Tag Archives: cape town

My latest Little Green Box treat!

It’s been a while since I posted about a beauty review – and whoa, do I have a cracker for you! Recently I went to my fave little eco salon (The Little Green Box), which, if you’re concerned about chemicals on your skin at any beauty therapist – you don’t need to worry here! I was treated to the NEW Esse Age Defying Facial. Yes. Please.

If you haven’t read previous experiences that I’ve had with Peta, you can do so here and here (she is so very wonderful, and sooooo much in line with how I think and what I love). She is an Esse expert and beams organic, wholesome, holistic and non-judgemental light as soon as you walk into her space. She also told me I had little live friendly pac-man type creatures crawling all over my skin during the exfoliation… intrigued? Read on…

EVERY TIME I have a facial I think I need more facials because they are so goooood for my skin.

Here is a little about the facial itself: 

Esse products are (in my opinion) some of the best natural products out there. Formulated under incredible minds, these products are creme de la creme.

Esse is USP certified organic, they use natural and organic ingredients as well as live probiotics, and is considered a cosmeceutical (because of the delivery system and how the ingredients penetrate the cellular membrane). No nonsense here guys…

Probiotics are for the skin, like water is for a thirsty soul! They protect, hydrate, improve barrier function, skin firmness, slow the rate of aging and detoxify. Esse’s philosophy includes providing skincare that is ethical and sustainable. They care about being carbon neutral, committed to the Fairtrade movement and are Phytrotrade Africa accredited which monitors plant diversity. Esse are also cruelty free, and vegan.


Have you heard of the Human Microbiome Project? Basically it will challenge everything you thought about healthy bacteria and (extreme) cleanliness, and how desperately our skin microbiome needs attention.

In 2013, the Human Microbiome Project concluded that “microbes contribute more genes essential for human survival than humans do”.

What is the Microbiome?

The Microbiome is the sum total of all the microbes in and on your body.

What is a Microbe? 

A Microbe is a single celled organism.

What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are beneficial microbes.

What is a Prebiotic?

Prebiotics are food sources for beneficial microbes. By giving them food, they proliferate and thrive thereby excluding the pathogenic (harmful) ones.

Microbes are essential for health. Esse treats the skin as an ecosystem, and every ingredient is carefully considered for its impact on the microbiome. Back in 2015, Esse launched their revolutionary Probiotic Serum. This serum contains 3 species of lactobacillus microbes. These probiotics are only activated on contact with water on the skin. They then seed the skin with billions of live probiotics which help to rectify imbalances in the skin as well as repair barrier function for a firmer, fuller and more radiant skin.

Sooooooo, back to where my experience came in… Peta gave me Esse’s Age Defy Facial (because I’m no spring chicken anymore guys, and well, my cross-face lines, they’re sinking in deep…).

The Age Defy Facial by Esse Organic Skincare:

  • It enhances preservation from probiotic and botanical actives, restores the skins vitality and promotes collagen and elastic formation (so, you see, those cross-lines are a goner).
  • It also boasts an advances skin smoothing mask with muscle relaxing properties.

A few things to note from the facial:

The Beta Hydroxy Exfoliation:

  • This is a light peel for getting skin back on track
  • Gently dissolves (Peta described this as little pac-man friends eating away at my old, dead skin and) the ‘cement’ that binds skin together.
  • It is very gentle. Not a ‘scrub-type’ exfoliation.

The Intensity Mask: 

  • This is a skin smoothing mask contains Marfane Extract – this is the crucial main ingredient. Considered as a natural alternative to botox (YES please!), it has a strong relaxing effect on muscles and takes 2hrs to activate.
  • It also gives an intense moisture boost.

We took before and after photos (but my phone died a slow and painful (for me) death and had to be wiped clean, l so I can’t show you the final result) but I dared to go out to do the school run with my naked face and felt amazing. It was soft and plump and healthy-looking. I will absolutely be back for another treatment!

I am constantly amazed at the current and on-going advancements in technology when it comes to organic skincare and how THIS is where significant discoveries are being made (such as the importance of our microbiome, keeping the skin of the pH accurate and feeding it, as opposed to scrubbing, smothering and simply ‘cleaning’ it).

Peta is a wealth of knowledge, (she clearly LOVES this stuff) and I’d highly encourage you contact her if you have ANY questions about any skin concerns. She has numerous facial options for those wanting age-defying, or a hydrating, or a intense facial treatment.

The Little Green Box has become such an obvious spot to stop for any skincare need, as well as for gifts and gift vouchers (ask my friends). Besides all this, vote with your money. Support small, ethical, local business. Always (okay, or as much as you can…)

Check out the full The Little Green Box Price List and don’t forget that Gift Vouchers and Spa Packages are also available. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates and more info.

Contact Details:

41 Meadow Way, Constantia Meadows.

Tel: 074 816 7794 (or whatsapp)
Email: littlegreenboxskincare@gmail.com
Web: www.greenboxskincare.co.za

The Little Green Box – Eco Skincare 

Monday to Friday: 08:30 – 16:00
Saturday: 08:30 – 13:00
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays

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.

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: What we’ve been eating…

All you faithful readers – you’re keeping me going this month. There is so much accountability and interest in this 3k challenge, I’m so inspired. And whether we make it or not – lessons have already been learnt which have been so good for me.

For eg: Yesterday I popped into Checkers (a spare minute away from my kids) and I did a quick price check on some regular items. Some were more expensive, some were less. Saffas reading this, Checkers confuses me. Either way – I left with milk sachets, ginger, lemon (my winter drink of choice/necessity) and Bovril (for R39.90 the cheapest I’ve seen it). Total spent at Checkers R93.77.

Here are some tips and trick and what I’ve been eating:

I’ve fed my sweet tooth with the (massive) block of fondant that has been sitting in the freezer for over 2 years. I kid you not. It was taking up room, and with no spare budget for chocolate, ice cream, cookie dough etc. this was it. I’m glad to not have to relocate it after each new frozen food shop.

The boys have not had cracker bread this month. A quick simple snack – but at R21+ a box. Not this month. Also the juice boxes we spoke of? None of that either.

I’m limiting us to 1 big bulk bag of coffee beans and 1 tub of hot chocolate per month. That way we need to ration it all. Self control.

All in all, I’m much less impulsive in my shopping. Much less. We are not living on bread and butter (quite yet), but because I really don’t know what the end of the month will look like, I question my needs vs. wants.

This past Friday was Market Day at my Good Food Club. As I arrived to fetch my goodies, I saw this: a special. It is hard for me to refuse a special.

Yes friends, this is TOP quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil at such a good price. And I refused. Because it would’ve been too much for the budget. See my self control?

Saturday we scored huge. After a crazy busy morning with play dates and builders, we dropped everything (in my brother-in-law’s hands) to attended my cousins funeral. Hubby and I had barely eaten all day, so grabbed a handful of post-memorial snacks. Hungry again and on our way home, our brother and sister-in-law invited us to the Spur. We don’t frequent the Spur, but they had promised their kids a Spur treat and (super generously) offered money towards our bill. (How amazing!) My first thought was “for suuuure!” and my second was “oh wait, this is going to eat in the budget hard“. Pondering the situation we found ourselves in, hubby kept telling me to – quote – “tell your readers, we’ll take it from the Building Budget”. Pah, as if there is a building budget. 

So, because I feel so committed to you all and this challenge my conclusion, “right, it has to come out the 3k budget”. I was prepared to take the hit. Hospitality, remember? Long story short, our super generous family covered the whole bill, so Saturday was covered. Mahala.

Tips and tricks: find old sugary treats to keep you going and hint at family members to take you out.


Breakfast: Good ol’ fashion Jungle Oats, with a splash of milk and drizzle of honey. I have 3.5 kg’s of honey from my Good Food Club (paid for by this months budget). Brea has fancy yoghurt with some fruit and I usually have 7 cups of coffee. Or 1 cup, heated 7 times.

Lunch: My girlfriend and I joke about deconstructed meals.”I had a deconstructed fruit salad” she’ll say – when she means she had an apple, pear and orange, for eg. Ha. So I usually take a handful of paleo friendly goodies to work. First prize is always leftover dinner, otherwise I’ll grab some boiled eggs, butternut and avo, apple, carrot and cucumber sticks, cherry toms, banana etc.

Boys lunches: Always, a sandwich, cut up apple and cheery tomatoes. Their snacks are either raisins, dried mango (when on sale at my GFC), dates, sometimes nuts, boiled eggs, cut up cucumber, fruit etc. And water. All fresh. No prepackaged snacks.

Afternoon snack: Anything I can find in the fridge, tea (and fondant). Often fruit.


  • We’ve made 2 massive batches of soup and frozen them in jars (I buy glass jars from Bonpak).
  • We’ve had cheese, tomato and basil (home grown) toasted sarmies.
  • We’ve had chicken and cheese quesadillas with homemade salsa.
  • I cooked 500g of mince and added almost anything I could think of to beef if up (carrots, mushrooms, peppers, 2 cans tomatoes, and lots of lentils). I also divided the mince into jars and have frozen them for quick meals.
  • We’ve had cous cous with chicken (1 chicken breast), butternut, mint, feta and toasted almonds.
  • We’ve had chicken sausage (Elgin) on roasted sweet potato and rosemary chips.
  • Last night we had the pre-cooked frozen mince over sweet pot mash. Yum.

Soup recipes here: Sweet Pot & Bacon Soup and Roasted Butternut and Rosemary. 

Here was my initial meal plan idea – before this challenge was official. Friday night is movie night in our house so, hence the popcorn.

And as we stand, I’ve spent R1171.93 (EXCLUDING my Good Food Club food which should come in at around R1000ish). So I’m sitting on just under R2200.

How you doing? 🙂

R3000 Challenge: Where we shop, and how… kinda

You’re back! Nice to have you here… if you missed the intro, you can read it here.

Let’s start off with a few general thoughts. Follow me will you? These will come through again and again as we tiptoe through this month on our teeny tiny budget.

Firstly: I LOVE food! I LOOOOOOVE goood food; the flavours, textures and how communal it is. How creative it is, how delicate and bold, how it can inspire, fuel, satisfy and be enjoyed in so many ways. So this is exceptional and intentional and not long term. It’s intended to open our eyes and have us think a little more about our usual grocery-buying habits. Here we go…

I think, in general, we can eat less. Eat when hungry, and not spontaneously. I shop the sales, ALWAYS, esp at Woolies. I try not buy more than we need (something I put into practice intentionally today as I’m so often loading my trolley with 5 cans of tomatoes when I could easily do with only 2 or 3, or say 6 slabs of chocolate when I only need, well… less than that). The less you have the less you consume. Choose your purchases well, and buy different goods at different shops. It’s a pain I know, but if I can do it with 3 small kids, so can you. Food is very often a ‘you get what you pay for’ situation – so keep that in mind. Sometimes paying more for something is necessary and important, sometimes not.

Let me share how we usually do things around here. I generally shop at my local Good Food Club, Pick n Pay, Woolies, and our Elgin Free Range Chicken store.

I start the month at my Good Food Club: (Sorry, I know you don’t all have a Good Food Club – it’s buying direct from the farmer. Often cheaper-ish, sometimes not, but the quality of the food is way up there.)

Here I get 2 large trays of free range eggs, and hormone free cheese, butter and yoghurt. I usually buy dates and raisins (kid snacks), meat, olive oil, wine (but not this month!), honey, natural nut butters, bio wheat flour and some household goodies such as eco washing power/dishwashing liquid etc.

Next I shop at PnP for things such as:

Bread (for kids lunchboxes; hubby makes our own bread with the bio flour from our GFC), milk (usually in sachets unless the bottles are on special). Things such as some fruit and veg (see Woolies list below), wraps, cans of tomatoes and tomatoes paste, sauces, sandwich spreads, balsamic vinegar, spices, oats (our designated winter breakfast), and usually chocolates and treats (but not this month!) etc.

Then I hit up Woolies:

I’ve actually found that many Woolworths items (BARRING their pre-made, deli or specialty foods) are cheaper than PnP (and Checkers). At Woolies I buy almost all their specials – ALWAYS cherry tomatoes (my kids eat them like sweets) and apples (I can’t handle bruised floury ones I usually end up with from PnP). I get the lettuce packs (unless my garden is thriving) and COFFEE BEANS. I always buy the silver Organic bag – but alas, the budget is calling me toward the dark roast Italian beans at R40 less. The yoghurt tubs are often buy 3 for price of 2 and I prefer their yoghurt to PnP. At Woolies I buy the 4 huge bags of vegetables for R125 deal. I know PnP is cheaper but I can’t find large bags of sweet potatoes at PnP for the same deal. So I usually buy 2 x huge bags of sweet pot and 2 x huge bags of butternut – those are my BASE STARCHY VEGETABLES for most meals.

Elgin Free Range Chicken: I buy chicken breasts, whole chickens and their chicken sausage. It’s cheap.

A couple guidelines to our month of cheap. There are certain things I CAN NOT live without/will not compromise on:

Decent coffee beans, hormone free meats (for the most part), free range eggs, real butter, apples from Woolworths and avocados.

Restrictions: This month I have HAD to cut out chocolate/snacks (hubby and I LOOOVE chocolate), and… wine. I know. Sigh. Wine and chocolate will only appear should I have leftover cash (I’m not holding my breath).

We are also NOT eating out, or getting take out (unless it’s genuinely cheaper than cooking something). If you track spontaneous buying, you’ll be amazed at how much food is bought spontaneously. No coffees or nibbles on the go. Thanks to Discovery, I’ll still be able to grab a weekly Vida or Kauai – mahala.

Baking this month will be considered a luxury. Baking uses a ton of butter which is expensive, and all sorts of deliciousness which adds up FAST. But let’s remember, we’re not on diet, we’re saving money. And by not baking, my body will thank me later.

Hospitality Clause: There is always a hospitality clause. Hospitality always trumps a diet/budget/restrictions. People matter more.

Drinks: We don’t ever drink carbonated bevvies, unless it’s tonic for gin or Appletizer on special occasions. We are water, coffee (GOOD COFFEE) and wine people. Sometimes tea. The only time I buy juice is when I buy box juices for picnics or outings with the kids. Sorry kids – it’s water this month.

With no wine this month, cheaper coffee beans and water from the Newlands Brewery Spring means I’ve already saved around R550. Boom.

Next post: what we’re ACTUALLY eating…

How I’m keeping our grocery budget to R3000 this month. 

Anyone else feeling slightly nauseous at the prices of groceries recently? I get that I’m now buying for a (solid food eating) family of 5, but it seems like every trip to the shops seems to deplete my bank account more than it should, and it’s significant. And I know others feel the same.

We recently had veeeeery dear friends visiting us from Vancouver. Despite paying for 4 doctors appointments and numerous meds in 6 days the week prior, we decided that we’d enjoy the holiday and have fun and not be scared off by our growing credit card bill. We’d also endured a car break in (in hubby’s car), the need for new brakes on my car, new glasses for our son, and random renovation payments. But whatevs. We were going to have fun. Oh, and FUN we did! I’m sure I’ll blog alllll about it another time. Cape Town is spectacular.

Right, so on Sunday evening through tears we bid our friends farewell. Our time together had deeply satisfied our hearts, our minds, our emotions, certainly our stomachs, and most definitely the ones reaping benefits from the interest we pay on our Discovery Card.

And so, in the spirit of FUN, and not despair (this is important) we decided that we needed to replenish the available funds and be HARDCORE about it. So I set myself the most ridiculous challenge of keeping our food budget this month to R3000. We’re only allowed to spend R3000 on food this month. Can we do it? When I shared my new challenge with my girlfriends, one actually texted back “that’s impossible”. Maybe it is, we’ll soon see.

Before anyone throws any eye-rolling judgemental glances my way – I have a few DISCLAIMERS:

1) This does not include the existing food I have in my house (although I assure you there wasn’t heaps – if I did it would defeat the point).

2) While I will do my best not to deplete EVERYTHING in my pantry before 1 July, I do want to rummage through and use things that have been there a while. Use up before buying new.

3) This is not an exact science or mathematical formulae on how much each meal costs. I have given myself a R3k limit, but obviously, as with most lessons we teach ourselves, it’s more about opening our eyes to how we do things (in auto pilot) and then rethinking them…

4) Since we eat mostly paleo, we will have to be reaaaaally flexible when it comes to what we eat. Some nights very well might be bread and butter (not margarine, NEVER margarine).

5) I know that for some, R3000 for food alone can seem like a LUXURY. Budgets and money are sensitive topics – but most people in my demographic easily spend more than double that on food. Again, it’s bringing into question numerous thoughts and ways of doing things which deserve attention from time to time.

Let’s get into it, in the post to follow. This is not a bait-and-switch, I just know the most people don’t like to read long posts… so keep your eyes peeled for the next installment.

Join me! This will be fun.

Living Close to the Ground

So yes, I often splurge my dreams out on this blog about moving to Galiano Island and roasting our own coffee beans, running along the shoreline, slowing right down to a snails pace and pulling homegrown veggies out of the ground – and throwing it straight onto my plate. That whole farm-to-table idea of thinking. Foodscaping. Heard of it?

So recently I invited my friend and ex-colleague Lyle from Grow Forward to come help us get a grip on growing our own food. Hubby bought some pallets, with the idea of making raised planter boxes. We LOVE handy hubby. And oh.my.goodness! I haven’t been so inspired in a long time (I’m sleep deprived and heavily relied upon to change nappies/find lunch boxes/discard of rotten food/read books/build puzzles/rock baby to sleep/negotiate dinner eating etc. and so you can see where I might’ve lacked inspiration). Lyle is the epitome (the EP-IT-OME) of someone who has found their calling in life. He is passionate, knowledgeable and full-on inspiring. Invite him into your home (garden) and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

We made an early evening appointment at our house (so hubby and my mom – the one who we hope to manage the ‘home-farm’ – were present). Lyle arrived, gloves in hand and not scared to get his hands dirty – literally. He took a look around, and heard our pleas. We spoke about what we envisaged; our hopes, our ideal crop, dining choices and aesthetic preferences and what we want to a) save money by growing ourselves and b) what we won’t completely stuff up trying to grow ourselves. Lyle gave us amazing new ideas, really helpful tips, practical suggestions, and looked around thinking through what we could already use and how to get going, one step at a time. What I loved was that it did not involve us outlaying a small fortune to get going. It was using what we had, and taking it one step further.

I was sooooooooooo, soooooooooo inspired.

Look at what we (when I say we, you all know I’m talking of the hub) have been doing…

Keen? Of course you are!

There are basically two different ways you can do this with Grow Forward.

We went the Home Food Coaching route because, well, we want to try get our kids involved (something Grow Forward wholeheartedly believes in) and we’re keen to get our hands dirty. Sure, let’s be honest, I’m already trying to keep multiple small lives alive around here, and so if I had the money and no room for error, I’d get Lyle to do it all. But how great to have our kids grow up in a home, where we EAT what our garden produces.

Only 2 days after our meeting, I received our consulting notes from Lyle, with everything we had discussed, and lots of tips, suggestions, pictures, research and a plan as to how to g(r)o(w) forward.

This is brilliant. Who doesn’t want to pull organic, homegrown food from their garden? But for most of us, all with great intention, we don’t have the time to research, plan, build and grow ourselves. We just need someone who understands the ecosystem of a healthy garden to pop their head in and give us some instruction. Lyle is that person.

You can contact Lyle on: info@growforward.co.za or follow him on facebook or Instagram.

Because you O’s must know…

I’m not quite sure what we did to gain such outrageously awesome community. Across the world, we’ve found the most insanely hip, trendy, huge-hearted, thoughtful and good looking (you know it) people who somehow, we managed to convince to love us and be friends with us. It’s a mystery.

Anyhoo, so, you o’s must know how RAD our people can be. Besides everyday friends who are worth more than their weight in gold, last night, as hubby and I went out to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary (that’s a whoooole ‘nother blog post coming soon), we had two friends (#friendswhoarefamily), just float in, take over all evening and nighttime/nightmare-time kid chores and crashed for the night in our spare room (spare room, play room, same thing…) and this morning we all woke up, drank coffee, made pancakes and spoke about deep stuff.

Which then caused me to be late for my next session of overwhelmingly generous friends who started the Whats App group ‘Debbie’s Freedom’ after a few venting sessions about life with 3 kids. They’d arranged to meet at the good old Scratch Patch at the Waterfront, where they were ready and rearing to take on my two boys, with tickets paid for and in hand, to give me some peace. I MEAN. Plan ‘take the boys‘ went slightly awry when poor Ryler fell fast asleep pre-scratch patch play (and you don’t e.v.e.r wake a sleeping wannabe-dinosaur), and so I slowly moseyed around the Waterfront with my youngest two, fast asleep, in the double stroller (with freshly pumped up wheels – WIN) where I managed to meander shops, post a card which had been in my bag for 6 weeks, grab a smoothie and even did a little Christmas shopping.

All this while Clay was rummaging through stones with one of his fave little friends, and eating ice cream, after which he even scored a bonus trip to Reptile World (which was not on the days agenda, but generous friends are like that).

Truth be told, it may never happen again: by the end of it, there was melted ice cream, crying, deflated balloons, a sulky child who had had so much fun why couldn’t he go on the big wheel?, a few collisions with strollers and strangers’ feet, a waking and hungry baby, and a super tired toddler who had fallen off the front of the stroller because I forgot he had perched there (my bad)… but those friends, THOSE FRIENDS.


Who is your Village? If you don’t have one, build one. If you do have one, call them up right now and tell you love them. Because, these people. Wow. This is the same crew who brought us cooked suppers when Brea was born, who surround me on girls nights and make me laugh about how nutso life can be, and who are always on the other side of whats app, be it for advice on parenting and marriage, how to get wine out of a carpet, how we should think about #feesmustfall or the most recent droughts, which books to read and how to make homemade deodorant.

Those people. Your people. Generous people. People who think just a little further than themselves, to the other. Let’s be inspired to be like them.

Thanks my people.

How we’re kicking ass at saving water…

So while pouring a bucket of water collected from our shower into our toilet cistern, hubby turns to me and says “I’m really proud of how much we’re thinking about this water thing”… Pat on the back KF’s.

We’ve taken the most recent water restrictions seriously. Lank seriously. Inspired by a post written by blogger Blessed Barrenness, and the post I wrote here when given 10L of water to use a day, I’ve been thinking a LOT more about how ignorant I’ve been to the ease of clean water however and whenever I want it, and how my thinking about all this needs to change, permanently. Ask my 4 year old about water availability – he’ll tell you all about our dam levels.


Sure, we want to spend less money on water and not pay the hefty fee hike if we dare tiptoe above our threshold, but more-so, we want to play our part. It’s a bit like when you have a group project at school and that one slacker gets off scott-free, and all the other hard working students are irritated (and rightly frustrated). Let’s not be that lazy kid guys – let’s be better than that.

I like a challenge. Why else do you think I have 3 kids? But really, I do like a challenge, and now I have this internal competition with myself to see how little water I can use. It started off with collecting the initial cold (will-soon-turn-warm) shower water in a bucket and emptying it into our water dispenser in our fridge. It filled a 4.5L water dispenser. WHAT! Challenge accep-ted! (I’ve also been known to collect the water pooling at the bottom of the shower with my empty hands, to fill the bucket now living in our shower, ready for my next toilet flush. I told you. The challenge is on.)


So here’s what we have been, and what we are currently, doing… (armed with our borehole – to be used on stipulated days – as well as our grey water systems my handy hubby has recently installed)…

If it’s yellow let it mellow! If it’s brown flush it down: Yes I know, I’m having flash backs of my mission trip to Mozambique in 2006, and it can be super gross, but really. As soon as the toilet starts to reek like the public toilets on St. James Beach I grab that bucket and give it a gooooood flush. And then use a natural bathroom spray.

Bathing the kids: As much as I’d love to ignore bath time, and have any excuse to skip it and throw my kids straight into bed, they need a bath. Like need. I feel like I’m already constantly running after them with wet wipes in hand. So, we fill the bath with a minimal amount of water, wash wash wash, and out you get. We have taught the kids to then use their beach buckets to scoop up and throw the water on the grass. We’re teaching them to be water wise, and that somethings can be used twice.

Washing kids clothes: Do you ever just find so many clothes on the floor you scoop them up in an exhausted huff and throw them in the wash basket? Well I do, and actually, quite often, those clothes are not dirty. I’ve become more military about checking these clothes and I fold and put back those which don’t actually need a wash.

Showing: We have a new showering buddy. Our bucket. We fill it with that initial cold shower water, and then sit it on the shower floor and have it lap up the shower spray while we are showering. If I wash my hair, I intentionally ring out my wet hair into the bucket – try it – you will be AMAZED (and equally horrified) how much water it collects.


Be intentional about cleaning/shampooing/teeth brushing: Turn off the water when soaping up, washing your hair or brushing your teeth. This clean drinking water does not fall from the sky. Okay, it does. But supply and demand guys. Supply and demand.

Use the ‘short cycle’ on your washing machine and the ‘eco’ setting on your dishwasher. I also, put my biggest tupperware in our kitchen sink and let it collect the used water when I’m washing fruit or veggies or rinsing something. When it fills, I take it out to the garden.

Fix leaky taps and don’t fill your pool (if you have one). I’m so addicted to water saving, when I find drinking glasses upon drinking glasses holding sips of water next to hubby’s side of the bed (or school water bottles), they are emptied onto our indoor pot plants, my hanging fennel or my 4th child, my hand-reared lemon tree. We genuinely try not throw a drop down a pipe that won’t land up somewhere beneficial.

Get a borehole for your garden, and install some grey-water systems.

What have I missed? Join in the challenge… and watch your wallet, and your country, benefit.

Having your questions answered…

I had a moment of panic a while back about what this birth and post-birth will actually look like. How would I birth? Who would be there? Does the hospital (where I plan to birth) have birthing pools/baths? Would they take my baby away after the birth (there are no nurseries in Vancouver and so bub doesn’t leave your side)? Would they allow delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin? All these things have become increasingly important to me over the last few years.

I wrote a post here called 5 Things to Think Through before you Give Birth and these are the kinds of things I’m now having to question in a new environment. What if the sleep deprived new mom behind the curtain in my shared room gives me the hairy eyeball if my bub won’t stop screaming and I won’t let her go to the nursery? I guess time will have to tell on that one. Wish me luck.


No matter if you’re seeing a gynae, an OB, a midwife or a tree-hugging, placenta-encapsulating hypnotherapist regarding your pregnancy and birth, having your questions answered is vital. Being reassured and confident going into the latter part of your pregnancy is so important for a smooth(er) birth. No matter if you’ve chosen a cesarean birth, a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) or to go natural, having more information means feeling more empowered, and in the state of the crazy/uncertain/unknown that childbirth brings, we sure need it!

Here is a short list of questions I recently took to my midwife, and yup, I’m a little OCD and I write them down on paper (spontaneously as I think of them in the 4 weeks between my appointments) and don’t leave until I’ve settled my angst surrounding them: (I really recommend writing down questions so you don’t forget to ask them)

  • It is standard to take the baby away to the nursery post birth?
  • What is the relationship (and plan of action) between hospital/back up gynae and midwives?
  • Is there a pool at the hospital to birth in?
  • What is the fee for a private room, or how many usually share a room?
  • Can we ensure delayed cord clamping is part of my birth plan?
  • Where can I find a WOMBS doula-in-training? (I thought maybe helping a doula in training for this birth might be a good way to give back)
  • What is their post birth policy (how long does my birth team stay, how long do I stay in the birth room and then the recovery room)?
  • Talk to me about hypnobirthing… and do you encourage it?
  • At what point in a third pregnancy should bubs settle in head down (I’m just thinking ahead regarding baby’s position). You can read here about Belly Mapping (courtesy of Spinning Babies), regarding understanding and feeling your babies’ position in the latter part of your pregnancy – so not quite yet for me…

Other questions you might haveparticularly if this is your first birth:

  • Can you suggest some antenatal classes?
  • How long should I keep active and continue exercising?
  • Any dietary/supplementary recommendations (other than what I’m already taking)
  • (If you are thinking of going the natural route): What is the role of a doula? Can you explain to me the usefulness of a Birth Plan? Different forms of natural pain relief? (Get your head around this one early ladies!)
  • What medication is safe to take if I get a cold/the flu this winter?
  • How often is appropriate to ask your partner to rub your feet (on average, per week)?
  • (…and a million others you might have)…

While I will NEVER offer medical advice (I am certainly not a medical professional, I’m less qualified than Doc McStuffins), I’d love to hear your questions and possibly point you in the right direction if at all possible.

Here were my takeaway’s:

  • No one is going to take my baby away from me immediately following the birth (unless there is a medical emergency and it is necessary). Relief.
  • Bubs can stay with me at all times post birth (no nursery, unless of course it is needed or requested).
  • Pool, doula, delayed cord clamping, hypnobirthing… YES!
  • Eat more iron (coupled with Vit C for absorption), pop some probiotics, drink more fluids. CHECK.
  • It’s a good idea to go on a tour of the hospital/birth center you’re planning to birth in. The tension/adjustment to an unknown environment can halt a progressing labour. Give them a call and book an appointment.

Phew, that’s enough for my to-do list for now. It’s great having you along for the ride.

Until next time xxx

Featured image credit: Evidence Based Birth Blog.