Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lets talk teen/tween skins - well all skins actually

So A have been struggling since last year with the typical skin outbursts the tweens get. We tried face wash and creams - it helped a bit. And then I mentioned it one day at our local pharmacy. They have a nursing sister that works for them and the doctor connected to the pharmacy and she was standing next to the pharmacist that helped me. She quietly hands me two little pill bottles (no brands) and assures me that it will at least help. The total cost was less than R50.

So I started giving A two Brewers yeast tablets in the morning and one Zinc tablet as indicated. My, did it make a difference - in less than a week. Do not get me wrong - the problem is not totally gone, but it is certainly a whole lot better. Our Au Pair at the time also struggled with her skin and promptly went to buy some. She had almost instant results and is still using it. We saw her a few weeks ago and her skin has totally changed. Our student in the office is a beautiful girl but I soon saw that she had a tendency to isolated huge pimples - so I gave her the advice and two weeks on she has absolutely none.

So our secretary started to read up on the benefits of Brewers yeast and it turns out to be a great help for IBS. So from today I am on it too. It of course also contains heaps of Vitamin B too so maybe will help with my tiredness. And the odd pimple - I mean honestly how is it ever possible to have pimples and wrinkles at the same time?

So here's my ten cents of advice for your skin - and your teen or tweens' skin - Brewers yeast and Zinc every day. Any brand - the latest we have is Dischem's house brand and it still works.  Let me know if it helps! Any other teen/tween skin advice to share? What is the best face wash product for them?

Disclaimer - I have no medical or beauty background. This is purely our experience. If you are unsure in any way please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Family gifts for the win!

Let's talk a bit more about gifts. As the kids get older the obvious need for toys get less (I mean they all have so many) and clothes get more difficult (I can not imagine someone knowing what my 12 year old would like - even I sometimes have no idea). Books are always an option. But let's talk Christmas in particular.

We have scaled down a lot for Christmas - maybe I took it too far when they were younger. But we started a new trend two years ago with the in laws - we would agree to buy a family girt for the kids for Christmas and not a gift for each on their own. This means you can buy something more expensive and it is often something that in general can be enjoyed by them all. In 2015 we decided on boardgames and we got Cluedo as a gift. There has been many many games of Cluedo since. (For now we will not discuss the matter or fights around board games....)

In any event in 2016 we agreed on books with the in laws and my children were all 3 delighted to received the Percy Jackson box set. Mr C is almost done with the 3rd book, The Princess has read the first 2 and is waiting to get no 3 fro C and Mr L is patiently waiting until we think his reading level is on par to tackle them. This gift has provided hours of reading fun and will still do so in future.

My mom also gave the kids one gift - Rummikub - which is a fantastic game that I really enjoy playing with them. It has become a somewhat staple Friday night activity for us. It has been apart from the Percy Jackson books the most used Christmas gift of the year. The kids also got a tub of giant marshmallows from a family friend - they have been greatly enjoyed at braais and we still have a few left that I am sure will get demolished soon.

I remember as a child (when we gave way more Christmas presents) there was a general thing with friends, neighbours and family to give say a tin of toffees or Woollies cookies (or homemade ones) to families.I love this idea - as I in general love the idea of boardgames.

I would love to know if you have done or received something similar and what are your thoughts.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Dinsdag en dit is lekker boeke dag!

Ek het 'n liefde vir Ierse skrywers - daar is vir my baie ooreenkomste tussen die Iere en my eie ou volkie. Natuurlik het heelwat van ons 'n lekker tikkie Ierse bloed iewers ook maar dit is hoe ons en hulle familie benader wat my in besonders tref - en natuurlik die Italianers ook.  Behalwe vir die hoog aangeskrewe skrywers soos Frank McCourt ("Angela's Ashes" moet die moderne Ierse boek wees om te lees) en Roddy Doyle wat so raak die Ierse samelewing saamvat ("The Commitments" is my gunsteling en "The Woman that walked into doors" is uitsonderlik ) is daar 'n hele string skrywers wat so in die ligte luim skryf. My gustelinge onder hulle is Marian Keyes (lees haar "This Charming Man" ) en dan ook  Sinead Moriarty - sy het die talent om heerlike stories oor gewone families en gewone goed wat gebeur lekker en met genoeg humor te vertel. My gunsteling boek van haar is "Me and my sisters" - so lekker familie storie oor drie susters wat almal op een of ander manier hulself moet bymekaar skraap om deur iets te gaan wat hul w√™rel omver gooi - en dit regkry met hul susters se hulp. Gits ek wou nog altyd susters gehad het.

Ek was dus heerlik verras om in Bernette Bergentuin se "Stilettos' van Staal" 'n heerlike Afrikaanse storie van drie susters te ontdek wat my net so vermaak het. Sy het dieselfde talent as Sinead Moriarty om families met deernis te ondersoek met 'n lekker storie. Die boek spreek van familie en liefde en hoe situasies daarin hanteer word. Lona, Vanessa en Sienna Beauman het elkeen hul unieke persoonlikheid en unieke stel probleme op die oomblik dat hul pa besluit om die familie besigheid in 'n openbare maatskappy te omskep. Elke vrou gaan iewers aanklank vind by een (of meer ) van die susters - Lona wat op 'n laagtepunt swoeg deur babas en kleuters met 'n lyf wat dit wys, Vanessa wat as professionele vrou besef die lewe bestaan uit meer as werk en Sienna wat sukkel om te voldoen aan haar familie se verwagtinge wat haar studies betref . Die dogters van 'n Afrikaanse pa en Italiaanse ma beweeg in die warmte van 'n heerlik vermengde famlie.

Wat ek werklik geniet het was die heerlike Pretoria verwysings - natuurlik aangepas om soms by die storielyn te pas (en sommige verouderd met nuwe verwikkelinge in Hatfield) - maar ek kon die karkaters in my geboortestad en Alma Mater sien en volg. Tukkies se kampus weer herleef en indrink.

Stiletto's van staal is 'n heerlike ligte romatiese komedie oor familie en susters. Die liefde en grappies, die onderstrominge en die hartseer. Ek het die boek werklik geniet en gaan besis nog van Bernette Bergentuin se boeke lees. 'n 7/10 vir lekker lees en ontspan.

Monday, 6 February 2017

How to raise succesful kids

No , I do not claim to know how to - after all my oldest child has just turned 12 an I am finding the road to puberty a tad challenging at times. I have however talked about over parenting before (I have since remove that post as it went slightly viral and I was a tad scared it may find its way to the eyes of the parties mentioned). But to summarize  - in our school we have a lot of parents who are over involved in their children's lives. Parents that almost live through their children. Children that cheated to get the marks their parents wanted. I do believe this is a global problem and not just our school, our city or even South Africa.

At the parents evening at our school this brilliant TED talk video was shown - and I thought that most of us can benefit from listening to it - to either give ourselves a pat on the back and reinforce what we believe or to think a bit about how we approach our children. Also listen out for her take on chores - I love it because I firmly believe it too. My new word for the year is "self-efficacy" - I am planning to raise my kids with it intact

I would more than any other post love your feedback on this!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Five for Friday edition 27

Gosh Friday already!

1. Oh I adore taking photographs - I took some for a school function on Wednesday and I love love some of them! Some tells stories and some express emotions while others are just beautiful for being beautiful - showing light and composition.

2. The rain has caused havoc with the athletics meetings this season and it seems just like that we are done for now. Just for the swimming season to start in full force this week.

3. I really need to start drawing and doodling again. Our Au pair this year is an art student and she and A turned the humble paper plane into an artwork yesterday - I miss drawing.

4. Tomorrow promise to be a fun day for the kids - all 3 are attending water based parties at two venues - if it looks worth r  I will report back.

5. I can not really say our little dancer anymore, can I? But the dancer in our household has decided to add "ole" to the usual and 5,6,7,8's and attempt Spanish. At this stage it is this term only for the annual concert but we will see how it goes.

With that my 5 for Friday is done - care to share yours?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The thing with gifts

Gosh it's been a tad quiet here? It's not that I don't have anything to say - I have lists and lists of blogpost ideas and some half written ones. But it's been busy - start of the year busy. I am sure you know what I mean. The year is a month old and A is going to her fourth birthday party already. No really! So today I thought I want to talk about presents.

I have always liked to gift money as a gift - and I do believe kids like to get it. Throw it all together and buy something proper. But on the other hand I have seen how much my kids enjoy getting a nice present among the money. A this year got a huge soft and very pretty swimming towel as a gift from one of her friends that also swims. She absolutely adores that towel that is hers only. It was a great gift that she will remember way after she has spent the money she got.

Our kids all have way too many toys to start with. As you all know (if you have ever read anything here) I am a tad passionate about books and reading. I honestly believe the word will be lost if there are no books and no stories. But books have become expensive and almost a luxury. So together with the kids we have decided that this year is our 'Year of the Book". We are giving books only as gifts this year - unless it would be totally unsuitable for some reason.

I send the mom a message to say "We are giving books as gifts this year - is there something specific your child would like to read?" Every mom (there were 5 already this year) replied so positively - with comments like "what a wonderful idea" and "wow - can I copy that idea? Because honestly I believe every mom either wants her kid to read more or has a kid that is reading everything they can find - and both types need new books. The first mom immediately replied with the newest released of a series - which was great . I bought exactly that. The rest did not have a specific idea - so what I do is to make a proposal and ask if they kid has the specific book. With the grade 6 girls we are building a series among them - I have bought 3 of them books of the same series (and A has another) so that they can swap out and read them all. I hope that somehow with this I can spur on the culture of reading.

So tell me - would you have an issue if I do this for your kid? Or will you be doing the happy dance? I have another gift post coming - about family gifts for Christmas in stead of individual ones.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Tuesday - books day. The Satanic Mechanic by Sally Andrew

I absolutely loved Sally Andrew's first Tannie Maria book "Recipes for Love and Murder". It was an absolute joy to read and apart from the great plot it was the people, food and places that really sparked the joy in me. I have a huge love for the Karoo, it's people and it's food. I immediately had the urge to read another Tannie Maria book - which I only managed in December but was it a worth the wait? Totally!

In the second Tannie Maria mystery Sally Andrews brings us back all our favorites from the previous book. Some just get a mention but others are once again the main or supporting characters. Oh the joy of finding the familiar in another page turner! The stunning recipes also return and once again I constantly felt hungry while reading the book. I am planning to bake her Venus cake this weekend.

This book however delves a bit deeper into Tannie Maria's past and the reasons why she handled some issues as she did in the first book - and once again in this book. The theme of the abuse of woman on many levels are highlighted even stronger and a lot of the story line touch base on abuse in all forms and how it affects the abused and those around them. However the tone stays in the light hearted off handed manner in which Andrews writes and Tannie Maria speaks and thinks.

To add to it all the plot in this book is interwoven with many stories and characters and the guilty party was a total surprise for me. Sally Andrew was my new English writer discovery of 2016 and I literally am keeping an eye on her website every day to find out when the next Tannie Maria book will be available.

By now most of you know I do have a bit of a thing about covers - I do feel it adds so much to a book if a cover is well designed and I have been know to buy books simply because the design appeals. I also for instance put off reading "I am Pilgrim" because I found the cover so uninspiring. I adore the Tannie Maria covers though - well designed, strong graphics and with a bit of a retro feel which is totally how I picture Tannie Maria in my mind.

A truly unique voice in South African English fiction this is one of my best reads for 2016. 10/10 and a must read. (Have a look here on her website for an extract from the first book and yo may get an idea of the way she tells a story)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Five for Friday edition 26

1. Well we are all back to school and back to work and it's been busy - athletics colours sport done (so proud that all 3 our kids tried at least two items). The Princess has one athletic meet done - presenting the school in discus. Who would think that tall and skinny one does discus. However she seems to enjoy it a lot. Today is colours gala and C is swimming for the first time. I am so proud that he made this decision and is pushing through (I hope)

2. I am trying new recipes this year - 3 down so far of which one was really not great and the other two (both past based) winners. I have promised some Instagram peeps the recipes and will do so soon.

3. I am enjoying our veggie patch a lot - we have monster radishes lurking there but the carrots and cocktail tomatoes are doing extremely well too. I have just planted new salad plants.

4. The kids all seem to be coping of sorts with the new school year. C is very tired of that huge new backpack and L of the new homework load but I am sure it will all sort out in the next week or two. We seem to have found a wonderful new au pair - but I am planning to write a whole post about au pairs. this year it took a lot of interviews and I think some of you may be able to learn something from my experience.

5.Do you know that Monoply, everybody's favorite board game is thinking of booting our favorite tokens? That includes Scottie the dog - my personal favorite! Just as with the Mzansi version we as the public are getting a chance to vote for this.

You have until the 31st of January, to visit and choose the eight tokens that you’d like to see in the next generation of the MONOPOLY game.  You can pick eight tokens, once per day, from the list of more than 50 contenders including the current tokens and new options such as a penguin, rubber ducky and bunny slipper.  

So please vote for Scottie and save him! I did!

With that I hope you have a great weekend! What's your 5 for Friday?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Just like that we have a 12 year old!

Guys, time flies! Honestly just the other day we had our little baby girl. Such a beautiful content baby that slept through almost from day one. That loved food and playing. The little baby became a quite sassy little girl that kept us on our toes in the toddler years, just to become a stunning level headed girl. The tween that followed showed a lot of guts and determination - brave and always willing to do her part. Now she is on the brink of being a teen when she turned 12 a week ago and I simply can not believe we are this blessed. Blessed to have a girl that always have time for the underdog, for nature and above all for animals.

May your 12th year be blessed with happiness my girl child - may your heart always stay as pure as it is.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Dinsdag - en tyd vir boeke

Inspekteur Derek Briel vermy Luderitz al lank - sy grootword dorp waar sy pa steeds bly. Totdat hy geen keuse gelaat word nie en soontoe gestuur word om die moord op die Jurgen troost te ondersoek - 'n moord waarvan baie van die feite net nie sin maak nie. Sy vrou is vies oor hy soontoe moet gaan en praat nie eers met hom nie en boonop is hy hond siek en voel hy kan nie reguit dink nie. Die teenwoordigheid van sy skool verliefdheid, sy juffrou Lena wat boonop sy pa se buurvrou is, help nou nie eintlik om sy kop helder te hou nie.

Konrad skryf 'n effe anders spanningsverhaal met twee storielyne - een wat 'n groot deel grootword verhaal insluit in die terugflitse na Derek se skooldae en dinge wat toe gebeur het en hoe dit sy lewe vandag beinvloed. Die ander is natuurlik die hedendaagse en word parallel vertel.

Die skrywer skep weereens 'n wonderlike omgewing en atmosfeer vir die verhaal - die mistigheid en reuke wat in Luderitz rondhang word so deel van die verhaal dat dit amper 'n karakter op sy eie is. Dit is een van Isa Konrad se skryfelemente wat ek regtig baie geniet. So ook die ou huis waarin Lena bly - mens kan hom duidelik in jou kop teken. Met dit saam moet ek melding maak van die besondere mooi taal wat sy gebruik in die boek - beskrywend sonder langdradigheid. 

Die spanningslyn het 'n goeie pas en die ontknoping is meesterlik en was vir my onverwags. Ek lees vreeslik baie spanningsverhale en as 'n skrywer my onverwags vang is dit werklik goed gedoen. Daar is heelwat karakters wat elkeen volledig ingekleur is. Wat egter vir my uitstaan van hiedie boek is die motiewe wat herhaal en die lyn in die twee verhale deurtrek - motiewe soos metastase, skande en kanker. Auschwitz word ook as 'n motief en die gebeure daar rondom in ons kollektiewe geheue word opgeroep en trek deur die boek. 

Die Ondenkbare is 'n meesterlike boek en 'n uitstekende lees. 'n Wonderlike grootword verhaal in die tradisie van Stephen King se "The body" (jy sal dalk die fliek "Stand by me" beter onthou) en soveel ander verhale oor hoe een gebeurtenis 'n kind tot grootword kan dwing in 'n oogwink. Lees gerus - jy gaan beslis nie spyt wees nie - 9/10.