The Good, The Bad and The Pretty of Motherhood: Travel & Tantrums, Mom-Guilt & Mascara, Shopping & (Not) Sleeping. Navigating my way through Motherhood! PrettyBelle is specifically designed for chic Mamas, so that you can live life beautifully.
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I remember when I was 37 weeks pregnant with Minki… I was sitting on the couch, with my bulging bump, telling my husband that this baby needs to get out NOW! There’s no way that my tummy can stretch anymore.
I couldn’t believe that my once flat tummy was able to stretch like that… I knew that the inevitable was bound to happen – stretchmarks.
But thanks to Mustela – an amazing stretchmarks prevention oil, I walked away with absolutely no scars. I’m almost 20 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and no matter how tired I am, I put on some miracle oil before I go to bed.
Don’t know if it’s just me but my smelling senses went into overdrive and I can’t bear wearing my favourite perfume let alone a strange overpowering scent on my bump.
It Absorbs Easily
Since I can remember, I hate body lotion. Weird, but true. I just don’t like my legs and arms all sticky… So rubbing lotion on my bump is not my idea of fun, but this dry oil texture absorbs real quick into the skin, leaving it soft and silky to touch! No stickiness guaranteed!
According to mustela.com 90% women will be left with stretchmarks. Although each scar shows that your body did an amazing thing you can prevent stretchmarks.
1. Massage with oil!
Apply some oil to the palm of your hands and massage your belly for 2 minutes. Move to your hips, thighs and breasts (where stretchmarks are most likely to appear) and repeat the process morning and evening.
2. Drink up!
Yes, you read this everywhere and it’s a cliché but it’s so important to stay hydrated. Why? Because the water you drink provides your skin with the hydration necessary for it to remain healthy. Keep your skin cells healthy and hydrated with at least 8 glasses of water per day.
3. Get up!
Exercise will keep your skin firm and help prevent stretchmarks. When you suffer from nausea (like me) exercise is not really an option but you can still take a quick walk around the block.
4. Eat well (or better)!
Again you’ve heard this before. And no judgement here: I’m eating a KitKat a day… But do try and make some changes to your diet and you will be surprised. Stock up on fruit and veggies and steer clear of junk food, fried food and anything processed.
Also cut the sugary drinks and replace them with tea or water. Easier said than done, I know!
5. Stress less!
Take some time out of your busy schedule and put those swollen ankles up. When you get stressed, your body releases hormones that can interfere with your skin’s natural healing and regulation process. Find your stress free zone and do not feel guilty taking some time for YOU!
6. Be patient…
I know you can’t wait to jump back into your bikini or stylish one piece but give it some time Mama… Your body carried a little human for 9 months. It will take some time to get back to your former glory.
Trust me on this one! No more waking up peacefully, sipping on a cup of filter coffee, watching Morning Live and scrolling through Instagram. It’s. Chaotic. You would think that getting a little person to school on time is easy, think again!
Most days Minki refuses to change her diaper, insist on watching Barney (till the end), puts on 5 different outfits, wants nothing to do with her porridge until it’s time to go and then she wants to take 28 random pieces of crap with her to school = we are always late for school.
Tip: For your own sanity, try to get up at least 15 minutes before your kids do — even if you just check Instagram and sip a cup of coffee, you’ll have time to gather your thoughts before the morning chaos begins.
2. You Will Have To Be Prepared
Yeah I know this part, wait and take a minute and read it! Set aside time at night to prep for the next day. Pack lunch- and snack items, fill water bottles, gather after-school gear and ask kiddo to select an outfit in advance.
Getting the details out of the way will leave you more available to focus on your little one during the chaotic morning routine.
Tip: Invest in a cute lunchbox! This one from Oops is super fun and it’s a cooler which means fresh sarmies and snacks at any time of the day.
3. They Will Be Hungry!
Your child will be starving when they come home. Absolutely famished. Kindergarten is a long day away from home, packed with activities, burning a lot of energy. It depends on the kindergarten but typically kids eat once during the day
Make sure to pack healthy snacks (in a adorable lunchbox) to avoid a famished kid at the end of the day.
4. They Will Need The Right Backpack.
So buy the (right) backpack ASAP! Yes, there are loads to choose from and I had my fair share. But this easy backpack from OOPS ticks all the boxes:
It’s the perfect size! The dimensions have been designed to meet the needs of younger children.
It’s not too heavy! It’s light, but roomy and durable.
It’s easy to clean! All you need is water.
It’s perfectly made for little Brainiac’s – equipped with adjustable child friendly shoulder straps.
It’s colourful – The 3D characters come to life and will make any kid smile!
5. They Might Not Be The Best Behaved Child At Home For A While
I was shocked when my little cutie pie started acting all sassy and talking back a bit more after school. My first reaction? She definitely learned this at school! But then I spoke to her teacher and hearing that she was basically a little angel at school – not showing any of those traits in the classroom.
So the problem lies with me? No, stop with the mom-guilt Momma! There’s a scientifically proven explanation:
Children “use-up” their positive behaviour at school. At home they tend to be over-tired, irritable and act up more often.
Simply put: They know you love them no matter what, so they show their true feelings around you – no “pretending.”
What worked for us is an earlier bedtime, more wine for me (before I was pregnant) and loads and loads and loads of patience…
And if you are lucky you will have your well behaved child back in no time… or not!
I’m a happy person. Let me rephrase that: I use to be a happy person. Let me just say that while I’m writing this I’m thinking of not posting it. Why? Because it’s embarrassing, it’s personal and I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there ready and willing to judge me. But here goes…
I’m Pregnant But…
I’m pregnant but I’m depressed. I know it’s wrong and it’s frowned upon because how can you be depressed when you are so blessed? Please don’t get me wrong – This is not to dismiss the miracle of pregnancy but to address a very real condition. While it seems like postnatal depression is widely accepted and talked about it occurred to me that prenatal depression is frowned upon and most women keep quiet about it.
There is the expectation that a woman’s experience of pregnancy should always be joyous, but the truth is that pregnant women often put emotional and mental pressure on themselves to feel happy all the time.
I’m in the middle of it right now and it’s hard. It’s so damn hard.
It was a slow downward spiral for me since the first moment I realised I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with fear, not joy because I could not imagine that I have to go through hyperemesis graviderum (extreme nausea) again. Read my previous blogpost about this crippling disease.
And the worst part? I tried. I really tried. I try every single day to be positive. To stop the constant worrying. To not be anxious. But it’s like an uncontrollable wave bursting over me and I’m drowning. I cannot control it. Nothing is funny anymore, I avoid my friends, I dread each day.
I cry a lot – out of desperation, fear, when I vomit, when I lie down, when I try to explain these feelings to those close to me.
Admitting The Truth…
It’s not something I’m proud of but it happened. And it happened to me. Bubbly, happy go lucky Helene. It just did. I got sucked in a big black hole and I miss my life. I look at photographs where I’m healthy and happy and I long for those days.
One morning I woke up with unbearable ear pain, a pain that shot down to my throat. I went to the doctor, thinking it’s an ear infection, but he surprised me by asking (out of the blue): “Are you very anxious about something?” Needless to say his kind tone was all I needed to spill the beans and I told him everything about my fear for nausea, my anxiety attacks, how I cannot enjoy this pregnancy because I’m constantly paralysed with fear. He just sat there, listened and then he said: “I would never wish HG on any of my patients. It’s a horrible, crippling disease. But the reason for your ear pain is because you are so stressed out. We need to find you help and you need to find a way to cope and maybe even start to enjoy your pregnancy.”
The Turning Point…
That visit was the turning point. My body was literally getting sick, because of the constant angst and fear. I realised then that I needed help and that I could not go on like this anymore.
After speaking to my gynea, we decided that I need to take a mild anti-depressant amongst other lifestyle changes (eat better, exercise more) and I’m not sharing this to promote anti-depressants during your pregnancy! I’m just sharing my story, because I’m sure that somewhere there’s maybe someone who’s feeling the same desperate feelings.
You Are Not Alone…
It’s such a cliché but you really are not alone: One in ten woman is suffering with the condition during some point in their pregnancy. At a time when everyone expect you to be glowing, I was down in the dumps and couldn’t’ deal with the stress and anxiety by myself anymore, my brain checked out.
The Way Forward…
I still have a long way to go, but I’m already seeing light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Thanks to my Mom, who had to console me endless times, my doctor Dad who puts me on IV drips to stop the nausea and of course my patient hubby, who just wants me to get back to my old self. My lovely little baby girl, suddenly so grown up, who just wants her Mommy to get better to play and laugh with her again.
I’m not there yet… but I’m on my way and for now that’s enough for me.
*’If you feel down at least every other day for a couple of weeks, see your GP to rule out pregnancy depression. Your GP will be able to diagnose your symptoms, and help you get the support you need.
So this weekend it was MInki’s 3rd birthday. Say what? Yes, time flies and it’s hard to realise she’s growing up, but deciding on a theme for her birthday party was easy. I just thought about what she loves most in this world!
The answer: Ice cream and pretty dresses (Rokkies & Roomys)
So (un)fortunately on a good day (when I didn’t feel nauseous), I made the crazy decision to host Minki’s birthday party at our house. And I’m no DIY queen, let me tell you that.
But in the end I settled for some clever (easy) Pinterest ideas and it was one crazy fun filled party. Are you thinking of bringing the party back to your house? Then scroll down for some quick and easy tips.
Keep the décor simple
No really! Pinterest is great, but the thing is my creations never quite turn out like those on my pinned board. So skip the super complicated stuff and stick to the basics.
DIY ICE CREAM CONES
I (okay we), made ice-cream cones (The ones you can see hanging from the ceiling). All you need is some party hats, pom pom balls and a willing husband.
Tie the pom pom balls to the party hat for a huge 3D ice-cream! We used ribbons to keep the balls in place. Constructed in front of the TV while watching SA Bachelor! #valentinesdayfun
Simple but eye catching!
THE PARTY BAGS
Lets be honest – kids really don’t care about how their party bags look – they just want to know what’s inside! It’s the inside that counts right? So once again, I kept it simple with colourful paper bags, printed some cute pictures from Pinterest, and glued it on and TA-DA!
TIP: Write each kid names on their party bag, it gets crazy real quick and you don’t want your kid to scream about her cheese curls, when it’s actually, well uhm not hers.
Oh how I wish I could take the credit for this creation? But thanks to a very dear friend (whose’ also a master baker), Minki got the cake of her dreams: a Barbie Princess with a huge puffy floral dress. Tied in perfectly with the “Rokkies & Roomys” theme.
The kids couldn’t wait to cut the cake and gasped when they saw the rainbow colours inside! Best of all – the cake was yummy! Young and old were licking their fingers and Minki kept stuffing cake in her mouth (it’s her party after all)!
I’ve got this super cute ice cream bowls (With matching ice-cream spoons) at the china mall. I mean how cute is that? It served a double purpose – kids were eating their cake and ice-cream inside their little ice cream bowels and it was such a big part of the décor. Gotta love China!
In a matter of seconds Minki’s friends destroyed my beautiful setting and were soon looking for other entertainment. Everybody got into their swimming costumes and the party continued in the swimming pool.
Finally ice cream cones were served – have you taste Ola’s Rich and Creamy Birthday Party Flavour? It’s to die for!
Kids were running around, obviously on a sugar high, screaming and swimming and Minki was in the middle of it all, soaking up all the attention, in her pretty pink dress from Cotton On Kids.
The day was a huge success, everybody had loads of fun and way too much sugar. My house looked like a battlefield but hey, it only happens once a year!
Oh and the one thing you should do at kiddo’s next birthday party?
Please RSVP – whether your child will or won’t attend. RSVP as soon as you get the invitation so that you don’t forget! We’re all terribly busy these days, but it takes only a minute to text and say, “Tommy would love to go.”
And the one thing you should NOT do?
Please don’t assume the party is a drop off (especially if your kid is under 5). Your kid = your responsibility!
I’m sitting here, writing while tears are streaming down my face… Maybe it’s the hormones, maybe I’m just overwhelmed. Or maybe it’s the fear.
Most of you know by now that I’m pregnant. 12 weeks pregnant! Feels kinda unreal typing it, but its true (according to my gynaecologist, blood tests, 2 sonars and an endless amount of pregnancy sticks).
So why am I crying? Apart from the huge hormonal change, I’m paralysed by fear: My first pregnancy I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme, crippling nausea).
The moment I found out I was pregnant my first thought was I can’t do this again. I know I was supposed to be happy, to be overjoyed but I was paralysed with fear. I can’t. I can’t do 280 days of constant vomiting. Laying in a dark room for most of the day. Stop working. Stop seeing people. How am I going to take care of Minki? How will I explain this constant, crippling nausea to her?
How will I explain to her that this shadow of a human being is her once crazy but happy Mama???
Knowing how sick I was last time, to go through the absolute torture again.
A Million thoughts rattled through my mind, the fear overshadowed the joy by far.
When I was almost 6 months pregnant with Minki, I fell into a deep and dark hole of depression because of hyperemesis gravidarum. I felt like I had nothing left, except wishing the days (and myself) away. It was truly the most difficult time of my entire life. Caitlin Dean, from The Spewing Mummy says it best:
“It’s putting yourself through the absolute torture that is hyperemesis all over again. It’s the knowing just how sick you will be and remembering the constant torture of nausea night and day for 280 days. The weight loss and feelings of malnutrition and dehydration and the dizziness, headaches and pain that those cause. It’s the knowledge that the drugs only help a bit really and that most of them have side effects that are almost as unpleasant as the vomiting anyway.”
So I prayed… I got down on my knees, crying like a little baby and I prayed. I begged God to please please please do not let me get this sick this time round. I just can’t deal with it again. I just cannot.
But today, now, 12 weeks pregnant with baby number 2 and its going okay. I’m still unbelievably scared. Don’t’ get me wrong! I break out in cold sweat every time I get nauseous and start hyperventilating. I think that this time the nausea is here to stay, it won’t go away and this will be my life for the next 6 months.
I use the drugs and the side effects are horrible. But it helps a little bit… I still fear that I’m missing out on Minki’s daily life. That I will miss out on my sisters wedding. That hubby won’t be able to cope with all the extra responsibilities.
But it’s NOT like last time. It’s NOT constant. I can survive this. Maybe I can actually even do this?
To be honest up until now it has not felt real because I’m just fighting the nausea. But the other day I saw baby’s tiny legs kicking away in my womb. For the first time I felt like maybe, just maybe everything is going to be all right.
And even though being pregnant with Minki was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I will do it again in the blink of an eye, I will choose hyperemesis again, if she’s the prize at the end of all the vomiting.
And when times are hard, running to the bathroom, vomiting, not eating, feeling super depressed then I just need to imagine that a little personality is growing inside me and that one day, he will make me laugh just as hard as Minki is making me laugh Now. Every. Single. Day (even throughout the nausea).
Jennifer Aniston totally rocked the layered look in the 90’s – then someone I know went to the hairdresser, a picture of Jen, clutch to her chest…
After an hour or two of snipping, the result… Not so much Jennifer Aniston as Jenny from the block. Okay, lets be honest, I’m not talking about a dear friend, I’m talking about myself and the truth is I did not look anything like Jennifer. “The Rachel” did not flatter me at all.
Why? The answer: Face shapes! Jen has an oval- and pear face shape and I’m stuck with oblong.
Have I lost you there? Let me explain. Studies have shown that there are 10 different face shapes. Each shape has certain rules or characteristics. Faces usually have features of two of the 10 face shapes, rather than one, but just go with the shape that is most similar to your face.
Pull your hair back – standing in front of mirror.
Draw the outline of your face with a lip- or eye pencil.
Pick the shape that most closely resembles your drawing.
Ps: As an image consultant I studied a module just about face shapes and I have different ways to determine it based on a million rules, this is just a quick fix.
So why do you need to know your face shape – duh, so you can decide on the best, trendy hairstyle for your face (there’s more reasons, but lets just focus on hairstyles for this blog).
The Top 5 Trendy Hairstyles for 2019
1. Curtain Bangs
Ideal for square- or oval faces.
You want bangs, but your just not ready for that kind of high maintenance. The answer: Curtain bangs: They are the perfect way of changing the face frame of your haircut, without the high-maintenance that comes with a blunt fringe.
2. The Perm is back
Ideal for long faces – oblong and rectangle.
Could it be? Yes! The search for that perfect beach waves is still on and ladies are taking a break from their curling iron and trying out the more (perm)anent perming coils. Just add a sea salt spray and ta-da! Goodbye GHD! Finally!!!
3. Blunt bob
Ideal for heart shaped- and oval faces
If you have fallen into love with the lovely lob from last year, breath a sigh of relief. It’s still going strong in 2019. Update on the lob: Go blunt! This year’s version of the bob is blunt and hits at the jawline, but when tucked behind the ear, you’ll get an A-line effect.
4. Wispy no-fuss layers
Ideal for square faces
Take that Jennifer! Long wispy layers are back! Why do we love layers so much? It’s perfect for most hair types! This hairstyle makes a soft face frame that will make the hair less heavy around the face and if you create long layers in long hair, you create movement without losing the beautiful, full length.
With no-fuss we mean no fuss, like Jessica Biel in The Sinner.
5. Pixie Cut
Ideal for oval- or round faces
Step out of your comfort zone and try a new look. Pixie styles are on the rise in 2019. Volume at the top balance out a round face perfectly.
But if this is YOU…
If you are a normal human being also known as a Mom and feels like me: Tired, overwhelmed, overused on dry shampoo and you are still five minutes late every. single. morning then hold onto this (and Tresemme’s dry shampoo):
What does a valuable life skill, purple eggs and unicorns have in common? The Nurchums fantasy hatching egg of course!
The fantasy egg craze have been around for a while now. Worldwide kids are intrigued and delighted by hatching toys. I always wondered why kids (and grown-ups) are so fascinated with this concept. I mean with screen time and I pads why would a simple egg capture kiddo’s imagination?
Ps: The Nurchums Fantasy Hatching Egg, which introduces your child to the element of surprise, is currently the top-selling toy for Keycraft Globally. Retailers worldwide are rejoicing and so are parents!
The answer is as simple as the toys instruction: The fantasy egg forms part of a toy range that inspires imagination, encourages compassion and engrosses your child in following the simple instructions – just pop the egg in water and watch the toy inside hatch and grow.
This glittery purple egg forms part of the fantasy range and you never know what you might get – it could be a mythical unicorn or an enchanting fairy.
First off the egg is really big – like Barney might jump out big, which instantly sparks curiosity. I hate to admit it, but my curiosity was tickled. “What’s inside Mommy?” Minki asks with her eyes wide open.
HOW DOES THE FANTASY EGG WORKS?
The instructions are fairly simple (and there’s pictures, if you are too lazy to read). The attractive, coloured eggs containing themed toys are submerged in water, and after a few days, cracks start to appear in the egg-shells. There’s great excitement as the cracks start to widen and kiddo gets a glimpse of the toy they are helping to hatch.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
According to the specifications you need to leave the egg in water for 48 – 72 hours. After 24 hours there was a small crack in the egg, but we could not really see anything.
48 hours later there was a little nose peeping through – causing Minki to jump up and down with joy.
72 hours later the top half of the egg cracked open and just because I have a very impatient two year old, we could not wait any longer. We took out the cracked egg and remove the pieces, to reveal a slippery unicorn baby.
“Aaaaw, oooh, aaaw it’s a baby horsie!” Minki was patting the baby horsie also known as a unicorn, softly on the back and refused to put it back in the water to grow: “Dis nou my baba Mamma!”
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
Blame it on the teacher in me, but I’m a huge fan of educational toys, it makes me unexplainable happy. Here’s a bit of teacher talk, so bare with me: As a Socio Emotional Learning (SEL) toy line, Nurchums involves kids in nurturing and fostering patience while providing a tangible experience of gaining rewards through delayed gratification.
In non-teacher language: What I love about this fantasy egg is that it teaches Minki PATIENCE.
Something my two year old definitely does not have. I couldn’t believe that she was fine with the fact that we have to wait 24 hours before something will happen.
Even after the 24 hours and nose peeping scenario, she was totally fine when I said we need to wait because the egg needs to stay in the water to grow even more.
She was learning a valuable life skill through a toy. Amazing!
Not to mention to joy on her face when we finally revealed horsie! Emphasizing the fact that good things take some time: gaining reward through delayed gratification.
The best part: Once free of the egg, returning horsie to fresh water will enable it to grow to its full size, which can take up to 10 days. Out of water, the toy will return to its original size, and it can be put back in water to grow over and over again.
Ps: Horsie is now a visitor at Minki’s school, where 21 other kids can watch her grow even more and maybe master a valuable life skill in the process.
Nurchums are available at Plasticland, Toy Kingdom, TOYS R US, select SPARS and other independent toy shops.
“What do you want from meeeeeeee!!!!????” I scream, while the computer is shaking and my hand is still burning from hitting the table.
I’m a mess. I’m hungry, tired, irritated and I can’t seem to find the one dvd Minki desperately wants to watch.
My almost 3 year old sits back – and calmly retorts: “Praat net mooi met my Mamma.”
Kapow!!! Kadoosh! Swoesh! I’m speechless. I’m officially the worst Mom in the world.
In my defense… It was dvd nr 23 and it’s still not right. It’s been a long holiday, where I poured all my love and affection onto her… It’s no excuse for my behavior. But it happened and I feel horrible.
I desperately want to be that mom who can spend the entire December holiday with her kids and at the end of the day (holiday)? Still look like a million bucks and speak as calmly as Christel from Bachelor in Paradise. (Google her, her voice is making headlines).
But here I am, just Helene, not Calm Christel from Bachelor (also I do not have her abs)! Starting out each day with the best intentions – and then it’s 11:55 and I’m done. I’m just done.
Please can we change your diaper? “No, no no!”
Please can we dress you? “No, no, no!”
What do you want to eat? “No, no, no!” Not really an answer but still no?
Me going to the toilet… 1 second later… “Moooooooommmyyyyy!!!!”
Me taking a sip of my first cup of coffee… “Mooooommyyyyy!!!!”
Me trying to send a Whats App… “Give me your phone!”
Me eating a sandwich (because I’m starving) – “Can I have your sandwich???”
Note: Not in a sweet “may I” voice, more like “You are giving me your sandwich right now, or else…”
Me trying to watch Binnelanders – I want to watch Tomas (Damn that silly train)!
Me walking with her outside in the blistering December heat – “I want to go inside!!!”
Me blowing bubbles – “They are not big enough!” Say what?
Me putting on a dress and attempting to comb my hair: “You look pretty Mama, where are we going?”
And just like that all the above disappears. She’s my little friend, buddy and companion. Yes, she’s the most demanding friend I have ever had, but in her defense she’s two and she’s figuring stuff (herself) out.
So here I am, finally having a minute to type this and I want to cry. I want to cry because I miss her already. I want to cry because I’m feeling guilty that I felt relieved when I dropped her off at school. I’m crying because I’ve lost my temper. I’m crying because I can’t blow big enough bubbles.
I’m a mess.
And right on cue my phone beeps. Staring at the Whats App picture her teacher just sent me, there’s my little buddy, playing and laughing – having a real good time. And I realise that I’m actually not that bad.
I’m just a Mom. And that makes me human.
Ps: Apparently Minki’s teacher blows the exact right size bubbles.
Pss: I actually love Christel and I secretly admire her.