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Instead of teaching about the lifespan of sperm, the pros of breastfeeding and the chromosomes that determine a boy or a girl, they should have taught you that the hardest thing about the whole baby journey is the judgement you’ll receive.

We’re constantly bombarded with images of perfect, smiling, skinny moms balancing a baby on their hip and helping their older child make panacotta in an immaculate kitchen. Instagram can be the worst, and I must constantly remind myself that that world isn’t always real. We can’t help but make comparisons and view others in a bad way if they make choices that are not the same as ours. I remember, before kids, being that person who said she’d never let her kids watch TV….yes, let’s all have a proper belly laugh at that.

Now, as a mum, I’m seeing that often the biggest critic is ourselves. We are so good at picking apart our parenting, questioning our own decisions and comparing ourselves to everyone around us. I remember in the first few months of my daughter’s birth wondering if I was indeed doing it as well as everyone else; was I using the right baby carrier, should I be expressing more, should I try a dummy…why do we do this to ourselves?

Wouldn’t it be just lovely to do your parenting dues and see yourself as a total badass all the time? If you’re struggling with the whole “perfect mom” image, here’s 5 ways we can all try and give ourselves some much need slack:

  • Forgive yourself. This is a toughie. I can still remember every single time I’ve lost my cool with my daughter and replay the events over and over in my head wondering if she’s going to be scarred for life. I can’t get that time back, but I can stop myself from ruining future moments by constantly dragging myself through the dirt. Be the cheerleader of your parenting journey, not the heckler.
  • Recognize your strengths and celebrate them. Finding the positives about our personalities and skills is often so difficult when we’ve wired ourselves to look for weak points. However, often our weak points are strengths in disguise, we’re just looking at them the wrong way. For example, I often get told I’m too headstrong, and for a long time I viewed this as a fault, not recognizing that fierce determination can be a great trait when channelled right. Similarly, if you think you’re too emotional, just remember that being in touch with your feelings and having an empathic spirit is a beautiful attribute to possess.
  • Hug your children. It’s incredible how so much fear and anxiety can be swiftly removed when your arms are wrapped around the little being that you have made or adopted. In their arms, you are not Jessica the financial manager, Lisa the photographer or Nina the stay-at-home-mom…you are just “mom”. You are the shelter, the protector, the resting place when the world is too loud or too scary. You apply the magic kiss to every scratch and bump and it will be their time with you that they remember, not the way you felt.
  • Don’t compare, you’re not an insurance policy. You know those irritating adverts for websites that allow you to weigh up the pros and cons and prices of different insurance companies, or car dealers? Yes, well, you are not one of those companies. So what if Cathy just made a week’s worth of vegan packed lunches for her kids and you just about found the energy to throw in a banana, you are a legend in your own right. It doesn’t matter if one mom got her kid sleeping through the night from 6 weeks old and at 6 years, your kid still shares your bed – go easy on yourself!
  • Take care of yourself. The rise of the “self-care” mentality couldn’t have come at a better time, a time when most of us are so burnt out on trying to run the perfect life that we don’t realize that we ran out of fuel months ago. Whilst some might advocate that shopping and spa treatments constitute as self-care, I think it’s important to move away from the “spending money is relaxing” ideology and focus on taking moments to go to the loo on your own. I know, how crazy is it that having a wee in peace constitutes as self-care in my book? What I mean, is that it doesn’t have to be grand gestures that you can’t commit to every week because of money and time. Just being able to read a magazine with a hot cup of tea is a loving “me” moment. It doesn’t have to be for long either, even just having 10 minutes of quiet time to be able to brush your hair could be the time your soul needs to rejuvenate.

You can find more of Shante’s beautiful writing over on her blog Rose and Thorns

The post Five ways to be a better mom, in your own eyes by Shante Hutton appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Hi everyone, I’m Caley and I blog over at Ellie Love. I’m a born and bred Durban girl, married to my one true love and we have three precious daughters. I have a love for people, the beach, hosting parties and all things that bring JOY.

With three young girls and a long Winter holiday approaching, I would love to share a few of my favourite holiday activities with you. Each long school holiday, I print a blank calendar page and fill in a mini itinerary for each day. Some exciting activities include: baking classes, riding bikes on the promenade, visiting the animal farm, trampoline fun at a jump park and picnics in the park – but many of these can get expensive so today, I am sharing a few of our favourite activities to do at home (perfect for bored little people!).

Baking:

Baking with little ones can be quite an activity – they love to get stuck in, struggle to pour or measure out items and they definitely don’t have the patience to watch goodies “grow” in the oven so try and stick to something quick and easy and that they get involved in. We love having fun with decorating biscuits.

Open the marie biscuits.
Mix icing sugar, water and food colouring
And decorate!

We had fun making little flowers, caterpillars, faces and then crazy sweetie shops.

Playdough:

Playdough is a fun and easy way to bake and create and use your imagination. And why not make your own?  Here is an easy recipe, and the kids can help too.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 tbs cooking oil
  • 8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 tsp food colouring

Method:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a big pot and heat gently, stirring continuously until it forms a large lump and separates from the sides.
  • Allow to cool until you can handle the dough.
  • Knead very well.
  • Store in an airtight plastic bag.
  • Have fun!

We had lots of fun with our playdough, using cookie cutters and making animals, shaping it into different types of food and using it to bend and shape into letters of our names.

Arts & Crafts:

We love to search Pinterest for some fun and imaginative arts and crafts ideas.  There are so many creative ideas like making paper plate animals, blowing paint through straws and using cotton wool balls instead of paintbrushes. We decided to make colourful jellyfish with painted paper plates and strands of different colour ribbon for the tentacles.

A little extra something from me, Gen.

Thanks so much Caley for such an inspiring post, I cant wait to use your suggestions with Olive this holiday!

I’ll being doing a Winter holiday part 2 post next week with a run down of some of the amazing shows and kids activities available in Durban this holiday so be sure to check in again soon.

In anticipation of that, we’ve teamed up with Kickstart Theatre Productions to offer one lucky Durban family 4 tickets to see the BFG at the Elizabeth Sneddon theatre this Friday at 7pm.

The BFG

Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre: 21 June – 8 July

Perfect family fare for the July school holidays: The BFG comes to the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on UZKN campus from 21 June until 8 July.

Following the success of last year’s James and the Giant Peach, Greg King returns to direct this enchanting reimagining of Roald Dahl’s delightful children’s classic about the adventures of a big, friendly giant (BFG) and Sophie, a little orphan he befriends.

Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant. Naturally scared at first, the young girl soon realizes that the 24-foot behemoth is actually quite gentle and charming. As their friendship grows, Sophie’s presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater and other giants. After travelling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince the Queen to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all……

Featuring quirky and inventive puppetry and an all-star local cast, this is ideal fare for the July holidays. Featuring quirky and inventive puppetry and an all-star local cast, this is ideal fare for the July holidays. It stars Bryan Hiles, Belinda Henwood, Clare Mortimer, Daisy Spencer, Straw Nzimande and Lyle Buxton.

The BFG

21 June – 8 July
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre
Ticket Prices:
R190/R160/R130 (Adults)
R160/R130/R110 (Children Under 12 and Pensioners)
R110 Schools’ Performance throughout (Thurs 21 June 11am)

TO ENTER:
1. Like and follow Olly Polly and Kickstart Theatre on facebook & instagram (or both)
2. Leave a comment on this post or any of those on facebook & instagram to enter, telling me what exciting activities you plan to do with your little ones this holiday.
3. You can share this giveaway on facebook or instagram too for extra entries, please tag @ollypollykids and #winbfgollypolly when doing so.

Easy Peasy. Good luck!

Terms & Conditions:

  • The competition closes at midnight on 20 June 2018.
  • The winner will be chosen at random and the decision is final – no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The winner’s name will appear on the relevant blogs and social media pages.
  • The prize is not transferable for cash and no purchase is necessary.
  • Only open to Durban residents.

The post Winter Holidays with Ellie Love & A Giveaway appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

“Happiness is a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day”

One of Olives favourite games to play is shopkeeper, she will quite happily play for hours with all her little items for sale and her various toys (or parents) as her customers. For ages I have wanted to create something she could use for this purpose but that would also look beautiful in our home and be something that could be used for other purposes too. Introducing our lemonade stand desk!

This beautiful wooden stand with stools can be used as a desk for homework, craft, lego or even as a dressing table on a day to day basis and then can be pulled out for lemonade stand fun at play time.

Perfect for little ones between the ages of 4 to 8 years old, our lemonade stand is available in a variety of colours to match your childs room decor.

Olive is wearing a floral dress from Annapatat

Beautiful photography by Wilma Towell Photography

The post Anyone for Lemonade? appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

I always knew Olly Polly would evolve as Olive grew older, my constant source of love and inspiration and that is how Olly Polly Play came about. In my somewhat fruitless search for beautifully crafted, locally made toys the idea was born to make our own. There’s just something about those old school hand made wooden toys like hobby horses, pull carts and doll houses that resonate with me and I just couldn’t let the niggling idea pass me by, fast forward a couple of months and here we are.

Shoot day was incredible (albeit a bit mad with 6 kids running around) and unlike every other shoot I’ve done I decided to not do it in my home but to hire a studio and I’m so glad I did. Studio 031 made the day run incredibly smoothly with hands on assistance, music for the kids (wheels on the bus anyone?) and tea and cookies. My sanity however would not still be in tact if it wasn’t for my sister who even at 7 months pregnant was there the entire day dressing munchkins and helping out.

Here’s just a small taste of our 3 hour long shoot, so be sure to keep following on our social media platforms for more in the upcoming weeks.

I adored making this dolls house! An investment piece for a special little girl or boy the Olly Polly dolls house comes complete with miniature replicas of all the Olly Polly furniture you’ve come to know and love. From our house bed, mouse ear chairs, cloud table and house clothing rails, we’ve thought of it all. Special details such as tiny book ledges, teepee shelves and crocheted rugs are included in your purchase as well as two hand painted wooden peg dolls much to your little ones delight.

Each doll house is personalised and made with care for each recipient so that no two houses are quite the same.Made with love and care and most importantly made to last.

I have been drooling over the black and white scandi road maps on Pinterest for ages and wanted to make my own but to also make it an original, something unique to Olly Polly. Thats when I decided to get in touch with my graphic designer (although I would classify her more as a dear friend than anything else these days) to do a custom illustration for me. Leaving it in Andrea’s capable hands I was absolutely blown away by what she came up with! A beautifully designed road map of South Africa that can take your little ones on a journey through the sunny coast of Durban to the buzzing metropolis of Joburg to Cape Towns table mountain. How clever!

You can find these beauties in store HERE

As always I am so incredibly grateful that people I admire are willing to come on board to help bring my concept to fruition. Special mentions to our adorable models Hudson, Skylar, Scarlett, Kaleb, Jake and Olive, as well as their parents for being there on the day and allowing them to model for us.

Custom Teepee: Totem Teepee Seagrass rug: Homestead Decor Cloud rug: Moskito Kids Clothing: Flynn Jaxon Dresses and bunny coat: Annaptat Star lantern: Tiny Tiger Kids Decor Ruffled jumpsuit and Mrs Mighetto print: Eurobebe  Behind the scenes super star: Teri from Choose a Row

Concept, styling and products all Olly Polly.

Photos by Wilma Towell Photography

Thank you for your kindness,support, talents and time. x

The post Olly Polly Play appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

Being a mom to a daughter I am naturally drawn to all things girly and with Olive as my inspiration a lot of my products are things she loves. For the longest time I have been itching to do a boys room, so to Olives dismay, last week all things sparkly and pink were removed from her bedroom and our boys room styled shoot was underway.

When I initially started conceiving the idea in my head I knew right from the beginning that my friend Tanith’s son would be the perfect little boy to model on the day. His little smile is contagious and judging from the response to the sneak peek I think you all agree!

I’m so grateful for the wonderful creative friends I have for always willing to help in bringing my vision to life. Beautiful featured products from local talent listed below..

Dip dyed macrame wall hanging: Artesense (Thanks Yvette, I definitely want one of these for my own bedroom!)

Merino wool ombre throw: La Laine

Knot cushion: Sprouts Kids Co.

White wool tassel garland on bed: Perfect IMPerfect

Bead tassel garland and nesting dolls: Tiger Lily

Wooden pirate blocks: Yay Kids

Mountains, sleepy eyes and peg dolls : Rose and Vickory available from Olly Polly

Cloud table, house frame bed, house clothing rail, book ledges, house shelf, round dipped table, mouse ear chairs, teepee shelf, you are so loved flag, cloud cushion, deer head wall hanging, kitty mirror, dinosaur hobby horse, stone letters, Mr Fox, cloud wall hooks and you are so loved door vinyl: Olly Polly

White canopy and floor cushion: Moocachoo available from OllyPolly

Bear rug and crocheted toy basket: Sew Hooked available from Olly Polly

A to Z paper storage basket, Mrs Mighetto print and Kalebs little fox jacket : Eurobebe

Kalebs romper and beanie: Oliver and Bean

A huge thank you to our wonderful photographer Wilma Towell who somehow always manages to see things through my eyes, I dont know what I would do without you friend!

If you love my style, please pop on over to the Hire Me page to get in touch. I would love to work with you in creating a beautiful, functional space for your little boy or girl.

The post Styled Room with Kaleb appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

It was such a pleasure to work with Michelle in creating a tranquil nursery for her second daughter Charlotte. The excitement from big sister Lilly Mae was just the sweetest!

When I first met Michelle although she didn’t have many concrete ideas as to what she wanted in terms of decor one thing she did seem set on was the colour coral. I softened the coral for the nursery and with hints of soft grey and white achieved a calming space, ready for little Charlotte’s arrival.

For me no matter what the size of the space it is important to make sure that all boxes are ticked in terms of comfort and functionality. A calming sleep area, a space for night feeds and story time, a stimulating changing area to keep baby occupied and a soft fluffy rug for tummy time. Michelle had kept all the main furniture from her eldest daughter so with the cot, feeding chair and compactum taken care of I could focus on adding all the special touches.

Its so important to me to support local, amazing suppliers listed below.

Gold star cushion – Panda and Frost

Changing mat cover,cot bumper, swiss cross pompom blanket – Little Love

Wooden blocks – Work of heart

White angel wings – Sprouts Kids Co

Swan, cloud and heart cut out and eyelashes – Rose and Vickory available through Olly Polly

The cloud table, stone letters, house shelf, baby gym for changing mat, cloud wall hook, rain drop wall hook, embroidered bunny, cloud cushion, you are my sunshine flag and coloured strip book ledge are all products from us at Olly Polly

The post Charlotte’s Nursery appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

To say the process of creating a big girl room for Olive was inspiring would be an understatement. It was such an absolute pleasure to work with other creatives in creating a space that can grow with my daughter and it pushed me to design new pieces that would work well in the relatively small space, pieces that would not only be beautiful but also functional.

Featured products from lovely new friends as follows…

House, swan and cat pillow: Panda and Frost

Carved wooden mermaid and white tassel garland : Noush

Canopy and Angel wings: Sprouts Kids Co

Wooden Nesting Dolls and Bead garland: Tiger Lily

Wooden blocks: Yay Kids

Crochet bunny: Cawi Kids

Everything else is available from our online store Olly Polly

If you love my style, please pop on over to the Hire Me page to get in touch. I would love to work with you in creating a beautiful, functional space for your little boy or girl.

Photographer: Wilma Towell Photography

The post Olive’s Room appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

Ever since Olive was tiny, actually I think it even started when she was still in my womb, I’ve read to her almost every day. I love that special time with her when the craziness of the day has settled and its just the two of us snuggled up and getting lost in a favourite book. The older she gets the more I seem to enjoy this time, she has begun to question and remember and at times is even able to recite exerts from her favourite books word for word. Seeing her imagination grow through reading is wonderful and something we encourage.

This is one of the reasons I began making book ledges, my most popular item to date and I cant tell you how happy it makes me that the reading nook feature in children’s rooms has now become a trend! Its so easy to create these little sanctuaries with a few key items and this post is going to show you how.

The use of canopies to create an intimate space to curl up with a book is one of my current favourites. Throw in a little floor rug or play mat, some cute cushions and a book ledge and you’re set!

Trying to find a supplier of these beautiful canopies has not been an easy task though so when Hanja from Sprout Kids Co. told me she is about to launch a range of these I had to have one! Keep your eyes peeled on her site for the launch coming soon. If you cant wait for that (but you really should) I also found another supplier, Moocachoo who do the most incredible vintage pink. *swoon*

Get the look with these products: Cushions and Ledges via Olly Polly ; Canopy via Moocachoo

Another easy way to create a little hideaway is with the use of a teepee, it takes my childhood fort love to the next level! Tammy and Roy from Totem Teepee are wonderful to work with and so obliging to help make your teepee vision come to life. From lace to monochrome they can do it all! (pop on over to their facebook to see the possibilities)

If its book ledges or floor bookshelves you need, Olly Polly has you covered and we’re always happy to do custom colours if you require. Pop on over to the shop here to see the options.

Get the look with these items: Cushions, play mat and ledges via Olly Polly ; Teepee via Totem Teepee 

A few other local brands I absolutely love that make interesting cushions and plushies to make that corner cosy are Panda and Frost ; Sprouts Kids Co. and  Mayalief

Finish the look by dressing up your teepee or canopy with gorgeous garlands from Tiger Lily and Two Peas & a Peanut and you’re done!

Happy reading!

Collage images found via Pinterest

The post Reading Nooks appeared first on Olly Polly.

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Olly Polly Blog by Genevieve Motley - 10M ago

I have met the most beautiful souls since I began my journey in the kids interior business, one of those is Chenel. Her unwavering love and support of  local design can be seen in every photo she takes, so if its interior eye candy you’re after go and have a look at her blog or pop on over to her instagram.

In her own words “I’m a mom of a very loud and busy little boy. I take photos, he poses. I try my best to make him laugh, he stares at me like I’m going crazy. A little dysfunctional, but dynamic, duo and making other moms aware of all the local talent we have. From clothing, to skin and to all kinds of décor – we show you what you have been missing right under your nose. We aim to support local, handmade and not the cheap imports a lot of companies do. We have so much talent right here in SA and mommy and James want to share it all with you!”

How incredible are these shots of our best kid ever flag, swiss cross teepee and pattern house shelf!

The post Raising Little James appeared first on Olly Polly.

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