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The Simple Things

Country Road asked me to showcase my own version of “The Simple Things” in life. Amongst all the chaos of work, school, personal projects and deadlines… What I love doing most is dedicating full, undivided time to Noah and Benjamin. We often do little tea parties where we’ll just hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Time without homework, chores and rules. I’ll make a big pot of tea and get us some delicious treats and sometimes we’ll play UNO or watch a great family movie or something and relax together for hours.

It’s sad how much kids have to do these days, from such a young age. Noah is in grade 1 and hates Mondays already. On that day they have mini sport, library and two 2 breaks. It hurts your heart to see how quickly they get thrown in to so much. They have 2 extra murals a week and swimming is coming back now too. It’s so important to me that they just get to relax with me, and forget about all the expectations that school already places on them.

So yesterday afternoon I fetched them earlier from school. I got to watch a bit of their drama lesson and laughed at their little performances. We had a long talk on the drive home and instead of hours of homework and routine, I popped by a local bakery, picked up some treats and let them have cupcakes and tea for dinner. I let them use mommy’s ‘fancy’ crockery (that I recently shopped at Country Road) which always makes them feel super special and grown up. Here are some pictures of my gorgeous boys, who I love more than anything else in this world. Looking at these photos made me stop and realise just how quickly they’re growing up too. It’s bittersweet, but beautiful. This is us at home, doing the simple things.

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screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-9-49-12-pmCountry Road let me select a few items from their store for our home to enjoy. I chose a dining set of their gorgeous white, grey and pink plates with matching cups. The wooden tray pictured above is also from them, as are the boys’ outfits. There are a few other items which I’ll share in my next post, when we talk bubble baths and lemonade stands. You can shop Country Road’s dining section here.

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I love it so much

I can’t explain how much I love our new house already. I’m here right now and it’s total, beautiful chaos. My garden’s grass is overgrown and there is rubble all over my patio. The boys’ bunk beds won’t fit along the wall I WANT in their room, so I’m having custom ones made. Eventually. The house smells like paint and dust oh man the dust… One day in my eulogy please firmly mention how grateful I was that I did not live in this house while it’s being renovated. Like… yoh. So much respect for people who do live amongst construction because I would rather self harm. SO much has been done and there is so much still to do.

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I’m just so in love with this house. I know I bought it as an investment with The Plan being to renovate and rent out, but I kind of never want to leave? I’m grateful that I got to change it the way I wanted and that I can be here every day to just settle amongst the chaos and appreciate the changes as they happen. This neighbourhood is so great. I have never felt as safe, welcome and at ease in a home before. My bed isn’t here yet, but I slept over by myself last night and crashed on the bottom bunk in the kids room. No sheet (because where is that box even) with a spiderman scatter cushion (obviously) and no kitchen sink. No bathroom (they’re tiling it and no) and no coffee. Not even a kettle lives here yet. My plants are huddled in to a corner, my dressing table is in the lounge and every time I come here, I load my car with boxes and tiny little things that can’t be categorised in to a sealed box.

I played a game of pool at the local pub last night and ate 2 chilli poppers at the “stays open past 9pm” joint and walked to my front door with hand-rattled keys. I’m experimenting with different dishes at the local deli and hung a hook for my handbags today. I brought a tiny little bit of dishwashing liquid in a juice bottle and affectionately washed the 3 glasses that live in this kitchen already. The tiny little things.

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I’m taking screenshots of nice housey ideas that I find late at night and early in the morning when I can’t sleep because I’m so excited about living here. I bring the dogs for mini visits and we carry Jack down the stairs because he’s too scared to climb down them just yet. The WiFi was installed here yesterday and I spent an unshowered hour on the phone to technicians this morning trying to set up the router. I sent my new home phone number to my entire whatsapp list even though they never phone on my landline; I just want them to know that I’m here. That they can. Everything’s new and fresh and full of dust but it’s wonderful because it’s mine. It’s theirs. It’s ours.

I really love my new house. I love it so much. We all do. Mostly.

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I bought a house for you.

I sure did. I don’t know if I’m emotionally ready to talk about this yet, because it has been such an absolute mission. I started this process in November last year and when I saw this little house, I could. not. stop. I’d been looking for a little investment property close-ish to UCT that sits in a great neighbourhood and that obviously won’t depreciate over the next 11 years – when the kids move in and settle in to their studies. It’s a sweet 2 bedroom duplex in a tiny little block with a big wrap-around garden. The street is lined with big trees, it’s opposite a beautiful church and adjacent to a community garden and playground. There’s access to the train station close by, and it’s a quick walk to main rd on the current Jamie Shuttle route. There’s a lot of development going on in the area, with phase one recently completed. Man, I did so much research right down to the body corporate and their financials and maintenance plans too. There was a bit of a show-down between the seller and I, and on the third offer we finally found a middle ground.

Buying a house as a sole proprietor is a total nightmare. At one point I genuinely considered taking up a full time job just to make the banks like me more. I’ve always avoided credit and literally don’t have any. Not even a cellphone contract. Nothing. Apparently this is a VERY bad thing, and there were many tears over the phone to the credit bureau about my case. Buying a house with just one income and watching people across a desk comb through your bank statements and business financials is actually mortifying. Quick tip: It doesn’t matter if you can afford the bond or even twice the bond amount. It’s just not enough. So with no credit, no payslip and no joint income I set out on The Worlds Most Impossible Quest. And we won. Eventually.

The plan is to live in this sweet little house for a year or two and fix it up real nice. Then rent it out, and pay it off by the time the boys finish school. If you’ve looked at projected figures for university fees in 2027 then you should understand why I’m trying to cover as many bases as I can right now. Maybe I’ll live there as an old lady with many cats one day – who knows? But at least there’s something extra nestled somewhere.

I’m doing tiny baby little renovations right now, which pains me. I am not a DIY type of person. Even the thought of shopping for tiles bores me to actual death, but I’m trying to get in to it. My mom’s partner is a most excellent builder, so I’m kind of winning there. I’m so grateful to him, really. So here are some ideas and plans and things that I found on Pinterest. The first steps to making the place feel a little bit like home.

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Turn your bedroom in to a summer oasis

I’m busy planning a new look for the main bedroom of our house. Something more classic, mature, classy and cozy. I got a set of Volpes bedding at the beginning of this year, and I was so nervous about it. I always go for white bedding, because it’s crisp and the colours don’t wash out. I got my first ever, emerald green colour set from Volpes (a sister company to Coricraft) and a year later it still looks brand new. When shopping for bedding, I feel like there are only 2 options: The cheap R150.00 duvet set that will last a few months and the R1099.00 duvet cover sets that you can’t even afford. There is no in-between. I got a complimentary bedding set from Volpes at the beginning of the year and now that I’m shopping again, I thought I should give them some much deserved love. Their sets start at R290 – R450 and the quality is really great. Most of the double bed sets are R390.00 and have really pretty designs.

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I’m doing to do a white, grey and duck egg scheme for the new look, with some faux fur and maybe an interesting throw in there too. The main theme will be white, though with pops of texture and colour. I’m looking for something that won’t date and that I can fall in to every day and feel like a 50s hollywood actress, you know? Something like this as a base

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Volpes has an online store and a few mall stores spread across SA. They’ve launched a new summer collection called ‘Under the Sun” just in time for the festive season and getting your home ready for the holidays. You can check it out here >  www.volpes.co.za and you can shop at the touch of a button. They have beautiful botanicals in pastels and gentle hues. There are also duck egg and charcoal options, as well as pretty florals for that fresh summer look.

 

 

 

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A little piece of our home, the rabbit haus

The nice team at Builders came over to our home to see what Graeme has been making and what sort of things we’ve been up to around the house. I am VERY lucky that G is so handy and especially lucky when he gets bored (literally always) and starts chopping and drilling and cutting and sanding things together. I also really like that our boys get involved and are slowly learning a trade. Noah helps with drilling and tends to our vegetable garden. He sometimes holds planks that Graeme is sanding or cutting and gets super excited when dad is out and about in the shed. Over the past few weeks, G made us a very gorgeous vegetable garden and I got to plant watermelon, sweet melon, tomatoes, cucumbers, patty pans, mielies, chillies, pumpkins, sweet potato, beetroot and a whole lot of herbs. We put a fence around all of it this weekend, so I’m REALLY excited about having a corner of garden that our dogs can’t get to.

G has also made a sweet garden swing for the boys and yesterday we made hanging bulbs for outside using succulents and I’m super excited to share that with you. We’ll be sharing the Swing & Succulent Bulb tutorials over on Builders Warehouse’s twitter feed ( @buildersfan ) this Friday and trust me, you’re gonna want these for your garden and outdoor entertainment areas. If you have a little balcony and want to add some greenery that you can’t kill – this one’s gonna be for you.

Probably my favourite thing that Graeme has created is our dining room table, which I absolutely love. Our side tables in the lounge: G sourced / stole discarded tree stumps from a park and sanded them down. I also really love the hanging plants he made for our office, which look so great beneath the skylight. Noah, I really hope that you’re still passionate about woodwork and gardening when you’re older my boy. Ben is more in to daydreaming and animals and play pretend right now, so it’s going to be super interesting to see how their personalities evolve and how they build their own nests one day. Here are some pictures!

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If you like anything you see, and to those who have asked before: We got our rabbit shaped cushions from Menagerie. Our kitchen stools are Coricraft. The “Let’s Run Away” talking banner was from Typo. Our lounge ‘feature wall’ items like the weaved baskets, vintage mirrors and the bokkie head are all from @home. Our bunny pattern cushion (above) was from Design Kist. The Nguni hide was gifted to us by my friend Keri. Our black and white carpet is from Weylandts and was super affordable. A lot of our accessories are from there, like our baskets that we put plants in to and the spanish carafe on our floating shelves and the mechanic lights above our dining room table. Our couches were custom made about a million years ago and we’ll need new ones pretty soon. I am sort of waiting for the children to stop messing cereal and tomato sauce on them, so I’ll hold back on that. The grey bird cushion is from Skinny la Minx and a lot of bits and bobs like the colourful vases oh and our dining room chairs are from Mr Price Home. We got the floating shelves from Builders Warehouse, and the perfect shade of grey paint on our walls is called “Cement” but I don’t remember which brand it was!

One day I’ll share some pictures of the rest of the house and the garden but I’m super lazy so thank you to the Builders team for stopping by and sharing your pictures with me! Here’s the man behind most of (all) the making, my Mister Graeme Bettles >

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How to create a perfect, Pinterest inspired kids room in South Africa

Clever Little Monkey is definitely the best kids furniture & decor shop in South Africa. You’ll find the most beautiful collections to transform and kids room in to a Pin-worthy masterpiece that your kids will LOVE. You can shop everything from wall art, decals, bunting, bedding, scatters, furniture, beds, accessories – literally everything you need to create the perfect look for your child’s play or bedroom. I wanted to quickly show you a few of their goodies.

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The best news? You can shop all of their beautiful items and curated collections online. Check out Clever Little Monkey here > https://cleverlittlemonkey.co.za/ and some of the items are currently on sale! Happy shopping, friends!

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Our lounge make over, part one!

We’re doing a bit of a lounge make-over at the moment. Winter is here and every day is getting colder and more miserable around here. While so many people seem to love this kind of weather, it really just makes me unhappy. I love the outdoors and sunshine! Now that we’re spending more time indoors, my restless spirit decided it was time to re-vamp the family room and refresh our living space. If we have to be inside, then at least let the room be as beautiful as can be!

Doing a living room make-over can be pretty affordable, and fun. Also, it’s pretty darn easy. All we did was buy 2 liters of paint an some brushes and masking tape (R200 – R300) and chose a colour that we both love. We chose the ‘main’ wall in the lounge and Graeme and Noah painted it a beautiful cement grey. I got a few new pieces of wall art from The Foschini Group‘s  @home online store. I’ve mentioned them a thousand times before, because they really have the most beautiful decor pieces. I’m on a first-name basis with the delivery guy at this point!

So this is what the lounge looked like before: Quite minimalist and monochrome. When we moved in to our new home, we sorta just hung things up and got all the rooms ‘good enough’ because we were waiting to hear on the boys’ school applications and so on. Now that they’re both rooted at our dream schools, it’s time to settle in and nest for keeps.

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When we’re done with the complete make-over, I’ll spend some time telling you guys where everything’s from and where to find similar pieces if you’re keen on creating a similar look! I’ve also taken some profesh photos which I’ll share with you once the project is completed. Last weekend, we got the basics done. We painted that main wall, then Noah and I started the prep for the artwork. We cut all the shapes out of newspaper so that Graeme and I can try figure out the layout on where everything’s gonna go. Creating a gallery wall is super tough you guys – one picture even slightly out of place and the whole thing looks weird. No pressure! This newspaper method is also great for marking where hooks are placed on the artwork, so you can just mark it, stick it all to the wall and drill in to the markers.

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Haha, in the picture above, G was still poly filling and Noah was super keen on a photo. He NEVER lets me take photos of him lately. He’s so proud to be doing stuff with dad. This is what the wall looks like now, after two coats of the Grey. For those who asked, this perfect shade of grey is called Plascon Cement Wash Y1-E2-2. It doesn’t give that weird blue or green tint that I’ve seen in a lot of greys. It’s very matte and gives a beautifully even finish. The reason we wanted the cement feel is to bring more earth tone in to our home. We’re all big-time nature kids, and the idea is to bring some of the outside, inside. So we’re going for lots of greenery, earth tones, botanicals, fynbos, baskets, weaved items, glass, mirrors and metallics. I want an earthy, tropical feel with warm tones. The white was just too much as we have a lot of light in our home, so everything starts to look at bit clinical, you know? This is what the wall looks like now

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And now, it’s time to put up all the art. Graeme and I have had little disagreements on where everything should go. Even Noah got involved in the bickering and has his own opinion on what should go where. We’re having a lot of fun with this and I love that the whole family is getting involved. Go and LOOK at some of the gorgeous wall art pieces that @home has at the moment, including their already framed protea, aloe, figs and artichoke prints. Once we’ve finished our little space I’ll show you which pieces we used, and how we incorporated it in to our existing space. Winter really is for nesting!

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Weylandts’ first ever TV ad – The Tastemakers

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I’m sure I’ve told you, but super talented Mr Husband works over at Weylandts. Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve been shooting a pretty incredible TV ad for their Tastemakers Campaign. The ad was shot at Chris Weylandts home (I KNOW, right?) over at Maison Estate. The model is the very gorgeous and apparently super nice Ana Kuni. I’ve taken a few stills from the ad to show you the vibe, because oh man… it’s just such a breathtakingly beautiful little story. The ad opens with “A weekend to ourselves” and shows a home video style series of the husband filming his wife being very every-day in their gorgeous (and tasteful) home.

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From eating left overs for breakfast (empty bottles of wine still all over the kitchen) and dancing in the living room with no shoes on, to running around the house in your cozzy, this feel-good ad will leave a nice little grin all over your face. It’s so gorgeous that within seconds you’ll want to be in that house, with all that furniture, decor and accessories – which I guess was the entire point. Watch the ad! And congrats to the entire Weylandts team. This is beautiful!

 

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Skinny laMinx launches new range of fabric and cushions

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I’m a huge fan of Skinny laMinx’s fabrics. I discovered Heather’s work about 4 years ago when we first moved to Cape Town and bought 2 of her cushions straight away for our new home. Note: Her cushions are also stocked at Vamp, where we bought ours. Over the last few years we’ve built up quite the cushion ‘collection’ from top SA textile designers like Heather, love Milo, Menagerie and Artvaark (our sweet bunny origami cushions) We also have a few from over the seas, like our bunny cushions from Urban Outfitters. Right now, we’re looking at getting a few pieces from India, which I’m really excited about. We’re also re-doing our lounge at the moment, which I feel is important for Winter. We’re spending much more family time indoors lately, so I *need* to freshen the room up a bit to help me deal with the winter gloom.

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We’ve just ordered a few cushions from Heather’s online store, as her new range ( search #DiggiDot ) launched last week Friday. All of Skinny laMinx’s work is timeless and gorgeous, in good quality. We made the mistake of buying cheap scatters before, and within 3 washes and 2 weeks the fabric fades, tears and thins out. I’ve learned that cheap is just never worth it. Screen printing is such a delicate and tender art, which I discovered when I did a whole lot of research on it last year. Heather presses water based inks onto a natural-toned cotton/linen blend basecloth.  Her designs are very creative, mature, original and colour-happy. I love that she’s incorporated some simple stripes in her new range, for the busier rooms like those with decorative bedspreads or overly colourful children’s rooms. Now, her entire range has fabrics to brighten up a space, add character or tone down a room with minimalist styles in simple colours with loads of white space – like nothing you’ve ever seen from Heather’s work before. The modernized polka dots with digital influence and pops of bright colour with charm the decorator out of anyone. When looking at previous ranges tied in with the new fabrics, you really get the feel that Heather’s kept older pieces in mind so that you can build on your current collection without having to redecorate or toss previous purchases. It all works together so nicely.

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I can’t wait to show you our new space! We have loads of work to do in the living room and I’m really excited about having a cozy, colourful and creative family space for these chilly days. I want to spend every afternoon at the fire with hot cocoa and lazy dogs sleeping at our feet while we watch movies and spend loads of time together. While it may be gloomy and grey outside, we’ll ensure that inside gets a ‘happy’ makeover this season. You can shop Skinny laMinx’s new range here > DiggiDot Range, Heather Moore, Skinny laMinx.

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