A walking perspective

As most of you know I don’t drive . I guess I could if I needed to I just haven’t found the need to.

I’ve always used public transport and have lived in areas close to all the amenities I’ve needed.

People ask if I’m restricted the answer is no!

I love walking and if left to my own devices would walk for hours.

Often the only problem is that I walk to far forgetting that I need to turn back 😂🤣

Walking and running for me are a source of relaxation. A time to think and reflect. I’m able to solve my problems, think of new ideas and draft wondrous stories in the quiet of my own space.

I also love catching the bus. It’s social and always exciting. There’s bound to be someone new who strikes up a conversation , someone new to connect with or someone hilarious making the journey fun.

Today as I walked home from dropping my bear off at school it struck me at how friendly people are at 7.15am.

Bear and I will often greet and chat to the people we pass or walk behind on our journey. We have a few regulars the two Chinese ladies with scarves around their mouths who exercise at that time, the old man taking his dogs for a walk, that bunch of school boys who love to greet Bear, the pregnant first time mommy who asks a question each morning, the single dad getting his little boy to school and the homeless man who sleeps at the corner of the bus stop.

My only conclusion is that exercise is a great mood enhancer so having to walk , breathe in fresh air and start your day awake puts you in a good mood.

I also noticed how even those walking and using public transport didn’t look rushed. My opinion is because you know how long it takes to get there you mentally prepare and leave home earlier giving yourself time to arrive early.

The other thing I noticed (from months of early traffic trips to work) is that commuters in cars are rushed. They impatiently wait in queues of traffic, hurriedly gulp down coffee and breakfast in the car, stop to do makeup at robots and try to rush other tasks before finally arriving at work.

To add to their already rushed, anxious morning full of frustrations are the bad drivers, accidents and taxis.

There’s no time for quiet reflection. No time to admire the scenery around them. To stop and point out a flower to your child. No time to gather your thoughts calmly or to get more organised.

It’s rushed.

It is a rare sight to find a friendly smiling driver in the morning traffic.

So for now I’ll stick to using my feet to take long walks and standing in the bus queues joking with the other commuters. I’ll enjoy pointing out nature to my bear and breathing in the fresh salty air.

For now I’ll let people look at me aghast and pity my walking. 🌻

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Why you should use an insulated lunch bag

The standard lunch box has evolved over the years. From early days when school children took their lunches to school in metal tins to the more modern versions of insulated lunch bags.

Today insulated lunch bags are incredibly popular with adults and children alike.

Why you should use an insulated lunch box.

1. They gentle on the environment.

A reusable alternative to paper bags, disposible plastic, foil and plastic lunch bags.

2. They safer and healthier

Your food has less chance of becoming contaminated in an insulated lunch bag.

Because paper bags and plastic containers have no real way to maintain the temperature of food stored inside, the food becomes subseptable to contamination, which can cause food poisoning.

3. They allow a larger variation in lunch choices

They allow you a wider choice in lunches that you pack as they keep food longer so items like yogurt won’t spoil so quickly.

How does an insulated bag work?

Insulated lunch bags typically have three barriers against temperature change.

They have an outer layer made of a medium to heavy weight fabric, like nylon or neoprene. The second layer is made from a type of insulating material, usually foam. The third, inner layer is generally made of foil or plastic. Together, these three layers form an excellent barrier between the contents and the outside of the bag, maintaining their temperature much longer than a paper or plastic bag.

Why I only use insulated lunch bags

It’s always been important for me that my children open a fresh , healthy lunch when they at school.

I wouldn’t serve them something I wouldn’t eat myself and images of soggy tomatoes and squished peanut butter sandwiches come to mind when I think of my own school lunches.

Due to this one of the first things we buy at the begininf of a school year is a new lunch bag.

It was great to send bears formula bottles in when he was at day care. As he grew we added one for his lunches and snacks.

As a teacher , I must admit a lunch bag is so much neater and more organised. Teachers can easily store them neater than a bunch of odd containers and children learn responsibility if keeping all their lunch together and packing it back in when done.

As a mom it is so much easier to just open the bag after school, dump out the containers , wash and line the lunch bags up on the counter and prep them for the next day when each child just grabs their own before heading off to school.

Tip

We take bears lunch bag with us , even when we just go to the shops I add a prefrozen ice block in and then store his juice, milk, snack and dummy in the bag. So much easier than fumbling about in a nappy bag if he needs something .

Please don’t feed baby ! 

I’m not easily offended but when I eat out I expect the following

  • Great ambiance 
  • Fantastic service
  • Efficient staff
  • Yummolicious food 
  • Family friendly

I feel these are reasonable requests for shelling out between R100 and R200 per person eating.

So, you can all imagine my horror when not one but several restaurants I’ve been into this last month don’t offer a baby chair.

Are you kidding me ? 

Really? As a restaurant owner I need to ask you..

  1. Are you under the impression that parents don’t eat out with their children?
  2. Are you too cheap to invest in a baby chair ? Because 1 family eating will most likely cover 2 chairs #justsaying
  3. Do you like losing business?
  4. Do you honestly want a frazzled mother trying to balance a wriggly baby or toddler on her lap as well as shovel piping hot food down her throat ? ( I don’t need to pay someone to do that …really I get to do this EVERY day for free)
  5. At what point did you forget to note that a jumping child or tumbling toddler on moms lap can break your crockery, burn themselves and grab a knife cutting themselves alot faster than if they were secure in a seat ?
  6. Do you really think your grown up chairs are suitable for babies and toddlers? 
  7. Or do you actually just not care enough to make your patrons comfortable ? 

Aside from it being highly frustrating as a parent , imagine the horror as a tourist who may be delighted to try your cuisine discovers you don’t actually accommodate feeding babies.

This should be a prerequisite, along with customer service and quality food. 

20 odd years ago when my bears were little every family friendly restaurants had a baby chair.

Now we have to hunt down a decent restaurant to eat at that also accommodates our toddler.

Last weekend at Tablebay mall I walked out of Lisa’s and had to go across to Mugg and Bean to find a baby chair for bear. 

Today I walked out of Barroco in Century City because of no baby chair. Eventually finding a baby chair at Colcachios. You also won’t find a baby chair at Primi or any of the other ‘flag ship’ restaurants in Century City… Such a huge mall but apparently their marketing gurus have mislead them into thinking families don’t shop here because baby chairs aren’t needed.

Either that or these companies don’t need the business and don’t care.

I for one will walk out of every restaurant that doesn’t accommodate kiddies … my money is better spent at a venue that caters for the whole family. 

Space Station Canal Walk  … a review

Last night the bear clan pulled out their astronaut suits and set off on an adventure to discover the vast realms of outer space.

Hamish the astronaut

Eagerly we jumped in the car and headed towards Canal Walk filled with laughter and curiosity.

We were not dissapointed. In fact this event needs to go onto the holiday bucket list of every mom in Cape Town.

Space Station at Canal Walk

It’s the perfect blend of entertainment, education and activities to keep those enquiring minds and wriggling bodies busy. 

We arrived to find a queue of people waiting to enter and experience the realistic looking Space Station.

The space station

Upon entering we were greeted by the friendly crew and issued a handful of vouchers, entitiling us to an array of space goodies.

Vouchers

The ubber stylish Space cafe were serving fresh interstellar donuts, space clouds in an assortment of colours, space slushies and cosmic ice coffees. We were tempted by everything.
Bear tasting his space slushie

Space clouds

Interstellar donuts
Being a launch event, friendly crew were at hand to treat us with little bowls of Space Station nibbles. One of the gentlemen taking the time to high 5 bear.

High 5

The maze is dead centre and is inflatable so the kids can’t hurt themselves. Each corner holds a new adventure and the highlight is a large black hole slide.

Maze

 I love that there are numerous screens strategically placed so you can watch your child as they navigate through the maze.

Screens allow you to see what’s happening with your child at all times

For bear the highlight was the moon craters and the sponge area with planets overhead. He loved pressing the lights at the interactive constellations and crawling under the glow in the dark maze of the UV beams.

UV beams
Asteroids all around

His 14 year old sister was completely delighted. She was captivated by the funny mirrors, the interactive screens at the milky way and the large black hole slide.

Mission control

Once we had been through the maze countless times , we visited the pop up planetarium. Here we entered the magic of the night sky. A discriptive talk going on as we lay back and enjoyed the stars.

Constellation
The Space Station holds something for everyone with a gigantic inflatable Space Maze, black hole slide launching you into the galaxy, a series of Zones to explore, an interactive constellation chamber, asteroids with swinging planet’s and UV beams, a pop up planeterium and virtual reality experiences .

Book your out of this world visit today ….

WHERE: Canal Walk ,Centre Court

WHEN: 7 December – 14 January | closed on 25 December
TIME:10am – 9pm | 45 minute sessions start every hour on the hour
PRICETickets from R40


FOR FURTHER INFO VISIT 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1953336438322825/?ti=cl


Blog challenge 16 …. if i won the Lotto

If i won the Lotto I would very selfishly do two things.
First I’d buy an awesome camera and then I’d pack a backpack with bear and papa ( as the other bears have school to consider) and i’d close my eyes pick a random place on the map and start travelling until the money ran out and I had to come home to work in the real world again. 
The camera would be to photograph every inch of our adventure.

But I guess to win I’d actually have to take a ticket…. sigh !

What would you do ? 

Blog Challenge 10 … the best trip of my life 

As a self confessed gypsy and frequent traveller I’ve had the fortune of visiting and travelling to some of the most amazing places in South Africa.

One of my favourite places has to be Hole in the Wall.

We visited there in 2016 with our friend Lita. I was immediately in love.

Below is what I wrote about it on my blog Sparkarella, shortly after our return home.

As we carefully ambled our way in our faux 4×4 over dirt roads and potholes , we were left breathless by the splendid beauty surrounding us.
Traditional houses lined the emerald green hills leading a bright path to our remote destination……The hole in the wall.
Here in this forgotten region earths creatures live in harmony with those around her as horses graze outside the front door of many homes. 
Along the winding dirt path we passed several goat and sheep who gave us a curious glance before returning to their activities. An elderly lady lead her pet cow home and one is instantly struck by the simplicity of life. 
17km of blazing sun shine and pothole scattered dirt road later , we embarked upon our destination. This hidden gem was smothered in admirers and after the sparse human sighting en route I was surprised to so many people.   
As we drove closer I was struck by the simplistic beauty of nature. Clear lagoon pools of azure water leaking slowly back into the rip tides of an aqua ocean. White horses dancing with delight as the calm.  tide rolled to shore. 
Not mearly a hole in the wall, but a breathtaking reminder of the strength and grace of mother nature. 
The neighbouring hill showed an eroded crevice, where the cruelty of earth’s elements had worn over the years and all around us rolling hills shone in varied shades of greenery as they boldly overlooked the lavish valleys below them.

 The beach sands boastfully glistened in humble hues of browns and bronzes, invitingly calling you to step barefoot and admire this small piece of heaven.

Little bears dedication adventure

I began planning bears dedication long before he was born. 
What I imagined

In my mind i saw the beautiful ceremony in the same church I’d dedicated his 6 siblings, visions of his huge smile as the minister lifted him in his white suit to pray for him playing over and over.

After his beautiful ceremony  I imagined a simple reception with family and friends decorated stylishly with a nautical theme. 

I even went so far as to design the cute invite and send it out. Ensuring that everyone knew ahead of time to save the date.

Plan B

Not long after I’d sent the invite, his godmother fell pregnant and baby was due in September so we naturally changed the date. 

Bringing his dedication much sooner and with that a new look at our available budget.

I chose my grandmother’s birthday ,21 May and was happy to see it fell on a Sunday. I have to say by now I was a little over trying to please everyone and we decided that if people couldn’t make it we weren’t changing the date again.

But I really wanted him to be surrounded by his full exstended family and God parents.

This also didn’t give me much time to replan with a much smaller budget as we wouldn’t have time to save for the extra 4 months.

I began to plan again

 The origional church I’d planned  hadn’t gotten back to me and reluctantly i chose another church who could do the dedication ceremony that weekend…. but … I wasn’t happy.

Our venue was able to move the dedication forward but our new hardly existent budget meant I was batteling to find a menue everyone would eat and still afford a cake. 

My decor went from amazing to bare minimum. I wanted everything perfect and started looking for DIY options.

Something was wrong 

Something was wrong ,and my heart wasn’t into planning  this elaborate event . 

I became tearful at the thought of having something less than what I’d imagined.

I really wanted his 3 God parents present but I didn’t want an event I’d been planning way before his birth to be a thrown together event because we were rushing.

I cancelled

In tears the one afternoon I finally threw my toys out the cot (yes….this mom lost her shit) and between tears of frustratiom and the realisation that my boys dedication would be something less than what I had planned for him, I told Pappa to cancel.

Right there in that moment I didn’t care if I had to wait a year … this was not the dedication I wanted for him.

I explained  that as I worked on his dedication plans I felt more and more annoyed, stressed and just sad.

We had only invited family but I felt it was becoming less about the ceremony and more about making everyone happy. (Which you know is never possible). 

My whole beautiful dedication ceremony was becoming  a very costly event with none of the original simplicity and ideas. It was rushed and now everything was changed to fit our new much tighter budget.

So we cancelled

I don’t remember what excuse we used just that the pit in my stomach disappeared and was replaced with a calm knowledge that I could dedicate bear when he was a little older.

 A new plan

A few days later papa phoned his mom in Durban ….bears gran is very active in her church and one of the few people who would have understood the meaning behind his beautiful dedication  ceremony.

 That nagging feeling in my heart came back and as he placed the phone down, I said” lets do the dedication in your moms church.”

I had no idea if the church could accommodate us or what the pastor would need and it meant  we would have to drive to Durban  from Cape Town.

 It also meant that none of the ideas  I had planned would be included in his dedication. No family, no siblings, no friends , no large ceremony with its nautical theme.

Road trip

Papa looked at me, mostly in shock and asked a hundred times if I was sure. I could see in his eyes he loved my idea, but he also knew how important it was for me to have this perfect.

 We started planning our road trip.

For the first time since changing the date I was excited. This felt right. We would still be able to keep the date -my grandmother’s birthday and he would be dedicated in her happy place …Scottsburgh 

Plan C

It was going to be a suprise and so bears gran had no idea we were coming.

To achieve this we would need to get all our ducks in a row long before arriving in Scottsburgh.  We phoned papas cousin T and with her help we were able to  get the churchs contact number and suprise his gran by just arriving at her door on the Friday. 

I phoned the church when we arrived at our friend in Umtata and together with the pastor and office we set up the suprise dedication for that Sunday. 

Suprise 

The Friday I posted on my Facebook that we were on the road. People assumed as we had been travelling for a week prior that our road trip had ended and we were headed home.

As we got outside her door, I tagged her in a suprise we here photo, she was genuinely shocked as we buzzed and she heard Pappas voice. 

We shouted SUPRISE  for the first time that weekend.

The joy in seeing her grandson was wonderful and I was reassured that this was indeed the perfect dedication plan.

Saturday she gave bear his dedication gifts a bible and silver money box. I resisted the urge to spill the beans , especially when I saw her disappointment at his dedication being cancelled.

We met with T and I was able to arrange the very first cake I’d chosen to be baked. Secret whatsapp messages  bounced between our hushed conversations. 

And more surprises 

Sunday finally arrived and bears gran was trying to get out of attending church. I nearly choked.  How to convince her without being to obvious or revealing the secret.

Finally just before 8am we bundled into the car and headed to church.

We stepped into the warmest reception of people, most aware of the upcoming suprise and winking at us.  Smiles and welcome arms surrounded us and i felt an emotion of joy overwealm me …. please dont let me cry 😂

The pastor took us aside and told us how the ceremony would go and bears gran was happy to see her sister  and family fill the pew next to us.

The service began with well known hymns  and I surveyed the beautiful blue flower arrangements placed on either side of the stage.  Suddenly the pastor called bears gran up to the stage and asked her if she knew why she was called up, her confused reaction indicated …no

“We here to dedicate your grandson ” he stated and called us up to join.

The ceremony

Bears gran began to cry which set me off and as the pastor prayed his dedication over our precious bear i realised this was exactly what I wanted.

There was no white dedication suite , no sharing the same church and pastor as his siblings but there was the one thing I’d wanted to achieve ….

Bear was surrounded by love on his special day.

A time to celebrate

We left the church and headed to T’s home where she had set up a beautiful table with the cross cake just as I’d wanted. 

As i sat down to enjoy a piece of cake papa pointed out that T’s whole home is decorated with a nautical theme . I got my nautical theme after all.

Bear proudly held his certificate for photos and even did a mini cake smash with his first real taste of cupcakes as he enjoyed playing with his cousins. 

As for us …. We could finally tell everyone the real reason for our road trip and share our second suprise that weekend.