell.

What have you found works best for you when it comes to storing your dirty nappies? Let me know in the comments below!

Our Toddler's Evening routine - what we've done (and still do!) from +-3 months

Our Toddler Evening routine what we've done from 3 months citygirlsearching blog-01.png

Seeing as we now have a toddler and a newborn, I wanted to share the bedtime routine we have done with Everly since she was about 3 months old. I want to write it here so I am also able to reference it in a few months time when Aaron wakes up from is sleepy newborn slumber and starts being more wakeful. Hopefully you find this post useful/interesting, and as always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments if there is anything else you do that you find works for you and your family.

Before having Everly, I was adamant that a baby would just slot into our lives and we wouldn’t be ‘those people’ who plan their day around their little one’s naps. But alas, I have since realised, a happy baby = a happy mommy & daddy and wherever possible, we try to keep to our routine as much for their sake as for our sanity. Everly has always slept well, and slept a lot. It even got to the point where I was googling ‘can a toddler sleep too much’ because the majority of my friends seemed to have babies and toddlers that just ‘hate sleep’. And while I am going to be a bit controversial here (because I’m sure there are little ones out there that REALLY struggle to sleep) I am going to say that the majority of babies/toddlers want & need sleep, they may just need more help to actually get to (and stay!) asleep. Even at 17 months old, Everly still naps twice a day (mostly) and these two naps range from 1.5 - 2.5 hours each. She also sleeps at night on average, for 12 - 13 hours. This post isn’t meant to be an ode to how wonderful my child is (from what I can tell with my friend’s kids, Everly may be more of the exception to the rule than the norm) but I do wish at least one person had shared with me that it is possible to have a good sleeper, and that you shouldn’t feel bad about the fact that your child genuinely needs/wants lots of sleep. I think there are lots of factors that play a role in ‘creating’ a good sleeper (things like diet, routine, patience and a WHOLE lot of strong will when it comes to ‘sleep training’…I’ll share our thoughts on this in another post) but as always, each child is different and each family is different too, you need to find what works for you.

Everly Rose Newborn Photos by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative & CityGirlSearching (6 of 18).jpg

We have done the same evening & bedtime routine since Everly was about 3 months old. Before that, she just fed & slept anywhere and everywhere. From Day 2 home from the hospital, we put her in her own room, mostly because she was so noisy when she slept, that neither me or hubby could get any sleep. I LOVE the idea of co-sleeping, I just know that it wouldn’t work for our family. I am a very deep sleeper, but Farmboy isn’t, and as he is up at 4h30 every morning to go and milk the cows, co-sleeping is just not something either of us feel would work for us. Having baby/toddler in their own room, away from you so you don’t hear every single sniff and gurgle, helps a whole lot in ensuring a better sleep for mom & dad…but again, if this isn’t for you and you prefer to have baby in your room, that’s a choice completely up to you to make. This post is not a post to bash moms and dads who co-sleep etc but more about sharing what we do and what works for us.

Everly’s evening & bedtime routine

  • Supper is at 5pm.

Everly has been brought up on a low carb, no sugar way of eating right from day 1 of starting solids. If you’re South African, I guess you would say she was & is a Banting Baby (although we aren’t strict with carb counting) and if you’re not sure what Banting is, it’s basically a low carb high fat way of eating. What this means is Everly doesn’t eat any form of processed carbs (no toast/crackers/cereal/pasta etc) and no form of processed sugar (no juice/sweets/chips/cake/commercial kids snack bars etc). You would be surprised at just how much hidden sugar is in most baby food products…and while I can control what she eats, this is how we have chosen to raise her. You may be wondering what on earth I feed my child, so here are all my posts on #whateverlyeats:

I strongly believe diet plays a huge role in sleep/development/overall contentedness (and the same applies to us adults!) and it would be my first suggestion to look at your little ones diet if they are struggling with sleep.

  • Bath & bed time starts at 6pm sharp

If she’s been cranky/hasn’t had proper naps during the day we often start earlier so she’s in bed by 6pm, but very rarely is she in bed past 6h30pm.

Farmboy has always done bath time, as it’s his special time to with her. After her bath, she has her milk (I breastfed her up until 13 months - around the 3 month mark of my second pregnancy, at which time it just became too sore for me, and she got too big to be lying on me and my growing tummy) and that’s when we started her on cows milk. She gets a 150ml non spill cup of milk (it’s raw farm milk…which she has grown up on and is the same milk I used to make her homemade yoghurt which she ate from about 7/9 months old).

We started her milk in a TommeeTippee Explora Cup, and she’s still using it today. Even though this cup is probably more suited to babies than toddlers, Everly wasn’t ever weaned from breast to bottle, we went straight onto asippy/drinking cup from the breast, and so this was her water bottle, and now this is what she gets her milk in. I don’t worry about how much milk she drinks, and didn’t ever measure out exact quantities, even after I stopped breastfeeding. Reason being, she eats a LOT of dairy (mainly cheese and homemade yoghurt) and so I knew she wasn’t ever going to be calcium deficient, even if some days she would only drink a few sips of her milk at bedtime. Whatever she doesn’t drink at night, gets put back in the fridge and she gets that in the morning when she wakes up.

While Farmboy is bathing her, I get her milk ready, close the curtains and put her nightlight on (we use a beautiful pink Quartz lamp that she’s had in her room since she was born) as it gives off the warmest, softest glow. I bought her pink quartz lamp (and the white quartz lamp in Aaron’s room from StaticEnergy in Jhb).

I then lay out her pyjamas and night nappy (we use cloth nappies and the night nappy is always a rather big and bulky situation as it needs to last +-12 hours). Then I say goodnight to her, we say some prayers (when I can remember…I really want to reinforce this with her but haven’t been so great at it up till now) and I leave the room. Farmboy dries her off, puts cream/massage oil on her (we still use and LOVE Pure Beginnings Massage Oil), and then dresses her for bed. She has a dummy (which she has nicknamed ‘Nunni’ and a special sleep time soft toy, ‘Dudu’), which she only gets to have when it’s nap or bedtime.

We’ve always had a bedtime song that we have and still sing at bed time. It’s more of a lullaby that we hum, but it’s such a nice way to reinforce that it’s bedtime. When Everly would wake up often at night, one of us would always use that lullaby to calm her down and help her get back to sleep.

Once she’s dressed, it’s story time. Sometimes she will still have her milk at this point, but we take it away once we leave the room. Story time is mostly a full blown discussion of ‘what’s da’ or ‘what’s that’ as she points to each and every picture in the book. It’s the sweetest thing listening to the Daddy & Daughter chatter before bed. Once story time is done, it’s a quick kiss good night and and ‘I love you’ and then whoever is doing bedtime walks out. 9 times out of 10 she settles quickly. But since getting a video monitor a few months ago, I’ve actually seen that she isn’t always sleeping when I think she is! I don’t mind though, as long as she’s happy and quiet in her bed, I don’t really mind what she’s getting up to. I’ve watched her for over an hour just lying there, legs in the air, playing wit her DuDu and stroking her face with it…funny thing.

We also recently took the sides down of her cot (CoziCot Stijl) and turned it into the toddler bed it’s able to convert into, as we slowly transition her to the single bed in her room. It’s been about 3 weeks of her in her ‘big girl’ bed and it’s been a relatively painless process (blog post to come on that move soon). I was REALLY nervous about the whole thing, especially as she is now able to get in AND out of her bed whenever she wants to, and has free access to everything in her room, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how it’s all gone. I was most worried that her night time sleep would be disrupted by the move, but apart from one night of her falling out the bed, and her waking up slightly earlier than normal (6am instead of 7am), it’s like nothing has changed. I think it’s been such a smooth transition because of the same routine we follow every night. Even when we go away, we follow the same ‘bath, milk, pj’s, story, bed’ routine and 9 times out of 10 she goes down without a fuss. We also, as much as possible, stick to the 6pm bath & bed time routine no matter where she goes to sleep.


I weaned Everly off her last night time/early morning (it was at about 3am) feed at about 7 months. We had a couple of rough nights, but she adjusted quickly. We then went on an overseas trip to the UK, and she went back to demanding that early morning feed, which I went back to giving her during the trip as we were staying in relatively small homes with family and I didn’t want to keep everyone up. But once we got home I weaned her off that feed again and within a few days she went back to sleeping +-12 hours at night.


If you’d like me to share our sleep training ‘methods’ I’d be happy to write about them in a separate post. Hubby and I are very strict when it comes to bed and nap times, and do leave Everly to cry if it’s time to sleep and she’s up and about. This has worked extremely well for us, and I’d be happy to share what we’ve done, right from the beginning…let me know in the comments below!

I hope you’ve found this post interesting. I’d love to hear about your families routine, and what you’ve found works for you. Leave me a comment below, I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

x

What's in my hospital bag - What to pack for baby

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I have T-minus 10ish days until my little boy joins us in the world (unless he comes early like his sister did, in which case I may only have 1 or 2 days to go!!!!), and I have finally finished packing his bag for hospital! They always say you should have your bags ready early, as you just never know what might happen, but I’ve really been rather late to the party with this second pregnancy. But, after a couple of really achey days and loads of cramps and contraction like symptoms, I decided enough was enough and washed everything that needing washing, and packed everything into it’s place. I had packed my own bags a little while ago (click here to read) and I can officially say we are ready! To be fair, babies don’t care whether you’ve taken the perfect photo of their bags before they decide THEY are ready to be born, but it does feel good to have packed everything I’ve wanted to pack, as well as photograph it all and write this blog post.

What you pack will largely depend on what hospital you go to, and what that hospital provides you with during your stay. Some hospitals give you a baby bag with lots of essentials (like nappies, cotton wool etc) and others don’t. Your hospital also won’t provide clothes for your baby, and if you’re anything like me, you might be quite particular about the nappies & products used on your newborns skin. I will be having my baby at Mediclinic in Pietermaritzburg (if all goes according to plan and I am able to have the VBAC delivery I am hoping and praying for, and if I need to schedule a caesar for any reason, I am hoping to book in at Life Hospital in Hilton) and they give new moms a lovely baby bag upon delivery which contains one pack of newborn nappies, as well surgical spirits for the umbilical cord, cotton wool, and a few other sample sized versions of baby wash/shampoo/lotion. Even though these are really lovely extras, I will be packing everything baby needs from the nappy & skincare side myself, and then will share below what blankets and clothes I’m packing too.

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog

Here is the basic guide I was given by my hospital:

  • Five sets of clean baby clothes: vest, babygro, wrapper/receiving blanket, socks, beanie

  • One warm blanket

  • If you are bottle feeding, our milk kitchens are fully stocked and equipped. You are welcome to bring your own bottles, teats, formula milk and sterilising unit if preferred

  • Dummy and holder (optional)


Here is a breakdown of what I’m packing for baby, as well as the brand names in case you like what you see and want to now where I got each item from. I also am pretty sure I’m going to add things to the bag last minute (like more swaddles/receiving blankets) but I am trying not to overpack like I did with Everly:

Blankets:

  • 1 soft cotton receiving blanket (Woolies)

  • 1 soft cotton swaddle blanket (Giggle & Beans)

  • 1 bamboo muslin (Kapas Baby)

  • 1 fluffy fleece blanket ( Not packed or pictured yet)

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog

Nappies & Wipes

We used cloth nappies from the newborn stage with Everly (I started cloth from about Day 5, just after we had gotten home from the hospital) and plan on doing the same with BabyBoy. But I’m not going to pack any cloth nappies for hospital, opting to rather use bio-degradable disposables which I had family bring over from the UK.

Eco-friendly/bio-degradable nappies are unfortunately really pricey here in South Africa, but they are available online from places like Faithful To Nature and The Organic Shop. I love the Kit&Kin range of nappies (from the UK) and luckily had family go there on holiday who could bring them back for me. I’m packing 2 packs (40 nappies in total) for our hospital stay. In case you’re wondering what I do with the packs of disposable nappies I get given (like for example the packs that come in the Dischem Baby Bag (click here to read about how to get your free baby bag) and the Mediclinic Baby Bag) I either donate them or re-gift them to friends. I do keep a couple on hand in my nappy bag for emergencies, but haven’t bought a disposable nappy for Everly in over a year!

As for wipes, I absolutely LOVE Pure Beginnings, and always to stock up on their wipes at the MamaMagic Baby Expo as they are always at a really good price. I also buy a pack here and there when I am in BabyCity or Dischem, as it hurts less to buy them gradually rather than all at once. The Pure Beginnings baby wipes are biodegradable (but please try not to flush them down your toilet…although the odd one won’t hurt, flushing wipes…even the ones that say ‘flushable’ can really wreck havoc on your drainage system! These wipes are so soft and gentle on the bum, and smell wonderful…I highly recommend them!

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog

Skincare

I really, really, really love all the Pure Beginnings baby products I’ve used. And I especially like their Probiotic range for newborns. I used the cream wash and the body cream on Everly until she was about 5 months old, and still use the cream wash every now and again. For hospital I”m packing their travel sized products (where I can) even though we know we will only bath baby once during our stay, choosing to only do this right before leaving the hospital. I think it’s so important that baby. You can read up yourself as to why some parents choose to delay their baby’s first bath, here is a nice article.

Here is what I’m packing in a little toiletry bag:

  • Baby Wax (Oh Lief) this was a sample from Everly’s baby shower, and I just love how smal and compact it is and it does a great job at moisturising dry patches.

  • Wecsin Powder (for the umbilical cord…this all natural antiseptic powder is AMAZING for wounds, and so much nicer than the Surgical spirits traditionally used…it’s also amazing to use on your Caesar scar).

  • Probiotic Baby Cream Wash (Pure Beginnings)

  • Massage Oil (Pure Beginnings) I’m not sure if we will even use this as I prefer to use the Pure Beginnings Sensitive range for the first few weeks at least, but I love this oil and want to have it on hand, just in case.

  • Bum Cream (Pure Beginnings) & a small tub of Sudocream

Something else you might want to pack is a pair of nail scissors. Lots of babies (especially if they arrive past their due date) have really long fingernails. I personally just used to bite Everly’s nails while feeding her (they are so soft and easy to bite) and although it sounds weird, I was too scared that I would hurt her with the scissors and found I was able to be far more careful with my teeth. I only started using nail scissors from about 6 months or so.

what to pack for baby for hospital citygirlsearching blog

Clothes

Eeeek this was really hard.

When Everly was born it was the beginning of September, and as the weather was more on the cool side, it was easier to pack for that than I’ve found now that I’m having a baby in the height of Summer. Hospitals are generally kept at a pretty standard temperature, but I’ve never been very good at gauging what I should dress Everly in. I have gone with what friends recommended, and that is long sleeve baby vests and long sleeve baby grows:

what+to+pack+for+baby+for+hospital+when+giving+birth+citygirlsearching+blog

I have also packed each outfit in it’s own ziplock bag to help keep things organised:

  • 3 x outfits consisting of long-sleeved vests with poppers, long sleeve long leg baby grow/onesie, socks) and beanie (not pictured)

  • 1 x going home outfit consisting of sleeveless vest, long sleeve top with poppers, footed leggings and a beanie

  • Extras: 2 long sleeve vests with poppers, footed leggings, socks, beanie

Long-sleeved white vests: Woolworthes

Socks: Woolworthes & H&M

Onesies: Next UK & Woolworthes

Going home outfit (green & cream): H&M

Goodness me I can’t get over the size difference between certain brands. The two mostly white onesies above were Everly’s, and came from Next in the UK. They are TEENY TINY compared to the Woolies (blue) onesie and the other newborn outfit from H&M (green and cream). On the other hand, the newborn sleeveless vests I bought for Everly just before she was born only fit her for about half a day as they were SO tiny. I ended up having to use scissors (I kid you not) to cut them off her. It does seem that Woolies has adjusted their sizes to be more appropriate these days.

what to pack for baby in hospital when giving birth citygirlsearching blog

Extra’s

I’ve also packed a dummy, a Blue NUK Silicone Size 0 Soother (part of the Blue & Rose collection). It comes in a set of two and also comes with a handy sterlizing/carry case to keep them clean. These are the same dummies Everly used, and the same brand she uses now. We didn’t ever have any problems with nipple confusion etc, and she took to a dummy pretty easily (thank goodness!)

I plan on breastfeeding, and so won’t be taking any bottles along with me, but you might choose to pack your own preference of bottles and teats. I was given a set of TommeeTippee Closer to Nature bottles for Everly’s baby shower, so I will have these on hand at home. We didn’t really do much bottle feeding with her, as I work from home and was around to feed her 99% of the time (click here to read more about our breastfeeding journey).

Sleep association/teddy/fluffy toy of some kind is also a nice extra to take with you. I won’t be packing one as I’d rather not worry about it getting lost in the nursery during our stay, and let’s be real, newborns are pretty much allllll about sleeping and feeding at this stage of their lives. Everly LOVES her Nattou Mini DouDou (you can buy these from Kids Emporium & Hamleys here in SA) but word of warning, whatever cuddly toy you choose for your baby (or whichever one they choose for themselves) make sure you rush out and buy a back up to have on hand for wash days/the times you forget it at Granny’s house ;)


There you have it, the items I’m packing in my hospital bag for my baby boy.

Here is a link to the post on what to pack for mommy (I have packed a bag for labor & a bag for recovery…just to help keep things organised and so hubby knows where everything I might possibly need is)…click here to read.

Please let me know if I’m leaving anything out, or of there’s something you wish you had packed. And as always, feel free leave any questions you may have in the comments below, I love hearing from you!

x

An ode to cloth nappies - sharing the love for modern day cloth

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My oh my we have come a loooooonnnng way in our cloth nappy journey. I mean look at how teeny tiny Everly was when we first started. I am very proud to say that we have officially made it to this point, doing cloth full time (not an easy feat!) and we have loved (just about!) every moment of it.

Today I’d like to share more on our cloth journey, along with what brands and types of nappies we love, the ones that worked for us in the beginning, and what works for us now. I’m also always SO happy to answer questions, so please feel free to fire away in the comments section below.

The majority of my nappies have come from wonderful local South African businesses, how amazing is that! While a lot of the fancy brands are from overseas, we have incredibly talented ladies like Kerryn from Pokkelokkie who HANDMAKE their own nappies. Pokkelokkie are hands down my favourite brand for hemp flats, and are worth every cent! I’ve used Kerry'n’s newborn hemp flats right from newborn to toddler, as I now use them to boost absorbency in my other nappies.

Newborn - the first few weeks & months:

We mostly used flats and covers (click here for a full post on newborn cloth) for the newborn phase, until she was able to fit into the OSFM (One Size Fits Most size which is the next sizing in cloth nappies). There are basically just two sizes you need to worry about with cloth nappies (Newborn & OSFM) as most toddlers are out of nappies by the time their OSFM stop fitting. But, a lot of brands do make larger sizes for bigger & older toddlers too. I also had a small selection of bamboo fitteds and then my mom also helped me DIY our own flats and pre-folds that we made from cotton receiving blankets

For night time we used pretty much what we were using during the day (flat and covers). Newborns really do go through a lot of nappies, and we ended up changing every 1.5 - 2 hours on some days. Everly was a wonderful sleeper right from the very beginning, sleeping up to 3 hours at a time during the day between feeds, and generally 5 - 7 hours at a time at night (please can her little brother be like this too!!!) but this did mean that her night time nappies really needed to be able to hold up for those long stretches. I would use two hemp flats folded together in origami fold, with a bamboo booster at night, and then a cover.

Here are the types and brands we used (I’m linking to the online stores where you can buy them too…although I can see that some of these particular styles from certain brand are no longer in their stores):

+/-Month 4 - 11

Once Everly got to be about 6kgs, she was finally able to fit (sort of) into the ‘easier’ types of nappies. I say easier, as pockets and AIO (All in One’s) don’t require any folding, you just put them on the same way you would put on a disposable and you’re good to go. We used a mixture of pockets and AIO’s, and then still used flats and covers too.

For nighttime, I found pockets and AIO’s weren’t absorbent enough, and so alternated between flats and covers, and Little Lamb Bamboo Fitteds with a cover.

  • Pockets - a mixture of pre-loved Charlie Banana pockets which were sent to me by a friend in the US and then new Biddykins pockets. I was able to use a microfibre inserts in her pockets until about 5/6 months, after which I had to add a bamboo with the microfibre for more absorbancy. At around 8 months I got rid of the microfibre completely and boosted her pockets with a bamboo and a hemp insert. My bamboo inserts are from Little Lambs and the hemp inserts are from Biddykins.

  • AIO’s - a mixture from Biddykins and Pipapo

  • Hemp Flats - a mixture bought preloved & new in medium size (60cm x 60cm) from SugaBums & Fluff & Stuff

  • Covers: Buttons & Blueberry Coveralls (bought overseas but I have linked to South African stores where you can get your hands on them)

I do have a good giggle when I see how big some of the nappies look on Everly in the photos below. It can be a bit of a struggle getting a good fit when their legs are so teeny tiny, but (apart from the Charlie Banana pockets) she is still wearing the nappies pictured below today (almost a year later!).

A year on and still going strong

Once Everly got to be about a year, her ‘output’ increased drastically, and I found I needed to boost all of her nappies a lot. I also started changing her before every nap, as well as changing after her naps.

I still use a bamboo with a hemp insert with her pockets, and sometimes boost her AIO’s with either a pad folded hemp flat, or a hemp/bamboo insert.

Now her stash is mostly made up of pockets, SIO (Snap in One’s) and AIO’s for daytime, and then for night time I use a mixture of hemp flats, pre-folds and bamboo fitteds. I was using Little Lamb Bamboo Fitteds, but found that they weren’t holding up very well and I was getting leaks. There are loads of great tips for troubleshooting leaks, but I found that I was having to boost the nappy so much that it was just so big and bulky, that her covers wouldn’t fit properly and thats why I was getting leaks. But we used these Little Lamb fitteds from about 8 months to now. I have been using the same 3 Blueberry waterproof covers since newborn to now, they are my absolute favourite covers, with soft elastic at the legs, and a double gusset to prevent leaks.

Everly’s Daytime Nappies:

  • She has a mixture of SIO’s (Snap In One’s) or All-In-Two’s from Grovia (which you will soon be able to buy from Biddykins) these are the purple and pink ones below, and I love the Grovia O.N.E.’s. She also has two very special Kylie Co nappies (the floral and white woodland one below), and she also has a couple of Buttons covers and inserts:

Everly’s Nightime Nappies

  • I have two winged Hemp Pre-folds from Kanini. These are the grey ones below. I boost these with a Pokkelokkie newborn hemp flat (these are the same ones I used on Everly when she was a newborn…you really will use your newborn flats all throughout your cloth journey!) which I fold in three, and then a LittleLamb Bamboo Insert.

  • I have 2 Bamboo Fitteds from Sloomb that we only recently got to add to her stash. I got these from a Canadian site called Lagoon Baby and had family bring them over.

  • I have 3 waterproof covers from Blueberry (these are the same ones I used on Everly when she was teeny tiny…they are well worth the price!) but you can also buy lovely covers from Biddykins.

  • Snappies to fasten nappies (I bought most of my Snappies from Pep).

And now for some incredibly cute on the bum shots:

My stash has changed a lot over the past 16 months, and I’m glad I took everyones advice when I started down this path, and that was not to buy all of the same brand/type before baby arrived. I was advised to build up a variety of brands and types, so that I could see what fitted baby the best, as well as what styles I preferred to use. I had family visit the UK just before Everly arrived, and that’s where I bought a lot of my ‘fancier’ overseas brands to try out. Cloth nappies can be as cheap or as expensive as make them, and trust me when I say it becomes addictive! I also bought a variety of nappies pre-loved (second hand) from the South African Cloth Diaper Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook group. This is an excellent place to start looking and building up your stash because you can get some great deals on nappies that people bought but didn’t end up using/didn’t work for them.

I also HIGHLY recommend browsing through the South African Cloth Nappy Users website, as they have everything you need to know about where to start with cloth nappies, how to troubleshoot problems you may experiece along the way, as well as loads of info on all things cloth.

Here are all my posts on cloth nappies (including how to do newborn cloth and what we used, as well as how to wash your nappies).

Let me know if you have any questions at all…I really am passionate about cloth and love sharing what I’ve learned with people.

What's in my hospital bag - What to pack for mommy

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The photo below shows what was in my hospital bag for when I gave birth to Everly in September 2017.

I wasn’t sure how hot or cold the hospital would be (although I was told to expect all sorts of ‘seasons’ even during my 3 day stay due to the aircon working/not working). I had Everly at Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg, and had my husband and doula present through the entire labor (it ended up being an awful long time….nearly 36 hours!) and unfortunately ended up in an emergency ceasar. I feel as though I pretty much experienced both types of births (i.e. went into labor and laboured naturally, with no pain meds and then had the recovery for an emergency caesar) and would like to share what I packed and found useful, as well as the things I will definitely be packing this second time around.

I’m now 35 weeks pregnant, and have been told it’s probably a good time to get all my bags together (you know, just in case things start happening earlier than expected). So whether you are hoping for a natural birth or planning on having an elective caesar, this post should give you a good idea of what to pack. I

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Not everything I packed last time is pictured above, as I had two separate bags, one for labor and one for my stay in the maternity ward afterwards. It helped separating everything and not having to dig around in one huge bag, and it really helped Farmboy and my Doula find things when I wasn’t able to be very coherent. I’m also going to mention afterwards what I plan on packing this time around, so you will be able to see what I actually ended up using, what I wished I had, and what I would highly recommend packing in your bag.


What I’m packing this time around:

As I’m not sure how this birth will go (I’m planning on/hoping for a natural delivery and spontaneous labor) but have learned from my first birth to be prepared for everything. Because of this I’m going to make sure to pack for both a natural & a caesarian…what you would pack isn’t very different, but if you have a natural delivery you might only spend 2 nights in hospital, whereas a caesarian is generally a 3 night stay.

You still need ALL of those maternity pads (I thought you only needed them if you had a natural delivery!) and those mesh panties WILL become your new best friend.

I am also packing two bags again, one for labor and the other for the time I spend recovering in the maternity ward.


What I’m packing in my ‘recovery’ bag:

  • Feeding bras (I actually only ended up wearing one when I had visitors, and the rest of time was far more comfy without one). My favourite ones are the soft nursing bras from H&M. I also really like their nursing tops (strappy tops that have a built in bra that you can lower the straps down to breastfeed). These tops are amazing for layering under your clothes and give your tummy more support, while also making you feel less exposed when feeding.

  • Comfy Pyjamas: last time I packed about 4 different sets of cute pyjamas, and ended up wearing the same one. I packed long night dresses that buttoned up the front, but found the buttons to be a pain to keep having to do up. This time around I am packing one ‘nice’ sleep shirt that buttons up, a soft cotton/viscose nightie (these ones from Woolies are my favourite as they are easy to pull down to feed) and this top and bottoms from PerryWinkle…see below:

  • Breast-pads: Generally your milk only comes in around day 3 or 4, and before that your body is only producing colostrum and so you don’t generally need to worry about leaks. My milk came in when I got home, and from the very beginning I had a very forceful let down. What this means is your milk pretty much comes gushing out (of both sides) as opposed to it flowing in a slower, more manageable way for baby to be able to drink nicely. Often, women with a forceful let down have problems with baby having lots of wind as they are trying to drink as fast as the milk flows and end up gulping lots of air. There are lots of things you can do for a forceful let down (different feeding positions etc) and it’s generally considered a positive problem to have. But one of the effects of having such a strong letdown was a lot of leaking, and so went through boxes and boxes of breast-pads (the Pigeon ones were my favourite disposable ones, and the Biddykins Breast Pads were my favourite washable/re-useable pads). Having to wear breast-pads was always such a pain, and the worst was forgetting to pack a stash of them when leaving the house. I always make sure to keep a whole stash in the car for those ‘just in case’ moments.

  • Breastpump & Nipple Shileds: While it isn’t advised to start pumping before your milk supply has properly established (usually around 6 weeks) I highly recommend taking a pump with you to the hospital. I had a few moments when my boobs were so full and uncomfortable, and while I didn’t really know what I was doing with the pump, it did help relieve them a little. Ideally you would want to pop baby straight onto the boob rathe than pump, but Every was placed under the lights to treat her mild case of jaundice for a couple of hours a day, and so it was during that time on our last day in hospital that I found the pump really handy. All that I was able to pump was a teeny bit of colostrum, but it did help.

    What pump you buy is a very personal choice. I didn’t want to invest in a really expensive pump as I didn’t know how my breastfeeding journey would turn out. Personally, I would recommend buying a manual pump in the beginning, and then depending on how your breastfeeding journey goes, and if you have to go back to work, then perhaps you can invest in an automatic one if you find the manual one too time consuming/frustrating. I did pump quite a bit of milk and ended up building quite a large stash of milk in my freezer that I didn’t ever end up using. I donated my frozen stash to one of the Doula’s in the area who was helping a new mommy and her very prem baby. This was so special for me.

    The reason I didn’t end up using the stash I had so lovingly built up was because I work from home and so was always around to be able to feed Everly directly. When she got older and I did leave her with Granny, she didn’t every really take to a bottle (I didn’t force this issue because I realised I didn’t really need to and while it may have been nice and convenient to have hubby feed her, I really cherished our special time together). Once baby gets older they go longer and longer between feeds, and so you do end up being able to leave them for longer periods of time without needing to worry about feeding. In these instances it was me that ended up suffering more, as my boobs adjusted to not being ‘drained’ and so I made sure to pack my pump in the car with me just in case I needed to pump for my sake. This is another bonus of having a smaller, more compact manual pump as you can pop it in your bag for emergencies. I really liked the Avent Manual pump, but have heard from loads and loads of mums that the Clicks Manual pump is just as good and about half the price. I have also heard amazing things about the teeny tiny and compact silicone breast pump (you can buy this one online from Biddykins or Faithful To Nature.

    Before having Everly, I had no idea what a nipple shield was. It just sounded like some sort of weird kinky object, but now, after using them, I would recommend them 100% and strongly recommend friends pack them in their hospital bags for just in case. While a lot of the very ‘pro breastfeeding’ groups don’t recommend the use of them (they say they can cause nipple confusion and make your breastfeeding journey harder when it comes to weaning baby off them) I just feel that if they help you continue to breastfeed (even if they require effort to wean baby later on) they are 100% worth it. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, and doesn’t always come naturally to a lot of moms. I wrote a post on my own 13 month breastfeeding journey (click here to read it) and offer lots of tips and encouragement for new moms. I say pack a set of nipple shields in your hospital bag for just in case. You don’t have to use them by any means, but if you have them then at least you have the option if things get off to a difficult start with your little one.

  • Gown & slippers: definitely pack a comfy gown & slippers to wear while wondering around the hospital. Just bear in mind the time of the year (in Winter you might want to wear a fluffy gown and fluffy slippers vs Summer…although the hospital will be temperature controlled). As with all the clothes I packed for hospital, I washed everything in a baby friendly detergent. Newborns have such a sensitive sense of smell, their teeny little bodies haven’t had any time to adjust to their new life outside of your tummy, and so you want to try and ensure they aren’t going to get a rash/reaction to the smells on your clothes (the same goes for body washes, perfume etc). My favourite baby detergent is the W.LAB brand from Woolworths. I washed all of Everlys clothes in it until she turned a year (she only officially started crawling then and so before then her clothes didn’t really get very dirty) and after that started washing all her clothes and blankets in the same washing powder we use for everything else in our home (Ariel). You don’t have to use a baby washing detergent, it all depends on how reactive your baby’s skin is.

  • Pads & Panties: whether you have a natural or a caesarian birth, you will bleed (for up to 6 weeks postpartum) and so will need to have a stash of pads on hand. I am so thankful to my sister-in-law who told me about this, as I had no idea. Maternity pads are your best bet (the Carriwell and Dr White ones are great) and then I recommend having a smaller stash of regular pads for later on when the flow lightens up. You will be given a pack of pads to use during your hospital stay (I was also given a pack in my Dischem Baby Bag and in the Baby Bag given to me when I had Everly in hospital) but if you want to stock up, you can buy maternity pads at most pharmacies, and then Clicks and Dischem have a really good selection. You can also buy lots of the Carriwell range on Takealot. Then I have to mention the mesh panties…these bad boys will become your best friend! They are gently on your tummy (especially if you’ve had a caesarian) and are big and stretchy enough to be comfortable. They are basically designed to hold your maternity pad in place, and while they aren’t the most glamorous of things around, they are super comfy! They come in packs of two, and you can either throw them away after each use, of you can gently handwash/machine wash them and re-use. I gave them a good wash in the shower between uses and then they dried really fast as they really are just a soft mesh material.

  • Pillow, extra pillow cases, a couple of dark coloured face cloths & 3-ply toilet paper: I really, really, really loved having my own feather pillow in hospital. If you do pack your own pillow, make sure to pack an extra pillow case (it’s so nice to put a clean and fresh one on) make sure they are brightly coloured so you don’t loose it during your stay. Dark facecloths are so you can freshen up nicely in your first few showers postpartum (you won’t want to use a white facecloth during that time, trust me!) and then my absolute MUST PACK is soft toilet paper. Maybe it’s just me, but having something soft to use when on the loo felt like a HUGE luxury after my long labor. My mom was the one who thoughtfully brought me a small pack of 3 ply paper for my stay. Needless to say it’s not something I would have thought about before hand, but it makes such a difference to use that instead of the horrible and scratchy 1-ply that is usually in the hospital loos.

  • Snacks: while you will get a good 3 meals a day during your stay (as well as tea/coffee mid morning and afternoon…gosh those first few cups of tea were heaven sent!) I was hungry ALL of the time, and often just wanted something handy to snack on and drink. I really enjoyed those small juice boxes from Woolworths, home baked bran and raisin muffins, biltong, nuts and those yummy oat bars from Nature Valley. I made sure to stock up on all these things for home (we stay about 1.5 hours from the nearest grocery store) but while in hospital, it was easy for hubby to pop out and grab me snacks and drinks during my stay.

  • Comfy going home outfit: I packed one of my Cherry Melon maternity dresses to wear for the car ride home as it was loose fitting and nice & cool. Bear in mind you will (probably) still have a tummy for the next good while (I read somewhere that you still end up looking about 4-5 months pregnant after baby) and so I knew I wouldn’t want to wear anything tight. If you have had a caesarian, you will especially not want to wear anything that is tight on your scar. A dress was really comfy.

  • Toiletries & Makeup:

    • wet wipes: my absolute favorite are the Garnier Skin Active Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Wipes as they are super soft, gently, smell amazing and leave my skin feeling wonderfully soft and moisturised) .

    • Face Cleanser, Cream & Tonic from Skin Creamery. Their all natural & organic range of facial products smell amazing, and are really gentle on the skin. I love that they contain no nasty additives and leave your skin feeling wonderful. Just what every new mom needs. I also use the Oil-Milk cleanser & Everyday cream on my body.

    • Shampoo & Conditioner

    • Concealer/BB cream, Pressed Powder, Blus, Lip balm & Mascara: just a few of my favourite makeup products so I feel a little more like myself, especially for photos during my hospital stay.


What I’m packing in my labor bag:

  • 2 Big fluffy towels: during my labor with Everly, I was in and out of the hot shower constantly. The hot water really helped with the contractions, and I really didn’t enjoy using a wet towel every time I came out the shower. The hospital did supply one towel, but I really liked having my own.

  • 2 gowns: I wore one gown while things were ‘easier’ in the beginning of labor (this is the same pink gown I had packed and used for my stay in the maternity ward), and then really liked having my fluffy gown on hand to use in between showering. It also was the only thing comfortable enough to wear that actually made me feel covered up, and at the same time was easy to take on and off when needed.

  • Slippers: I packed one pair of slippers that I had in my labor bag, and then used those same ones once I was in the maternity ward later.

  • Dark coloured face cloths: these were absolutely essential during labor, and my Doula used two for cooling me off and keeping me comfortable when things got tough later on in labor.

  • Snacks: I didn’t want to eat much while in labor, but devoured a whole bag of Woolworth’s soft gummy sweets. I also enjoyed being able to drink apple juice in the beginning, but later on only wanted to suck on ice chips and drink water. Having some of your favourite snacks and drinks on hand (this is hospital dependant and not always allowed especially if you have an elective caesar booked but pack them anyway, you’ll get to eat them afterwards in any case).

  • Music: having something to listen to when things really started heating up was essential. It helped me to stay relatively ‘out of my body’ and focus on my breathing. Make sure you pack your charger for your phone/ipod and that you have comfy headphones too.

  • Nice smelling candle: this was another MUST have for me. I had a very special candle from South Korea which I just love and always makes me feel nice and calm when lit. Some ladies prefer some essential oils for massage or their favourite hand cream.

  • Toiletries: I’ll have my toiletry bag with me during labor with everything packed as specified above. As I was in and out of the shower, it felt great to be able to put cream on every now and again, and to use face wipes as the time went on.


There you have a full run down of what’s going into my hospital bags this time around. It’s on my To Do list to make a video of the above, and if I get around to it I’ll post it below. I am also writing a post on what to pack for baby next, so keep an eye on the blog for that. I’ll link it below when it’s up.

Please feel free to leave me a comment below if you have any questions or comments, I love hearing from you! Also, let me know if I’m leaving anything out!

x

34 Weeks pregnant with Baby#2 & an update on my hopes for a VBAC

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Well, this pregnancy sure has flown by, and yet in some ways it feels like I have been pregnant for forever. And what they say about your second pregnancy being a bit of a blur, is completely true! I’m doing my best to capture this pregnancy, and to keep up Baby Boy’s journal ( bough both Everly’s and BabyBoys journals from Typo!), but there are only so many hours in a day and when most of them are spent running after a busy toddler, it doesn’t leave much time to daydream about what life is going to be like when he arrives. In some ways I’m almost glad, as the moments I do have to sit and wonder about what life will be like, I’m left pretty much terrified (in a good kind of way haha). I have zero idea of what life is going to be like with two under two, and as Everly isn’t walking yet (she’s 16 months old now and although she’s cruising along everywhere, pulling herself up on everything, pushing her trolley around everywhere & has taken quite a few steps on her own…she is still not officially walking). While I’m not worried about this from a developmental point of view (I mean, she only started crawling just after her first birthday) it’s more of a worry for me as she is so darn heavy and I’ve already got nearly 20kg’s of baby weight on my front…and so picking up another 12 - 15kg’s in the form of a squirming toddler is not my idea of fun. I’m not up for that kind of cross fit session every time we have to go anywhere ;)

She’ll get there eventually, I just hope it’s before her brother is due to arrive in +-6 weeks time!


Today I wanted to share a bit more about my hopes & dreams for a VBAC.

A VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian…aka a natural birth after a caesar) has been my dream ever since Everly was born via emergency c-section in September 2017. I do plan on sharing her birth story (if anyone is interested in that) but to sum it up I went into labor naturally, and after 36 hours of unmedicated labor, my cervix started hardening (I was already 7cm dilated) but she just wasn’t progressing any further. I have a lot of ‘what ifs’ and ‘If onlys’ but after that amount of time, as well as my doctor and the nurses worrying about her being in distress (not to mention how exhausted I was) and so I was rushed off to theatre and my little girl was born a mere 30 minutes later. It wasn’t what I had planned, but she was born healthy & safe, and even though it was not the sort of birth I had hoped for, I don’t feel any remorse about it. I just feel a lot of determination that it will go differently this time.

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In saying that, I have come a long way in the past 7 & a half months with regards to my mindset and I’ve realised that what is most important for me, is just to go into labor naturally. I want my baby to choose his own birthday, to be ready to join the world, and for my body to be ready too. I’ve realised that in some ways a Caesar is ‘nicer’ if I can put it that way (no tearing/cutting, a longer stay in the hotel ahem I mean hospital) but the recovery time is much longer than a natural birth, and trying to recover from a second c-section, feed and care for a newborn AND look after a busy toddler is not going to be easy.

VBAC’s in South Africa

Just a little note…these are my own thoughts & perceptions from months and months of research & spending time chatting to care providers and other moms, I am in no way bashing the health system here, but rather sharing my own personal views.

South Africa, in general, is not very VBAC friendly. Most gynaes are not very keen on the idea (I say most, because up until recently I didn’t even know that it was an option to try for a natural birth after having a ceasar as it’s not something the majority of gynaes support). I am generalising, as there are some incredible VBAC pro gynaes out there, but they are few and far between, and there are lots of reasons for this.

First of all, most gynaes will tell you that the biggest risk of a VBAC is your uterus rupturing. While there is a chance of this happening, the actual statistics are soooooo tiny (it’s less than 1%), and there is only a slightly lower risk of this happening even with a regular, first time vaginal birth. Anyway, this post is not supposed to be a rant on gynaes and their choices to avoid ‘risk’, but rather to share my feeling and decisions in wanting to pursue a VBAC.

There are also lots of factors that affect a positive outcome for a VBAC, and a lot has to do with the reasons why you may have had to have a Caesarian in the first place, as well as the type of scar you have (these days its most common for a Low Transverse Incisions to be done…this is from the top left and across). If you had an elective caesar the first time around, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to birth naturally. If, like me, you had an emergency caesar, it can change things a bit as your doctor would worry about whatever happened to prevent a natural delivery the first time, happening again.

If you are wanting to explore the option of a VBAC further, I would HIGHLY recommend joining the VBAC in South Africa facebook group. There are loads of wonderful ladies in that group sharing their experiences, their VBAC successes and failures, as well as LOADS of information of VBAC’s here in SA.

Did you know that Government hospitals will push for a VBAC due to the immense cost & labour (ie staff required) of caesarians, preferring for the mom to rather attempt a natural delivery than have a repeat caesarian. This really should highlight just how normal the idea of a natural delivery after a c-section is.

Here in South Africa, most gyna’es have a very strict tick box list for a VBAC in hospital (these may vary slightly, and some gynaes may differ/be open to changes but these are the general guidelines:

  • Baby must weigh 3.5kg’s or less at birth

  • You must go into spontaneous labor (ie your body has to go into labor naturally) by 38/39/40 weeks

  • Labor has to progress by 1cm an hour

  • There should be at lest a 2 year gap between your last birth and your current due date

From what I have read and from the many, many ladies I have spoken to about this, the highest chance of a successful VBAC is to have a home birth with a midwife & a doula. While I love the idea of a home birth, I’m not sure it would be something I would actually pursue, and the fact that I live 1.5 hours from the nearest hospital basically rules out that option, especially for a VBAC, when most midwives wouldn’t attempt a home birth for a VBAC as if things do go wrong, you need to be able to get to a hospital as fast as possible.

Your second best chance for a successful VBAC is a hospital birth, but with a midwife as your primary caregiver, and a Gynae as backup. This is a tricky one, and unless you really strike it lucky with a Gynae who agrees to be ‘on stand by should things go wrong’ it’s not easy to make happen. It’s different if you live in Joburg or Cape Town, as then you have the option of a clinic like Genesis, which is midwife led, and whose whole focus is on a natural delivery. I visited Genesis in Joburg for my second trimester abnormally scan, and it was just the most incredible place. I even considered moving in with my family in Joburg for the last few months of my pregnancy, just so I could give birth there…but then came to my senses when I had to ask myself if would really be happy being away from my husband for those months, and also would he be happy to be away from me and his little girl during that time.

Third option, and the one I have had to settle for due to my own personal circumstances (basically, the fact that I live out in the middle of nowhere!) is to have a hospital birth with a VBAC pro gynae. There are not a lot of options for VBAC pro gynaes in Pietermaritzburg, and in my months of research, have realised there is a big difference between a VBAC pro gynae and a VBAC friendly gynae. A VBAC friendly gynae is open to the idea, but they are far more risk adverse than a VBAC pro gynae, and the chances of a successful VBAC are much lower. Anyway, beggars can’t be choosers, and I have found a VBAC friendly gynae (she was the gynae who actually delivered Everly as my doctor just so happened to be overseas when I went into labor) and so as she actually did my surgery, I decided to go with her for my second pregnancy. She was very blunt with me in the beginning, not saying no to a VBAC, but not being very hopeful either. She just told me we would have to see how my pregnancy progressed, and gave her strict list of labor protocol. I left every check up with her ( up until about 28 weeks) feeling despondent, and not at all hopeful for my VBAC. I even considered changing gynaes several times…I just wanted someone to give me the chance and to be encouraging and positive about a VBAC. I wasn’t looking for anyone to make any promises to me (after all…I have first hand experience of how things can change during labor) but she was very honest and pragmatic about the whole thing, and I really respect her for this now. She didn’t want to give me an false hope, and I’ve realised it’s not her job to feed into my birthing fantasy, when she knows there is no actual way to know what will happen during your pregnancy, never mind during the actual birth.

I think the guidelines above make it pretty much impossible (if followed 100%) to have a VBAC. First of all, the weight scans during check ups are estimates…Everly was estimated to be 3.5kg’s at birth and was born at 3.085. Not many women (generally speaking) actually go into labor naturally before 40 weeks…many are induced (something that is not recommended for a VBAC as labor can progress very quickly once induction has taken place, and this places a greater stress on your scar tissue. For labor to progress by 1cm an hour is pretty much ideal textbook stuff, and not likely that most women’s bodies would follow this ideal. The age gap stated is to give your body and scar an adequate amount of time to heal, but some women heal faster than others, some scars heal better than others, and so this is a very hard guideline to follow. I have heard most midwives prefer an 18 month gap, and no less. But then again, there are always exceptions and I have read about amazing mommies who have had successful VBAC’s with a 11/12/13 month gap. My gap will be about 17.5 months if baby arrives at 40 weeks.

It was at my 28 week scan when my Gynae told me that although she does elective caesars at 38 weeks, she was willing to make an exception and allow me to go to 39 weeks for spontaneous labor. I was happy to compromise on this, and considering Everly arrived at 38 weeks (and apparently second time labor is likely to be early too) I felt confident that my labor would begin before then. If not, I agreed to set a date for my repeat caesar. I have just gotten back from my 33 week check up, and Doctor was very happy with how things are looking and has told me, that as long as everything is else is in order (ie no complications, baby is in the right position etc) she is happy to let me go to 40 weeks. I am delighted with the news! So, according to my original due date, I’ve got until the 22nd Feb to go into labor naturally. I will be doing ALL the things to try and ensure this happens, but as I mentioned above, I am far more at peace with a repeat ceasar that I was before and now will just have to wait and see what happens in the next 6 weeks.

I’ve got my wonderful Doula, Clare, at the ready (Clare was by my side through my entire labor with Everly and I know I would not have been able to make it as far as I did without her) and was one of the first people I told I was pregnant this second time, and told her to make sure she had a note in her diary for mid/end Feb! All that I can do now is wait, stay healthy, keep active (do my kegels, bounce on my Pilates ball) and be patient.


If you’re still following along after the above very long VBAC related discussion, here are some more general thoughts and feelings on how the last 10 weeks of my second pregnancy have been. Click here to read my first post on how this second pregnancy has been.

My Body

Following on from the tummy comparison I shared above, here is a comparison of me at 33 weeks with Everly (on the right) and now with BabyBoy (pictured left).

I am also absolutely amazing at how different women gain weight in their pregnancies. I gained 18kg’s with Everly, and am already at the 18kg mark now with BabyBoy and I still have +-6 weeks to go. I was lucky in that I lost all (and then some) of my pregnancy weight within about 8 months (thanks to breastfeeding and following our regular low carb lifestyle). It’s still rather shocking when you think that baby only weighs, in my case, about +-3-3.5kgs…where does the rest of the weight come from!? I do like to remind my pregnant friends not to worry about their weight gain during or after pregnancy, because you just never know what your body is going to do, or how it will respond afterwards. Rather worry about getting back into shape once you and your baby have had a good chance to get to know each other. Don’t let it consume your thoughts, your body goes through an incredible transformation, and we need to be kinder to ourselves.

My skin started clearing up around the 6 month mark (thank goodness!) but I’ve still got cracked heels (apparantly this is from the weight gain). I’ve been lucky enough not to get any stretch marks again (holding thumbs it stays this way for the rest of my pregnancy) but have been religious with lathering BioOil on after each and every shower.

I am sleeping better, but it doesn’t help that I’m awake at 04:30 every morning when Farmboy goes to work, but I usually wake up that time to go to the loo. I have also had less round ligament pain this time, but I think that’s only because I now know to sleep with 4 pillows (one at my back, one at my tummy, one between my legs and one for my head!).

This boy is SOOOO active compared to Everly. I barely felt Everly kick, and every time she did it would be a wonderful little surprise. This guy hardly ever keeps still! He has hiccups none-stop, pushes and prods me with his legs/arms/bum and uses my poor organs as punching bags regularly. I’m hoping this is’t a sign of things to come, as Everly was the most contented baby & toddler, happy to sit around and play with her books and toys by herself for ages. I have a feeling this little guy is going to be a real busy body…who knows, maybe he will be walking before his sister haha #ImOnlyHalfJoking.

My Mind

Gosh, it’s still not real that a second little human is going to be joining our family soon. And to be very honest, I haven’t given it too much thought as my days revolve around Everly. We also moved house at the end of November (this was incredibly hectic!) and so most of the past 2 months have been spent sorting and organizing our home. Having said all of that, I am SLOWLY adjusting to the idea of being a boy mom (although I’m really struggling to come to grips with all the blue!) but I am excited and I just know Everly is going to adore her little play thing ahem, I mean brother.

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Everly

Thanks to the advice of lots of friend and family, we bought Everly a little doll and gave it to her a little while ago. Oh my goodness if this hasn’t just been her absolute favourite thing in the whole world. She calls it her Baba (she has stopped referring to everything under the sun as ‘Baba’) and now the only Baba’s she talks about are her doll, and my tummy. She will often sporadically point at my tummy and say ‘baba’ and loves to lift my shirt up to see my tummy, after which she will give it a little cuddle (or rather a headbut sort of thing which is her version of a cuddle) and then carefully pull my top back down again. It’s the cutest thing!

Her little doll came with a magnetic dummy (genius!) and is just the right size for her. I found it at PicknPay after hours of looking around all the shops and feeling totally overwhelmed by the sheer variety of dolls. So many of them were really plasticky looking, and I wanted something simple…and small enough for her to carry herself. I have also been absolutely amazed by how she has started caring for her baby. She insists on wrapping her in a little blanket (I never showed her how to do this!) and will often share her milk with it, and puts the dummy in and cuddles it while giving it bum pats. I’m amazed at her natural mothering instinct.

Do you have any tips for introducing a young toddler (Everly will be about 17 months old when her brother arrives) to their new baby sibling? Friends have suggested getting her a special present that comes especially from her brother, which I love the idea of (any ideas of things that would make good presents for her?). I’d also love to hear any tips you may have for the actual first introduction, as I have no idea if there is a ‘best way’ to go about it.

Everly is still in her cot, but we plan on taking down the sides of it this week to convert it into a toddler bed, and are holding thumbs the transition won’t be too hard on her.

Ideally she will be sleeping in the single bed that’s in her room now by the time BabyBoy is here. But we aren’t going to rush that just yet, as he won’t need the cot for a good while still.

The Nursery

While BabyBoy is going to be using most of Everly’s nursery furniture (compactum, feeding chair, bassinet) there are a few things I’m changing, the first being the general ‘theme’ of his room. We are doing a constellation theme, and as I have really struggled to find beautiful decor items that match our theme so far, I’ve been in touch with the lovely ladies behind Riley & Fox Bespoke Nursery Linen and have had some custom linen items made just for him.

Here are some photos of how the nursery is looking so far, and of course Everly has had a ball ‘helping’ me get his room ready:

Still to be added:

  • the family bassinet

  • custom prints on the wall next to the compactum

  • floating shelf of some kind in place of the bookshelf

  • a nightlight (we used and still use a beautiful pink Rose Quartz lamp in Everly’s room) and I’m planning on getting a white salt lamp that will also give off a lovely soft glow

  • and when he gets a little older, he will go into Everly’s cot (although I haven’t quite figured out where the cot will go in the room as right now there really isn’t any space. There’s still lots of time to worry about that though, and we might take the bed out when the time comes for him to go in the cot, and put the cot where the bed is now

What I AM sorted with though is all his cloth nappies! While I did try to buy mostly gender neutral nappies with Everly, I have gotten a little carried away with boy prints this time around and have a beautiful stash of both newborn and OSFM (One Size Fits Most) nappies for when he gets a bit older. I’ll share more on his nappies in another post soon.

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I hope you enjoyed this update.

Thanks for following along! Feel free to ask me anything/leave a comment below, I love hearing from you.

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15 months - What Everly Eats along with tips & ideas for your little one

What Everly Eats at 15 months Banting Baby Low Carb High Fat for Toddler CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

I haven’t done a post on Everly and her eating habits for a while, and so thought it time to remedy that and hopefully inspire you with some meal ideas. And at the same time, I’d love to hear from you in the comments as to what your little ones are eating to help inspire me!

In case your new around these parts, Everly eats a pretty much Banting/LowCarbHighFat diet with no processed foods or sugar. This means she doesn’t get bread or pasta, and lives off of meat, fish, veggies, lots of full cream dairy products, loads of eggs and a bit of fruit. She’s a healthy, happy chubby baby and is never sick (I could chalk this up to good genes and the fact that I breastfed her till over a year) but I really believe her diet plays a big role in her health). I don’t judge any of my fellow moms, we all make our own choices, but we choose not to give our daughter anything processed (and try as much as we can to steer clear of store bought baby food….although those food pouches have their place!). This decision isn’t an easy one, especially when it comes to birthday parties, but like I tell family and friends, while I am able to control what Everly eats 99% of the time, I want the food going in to nourish her completely, and so she’s stuck with a mom who feeds her chicken liver sardines ;) It’s also a lot more work to prepare your own baby food, but as with our decision to do cloth nappies, you get into a routine and it just becomes a part of your day. Also, a low carb ‘diet’ (although I hate that word and my little girl is not on a diet…let’s go with the term lifestyle) doesn’t mean NO carb. We don’t count carbs at all like a lot of very strict Banters, but as we also eat a pretty low carb diet, we swop out white potatoes for sweet potatoes, and the veggies she eats regularly are butternut, sweet potatoes, beans, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Here are my older posts on our journey to solids:

I’m 7 months pregnant with Baby#2 and so haven’t been feeling the most inventive when it comes to preparing meals, and as much as I love the idea of Everly eating what we eat, our meals are pretty sporadic too, and we eat a lot later than her so she either eats leftovers the next day or I end up preparing her something much earlier on in the day. This leaves me only feeling up to opening a tin of tuna by the time supper time comes around for us.

Also…how many days can a child survive on cheese alone?!?!? I remember seeing my friend Deborah post about that a few weeks ago and I really had a good giggle. While Everly is a pretty amazing eater and gobbles down just about everything we throw at her, she has been very fussy with texture lately. It’s really strange as she will eat hard/crunchy/very textured things but then went through a funny stage of refusing meat and spitting out most of the food I’d try give her. After a week or so of VERY frustrating meal times, I realised it would very unlikely that she would starve herself and we seem to be coming out of that phase.

My friend Sophie gave me some wonderful words of encouragement. She said it’s our jobs as moms to decide when baby eats and what they eat, and for them to decide on how much they want to eat. This helped me a lot during what felt like a very dark time. Luckily we are out of that fussy season, but it really just goes to show you that ALL babies/toddlers go through phases and they do (hopefully for everyone!) emerge and return to their old selves before you know it.


Here is Everly’s current rough schedule:

  • 6 - 7am wake up (I give her a spill proof cup of milk to drink in bed while she ‘logs on’ in the morning). I also leave her in her bed till about 7am as most of the time she is happily playing with her teddy and talking to herself at this time. I also give her a book or two to look at which generally keeps her occupied for a good 20 minutes or so.

  • 8am Breakfast

  • 9am - anywhere between 10h30/11h30 nap time

  • 12 lunch

  • 1h30/2pm - 3ish nap time

  • 4pm snack

  • 5pm dinner

  • 6pm bath, dressed for bed with a cup of milk, story and bed by 18h30


Here are some ideas for meals and snacks that I give Evs.

I find I go through patches of being super inspired to whip up gourmet meals, and other days where pieces of cheese and baby tomatoes seem to be like the loaves & fishes and keep her going.

Breakfast

  • Scrambled Eggs (I whisk 2 eggs and a dollop of cream cheese together and add that to a pan of melted butter) and cook. I keep the eggs soft as I am not a fan of rubbery, dry scrambled eggs! Everly eats scrambled eggs pretty much every day of the week, and then I throw in a breakfast or two (if it last that long!) of chia porridge.

  • Chia Chocolate Porridge: this is a great recipe from the Real Meal Revolution: Raising Superheroes book for Kids by Tim Noakes. This is where I usually turn for low carb meal inspiration.

  • Both of the above are usually followed by a bowl/cup (I still use and LOVE these Avent breastmilk storage cups for storing/freezing/feeding Everly her food) of full cream, homemade yoghurt with either a pinch of cinnamon or some frozen berries.

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Lunch & Snacks

Lunch is usually a mix of whatever I have on hand, so veggies she can feed herself and then some leftovers…usually followed by another cup of yoghurt or fruit she can chew on herself. I mostly end up doing snacky type foods at lunch time:

  • chopped up cherry tomatoes

  • pitted olives - you’d be surprised at the flavors your toddler may enjoy! Everly is currently VERY into olives.

  • blocks of cheese/squares of Kiri cream cheese

  • half a tin of tuna/oven baked hake in butter (recipe posted below)

  • roasted vegetables (I usually do a tray of sweet potatoes or butternut that lasts for a few days). Simply chop up veggies of your choice, drizzle with oil (I usually use avocado oil or butter) and then sprinkle with your choice of herbs. Roast in the oven until crunchy and serve warm.

  • beans (I’ve only just realised how great canned beans are!). Farmboy is going through a bean phase, so there are usually leftovers from his lunch. Kidney beans & butter beans are a favourite at the moment. These are also the perfect thing for little fingers to pick up.

  • steamed veggies (Broccoli, green beans and cauliflower etc.)

  • leftover braai meat (boerewors/sausages are a firm favourite in our household!)

  • whole fruit - Everly annihilates apples…like, whole, the entire thing, core, peel and all! Lots of great fibre in those fruit peels! I usually give her Granny Smith apples so she doesn’t get hooked on the sweetness.

  • biltong/drywors - often biltong/drywors can be covered in salt an flavourings…simply rinse until cold running water and dry off before giving to your little one…the fattier the better ;) Just keep an eye when giving them drywors as sometimes the skin casing can get a bit stringy and be a potential choking hazard.


Dinner

For supper I like to give Everly a big meal so she goes to bed with a full tummy that lasts her through the night. She sleeps from 6 - 6/7 (long may this last!) and so needs lots of good & nutritious food to keep her content. I often cook up a big stew on a Sunday night that lasts the week, and then I freezer portions of it for future meals (again, those Avent cups I mentioned above are perfect for freezing food!).

  • Lamb/Beef Stew: using a slow cooker, I brown the meat (usually lamb or beef…you can buy cheaper cuts of meat at the butcher and remember, the fattier the better!) in lots of butter & garlic, add a chopped up onion, chop up what ever veggies you have on hand (I usually use sweet potatoes, butternut, celery, carrots), chuck in a tin of chopped tomatoes (I vary the flavour by using either the plain/Indian/Italian flavoured tins), a cup of barley, a cup of lentils/tin of mixed beans, and then top up with water and leave it overnight to stew. I serve it as it, as it’s got all the veggies in it, and then I usually follow with some fruit, depending on the season, it’s often blueberries or starwberries etc. Alternatively Everly has more yoghurt.

  • Oven roasted hake: I buy the Woolworths frozen hake fillets and pop them (frozen) into a dish with loads of butter, some garlic and then sprinkle with herbs. I then usually serve this with steamed broccoli & cauliflower and brown rice. This is a nice finger meal if your little one likes to feed themselves.

  • Liver Pate: Liver is an INCREDIBLE brain boosting food packed full of nutrients for your little one. You can buy tubs of chicken livers from the butcher/grocery store, but you can also use all those left over bits that usually accompany a chicken (giblets, kidney, liver…basically the offal). I know it sounds really gross, and while I’m not the hugest fan of the giblets etc when they are cooked up they taste rather yum! I pop whatever I’m using to make the pate (liver/giblets etc) into a pan with lots of butter and a bit of garlic and onion, fry until just brown, and then add to a blender with a dollop of cream cheese and blitz until smooth. I freeze this in smaller containers as it’s very rich, and your little one probably won’t eat that much of this at a time. This was one of the first foods I gave Everly, and often serve it with steamed veggies (nice for the first few months of weaning as it’s easy to add to pureed veggies). It’s also nice to add to a soft boiled egg, mashed up or serve it with pieces/mashed up avo…depending on how your little one does with texture.

Treats

Ideas for treating your little one, while still ensuring they are able to steer clear of added sugars and other nasties:

  • Ice-lollies: I bought these awesome lolly moulds from PouchLove (R155 for a pack of 4) and Everly loves them! I use rooibos tea (I make litres of the Apple Kids flavor) and keep that in the fridge for me to drink all day, and it makes a really great base for ice lollies! Then I just add whatever bits of fruit I have on hand…Everly loves blueberries and strawberries so that’s what I usually add. Then pop in the freezer over night and voila! The perfect healthy, summer keep-cool treat. They are re-useable and there are endless ideas for different flavors. I think this would also be a a great way to serve soup or chicken/beef/lamb stock on a hot day (I am MAD about stocks and made litres and litres of the stuff for Everly when was just starting solids. It was a great way to make pureed veggies taste nicer, while giving them loads of great vitamins and nutrients).

  • Stewed Fruit: it’s so easy to make your own stewed fruit, which is great to add to yoghurt, or to serve as is. Simply chop of your fruit of choice, add water (or you can add rooibos instead for a bit more flavor and anti-oxidants) and then boil away on the stove until soft and mushy. A combo Everly loved was apples and cherries.

  • Frozen Yoghurt: just as the recipe above for ice lollies, except use yoghurt instead of water/rooibos.

  • dried fruit - I only give Everly this on special occasions as it can be hard to find dried fruit that isn’t full of extra sugar…but mango is a great snack for little hands that will keep them busy, and so are dried apples & apricots. Don’t give too much as too much dried fruit can lead to runny tummies.

  • popcorn - cover in butter (although this can be messy) and sprinkle with dried herbs for extra tastiness. Avoid adding salt if you’re cooking it from seed.


From the above you can see Everly doesn’t have any allergies, and is especially okay with any and all dairy. If your little is lactose intolerant, adjust accordingly (although expensive, Almond milk is an option, but I would steer clear of Soy milk). Often babies and toddlers grow out of their allergies, so keep offering them yoghurt/etc every couple of months etc and see how they manage. On another note, I make all my own homemade yoghurt, this way I ensure there are no nasty hidden preservatives etc. If you are buying yoghurt, try to always give your baby full cream, plain yoghurt. This ensures no hidden sugars, and you can adjust the flavour yourself by adding frozen berries/stewed or steamed fruit/cinnamon and honey when they are a little older.


I hope you found this post helpful. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below, or to leave your favourite toddler meals & snack ideas. I always love hearing from you!

Art & Soul Creative Retreat 17th - 18th November 2018 in Creighton, KZN

2Day1Night Art & Soul Retreat with Terry Angelos & Roxy Hutton in Creighton KZN_Artboard 3.png

Hosting retreats has been something on my heart for years and years, and when Farmboy and I got married here on the farm all those years ago, I just knew that the farm would make the perfect place. After all the renovations we just completed at Bedford (click here to see our beautiful self catering guesthouse), it has become the perfect setting to finally make my dreams of hosting retreats come true.

Here are some photos of Bedford…

And now onto the exciting news! I’m hosting my first every retreats with Durban based artist Terry Angelos, whom I met last year while attending one her art therapy workshops. I then bumped into her at our local Creighton Aloe Festival and I mentioned that we had just completed renovations at Bedford and then the topic of hosting a retreat came up.

The rest as they say, is history!

The 2Day1Night retreat is happening from Saturday 17th November to Sunday 18th November and will be here on Bedford Farm in Creighton. We still have a couple of spaces open if you’d like to book your spot!

Here’s a little more of what’s on offer during the 2 day 1 night stay:

art retreat creigthon durban kzn south africa


Saturday
Arrive anytime during the morning from 9am
🌿11am - art session / introduction and techniques for relaxing through art & art journaling
🌿1pm - lunch & free time
🌿3pm - art session - aloes and country botanicals
🌿5.60/6pm gin sundowners (I’ll be serving my famous Lavender & Grapefruit Gin Cocktail!)
🌿7.30/8pm - Dinner

Sunday
🌿9am - 10am picnic brunch
🌿10am - 12pm “Pleinair” painting - country landscapes
🌿12pm - free time. You are welcome to explore the area, find a lovely lunch spot on your way home or chill at the farmhouse till you are ready to leave.
Depart farmhouse by 3pm.

If you’re looking for a break away from reality and the opportunity to be creative in a beautiful countryside setting, this retreat is just for you.

art retreat durban creighton south africa

Cost: R1850pp including all meals, accommodation and art supplies.

Rooms are sharing (private rooms are available at R200 extra) and there is also the option of spending the Friday night here (an extra R350pp) if you’d like to extend your stay.

Message or comment below with your email address or email terry directly to book your spot today: terryangelosart@gmail.com

Terry and I are so excited to host this retreat, and I’m sure it will be the first of many to come!

6 months in with Pregnancy #2 and what has been different this time around

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Today marks the 24th week (or 6 month mark) of my second pregnancy, and I thought I’d share a post on what has and hasn’t been different this time around.

The first, very obvious thing for my loyal blog readers, will be the fact that I documented my first pregnancy (click here to read those posts) quite a lot, sharing every month or so, what was going on with my body and how I was preparing. This time around my time is spent running after Everly, long gone are the days of lying in bed, watching series, and day dreaming of what life would be like when she arrived. Now it’s all hands on deck making sure she doesn’t get into too much trouble and she beetles around the house. Because of this, I have still tried hard to capture this pregnancy with photographs, and with my baby journal, as I would be heartbroken if he (yup! we are having a little boy) grows up and is feels left out of the whole memory capturing process. So although it takes a bit more effort to remind myself to photograph my growing belly, I am still making the time to do so.

My body

Well…the saying that your body is like a balloon after having a baby is 100% true. It blows up a whole lot faster the second time (as it has already stretched once before!) and I am MUCH bigger this time and my belly popped out a lot sooner that it did with Evs. This makes sense, I guess, but still leaves me feeling a bit nervous for what I’m going to look and feel like closer to the end.

Here’s a little size comparison between 22 weeks with Everly, and 22 weeks with #2:

My skin has also been a lot worse this time around, and this may have to do with the fact that I am carrying a boy this time around, but who really knows. Each pregnancy, just like each baby, is so unique, but I really only battled with a few pimples until about the 10 week mark with Everly, and this time my skin is only going back to normal now, 24 weeks in. It is also a different time of the year so there is that to consider too (I was mostly pregnant through Winter with Everly, and this little guy is due in Feb…so basically a peak Summer pregnancy…you’ll find me in the pool whaling around from here on out!).

I also seem to have picked up weight a lot faster too. I put on nearly 20kg’s with Everly (that’s a WHOLE lot of extra weight on my usual 52kg frame) and I’m already on the 12kg mark with another 3 or so months to go. It always boggled my mind that baby ends up weighing +-3kg’s so where does the other 17kg’s come from! Anyway, I was delighted to be back at my pre-baby weight within a few short months after Everly (mainly due to breastfeeding and following a semi low-carb high fat way of eating) and I’m hoping my body will do the same this time around.

What I am struggling with at the moment is picking up and carrying Everly around. She’s only 14 months old and not walking on her own yet….although considering she only started crawling at around the 12 month mark it might still be a while…and this means I need to pick her up and carry her everywhere. She weighs about 12kg’s, and my poor body is struggling with that and the baby bump to haul around. But, I guess it’s keeping me relatively fit so I should be thankful.

Photography by  Dillon Kin Photography

Photography by Dillon Kin Photography

My Mind

As this pregnancy was a bit of a surprise, it took a while to wrap my head around the fact that another little bundle would be joining our family. A lot of people I’ve spoken to have shared the same worries as I have, and have even gone so far as to say that didn’t bond much with their growing bump throughout the whole pregnancy. While I definitely felt like that in the beginning, as I’ve gotten bigger and felt him move and kick, I’ve definitely grown closer to him and am really starting to look forward to him being here. At the same time I’m still absolutely terrified with how I’m going to manage the 17 month age gap, but there ain’t no going back now and I guess no matter the age gap the adjustment is always a hard one in the beginning. I think Everly is going to LOVE having a sibling, and the nice thing about the small age gap is the fact that she probably won’t ever remember her life before her little brother. I hope this helps them grow closer together and that they don’t end up spending each second of the day fighting.

On that note, if you have any tips for adjusting to two-under-two please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from other mommies who have/are navigating the same waters. I have been told that it’s super helpful to try and get them on the same schedule/routine as quickly as possible, so that they are both napping at the same time (that’s the idea anyway) and so that leaves mom with a bit of breathing space amongst the chaos. I also wonder how Everly will cope with me feeding her bother, and whether she’ll have any regressions on that front. She didn’t even bat an eyelid when I weaned her at just over a year, and she didn’t fuss for the boob at all. Hoping this means it won’t even phase her in the slightest, but who knows how they will react when the time comes.

Everly

A lot of friends and family have asked me whether Every is aware of what’s going on. I don’t think she really has any idea and although she uses the word Baba all the time, this has come to mean the dog, the chickens, the sky, my belly button and about a million other things. I think maybe closer to the time she might start to have more of an idea of what’s going on, but right now she’s very content playing with ALL her baba’s :)

What is going to also have to change very soon for her will be her bed. We haven’t quite decided what the next best thing is for her, but as her baby brother will be needing the cot relatively soon after he is here (although we do plan on using the family bassinet for the first couple of months) we will need to think carefully. I have been toying with the idea of turning her room into a Monessori style room, with a mattress on the floor. This is great in that we don’t need to worry about her falling out as she would just sort of roll onto the floor and I would put carpets underneath the bed. But this would mean she would be free to move/get out of bed when she wants to. I really like the idea of her having the freedom to get up when she wakes up and encourage her independence, but this could also have the opposite effect and mean she just won’t sleep because she can play with her toys whenever she wants to. So we will see what happen a little closer to the time and see how she manages in her cot once we’ve taken the sides down and converted it in the toddler bed it is designed to be.


I hope you enjoyed this life update!

Thanks for following along.

x

Envriron #FocusOnFlawlessSA Beauty Trial

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A little while ago I asked my dear followers over on Instagram for recommendations to help me deal with my red, inflamed, extremely dry skin and I got so many great recommendations!
A lot people recommended @environskincare products, which I haven’t used for ages.

Environ #FocusOnFlawlessSA Product Trial with Beauty Bulletin by blogger Roxy Hutton of CityGirlSearching

 
I know that the pimples I have are pretty much all hormonal (thanks to the 5 baby month bump I’m sporting) but the rest of my concerns (flaky, inflamed, red and dry skin) have got more to do with ageing (eeek #hello30) and so this delightful duo I’ve been sent in conjunction with @beauty_bulletin couldn’t have come at a better time.

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I’m going to be testing out the Revival Masque from the Youth Range, as well as the Hydrating Oil Capsules from the Moisture Range and I will be sharing my thoughts over on Instagram (@roxyhutton) in the coming weeks.

Click below to follow me over on my favourite social media platform:

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Let me know if you’re in the same boat as me and have been looking for something that actually does what it says in the box.

I’m even going as far as to share some makeup-less ‘before’ photos so you can see some exactly how my skin is looking right now (wrinkles, pimples and redness and all!) and how it changes (or doesn’t?) over the coming month.


You can follow my progress and all the other ladies participating in this trial by searching for the #FocusOnFlawlessSA.

Flying Solo with a Baby - How to stay sane when Traveling by Plane with a Little One

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Everly and I have just landed after our 7th flight together. I’ve flown solo with her from Pietermaritzburg to Joburg 5 times (we flew together when she was 3 months, 6 months and now at 13 months), and she has also done an international flight to the UK at 7 months old…what a jet-setter! I think she should have her own card to be collecting air miles by now :)

I thought I’d write this post to offer some tips and advice for airplane travel with a little one, while everything is still fresh in my mind. I’m also currently 5 months pregnant, so the flight we have just done was a bit more difficult and took a bit more planning, but was still very manageable by myself. This post is more geared to shorter flights (all of the flights except for the one to UK were between 1 & 2 hours long).

I’ll also be doing a post on flying when pregnant (Farmboy and I went on ‘baby-moon’ to Italy in June last year when I was 6 months pregnant with Everly) and I have a whole load of tips for mommy’s-to-be when it comes to flying when pregnant…so tuned for that post to come soon.


  1. Use a baby carrier.

This has got to be my NUMBER 1 tip for flying with a baby. You are going to need both your hands when traveling for handing over your passports, holding your tickets, unpacking your hand-luggage when being scanned at security etc and the last thing you need to be worrying about is trying to do all of that with one.

We love our Ubuntu Baba carrier, and have used it since Everly was just a week old. Baby carriers are amazing for allowing Mum (or Dad) to get stuff done, they are world renown for their sleep induing properties, and most importantly, they allow baby to feel safe and secure at all times. I would not have been able to get through the plane airport travel without one. The Ubuntu Baba Carrier comes in two sizes (Stage 1 & Stage 2). Stage 1 is a front only carrier (so baby is carried on your front) and their Stage 2 carrier allows for both front and back carry. As I’m now well into my second pregnancy, I can no longer carry Ev on my front, but I have successfully been able to carry her on my back, while still feeling comfortable at 5 months pregnant.

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Farmboy really likes the back carry position as he finds front carrying to be very hot and sweaty. I loved carrying Everly on my front when she was little, and now that she’s bigger (and heavier!) the back carry position is much more comfortable for all of us. The above photos will give you a pretty good idea of all the things you can do with your carrier…it’s just the best invention!

Although for bigger toddlers, prams are really great too as most airlines will allow you to wheel baby right to the airplane door, where they will then take the pram from you for the flight and bring it out again once you land.

2. A Backpack nappy/baby bag is life changing

This tip is more of a general mommy tip and something I am SO glad I used right from the very beginning. I just don’t know how moms handle the shoulder stress of carrying a heavy baby bag on one arm. Having a back pack means you once again have your ‘hands-free’ to pick up baby, open doors, carry things…the list of goes on! And if you have your baby on your front in a carrier, this means you can still have your hands free as all the baby paraphernalia goes on your back! It’s heavy, but well balanced (especially when they are small).

I ordered my nappy bag from a UK based company before they became all the rage and now you can buy this exact style through loads of online retailers here in South Africa. Click here to order yours through one of my favourite cloth nappy online stores, Biddykins. You can fit A LOT of things in this backback…here’s some proof:

When packing your nappy bag for a flight, try to be as ruthless as possible. You really don’t want to be fiddling with 10 different dummies and toys while you are desperately looking for the extra sock you thought you packed. Farmboy was so strict with me, and I’m so glad looking back. You also don’t want to be carrying everything and the kitchen sink, not just for the sake of your back (or shoulder if you have a traditional shoulder carry nappy bag) but for the sake of being able to find what you need QUICKLY. The last thing you need is a screaming baby while you wade through all 10 of Ben’s favourite stuffed toys to find his dummy.


What to pack for a short plane ride with your baby (0 - about 6 months):

  • 4 x nappies

  • 2 x dummies (one clipped to baby and the other in an easy to reach pocket in your nappy bag)

  • 1 x favourite toy

  • 1 x receiving blanket (can be used to feed under/change baby in an emergency/mop up any spews/food/milk)

  • wet wipes

  • baby meds (Telement, Panado, Bum cream etc)

  • 2 x Spare set of clothes (and socks as it can be colder on the plane)

  • 2 x bibs…one on baby and one spare (if you’re like me and like to use different bibs for eating/drool then you might need more)


3. Baggage tips - Carry only one bag on the plane

Your hands are already full dealing with a little baby/toddler, and so I highly recommend packing just one bag for use on the plane. Most airlines (at least here in South Africa on domestic flights) are very relaxed when it comes to what you can pack for baby, and allow bottles with milk/formula as well as snacks to be brought on board.

Having one bag to deal with when flying makes your life so much easier, and this is also why I can’t recommend a back up nappy bag enough. I’ve even been able to fit all of Everly’s things in there, as well my wallet and phone AND my big and bulky DSLR camera.

The photo above shows my luggage for the first few domestic flights I did with Evs…the backpack was my hand luggage/baby bag for on the plane, and the big hard case was the bag I checked in. I managed to fit all of my clothes and Everly’s as well as her cloth nappies for a weeks stay. What you take with you (ie. pram/camp cot etc) will also depend on where you are going and who you are going to be staying with. I’ve always flown and stayed with family who have had spare camp cots/prams etc or have borrowed from friends for my stay. Most of the time if you bring your cart seat with you, it will be checked in under the plane (make sure to get it wrapped to prevent any damage). Prams are allowed all the way to the airline door, where staff will then pack them up and put it away for you, and bring it out again once you land.

At the time of writing this blog post, here are the checked in baggage allowances for Mango & SAA:

  • SAA: Infants are permitted 1 piece of checked baggage up to 23kg plus 1 collapsible pram or buggy and car seat, free of charge.

  • Mango: Infants have a Baggage allowance of 10 kg’s. Parents may bring on board an approved child safety seat, similar to that used in a car, but this seat will form part of your on-board baggage allowance.


4. Breastfeed/Bottle/Dummy on Take off and Landing to prevent sore ears

The first time we flew, I had the Panado at the ready, and even debated whether or not I should dose Everly before we had even boarded the plane. But once I realised the sore ears are caused by the altitude, and that if baby is sucking on something this stops their ears from popping, life gets a lot less stressful. As adults, we are able to pop our ears easily (and you probably even do it unconsciously) but little babies haven’t learned this skill yet and so need a little help.

If you’re breastfeeding your baby, life gets a whole lot easier, as you can simply pop then on the boob for take off and landing. Not only does this help them to ‘pop’ their ears, but it gives them a little extra comfort during what will probably be a bit of a stressful time. You can do the same with a bottle, and a dummy works just as well too. I have only just weaned Everly (I had planned to feed her till she self weaned) but being pregnant put a bit of a spanner in the works for us. On another note, you can definitely breastfeed while pregnant, it all just depends on you and how your body feels. I had no problems with my supply, it was more a case of things being so much more sensitive, and I decided I wanted to have a little break before becoming the resident dairy cow for our family (I made it to just under 13 months).

I breastfed Everly on all the flights up until this last one, when she just had her dummy. She had no problems with her ears.

If you are concerned that your baby’s ears might still be sore at some point, then to ease your mind just keep some Panado handy in your nappy bag.


5. Pack more nappies and spare clothes for the plane than you think you will need

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One our first flight together, Everly went through about 4 more nappies than I had planned. I also chose to use disposable nappies for the flight to make my life a little easier, but have since then just carried on using cloth nappies (click here if you’d like to find out more about cloth nappies).

Being a first time mom, first time flying and really having very little idea of what to expect, I wish I had packed at least 2 sets of extra vests and leggings, as the two nappies I had to deal with on the plane wrecked havoc with her clothes! I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say it wasn’t just her onesie that had lots of suspect green 'stains’ but my clothing too.

Also bare in mind just how teeny tiny the airplane bathroom changing tables are! Here is a photo of Everly at 3 months, only just fitting.


6. Snacks for Older babies

Snacks are a GREAT distraction and source of entertainment for little ones. I only really needed to worry about this on this last flight, as before Everly was small enough to not be needing solids on the plane journey as I was still breastfeeding her. This time around, she was just over a year, and as my child eats me out of house and home, I knew I needed to be REALLY prepared food wise.

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What snacks you pack will depend on what your little one eats and what sort of food you feed them. Everly is a Banting baby (no sugar or processed carbs…just real food) so my life is made a little harder when it comes to snacks as she doesn’t get biscuits or crackers etc. I also try not to feed her too many of those pouch meals (you never know exactly what’s in them) but I did have a Woolies pouch packed in there for emergencies. She LOVES those pouches though, and it’s what she ate a lot of when we were un the UK and traveling a lot. So they definitely have their place and are a good distraction for many babies. I have a set of re-useable pouches from PouchLove which are awesome when traveling. I filled one with frozen yoghurt (literally put yoghurt in it and popped it in the freezer over night) and filled the other with a spinach, apple & raisin puree which Everly loves. Handy to give to busy little hands.

The BEST snack (although a little on the messy side) turned out to be rice cakes! Everly pulled each and every grain of rice apart and played with it for a good 15 - 20 minutes. Oh, and also sun-dried tomatoes and drywors/biltong are good, relatively non-messy, sugar free snack ideas too.


If all else fails and your little one does have a melt down, just remember to take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that it will all be over soon.

I’m certain that your baby/toddler one will undoubtedly surprise you, and it all will all be over before you know it. On that note, make sure to snap a few photos to document the trip. This will either make wonderful memories, or remind you never to take them on a plane again ;)

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Cathedral Peak Hotel - Family Friendly Getaways in the Drakensburg

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A little while ago I was offered a 2 night stay at the beautiful Cathedral Peak Hotel in the Berg. The offer couldn’t have come at a better time, as Farmboy had been hard at work, farming, and we were in desperate need of a family getaway.

We have spent time at Champagne Sports Resort as well as the Drakensburg Sun, but I have only been into the Cathedral Peak Nature Reserve when I was little, and that was to do one of the many beautiful overnight hikes. Although we didn’t get to do much hiking on this trip (having a one year and being 5 months pregnant does tend to slow you down just a bit) the Cathedral Peak Hotel was the perfect place for a family to spend the weekend.

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Not only did we stuff ourselves silly at the buffet (seriously, their food was some of the best hotel food I’ve ever eaten!) but their kiddies play area was so well equipped too. Even I enjoyed a good number of jumps on the trampoline (before I realised that jumping on a trampoline while pregnant is probably not the smartest idea...#scrambledeggs haha).

From the moment we stepped into the reception, we were greeted by such warm and welcoming staff who were so helpful during our stay. Nothing was too much trouble, and by the end of our stay Everly has charmed all the staff and genuinely seemed to be sad to say goodbye. If you’re looking for a good family friendly place to spend the weekend, I would definitely recommend adding Cathedral Peak Hotel to the top of your list!

Although this was a sponsored trip, all thoughts and views are my own, and we will definitely be heading back out of our own pocket….Perhaps after our next little one has arrived and we can all enjoy the gorgeous hiking trails (and rock pools!) on offer.

Cathedral Peak Hotel is about a 3 hour drive from Durban, and only about 4.5 hours from Joburg. It’s definitely an easy enough place to get to from either city for the weekend. It took us about 3 hours from the farm, but granted, we live out in the middle of nowhere and everywhere is far for us. You set your GPS for the small but delightful town of Winterton, and then from there the Hotel’s website has really great step by step directions.

Whenever people post reviews of places they’ve stayed before, I’m always far more interested in the photos than I am in their descriptions, so I’m going to let my images speak for me. But the one thing I have to harp on about was the food! Gosh, everything was freshly prepared every day, and we were still able to keep Everly on her Banting/No Sugar or processed carb eating during our stay. In fact, she loved the food so much, I’ve had to replicate some of the meals at home to keep her happy! Luckily the friendly chef was happy to share his ‘secret’ recipes with me after I explained that Everly was thoroughly enjoying his food!

Here are some snaps of the facilities on offer at Cathedral Pea Hotel…

The Rooms

While I didn’t manage to get a photograph of the bed before Everly and hubby made themselves right at home in anticipation of a long nap, I have to talk about how comfy it was! It was also HUGE and meant all three of us could lie in it without disturbing each other. Although, Everly has never been one to sleep in bed with us (she is just too noisy and wriggles about so much that none of us end up getting any sleep), the bed would be big enough for a family of 4 to sleep in comfortably.

We brought our own camp cot as I wasn’t sure if the Hotel would provide one, but sure enough, they had set up the sweetest wooden cot, complete with its own baby pillow and duvet!

The bathroom was big and spacious, with a the most amazing shower. Our little shower at home has the most pathetic pressure, and we only have about 5 little holes int he shower head to wash with. This shower was a whole new level of comfort and I really struggled to tear myself away from it when it was time to climb out and get dressed.

The Hotel even provides separate pool towels to bath towels, so you really don’t need to pack your own. They also had a lovely selection of toiletries to use.

What I loved the most about the rooms was how big they were. We were in a Standard room, and we had more than enough space for 2 camp cots (we did ask them to remove their one to make more space but it’s nice to know that two fit well so that when we come back with the new baba we will all have enough space!), our big pram, all of our stuff (especially Everly’s baby paraphernalia) and I didn’t ever feel like I was tripping over things. And the curtains make the rooms super dark, which meant we were ALL able to really maximise our morning and afternoon naps while the sun shone all day.

Restaurants & the Infamous Buffet

Kiddies Play Area

Swimming Pool Area

It was a bit windy over the weekend that we were there so while we didn’t actually get into the pools, we were able to enjoy getting our feet wet.

Two of the pools are heated (yay!) and there were lots of older kiddies happily swimming and splashing about. So definitely make sure to pack swimming costumes as the water looked so inviting!

Fishing & walks nearby

Although I wasn’t up to any serious hiking, we did head out on a lovely morning stroll to find the trout fishing dams. Farmboy is an AVID fisherman, and so he made it his mission that weekend to find the dams. While he didn’t actually get a moment to fish (he was catching up on all his missed sleep while being on farm duty the previous 2 weeks) we did find the dam and now we know for next time.

The stroll to the trout farm was beautiful, with fantastic views of the Peaks themselves. It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the little dam, but it did take a whole lot longer to walk back as their is a HUGE hill to the hotel (again, this is especially good for burning off all the waffles you’re going to eat at breakfast).

For the more adventurous, here is a little blurb on the actual hikes on offer from the Hotel:

“There are 19 walks/hikes that leave and return to the Hotel, for all levels of fitness, skill and ability. There is a guided walk/hike that leaves the hotel every morning (see reception for details of which hike on which day). There are also maps that can be purchased at reception for those walkers who would like to venture out on their own” Cathedral Peak Hotel

The only ‘downside’ to the hotel itself, and I’m hesitant to say downside as it was easy enough for us to work around, was all the stairs. It wasn’t that easy to push a pram on all the paths as a lot of the paths suddenly ended with a number of steps and we did have to go onto the grass a few times to be able to get to and from our room. While I didn’t mind the steps (it wasn’t easy going though for a pregnant lady!) they certainly helped me walk off all the food I put away during our stay.

We had such a wonderful stay and left feeling refreshed and relaxed, and with very full tummies. If you’re looking for something different to the usual beach holiday, a stay at Cathedral Peak Hotel has something for every member of the family.

Thanks so much for having us Cathedral Peak Hotel…we will definitely be back!

Our Farm Cottage - Before & After

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I have been meaning to write this blog post for such a long time (nearly 3 years in fact!) but time has done what it always does, and run away with me. I also find that if I don’t get things done the moment inspiration hit, then I forget about things and get distracted, and so the ideas sit on the back burner until something comes along and inspires me again.

This is what has happened with this blog post. The reason I’ve suddenly realised I HAVE to share it, is because we are doing renovations really soon (a second baby on the way has a way of hurrying things up!) and as baby is due in February, there really isn’t much time to expand our little home. So before the walls get knocked down and we have to move out while the building takes place, I wanted to share some before photos of our little home, as well as photos of how it looks now.

Some background:

We live in a little wooden cottage across the garden from my in-laws. This is the home where Farmboy’s Granny lived in before she passed away. It’s a lovely little home (emphasis on little) with two bedrooms, one bathroom, an open plan lounge/dining area, kitchen and gorgeous verandah area. There is also a two room prefab building outside with a carport, which houses Farmboy’s mancave, and the guest room. With inside having the only bathroom, it makes things a little awkward for guests. My mom has been the most frequent guest, and although she has said she doesn’t mind have a starlight ‘bathroom experience’ in the middle of the night, I know she has just about had enough and we have plans to put in a little Granny flat container home soon.

We are constantly changing things, and as I mentioned above, are about to begin building (we are adding on another bedroom and bathroom and extending the lounge area) and so the photos I have to share with you have been taken along the way during the past couple of years. I hope to have updated images of how it looks currently which I will share soon.

Without further ado (and because this blog post has already taken me nearly 2 weeks to actually put together!) here are the before photos of our home. Things to take particular note of:

  • the colour of the walls

  • the colour of the floors

  • the colour of the ceiling

  • placement of the fridge in the kitchen

  • the curtains


Before…

Work in Progress shots…

We sanded the ceilings and the floors, painting them all white. We used Woodoc 25 Water Borne White for the floors, and painted 2 coats to allow the grain of the wooden floors to show through, and we used a Plascon White Undercoat and Ceiling paint for the Ceilings. Both were really big jobs that we half did ourselves, and then hired some help to finish off. So many people were horrified when I told them we would be painting the floors of our farm home white, but it all came together so well, and has been easy enough to keep clean so far.

The walls were painted with a grey shade (Plascon paint name to be confirmed) and this gave our home a lovely soft and cool feeling.


Some of my favourite DIY projects…


The Lounge

I wanted to do a grey and white theme for our lounge, with a touch of pink. Farmboy was sceptical at first, but after seeing the finished product he says it’s much better than he had imagined it would be. I found the black industrial feel lighting at Mr Price Home, and love how the modern fittings offset the pink, grey and white.

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Everly’s Room

Everly’s room was the guest room until she came along, and the only change from these photos to now is that she is in her cot and not in the bassinet. I loved having two wingback chairs in her nursery, as although it seems like an extravagance, we had a spare one from the lounge above once we got our couch, and so it went in here and became Daddy’s chair for those first few weeks. Her room is my favourite place in the house and I often sit there with friends so having a spare comfy chair has been wonderful. My feeding chair (the big grey one) was a secondhand find that I had recovered in a gorgeous velvet fabric, and the compactum was also a second hand piece I found in Durban which has worked perfectly as a baby changing station. It fits all her cloth nappies so well too!


Our bedRoom

Our bedroom is pretty simple. There were already huge cupboards extending from wall to wall, in both our room and Everly’s room, and this makes up for the lack of storage space anywhere else in the house. Farmboy and I made our headboard ourselves using this beautiful Protea fabric from U&G in Durban. The side tables were simple wooden boxes Farmboy made himself, and the lamps are from Mr Price Home. The dressing table was a lovely second hand find.


the bathroom

We didn’t really have the time or funds to make any big structural changes to the bathroom, and so made do with a couple of licks of paint (which makes all the difference!). I also used a piece of voile fabric as a makeshift curtain in the bathroom and it has worked rather well. Painting the ceilings white also made a HUGE difference.

The bath is my favourite feature of the whole house, and luckily we don’t have any water restrictions as we use Borehole water and I’m able to bath every day…bliss when pregnant!


The Kitchen

From the old kitchen, we removed the breakfast counter that was next to the front door, and put the fridge there, which really opened up the space. The best thing I ever did was put a bench in the kitchen, as it has become a real social place to be, and as much as I’d like to tear everything out and start again (I’d love to make it open plan!) it works just fine for now.It’s also amazing how you adjust to things. We have very little counter space, and yet somehow have managed too cook and prepare food for lots of guests as well as our everyday family meals.


My Office Nook

This funny little space used to be the dining room, but as it backs onto the bathroom (and it a really funny space to work with) Farmboy set about making me a custom A-frame desk and office space. I just love it and it fits the space so well. The ceilings in our cottage are vaulted, and the A-frame section of the desk really lends itself well to this.

Also pictured, my Pilates ball. I used this as a desk chair before I was pregnant with Everly, and enjoy it so much more than a standard chair.


And there you have it. Our cosy little farm cottage as it looks now. Once the renovations are done (hopefully by the time the new baby is here in February!) I will share more photos of what the space looks like.

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In the mean time, I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our little home.

x


Previous Client Work: Brand Photography for Inkgesteld

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A little while ago, I had the pleasure of working with the dynamic duo; Chantelle & Louis from INKgesteld Studio in Pretoria. Chantelle found me on Instagram, and after a few informal chats over social media, she told me her husband and her were in need of professional portraits for their brand. As Chantelle and Louis are based in Pretoria and I am in KZN, we had to work on our schedules a bit to find the next available time I was in Joburg They didn’t need to wait to long, as I am often there visiting family, and so we set up a time and I headed to their home based studio for their shoot.

We spent a wonderful morning together, capturing the essence of their unique brand. I set about creating a mixture of styled lifestyle shots, flatlays, and also took some headshots of each of them, as well as of the two of them together.

All of the above forms part of my Creative Head Package (click here to find out more about this package) and I always enjoy mixing all of the elements together to create brand imagery for a range of different uses.

The INKgested brand is sophisticated, edgy and modern, and quite different to brands I had worked with before. Because of this, I was so excited to meet them both and see their home based studio. This was also my first time working with a couple, as I had only worked with individuals before, and I just had the best time with them both. Their home was absolutely gorgeous, like something out of a magazine, and the moment I stepped foot in their studio I was beside myself with excitement and would have spent the entire day there photographing every single centimetre of the place.

Below are a selection of the images I created exclusively for INKgesteld.