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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. 

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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


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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 ? 

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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.

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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. 

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Finding Nemo ….a trip to the Aquarium 

The Aquarium has been on my bucket list for the last 3 years, so when I saw tickets were half price on the Waterfronts museum night I knew exactly where we were headed.

Dressing bear for the Cape winter we headed off early determined to try avoid a long queue. 

Friendly aquarium staff ushered us to the right line and before we knew it we had out tickets and we’re entering the exhibit.

As we entered a photographer snapped our pics for sale later (at R250 a set it’s well worth the memory. 3 pics in a wonderful keepsake frame full of info about the Aquarium,  a postcard and 2 small pics that you can turn into a magnet or keyring)

We always do things the wrong way lol and started at the sharks first. I’d read that they had just this week completed the shark tanks and introduced the few ragged tooth sharks we saw. Bear was in total awe as these magnificent creatures swam slowly past us.

Next we found the Nemo tank where you can crawl into the centre and have a full view of inside the tank. Papa got to snap a few pics of bear and I. I watched as a facinated bear watched  the fish swimming about , babbling about what he saw.

Next we past small tanks of various fish and sea creatures. Each as beautiful as the next, giving us a wonderful glimpse of the oceans secrets.

The wave pool was intriguing and bear giggled each time the ‘wave’ crashed into the large fish pool.

I couldn’t help lingering a little longer at both the star fish and sea horse tanks …two of my favourite creatures.

Soon we came across the jelly tanks , strategically placed in a darkened room the florescent jellyfish seemed to dance before us.

I loved the I &J tanks with a giant turtle shyly hiding in the courner as large sea creatures swam around him . Ahead of us was a tunnel and I wondered what kind of tunnel you’d have at an aquarium. The tunnel is made of glass and as you walk through the fish swim above and to your sides. This allows you perfect close up views of the animals in the tank.

Something that stood out for me was the touch tanks , where bear got to touch sea weed and a live starfish. This was not a sensory experience he enjoyed. He could also dig for fossils. Sadly he’s a bit young to understand what he was doing.

We gave the kids play area a skip,  mostly because it was bears suppertime and we were eager to view the penguins. But it was encouraging to see so many families , especially with small babies visiting. The Aquarium is completely pram and wheelchair friendly.

You smell the penguin enclosure before you see it and if you’ve been to Boulders beach you will know that smell only to well.  A cross between ocean, fish and dirty socks. The penguin are as cute as can be as they stare at their visitors .

I found this the most beautifully decorated exhibit with its wild fauna creating an ambiance of exoticness. 

It was nice to see an area dedicated to how green you are and we noted a kelp forest interactive game for older kids. I also saw a microscope section manned by aquarium staff who were educating the visitors about various sea life.

The sign boards are informative , without being too rigid and the staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have. There were many opportunities to interact with certain exhibits, touch and take unusual photos.

If you haven’t visited , it’s well worth the visit .

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Hamleys train ride

We stepped up to the station at V & A , greeted by the friendly train conductors as they guided us to wait at the train stop guarded by the  wooden Hamleys guard.

Excitement mounted as I paid our R20 each for bears first train ride. It was only after we got home that I noted if we’d taken our tickets to the store inside we could have claimed our free button badges (guess which mamma saved her tickets for the next time we at V & A 😉?)

The polite conductors chatted away to bear, who by now knew something exciting was about to happen and was squealing in delight. After they helped me load my shopping,  fold my pram and pack it into the end coach, the conductor held bear so I could climb in the train. 

Kiddy music filled the air and I was transformed to a noddy story land awaiting our magical train ride.

I couldn’t resist asking the conductor to take a photo or seven to remember our experience.

With a toot of the horn we ambled through the V & A. Rickety sounds of train on cobbled path encompass the ambiance of this unique experience. 
Bear was a picture of delight as he squealed and waved screaming “elo” to all those we passed. Not once would he sit down . He chose to stand and hold on,  scared he would miss something along the way.

The train ride was the most comfortable , safe way to get an overall look at the V & A and just before it turned to head back to the station the driver made snake like patterns , tooting the horn and delighting all the kiddies ( and adults too) .
We ricketly made our way back to the station and I must say I was sorry to see the experience end. Bear loved every moment of the ride and it was well worth R20 each .
A huge well done to Hamleys for employing such helpful, polite staff.