We will be moving…

Watch this space

Good Morning Lovelies,

As most of my readers are aware I recently ventured into the Small Business world. In saying this I have definitely neglected my blog for a while, due to no time, no energy and no inspiration.

This being said I have decided to merge my babies, What Happened to my Body and Love Made Me.

So watch this space, soon I will be launching my website and if you’re still keen on reading what I have to say then you can follow me there.

Till later

LT

Supporting Momtrepreneurs : Meet Ella from Just Ella Bella

I first heard about Ella on one of the SA Mom Blog Facebook pages and immediately popped over to her blog to read a bit more about her story, I spent hours reading through her posts on Child loss and her son Logan. And then one day she reached out to me after reading one of my posts and asked me to feature in her WAHM Series.

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I am always taken a back when someone asks to feature me, I mean really, who am I? This will never change, even small things like people commenting and liking my posts makes me smile from ear to ear.

  • So tell us a bit about yourself, who you are, your background?

I’m a journalist who has ventured into newspaper design and layout and am trying to turn my hobby of making things into a kid’s accessories business called Oh!Boy kids

  • Do you have any kids? Be biased and tell us how awesome they are.

This is always a bit of a loaded question for me, I’m a mother of two, but one, Logan, is with God, the other, Aidan, is giving me grey hair. He is 2 and a half but is such an old soul that I find myself arguing with a toddler way more than is considered normal. He plays air guitar while belting out twinkle little star and has been known to try and bargain with me “three last ones please” and makes my heart so happy.

  • How, when and why did you start your small business?

Earlier this year, just after my 30th birthday, I resigned from my job as a reporter and decided to change my life. I love making things for my son and have had requests for some of his items so I thought why not branch out. I believe girls are much more spoilt for choice when it comes to accessories so wanted to do something “for the boys” but also found that girl moms are quite eager to order so I do make pink and pretty from time to time. I now work in layout three days a week and spend the other two creating things for my online store.

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  • Starting a business has its rewards. What has been one of the highlights of venturing out on your own.

Every time a mom sends me a pic of their child enjoying something I made, I could just burst with pride, it makes the late nights worth it.

  • When doing new designs, what do you look for. Comfortability, affordability, latest trends? Where does the inspiration stem from?

I have a toddler son and my sister has a 6 month old boy, along with all the other little people in my life, they are my inspiration. I make things I feel they could do with. So far its kid’s accessories like bibs and snoods along with busy bags (stylish toys you can take along to keep kiddo busy) and I’m now venturing into more practical items like storage bags and reusable lunch bags (in time for Christmas). I also have people making special requests and love a challenge.

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  • Can one only order via the catalogue you have available on Facebook or do you do custom orders too?

I have an online store Oh!Boy Kids but most of my things are custom orders, and I love that, I hate making too much of the same thing and prefer small batch items.

  • What are some of the challenges you have experienced with starting a small business (be it time, suppliers, huge orders etc.)?

I used to have a problem with saying no and have taken on way too many orders at one time. I have learnt my lesson though and realised my clients are not unreasonable so everything doesn’t have to be done right this second.

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  • Any upcoming markets or events we can come and support you at?

None yet but watch this space

  • Where can one find your awesome products?

Through www.ohboykids.co.za through www.facebook.com/ohboykids and through my blog www.justellabella.co.za

  • Care to share a piece of advice with other aspiring small business owners

Do what you love, the rest will fall into place

The time we ran away from the kids

Its been exactly a week since our 2 day getaway and I’m still living on cloud 9!

To celebrate our Anniversary (24 September) and my Birthday (25 September) we were gifted with a stay at Mofam River Lodge and it was amazing.

Carl and I haven’t really ever gone away alone except for our Honeymoon which was 4 years ago, and since having Josh join our little family there just hasn’t been time or energy to plan something like this.

When you have kids, its just so easy to let the “US” time move to the bottom of the priority list or fall away completely.

BUT let me tell you, after this breakaway, this is definitely something I want to do more of.

For so long, I’ve wanted to do a romantic weekend away with my Hubby (who doesn’t) but when I get around to checking out places and comparing prices the Mommy Guilt kicks in and I set it aside for another time (like when the boys are older, or when Josh is off the breast, or during school holidays or or and and and). So this was definitely a welcomed and appreciated surprise when we were told by my Mom that she had made all the arrangements and there was no turning back.

(Side note, Mom if I haven’t said it enough, Thank you so much for all you do and for the best gift ever)

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Situated on the shores of the Palmiet River, Mofam River Lodge is the perfect laidback, luxury getaway. You’ll find them deep in the Overberg’s Elgin Valley where the natural backdrop is unrelentingly beautiful.

Mofam River Lodge

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Our comfortable four-star bed and breakfast chalets provide sweeping mountain and river views. We make every effort to ensure your stay with us is as comfortable as possible. This includes super-comfortable mattresses, cotton linen, and good quality pillows so that you wake up fully rested.

Accomodation

11 Standard Chalets, 2 Family Chalets and 2 Self Catering Units

Family friendly chalet Our Chalet Self Catering Self Catering Chalet Standard Chalet

The drive there was so chilled, I think we were both so excited to be child-free for the next 48 hrs. I felt young and inlove again, I know its so silly.

Mofam is an outdoor adventure paradise for couples and families seeking a glitz-free yet creature-comfort holiday or mini break. Our friendly staff is on hand to serve up all manner of exhilarating on water activities. These include everything from water skiing, wakeboarding, bass fishing and canoeing to sunset river barge cruises.

We arrived early, a bit overexcited only to find out our room wasn’t ready as yet. This worked out perfectly because it meant we could have a nice rustig anniversary lunch at Peregrine Farm Stall.

Peregrine Farmstall inside

If you ever head out that side, this is definitely a MUST experience. The food, the vibe, the staff are all exceptionally friendly and great. We loved it so much we went back the next day for breakfast.

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Established in the sixties, Peregrine has been serving generations of travelers seeking honest homemade fare and warm country hospitality. Situated in the beautiful and fertile Elgin Valley, Peregrine offers an abundance of locally sourced artisanal goods and wholesome, responsibly farmed, fresh produce.

Café

The seasonal menu is a result of the close collaboration of local farmers, artisan chefs, and the demands of our discerning customers. The focus is on café style casual dining in a relaxed but stylish venue, and for those wanting a quick bite for the journey, there is a selection of wholesome and healthy ready-to-eat meals too. Peregrine pies enjoy legendary status, with perfect pastry and generous fillings.

Peregrine Cafe Outside Seating

Bakery

Skilled bakers rise at dawn to continue the age old tradition of carefully crafted breads, pies and pastries. We only use locally sourced unbleached stone ground flour and our own natural yeast starter in our artisanal breads. They are allowed to ferment naturally and slowly before being baked in our wood fired oven.

Peregrine Bakery

Peregrine fresh baked goods

farm stall

The shop showcases a variety of locally farmed and produced goods, from artisanal foods, fynbos honey to fresh cold-pressed juices and champagne style apple cider. The aroma of Peregrine’s variety of freshly baked goods fills the air and teases the senses. The wine shop stocks all the region’s top wines and ciders, as well as a growing selection of craft beer.

Once back at Mofam we settled in nicely and took an afternoon nap (yes we’re that old) in the loungers overlooking the river. It was pure bliss.

There’s just something special about this place, perhaps its being in the thick of nature or the fact that there’s little to no cellphone reception and NO TV’s in the rooms which allows you to completely relax. Whatever it was, it worked and I found the conversation and alone time so much more enjoyable.

Later the evening we made our way to the onsite restaurant for a well deserved anniversary dinner, however I was still stuffed from my AMAZING lunch that I only managed to have a toasted chicken sandwich (such a loser).

Flavours onsite restaurant lures guests with our hearty food, comfortable lodgings and incredible vistas. We’re open Tuesday to Sunday for lodge guests, locals and out of town visitors. Where possible, ingredients are sourced locally to make up an A La Carte and children’s menu to suit various palates. Flavours comfortably seats 60 people indoors with additional space on the terrace overlooking the river. Fully licensed, guests can enjoy a pre or after dinner drink at the restaurant wine bar. Be sure to sample from our superb Elgin Valley cool climate wine list.

The food was great, the view was amazing and although there was no water at the restaurant (as they were doing some maintenance) and we couldn’t have a nice coffee everything else was GREAT!

We absolutely cannot wait to go back!

Some of the Activities you can participate in while enjoying the breathtaking views at Mofam are

  • Waterskiing
  • Large Mouth Bass Fishing (Catch and release only)
  • Canoeing
  • River Cruising
  • Hiking
  • Quad biking
  • Taking a chilled walk through the Labyrinth

Parting words…. Go and have a romantic weekend away with your significant other, it will do your relationship the world of good!

Contact Mofam River Lodge

Tel: +27 21 846 8345
Fax: +27 86 295 0084
Email: info@mofam.co.za
GPS S34°13.709min
E18°159.292min
Skype mofam.reception
+27 21 813 6845

Promoting Momtrepreneurs : Meet Lehani, the Mom behind Dandy Lion

Well hello there stranger!

As you may or may not have noticed I’ve taken a bit of a breather with my blogging.

For one thing, I blog for me and sure if theres someone who can relate to the situation / or chapter of my life I’m currently in or can learn from it the thats an added bonus.

As some know, I’ve recently launched into the big wide world of small businesses and its been challenging, fun, stressful and more fun!

I definitely have a passion for small businesses, supporting local and supporting Mom owned businesses.

This week I’d like you guys to show some love to Lehani. Founder and owner of Dandy Lion, boasting a whopping 2400+ Facebook followers and counting.

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So tell us a bit about yourself, who you are, your background?

Sjoe I always get a bit flustered when I have to tell people about myself. But here it goes…

I’m a wife and a mom to a beautiful girl of 5 years old. I love anything DIY and handmade. There is just something so special about something that is handmade. I am a creative by heart and love playing around with new ideas and designs, this consumes my thoughts when I need to go to sleep. I studied Fashion design at Elizabeth Galloway in Stellenbosch and this is where my love for design and sewing just grew, I then did styling  and Visual Merchandising and the decided to take a leap of faith and start a baby brand. And that is how Dandy Lion was born!

2. Do you have any kids? Be biased and tell us how awesome they are.

I have a beautiful daughter called Lila. She is my fitting model and inspiration!
(Super modest Momma Bear)

3. How, when and why did you start Dandy Lion

Having a baby of my own I always swooned over baby items you could get internationally. But I could never find items in South Africa that was not full of cartoons and that was not made in China. Don’t get me wrong my daughter still loves her cartoon items. But I just wanted to bring something different to the market. I’m also a firm believer of buying local and creating jobs in South Africa that is why all our items are manufactured in South Africa.

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Last year the opportunity came along for me to pursue my business on a fulltime basis and as I have mentioned it was a case of prayer and taking that leap of faith.  This was quite daunting, moving away from the corporate world but I just knew it had to happen then or never.

And today I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity to have my own business. How does that quote go:

”If you do what you love you will never have to work a day in your life” Marc Anthony.

I have been blessed with parents, friends and a husband who’s support I had from day one and that makes taking the leap of faith much easier.

And now I’m living my dream!

4. Starting a business has its fair share of challenges but also great rewards. What has been one of the highlightsof venturing out on your own. Care to share a piece of advice with other aspiring small business owners.

My biggest highlight has been to be a part of Kamersvolgeskenke (what a amazing experience it has been every time).

We will be exhibiting for our second year at Kamers after officially launching Dandy Lion at Kamers last year.

Having your own business is never just sunshine and roses. But believe me you reap the biggest joy and that over shadows any bump in the road.

So my advice will be to believe in your dreams but also to have realistic dream and if you are still excited about your dream. Then put your whole heart into it and don’t look back.

5. When doing new designs, what do you look for. Comfortability, affordability, latest trends? Where does the inspiration stem from?

I am Pinterest obsessed and I love following international trends. (YAY I found another one)

When doing new designs I keep my clients in mind and I try and keep comfort, affordability as well as the latest trends in mind.  All our clothing is 100% cotton. I sometimes have a client looking for something and before I know they will be my inspiration and it will become part of my range. So clients input and what they are looking for also play a big role in how I go about designing. Mostly it will be items that they have seen internationally and can’t find in SA.

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6. Can one only order via the catalogue you have available on Facebook or do you do custom orders too?

I am currently looking in to an online store. But I have just been too busy designing our new range. But at the moment I sell from Facebook and via catalogue. And a few other online stores and local Boutiques.

Custom orders are always welcome.

As all our items are handmade, so any item can be custom made to a clients request.

7. Any upcoming markets we can come and support you at?

Yes I have a few VERY exciting markets coming up, Kamersvolgeskenke Hermanus 24-27 September, Lilliput Market on the 3 October, Affair on the Hills 24-25 October, Kamersvolgeskenke Stellenbosch 27 October- 1 November.

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Thanks Lehani!

For more info hop on over to Facebook and show Lehani some LOVE!

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My custom bunny beanie for Josh made by the awesome Dandy Lion Momma!

Getting crafty with Surpriso

There’s nothing that brings more joy to my overly active boys lives than a new arts and craft project.

So when I was approached by Surpriso to test out one of their boxes I jumped at the opportunity.

For once I didn’t have to do the research, all the planning and get the supplies. I love it but life has been somewhat busy in the Thomas home lately and time was not something I’ve had much of.

Enter Surpriso

Surpriso

is a monthly arts and crafts subscription box delivered to your door with all the materials and step by step instructions, for kids to build, make, and develop their confidence.

The crafts are for children aged 5-8 but we guarantee that it will be fun for the whole family to get involved!

The theme for the box we received was “Under The Sea” and the boys had a blast over the long weekend doing all the crafts.

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The great thing is that all you need to complete the activities are included in the box (except a scissor), and you receive user friendly instructions on how to do everything. Perfect for little minds to grasp.

What you’ll find in your box

Do it yourself arts & crafts activities delivered monthly (each month has a new theme)
Each box contains 3-5 age appropriate craft activities
Safe and non-toxic materials

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The box is definitely geared at older kids but Josh did what he could and thoroughly enjoyed himself (once bored he then painted on the couch and floor, thank goodness its washable paint).

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Danny was utterly chuffed with himself and everything he created.

How to get your hands on a Surpriso box

There are 5 options available:

1 Month subscription – R199
1 Month subscription for siblings – R339 (15% discount), enough materials for both kids!
Gift Box – R220 (beautifully wrapped ready to go – the perfect gift for a kid’s birthday)
3 Month subscription – R570 (sign up for 3 months and receive a 5% discount)
3 Month Sibling subscription – R999 (3 months sibling box and receive a 15% discount

All options include FREE delivery to all major centres across South Africa (boxes to outer areas will be sent via the post office).

To order yours click HERE or feel free to send an email to info@surpriso.co.za

Happy Crafting

LT

Currently

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Feeling and Loving

Can I be a Drama Queen for a moment and moan about my aching lower back, no, well I didn’t think so. Moms can never be sick, we have too many people depending on us. This is something all Moms know and all soon to be Moms and new Moms will learn.

Other than that, I’m feeling grateful. Grateful for my job, grateful for the positive environment I’m in (I loved my previous job but it was a struggle every day, to get up, to be happy and cheerful to give my all when I literally had no more of me left to give) and being able to just focus and get on with my day, the only thing missing is the people. I met and made some amazing connections and those are the faces I miss.

I’m grateful for having healthy kids, apart from the odd cold and little bit of snottyness, they’ve had a good winter. Thank you JC for keeping your hand over them! They’re thriving at school, they’re growing nicely, and their ability to learn just amazes me. They may be a handful and challenge me at every turn and give me wrinkles before my time, but I will wear them proudly. I simply adore being their Momma, in the good times and in the trying times.

I’m grateful for my Husband, I’m no doubt his biggest supporter (also probably his biggest critic) and over the last few months he’s helped me with so much. From taking over the morning routine so I can leave for work at 06:30am to washing the bottles while the boys have breakfast (yes I do notice my Love), it’s the small things that speak the loudest to me. Thank you for being my rock, my sense of balance, my guide and the Head of our Home. Whoop whoop its almost your birthday Old Boy. So happy I get to spend another birthday with you.

Doing

Last weekend we attempted another canvas painting session. It took me longer to put makeshift aprons on the boys, lay down the floor covering, pack out the paint than it took those 2 to tear through their task. I think it was 7min to be exact and the gorgeous Pinterest inspired vision I had ended up being a 1.5m long brown stain, lol. Carl think it looks cool, I feel like a monkey wiped its bum all over the canvas.

So this weekend I’ll be entertaining them with the Surpriso box I recently received. I love that someone else has gone through the effort of creating wonderful activities for my kids to do this weekend. All I need to do is guide them. Cannot wait to see the results, post will follow next week.

Other than that, on Sunday my Princess Bella is having her baby blessing so we’ll be famdamilying with the siblings and Papa. I feel like I have the coolest family in the world! Side note, my baby Sis was by us last night and I got schooled on how to be more cool. Lol (Apparently I’m Instagramming too much and my filters are terrible, this was then followed by a Selfie shoot with my sister and a detailed lecture of VSCO Cam).

Making

Need to get my bake on this weekend, I have not baked anything for my family in forever. So in preparation for the upcoming birthdays (we have 4 in August and 2 in September) I thought I’d make something this weekend. I’m thinking cupcakes should do and for me, date and cranberry muffins. Yum!

Trying

Completely not family related, but trying out the Benefit Porefessional and yes its good and nice and all those great things but it doesn’t do as an amazing job with my pores like I thought it would. I’m a tiny bit of a makeup addict, which was NEVER me. My makeup routine pre kids consisted of, washing my face, applying moisturiser and ending it all off with labello (for years, I kid you not). Post kids, I need to conceal very very dark under eye circles (that have probably been around for 6 years) followed by a whole bunch of other things.

Planning

2 posts for next week, one of which will be our review of the Surpriso box and another is a lovely Momtrepreneur I stumbled upon recently from Dandy Lion.

The months of August and September in our home mean 3 out of the 4 people are celebrating birthdays. I absolutely love hosting birthday parties. Last year Carl had his 30th bash at home with 30 of the most important people in his life. Drinks, food and family were plenty. This year I’m sure he’d prefer a more low key evening, but its on a Friday night which means we will definitely be doing SOMETHING.

Then we jump to September were our baby boy will be celebrating his 2nd birthday which makes my heart burst. I cannot believe its been 2 years since Josh’s birth. I can remember every minute of that day and still picture his perfect little face as the Doctor handed him to us. It was the day my heart grew in so many ways. You never really know how you will handle more than one child and how you will love that second or third one, until you’re there. I just could not stop smiling, he was worth all the tests, scans, blood work, monitoring, medication, miscarriage, tears, heartache, everything.

Last year he had a “Under Construction” and this year I’m thinking “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs”.

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We still not officially sure if we’ll be hosting a party. Side note, I actually think my body grew in order to accommodate this huge heart I now have (justification of being a little chunky accepted).

The next week is our wedding anniversary (whoop whoop) followed by my birthday on the 25th and I don’t want to do anything except go away with my family and our besties. Which is the plan.

Watching

We recently started watching Secrets and Lies, which has us hooked for now. Then Carl is into Suits again and jointly we watch Big Bang Theory. Anything else worth watching?

Reading

I’ve read this book probably more times than most people. And I love it every time. Its literally something you can read cover to cover in one sitting.

I Dared to Call Him Father is the fascinating true story of Bilquis Sheikh, Sheikh was born in 1912 to conservative Muslim parents. As she grew up, she did not reject her Muslim faith, but acquired a disdain for anything spiritual or supernatural. If she could see it and explain it, she would believe it.

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Married to General Khalid Sheikh (for a time Pakistan’s Minister of the Interior), she was active in politics and social work. After her marriage fell apart at the age of 48, she retired to her family’s land in Wah, Pakistan, where she lived the life of a hermit, aloof and alone. It is here that the book begins the story of her search for God and how she found Him. Through a rash of super natural occurrences and strange dreams, she begins to read the Bible for herself. As she continues to read the Quran alongside of it, questions arise in her mind. How can the Quran and the Bible both be true, if they disagree with each other? Why does the Bible insist on pointing to Jesus? Why does the Bible bring her peace, which the Quran never did? Can she really call God Father? Finally, determined to get answers, she goes to the house of some American missionaries.

She shares the heartbreak of being ignored and shunned by her family, but also the goodness of God in providing her with so much more spiritual family—brothers and sisters in Christ—than the natural family she lost.

Ok, so that’s me for July!

Its Friday, so have a wonderful weekend!

Win with Tiny Tribe Kids and What Happened to my body

Good Morning Lovelies,

Following my post yesterday reviewing the Tiny Tribe Kids leggings I purchased last month for Josh, I’m here today with a BIG SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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You could be the lucky winner of a pair of Tiny Tribe Kids leggings for your child or a niece / nephew / grandchild / godchild / futurechild – ANYONE!

Competition will run from Wednesday, 22 July to Sunday, 26 July and the winner will be announced on Monday, 27 July.

So, what are you waiting for???? Go and enter!

Competition only open to SA residents living in this Country, sorry.

Leggings sizes (Age 0 – 4 years only).

Enter via LINK TO THE RIGHT

Rafflecopter – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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