Two Under 2 - A life update 6 months in

TwoUnderTwo Life update 6 months in-01.png

Whew! We’ve made it to 6 months as a family of four, and I think we all deserve a high five (or rather, Mommy & Daddy deserve a night of uninterrupted sleep, or maybe just a 10 minute lie-in, or wait, maybe just a hot cup of tea, I’d settle for that!). The past 6 months have been crazy, filled with nappies…and more nappies and then a few more nappies on top of that. And even though it feels like the days dragged ooooonnnnn and ooooonnnn this time has really flown past. Everyone said that it would be hard, and to be honest, I didn’t really believe them

Or rather, I didn’t really understand what hard would look like.

My first born, Everly, was (and still is) a unicorn baby…you know the ones that sleep like the book says they should (and then some!) who eat anything and everything, who play independently for hours at a time…the ones you don’t believe really exist. And so I really thought I had it all down pat when it came to having another baby. I just assumed that Everly turned out the was she did because of how we had parented. And while I think part of this is true, a whole lot of it has to do with her being a girl, being our first baby, and of course the things we have no control over, her nature and personality.

July Granny Visit  (17 of 59).jpg

Life since Aaron has been hard. It’s been hard for lots of reasons, not just because he has been a colicky baby, but also because of things like the small age gap between him and his sister (17 months) which means effectively I have two babies to care for. Also, with your second baby, you have far less time to sit and coo over them, and I was able to rest more when I had Everly (I spent the first 6 weeks REALLY taking it easy after her birth) and with Aaron, I was basically up and about and picking up a busy toddler after barely a week. It’s also been REALLY hard trying to co-ordinate two little schedules. I am very routine orientated, and somewhere over the past couple of months, Everly has needed to drop from two to one naps (I know, I should be thanking my lucky stars that she has made it this long on two naps) but that transition was quite tricky. Anyway, we made it and she has now settled nicely into her new one nap a day schedule, and thankfully still sleeps through the night (even through Aaron’s bad nights…long may that last!).

Aaron Jack 5 months old July 2019 (8 of 8).jpg

I really don’t believe that my little boy is a very difficult baby, he has just been really different to Everly. A big component has been that I actually have forgotten what Everly was like in the early months. But, in saying this, Aaron is a whole lot busier than Everly was, he has already got 2 teeth (and two more are breaking through and he HAS not been a happy chappy for days on end before and after those pearly whites broke through…unlike Evs who only got her first tooth at nearly 8 months and ever since then barely makes a peep when they do) and from what I can tell from my friend’s with boy babies, he is a typical boy. He just wants to be close to his mommy, and he likes intense one on one interaction about 90% of the time. It’s not always easy for me to mentally sit down on the floor and play with him, when I feel torn between work on my computer and then the things that I love doing (photography, blogging and sharing our behind the scenes farm life on Instagram…but gosh writing that out here really does sound terrible…I’m basically saying playing with and talking to my baby is taking me away from doing the things I love doing…and that pretty much sums up parenthood haha). But I do think all of these thoughts are normal (please tell me I’m not alone!) and while the first 4 months for us were the hardest, the last 6 weeks have had way more happy & sunnier days.

Aaron is giggling and laughing, and developing his own sense of humor (typical boy style, the fist full on laugh was over ‘fart’ noises) and he LOVES being thrown up into the air. He is getting really good at sitting, and his slow-to-smile nature means that every smile you do get hits you with ALL THE FEELS.

Here is our new #TwoUnderTwo schedule, for anyone who might like to know how we (try!) to do things most days:

  • 06:30 - 7am both kiddos wake up (generally at the same time, which is chaos, but some days Evs wakes up before Aaron and then I get to spend a bit of quality time with just her while I get her changed for the day). I feed Aaron & change his nappy, and then pop some music on for him while I change Evs nappy and get her dressed.

  • 8am Everly has breakfast while Aaron sits in his bouncy chair (he gives me about 10 - 15 mins before he starts getting bored).

  • 08:30 - 10am Aaron has his nap. Everly and I go an play in the garden, read books, potter around the house.

  • 10:00 Aaron wakes up, I feed him, change his nappy and then geenrally pop him in the pram and take him and Everly for a walk.

  • 10:45 Everly has a filling snack (usually homemade yoghurt with nut butter/blueberries)

  • 11:00 - 13:00/14:00 Everly has her nap (which can be anywhere from 2 - 3 hours long).

  • 11:00 Aaron has his solids (we just started about a week ago)

  • 11:30 Aaron goes down for his nap, which can be anywhere from 1 - 2 hours long.

    From 11:30 - 13:00 is generally when I get to have my only break from both kiddos. I don’t usually get longer than 45 mins, but there have been a few days when I’ve had 2 hours to myself. It’s wonderful! But it did take 6 months to get here, as usually Aaron would wake up as I was putting Everly down, or vice versa.

  • 13:00/14:00 Everly has lunch when she wakes up from her nap, and then the three of us play together until Aaron’s next nap.

  • 15:00/16:00 Aaron will have some sort of nap at this time, some days he has a short 30 minute nap, other day an hour. Other days, my wonderful Nanny will put him on her back while she does the ironing and I’ll take Everly out into the garden to play.

  • 17:00 Everly has supper

  • 17:30 I start running the bath, getting the kids pj’s and nappies laid out (this may sound strange, but as we use cloth nappies, the night time nappy is always a bigger one that has lots of layers, and so I go and fold them/get them ready.

  • 18:00 Bath time. I bath Everly while hubby get’s Aaron undressed and baths him. Then I take Aaron to his room to change and feed him, and then pop him down for the night. Everly gets changed and has story time and what she calls ‘talk time….soooo cute’ with Daddy, and I usually get to pop my head in to say goodnight.

  • 3:00-4:00am Aaron wakes up for a feed, and then goes right back to sleep till the morning.

It’s taken us a while to get to this point, and I’m so proud of my family! We had about a month recently of Aaron waking up multiple times a night, me feeding him often, us leaving him to cry and eventually settle himself to sleep (again, this has only been doable because Everly sleeps through the noise) and just general rough nights, but with lots of perseverance and consistency, we are back to a good nighttime routine again. I have no doubt this is going to change again, and I’m okay with that, because I know we will get back to our ‘normal’ again.

July Granny Visit  (45 of 59).jpg

In other news, I’ve been quite busy again lately with branding shoots & website design, which always pulls me in two directions. I also am in charge of our farm’s BEE certification, and we have our audit coming up in the next 2 weeks which has been crazy stressful, and really, really, really hard to juggle with two little ones. It’s the kind of work that needs uninterrupted focus time (haha yes I hear the moms in the back laughing along with me at the though of uninterrupted focus time when you have kids) but I’m getting there, and once this audit is done, hopefully it will be a while until I need to work on it again.

So all in all, we are getting into our groove and the latest fun milestone has been giving Aaron solids and starting his weaning journey. I’ll be doing more blog posts on that soon, but if you’ve got a little one and will be starting solids with them soon, here are all my blog posts on what we did with Everly:

Some goals we have now for our little family are to go on a hike, and when the weather warms up, to go camping. Are we crazy or is it doable? Do you have any tips for doing any of the above with two little ones? I’d love to hear from you!

Two Under 2 - an update on life 10 weeks in

Two Under 2 A life Update 10 weeks in CityGirlSearching Blog-01.png

Goodness me the past 10 weeks (technically 12 weeks by the time I have been able to publish this blogpost) have flown by in a hazzy blur. I’m writing this post so I can (hopefully) look back on these days and remember them if there is a third little one in the future. I”m also hoping this post enourages/inspires other moms and dads out there, and helps them in their own parenting journey.

I’m not really sure where to start, or whether what I’m going to share is even going to make sense and not seem like the jumbled thoughts of a half crazed person, but life with two under two is no joke. I don’t think anything can quite prepare you for a second child, just the same as nothing can really prepare you for having your first baby (although friends with 3 kids have said the jump from 2 to 3 is nowhere near as hectic as the jump from 1 2 kids).

As this is a rather long post, I say grab yourself a hot cup of tea or coffee (something I haven’t had in 12 weeks!) and get comfy…

The hardest part of it all so far for me? My expectations of just about everything, from how much I expect Aaron to sleep, to how much I expect to be able to get done in the day.

Everly was a very easy and content little baba. She has always been a really great sleeper, and everyone told me that I just got lucky with her and that I wouldn’t be so lucky the second time around. Because of this (and my rather defiant nature!) I have been determined to prove them wrong…enter my unfair expectations and hence the frustration I have felt towards my little boy more often than I would like to admit. While he is definitely very different to Everly, I think rather than say he isn’t as good a sleeper as she was, I think the actual difference is that I am forgetting all the hard moments with Evs, and comparing Aaron to a very chilled 20 month old toddler who is firmly in her routine when it comes to naps. Also, when you have your first baby, you are able to give them 100% of your time and attention, especially if you are a stay at home mom, or if you work from home (although the fact that I work from home puts another spanner in the works as it’s one more thing to add to the expectation list). I wish I had been more thorough with Everly’s baby book and documented more than I did (although I’m so glad I did actually have a book and that I wrote the few things/memories down that I did…I wish I had noted more often what her routine was like, how much she slept and how often she fed etc) so that I have something to work from when going through the weeks & months with the next baby.

I’m pretty sure that Everly was napping (or rather NOT napping) for that long during the day at this age. I know she went through a patch of cat napping at around the 3/4month mark, but she did settle back into 2 long sleeps if 2-3 hours and one shorter one in the afternoon by the end of 4 months (I think!). I’m hoping I can get Aaron to link his day time naps soon, because those 45minutes that he does sleep fly by in the blink of an eye when you’ve got another one to look after.

LittleMe High Contrast Mobile Dangles Photos by Roxy Hutton of CityGirlSearching Blog (3 of 11).jpg

And the next hardest part, trying to figure out a routine for two babies.

I still see Everly as a baby, even though she is technically a toddler. She’s still in nappies (although I’m pretty sure she will be out of them soon as she’s super aware and let’s me know whenever she is making a poo) but she also isn’t that confident of a walker yet (considering she has only actually been walking for 3 months). Thank goodness she is a very independent little thing and has always been very happy to read her books, toddle around and amuse herself. She has taken to the new addition very well, and has not been extra clingy or demanding of my attention. I was worried she would act up when she saw me feeding Aaron, and I had prepared for this with whole basket of new toys for her…but she surprised us all and has just gone about her life as though nothing has changed. I’ve been able to bring out these new toys for her and I to play with when we get a few moments alone together. And while she happily coos over him and talks about her ‘Arrow’, she has handled the disruption to her life (and most importantly) his, what seems like pretty much constant crying, far better than both Farmboy and myself.

Aaron had a very sore tummy from about weeks 5 - 8, and was very unsettled. He just wanted to be held, and he would scrunch up his legs, farting like a trooper, and just generally be very niggly most of the day. I tried just about every colic mixture or tonic I could find, and even though I found Bonnisan to help the most, I genuinely think the only think that cures that unsettledness is time. You WILL eventually get there, and their little tummies will eventually adjust to life outside the womb, but gosh when you’re in the trenches it really feels like it’s never going to end. My best advice is to find another mommy with a little one a similar age to yours so you can vent & encourage one another when the going gets tough.

Cures for colic newborn

What is hard when you are at home all day with your little ones, you really only have 2 hands, both of which are generally needed to take care of one baby. This means you often have to make a choice as to who should be left to cry/winge…and in our house it’s mostly been Aaron who is left to fend for himself as his needs are more simpler to meet. I know that if he has been fed, burped and changed, there really isn’t much more I can do for him if he is crying and I need to feed/help Everly with something. We have left him to cry for longer, and more often than I care to admit, especially over the last couple of weeks as he has really been fighting me at nap time, and I’m lucky if he stretches more than 30 minutes at a time. This really throws me as I am a BIG lover of routine, and right now he has little to no routine. He is also at that awkward stage where he isn’t strong enough to sit or hold his head up, but doesn’t want to just lie in my arms and snuggle. I remember Everly being at the same stage, where she wasn’t really old enough to engage much, but also wasn’t young enough to just be left to stare at a mirror for 15 minutes. We do have a full time nanny who is wonderful, and while her responsibilities mostly revolve around housework, she is amazing with Everly, and Aaron has spent many a happy hour on her back (this is where he sleeps the longest…much to my dismay…I do so vividly remember saying I would never have him carried around by someone and that he would just have to adjust to sleeping properly in his cot…how I have now changed my tune). BUT, even though we are having to work SO hard on his day time naps, he sleeps so well at night that I don’t know if I am allowed to complain about the day. He has been feeding once at night for the past 2 weeks or so, and this feed is usually between 3 & 4am. He then goes right back to sleep till the morning. We generally have to go in once or twice to give him his dummy, but I’ve found if I leave him for 5 minutes, he generally puts himself right back to sleep. So all in all, a baby that sleeps 6 - 3/4am and then until around 6 am must be a happy one? So then what’s up with the day time my boy?!

While I love and use my Ubuntu Baba carrier pretty much every day, what I can’t really do with it is sit down, and I don’t really like standing at a table when I am working on my computer. This is why I am so determined to get Aaron into a good routine for his naps, and have him nap as much as possible in his cot, rather than on me/in a carrier. It’s far less a case of not wanting to create bad sleeping habits, and more a case of me wanting to be able to actually have a bit of time without a baby strapped to me so I can sit down to my computer work (haha perhaps this is more of a dream right now than a reality) or be able to pick Everly up/play with her/wash my cloth nappies etc. But, for those times when he is just SO unhappy and refuses to nap in his bed, my Ubuntu Baba carrier is an absolute life saver, and has enabled me to multi task like nobody’s business…I have successfully breastfeed Aaron, made supper and been able to feed Everly her dinner, all at the same time. I may have collapsed in a head shortly afterwards, but we all survived and I only have the Ubuntu Baba to thank. On that note, make sure you’re following me on Instagram as I will be running an awesome giveaway in collaboration with Ubuntu Babe next month.

This is our routine at the moment…it’s mostly Everly’s routine as Aaron is pretty much unpredictable right now. I also haven’t figured out whether I want to have them both awake/sleeping at the same time so I get a proper break, or whether I actually enjoy being able to spend one-on-one time with each of them while the other one is napping. I also know first hand that just as soon as you think you’ve got things figured out, they go and change things up by learning a new skill, cutting teeth, reacting to vaccinations etc but it makes me feel better to have some sort of loose plan that I’d like them to be on.

Right now, this is what our routine looks like:

  • 6-7am Wake up (They have both been waking up closer to 7am the past week but it can be anytime from 6 on the dot to 7…I leave Everly in her room to chat/read her books till as close to 7 as possible, but Aaron I go in right away as his cry has a way of eating into your very soul). Generally I’ve been able to feed and change Aaron by the time Evs is awake, so then I will go into her room, give her her milk while I change her nappy, and then she comes with me to Aaron’s room where they both have some play time.

  • 8am Aaron’s nap time & Everly has breakfast. Aaron seems to only be able to be awake for about 45mins at this time, and it works well because I can pop him down and then make Everly’s breakfast. He then sleeps anywhere from 45 mins - 2 hours. Although it’s been far more often the 45 minute sort of nap, unless he is tied to Amahle’s back. I give Everly her breakfast and then we go outside for a walk to see the cows, go and feed the chickens or do some gardening together.

CGS_0955.jpg
  • 9am/9:30 Everly’s Nap time. Aaron is generally awake around this time and so I then feed and change him, and then we play together until he starts yawning (ideally around 10ish) and then I pop him down for a nap.

Hutton Family Easter 2019 (2 of 66).jpg
  • 11h30ish Everly wakes up from her nap. I change her nappy and then she potters around the house until lunch time.

  • 12 o’clock lunch time for Everly. Aaron may or may not be napping at this time, but if he is awake I’ll either put him in his baby chair and he watches us have lunch, or I’ll have him in the carrier so I can sort Everly out. Once she’s had her lunch she then has play time.

Ubuntu Baba Baby Hemp Carrier South Africa Photos by Roxy Hutton CityGirlSearching Blog  (19 of 28).jpg
  • 2pm - 3pm Everly has another nap/rest time. She isn’t quite ready to drop this nap yet, but doesn’t always actually sleep. I don’t actually mind what she does during this time, but it’s a quiet rime in the house as this seems to be pretty much the only time of the day when their sleeping has coincided. I change her nappy and pop her down on her bed with the curtains drawn, and she either has a small nap, or quietly reads her books/plays with her toys. She still does the odd 2 - 3:30/4pm nap, it all depends on how long her morning nap has been. She has also been generally quite cheerful on the days when she’s missed the nap/quiet time altogether, so perhaps it’s actually me who isn’t ready for her to drop that nap haha. Either way, when she does drop this nap I still plan on making this quiet time where she will be closed in her room to rest. She seems to enjoy this time, and very rarely fights me on it these days. She has gone through patches of being in there for up to two hours, in the dark, singing and playing her xylophone…funny thing. But like I said, as long as she isn’t crying and actually upset, I don’t mind what she does in there during that time.

  • 3-5pm is general chaos. Usually Aaron is having a nap at some point, and Everly is happy to entertain herself to a point. But usually by 4pm I’ve got both kids outside for a walk/play in the garden, with Aaron in the carrier, and I’m silently counting down the minutes until bed time.

  • 5pm supper time for Everly. Aaron is either being held by Dad if Dad is home at this time, or he is still in the carrier, having a little snooze while I buzz about the kitchen getting supper on the go and giving Everly her dinner. I also get both kids pyjamas and nappies ready, as well as their towels and Everly’s milk all laid out for after their bath. I also try to feed Aaron before bath time, no matter how soon before his last feed this ends up being. I want him to have a nice full tummy for the night ahead. Now that it’s winter, this is also usually when Farmboy will light a fire, something that is always a huge delight for Everly.

Cosmos Autumn April 2019 (2 of 21).jpg
  • 6pm bath time for both kids. We have gotten into a nice routine with both babes…I run the bath and then wash Evs and brush her teeth, and spend some quality time with her before hubby undresses Aaron and brings him into the bath where both kids have some fun splash time. I then take Aaron to his room for a nice massage, dress him and then he has a nice long feed. Then it’s a quick burp while I turn off the lights and hum our bedtime song, then a kiss and a cuddle before swaddling him, popping in his dummy and putting him down on our Nurture One Pillow. Hubby brings Everly into Aaron’s room to say goodnight to both of us, and then takes her to her room to get dressed and then she drinks her cup of milk and it’s story time and then straight to bed. Both little ones are down by 6:30pm and we collapse in a heap!

    While Everly sleeps right through, I generally am up feeding Aaron some time between 3 & 4am and then whew…the whole day starts again.

It took a while to get the above routine down, and as much as possible we try to keep it the same even when we go away. Obviously there are times when Everly has nap later than she’d like/miss a nap altogether especially when we are out and about, but I find the routine is as much for the kids as it is for us parents. Aaron pretty much goes along with the flow right now, and as much as I would like to get his routine waxed, only time will tell whether this is even remotely possible with two kids. On that note, please share your routines with me if you have more than 1 babe and how you make it all work! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Everly & Aaron (2 of 10).jpg

Something I have been asked a lot is how I ‘manage to do so much’ with having two kids. As luck/Murphy’s Law would have it, I have only recently (literally from the last few weeks before Aaron was born) started booking clients for the web design service I offer. I wouldn’t advise offering a new service to clients when you’ve just had a new baby because you will be torn between needing to care for your little one and having to meet deadlines for clients. Having lots of work has really wonderful, in terms of the extra income. I can now justify all the extra cloth nappy purchases I’ve been making (#jokingbutnotreallyjoking).

BUT, because I feel like a lot of you follow me on Instagram and may think I’m some sort of superwomen being able to juggle two kids and work at the same time, I want to say that my Instagram (along with just about every other person I know) is a highlight reel. I share the beautiful and the happy moments on it, and choose not to showcase the hard times (I use my Instagram stories for this because, yes, there are LOADS of hard times and LOADS of moments where I feel like I’m not going to get through the day and LOADS of tears and frustration). But, those moments pass, even when you feel like they won’t, and everything has a season. I’d say right now we are in the middle of a pretty tough season, but I know that we’ll get through it, and that I’ll probably forget just how hard it was. Choosing to share the good and the beautiful is a choice I make, and have always made with this blog and all of my social media accounts. And I hope this is why you follow along, and that the things I share make you smile.

So how do I manage to ‘get so much done’ you may ask? I try to stay very organised. This means I meal prep Everly’s food (so that all that is required for most of her meals is to take something out the freezer the day before). Because we choose to feed her real food (click here to read more about Everly’s way of eating) having her meals prepped before hand takes a lot of stress out of my day. I also make sure to try and make a batch of yoghurt every 2 weeks or so, so even if I run out of snacks, I know I can always rely on keeping her tummy nice and full with homemade yoghurt which she loves. I also believe that you have to prioritise your day, and that a happy mommy is a good mommy. I like being busy, and I enjoy the feeling of being super productive, and so I generally have a million and one things on the go. I love blogging, designing websites & photographing my kids and our lives, and so I make sure to carve out time (even if it’s 10 minutes here and there) to do those things that make me happy. I’ve also finally accepted there is no such thing as a lie in anymore (or any semblance of an afternoon nap), and I try to get up before the kids so I can at least drink a hot cup of coffee and get dressed before the chaos of the day starts. I don’t always get it right, and quite often Farmboy will pop in during the day and find me looking like a complete wreck, with one kid winging at my feet and the other screaming in my arms, but all make it to the end of the day in one peace, fed and relatively happy.

Some pearls of wisdom from my dear friend Sophie: “Aim for a good morning or a good afternoon, it’s very hard to achieve both and this way if it’s been a bad start to the day, you know things can only get better! It’s also much easier to focus on a few hours at a time, a whole day can seem daunting”

Also…celebrate the small wins with chocolate and the hard times with strong coffee! I don’t believe that food plays much of a role in affecting baby through your breastmilk, and I would much rather have the ‘fuel’ of a strong cup of coffee to keep me going through the hard moments, than be left feeling hard done by and then try to function to the best of my abilities…but that’s just my two cents.

Cosmos Autumn April 2019 (20 of 21).jpg

Farmboy is still a farmboy, working hard all day. I often feel like we are ships passing in the night as he is up at 4:30 to go to work when I’m just crawling back into bed after feeding Aaron. Our marriage is strong though, and although we do fight and get frustrated with one another when our expectations aren’t being met (man oh man I believe expectations are the underlying cause of pretty much all fights between couples), we love each other and I would not be able to be the mother I am without him by my side. We do need to work on carving out more moments in the day/week for us to catch up and connect on a deeper level, so if you have any tips on this and how you navigate keeping your marriage strong when there are lots of little ones taking up all your time and energy, I’d love to hear from you too!

So there you have it, a little update on the past 3 months of being a family of 4. I feel like we are slowly emerging from the haze of the past 12 weeks, and I’m looking forward to the chaos (ahem, I mean, fun) that lie ahead in the months to come.

x

Hello to our new (PINK!) Chicken Coop!

Farmboy CityGirl Pink Chicken House DIY-01.png

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

Our Farm Cottage - Before & After

Our Farm Cottage Before and After-03.png

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.

IMG_9146.JPG

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.

IMG_0074.jpg

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

x


Bedford farm - our new home (what was a guesthouse is now where we call home!)

Selfcatering farmstyle accommodation in Creighton KZN_Artboard 3.png

PLEASE NOTE THE GUESTHOUSE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO BOOK! WE HAVE SINCE MADE BEDFORD OUR HOME.

A few months ago, our family wrapped up renovations on one of the beautiful, original sandstone houses here on our farm. The farmhouse is called Bedford, as Farmboy and I got married on the property, making use of the beautiful old sandstone building opposite it for our ceremony, and the calf  shed for our reception (click here if you'd like to have a look at photos from our Vintage Farm-style Wedding).

With the renovations complete (for now!), I went about setting up the house on AirBnb and we welcomed our first set of guests over the Aloe Festival weekend. Since then we have had a number of guests stay at Bedford, and I thought it was about time I shared the space with my readers and followers here on the blog...

We have set up the house to be self-catering (we have provided anything and everything you could possibly need to make, serve and enjoy all your meals). The house has 5 bedrooms, and sleeps 10. There are 3 double rooms with queen sized beds, and two double rooms with twin beds. There are 2 bathrooms, one full bathroom inside with a shower, bath and toilet, and an outside loo for the more adventurous. Part of our plan in the future is to build on two more bathrooms inside.

There are also two wonderful fire places for those chilly afternoons and evenings...one in the main bedrooms, and the other in the cosy lounge. There is also a large dining room area for eating meals (or playing board games!) and a wonderful verandah with lots of comfortable seating overlooking our dam and the garden.

Bedford is also pet friendly, and we have already welcomed a number of guests and their pups:

"What a wonderful experience, wonderful for dogs and humans alike. A nice relaxing weekend with all the joys of country lounging and warmth. Worth a visit even if you don't have hounds!" CJ from Durban

The verandah and outside area

The Lounge & Dining Area

The Bedrooms

The Kitchen

The Inside Bathroom


Sunny Winter afternoons spent in the vegetable garden - Life on the Farm

Sunny Winter afternoons in the veggie garden Farmboy & CityGirl South Africa-01.png

After a very chilly last few days, the sun came out and Farmboy (yup, I really did marry a Farmboy) and I got stuck into our vegetable garden, cleaning up and getting it ready for planting. A few months ago we put down woodchips in the hopes of reducing the amount of weeding that needs doing, but alas, those pesky weeds shot up in all sorts of places. Our next plan of action is putting hay down, and then opening up little spaces for the seedlings to go. Will keep you updated as to how that helps with the weeds.

We have had a very bountiful vegetable garden since we set it up a couple of years ago. The biggest achievement has been growing and harvesting homegrown vegetables for Everly's meals.

>>> Click here to watch a video on how I prepare her meals, as well as my favourite tools for making the job easier.

We keep getting sporadic pop ups of all sorts of herbs and vegetables that went to seed ages ago...like this crop (is that even the right word?) of coriander. We LOVE coriander in our house, and it brings back all sorts of wonderful memories of our time spent living and working in Asia (click here to read more about that).

And that chilli bush bush you can see below...that was grown from seed and is still growing strong, I don't know how many years later. And you'll also notice whenever my camera is out, Amber is never far away. #AmberTheGinger is one of our very many rescue creatures that make up our family. She's the fluffy (and majestic) ginger kitty you can see below.

And wherever you find Amber, Jade The Tabby is always close by too. Here she she scaling the fence (I have no idea how she managed to do that as she is SO fat and has very-little-to-absolutely-no co-ord, and yet she's the one who catches all the birds and other 'presents' for us. Funny kitty.

We've got a dedicated herb area that has Lemon Grass, Rosemary & Thyme which we just leave to their own devices. It's wonderful being able to pop into the veggie garden for a sprig of rosemary when making dinner.

And there you have it, a few snaps of what our vegetable garden is looking like at the moment. I'll share more once we have planted some actual vegetables, and will share how the straw does against the weeds.

Until next time, here are some more posts on life on a dairy farm...enjoy!

#FromFarmToTable - Homemade Baby food in Collaboration with Tommee Tippee

#FromFarmToTable Homemade Baby Food with Tommee Tippee -01-01.png

If you've been following me for a little while now, you might have seen my previous posts here on the blog and on Instagram where I’ve been sharing the beginning of our #EverlyStartsSolids journey.  My little girl is now 6 months old, and we are well into the swing of things when it comes to weaning her onto real food. I'm so excited to share this post with you, showing you how easy it is to make your own baby food, ensuring you avoid all those nasty additives and preservatives that are in store bought purees.

Although we are using fresh veggies from our own little veggie garden, you can still make delicious and nutritious meals for your little ones using store bought fruit & veg. 

EverlyStartsSolids from Farm to Table Starting Solids with a Baby (27 of 117).jpg

Our veggie garden goes through a lot of ups and downs. Sometimes it looks amazing and is bountiful, and other times I spend my life picking off the millions of snails that find their way onto anything and everything that grows. Plus there's the constant battle with the weeds. But even though it takes a bit of work, there's nothing quite like the feeling of picking your own homegrown vegetables, and eating them fresh from the garden.

Having our own veggie garden has also inspired me to make all my own first meals for Everly. We live out in the middle of nowhere, and so it's pretty much impossible to pop to the shops and stock up on ingredients. But I'm really not going to complain, when these are the views we look out on every day...

EverlyStartsSolids from Farm to Table Starting Solids with a Baby (110 of 117).jpg

Today I want to share with you one of the recipes from Meg Faure's Weaning Sense recipe book. This is her Rainbow Veg Mash, and is a really lovely 'base' to start with, and then to add other more exciting flavours to once your little one is used to it. So far I've added chicken stock, liver and cream cheese to it, and Everly has loved it! The recipe makes about three baby cup fulls which you can freeze easily for future use.

I've really been liking the Tommee Tippee Explora Freezer pots for freezing, as they have a very clever rubber base that allows you to ‘pop’ out the frozen food easily. They are also dishwasher, microwave & steriliser safe, although I prefer to heat up Everly’s food using hot water as I’m not a huge fan of the microwave. I also love the Essentials food pots (the pink see-through pots pictured below with the pinks lids) for storing left over food, and particularly for heating up her meals. They stack beautifully, taking up less space in your freezer, and are ideal for traveling too. Also, as they are see-through, you can easily tell what food is inside. This is particularly helpful if you are like me, and like to make & freeze in bulk. You can tell at a quick glance whether it’s butternut or beetroot, and grab what you need.

EverlyStartsSolids Colaboration with TommeeTippee CGScreative (57 of 90).jpg

When it comes to actually steaming & blending baby food, I can't get over just how easy it is to do with the Steamer Blender machine from Tommee Tippee. I was sent over one to try, and at first I thought it to be a bit of an extravagance. I mean, can't you just use a pot and then transfer everything to another bowl and blend using a hand blender or blending machine? Well, read on friends!

Now, while you can just use any old pot you have at home to steam and then blend with another device, the Steamer Blender just makes things sooooooo easy. It's as simple as; chop veggies, pop into the jug, press some buttons and voila, a perfectly steamed & blended meal…ready to be eaten (or frozen for later).

When steaming veggies, it's really easy to forget that a lot of the goodness stays behind in the water. With this machine, the water stays in the jug, and then is used to blend the mixture. This way, all the goodness goes right back into the meal. And if you are already past the first few weeks of starting solids with your little one, you'll be happy to know that you can set the amount of 'blending' you'd like. You can make really smooth purees for the beginning stages of your solid food journey, or you can leave it chunkier as baby progresses to more textured food. Or you can skip the blending stage altogether…there are so many different options. I have to say this gadget really does make life simpler.

I've even been known to whip up a good couple of batches of sweet potato mash for Farmboy and myself, so believe me when I say you really will get a lot of use out of the Steamer Blender, even as baby gets older.

I have been freezing extra 'single' food into ice trays (ice cubes are the perfect size for Everly's first meals as she isn't eating that much just yet). Then I go shopping in the freezer, picking out a few ice cube combinations and then pop them into a cup to defrost. You can also take the frozen cubes out the night before and put them in the fridge to defrost overnight if you're the sort of person who remembers to do that. I always plan on doing that and then forget!

Another huge bonus when it comes to the Steamer Blender machine is how easy it is to clean. I know not everyone is as crazy about doing the dishes as I am (for realsies, I genuinely find doing the dishes to be relaxing and FAR prefer it to cooking!). So for those moms or dads out there who despise doing the dishes, this piece of tech is going to change your life! There aren't a million and one pots and pans and spoons. It's one jug that is easy to rinse clean, and then can be popped into the dishwasher if you're feeling really lazy. Otherwise it's a quick rinse in hot soapy water and then you're good to go!

Want to see the steamer blender in action? We made a fun little video showcasing our meal prep and would love to share it with you. You’ll also be able to see our menagerie of animals, in particular, #AmberTheGinger & #ShadowTheJindo. 

We hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into our lives here on the family dairy farm. I've got lots more video ideas (including a few on cloth nappies!) which I'm going to be putting up on my youtube channel soon. Let me know in the comments below if there's anything in particular you'd like me to make a video about. 

I post a lot of behind the scenes photos & videos over on Instagram Stories, so make sure you're following me over there too. Please do drop me a message and say hi, I love making new friends! 

Interested in finding our more about other Tommee Tippee products? The brand is very active on Facebook and have just launched their South African Instagram Account for you to connect with them and ask any questions you might have.

This post is sponsored by Tommee Tippee but all thoughts & views are honest and my own. 

Early misty farm mornings || Life on a dairy farm

Early Mosty Farm Mornings on the Dairy Farm with Farmboy & CityGirl South Africa-01.png

After a particularly bad night (or rather a week of a lot less sleep than usual) I'm going through my photos and reminding myself of all the things I have to be thankful for. And at the top of the list, living in such a beautiful place...even when the whether is grey and cold.

Here are a few photographs from an early morning adventure to feed the calves with Dad. Most mornings, after Evy wakes up and I feed and change her, we walk down to the dairy office to see what Dad is up to. On this particular morning we caught him just in time to hop in the bakkie and go with to feed the calves. What a fun adveture for little Everly.

Everly had so much excitement, she promptly passed out halfway through. I'm treasuring these rare moments of her falling asleep in my arms. She used to easily fall asleep with me holding her, no matter where we were. But now that she's bigger and more alert as to what's going on, it rarely happens anymore.

I'm not sure where the last 6 months have gone to, it's sort of passed in a blur and yet in those hard moments, time has dragged on. It really is true when they say 'The nights are long but the years are so very short' and so I'm going to keep reminding myself to pick up my camera and keep capturing the every day moments so I can look back on them and remember.

Farm Foraged Flowers - foraging for flowers with The Holloway Shop

Farm Foraged Flowers with Storm Ross of The Holloway Shop Photos by Roxy Hutton of CGScreative & CityGirlSearching_Artboard 3.png

A few months back my friend Storm (of The Holloway Shop in Cape Town) came to visit us here on the farm.

We spent a wonderful few days catching up, drinking tea, eating delicious homemade meals and delicacies that Storm whipped up from our veggie garden, and most notably, I photographed Storm doing what she does best...forage for flowers and create the most beautiful floral arrangements out of thin air. Click here to see what the warm winter afternoon light looks like on our farm,

Here are some photographs of her working her magic with flowers and fruit and leaves she collected around my home.

Enjoy!

If you're based in Cape Town and looking for a florist, I can't recommend Storm more highly enough. She is incredible talented when it comes to flowers and is so creative with her unique designs, she is in a league of her own. Here are some photos of bouquets she whipped up for her portrait shoot last year:

Winter afternoons on the Farm - Life on a Dairy Farm in Creighton, South Africa

Winter Afternoons on the Farm Life in Creighton South Africa CGScreative_Artboard 3.png

Winter has been especially mild this year (although as I type this I've been told we are in for one last cold spell before Spring officially arrives).

My good friend Storm (you might remember her as my stylist and florist friend from Korea whom I worked with on numerous styled shoots over the past few years...see posts below) came to spend a few days with us on the farm. It's been a good time to have friends stay with us as the countdown to Baby Hutton is well underway (at the time of writing this I have 4 official weeks to go!).

While Storm was here we spent a most wonderful afternoon chasing the last sun rays and showing her around the farm. Here are some photographs of our afternoon adventure...the golden afternoon light of Winter is always my favorite time of the year to shoot.

For any photographers interested...all images below were taken with my Nikon D750 & 50m 1.4 lens, with a few gentle edits done in Lightroom.

Enjoy

x

Thank you to Storm for taking this family photo below:

Joburg to Cape Town roadtrip via Poffadder, Springbok, Kaamieskroon, Bitterfontein & Yzerfontein with our dog to see the Namaqualand flowers!

Joburg to Cape Town roadtrip via Poffadder, Springbok, Kaamieskroon, Bitterfontein & Yzerfontein with our dog to see the Namaqualand flowers!

A few weeks after arriving back in South Africa from living in South Korea (click here to ready more about our 4 years spent teaching English in Korea), Farmboy and I headed off on a 6 week road trip around South Africa. We started our trip in Johannesburg (where my family are) and ended on the farm in Kwazulu Natal (where Farmboy's family are). 

During those 6 weeks we visited about 15 towns and cities, some of which I had never heard of before, and had wonderful adventures seeing more of South Africa than either of us had seen before. This is a very image heavy post, so you might want to go and make yourself a cup of tea while you wait for these images to load :)

Farmboy also vlogged our trip, which you can watch by heading over to his youtube channel (click here). There are lots of fun behind the scenes videos of our trip, which I think you'll really enjoy.  I've linked them below so you can watch them right here in this post.

The aim of this trip was to see the famous Namaquland Daisies, as well as to explore more of Cape Town. When we got home from Korea, we wanted to spend time in the major cities in South Africa to see if we would like to settle and make home in any of them. This trip was the perfect opportunity to explore Cape Town and see if we could imagine ourselves making it our new home. 

Read More

Life on a Dairy Farm - An update on our new home in South Africa

Life on a Dairy Farm -  An update on our new home in South Africa

As of October 1st, Farmboy and I have officially settled on the family dairy farm here in the little town of Creighton, Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa for all my overseas readers). We have officially been back home since the end of June this year, and spent the last few months roadtripping around South Africa, catching up with friends and exploring the different cities and towns while we decided where we wanted to be settle.

We are so happy to finally report that we officially part of the Creighton community (the town that Farmboy grew up in) and have just finished renovating the little farm cottage at the bottom of the garden of the main farmhouse where Farmboy's folks live. Never in my life did I think I would live so close to my in-laws, but I have to see I am one lucky lady and really struck gold with the family I married in to.

Not only are we given with a constant supply of farm fresh eggs and milk (we do live on a dairy farm after all), but Mum & Dad have been amazing in helping us get settled. Dale officially started working as the assistant farm manager, alongside his Dad at the start of October, and is up for milking at 4h30am every alternative week and spends his days working with his hands. He is in his element, and loving feeling useful again after our time spend babysitting/playing games....ahem, I mean teaching English in Korea.

Read More

Our final few weeks in South Korea - A Daily Vlog by Farmboy

Our final few weeks in South Korea - A Daily Vlog by tincabin

Today is the 6th of June, and in T-minus 20 days we will be boarding a flight that will take us back home to South Africa.

Farmboy and I have been living in Buan, a teeny tiny countryside town in South Korea for the past 3 years. We are about to wrap up our final teaching contract and head back home to sunny South Africa,

It's been an incredible adventure filled with all sorts of challenges and excitement (the biggest being the rescue of our Korean street pup, Shadow):

Over the past 3 years we have traveled to Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo & India all while working a full time job teaching English. I've written travel guides to these countries as well as posts filled with photographs of each place. Click the images below to read and see more:

We have also spent many a weekend camping, something I never thought I would enjoy before I met Farmboy. You see, I really am a city girl, but somehow the inconvenience of toilets or showers pales in comparison to the beauty of the places we have camped in.

It's been so worth the few moments of being uncomfortable. Click the images below to read and see more about camping in Korea:

As we get ready to pack up our lives here (and as I attempt to take back every single item of Korean stationery and beauty products!), Farmboy has taken on the challenge of a daily vlog.

These videos are a really fun glimpse into our lives here in Korea, and they also take you behind the scenes of what life is really like here in Asia.

I hope you'll join us over on Youtube and that you like and subscribe if you enjoy the videos. Farmboy will be documenting these final few weeks as well as the whole process of taking Shadow home (dealing with the steps and processes of taking a dog from Korea to South Africa) and of course us fetching him on the other side after his stay in quarantine. 

Here is one of the vlogs from our weekend in Seoul, enjoy!

Winter in Korea and our latest snow fall!

Winter in Korea CityGirlSearching

I have been complaining for the past few weeks about the lack of snow this Winter in Korea. Facebook kept reminding about all the snow we had here last year, and all we got was a measly few centimetres at the end of November. Well, the weather man finally heard my pleads for snow and we had a non-stop flurry of snowflakes which started last thursday afternoon and only let up Friday night, nearly a full day and night later.

While this was wonderful for me and my camera, it wasn't so great for my car. Poor Cherry (the VERY old red Matiz) had to spend the night at the bottom of the driveway after she failed (on more than one attempt) to get up the drive way to park. She spent the night under a tree and woke up to her handbrake and wheel frozen solid.  Farmboy and I spent a solid 15 minutes trying to pry her from that icy grip but to avail. Luckily the 1 degree increase in temperature during the day had thawed her a bit and we were able to get her started again...come on Cherry!

Here are some photographs from our early morning walk with Shadow, who simply adores being out in the snow. This will be one of the things we miss the most when we return to South Africa. 

Farmboy & Citygirl...Our 3 year Wedding Anniversary.

Vintage farm wedding south africa

On Sunday 23rd September 2012, this city girl walked down the aisle of a converted barn to meet her farm boy. What a wonderful day it was, filled with family and friends, love and laughter and most importantly for us, God.

Today marks our 3 year wedding anniversary. We are currently in South Korea where we have been for the past 2.5 years, and where we will be until June next year when we plan to return home to South Africa. These past few years have been filled with lots of laughter, lots of love, lots of challenges and lots of adventure. 

Here's to many, many, many more with you Farmboy.

x

Photographs by Jacki Bruniquel

If you'd like to read more about our love story, how we planned our DIY wedding and where we went on honeymoon, click here.  


The Lead up to our Farm Wedding...Looking back three years on

Farm Wedding South Africa CityGirlSearching

Tomorrow is mine and Farmboys 3 year wedding anniversary. Farmboy asked me this morning if I can remember what we were doing this time 3 years ago, and as I thought about it I was overwhelmed with gratitude and every other mushy feeling for all the friends and family who were around us and spent countless hours helping us prepare our wedding venue. 

We got married on Farmboy's family dairy farm in Creighton, Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa). For those who haven't heard of Creighton, it's a teeny tiny town about 2 hours in land from Durban. We had our ceremony in the barn, and then our reception in the cow shed.

It was a huge undertaking to take the very much working cow shed and barn and turn them into our dream wedding venue. It would not have been possible without so many people, especially my mother & father in law who did so many things behind the scenes from the physical moving out of the cows and so much more. Here are my photographs of the shed & barn from the few months leading up to the wedding:

Here are some of my favourite photographs from the lead up to our wedding taken by my dear friend Sophie Smith of Sophie Smith Photography. Farmboy and his dad handmade all the tables, I sourced all the cutlery, plates & glasses from a lady in Joburg (A Vintage Affair) who kindly let me (gently) transport everything to Natal. The flowers were arranged by two of the kindest local Creighton ladies (Rene & Gail) and then friends and family came from all over the country to help lend a hand wherever they could. I think the lead up to the wedding was perhaps even better than the actual day as we were able to spend quality time with everyone whereas on the actual wedding day everything went by so fast.