All posts by Debbie

How to Survive the Morning with 3 kids ON YOUR OWN.

Most mornings are a nightmare. ‘A MAAAARE’ as my Australasian friends would say. If it’s not hard enough to drag yourself out of bed each and every morning, imagine doing it on your OWN with three smaaaaaall children? No guys really. It’s full-freaking-on.

So a few months back I had this on-going whats-app dialogue with my girlfriends about how UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE pull-your-hair-out I was finding ‘the mornings’. The hub (bless him) heads to work just after 5am which leaves me with no other option that to drag myself out of bed at the first whimper of any child. (He does return earlier than most and then ‘takes over’ so we can’t resent him too much).

We’ve been through the ringer – moaaaaaaaaaaaning about eveeeeeeeeeerything – from not wanting to put on shoes, to underpants, to rain coats and not wanting to eat breakfast and demanding the breakfast I don’t have in the cupboard. I understand getting out of a warm cuddly bed with your luscious down duvet (lucky kid!) is hard (TRUST ME), but let’s just mentally prepare ourselves to do this for.the.next.18.years.

I hold my breath, I bite my tongue. I scream, I whimper my pleas, I bribe, I convince, I threaten. It’s not great.

I’ve put music on (to lessen the moan), I’ve sent them to school with their pjs UNDER their clothes. I’ve even left them sleeping (so that my dear mother can manage the chaos) and I’ve raced off to work.

Throw in some wet beds, some breastfeeding, some vomiting, some screaming (by all involved – we each have our turn), a toddler whose Lego just.broke, a 5 year old who can’t put on his socks (because they’re about 17 sizes too small), a baby who needs 7 drops of probiotics 30 min before she has food (ha ha ha), and a stubborn 3 year old who boycotted his (now soggy) weetbix for mint vanilla toothpaste as their before-school snack. Shoes and socks, on and off, jackets and beanies, on and off. And then the nappy you never changed, explodes. Poo everywhere.

You name it, I’ve done it. I’m finished.

I hate screamy-mommy, so something needed to give. My options were to a) run away or b) tackle this head on. Obviously a) is not a real option. So somehow, I’ve managed to rise above it all (in glorious fashion) and here’s how I’ve done it:

  1. Get up early. This is the hardest thing you’ll do all morning – but it’ll be worth it. If not for anything other than allowing yourself the time to MAKE THAT COFFEE. Always make more than 1 cup. Have it on the ready. Because 1 is never enough.
  2. Hide your phone. Once you’ve switched your alarm off – hide it. While I’d much rather be chatting to my girlfriends about the upcoming 3rd royal baby, DON’T allow yourself to get distracted. This will be your downfall.
  3. Lunch boxes. No matter how many matchsticks you need to keep your peepers open at night – make those lunch boxes the night before. Kids don’t care about brown oxidized apples.
  4. Dress them at night. When times are tough, I dress my kids in their (play) school clothes the night before. No shame. You gotta do what you gotta do. Hopefully we’ll have this morning thing under control before we hit the school uniform stage. 
  5. Buy them the cereal they want. And I don’t mean cocoa pops/fruit loops. But pick your battles. I can’t handle the constant fight over oats or weetbix – so muesli it is. The cost is worth it. Trust me.
  6. Feed and nappy first. If there is a baby in the household, at first peep, get to them. Breastfeed/bottle feed and then change their nappy. In one swift motion. Don’t hesitate. Then hand them a Hip Organic Rice Cake – that’ll keep them happy and entertained for a good 3 minutes.
  7. Warning, warning, warning. We’re going in 10min, we’re going in 5 min, we’re going in 2 min. Boom. (Parenting 101)
  8. Chorus line: “What day is it today?” “Tuesday!”, “What do we need to remember on Tuesdays?” (Think think think think think: School t-shirt? Dress Up? Fruit for the bowl? Money for something-or-other? Show and Tell? FitKids t-shirt? Extra clothes in school bag? Extra murals? Play date? Grandparents for the afternoon? …( And together we think of the answer.)

And off we go to school. Tra la la. You might have noticed that we do not allow TV or iPad in the mornings. That’s just a no-go. Once we head down that path – we’ll never return.

And most mornings, we’re doing okay. Yes, we forget Show and Tell (often) and yes, there are still glares and talking through gritted teeth and raised voices and the usual parenting coping mechanisms. But we’re getting there… and we’re much, much happier.

Those of you with more than 3 kids – I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how you do it. No idea. Nada. You’re super human. You must be.

What do you do to make mornings easier? Pray tell?

My Organic Spray Tan Experience

Don’t judge me. I used to lie on a sunbed. Yes, in my ignorant pre-green days. GAH! I shudder at the thougth now. SHUDDER. Damn you Virgin Active Westville – for having such a cool (influencial and on-trend) gym with a sunbed. Which reminds me, I need to book an appointment with a dermatologist to get my moles checked. Note to self.

There are a few things in the green-eco space which I LOVE. One of them, is finding Ecocert certified products (like Pure Beginnings and Woolies Organic Coffee Beans). I’ve gone on and on about Ecocert before, but they are an AMAZING international certification body and you can’t get a sneaky whiff of nasty-anything past them. You can’t green-wash when it comes to Ecocert. This is the label I’m referring to:

So you won’t believe my excitement when I found an Ecocert certified SPRAY TAN. Hellllooooooo!!! Are you kidding me? A COMPLETELY organic, non-toxic tan? Say hello to Vita Liberata – the world’s first non-toxic and organic spray tan, free from parabens, perfume and alcohol.

Vita Liberata – Luxury Skin

“A Vita Liberata tan is the purest in the tanning world. Made using natural, certified organic and Ecocert ingredients, Vita Liberata tans nourishes the skin, ensuring your glow looks radiant and fades patch-free, just like a natural suntan. With zero parabens, preservatives or other chemical nasties that can dry out your skin, Vita Liberata tans give you a 100% healthy and completely natural glow, all year round.

So I did my pre-spray tan oil-free exfoliation (with epsom salts) focussing on ankles, elbows, colar bones, wrists etc. and off I went. Fortunately having given birth three times, I’m not skaam about getting naked infront of strangers (not something I do on a regaular basis mind you). I put on my stylin’ paper g-string and got sprayed!

I GENUINELY felt like a Greek goddess after. Had you given me some oversized wings I could have walked straight onto a Victoria’s Secret catwalk. I felt like this:

Of course I didn’t LOOK like that, but I sure FELT like it. Overall self esteem boost to the max.

Post tan: I didn’t touch much. I slept on a towel (our linen is white), and didn’t shower for 12ish hours. When I did shower, I felt like I was washing hair dye out of my hair with lots of colour coming off – which I must be honest was a bit of a relief seeing as I felt unusually brown (not a BAD brown, but this was all new to me).

The next morning (post shower) I went straight to an Adventure Boot Camp and worked my ass off feeling all glamorous and golden. Beverley Hills here I come.

I was really, really happy, and REALLY impressed with the tan. My tan lasted longer than 2 weeks – and felt SO natural and wonderful. In fact, I bumped into a school-mom at the shops (post school holidays) and she said “Ah, have you been away?” Honestly – no word of a lie.

Price point? You will pay from R400 for a Vita Liberata spray tan. The ‘sprayers’ are all professionally trained to give you a ‘healthy bronzed glow’.

How Vita Liberata differs to usual spray tans (besides it being organic and non-toxic of course):

  • Skin Colour: The intention of the tan is not to make the natural skin colour darker (per se), but rather to enhance your skin colour by bringing out it’s natural beauty by bronzing & illuminating it. The formulation works with the melanin in your skin to give it that glow. So you’re not painted orange. Your result is almost ‘tailored’ to your natural skin tone.
  • Hydrates skin: Dark skin, like white skin, can look dry, dull and particularly ashen if not regularly exfoliated or correctly hydrated. Vita Liberata contain a patented 72 hour moisture lock which keeps moisture in the skinand nourishes the skin.
  • Anti-oxidants: All skin responds to the absorption of anti-oxidants which hydrate, heal, feed and prevent free radicals which are aging to all skin colours. Vita Liberata products are intensely rich in anti-oxidants as ingredients like liquorice, lychee, melon & raspberries all are naturally & inherently high in ant-oxidants.

That tan line along my hip (from the paper g-string) is 9 days post tan. Impressive. 

Finer details for those ingredient watchers out there:

What Natural Ingredients go into a Vita Liberata tan?

Aloe Vera – The extract from this plant is full of vitamins C and E and has a host of skin benefits including anti-ageing properties that improve the skin’s firmness. It also hydrates, moisturises, conditions to give you a softer, younger looking skin.

Cucumber – Cucumbers are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects skin from damaging free radicals and helps fight premature ageing. Cucumber extract also contains vitamin B-5, a compound that helps your skin to retain moisture, helping to keep skin hydrated and maintain your glow for longer!

Lychee – Lychee extract is a great source of vitamins B & C which both have powerful antioxidant and anti-ageing qualities. Vitamin C helps boost collagen production, meaning plumper, more youthful looking skin, and Vitamin B helps skin retain moisture to help your glow fade naturally.

Pomegranate – This vibrant red superfood contains anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Packed full of powerful antioxidants, the extract helps to neutralize free radicals, helping your skin resist the ageing process caused by every day pollutants.

Melon – This extract is a wonderful source of vitamins A&C and offers a wide range of antioxidant benefits. Vitamin A is also known as retinol, an extremely effective cell-communicating ingredient, which means it can connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell. This super smart vitamin helps prevent wrinkling and increases collagen production.

Papaya – Papaya extract is bursting with Vitamin C, our favourite source of antioxidants, and a must-have for helping build and produce collagen – the natural way to firmer, plumper looking skin.

Raspberry – This little berry has powerful skin conditioning benefits and is packed full of antioxidants – it ranks among the highest fruits for its antioxidant strength. Thanks to this there are many repairing, conditioning and moisturising qualities associated with this this super berry. Think younger, brighter looking skin and a natural glowing tan.

So it’s pretty much like having a fruit salad sprayed onto your skin, resulting in health, happiness and broze-goddess-ness. Who loses? No one! Get brozed safely, and naturally with Vita Liberata.

You can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, check them out Onlinewww.vitaliberata.co.za

For a list of Mobile Tanners and stockists in other areas check out: http://www.vitaliberata.co.za/vita-liberata-stockist/

Stressed? Yeah me too… 

Stress, stress, stress. Can I just move to an island and grow my own food and let my kids run wild… and not watch them fight over the ipad, or who wore the other ones socks, of whether or not I remembered to pay the rates bill, or fix the doorbell, or clean the potty OR spray stain remover on the kids’ clothes? Every morning, we go from the breakfast table/floor/kitchen counter to the slog of dressing (when noooo ooooone wants to remove pj’s), to nappies to noise to lunch boxes and school bags and lost water bottles, trying to remember to pack swimming togs and food for extra play and whether or today is a Fit Kids t-shirt wearing day and and aaaaaaaaand.

Once I have lost almost every ounce of patience, self control, and brain space, I make a mad dash into work, realize I left my lunch at home, forgot to give my kid a ‘show and tell’ item, and then see that there is dried oats on my pants.

Not stressed at all.

Enter – stress relieving essential oils. Ahhhhh. Essential oils. If you aren’t quite clued in, essential oils are the highly concentrated fragrant essences found in plants. The leaves, flowers, fruits or roots of the plants are usually steam distilled or cold pressed to extract this aromatic liquid.

I love SOiL Essential Oils because they are organic and Ecocert certified. This means that the herbs, shrubs and other plants that provide the oils are grown on land that is not exposed to herbicides, pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Winning all round.

I feel like essential oils are a bit like the ocean. Strange comparison – but stick with me here. When I look at the ocean (from, say, the top of Chapman’s Peak), I see this beautiful vast gorgeous sheet of water, but only when I have a chance to stop and think, can I begin to imagine the intricate ecosystem below, its vast depth; from the tiniest fish and piece of coral to the hugest and most majestic blue whale.

Essential oils are the same (kinda). They look cute in their neat little bottles and smell nice when opened, but once you dig deeper, those powerful little drops of oil can greatly contribution to ones life, health, healing, and restoration.

Here are the top 6 essential oils for stress relief:

Frankincense 

Frankincense, also known as Olibanum, is obtained from steam distillation of the gum resin. It has been used for 1000’s of years as incense in religious ceremonies. I know of Frankincense from the birth of Jesus :). Its centering aroma slows the nervous system and promotes a feeling of calm and introspection (Mary probably needed it), and a few drops in an essential oil burner can aid concentration and meditation. R100.00 (5ml)

Safety Information: Do not use during pregnancy.

*Frankincense smells similar to eucalyptus to me. I love the ancient heritage and how it can contribute to effective mindfulness.* 

Rose Geranium

Geraniums originate from South Africa and were introduced into Europe in the 17thC. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and branches of the plant. Geranium is known to lift the spirit and relieve anxiety. It is useful in treating PMS and menopausal problems. R115.00 (10ml)

Safety Information: May cause skin irritation in some individuals

Lavender

Lavender is the most popular and versatile oil in aromatherapy. It’s a must for the first aid box – a great oil for skin conditions where there is inflammation, burns, scarring etc. Lavender is also well known for its relaxing, antidepressant and calming properties, and for treating headaches and insomnia as well as benefiting throat infections, colds and flu. R70.00 (10ml)

*I love Lavender – it is SO versatile! I literally keep a bottle in my bag and give it a sniff when I need to chill out. This is my go-to in my home diffuser.*

Ylang Ylang

Originating from South-East Asia, Cananga odorata is a fast-growing, tall evergreen tree, which produces large yellow-green, strongly scented flowers. Ylang Ylang has an intoxicating floral aroma. It is calming and soothes mentally, physically and emotionally. Traditionally used as an aphrodisiac. R80.00 (10ml)

Safety Information: Excessive use may cause nausea or headache are must be taken to always keep the oil away from children.

Melissa

Melissa oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. It is sometimes referred to as the bee balm. It has anti-depressant properties and is indicated for insomnia, hysteria and irritability. It is also an anti-spasmodic and is reputed to regulate the digestive system, relieving stomach cramps and nausea.  R220.00 (2.5ml)

Contraindications: A possible sensitizer and dermal irritant

Vetiver

Vetiver is a tall grass, native to India. It is sometimes used to prevent soil erosion due to its network of roots. It is these fibrous roots which are cleaned, dried and distilled to produce the sweet earthy smelling oil. Vetiver is often used in perfumery and is a valuable oil for relieving anxiety and depression due to its grounding nature. It is suggested as a good oil to strengthen the skin as well as being beneficial to the musculo-skeletal system due to its ability to promote blood flow. R150.00 (10ml)

*Vetiver caught me off guard with its potent peppery/earthy scent*.

Book a massage, grab your oils, take some time out, diffuse, sniff and relax.

*If you are not sure about certain oils or have not used them before, please contact your health practitioner before use. Please be smart and educate yourselves on the dangers of essential oils before using them. Using essential oils in conjunction with carrier oils is encouraged.

*Essentail oils are not recommended for pregnant or nursing mums, or on sensitive skins such as babies’ skin. All preggos must be very careful when using essential oils. 

*If you are not keen on using an undiluted essential oil directly on your skin (which many aren’t), you can dilute it with a carrier oil – such as almond, apricot kernel, grape seed, rose hip etc. 

Feaured image: www.aromasense.co.nz

A GYM… for your KIDS!

As a mum to three kids (two busy boys who are play-school going) we all know the importance of gross motor development and the scary stats about the number of kids in Occupational Therapy. I think partly, it’s due to the fact that we can’t just allow our kids to run up the road to their friends house or let them cycle to the nearest park to play until we call them in for dinner (sigh…). Facing the reality of OT can be a scary and intimidating thought for many parents. While neither of my kids are in OT – I have left a meet-the-teachers appointment with a sheet of gross motor exercises in my hand. Best I get on it then…

So I was PUMPED about this! A couple weeks ago we were invited to the launch of The Kids Gym, a brand new and FANTASTIC first-class gym space, designed with only kids (aged 0-15 years) in mind. KIDSFIT size treadmills & bicycles have been imported from America, and it has everything you can dream of in a gym – barring weights – on purpose (that could get dangerous). There is a range of specially designed equipment for age appropriate movement activities to improve balance, coordination, strength, flexibility & rhythm.

My kids had a BALL! They could’ve played for hours and hours and hoooooooours. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say that I had to drag them out of there. The range of exercise/play equipment is so vast, you’ll need a few visits to enjoy it all.

A gym with HEART:

This is not another ‘money making activity’ aimed at parents who feel the need (guilt) to take their kids out somewhere fun. This gym was created by a father whose daughter was born with a neuro-muscular disorder. He struggled to find a place to go to help her. It ignited his passion to create a place where kids can go to build muscle tone, strengthen their bodies, develop stronger gross and fine motor skills all while have a ball and building their self confidence at the same time.

I can’t help but think how PHENOMENAL a place like The Kids Gym will be for kids who:

a) need a place to get their energy out (or can’t stop moving),
b) need help with gross motor strength,
c) want to build self-confidence,
d) want an awesome adventure day out, or simply
e) a place parents can take their kids instead of plonking them in front of the tv.

The Kids Gym offer’s a non-competitive, non-judgemental environment for ALL to find their own “zone”.





But don’t be fooled – this is not a place where you dump your kids and hit up an awesome flat white at the Ninja Bean Cafe (…and there are AWESOME flat whites at this cafe). No one ‘works out’ alone – there is always a trainer to teach and supervise.


The gym is safe; with turn styles, a top notch security system, cameras and linked tv screens and an impressive number of trained assistants constantly watching and helping. Guys. I mean!

Price you ask? Take a look at the incredibly reasonable membership options below:


Check them out:

Address: Sable Square, Cnr Bosmansdam & Sable Road, Century City, Cape Town
Email them: fun@thekidsgym.co.za
Cell: 082-900-4480

Get social with them: www.thekidsgym.co.za, Facebook, Instagram.

How to be an awesome human this winter

One of my least favourite days of the month, is the day I (okay fine, hubby and I) get that bill from the City of Cape Town telling me how much we’ve spent on ‘living’. Oh rates and taxes, water, electricity and garbage disposal. You cost me a small fortune.

If you’re living in Cape Town (like I am), surely you’ve already whittled down your water useage. But now that we’re mid winter and it’s FREEZING, is it possible to save money on electricity as well? Well of course it is!

Obviously, it’s not all about saving money – it’s about considering our (often unknown and unintentional) abuse of our environment. Here are a couple ideas, to make your home more cost-efficient and eco-aware this winter.

Use existing insulation

As soon as the sun begins setting, close curtains and blinds to keep warmth inside your bedrooms and living spaces. It will mean your interior stays warmer for longer and you’ll only have to switch on heaters if it is essential. Or install a fireplace… (bucket list!)

Replace and switch off

Replace all light bulbs with LED. Turn off lights, plugs and especially electric blankets and heaters when not using them. Just these few things can reduce your home’s electricity consumption by 15%. Last night I woke up to my scale beeping (weird, I know) and saw hubby’s side of our electric blanket was still on. He got a scathing reprimand at midnight.

Fill it up

Run full loads in your washing machine or dishwasher. And use the eco/short cycles.

Off at the wall

What sits on standby? TV/Wifi/chargers etc. By turning off appliances or electronics which sit on standby for hours on end, you can save up to 6% of your electric bill.

Lose 1 degree

While going solar is the gold-star goal, turning your geyser down by 1 degree and switching it off during the middle of the day can really make a difference. This can provide estimated savings of around R100 a week. We recently bought a geyser blanket but are interested in installing a timer too.

Consider buying a Spindel

As a family of 5, we can’t live without our tumble dryer. I cringe every time we put it on, because I feel like it takes foreverrrrr to dry our clothes and the electricity it uses is nausea-worthy. My recommendation: only wash what is in desperate need of a wash, and investigate using a Spindel (esp if your washing machine is not a super fancy pants one – which ours is not).

If you’ve never heard of it before – a Spindel is an innovative dryer that uses spin power instead of heat to remove up to 80% of the leftover moisture from clothes. On average – one load in a spindel draws out around 1 cup of water from my washing (and it takes only 3 min to do so!). If I need to pop my clothes in the tumble drier, it takes a fraction of the time to dry completely, after being ‘spindeled’. A Spindel saves TONS of time and electricity.

Inspired? What else do you to save money, electricity and the environment? I’d love to know.

Happy end of winter all xxx

My Honest Ecoegg Review

As a nerd of all things green, I was super excited to see the launch of Ecoegg South Africa. Chocolate, wine, natural toothpaste, menstrual cups & laundry eggs – these kinds of things make me giddy.

If the above quote is true, we need to rethink how we wash our clothes. Laundry detergent has always been a tricky one for me. I’ve bought numerous kinds of eco-natural detergents, and have even made my own. So as soon as I got my hands on the Ecoegg, I threw it in the wash to see it work its magic. “How can this gorgeous-smelling, super-cute-looking, baby pink egg wash all my clothes clean?”, I wondered with innocent, eager and sparkling eyes. And the result… well it’s been a tricky one.

Firstly, WHAT IS IT:

Coined as the ‘natural detergent breakthrough’, the Ecoegg is an award winning laundry egg that acts as a complete replacement for washing detergent. Just pop it in the drum of your washing machine – no powder, liquid, tablets or gels required.

The two types of mineral pellets inside the egg get to work, producing powerful – but natural – cleaning foam which powers through the fibers lifting off the dirt and grime.

The EcoEgg has been independently proven (in a lab) to perform just as well as regular detergent, and is a real alternative to harsh chemicals – giving great results, naturally. Supported by Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society, the Laundry Egg is dermatologically tested and perfect for even the most sensitive skin.

So, that’s all good and well, but did it work? 

It seems like a completely bizarre concept to bypass the usual laundry detergent and throw this ‘plastic looking ball’ into the drum with my clothes. It is a bit of a mind bender.

After alllll of my washing and testing and thinking, here is my honest opinion: I REALLY like this egg – I love the concept, the fact that it is in partnership with the National Eczema Society (my little one has eczema), a natural alternative, it is kind to the environment, saves you money, is easy-to-use and in general, is a very forward thinking product.

I did, however, initially struggle with it. Not the product itself – just the how and what and why and so on. As with most things, when you move from ‘conventional’ towards ‘green’, you need a MINDSET change. Come on Debbie, you should know this by now.

Listen, my circumstances were not ideal. Since our new (God-sent) nanny does 99% of our washing, I wasn’t really there to keep a close eye on things. Between house renovations, and school holidays, meetings and general life with 3 kids (which is HARD-CORE let me tell you), my ability to completely obsess and scrutinise over how clean my clothes were, was well, a non-event.

So when my clothes came out the wash, looking…well… clean… like they usually do (and not brand-spanking-new looking – a tall order from the get-go) I was left wondering what this egg was doing, if anything. I mean, I knew it was doing something, but was it what I imagined? So back and forth and back and forth I chatted with Marcelle, the lovely South African distributor of the Ecoegg.

Some things looked impressively clean, some things were still a little grubby (mainly our 11 month old’s clothes – which should surprise no one). My nanny commented on how nice the clothes smelled – it’s a very subtle fragrance, one I really need a good sniff at to smell. Because maybe I was pinning all my hopes on the egg changing my life, I was a tad confused. The white sleeves which were covered in mud and avo – would ANY detergent have been able to get that out? My suspicion is no. Our washing machine is also not particularly new, nor fancy, so the 30min eco-cycle that I always use, was that enough? Or maybe I was just expecting miracles no detergent would’ve been able to perform…

I’ve come to the conclusion, that this egg WORKS, and it works as well as (if not better than) my current eco-laundry powder does (you can also ask the 800+ people who reviewed the egg on Amazon.uk). Also, there is also no detergent residue left on your clothes. WIN! And so, considering all the benefits above (good for the enviro/no harsh chemicals/ease/price), in my mind it wins the trophy spot on my laundry room shelf. Also, because I think it’s beautiful.

Take a look for yourself: (there are no edits or filters on any of these pics – promise!)

Also, there is no risk in giving it a try – Ecoegg (UK) and SA have a “Love it or return it” guarantee: If you don’t love your purchase, for whatever reason, just return it within 30 days for a full refund – no questions asked.

My recommendations:

    • Detox your machine first with an Ecoegg detox tablet.
    • Clean out your washing machine filter regularly
    • Use a cold 30min cycle (let’s be water and enviro conscious here folks)
    • Use stain remover where necessary (this should’ve been a no brainer for me). Ecoegg have a stain remover. I need to get me some.

How much does it cost (and other related products)?

The Laundry Eggs come in either:

  • 210 washes (1 year for an average family of 4) for R275.00, or
  • 720 washes (3 years for an average family of 4) for R425.00. (Cheap huh!)

They also come in three ‘fragrances’ – Spring Blossom (pink), Fresh Linen (blue) and Fragrance Free (yellow). These are lightly fragranced with essential oils.

They also stock a stain remover at R80 a tube and detox tablets for your machine (for 3 years) for R95.00 – these clear out the junk and build up of detergents.

You want one don’t you? Imagine never buying laundry detergent ever again. Go on, contact Ecoegg:

Facebook, Instagram and email: hello@ecoegg.co.za
Physical Address: 1 Rodgers Ave, Constantia Hills, Constantia.
Web: www.ecoegg.co.za

R3000 Grocery Challenge – (HOW) WE DID IT!

So last month, we spent under R3000 on groceries – all food. All food. How did we do it?

Let me keep this simple. In essence, you spend on food what you want to spend, or what you allow yourself to spend. It really is that simple. If I had R1000 budget, then it would have been pap, for 30 days, for each meal. Perspective.

I’d love to share my biggest takeaways:

My preface: It is GOOD to love, enjoy, find healthy value in, be filled by, be inspired by, create, and bring community together with FOOD.

So bearing that in mind – here’s how we did it:

1. Quality vs Price. Don’t get me wrong guys – I’m all about quality. Our Good Food Club allows me to get good quality (hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free-range, grass-fed, natural etc.) at a reasonable price – so I’m not sacrificing quality. This is not always possible though. You have to pick your battles. I chose to downgrade on coffee beans (from Organic to Italian Dark Roast and saved R40) and brown bread (from Superior to, well, regular – and saved around R3 a loaf).

2. Don’t buy more than you need: The more you have the more you eat. If you have 2L of milk, you’ll go through it faster than if you had only one. I’m such an automatic ‘stock-upper’ when it comes to basics that we end up consuming (and buying) way more than we need. Do you need 5 cans of tomatoes? Probably not.

3. Shop the sales: Food Lovers on a Wednesday, PnP discounted goods/bulk packs, Woolies sales even. Buy from the factory shops, such as Elgin. You can save tens, if not hundreds of Rands, by keeping your eyes on the numbers.

4. Meal plan: I know, I know, who has time for this? But really! Meal planning not only takes away that frustrating ‘Gah, what are we eating tonight’ thought around 4pm each day, but it removes the spontaneous buying… and it doesn’t need to be complicated or in-depth – just jot down some meal ideas and shuffle it as you go through the week…

5. Convenience shopping: Engen One Stop at 9pm is SO convenient, but will always (okay, 99% of the time) be more expensive. You PAY for convenience, don’t forget that. Ready-made meals are always more expensive, unless it is a $1 mac and cheese box my best friend and I lived on in the states in our early 20’s, which resembled very little of real mac and cheese. I shudder to think what was in there…

6. Buying take away lunches: Hubby and I felt this one, but I’m proud to say we did not buy ANY take away lunches, and the greasy take away joint in our business park makes GOOD ‘slap chips’. It was a rule – NO bought lunches. And when it’s a legit rule – it simply isn’t an option to break it.

7. Eat when you’re hungry – not bored: A good old Michael Pollan Food Rule.

8. Grow ‘extras’ in your garden: coriander, cherry toms, basil, spinach/rocket, spring onion. Those items cost money and OFTEN go off in your fridge. Garden herbs and greens are fresh, organic and ‘free’ in essence.

9. DONT WASTE FOOD: If my kids didn’t finish their school lunches, the lunch boxes were opened and the food was finished before any more was on offer. Darling child, eat your crusts/remaining apple/orange segment you left in there because it still had ‘the pip in’. You’ll honestly save an extra sarmie or piece of fruit you could use in the next days’ lunch box. Also, give your pantry a good clear out – spices, pasta, cans, almost-finished-packets of random stuff – it is all most likely (ermmm…) usable – so get your spring cleaning on and eat what has been neglected for too long (like 2 year old fondant, for example).

10. Simplify: Eat simply and drink simply. Water. Kombucha. Coffee. Easy meals, few ingredients – you can make something taste delish with less than you think. This way of eating is less stressful to prepare and lighter on the wallet. Save your gourmet meals for a special occasion.

11. Cook in bulk, stretch and freeze: I did this with mince and soup. I streeetched the meals (added lentils to mince and doubled the soup) and froze many portions. Not only does it make for quick dinners, but filling lunches at work.

12. Don’t get sucked into consumer culture: This is something a friend noticed she was doing, and honestly, I hadn’t even made the comparison. We walk around with our shiny, smooth (tired) credit cards and nonchalantly swipe swipe swipe. Put R3000 in an envelope labelled GROCERIES and you will avoid the shops like the plague. We are SO accustomed to buying WHAT WE WANT, WHEN WE WANT IT. For eg: we only use a salt grinder at home. But ours finished, so hubby suggested I use the table salt instead (WHAT? NO WAYS). But we did, and we survived.

We are a culture that doesn’t like to sacrifice. We don’t enjoy not having what we want. And we do this with food too.

Does that help? Can you relate? What did you learn? Do you know how much you spend every month?

As far as how this has transpired for us? I’m implementing what we’ve learnt, but I’m also going easy on myself. But no doubt, there will be times coming, when we need to tighten up again (I’m desperate to redo our floors, so R3k might be our ‘new normal’ for a while :)), and I’m happy to do that, aware that for MANY PEOPLE R3k is their average monthly income; they don’t have the luxury of having that much for food alone. That has been eye opening for me.

So give it a go – and let me know how you do. Good luck. xxx

R3000 Challenge: Pauper to Princess 

I promise I had this weeks meals planned.
With my R40 left, my meal plan was as follows:

Basil, cherry tom and chicken pasta,

Roast Chicken with veg,

Toasted sarmies with leftover roast chicken and cheese,

Soup (with whatever Food Lovers veg are on their mad Wednesday special).

And then this.


A gift.

You know when you settle for second best and then out of nowhere you land up hitting the bulls eye? Accepting that humble vulnerable spot, only be be bumped unexpectedly to first place?

That was us. Today. I’d counted the apples and pears for lunchboxes, gone 2 days with no milk in my coffee, eaten the crusts of my boys’ leftover peanut butter sandwiches (okay not really), but I was crawling apprehensively towards the finish line, nervous.

But it takes a village, and it seems my humble public meekness around our food budget brought out some of the most wonderful and generous acts of said village. Today we received THREE days worth of Day to Day meals (not even two as seen in the text above) as well as home-reared free range eggs, biscuits, dried fruit snacks AND jelly tots for the kids.

This evening we had steak, tomorrow we’ll be smacking our lips with smoked chicken and the next day pork chops. Fresh, healthy, local, nutritious family meals, when I was absolutely mentally prepared for (and content with) leftovers on toasted sarmies.

I sit here, on my bed, writing this, STUFFED. And grateful. While it may seem like I’ve been carried across the finish line (and maybe I have), there is a deeper lesson I’ve taken away from today. It’s that people are awesome. Share your journey – the hardships, the struggles, the challenges, the achievements. Be vulnerable. Accept gifts, give gifts, share. Share life, share food, share tears, joy, conversation, thoughts, ideas, generosity, abundance, privilege, concern, love.

Marcelle. You’re a great example of someone who shares. Thank you x

The Newest Essential for your Diaper Bag

Brace yourselves for a conversation about boobs, breastfeeding and breast milk – that precious, golden liquid. Forewarning: words like nipple, boob, suction and stimulate have been used in this post.

Here’s the irony.

I’m genuinely ANGRY I have only found this product now. After using and understanding Hey Kiwi‘s HaaKaa Silicone Breast Pump, you wonder why this kind of pump has never been thought of before. It is such a simple concept with such an effective outcome.

With babies #1 and #2, my breast milk supply was off.the.charts. I even donated breast milk to the Vancouver Milk Bank because I had such a huge supply. To my surprise, my milk supply was much lower with #3. It should have been more obvious that with the chaos of 3 kids, heading back to work at 4 months and just not stopping in general (in life) that my breast milk supply would be compromised.

So back to the pump – let me explain the concept: It is all about suction. Simply put, you suction the pump to your breast and let the pump do the work for you. It draws your milk out of your breast using suction. That’s it? Yip, really, that’s it.


To stimulate let down – you can ‘pump-the-pump’ by squeezing and releasing the breast pump a few times while on your boob. It’s funny, your boob kinda bounces in and out of the pump. But it works!

Here’s the HOW TO, from Hey Kiwi‘s website:

  1. After you have sterilized your pump, place top of pump over your nipple (make sure your nipple is in the neck of the pump and comfortable).
  2. Apply suction – you may need to adjust a couple of times. Once the pump is secure and comfortable you can squeeze the base of the pump (not interfering with the top/suction) to create some movement.
  3. A warm flannel on top of your breast is also a great tip and gently massage the top of your breast.
  4. Once milk begins to flow simply leave the pump alone to do its thing.
  5. Once the pump becomes full empty into a glass storage bottle and reposition.

From my experience: It took me a few tries to learn to apply the suction properly – but when it is on, it’s very comfortable and does not pinch. I did have to apply some massage (because my boobs were not full)! Had I used this when my milk came in, oh boy. I could have saved Cape Town’s drought with the amount this beautiful thing would have caught. Sigh.)

Once the milk begins to flow – HEY MAN – it’s INCREDIBLE. You can actually see streams of milk coming from your nipple. The plastic milky neck of other pumps I’d used never showed me that. I found it quite mesmerizing.

Here are my MAJOR (and unexpected) PROS:

  • It does not make a noise. So it doesn’t wake a sleeping baby. Hallelujah.
  • It is CORDLESS/does not need batteries. (When we were renovating, there was one spot in the house I could sit – in full view – and pump because I needed to plug it in. This is a game changer). This also makes it fully portable.
  • The base of the 100/150ml Pump creates a suction when you push it on a flat surface. My hard-earned milk is SAFE. If you’ve ever spilled breast milk – you’ll know that urge to break down and sob. Like a baby, without its milk.
  • I cannot personally vouch for this while breastfeeding a 9 month old but, I can confidently say that if one is struggling with engorged boobs, OR needs to express milk while nursing on the one side – this is the PERFECT gizmo to use. It allows you to quickly and easily pump for relief from engorgement, as well as collect milk from the side bubs is not latched on.
  • It’s SUPER easy to clean. Not like all the bits and pieces with ordinary machine pumps. This is a ONE piece item, (two if you have the stopper). Nothing fidgety about it. You can even pop it in the dishwasher.
  • 100% eco-friendly and safe for mom, baby and our environment.
  • It is less than 1/3rd of the price of any electric pump. (R450-R500 for pump and stopper)
  • You can pump hands-free. Once that thing is suctioned properly, sure, you can’t be doing the haka in your bedroom, but you can let it suction without needing to hold it. WHAT?!
  • It is just EASY TO USE. No fuss. Really.

Some of my most favorite people in the world are from New Zealand, so I’m a firm believer that things that come out of NZ are almost guaranteed to be RAD. I’m a total HaaKaa convert. I highly recommend giving this a go.

Want to know more? Contact Hey Kiwi onlineFacebook and Instagram. they also sell lots of other super cute goodies on their site here.

xxx

R3000 Challenge: I’m in trouble… 

YOI! I’m in trouble. I did a quick shop yesterday. (I’m surprised at how often I need to go to the shops, as it turns out – 5ppl can eat quite a lot).

I spent another R300, which, in my vague calculation (still unsure of total GFC order) leaves me around R600 for the rest of the month. 😳 I have meat, and staples. But today my confidence may have superseded the reality of my situation because I might have made some rash decisions.

I bought 2 x 3kg bags of butternut. Why 2? Did I need 2? I’m not so sure. I also needed tea. So I bought a box, of 107 teabags. Do I need all 107 teabags? Can I even drink that much in 15 more days? Not a chance. But the bulk buyer in me came to the party.

The saver came to the party too and I couldn’t refuse the Jungle Oats on sale, nor the Bubbly chocolate. If Bubbly is ever on sale, it’s almost sinful to say no. Surely? So I caved, and as I grabbed two slabs off the shelf I thought twice about my budget. And naively took the hit. 


I seeeeeeriously need to tighten the purse strings. Because I have a birthday boy coming up, and cake (and school party treats) will be a necessity shortly.

RIGHT! Two points that have been raised by numerous readers: FREEZING GLASS JARS.

Yes, I too believed one could never freeze glass, but, it turns out you can. A friend showed me or else I would’ve been way too scared to try. They must be decent glass jars and you must be sensible. Don’t freeze HOT food, straight from the oven into the freezer, and take care when defrosting. Don’t take it from the freezer and pop it straight in the microwave/oven. Go easy on your glass.

I buy my glass jars from Bonpak in Prime Park, Diep River. They’re the same size and shape as the Oh Mega Nut Butter jars.

RETHINKING FOOD:

A friend messaged me today, and she was reading my mind. Her message was as follows:

I love the challenge blah blah because… you “buy what you need, no need to overdo elaborate meals EVERY night, good for the hips, good for the world / enviro (cause not over consuming in this consumer crazy society etc etc). Every time I have made my “normal” purchases I think of you and how you’re exercising such restraint and it makes me see the “normal” purchase as a super spoil.”

Someone else (talking about something similar but different) spoke of our consumer culture like this: shopping (unnecessarily, in our case maybe for food/eating) is a way of “filling voids, eradicating boredom, fostering laziness, thwarting creativity, not to mention draining our bottom line“.

I sometimes imagine asking someone from the early 1900’s to watch our western culture. And I wonder how sensible popping into the same shop every 2nd day would seem? Especially in today’s unbelievably demanding lifestyle, when we don’t actually have the time to spare? Does buying a takeaway coffee look cool, indulgent or irresponsible? Is it a prerequisite to your morning? (Coffee is ABSOLUTELY a prerequisite to mine, and I thank the Good Lord for the creamy sweet nectar every morning as I sip it). Pre-cooked meals? Are they convenient, or necessary, or have we barely stopped to consider the joy and creativity involved in cooking we’re blindly robbing ourselves of? Nooooooo judgement here guys – I’m asking myself these exact questions… (and I could’ve fueled a small country on the amount of take away coffee I had last month…)

What is food? What have we made it? Where have we been sold a lemon by society? I’m ALL about good food. I’ve said this already. I love what it represents; different textures and colours, what humans are able to create with micro greens and edible flowers, the complexity of flavours and beauty and satisfaction in a delicately prepared meal. But when did we put it on autopilot?