The next #JoziMeetup on 13 May is about Building Relationships with Brands

#JoziMeetupIt’s that #JoziMeetup time again! Time to meetup with your blogging buddies and listen to some inspiring speakers assisting us to blog better. We have an awesome lineup of speakers and brands taking part in this event, so you can sit back and enjoy!

The theme of the event is “Building a relationship with brands” and we’ll hear from both the blogger and the PR side about what works and doesn’t work when establishing a productive affiliation with brands.

The speakers are:

 

  1. Mike Said: Daddy Blogger: “Around South Africa on 80 brands”

Mike will be talking about how he utilised brands to sponsor his trip around our country. How he proceeded from idea to implementation, and from blogger to traveller. He will be sharing the power of leveraging social media in the new economy.

Mike blogs at Daddy Blogger.

2. Nicole Sparrow:  Autograph PR: “Please remember to iron your sheets”

You’ll remember Nicole from our last meetup chatting about some make up items from Dischem. Nicole runs a PR agency with quite a few cosmetics that she represents. 

Nicole often giggles at bloggers and vloggers who do stunning makeup tutorials but all she focuses on is the creased sheet they’ve hung as a backdrop!  So she will be dealing with little details like that as well as how PR agencies work, the importance of having a rate card and media kit and what they look for in bloggers they want to work with.

You can find Nicole’s PR website here. 

Two brands will be also be at the meetup to showcase their products:

  1. Prima Baby will be at the event to showcase some of their products to keep your little ones captivated and having fun. You can find them on Facebook here.

 

2. Prima Toys will be showcasing the latest toys and educational products for preschoolers. They will also talk about the latest trends in toys and games.  Find them on Facebook.

3. MatsiMela will be there to show off their body care and skin care products, as well as give some pampering to the bloggers.  You can find them on Facebook. 

Details of the event:

Date: 13 May 2017

Time: 10am

Venue:  Cafe Zing, The Regent Hotel, 21 West Rd South, Morningside, Sandton

Cost: R250 plus R5 for Quicket = R255 

Bookings: through Quicket: Click here.

 

(If you are in PE you can join in the #ECMeetup on the same day. Read Luchae and Eleanor’s post for further information.) 

Any more brands who would like to get involved please email heather@samomblogs.co.za

Link for tickets again: Click here.

Feeling the Love at the #JoziMeetUp 2016

#jozimeetup 2016Something special was happening on Saturday at blogger meetups both Jozi (the #JoziMeetUp) and Cape Town (#CTMeetUp).  It wasn’t only about learning about blogging or enjoying the overflowing goody bags (although that was nice too).

I think I just felt an overflow of good vibes. People who cared for each other and made the effort to make the event a success. Bloggers contributing to the goody bag (thanks Wenchy and Gail!). Bloggers pitching up early to help (thanks Wenchy and Gail again! And Shaney!). Jolene did not know what she was in for hitching a ride with me. It was many trips up to the venue from the car! Bloggers speaking about their experiences in a way that was useful and applicable to us (thanks Sharon! And Shaney!) Laura and I even got a gift, not that we asked for it, or anything (thanks Wenchy!) Salome was a total star, on her feet the whole time taking awesome pics of our bloggers. I used her pics for the main graphic on this post but go ahead and look at the larger ones here.

carOur goody bags were overflowing, but I can’t just say it was me. Or just Laura. Mandy from Pregnant in Cape Town helped us a lot. Lots of PR people helped us and were very generous. After Anele from Gullan and Gullan gave us two big Snowflake items we made the decision to use another bag.

You want to know how generous people were? Check out the pictures of my car, stuffed with goodies. And this was not all…

blogging and coffeeThe room was all decked out with goodies and our platters were ready. People arrived and had coffee and drinks. So nice to see everyone chatting and catching up.

Our two speakers for the event: Sharon van Wyk and Shaney Vijendranath

Our two speakers for the event: Sharon van Wyk and Shaney Vijendranath

Our first speaker was Sharon from The Blessed Barrenness, and her speech was about Blogging and Ethics, and also about how to handle a post that goes viral. She has very helpfully summarised her speech here. I think what stood out for me is the fine line we have to balance as bloggers: to enjoy writing passionately about a subject you enjoy versus being paid to talk about certain brands. Blogging, as she points out, does cost money (we have just forked out an arm and a leg for our hosting) and does take up your time (and time is money, people) so we do need to make some money to cover those costs. How we go about it though, will show your readers your true self and that is worth more than anything a brand can pay you.

Sharon van Wyk and Heather Step

Sharon van Wyk and Heather Step

Another thing worth learning from Sharon is not to take yourself too seriously, as you see from this fun pic of us!

Shan from You, Baby and I had a lot to say about Blogging and Facebook.  Facebook is about engagement and interaction with your audience. You won’t get that from posting a series of links (yip, I’m super guilty of that for One Step at a Time).  Check your insights and find out the best time to share your posts.

Shan gave us an example of what she shares in a day: a question, a picture, a quote and one or two blog posts (and they don’t have to be yours – apparently if you share Huffington Post and Scary Mommy these get good positions and also you can share the love by linking a fellow blogger). She suggests 5-6 and a maximum of 10 posts in a day. You can schedule them.

Since Facebook will only let people see your posts if there is interaction with it (particularly comments) you need to check out what will get a reaction. Videos do well, as do kid’s pictures and quotes. Test things out and see for yourself.

You have to think: what will people share? Personal posts and competitions do well.

Shan cautions against Facebook ads (although she has used them, particularly for certain brand campaigns) and prefers organic growth. Don’t spend too much if you do go that route, she says. Sometimes the ads attract spammers and the type of readers you don’t want as well.

Something very useful that I learnt from her talk is to share your post from your blog post (using the social sharing buttons) into the Facebook groups: this will increase your reach more than just copying and pasting the links (yip, I have so been doing that).

moira smileOur last speaker was Moira Gerszt from the Smile Foundation. We normally have some sort of charity drive at our events (The Grace Factory is a favourite one) but this time we supported Hamley’s drive to take fluffy toys to children in hospitals. Moira shared how an ordinary mom from PE started the organisation in an effort  to help her child have a normal face. She wrote 9 letters to Nelson Mandela and he responded to that ninth one. Persistence pays!

khanyinAfter all that we dished out some prizes, very happily drawn by Funso’s child. We had hampers from Baby Sense, Kelloggs, Absolutely Awesome books and Bell Jars.

goodies 2You can see by Samantha’s expression in this pic that we were suitably spoilt.

oreo Nicky binocularsI have to mention the Oreo goody bag. This was probably one of the most creative offerings. I did appreciate the speakers which plug into my phone very nicely.  We had fun building the different phone and cookie holders. Nicky took the binoculars out to breakfast the next day -he loved them.

Oreo is offering us bloggers R5000 to write a blog post to promote their competition to win one of three family trips to New York City.  In order to stand a chance to win the trip you need to buy a box of Oreos (the 176g or 429g one) and sms the last 5 digits of the barcode to 40185 or enter online at the address above. The site is  http://www.letwonderout.co.za/. Email your links to laura@samomblogs.co.za and she will make sure that the relevant person gets it! Closing date is 16 April.

bloggerssam and marciaThank you to all the bloggers who attended and supported us, you are stars! Go over and discover their blogs: Natalie (On Sabbatical in Sandton), Jolene (Monsters Ed), Funso (Raindrops of Hope), Sindiso and her sister Lehlogonolo (Sindiso’s Diary), Jenna (Faith Plus Mom), Ursula (Skimming Stones), Amanda (Baby Yum Yum), Susann (Goddess), MeeA (Mama MeeA), Sam (Communique), Lindi (A Well Heeled Woman), Mariette (Little Interiors), Olerato (Mommy and Baby Approved), Lebo (For His Love), Marcia (Organising Queen), Wenchy (The Nocturnal Wenchy), Gail (The Art of Learning to Live), Janice (Working Mothers Expo), Trisha Cornelius, Kirsten (Ramblings of a Nutt), Belinda (Being Belle), Lyndsay (Average Old Insanity).

I also want to give a shout out to all the brands that filled our goody bags and thanks to Sharon for her beautiful photographs of the goodies which I have reproduced here. I am putting social media links on these names. Go and show them some love by liking their Facebook pages or following them on Twitter.

(pictures courtesy of Sharon van Wyk)

oreo

Stationery (Gumtree), Coffee (Jacob’s Coffee), Sample (Glamore Cosmetics), Coconut Water (Vita Coco) Colour and Dirt Collector (Dr Beckmann), Dry Shampoo (Batiste), Hand wash (Dettol), Wipes and nappy sacks (Cherubs), Vouchers (Always On Wifi), Cupcake kit and muffin mix (Snowflake), Vouchers (Uber), Jewelry (Oh Voila), Goody bag (Oreo), Lotion and cream (Enjoy), Wine (Tangled Tree), Crown cut out (Little Interiors) Voucher (Aramex Global Shopper).

 

We look forward to our next meetup! Stay tuned!

Read other posts about the meetups:

Cindy Alfino The #CTMeetup 2016

Natalie wrote about our #JoziMeetup venue area Maboneng

Celeste Saturday at the #CTMeetup

Jolene SA Mom Blogs #JoziMeetUp

Lyndsay / Love Made Me: #CTMeetup 2016

 

Meetup Time! #JoziMeetup

Yes, it’s that time again! Time to get together with your fellow bloggers and have some fun at the #JoziMeetup! We can’t wait to see all of you again and we have some fantastic people lined up!

  1. salomeSalomé Nourse: from Yellow Lab: Get dressed up because Salomé, a professional photographer, will be taking pictures for our event that you can use for your profile or social media pages. She is going to set up a backdrop with two lights and take headshots of everyone who attends. She will email everyone afterwards with the pictures.

BBsidebar2. Sharon van Wyk: from The Blessed Baronness: We all have a lot to learn from this successful blogger and her take on various issues. Sharon was last year’s winner of the African Blogger Awards for Parenting. For this meetup she will be talking about Blogging and Ethics.

Shanye_Family_39-660x4003. Shanêy Vijendranath: from You, Baby and I has also been a runner up in the SA Blog Awards for parenting. Facebook is a popular spot for moms, our target market to hang out these days. Shanêy’s Facebook page has close on 20 000 likes. How did she do it? Come and listen to Shanêy’s tips on How to Grow Your Blog With Facebook.

And that’s not all! We will also have some brands in attendance. It will also be an excellent chance to mingle and catch up – it feels like ages since I’ve seen some of you!

jozimeetupThere are only 30 spots available and we have several people who have booked and paid already.

There is also a Facebook page for the event.

Contact heather@samomblogs.co.za or laura@samomblogs.co.za for more details.

 

DATE: 9 April 2016

TIME: 10:30 am

VENUE: OPEN
4th Floor, The Main Change
20 Kruger Street
Maboneng, Johannesburg

Cost: R250

 

There are also other meetups happening around the country.

On the same date there will be the #CTMeetup run by Cindy – read more about it in her post here. 

In the Eastern Cape Luchae has a post about a meetup here.

Let’s get together!

 

Tom and Jerry Get Wild on Boomerang’s So Funny Safari at the Joburg Zoo!

Get wild on Boomerang’s So Funny Safari!

If you ever dreamed about how cartoon characters would match up with zoo animals then you’ll be pleased to know that Boomerang, the home of evergreen, internationally famous cartoon franchises from Turner on DStv channel 302, in partnership with the Johannesburg Zoo will be joining forces over the 2015 summer holidays to take all the kids in Johannesburg on their very own So Funny Safari!

so funny safari with boomerang

Boomerang-TvBoomerang has many of your favourite characters to watch. In fact, back in 2013, it was voted the number one channel for kids in South Africa. Tom & Jerry Tales has been Boomerang’s top show reaching a total of 1.6 million kids in that year. I guess the cat and mouse chasing each other around continues to be very amusing.

Another fave show is Looney Tunes featuring Bugs Bunny,  Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, the Tasmanian Devil, Sylvester Cat and Porky Pig. Who can forget the immortal words of that Tweety bird saying “I tawt i taw a puddy tat” as Sylvester slinks around somewhere in the vicinity.

Don’t we all love the lazy Garfield, Pink Panther and Scooby Doo? These are other cartoons you will find on the channel.

In any case, these characters will be introducing animals to kids between 18 December till 17 January every day on the So Funny Safari every day at 10h00, 12h00 and 14h00.

Lots of exhilarating fun will be had as visitors visit 6 different enclosures where a few of the zoo’s most favourite animals  will be paired up with a Boomerang furry friend. They will also be able to learn some pretty interesting facts about these very special wildlife creatures in a fun and relaxing family environment.

 

IF YOU GO:

zoo-map-to-safari-tractor

 

so funny safari tractorBe aware that the main parking lot is not open (it is being renovated) so you will have to park elsewhere. I think we probably should have parked in Jan Smuts (which is where the tractor leaves from) but we parked in the Erlswold Way parking lot, which is also fairly close. My advice is to get there early in order to negotiate these changes. Our tractor actually left a bit later when enough people had been assembled but when it returned at ten to twelve it left immediately as many people got on. Also, don’t believe people who tell you that it doesn’t run on  a Sunday. We were there on a Sunday and it runs on a Saturday too.

Leading the tour was Precious, who gave us the connection between each character and animal. The six stops were:

  1. tom-and-jerry-meerkatmeerkatTom and Jerry: Meerkats: In much the same way that the cat and mouse chase each other, so the meerkats chase after their food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Tweety Bird and the Saddleback Stork

tweetysaddlebill-storkThe Saddleback Stork has a bill with some yellow detail which reminds us of Tweety’s colour. Predators are no match for either of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

taz-devil-bearmonkeybear3. Tasmanian Devil and the Brown Bear. Both appear cuddly but are actually dangerous. The brown bear was sleeping somewhere and we couldn’t see him. We went to see the monkeys next door instead. Nicky told us that out of all the animals at the zoo that he wanted to see, monkeys were the ones that stood out for him, so he was happy.

 

 

scooby-doo-wild-dogsleopard4. Scooby Doo and the Wild Dogs: Both are keen on food and companionship. The wild dogs are nocturnal and were sleeping out of sight so we didn’t see them.  I have to hand it to Precious who thinks on her feet and suggested we look at the leopards in the next enclosure instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

garfield-siberian-tigersiberian-tiger5. Garfield and the Siberian Tiger: Both of them like to sleep alot. The tiger was a huge animal locked securely in an enclosure. Precious explained that there are four tigers kept separately from each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

pink-panther-lionlion6. Pink Panther and Lions: These are both smart and fearless animals. This was the last stop of the tour. We found the lions sitting under a tree.

Don’t forget to get down to the Johannesburg Zoo from the 18th of December 2015 to jump on the ‘So Funny Safari’ tractor daily at 10h00, 12h00 and 14h00 and spend some time with all your furry friends this summer!

Photography courtesy of Brett Step.

This post is sponsored by Boomerang.

What’s on for families this weekend (19-20 December)

what's on for familiesThis week our What’s On post features Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

 

 

Bloemfontein:

Kersvader Kom Kuier

kersvaderAt the Tiny Tots Animal farm each kid gets a fun pack on arrival. Cooldrink for sale.  Make sure you hand in your clearly marked presents before Santa hands them out at 6pm. At 8pm there will be a movie. Bring your own picnic and blankets. R20 for adults and R45 for kids. Date 19 December. For more info email helenehusselmann@gmail.com.

Johannesburg:

Get the full story with Cassie’s post here (what’s on this weekend and week)

Hamley’s have a few events still going at their stores to enjoy:

  1. the-littlest-pet-shopLittlest Pet Shop

Hamleys invites you to a join Littlest Pet Shop for some face painting fun. Choose your favourite pet and your face will be transformed into a matching masterpiece. Zoe Trent will be there for a Meet & Greet, so remember to take your selfie and tag us #HamleysSA  Plus, if you purchase any Littlest Pet Shop toy you will get a FREE limited edition Panda pet!

Times:  10am – 3pm

Date: 19 December 2015

Venue: Hamleys Nelson Mandela Square

Date: 21 December 2015

Venue: Hamleys Greenstone Shopping Centre

nerf2. Nerf

Gear up and get ready for intense action with Nerf Blasters at Hamleys! Aim and fire! Hit a certain number on the big Nerf Target and you WIN a spot prize from Nerf! It’s Nerf or Nothin!

Times:  10am – 3pm

Date: 19 December 2015

Venue: Hamleys Greenstone Shopping Centre

3. Christmas Photo

Lights, Camera, Action! Get ready for some serious holiday fun! Hamleys wants you to strike a pose and have your Christmas photo taken with the Hamleys elves or Hamley and Hattie bear. You will get a FREE photo to take home and remember the 2015 holidays when you visited Hamleys!

Times:  1pm – 4pm

Date: 20 December 2015

Venue: Hamleys Nelson Mandela Square

sylvanian-bunny4. Sylvanian Bunny Appearance

Come and meet the chocolate bunny from the Sylvanian Family.

Take your picture and upload it to Facebook and #HamleysSA

Times:  10:30 – 11:00am & 2:00 – 2:30pm

Date: 20 December 2015

Venue: Hamleys Greenstone Shopping Centre

 

Cape Town:

  1. Children’s Christmas Fun

marketLots of fun for the family here in with markets, crafts, face painting, jumping castles and more!

Date and time – Saturday 19th, 9-12.

Venue – Jubilee Square, 7975 Cape Town Simonstown.

2. Winnie the Pooh

winnie-the-poohThis show is on at the Artscape Theatre from 10 to 23 December 2015, daily at 10:30am.

transformers3. Transformers at Hamley’s

The all new Transformers are here and now it’s faster than ever to flip into action.

Hamleys are bringing the Transformers time challenge to life!

The challenge is on and you need to convert your favourite transformer hero from autobot to vehicle mode as fast as you can!

Time scores are kept and the quickest time of the day wins a Transformer prize!

PLUS, meet Transformer Bumblebee himself! Remember to post your pic and use the #HamleysSA

Time: 10am – 3pm

Date: 20 December 2015

Venue: Only at Hamleys in V&A Waterfront

Durban:

McDonald’s Happy Camp is at Galleria Mall from 17 December to 20 December 2015.

The Happy Camp seeks to entertain in a fun way, at the same time educating, informing and advancing kids through learning.
The Happy Camp consists of different zones of entertainment:
 Zone 1 is a technology play that will stimulate and entertain
 Zone 2 holds activities that include movement and coordination that develops motor skills
 Zone 3 will have activities such as skipping, ball pit dives, wall-climbing and dance choreography. The kids will be taught Happy’s Boom Shakalaka and even get a moment in the spotlight to perform the dance on stage for their parents.
While the kids run around with joy and excitement, parents can also learn something and enjoy a special area called the Nutrition Zone for informative tips towards creating a healthier environment through key speakers, videos and samples.
The speakers are:

 

1)  Reader / Story Teller from 9am – 7pm

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Sanelisiswe

 

2)  Fitness from 10am – 2pm

Friday, 18th December 2015

Steve Smith

 

3)  OT from 1pm-2pm

Saturday, 19th December 2015

Niki Singh

Celebrations at #SAMomBlogRelaunch

celebrations-at-samomblogrelaunch

It was a very rainy day, but a few brave bloggers, PR and brand folk gathered for a great time at the Free Range Lifestyle Centre in Fourways. We were blessed to have a group of lovely people around to celebrate this amazing group with our #SAMomBlogReLaunch.

I was so glad to go back to Free Range – it is a venue where you can just relax and they will take care of you. There was minimal stress involved in this event and quite a few nice surprises.

cupcakesLaura worked quite hard though baking us some delicious cupcakes in some very pretty holders. She put them in some lovely boxes with cream and green ribbons. It made into a sort of a goody bag (but not quite) with some awesome magnets from My Print Boutique (a company whom Laura will be reviewing shortly).

tagsI did the name tags, sorting people into categories of blogger/PR or Brand.

venue-beforehandThe room looked quite inviting and cozy while the rain poured outside, with a sofa on the one end of a long table. There was also a little kiddies play area inside where the few kids that did come could make use of. I bet they were happy when the rain did stop so that they could play outside again!

heather-speaking-with-amy-meea-andiswaI was very nervous about speaking in front of all the people, and I think my voice was a bit soft in the noisy restaurant. The most important things to take home in what I said were:

  • gratitude for both bloggers for creating amazing content and for brands and PR for helping us also earn after the long hours we put into blogging.
  • laurathe amazing growth of SA Mom blogs: about 150 blogs on our database and a very active social media community. This includes growth of the partnership of Laura, and I am so grateful to have this hard worker with me. This woman is so passionate about blogging she actually was a bit tearful when she got up to say a few words. So yes, I’m glad to have a passionate blogger!
  • our excitement planning our first blogging conference 20-21 May 2016 at Stillpoint Country Manor, in Fourways, Johannesburg.
  • how mom bloggers work with a relationship of readers first before giving information from brands so that readers are receptive to that information.
  • SA mom bloggers are mostly important because they inspire and uplift us, and cheer us on in the parenting journey. They are also some fantastic friends.

dermalogica-nighttime-recovery-trioRemember I said that we had a few nice surprises? We had a total surprise in that Free Range was launching a new beauty shop and they were happy to chat to us and hand out some awesome dermalogica samples for everyone. What a bonus! It was the “nighttime recovery trio” with three great products to use at night.

sweet-foodspecial-cookiesAnother lovely thing Free Range / the Lot restaurant did, apart from the lovely cappuccinos, was some awesome food for us. I absolutely loved the presentation of sprinkles all over the sweet food.  There were some delicious savory things too. But what really touched my heart so much was the cookies with names on them such as “blogger” “mom” “baby”.  Clearly these people go above and beyond to do special things for us. (Please go and like their Facebook page – they are such an awesome sponsor for us).

table2

Otherwise it was good to just have some nice folk around. Below are some pictures of the few I managed to get. Bloggers Wenchy, Ursula, Jolene, Melanie, Christine, Natalie, Mike, Karenand Victoire. PR people: Adelaide, Lesego, Nkanyesi, Raquel. Cute couple Francois and Anika (Brand). I did not manage to get decent pics of Lyndsay, Jillian (PR),  MeeA, Amy, Andiswa and Mirielle (Brand).

Karen and Wenchy

Karen and Wenchy

Wenchy and Victoria

Wenchy and Victoria

 

Francois and Anika (Brand)

Francois and Anika (Brand)

Ursula, Jolene and Melanie

Ursula, Jolene and Melanie

Raquel (PR) and Christine

Raquel (PR) and Christine

PR people: Nkanyezi, Lesego and Adelaide.

PR people: Nkanyezi, Lesego and Adelaide.

Natalie and Mark

Natalie and Mark

Heather and Victoire

Heather and Victoire

SA Mom Blogs is Re-Launching! Save the Date Now!

In case you haven’t noticed, SA Mom blogs is undergoing a bit of a metamorphosis at the moment. Laura and I have been working hard behind the scenes to make this website an amazing community for our mom bloggers, as well as presenting it in a professional and stylish light.

We have a fabulous new logo and look from the amazing Andrea Barras. Check out the fabulous Media Kit she made for us. You can also read more on that page about why mom bloggers are important.

We have opened social media account s and we’re registering SA Mom blogs as a business.

To celebrate our new look and to make everyone aware of this fabulous and talented group of bloggers that we have in this country, we’re throwing a party. We’re having a re-launch of SA Mom blogs. We’re inviting bloggers and relevant press & PR to our fabulous venue in Fourways, Johannesburg. (We love Free Range!)

So save the date now!

Please RSVP to Heather by Monday 25 August at heather@samomblogs.co.za.

SA Mom Blogs Relaunch

 

#JoziMeetup: Learning About Beautiful Living & WIN Amway Makeup/ Skin care worth more than R1000.

all about our beautiful living blogger get togetherWhat is “Beautiful Living”? We had a chance to hear from three experts on three different perspectives: how to wear your clothes, how to organise your time, and how to best treat your skin. All in all it was great to walk away with some insight into what it really means to live a beautiful life, as well as having a chance to connect with our fabulous local bloggers.

 

illusion-dressing1) Nastassja Petersen: Tricks of Illusion Dressing:

Nastassja gave such a worthwhile, interactive talk. She started off by getting us to stand up and place our hands on our shoulders, waist, hip and thighs. This is an exercise to discover where your widest section is, and how you need to dress to disguise your problem area.

Nastassja showed us a variety of clothes and how they may be flattering to certain body parts. For instance, if you have great legs but a bit of a tummy, a black top and a pink pencil skirt will work wonders.

Surprising news about boobs: big boobs look better with a V-neck and bigger with a higher collar.

Decide what you love about your body and accentuate that. The thinnest spot can be the tightest! It is no good having clothes that cling to your thighs or waist if that is not the spot your want to draw attention to. Wear cute pink shoes if you want to draw attention downwards away from wide shoulders. Emphasis can also be worked with accessories and bright colours.

Nastassja had two striped jackets, one with vertical and the other with horizontal stripes. Vertical stripes elongate and work well with short people like me. She tried it on me because I asked about my sloping shoulders and it looked great.

Interestingly about sleeves: without sleeves you draw attention down, it makes you look more bottom heavy. I have always preferred to wear sleeves, more because I feel the cold!

Nastassja touched on colours that look better on you. I did colour coding years ago and I know I look better in cool colours (summer, winter). You have to look at your skin undertone. A bluish one like me means cool colours and a yellowish one means warm colours (spring, autumn).

I liked the way Nastassja ended off about how clothes can express your personality, and how important it is to express who you really are in what you wear.

She gave us an exercise to choose three words that would sum up our personality. She gave her own example of “focused, fun and relaxed” and how this would relate to the cut, colour and texture of what she would wear. A black fitted jacket shows focus. A bright orange top under it shows fun. Linen pants can show the relaxed side.

She made the important point that you should not worry about the parts of your body that you don’t like, rather work with what you have today.

 

marciajvbw2. Marcia Francios: Create a Beautiful Life

(Marcia has more than one website: The123Blog, Organising Queen, Take Charge Solutions)

Marcia helps busy women break out of overwhelm.

She said that there were three definitions as to what a beautiful life was.

1) Acknowledging that this is your life, and not someone else’s.

2) It has a deliberate design which matches up with your values.

3) It is a life lived with integrity. This isn’t just about the values of transparency and honest, it is more about being aligned. Your walk must match your talk. If you feel within your gut something is wrong, that you are not aligned with the life that you want, then something needs to be done. She gave the example of a difficult job situation that she was in. She also told us that there is no quick fix or distraction e.g. going for a pedicure, as you will still have to face your problem the next day.

So how would you do it?

1) Live With Intention. Decide what you want and work it out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Decide what you value. She gave the example of how her family values exercise, so on Saturday mornings they go to the gym. Her highest value is freedom which is why she is not suited to being micro managed.

Different values may mean different things to different people. When you value “family” each person may have a different idea of what part of your family to spend time with, so these things need to be discussed.

2) Choose What Matters. What are your priorities? Priorities may change depending on your life stage. When you have a small child, life does work around them, often.  Marcia asked us what our top three priorities were.

3) Value People Over Things.

Marcia gave the example of what really matters. Work can wait. You can’t do everything. She calls herself a “recovering perfectionist”.

She made the interesting point that we put our best efforts into the first 80% of the work and after that the last 20% is just not as good.  She used to triple check her figures many times and now she doesn’t. She says perfectionism will kill you slowly.

4) Time can not be gathered. We always say “one day” we will do something. Make time for what is important.

4) Realise the Place of Social Media

I think this section made the biggest impression on me. She said that the photos on social media are just a snippet of your life, not the full picture. The stuff that matters is small. She said when she goes on holiday she may take 300 pictures, then delete them down to 100. From those she will probably only use 8.

Be present with real people rather than waiting for likes, comments and retweets.

I think as bloggers this is a big lesson for us. Sometimes blogging and social media need to take a back seat because real life is more important than the created best pictures that are more of a fantasy life.

melaniefrost3. Melanie Frost

Our last speaker was from the skin care range Mama Mio and she had some tips for us on how to deal with our skin in winter.

She began by educating us about the skin. It is the largest organ in the body. In pregnancy it stretches over a metre. It is 3mm thick and 15% of our total body weight.

There are three layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the fatty layer.

The thing about skin is that it is naturally acidic (4-6ph). So all your harsh solid soaps which are 7-10ph are no good. They strip off the moisture, have no oil and dehydrate your skin. It takes about 24 hours for it to repair itself, when you probably do the damage all over again. Avoid solid soaps and go for liquid ones.

The other important thing to note as a mother is that babies have very sensitive skin. The skin of a child only really balances out in the teen years. So we need to be making sure our little ones have plenty of moisture on the skin.

You have to apply what the skin needs directly onto the skin, because even if you drink gallons of water only two percent will actually reach your skin.

Melanie told us that a good skin care cream should have three important components:

1) Essential Fatty Acids (Your Omega 3-6-9). Don’t jump to the conclusion that you just need to apply some water based solution, because the skin also needs oil. Melanie also shared the story of her son going on Omegas and how it had helped his concentration levels, how he couldn’t draw a figure eight properly beforehand and now he could after taking these vitamins.

2) Hyaluronic Acid.

3) Reishi Mushroom. This helps with eczema and so called “lizard legs”. It is the “over achiever” of the body butters.

It is important to exfoliate before you take a bath so that you’ll enjoy “summer skin” in winter. In summer you only need to do it twice a week.

Mama Mio products are available from Poise Brands at various salons and spas, and The Bub Hub also stock them.

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Now it’s time to say thank you!

coffee from Mugg and Bean1. Our venue, The Bub Hub, although not sponsored, helped us out with two other opportunities from their neighbouring shops. They got Mugg and Bean to set up free coffee for us (Thank you so much! That was the best news of the day!) as well as giving us a voucher for the goody bags. They also gave us a prize voucher from Just Cruizin Clothing shop which is a new store at Broadacres between themselves and Mugg and Bean. So I’m grateful for them enabling these wonderful connections that benefited us.

butterknife PR gave us Contreau drinks2. While on the subject of drinks, Butterknife PR did an amazing job serving us up some delicious Contreau cocktails. We are very grateful for your time and service to us thirsty bloggers!

set up pf Gumtree goody bags3. Our fantastic stationery sponsor, Gumtree, were responsible for the goody bags, notepads, pens and name tags. I am so grateful that they managed to do those name tags in time and with very short notice. So thank you!

#AllTheThings Oh So Charming4. Our very own Tracey Preston, who blogs at Our Real, Real Life, gave us all some exquisite charms from her new company, Oh So Charming/ #AllTheThings.

amway5. I was completely taken aback by the very generous gift from Amway, organised through Fleishman Hillard, who gave us some make up items. This weekend when we went out for our Mother’s Day breakfast I put on the lipstick and lipgloss. It felt very classy not only because of the quality of the product, but also because of the golden packaging.

glitter mascara from Stage Line Professional Makeup from 27 Red6. A lovely sparkly mascara was give to us by Stage Line Professional Makeup, from 27 Red. Heather Barger, the lady behind this company, is wanting to get together ten bloggers for a makeover. If you’re interested, and you’re in Joburg, please email heather@samomblogs.co.za so we can sort out a date, thanks. It really is amazing outfit – they do all sorts of interesting stage make up as well.

7. NUK have always been a huge supporter of ours, and were kind enough to donate various items to our meetup. So thank you, NUK!

8. Woolworths donated two vouchers. I can’t say enough good things about Woolworths, since I am a regular client of theirs. That will be money well spent for the winners.

9. Bio-Oil donated a lovely hamper for us to be raffled off.  This is an excellent product that every pregnant woman needs – I used it during my pregnancy and had no stretch marks. Of course it has lots of uses for all kinds of skin problems beyond pregnancy too.

10. Print Wild also donated a voucher prize for us, thanks Print Wild. It’s worth looking around their website to look for dynamic ways to display your memories.

Most of all I want to thank the bloggers for attending and supporting us, and for Laura for being such a star organiser!

Other posts on the meetup (to be added to later)

A Beautiful Living #JoziMeetup

Read about the #JoziMeetup and win

A snippet of our lives – sharing on social media – #JoziMeetup

JoziMeetup – the one on Beautiful Living

And over in Cape Town:

The #CTMeetup

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amway-giveawayYou can win 3 goody  bags! Remember that they do contain over R1000 worth of make up and skin care from Amway plus various other goodies. All you have to do is fill in the Rafflecopter giveaway. You must be a resident of South Africa to enter.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

#JoziMeetup is Happening on 9 May

#JoziMeetupWe really enjoyed the #MomBlogMeetup and can’t wait for our next event!

The next event will be the #JoziMeetup. This event is open to all bloggers, and not just moms. The focus will be “Beautiful Living” with an emphasis on fashion and beauty.

The event will be happening on the same day as the #CTMeetup. Cindy is way ahead of us and has already done a post. You can read more about it here. As you can see, I have shamelessly copied her picture of that cute deer. I really like it though. 🙂

We have two speakers lined up for the #JoziMeetup.

mrsrogeromrs-rogero

1) Nastassja Petersen from Mrs Rogero.

If you have a look at her blog you’ll see she is such a stylish person. I think we can all pick up some tips from her. I listened to her at Shaney’s Pamper Me Pretty Event. She was talking about how we can still be stylish as moms. As you can see, she was wearing this awesome outfit that had pom-poms on the skirt. She made the practical statement that since her toddler pulled a pom pom out from the one side, she balanced it out by pulling the matching one from the other side! She was wearing a cropped top and she said that moms can still rock a cropped top – as you can see by the gathered skirt, it hides your tummy so well.

Nastassja is a Journalist and Professional Image Consultant. She’s a wife and mom to a toddler.
She is going to be talking on “Tricks of Illusion Dressing”. I’m sure she will have lots of great advice for us.
marciajvbw
marcia-francois-speaker-discovery12) Marcia Francois from 123 Blog.
Marcia, like me, also started blogging about infertility, and has since evolved into blogging about her children (twins) and life in general.
She is a fantastic photographer. Another skill she has is organisation and she actually has a website dedicated to this: Organising Queen and Purposeful Time Management.  I’ve read quite a few posts now from her also on how to save money as well on different kinds of groceries. Check out this one on how to save on cleaning supplies.
This exert is taken from her website:

A million years ago (2002 actually), I was selected for a development programme at the company I worked at. This meant that in addition to the normal workload of a manager with 7 staff members (quite substantial), I had to somehow squeeze in another 10 hours a week. And I was already working through lunch and until 5:30 – 6:00 every night.

I felt like I was this close to burn-out and it was only February.

My saving grace was that I had a coach! And one of the first things I worked through with her was…time management. I told her that my goal was to only work until latest 5 o’clock every night, take regular lunch breaks and have time to join the gym.

Within 2 months, I had the life I’d dreamed of, I had time for everything and yes, I’d joined the gym. Working with a coach accelerated my progress like nothing else had before, not only with time management but also my general career progress.

I was sold on coaching and wanted to help other people improve their lives in the same way. So I got trained and started coaching my own staff and a couple of other people at the company, and eventually started taking private coaching clients.

And that’s where I am today – I inspire busy women to break out of overwhelm, make the most of their time and take purposeful and focused action so they have the time and freedom to live life to the full.

Her topic is “Create a Beautiful Life”. I’m sure we all need that.
***
 So… what are you waiting for? Book for the #JoziMeetup today! We have 50 places. Yes, the price has increased to R250 but last time our venue and food were sponsored.  We will have platters of food as well as drinks. The venue is The Bub Hub in Broadacres.  By the way if you ask people where it is rather ask for Mugg and Bean – it is close to there.
To book email Laura: laurakim@harassedmom.co.za

 

Three Perspectives on Healthy Living at the #MomBlogMeetup

three perspectives on healthOrganising an event for the first time has been a rewarding and challenging experience. Together with Laura from Harassed Mom we have been planning the #MomBlogMeetup for some time. I can honestly say everything went so well in the end and we had a fabulous time.

In the lead up to the event, we did have some difficulties but I think that the things that go wrong provide opportunities for alternatives that may work out even better.

Both Laura and I had car problems this week. Laura’s car wouldn’t start and she was going back and forth from the dealer trying to sort it out. She did eventually get a replacement car. I was feeling all smug about my working car and then the brakes failed. It had to go in to be fixed and a ton of money had to be spent…

All of this meant that our planned get together for Wednesday the 25th to do the goody bags had to be cancelled. I packed at home what I had while my car got fixed.

chairsThen on Friday it probably worked out better to set up the whole room in preparation for the next day. Free Range Lifestyle Centre really spoiled us with a variety of goodies from their shops so we packed that all into the Gumtree bags with their stationery.

The event itself was as lovely as the location. Bloggers arrived and enjoyed capaccinos from Fresh Culture Cafe. We also had some lovely snacks in the middle from The Lot Restaurant.

I think it was interesting how each speaker had a different facet to share on what to them is important about health.

georgiejpg1) EXERCISE: Georgia Torres is an executive committee member of Exercise is Medicine. She was introduced by fellow council member Preethi Mistri. (Yes, I know, Preethi was meant to speak, but as Laura said, sometimes you just have to go with the flow and this, I think turned out for the best as Georgia is also a mom who recognises the challenges of exercise and kids)

Some tips I picked up from Georgia:

-Watch your child and find out what form of exercise they like. She said she noticed her child liked jumping so she got him a trampoline. At the moment I must say that Nicky is really into cricket but he likes throwing and running after balls rather than batting. He now says: “Bat!” when he wants to go and play this game. Oh and he does like jumping too.

-Recommended amounts of exercise are: Adults = 150 moderate exercise for the week, Children = an hour a day.

-Given that the sedentary lifestyle is such a problem in our culture, she recommends breaking up the sitting every hour to get up for five minutes. She is in favour of kids standing at their desks which I thought was a bit weird until I remembered how Nicky really prefers to stand rather than sit at his table.

-Limit screen time in the day by providing active alternatives such as balls, bat, hula hoops and bikes. Just going outside opens up more active alternatives such as a jungle gym or trampoline.

Nicqui Grant2. THE FUNCTION OF FOOD: Nicqui Grant was a very informative speaker. What I liked about her was that she emphasised the function of food for individuals rather than a bland universal approach. She even told us about how she does genetic profiling to help figure out these individual approaches.

-The other interesting thing about her is that she doesn’t agree with Banting. She prefers the fat the Paleo diet allows and is against the cream etc that Banting promotes. She says you need your fuel (CARbohydrates). In some instances you can decrease your carbs but not totally eliminate them.

-She spoke a lot about insulin and how important it is to get that under control, especially from a  hormonal perspective and not to mention obesity.

-Proteins are also essential but she recommends meat that has been grass fed rather than corn fed. This was the first thing she mentioned to me when I asked advice about fertility because of the hormones in the food that can disrupt things in your cycle.

-Some environmental toxins you should watch out for include drinking water out of plastic bottles and aspartane which has also been shown to disrupt serotonin which affects your sleeping patterns.

I think this is someone I really learnt a lot from and I felt afterwards this is the kind of person I would like to keep talking to….

The Olive Branch Cooking Schoolfun-food3) PRACTICAL, EASY AND FUN FOOD: Margy Vally from The Olive Branch Cooking School shared some fun recipes which I think merits its own blog post (which Jolene has done here). Suffice to say I think she brought the seriousness down a notch (after the other experts had left) and showed us how to make some fun food. I liked the way she decorated the food to look like objects and animals e.g. boats, fishes and mice.

I think she deserves the biggest thanks of all for letting us invade her space, helping set up and with minimal time to prepare for her next class. We are so appreciative, Margy, of the way you let us mom bloggers into your cooking school, we really enjoyed how fast and easy these creations could be.

Oh and I have to mention that her son’s name is also Nicholas and I could see how helpful he was fetching things for her and taking pictures. That is an encouragement to me, lol!

Finally I really want to list our sponsors who really came to the party and gave us some lovely things.

calico-rose1. I’ve already mentioned our venue Free Range Lifestyle Centre and the cooking school The Olive Branch (thank Margy for those cooking course prizes you donated!), as well us the delicious Lot Restaurant, but I also want to mention that there are other shops in the centre who provided discounts for us. Calico Rose was having a sale and I got some lovely tops, one of which I wore to the event. It was just right for me and for the occasion.

trainThe other shop I loved was Pangolin Toy Store. The first time I went to Free Range I got a threading activity for Nicky (a nice large one). This time I got a wooden train set, kinetic sand that sticks together and more intricate threading.

kinetic-sandWhen I got home I couldn’t wait to show him the sand and he got busy. At first he was treating it like normal sand, sprinkling it everywhere, but today I hit on the solution of a tray which kept it in nicely. He also had fun with his trucks in this sand.

free-range-lifestyle-centre-foodWe also got some nice goodies in our goody bag from the Lot – delicious salad dressing, coffee beans from Fresh Culture Cafe and from the bakery Not Bread Alone some tasty treats. Clamber Club also gave us vouchers.

gumtree-stationery2. Gumtree have been fantastic sponsoring the stationery. I really liked the quotes they put on the notepad. It was really a relief to have that completely taken care of. They also sponsored a blogging and tweeting competition which has given us some motivation to get creative.

3. Our other sponsored speaker apart from Margy was Georgia Torres and I’m thankful to Coke for providing us with helpful tips on exercise.

ov-optics4. OV Optics outdid themselves when they showed us their kid proof sunglasses which can bend and then proceeded to give us each one! My husband has taken them!

5. NUK gave us a lovely hamper of stuff. They also worked with Margy to give her their products to use for her demonstration. We each got some really nice food pots from them. So thank, NUK!

babymoov6. Tamsin, from Berzacks, representing Babymoov. gave us some awesome thermo sensitive spoons (that change colour) and the cutest monkey key ring that has rustling ears when you feel them.

7. Fountain Medical gave us a hamper of a Ella’s Cookbook and Avent bowls as a prize, as well as Ella’s pouches for each of us. Nicky loves pouches!

8. Speaking of pouches, we got a generous discount from Sinchies reusable pouches! Thanks!

9. Bloggers absolutely loved the wine from Tangled Tree.

10. Lovely baby barrier cream from Beautiful Earth.

11. A delicious treat box from Baby Tastes / Toddler Tastes / Exquisite Tastes

12. A voucher from Babygroup.

13. A prize of a toddler bamboo blanket from Jules and Milly.

Oh, and let’s not forget our fabulous bloggers! Each one of you really made the event possible, so thanks for coming and see you at the next one!

Other posts on this event:

Gauteng Mom Blog Meetup -February 2015

The Jozi WAHM goes to the Johannesburg #MomBlogMeetup

On Mommy Bloggers, Integrative Medicine and Food for Kids

It was really a good weekend

Finally putting faces to bloggers

The Cape Town one you can read about on Cindy’s blog here, which also has links to other posts.