Archive of ‘Things I Love’ category

Cruelty free beauty on a budget

I started 2016 with three New Years Resolutions; stress less about money (like that’s ever going to happen) eat less meat (I had bacon yesterday and chicken today so not going well) and thirdly switch to cruelty free beauty products. The last one I’m actually doing pretty well at.

My switch to cruelty free has not been as easy as I thought it would. Although I’ve never had bad skin I’ve had eczema since birth. As a kid I couldn’t use the Barbie or My Little Pony bubble bath I got for my birthday and I often scratched myself in my sleep till my skin was red open wounds. I was on some kind of cortisone cream for most of my childhood. Dermatologist kept telling my parents it will get better (even disappear) around 16. It took a bit longer than that but eventually it did get better. My skin is however very sensitive to change of season, stress and perfumed skin creams.

For the last couple of years I’ve been using Bioderma and loved it. It’s affordable and worked well with my skin type. But of course Bioderma is not Cruelty free.

The first 2 cruelty free organic skin creams I tried did not suit my skin at all. I didn’t like the smell and texture. It felt like it disappeared as soon as I applied it.  It was impossible to get a smooth finish with foundation and halfway through the day it felt like my face would crack if I smiled. I was told to give it more time as your skin will take a while to adapt to organic products. So I did but for the first time in ages my skin was giving me major issues and I hated it.

Then I tried Skin Creamery’s Everyday cream and I instantly fell in love. It’s organic, the packaging is great, it smells heavenly and my skin feels moisturised all day long. I’m also very keen to try their Facial Cleansing Powder.

So a quick round up of my new favourite budget friendly cruelty free products:

Then: Bioderma PO zinc – Now: The Skin Creamery Everyday cream

Then:  Bioderma Facewash – Now: Naturals Beauty Milk Cleanser. Their Hydrating Mask is pretty fantastic too.

Then: Nivea Body Lotion – Now:  Oh So Heavenly Extended Moisture (Clicks) (Body Shop body butter is my first choice here but not budget friendly. This Oh So Heavenly is R23 and a so great)

Rain Organic Coconut Oil

Rain Body polish

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Cruelty free make up on a budget

Then:  Mac Powder – Now: Catrice All Matt Plus (Dischem)

New purchase: Catrice Eye highlighter (game changer)

Then: Mac & Rimmel lipstick – Now:  Essence and Wet n Wild (Clicks)

My current favourite Wet n Wild colours are Stoplight Red, Mauve Outta Here and Smokin Hot Pink

I’m still on the hunt for a nightcream and a Foundation to replace my Mac Studio Sculpt with so if you know of a good alternative let me know.

Just a side note to remember when going cruelty free.  Chinese law requires mandatory animal testing on all cosmetic products that are manufactured outside of China. So if a company doesn’t conduct animal testing themselves but sell to China they are basically not cruelty free. A good example of this is Revlon.

Favourite Instagram accounts

When it comes to Social Media Instagram is definitely my favourite. If my husband didn’t get so irritated with me I would probably spend all day on it. Here’s a quick list of some favourites.

ZANA – Décor

Zana
Zana is a Cape Town based design business who create the most amazing cushions, linen, tableware and bags. I absolutely love everything they do. The colours, typography and patterns of their products are pure magic. Their attention to detail, packaging, styling and social media presence is what I aim to achieve with my little business. I especially love the little Valentines Instagram posts they are currently doing. So cute.

 

Pajamas & Jam – Food

pajamas
I am no foodie but this account is just gorgeous. Fresh ingredients and yummy food perfectly styled. Pajamas & Jam is right here in my neighbourhood in Strand and let me tell you the food is amazing.

 

Reese Witherspoon – Books

reese
This isn’t on the list because I am the number one Legally Blonde fan (I’m really not) but rather for the amazing book suggestions. Reese is a very successful producer and read a lot of amazing books looking to turn them into movies.  She did an Instagram post On Gone Girl long before the hype started and was the one who secured the movie rights. I also saw Girl on the Train on her feed and other books she posted that’s on my reading list includes:  Luckiest Girl Alive, Big Little Lies and In a dark, dark wood. Follow her hashtag #RWBookClub

 

Kimmy & Bear – Parenting

kimmy
This is one of my favourite blog’s and I get so excited when I spot a new Kimmy&Bear pic on my Instagram feed. Bailey is mom to twin girls and always look so relaxed and well put together. If I had twins I’d probably never wash my hair and wander around in yoga pants all day long. Thats probably why the good Lord decided to only give me one at a time.

 

Caylee Grey – Creative

caylee grey
I’ve been a Caylee fan for a very long time and was lucky enough to help plan her wedding. She is just the most creative, bubbly, fantastically pink & gold loving girl you’ll ever follow. She’s also the one who designed and created my Hello August blog for me. She’s the best.

Rain Mystery Tour

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Rain Mystery Tour with some of my favourites bloggers on Saturday. We all had to meet up at Charly’s Bakery at 8am. Obviously since I had to get up early on a day that is usually a sleep in day Ben had one of the worst nights in a long time and ended up sleeping in our bed. When my alarm went off early on Saturday morning I was definitely not a ray of sunshine. Luckily as we arrived at Charly’s Bakery the lovely Rain ladies were ready with a giant Ou Meul Bakery muffin and coffee. We all had to get on the bus to depart to our mystery destination. Along the way we were given clue’s. I had no idea, not a clue. Luckily we had some very clever girls on the bus that figured it out way sooner than expected.

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Mosaic Private Sanctuary Stanford

Mosaic Lodge in Stanford was kind enough to host us for the day. I completely love Stanford. I keep nagging my parents to retire there so I can visit all the time so I was thrilled when I realised we were heading there.

Mosaic Private Sanctuary is gorgeous. The scenery, the lodge, the private suites its all heaven. Definitely on my bucket list.

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All about Rain Africa

After a quick welcome drink we had a session with Bev Missing the creator of Rain and learned more about perfumery and her incredible trip to Kunene Namibia to learn more about the Himba people. The Himba women collect Omumbiri (gum from trees) to make their own perfume.

We were then introduced to Rain’s 3 new fragrances: Twig, Leaf and Nectar.

I loved all three but Nectar is definitely my favourite.

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The rest of the day included a tour of the lodge, a safari drive where who learned more about the fynbos and flowers of the area and then finished off the day with the best 10 minute neck and shoulder massage.

It was also so great to spend some time with some of my favourite bloggers.

I’ve been wanting to go more organic for a while now and already use mostly organic products on Ben. I’m hoping to now give my beauty cupboard an overhaul and swap all the nasties out for organic products. Rain is definitely at the top of my list.

Bedroom Inspiration: Boys

All boy moms will know the feeling of walking down the girls aisle ‘oohing and aahing’ at all the pretty pastel décor only to get to the boys aisle and be disappointed by all the bright blue and red cartoon filled things.  Finding a plain white or blue cot duvet is like looking for a lost engagement ring on the beach.

So here’s a few treasures I found on the internet. I am super excited for H&M to open in South Africa in October because I need that rug in Bens room.

cool guy

BeFunky Collage 2 - blog

GET THE LOOK:

1. ABC Stickaroo

2.Duvet Set

3.Cotton Rug

4.Mia Melange baskets

5.Bear cushion

6.Honeycomb shelf

Pampers Pants

I remember the days of tiny baby with big eyes looking all peaceful as he lie there quietly while I changed his nappy. I could take my good old time with every nappy change if I wanted too. No rush. Off course this all changed the day he figured out how to roll and it only got worse the more mobile he became. These days nappy changes look more like a wrestling match and I usually give up half way through and end up bribing him with a cookie and even then I have mere seconds before he’s up again.

So obviously when Pampers sent me a pack of their new easy to use pull up unisex pants to try out I was beyond excited. If you can make nappy changes easier for me you’ve got a fan for life (We are actually happy Pampers Premium customers so in all honesty they already have a fan for life in us)

pampers 3

These really are super easy and quick to put on. I mainly use them during the day when I’m either too lazy for a nappy change struggle or when we are out and about for the day because with public bathrooms you want to be in and out with your little as quick as possible. I have to be honest I think these are more convenient for summer, because in winter they have jeans and shoes that you need to take off in order to pull the pants on but they will be ideal for summer time. Throw them in your bag for beach and pool days when the little people switch between swimsuit and nappy.

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It is also important to get the right fit as they obviously do not have the adjustable tabs like normal nappies. Ben is quite small around the waist and the pants did droop a little as it got fuller. But if I can sort out the correct size it’ll be perfect. I was also a little worried about the pants leaking but we have not had one leak while wearing them. So all in all pretty happy with these.

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Favourite product: Sunglasses for kids

In our house husband is the practical one while I am all about the pretty. He’ll buy the long lasting sturdy product while I buy the one that looks the nicest. So when husband suggested we get Ben some sunglasses obviously I went to Cotton On Kids and bought the cutest pair I could find. When I got home husband wanted to know about the quality of the lenses and UVA protection and I didn’t have a clue because I didn’t think about that stuff. Needless to say husband was not pleased.

A few weeks later we were gifted a pair of OV-optics sunglasses to try out. It was a perfectly timed product drop. Thanks girls.

OV Optics was founded and is owned and operated by Tanya and Zule. Two amazing girls with incredible passion for what they do. Tanya is a qualified optometrist while Zule is a professional photographer. Their mission is to educate and inform parents about the danger of UV exposure to the eyes of children, they belief that prevention is better than cure and that pro-active living is the way to a healthy future.

We as parents spend a lot of money on keeping our kids healthy. We vaccinate, we cook healthy foods we wash them with organic products and have epic battles to try brush their teeth but somehow eye safety is often forgotten. As adults the first thing we do is put sunglasses on when leaving the house yet we send our kids to school, sports days and playgrounds without eye protection. This is why the OV Optics girls Sunglasses at Schools project makes so much sense. They aim to make sunglasses part of the school uniform and ingrained in our culture.

OV Optic Sunglasses are available in Small/Medium and Large. There are 2 styles available: Swag and Sport.

 

These sunglasses retail at around R400. Now some parents might think that’s expensive for kids glasses that will probably break within a month but you are so wrong. OV Optic glasses can bend and twist and is virtually unbreakable. Ben has broken 2 pairs of sunglasses before. MY SUNGLASSES. THAT I WAS VERY FOND off. But his OV Optic glasses are still perfectly in tact. The lenses are also shatterproof and impact resistant making them safe and very long lasting. They also come in a handy little pouch with a clip so it can hook onto a diaper bag or school backpack.

I am honestly so chuffed with this product and would definitely suggest all parents look into it. For more information you can contact OV Optics or visit their website.

Pram envy

If you asked me a couple of years ago my thoughts on a pram I would have shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes because who cares about prams and aren’t they all pretty much the same.

Even when I found out I was pregnant I wasn’t still very much indifferent. Spend R10 000 on a pram? Are you nuts?

I was about 18 months pregnant when my parents invited us out to do pram shopping. I did no research before hand. My mom knew a few young moms and aske them what they have and where to shop from. Babyboom was having a sale on the brand that my mom was told is a good option so what better time to shop. We only looked at the one pram. Since my parents were buying I didn’t feel like I was entitled to boss them around from store to store looking at a million different types. I didn’t want to seem like I was taking advantage of their generosity. I was just happy to tick pram from my baby shopping list, a very long list that scared the crap out of me. The suggested pram was very well priced, it looked sturdy and according to all the moms who lived on farms it handled gravel roads like a charm. Gravel roads you ask? Well at the time we were living on an estate with gravel roads snaked throughout the property. There were also vineyards nearby. We knew we wanted something that could handle afternoon walks up the hill and between the vineyards. Never did it cross my mind that I would also be doing narrow spaced shop aisles and have to cart it around in my tiny boot space.

Oh how things have changed since then.

Pram envy is a very real emotion. Its right up there with body envy and vacation envy. And I’ve got a bad case of it. I now walk around shopping malls and markets staring at moms with prams. Where I would usually notice a women’s outfit I now first notice the pram, then the baby then the mom. I suspect my very obvious pram envy stare have now reached the point of complete awkwardness for all parties involved.

Although our pram does the job of carting our tiny person around just fine I do regret not looking at more options before buying.

What I want in a Pram:

  • Must not be too bulky. Folds up easily without having to take the whole thing apart.
  • Sleek & modern design.
  • Must be rear and front facing (something our current pram is not)
  • Have a cupholder for mom’s coffee/drink.
  • Easily adapts to every age, newborn to toddler

 

The wishlist:

 

The Bugaboo Chameleon

I’ve only heard good things about this one from fellow moms. But it is WAY out of my budget. I’ve been trolling Gumtree for a while now and there are some pretty sweet deals on there.

List of awesomeness includes: Reversible seat, adjustable suspension, car seat compatible, reversible height and adjustable handlebars, rotating carry handle, independent seat and bassinet, can handle rough terrain and shopping malls with easy maneuverability.

 

pic credit

And even though I have a boy how can you not fall in love with this pink one.

Pic credit

 

Bugaboo Buffalo

I noticed a mom walking around with a Buffalo at the recent Kamers Vol Geskenke and immediately fell in love. Definitely my second choice although I have heard that it is rather bulky and difficult to fit in the boot of a small car.

Read more on their website here

So I’m dead set on saving a little money each month and then getting a well looked after second hand Bugaboo. Probably the Chameleon. Wish me luck.

Favourite Products: Naturals Beauty

As a little girl I would always get sweet smelling bubble bath in the prettiest Tinkerbell, Care Bear or My little Pony bottles for my birthday. After the party my mom would pack it away only to be taken out and used on days that she felt brave enough to deal with a red, irritated crying toddler.  I had very bad eczema as a child and couldn’t wear nylon, wool or use any perfumed or scented products. I really struggled with it and doctors kept telling my parents that I would outgrow it at 16. Sure it did get better over the years but never completely went away. I was very worried about Ben getting my eczema and unfortunately he did. Luckily it doesn’t seem to be as severe as mine was.

We started off using Epizone A on Ben and then switched to Cetaphil.  The Cetaphil is a bit pricey but Ben’s skin started feeling less sandpapery and more baby like so I was happy.  Then a fellow mom posted a picture of Naturals Beauty RR Baby Range and I just loved the look of it. You see I’m the kind of person who buy wine based on how much I like the label which is why we drank Tall Horse for a very very long time even though I didn’t really care for the wine. I’m all about the packaging.

The RR Baby Range products sounded lovely and I was very intrigued but also not sure if it would work on Ben’s eczema skin. I was offered a trial pack to see how it goes.

The Baby Set I got contains a 200ml Body Lotion, Body Wash and Shampoo and the Gentle Milk Wash.  I spoke to the lovely Tanya du Boys creator of Naturals Beauty and mom of two who told me the following:

– We use only natural ingredients and we use as many organic ingredients as possible. There are 3 products in total.
No matter what the child’s age is I would recommend using our moisturising milk wash instead of a soap or a gel cleanser. Gels and soaps traditionally draw moisture from the skin and as you know this is not an ideal situation for eczema skin. The milk wash cleans the body and face but very gently (think of a milk cleanser for your face) and does not strip the skin of any natural oils. Our range is also VERY lightly scented with chamomile and we use no synthetic fragrances which are also known to irritate a sensitive skin. The lotion is light and has a lovely ‘slip’ to it which means you can  massage him (if he’ll lie still long enough!!) as well as use it as a lotion –
I LOVE these products.  There was no negative skin reaction to it at all. I love how gentle the Milk Wash is on his skin and the gorgeous shine and softness the Shampoo gives his hair.  There is a bit of scalp dryness afterwards but we have been battling with a bit of cradle cap since birth so dryness is to be expected.  The body lotion is silky soft and like Tanya said it does indeed have a nice slip to it. I just adore the healthy shine of Ben’s skin after rubbing him in with lotion from head to toe.
The product is very reasonably priced and will last you quite a while. I honestly have no complaints and will definitely continue using it on Ben.

My favourite Pregnancy product

You get two kinds of women: The one’s that love being pregnant and then those who hate every sweaty, uncomfortable, swollen minute of it. I am the first kind.

I loved being pregnant and I adored my baby bump. I felt healthy, pretty and for the first time ever I actually liked my body. That pregnancy glow they talk about, I don’t know if I looked it but I definitely felt it.

Yes there were sleepless nights where I just couldn’t take one more minute of sleeping on my side. There were the extreme exhaustion of the first trimester where every minute not spent at work was used for sleeping. That whole December and January is just one big tired blur.

Second trimester I had a few horrible-head-about-to-explode headaches but all in all it was a pretty good morning sickness free pregnancy. I was also pretty mobile right up to the end. I actually played swing ball at 37 weeks pregnant. Sure the low balls was a no go, but I still rocked that game.

Except for being tired the only other thing that bothered me was the itchy tummy.  I looked like a flea ridden dog. I would just scratch and scratch and scratch.  Eventually I heard about Mama Mio’s Tummy Rub.

Mama Mio is a pregnancy skincare product that protects against stretch marks and itchy tummies by increasing skin elasticity.

Image: I am mumalicious

It’s a little more that what I usually spend on beauty products but it is so worth it. I just adore this product. It’s feels soft and creamy on your skin and the smell is glorious. I use to love rubbing my belly after baths. My skin felt healthy, soft and I had no more itchy skin issues.

Best part is I went through nine months of pregnancy with not one stretch mark. That in my book makes this the best thing since slice bread.

Mama Mio is imported and distributes in South Africa by POISE Brands. Have a look at their website for the list of stockist. Also check out Boob Tube. Another amazing pregnancy must have.

 

My favourite baby products – The diaper bag

When we first decided to try for a baby, we
weren’t as financially strong as we would have liked to be, but as the clock
was ticking we decided that waiting would be foolish. And except for the
delivery/hospital part, how expensive can a tiny little baby be? They just poo
and sleep. Its only once you start paying school fee’s that you need the money and by that time we’ll be sorted. Oh poor naïve us. When that shopping list
of “Must haves” came I nearly fainted. From the pram to the baby carrier,
bouncy chairs and car seats, babies are expensive.
Luckily I wasn’t too picky when it came to
the big money spender; the pram. We got a very reasonably priced 3 wheel
Chelino with infant car seat from BabyBoom and then a second hand Maclaren stroller which I
actually use most of the time. Our bottle warmer, steamer and a bunch of other goodies
we bought second hand as well.
But every mom has that one thing that she’s
fussy over. For me it was the diaper bag (and the baby carrier, but more on that later).
I wanted something functional yet stylish. I wanted a gender
neutral bag cause I wanted husband to be comfortable walking around with it as
well. There’s nothing worse than making a grown man carry a huge pink bag or
one covered in Teddy or Toy Story print.
Nothing I saw in the shops were right. I
down right hated almost all of them. I started looking on the internet and fell
in love with the US Brand Skip Hop,
that was until my Sister in Law from the UK emailed me about Pacapod Diaper bags.
I watched the promo video on the website
and that was it. Sold.  It was completely
out of my budget but it was exactly what I was looking for and I knew I just
had to have one.
The Pacapod is stylish, functional, good quality and easy to clean. The bag consist of 2 compartments, one for clothes, toys, mom’s keys.phone etc. and
then another fitted with 2 mini Pods: a changing Pod and a Feeder Pod. These
Pods can also be taken out of the bag and used separately or attached to the
Pram. The Feeder pod is like a little cooler bag and once kids are older the feeder
bag can be used as a lunch pack.

 

 

  I chose the Mirano Pacapod in navy.  It’s also available in white.
 
  From their website:
“The PacaPod Mirano bag has taken its inspiration from
Riviera chic and has a stylish mix of natural fabrics and soft leather, with
fashionable buckle details to create a truly iconic silhouette. Tucked
discreetly inside this cavernous bag (32 litre plus capacity) are PacaPods
unique and detachable feeder and changing pod for storing baby feeding and
changing items. All neatly wrapped up in a stunning baby bag outer.”
I ended up getting my bag as a babyshower
gift from my Parents in law for which I am so very grateful.
If you have a bit of extra money and a friend who won’t mind playing courier on their next trip to SA (they do however ship to SA, if you don’t mind spending the extra cash) I would seriously suggest you look at a Pacapod bag.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.
*All images from the Pacapod website.