Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Stuff You Should Know About this March/ April

I was not sure whether to call this March/ April or just April since we are nearly in April. Either way, here are some things going on in Johannesburg and surrounding areas that you desperately need to know about.

The Search for Adventure Phonics Ambassadors

Imagine getting your little one to read in just four weeks! Spotlite is looking for two boys and two girls between the ages of four and seven to go on a four week long fun course to the value of R1500 with the Adventure Phonics programme at Spotlite Education Learning Centre in Midrand- an amazing learning center that emphasise skill in spelling, reading and writing.

Go to for more information.

Hasbro Introduces Play-Doh Town

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Play-Doh continues to excite and delight fans with even more colourful, creative adventures with the launch of Play-Doh Town. This includes customizable figures, characters, and town-themed playsets and vehicles. Play-Doh Town is set to launch in-store from early April and will be available from Toys R Us, Toy Kingdom, Hamleys and other major retailers.

Monopoly Mzansi- Lat Day to Vote

We have shared this on social media before but if you missed it, today is your last day to vote for your favourite location on the new Monopoly Mzansi board. Get your favourite South African location, street attraction or destination on board and be part of Monopoly history. Noodle voted for Gold Reef City- where will you pick? 

Go to to vote for your favourite location.
Parmalat changes its labelling

Due to legislation changes, products currently labelled as 'low fat' will  be labelled as 'medium fat'. Parmalat want you to know that they have not opted to not make any changes to its current popular creamy yoghurt recipe, but to rather reclassify the former low fat range to comply with R260 regulations.

Cotton On Kids New Sleepwear Range

We love Cotton On and their new pyjama range is super cute. Have a look!

Cotton On KIDS PJ sets with bursts of bright colours and glittering gold featured on a soft winter pallet. The whimsical tones, unique designs and quirky patterns are sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


Hi All,

I apologise for disappearing off the face of planet blog for well over a week. I think it is time for a little bit of catch up. 


The couple of days before schools closed was a mad scramble to get as much work done as possible from my side as I know how unproductive things can get when both little ones are at home (and boy was I right).

Then we disappeared into the bushes for a few days for a relaxed break at a wildlife reserve. We went on game drives, went swimming and saw lots of animals. We even had kudus visiting our chalet daily. 

Unfortunately, towards the end of our little break, Squish started showing symptoms of one of those lovely, rashy and very contagious childhood illnesses which had been doing its rounds, confirmed by our doctor once we got back. This meant spending the week after we got home in quarantine, keeping the little ones busy with toys, crafts, more Youtube  and trying to stop germs from spreading to the rest of us and stopping two little ones from killing each other. Both kids, who are not great sleepers at the best of times, decided that they would turn nocturnal and torture us out of our sleep every single night (last night was the first time I slept in a week). I had two grumpy children who literally did not let me get anything done except the essentials of my work at home regular job, leaving no time for blogging. 

By last weekend, Squish's spots and fever had gone away and cabin fever took its place. So we finally ventured out a little bit and had a fun weekend of fairs, fetes and food.


At this moment, I have a couple of minutes to spare toggling between work and this blog post while the little ones paint (we have been doing lots of painting this holiday). I now have black paint spots on my cream curtains (I have dabbed most of it out with a damp soapy cloth and now need to figure how to get the rest out). I have the washing machine on, with disinfectant added into the wash to try to get out all traces of germiness from clothes to prevent re-infections (maybe I am a little paranoid but rather safe than sorry).

Here are the things happening in the background.

Watching: Not too much TV, but have been watching a little bit of 'Grays Anatomy' and 'Big Bang Theory'- the usual staples.

Reading: I have not been doing too much reading and definitely nothing too heavy. I have been reading 'Grey: Fifty Shades as told by Christian' in tiny instalments for about three weeks now. Basically, the book is terrible. It is as poorly written as the initial trilogy and you already know what is going to happen as it is the same story, just from a different perspective. Yet, for some bizarre reason, I keep finding myself reading on. 

Feeling: happy overall but frustrated and annoyed at the amount of destruction my little ones are able to create in just minutes and by them fighting all the time. I had to pause this blog post twice already to mop up spills and now there are hundreds of tiny cars covering every surface of our living room.

Eating: Some fudge nougat that I found at the Rand Easter Show. I am going through a slight nougat obsession at the moment and they had nougat in every flavour imaginable.

Thinking about: All the work that I am meant to be doing and not doing and making mental to do lists in my head. 

Grateful forMany things but I will list the top three right now:

1) The fact that my son is recovering and nobody else has caught the bug; 
2) the lovely early autumn weather right now- not too hot (in fact still quite summery) and not too cold;
3) getting to listen to the amusing conversations between my little ones (when they are not fighting). As I am typing this, Squish says to Noodle: 'Say sorry to me... but say it like you mean it.' Two year old's these days!

How about you- what are you up to at the moment?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Real Hunger Games- Kellogg's Breakfast For Better Days Challenge

A week ago, I received an unexpected package at my doorstep- a hamper with some delicious Kellogg's cereal and an invitation to take part in a very exciting challenge- GO WITHOUT BREAKFAST.

For me, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I love food, so this was going to be tough. Nevertheless, the challenge was gladly accepted.

Why? This is all part of the Kellogg's Breakfast For Better DaysChallenge. You see, in South Africa, almost one in five children go to school without breakfast, which of course impacts on their ability to learn. By taking part in this challenge, I was able to get a sense of what it is like to start the day without any form of sustenance. 

Kellogg's provides breakfast to children at schools around the country. With Kellogg’s Breakfast for Better Days™ Campaign, 25,000 of South Africa’s school children are receiving a balanced breakfast before school, every single school day and are providing five million servings of cereal and milk to South African school children by the end of 2016. For example, this morning, they were making a difference to children at Duduza Primary School. There were a few other bloggers who went to Duduza today and you will  no doubt get to read all about that experience on their blogs. 

While I was sadly unable to go along to  Duduza due to being in a workshop elsewhere today, I participated in the challenge remotely. For me, this meant waking up before 6 a.m, doing school drop offs, sitting in traffic for a (very) long time and then concentrating on lessons, all without having had any breakfast. In other words, sitting in a class, hungry,  which is a norm every single day for many South African children.

There is a video up on Instagram which I took while in traffic this morning (sadly, my mediocre video skills mean that part of my rambling got cut off- or perhaps I can blame my lack of breakfast for this one).

How do I feel without having had breakfast? Not great, I must admit. I have slight insulin resistance issues so if I do not eat frequently, I tend to feel dizzy, nauseous and my blood pressure tends to dip. I feel sweaty and unable to concentrate optimally. Then of course, after while of no eating, there are further unpleasant side effects like bad breath and physical weakness. 

Truth be told, going hungry is not an entirely new experience for me. Every year, in Ramadaan, I along with other Muslims around the world fast with zero food or drink from sunrise to sunset. There are many reasons for this fast but one is to allow the individual fasting to feel empathy for those who go without and thus be more compassionate in engaging in charitable causes- very similar to what Kellogg's is doing with the Breakfast For Better Days Challenge. I still vividly remember fasting at school growing up (once I was old enough to do so) and the growing inability to focus on lessons fully as the day progressed. The challenge of course, was different for me compared to an underprivileged school child- I always knew that there was a promise of good food later in the day, while for them, the reality of being hungry is an ongoing struggle. While today, I got a small taste of what it is like to be hungry, I cannot really say that I know what it feels like to be a starving child, forced to walk great distances to school (expending considerable energy in doing so) and then learn on an empty stomach. I truly wish I could do something to help every child out there who suffers this fate. 

How can you help? Simply by buying any marked pack of Kellogg's cereal, which we all love of course, you will be making a contribution towards breakfast for a child in need. You can also read more at

As for me, I still haven't had breakfast but I will have brunch in a little while when I have a break. I have one of those single serving sized bags of Kellogg's All Bran Flakes stashed in my handbag and  I must confess, it is totally calling my name.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Kellogg's Asks- Are You Heart Healthy?

Last year was not my best year as far as healthy living is concerned but this year I have been giving a lot of thought to leading a healthier lifestyle and have taken steps to improve my own diet and exercise regime. Together with my family, we have been trying to eat more healthy food an lead more active lives.

Later this week we are going to share a very exciting campaign from Kellogg's, the Kellogg’s Breakfast for Better Days™ Campaign (which is an amazing initiative aimed at keeping school children who are not all fortunate enough to start their days with any sort of breakfast well nourished so that they can learn effectively but more about that later). In the meantime, here are some tips that they have shared about being heart healthy.
February was the month of love, but looking after the heart is an all year long thing. Are we looking after the heart that really matters? Here are their top tips for a healthy heart:


Start your day right- take the time to  eat breakfast in the morning as skipping breakfast can often lead to overindulgence on unhealthy, convenience foods that may be high in saturated fats, putting you at risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Keeping Things Moving-  the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 25mg a day offibre intake per adult. Diets rich in fibre can help to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and protect against strokes and diabetes. The Kellogg’s All-Bran range is high in natural wheat bran fibre provides up to 43% of your recommended fiber intake.

Keep Active- Physical activity can dramatically reduce your risk of developing heart disease and can also be a great tool to combat stress.

Set Goals- Slowly change your daily habits and set small goals like taking the stairs over the lift or cutting down on your weekly sugary treats.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

Thank you to Moipone at Ferocious Haven for nominating me for the "Ten Things That Make me Happy Challenge".

I am sure I could list a hundred but here are some of mine:

1. My amazing family: I have a husband who is caring, patient and supportive, children who are kind and sweet, parents and a sister who would literally do anything for me and my children and inlaws that I actually like!

2. Time: I am grateful that I have the luxury of spending time with the people listed in point 1, flexibility in my daily schedule and time to do the things that make me and my family happy.

3. Having religion, spirituality and an inner sense of purpose is my primary source of contentment.

4. Chocolate (dark) and coffee (strong and definitely not instant). I am not sure in what order but I can confirm that both these things are a source of unspeakable bliss. Oh and ice-cream... and waffles... and lemon meringue... and doughnuts... and chocolate brownies.

5. Not being completely obese or diabetic despite point 4 above.

6. Reading a good book- preferably while eating chocolate and drinking coffee. 

7. The smell of raindrops, lemons, babies, cinnamon, vanilla, freshly baked bread, fudge and coffee (not all together of course). 

8. Living in a beautiful country- despite all its many shortcomings, we really are lucky to live in a land of spectacular weather, beautiful surroundings, nature, delicious fruits and vibrant people.

9. Hearing my children laugh and seeing my children achieve new things. I am beyond amazed at how much my daughter has pushed herself this year to learn new things and how she has tackled some of her fears head on, turning them into achievements. I am also astounded by how quickly my son picks up concepts- he is only two but he has picked up on some of big sister's grade R work just by listening to her talking about it nonstop. 

10. This blog- having a space to air my views, brag, vent or  whatever. It has also given me the opportunity to meet some very special people and get involved with exciting activities that I otherwise would not have been involved in.

What makes you happy? Please share! (Bloggers: please feel free to do your own blog post and link back to this one.)

Friday, 4 March 2016

More Stuff Squish Says

I know I do a lot of posts with stuff that my two year old sidekick says but I am just so entertained by the way he manages to express complex thoughts using his still somewhat limited language set- with some surprisingly big words in between.

Below I have some gems from the last two or so days:

"But mommy, I not throwing a tantrum, I just talking to you like a boy."

"I a cow.... Mooooooo." (He spent half an hour being a cow this morning.)

(I just coughed.)
"Mommy, are you okay? Must we take you to the hospital? In an ambulance?"

"I sad. I want grapes and custard for breakfast."

"When I grow up I want to be an ice cream truck. No, a fire truck."

"I decided that I going to big school today."

"Change the channel. This crogram is scary."

"Is the internet working yet? Or is it only buffering? When is daddy buying a new modem?" (Yes, really!) 

"Mommy, where is my tipper truck and my crane? No... not that one- that one is a dump truck." (There's a difference? Seriously, this kid has a weird obsession with trucks and knows more about them than I do.)

"Tomorrow can we go to Durban? And Warmbaths? And Cape Town?" 

His catch phrase, since yesterday anyway:
"Wow, that's amazing!"

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Not Safe as Houses...

This is a bit of a follow on from my last post, The Tough Conversations. My question today is about how to prepare for possible disasters.

I have been thinking about the things that could go horribly wrong and how we would deal with potentially tough situations- like a burglary or a freak accident etc. I guess it is a parental instinct to make sure that our families are as safe as could be.

All of this came to light on Monday when I had a slightly scary experience, in which nobody was hurt, but in which things could easily have spiraled out of control. The previous night had been a completely sleep deprived night (a frequent event in this household). The whole family has a bit of a flu and I had taken some cold medication that kept me awake. When I finally fell asleep, my daughter had coughed herself awake and soon after my son also woke up and everyone only got back to sleep shortly before the alarm went off. 

The day progressed as usual and I carried on my normal tasks, in a bit of a sleepy haze (the scary part is that I have many sleep deprived nights like this, followed by zombie days thereafter). In the afternoon, I dropped my daughter off for classes and my son fell asleep on the way back. When we returned home, I put my son in his cot and put a pot of rice on the stove to cook. Now, I never nap in the daytime (I just can't seem to fall asleep in the daytime, even if I try) and I had not planned on napping on this afternoon either. However, on this day, the last thing I remember is checking messages on my phone. I accidentally dozed off and woke up some time later to the smell of smoke, lots of smoke. Now, we have a smoke alarm, but as Murphy's law would have it, the batteries were flat. I rushed to the kitchen, removed the pot, which was burnt beyond repair from the stove and controlled the slight fire. Aside from a bit of smoke inhalation and being a couple of minutes late to fetch Noodle, there was no damage but I shudder to think what could have happened.

On Tuesday, we had quite a severe thunder storm while we were putting the little ones to sleep. Now, Noodle has always been petrified of thunder and we have always reassured her that she is safe and sound inside the house. However, Tuesday's thunder storm knocked out the power. Shortly after, I saw sparks and heard a big pop coming out of the modem, just centimeters away from where my head was. While we are all deeply saddened by the temporary loss of our WIFI facilities, this served as a reminder of just how potentially dangerous the forces of nature can be. (P.S. This is also why this post has no fancy graphics- I am conserving data as I use my limited cellphone data as a hot spot for my laptop until we get a new modem). 

Anyway, while I do believe that faith in the almighty is the biggest protection of all, I have been thinking about potential plans of actions for possible emergency situations. Does your family have an action plan for scenarios like a house robbery, or a plan of exit points for if there is a fire? This is something I have been giving some thought to. Given the crime statistics in Johannesburg, most of us have a lot of security but this also has the potential of trapping us in the house in the event of an emergency. How would you circumvent this? How about a hijacking? I have been on a BMW Advanced Driving course which teaches techniques for dealing with a hijacking situation, including how to get children out of car seats at the back. If you are a driver in South Africa, I would highly recommend attending a similar course. 

Do you have an emergency contingency plan in place? Have you communicated any of this to your children? How do you do this without scaring them? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.