Our Teddy Bears’ Picnic Party for Julia’s First Birthday

We held a Teddy Bears’s Picnic themed party this past weekend in celebration of baby Julia’s first birthday and it was AWESOME – despite rainy weather meaning that we had to have it indoors instead of outside in our beautiful garden!

So much fun though and wonderful that guests played ball and brought donations for charity instead of gifts (I may sound like a cruel mom but really feel that we are blessed to have more clothes/books/toys etc than we need – much better to share with those that need it more especially while Jules is so young and doesn’t know the difference!)

A few snapshots – pics not great sadly due to bad indoor lighting and lack of photography skills on my part! x

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The Invitation

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Most of the awesome food packaging I bought was from Fooodpak and Bargain Bin in PMB – some very lucky finds including my big beehive shaped juice dispenser for just over R200!

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Grandpa on the picnic blanket with his three grandbabies

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Birthday girl chip face!

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Beautiful cake made to spec by CupKate

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Mom and babes + nephew josh

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Big sister stealing icing off the cake while we sing Happy Birthday!

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Dad helping to blow out candles x

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I wanted the inside to be exciting so I ordered a choc-caramel-vanilla ombre layered cake specifically!

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Mmmmmmmmmm! Cake!

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All the toys that were donated in lieu of gifts – have been in touch with a local charity, just waiting to arrange a drop off and will share more details!

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Wish we’d thought to do this right at the beginning of the party and not at the end when there was loads of mess!

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Tired but happy birthday girl, ready for bed!

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Two Years Today Since We Touched Down in SA

It has been two whole years since I left London with my 5 month old baby and waved goodbye to hubby at the airport, not knowing when he would be back with us.

It has been two years to the day since we landed back in SA and delved into the unknown.

It has been two years of ups and downs, happy’s and sad’s and incredible adventures. I am constantly amazed by how time flies by in an instant, and yet it feels like eons have passed.

In those two years since we’ve been back:

I broke my leg

legsWe moved into our little townhouse in Hilton

dimsWe found out we were pregnant

number-2We went to some awesome weddings

hallWe celebrated one year of life

addi-and-daddyWe celebrated new life

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I started Baby Bird Basics

cropped-bbb-new-design3We survived a family holiday to CT (just!)

ct-2We bought a house

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I launched my freelance graphic design business website

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We welcomed a fur baby into the family
10598648_1530350510511965_1253699674_nWe celebrated another first birthday

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…AND SO MUCH MORE IN BETWEEN!

We have shared the journey with amazing friends, some old (my dear Jozi girls and SF come to mind) and some new – supportive like-minded ladies from my moms-group; online buddies who I haven’t even met and who show me so much love through the computer (!), and then those who started off as mainly-online friends but who have transformed into real life inspirations and motivators (Nicola, Colleen and Keri to name a few) – you guys all play a big part in our happiness now that we’ve settled back in SA… thank you!

I do miss London though, I wont lie. I miss it’s conveniences and variety. I miss it’s culture. I miss it’s unlimited cell phone contracts, gaaaahhhhhh! (Death to PAYG!) I miss my friends there and so much more, but all in all I think that coming back to SA was the best thing we have done.

To wake up each morning on this beautiful continent – UNBEATABLE.

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One year on as a mom of two… Happy Birthday Baby Jules x

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I cannot get my head around the fact that my tiny baby girl – Julia Quinn (known more affectionately as Baba by family and friends) – is a year old today! I can’t even describe the joy she has brought into our lives – if you have been fortunate to meet her, you will totally get it when I say she is the epitome of chilled out and happy. And at the risk of sounding cliched, we truly are so blessed.

Addi and Jules could not be more different… For one, their hair – while Addi sports a wild afro of curls, Jules has soft straight hair that still smells so gloriously baby-like. Secondly, their need for cuddles – Jules loves to hang out on mom’s hip or in dad’s arms while Addi is far more independent, and successfully getting kisses and cuddles from her usually follows on from some form of bribery! Jules has just learned to give kisses upon request and if you are patient you will be treated to a big sloppy open-mouthed snog!

As I’ve already mentioned, Jules is very laid back while Addi could easily be compared to a Tasmanian Devil on speed – not in a naughty way, just because she is always SO BUSY (it’s quite endearing), while little sister is quite content to sit with a goofy smile on her face and watch the world go by, preferably with a snack in hand… One thing that they do have in common is their ability to eat, loving food just as much as their mommy and daddy do ;)

One thing for sure is that they love each other senseless. Every morning Addi walks into our room (Jules is usually awake first) and the first thing out of her mouth is ” Heeeeeeeyyyyyyy Babaaaa!” and then the giggles and smiles commence from both parties. Julia’s little face lights up whenever Addi is around and I hope that their friendship and love for each other continues to grow as they get older.

Pats on the back for hubby and me for surviving Year One of being parental units to two babies a mere 16.5 months apart – I won’t lie, its even been easier than I expected!

Here are some snapshots from Baba’s first year <3

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Love you baby girl x

 

Recent Work: Rondavel’s Wild Mountain Range for Men

10636015_607547499354773_4049029893592660364_nI have been so privileged of late to work with the beautiful minds behind Rondavel – a small family-run business that produces the most delicious handmade soap, balms and more right here in the KZN Midlands. They use only natural, sustainable and local ingredients to make nourishing products and their packaging is biodegradable and often reusable. Kate is the mastermind behind their beautiful packaging (and often the illustrations/artwork involved in it too) while Chikondi is responsible for mixing up batches of glorious smelling soaps and other products that will delight your senses. Their three lovely sons provide entertainment and inspiration while they work from home up in Rosetta, near Nottingham Road.

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Recently, Kate and Chikondi launched their first men’s range, Wild Mountain, inspired by their love for wild local plants and all the beautiful mountainous regions across South Africa. Kate came up with the overall look she wanted to achieve and together we brought it to life in the form of packaging specifically for the following products: Beard & Shave Soap, Propolis Deodorant, Face Balm, Aftershave Tonic and Beard Oil.

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Scents include: Wild Dagga & Cedar from the Amathole Mountains, Rooibos & Buchu from the Cederberg, Cedar & Hemp from the Amathole Mountains, Cape Chamomile from the Cederberg, ‘High Grassland’ from the Drakensberg to name just a few! Ingredients are sourced from sustainable farmers in each of these regions and carefully mixed by Rondavel with other natural ingredients to create these amazing products.

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10698478_617585468350976_3285136948806363201_nWM-FB-launch-graphics2WM-FB-launch-graphics6WM-FB-launch-graphics8WM-FB-launch-graphics7Hubby and my dad (and even I!) have tried some of these products and they are divine (not only because I was involved with the packaging design and am biased, but they really do smell good and feel great on your skin!)

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Don’t worry ladies, there’s a special range coming your way soon too, keep up with the news by following Rondavel on Facebook ;-)

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Courgette Pizza Crust Recipe – Carb Free

Last night I tried a new take on my usual carb-free cauliflower ‘pizza’ base and made a courgette / baby marrow / zucchini base instead – it was DELICIOUS. Definitely prefer it to the cauli base and there is one less step in the preparation which is also a bonus for busy work-from-home-moms like me! Since posting a pic on instagram / FB, people have been begging for the recipe so thought I would share…

For all those who haven’t tried a carb-free pizza, it’s definitely worth a shot if you are looking for a health-friendly alternative. Let’s be realistic though, it’s never going to taste/feel EXACTLY like a REAL pizza (I’d say the main difference is the stiffness factor, most of these carb-less pizza’s need to be eaten with a knife and fork unless you make mini bite sized versions – a small sacrifice) but let me assure you, the cheezy-ness factor and toppings you choose to use make it close enough to the real thing for you not to even worry!

I used THIS RECIPE that I found on Pinterest and the basic steps are outlined in the pics below.

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Here’s a pic of ours, it’s by no means the most beautiful pizza in the world but it was damn tasty! (If you are interested, I didnt use baking paper underneath mine but used Spray & Cook on the baking tray instead, and I used Tussers cheese but think that a harder white cheese like Parmesan would definitely have worked better. Also didn’t cook my mushrooms beforehand and they came out perfectly…)

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Happy munching :)

Embarking (Again!) On A Healthier Lifestyle Mission

This morning I’m refamiliarising myself with my A New Weigh programme so that I can commit fully to become a healthier, happier me. (Oh, am I not just a living breathing cliche!)

I pretty much fell off the wagon completely after my initial weight loss earlier this year and have gained about half back… Not ideal.

I have all the excuses and no excuse at all, I knew what I was doing and have felt the effects of the weight creeping back on: effects on my confidence, energy, general life focus, and in my new clothes of course!

I know there are so many people blogging about their health/diet/exercise endeavours at the moment and so many other (jealous?) people are being negative and judgey about it all, but I really think it’s great that there’s such a big collective of like-minded people who are trying to better their lives through a healthier lifestyle, no matter what route they take to do so.

I like to share my story for a purely selfish reason – it makes me feel accountable if I tell everyone I’m going to do it, it motivates and encourages me to connect with those who might be going through similar experiences and with people who support me.

My end goal is more about changing the way I think + my relationship with food than it is about changing my body – so here I go again, wish me luck!

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A Quick Catch Up + Some Of My Recent Work

I’ve been a shocking blogger of late (I know a couple of other bloggers who are feeling this way too, something in the air?!) – life has been a whirlwind, so thought I’d do a quick round-up of all the things that are keeping me busy :)

1. These two. Always.10584565_715875391817564_1181131791_n They are such joys. And they are growing up so quickly. I cant believe my little baby is going to be one in less than a month! Working on her party plans at the moment but have pretty much decided on Teddy Bears picnic theme (thanks to everyone for the input and suggestions!)

2. We got a puppy! Meet Lily…10598648_1530350510511965_1253699674_n
She’s a 2 month old Great Dane and a very sweet little thing but unfortunately is causing major stress in the eating department… She’s the runt and has never been a particularly good eater, hence very thin, and occasionally she throws up if she’s eaten too much / too quickly. I’ve been feeding her 5-6 smaller meals a day and have to be on constant vom-control, and wow, it’s pretty much like having a new baby in the house! She’s managed to pick up 900g in just over a week and she never really throws up more than once a day but let’s just say this ‘first puppy’ experience is not quite going the way I’d imagined it (she really has stolen our hearts though and gets away with total murder, I mean, just look at that face!)

3. Work – wow, I have been doing a lot of that – all sorts of things…SC-CAkeA sweet little logo to double as a watermark for Sam’s new cake business in Port Elizabeth – what a pleasure she is to work with and her cakes are just incredible little works of art in themselves!WM-PackagingSome packaging work for Rondavel Soaps new all-natural Men’s Range, Wild Mountain – more to come on this in a separate blog post soon, and maybe even a sneaky giveaway! MP&FA logo and bits n bobs for Mel who recently launched her local Photobooth & Functions business here in The Midlands (such a clever idea seeing that the area is like the Mecca of wedding venues, well done Mel!)

Big-TreeSome logo concepts for an awesome American client with an online school of Natural Healing (website still in development) and whom I was recommended to by the wonderful Nicola Tweed

And LOADS more which I will share when I can :)

4. I picked up my awesome prize – hairpin leg coffee table made from reclaimed wood – from Neil at The Streets Furniture – thanks again to all those that helped me to win by liking my shared post on FB, you all rock <3

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5. Reading – yup, I got sucked into the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth and could not put my Kindle down until I had ploughed through all three books! If that kind of dystopian genre is your thing, you’ll love it! Watched the first movie recently too, and Four (played by Theo James) is totally swoon-worthy ;-)

photo-1Welcome_to_DauntlessOver and out x

An Invitation: #GraceFactorySocial

Last year I connected with fellow moms / bloggers Tanya, Sharon and Amy to help with some design work for an event being organised for an amazing Jozi-based charity, The Grace Factory, which is a non-profit organisation that collects baby items at locations in Gauteng and the Vaal Triangle, and distributes them to other non-profit organisations (such as children’s homes and orphanages).

I’ve watched from afar as the charity itself has grown in leaps and bounds since, and these fabulous ladies are at it again and will be hosting another party this coming Saturday (details below in the invite I designed – really pleased with how cute it looks!) WISH I could go myself, unfortunately I’m stuck down here in KZN – but please, if you are in the area, stop in and show some support on my behalf!

Entrance is free; all that’s asked is that you bring a donation of your unwanted baby, toddler, child or maternity items (clothing, toys, bedding, equipment), PLUS a new consumable item or two, for example formula, nappies, cereal, creams, wipes. Cash donations are also welcome – all money goes straight to The Grace Factory

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For more info, contact Tanya / Amy by email:
tanya@tanyakovarsky.com
amy@thegracefactory.co.za

All support greatly appreciated for an organisation that’s doing such a great job to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Summer Tees & Tops

Warmer weather is on the doorstep and MRP.com is totally winning with their summer tees & tops range! Im a big fan of keeping it casual (name a mom who isn’t!) and love these monochrome numbers available online and instore now :)

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Anything goes when it comes to tees, and this season, RT brings you the hottest prints and coolest fits at very bank-account-friendly prices – put a fresh spin on the jeans and tee look with ladies fitted tees from only R35.99! Tuck your tee into your favourite distressed denims, or pair a crop top (from R45.99)  with a midi skirt or dungarees and you’re bang on – these are the tops that make casual cool!

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HAPPY SHOPPING!

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Big Love for The Counter

Today I dont have a Homegrown Creatives post for you all, my bad, life got in the way this week so forgive me!? I do have a story and some pics to share from my recent weekend away, and I’d personally include it in the ‘creative’ category anyway, so meet the kids from The Counter!

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I met Meg Pascoe many years ago through a mutual friend (cant remember when or how, but pretty sure there was alcohol and laughter involved) and reconnected with her on the Twitterzee after long time, no see while I was still living in London… I’ve watched from afar as she brought her little dream to life, partnering with her friend Ian, and have cheered along on the sidelines ever since The Counter was born. I have been drooling over pictures of the now-famous brownies for LITERAL years and finally – FINALLY – I got the chance to taste one (and more) after a quick trip up to Jozi this past weekend for an epic wedding (thats a WHOLE other story!)

All I can say is WOW – totally worth the wait – AND – hands down, BEST BROWNIES IN THE WORLD (this is a big statement to lay claim to but trust me!)

I had a raging hangover when I visited The Counter stand at Market on Main so unfortunately couldn’t stomach more than a bite of my friends burger (delish, obviously), but I took home a whole bag of treats which didn’t last long between post-hangy-hunger-pangs / being padkos for the trip home / mistakenly allowing hubby to catch sight of it all…

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The white chocolate fudge. I die. (It didn’t even see the light of day long enough for me to get a photo of it!) The brownies, need I say more:

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Their new Love Bar – seriously – layers of brownie, fudge, marshmallow covered in chocolate, hello?!

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Dark Chocolate Oreo Fudge!!!!!!!

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Also, dont you just love their new branding and website by You & Me Design?

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So proud of everything you have achieved <3
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