Umtata, Coffee Bay & Family Days

We headed off to Umtata for a big family event week before last. I didn’t actually attend said event as it wasn’t exactly toddler/baby friendly but I squeezed in lots of lazing around drinking tea or G&T (depending on the hour) while Little Man was doted on by far flung family. In particular my BIL & his fiance. “Chickens ride west!” became a running joke over the weekend! I have also decided that as naff as reclining couches might look, they are superbly comfortable and we might just need to get some. When we grow up.

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One of the days we were there we managed to squeeze in a trip down to Coffee Bay. I’ve been there once before, as a student. We stayed in a backpackers that smelt distinctly of ‘Transkei Gold’ (weed) and featured drumming circles and henna art standard evening entertainment. This time we trundled down with two kids in tow, and my MIL. A packed lunch and all the things needed to entertain a small boy on the beach!

The Transkei is such a fascinating place. Wide open vistas of rolling hills. dotted with houses and thatched huts. Horses mules and donkeys, cattle too (always). Turkeys and geese as well as chickens. And of course the unique little black Transkei pigs. We saw two tiny piglets but they shot off before I could get a photo! Driving off the plateau and down into the river valley, there are gallery forests tucked away and thriving thanks to the sheer inaccessability of the geography. Brown silted rivers staining the waves of the sea, locals know that sharks lurk there. Beautiful beaches tucked away between cliffs and rocky outcrops. We parked at the (only) hotel and I popped Munchkin into the wrap while Little Man shot off to go swimming. Despite the cold! ONc his lips were properly blue we tempted him out to build sandcastles. A quick lunch of cheese sarmies on the lawn (and abounce on the trampoline!) and we headed home again. To sleep on the couch in front of the cricket. Perfect day.

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We got home the same day that my parents arrives for a quick visit. Glorious summery weather gave way to the last wintery gasps. Perfect weather for hanging out together sipping tea and snacking on biscuits. Little Man headed back to school (we’re going to have to start factoring in school holiday soon…bah!) while Mum and Dad cuddled Munchkin and did dishes, adn cooked and did all those million little things parents do that go unnoticed until you are a parent yourself. My Mum is doing very well, a clean bill of health from her oncologists and the surgeon in Cape Town was very pleased with her healing. So that was great news. We spent a morning shopping and rounded it out with chocolate cakes and a milkshake (me!). My favourite way to pass the time with Mum.

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Munchkin had his 6 week check up and vaccinations on Monday! All went fine. He’s quite a tall Munchkin! 60cm and 5.6kg!

Catch Up – August

Free time is a very precious commodity around here these days. But right now we are visiting my in-laws in Mthatha. Nanna’s has taken Little Man to the shops/mall. Husband is at work and Munchkin is asleep. I have a giant mug of hot tea and hopefully half an hour to catch up!

I’ve missed this space. I barely wrote anything during my pregnany with Munchkin. I still haven’t replaced my camera and I still feel like my words and images are deeply entwined. One doesn’t happen without the other. But, I have missed this space,so I’m going to try to write more, even if there are no pretty pictures to look at. Perhaps if I commit to just writing, and taking photos with the old camera (which I really don’t love) I can get back into the habit.

So what’s new? Other than the baby obviously, he’s pretty cute by the way. Definitely think we will keep him around. It still blows my mind that I’m a mom of two BOYS. If Little Man is anything to go by we are going to be kept on our toes for a long time to come! Little Man has adjusted remarkably well. Yes there are a few instances of unhappiness and jealousy, but for the most part he has been such a champ. I’m so proud of him because itsnt not an easy adjustment to make. He has funny turns of phrase though 

It’s so gorgeous…even though it’s a boy.”

“I don’t like crying in this house!”

Munchkin is pretty chilled actually. We are slowly settling into a loose routine. Cluster feeding after his bath at 6ish, then a long sleep till 2300 or so. A quick nappy change and a feed then another longish stretch till 02:30ish. Little Man has been coming to our bed around 4am most nights, Munchkin wakes around 5ish. So the mornings are quite hard. Husband has been a fantastic. He and Little Man have a morning routine (the three C’s; cartoons coffee and cornflakes!) which lets me sleep in a bit effort getting up to wave them off to school. Munchkin just goes with the flow during the days. Feeding and nappy changes as required. He’s happy to sleep in his wrap or draped over a shoulder, or in his soft cot.

Little man is now at school every morning during the week. He’s thriving. He can count to 10 easily and up to 13 with a bit of prompting (12, 13, fishtank). He also recognises letters and numbers (though not individually) and has been telling us about the different animals they are learning about and the Milky Way. We are thrilled with his little school and his fantastic teachers. 

I’m recovering really well. I’ve found it much easier this time round. Probably due to being used to the interrupted sleep. I don’t feel as crushed by it as I remember feeling with Little Man. I’m hoping to start teaching a moms and babies Pilates class from September and I’ve been helping out with specimen digitisation at the museum. The extra cash won’t hurt. Unpaid maternity leave truely sucks. Sure there’s UIF but still…

My mom and Dad are coming to spend a few days with us in this coming week. It will be great to see them. Mum has just had a clean oncology check up and is in Cape Town for a follow up with her surgeon at the moment. The weather is playing along, with the first run of properly hot (30+C) days. Summer pyjamas at night, thoughts of icecream and splash pools and spring herb and veggie planting. I’m hoping to take a trip to Kenton on Sea with them, those beaches are gorgeous and Little Man will love the rock pools I’m sure. I and REALLY looking forward to this summer. Little Man is at such a great age, I’m sure we are going to have so much fun.

I did lots of crochet while waiting for Munchkin but haven’t had a chance to do much since. I have a jersey for me planned and a few Christmas pressies. We are with the inlaws for Christmas again this year; still waiting on BIL and his fiancé to set a date and a venue for their wedding….we can’t afford two international trips in a year and they are talking about Italy….we also want to buy a bakkie so we can start taking the boys camping and things like that. Being a grownup is tough sometimes…

Munchkin just woke up….no time to edit hope it’s all more or less understandable!

Photos all from my phone…

Newborn Cloth Nappies – My Experiences

I consider myself somewhat of a veteran cloth nappy user. I used them almost exclusively on Little Man from the time he was ~6 weeks old. I have tried many different brands and styles and just about everything worked for us. So when I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2, (henceforth called The Munchkin), it was a no-brainer to me that we’d “go cloth” from Day 1. I mean, we’ve done this before, how hard could it be? (DundunDUN!)

So I proceeded to buy all the cute newborn nappies as well as rented a set (more on that in another post) and we waited (and waited) for The Munchkin to make his appearance. We are now 4 weeks in, so here are my thoughts and observations after 4 weeks of exclusively using cloth nappies on a newborn.

Please note that this is OUR experience with OUR child and it’s what fits into OUR lifestyle. There is no right or wrong way and there’s no ‘cloth nappy police’ so if you are doing something differently and it’s working for you, please feel free to share your experiences!

Meuconium sprays off suede/fleece liners really easily.
I was quite worried about this ahead of time. I didn’t want hired nappies stained! But it really was no big deal. A nappy sprayer is the best thing you can invest in! We use ours throughout Little Man’s nappy days, and still use it occasionally now for cleaning out his potty or the rare accident. We will obviously use it more when The Munchkin starts solids and we say a fond farewell to newborn poop.

Newborns pee A LOT.
Far far more that you would think would be physically possible for such a tiny person. This was/is  by far my biggest challenge to cloth nappies on a newborn and it boils down to this. If you boost the absorbency “enough” then you end up with an enormous nappy which will invariably have gaps, particularly around the legs and therefore it will leak, defeating the object of said boosting in the first place. Leaks mean you have to change baby’s clothes (and possibly your clothes too, and anything else that the the baby may have come into contact with) which means extra laundry.

Newborns are really small. And Skinny.
How much boosting is enough? Well,  every child is different, we may have been blessed with an exceptionally heavy wetter but I personally feel that pocket nappies are a waste of time. Especially if they come with only a single microfiber insert. Ditto AIO nappies. Yes, they are easy to use and blah blah blah but they take too long to dry and don’t hold enough pee to make them worth it for us. I found that they DID work as long as I changed nappies every 45minutes or so. And that just wasn’t’ happening. In general I found I needed to add at least one, usually more hemp boosters, or a cotton prefold to all AIO/pocket nappies. Which made them too bulky and created gaps and therefore resulted in leaks, laundry, loosing the will to live etc.

Newborns are tiny. And skinny. No really; even if this isn’t your first child, you forget just how tiny they are. Even The Munchkin who was a respectable 4kg at birth! I found fitting nappies correctly difficult for various reasons. His legs were scrawny. He’s only now putting on some delicious fat rolls but in the beginning I really struggled to close up the leg openings on his nappies enough, particularly if we boosted the nappies so they’d last longer. I also found that nappies with snaps had poor snap placement/not enough snaps. In general there are not enough waist snaps to get a good fit, I find many snapped nappies gape at the belly. Additionally often newborn nappies, particularly some WAHM nappies have wide crotches. It can be tricky to squish the width of the crotch enough to get the elastics into the natural pantyline and thus get a good fit. Especially at 2am when he Munchkin is loudly expressing his displeasure at being undressed and withheld from boob.

For us personally, what has worked best have been two options. Well prepped natural fiber prefolds (e.g. Indian cotton prefolds) which have been pad-folded and laid in a cover. I used any PUL outer as a cover including pockets however it did mean that with pocket covers I had to change the whole nappy each time. Munchkin is just starting to get big enough that I can padfold flat nappies and use that in a small OSFM cover (e.g. Bestbottoms) as an AI2 option. It’s not my go-to option yet though.

However, the winner for us has been fitted nappies made from natural fibers. I particularly love Pokkelokkie’s snapless fitteds and MiniMatters size 0 and the solitary LittleLambs Size 1 that came with the set I rented. I make doubly sure I have enough for nighttime because the fitted nappies have been the ONLY nappies that last 2-3 hours (I don’t wake Munchkin to feed overnight, he does that all by himself, and stretches up to 3.5 hours on a good night!).

Fitted nappies require a cover and here I ran into more problems. Many of the PUL covers I used have a cotton binding at the edge, which wicked when the nappy got very wet resulting in leaks (etc etc you know the drill by now!). I found adding a fleece cover OVER everything was a worthwhile insurance policy, particularly overnight when an outfit change meant that we’ve be awake resettling an angry baby for 2+hours. Fleece covers or soakers repel small leaks back towwards the nappy, preventing clothes from getting too wet.

However there is one cover that rules them all….

Wool Soakers = Magic
Wool Soakers are the One Ring of covers. The original cloth nappy guru, Marisa from HippieSafari (go read her blog if you are considering cloth nappies….she’s got allllll the info!) was the reason I chose cloth nappies in the first place.  Anyway, we’ve become IRL friends over the years. She’s recently taught herself to knit and sent me a gorgeous wool soaker for The Munchkin. Now wool soakers as far as I’m concerned are some kind of black magic. I know intellectually that many moms swear by them. Marisa herself uses them as her go-to nighttime cover. But to my mind, there shouldn’t be any way that a simple woolen item, that has been treated with lanolin, should do BETTER than plasticised material (PUL) at keeping wet nappies and warm dry clothes separated. But it does. It’s phenomenal. I need more wool soakers in my stash. And some lanolin.

You will need MORE nappies than you think!
There are cute little formulas such as; newborns need to be change every 2 hours, day and night, so budget on at least 24 nappies, plus a few extras to get you through laundry day.  I often see 30 mentioned as an acceptable number of changes.

Thi is cute. It doesn’t account for the fact that They do not tell you that your squishy little chap will prefer to poo in a brand new dry nappy 10 seconds after you’ve done up all the snaps on his onesie. Or that, given the vast volumes of pee, sometimes nappies will only last 45minutes to an hour. Maybe 1.5 hours if you are lucky. Oh and it will also rain solidly. For a week. Meaning you will be rotating wet nappies on the clothes horse in front of the heater/fan like a crazy person trying to get them dry, just in time for them to be peed in and washed again. I think I have about 35-40 ‘changes’ an this is *just* enough for us to wash every second day.

I primarily use fitted nappies and prefolds which I know are not the fastest to dry BUT…

Ain’t nobody got time to fold flats.
Although MANY MANY Moms swear by the old school flat square, folded fancily & then put on baby and secured; I found folding flats very stressful and not all that successful.  I Googled all the various folding options and I could NEVER get them to fit properly around the legs, which lead to leaks & therefore laundry. If you are a flat-nappy folding guru, then by all means go for it. Flats & covers are one of the most cost efficient options as well as one of the fastest drying options (see: rain for a week).

To conclude…
To be brutally honest, If I had known how much we’d struggle with cloth, particular in the first 2 weeks, I probably would have just bought disposables and not looked back. HOWEVER, that said, I am stubborn to a fault and proud to say that we haven’ resorted to ‘sposies.


Taking Stock {2016} January

Huge congratulations to my cousin Kirsty & her husband Russ on the birth of their perfect pigeon pair! Sending so much love from all of us xx

Making: Baby clothes inventories, nappy inventories, wishlists for re-decorating the kids room…
Cooking: At least one new recipe from my cookbook collection each week. Latest hit was a River Cottage honey’d couscous recipe. So good I made a big batch and delivered it to some new Moms over the weekend. And I have leftovers for lunch today!
Drinking: I bought some fancy Twinnings Early Grey. An after work treat.
Read: The Martian by Andy Weir. I heard so mych about this book. I really did love it and I’m very keen to see the movie sometime.
Wanting: A KitKat, no a BarOne…no…I dunno….


Looking: Forward to a weekend on the farm with some old friends we haven’t seen in far far too long!
Playing:  CandyCrush. Strangely addictive
Planning: Something special for Sprog…
Crocheting:  I have three projects on the go! At least! Little Man’s big blanket is coming along really well. The C2C elephants blankets are….yeah. A pain. I would very likely not do one with a pattern on it again! And then I’m working on a beautiful baby blanket for a friend’s newest baby.

Enjoying: Our new couches! I ca’t believe what a difference it’s made to our lounge and how we use it. I’m slowly working on plans to recover the cushions and building a stash of snuggly-cuddly blankets.
Waiting: Patiently for our next scan. 11th March…
Thankful for: An office with aircon. It’s 40C here today! Did I mention that already?
Wondering: Pink or blue. We’re waiting till Baby is here to find out…but it’s still fun to wonder.

Hoping: For some decent rain later this week.
Marveling: At teeny tiny baby geckos we’ve been finding.
Needing: A really nice hot cup of tea. One of life’s great pleasures.
Smelling: Brick dust and fresh concrete. Building alterations at work.
Wearing:  Loose dresses! Already at the stage where I can’t bear jeans or fitted pants!

Noticing: Darker mornings, the slow slide towards winter.
Thinking: About pilates class for today
Listing: Groceries, things to do, nappy stash!
Excited: For a weekend with good friends. Wide open space for boys to run. The girls will be out numbered 2:5!
Waiting:  For milk delivery so I can make the aforementioned tea…



A portrait of my child each week in 2016. Joining in with Jodie at Practicing Simplicity.

Dad is getting back into the swing of 7-aside hockey. And with your slightly later bedtime, we were able to tag along and support for the first half. Dad’s so thrilled with you he’s finding you your very own mini hockey stick! The evening was no without drama, a mis-step sent you tumbling off the grandstand ending with a big bump on your head. It was still a lovely evening though!

I’m really missing my proper camera. *sigh*



A portrait of my child each week in 2016. Joining in with Jodie at Practicing Simplicity.

After patiently riding on my back for the ParkRun, he gets some time to run around and play on the swings at the local coffee shop.

{2014} | {2015}


2 | 52

A portrait of my children each week in 2016. Joining in with Jodie at Practicing Simplicity.

Little Man: On Saturday we joined some friends for sun-downer drinks up on Mountain Drive.  A glorious evening, full of things to climb over and explore. Gorgeous late evening light. My little adventurer!

Little Sprog: And in other exciting news….! Little Sprog, you are 12w3d old. You should be making an appearance in mid to late-July. So far you’ve caused me some heart burn and sore hips but you are growing well and everything is on track! You will probably not make another appearance here until our 20w scan in March.

1 | 2016

A portrait of my child, each week in 2016. Joining in with Jodie, for the third year in a row, at Practicing Simplicity.

“Smile!” Cute little man, doing his best! He had just dumped powder allllll over his changing table. Such is life with a toddler!