Thursday, 23 January 2014

Hello again.

It's been a while since I last updated my little personal space on the web and I could give you that "I've been SO busy with life" speech, but I won't. Instead I'll tell you about my new a little personal space on the web: WordBox.


I left an established agency in Cape Town last year to start my own boutique agency. It was filled with lots of "omg what am I doing?" and "this is never going to work" and general negative affirmations. I was very sad to leave a big part of the career I built as a Copywriter & Social Media girl behind and literally start from the bottom again. And the first month almost killed me, financially, emotionally and physically. Then something amazing happened, I landed my first client who then referred me to my second client and who is now a happy client amongst my 6 clients!

Advertising is tough, the small agency landscape is strewn with people offering to do the work for less, faster and attached to false promises. But I can tell you this, comparison is the thief of joy. If you work hard and deliver a good service to a small bunch of people, those people soon become a medium-sized bunch of people. This has meant many late nights, agonizing deadlines and coffee. 

I'm happy to have come out of the last few months with a smile on my face and the knowledge that the rewards make it all worth it. This is my baby, my creative energy, my project to grow as much as I am capable of making it grow, and that is worth all the near-meltdown moments*.

So far we've designed some amazing campaigns, written advertorials, updated Facebook and Twitter pages for brands and consulted for some top digital agencies in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

2014 is the year of the small agency (ok so I've declared it that and it is in no way based on any research article)and I'll be updating you on all things Copywriting, Design and Social Media.

If you want to take a peek at my pretty little thing, it's here:

www.wordbox.co.za 

*Sprinkles glitter and hopes for the best*.

*Meltdowns are often just the lack of tea and a biscuit.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I love (hate) packing.


In a week I’m there. I’ll be spending long hours deciding whether to nap or shop the summer sales…la la la. 

Now back to reality. I have SO much to do this week, it’s like being in an episode of the Amazing Race. There’s the usual stuff, passports, medication check in case they don’t make Corenza, itinerary mailed to everyone I know just in case I don’t come back and they need to launch a search and rescue mission, little plastic bottles to decant products into, suitcase lock, check to see whether hotel has hair dryer, you get the picture…

But then there’s also ALL of baby D’s stuff to organize. Food for a week, calculating how many frozen blocks I’ll need per day, are their enough Panado drops? Does he have enough winter clothing, cause you know it’s going to snow while I’m away. He’ll be at granny’s so transport for the nanny, food for the nanny, a note to the nanny reminding her that he must have a nap every day when I’m away. Brief to my husband about heating food, no standing in the bath (the baby not him), routine, read to him, play with him, hug him LOTS and LOTS more than usual because I'm away :( Lol. 



I’m tired. BUT I’m EXCITED! Yays!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

I'm going to Spain

8 months (and a bit) ago I had a baby. Some days it feels like yesterday and others it feels like 100 years ago. 

I always knew I wanted to be the type of mom that spends time with her kids (kid). I never dreamed about night nurses, baby sitters, leaving them with granny for days and all the other survival methods. In fact it didn't come naturally to me to leave him with anyone, or to be away from him for hours and hours. It still doesn't. I just love this little guy and I love being with him.

But there is another side to this whole thing. There are mornings when I've been up at 1am, 3am, 4am, 6am. And those days land up being the days that I am not my best self. Red eyes and a pale face is my complete personality failure look. Getting no sleep is like being in the army I've decided. And you've gotta go through the trenches of teething to really know what I mean.

Then my dad told me he was going to Spain. My tummy did a little flip. I've loved the idea of going to this country for a very, very long time. I dreamed about visiting Gaudi's Sagrada Família since studying Architecture back in the day. Obviously my first thought was, um no you have a small baby. Then it started haunting me, this idea that I have the opportunity to go with. I have the opportunity to see this place in this lifetime. I've dedicated most of my day and ALL of my energy to my little dude for 8 months, haven't had one night off. So I booked to go.



Guilt. What a stupid emotion, but one that mothers are way too familiar with. If you let it, guilt will enter every moment of motherhood with questions like are they eating right? Getting enough sleep? I wonder if any other babies have ever bumped their heads? How long did they cry for when I left for work this morning? And these are just the mild ones.

Here's the thing. You can let it eat you, or you can see it for what it is. I do feel guilty for booking a trip away from my baby for a week. I will most likely spend the flight sobbing, forcing the unlucky person next to me to ask for a seat change. I will probably think about him every second and try my best not to show videos and pictures to foreign unsuspecting victims.

I do know this. I am SO looking forward to going. I am so lucky to have a husband that is staying behind. I am ridiculously blessed to have a granny and a nanny to hold a little hand, wipe a little cheek and break all the rules whilst mama is away.

 

I'm looking forward to finding me again, to eating tapas and drinking wine. Mainly the wine part.

xxx

Monday, 24 June 2013

Joshua Tree ♥


No, not the U2 album.

I’m reading the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls at the moment and was overwhelmed by her descriptions of the Joshua Tree.

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.”


The Joshua Tree, sometimes beaten by the wind, grows sideways, but its roots are firmly in the ground. It is resilient in the face of almost anything and just by looking at one that has weathered the storm you are amazed at how beautiful it is in light of its obvious struggle.

In a way this reminded me of the year I’ve had so far. There is nothing easy about ‘trying to do it all’, about raising a child and having a career. And often I’ve felt like this tree.

In the literal sense, there are days when I physically cannot get it all right and land up at work with porridge on my shoulder and bags under my eyes and a look of fear and desperation (moms are nodding at this point) as I tackle the 14 000 things I need to do before lunch. In the emotional sense, there are days that you feel like you don’t have it all figured out, that you’ll never get it right. And just when you think it’s not going to get easier, it does. You realize your own strength, strength to make things happen, strength to do the best you can with what you have. That if you take things day by day, hour by hour even, you will reach the end of the day and still be firmly rooted in the ground. Sometimes against all odds.

One of the most amazing things (and there are millions) about motherhood is that it makes you see and live your own strength. That you are powerful beyond what you imagined. There is, after all, another little person counting on you, and when someone counts on you, you are inclined to want to succeed.

To Joshua Trees, to being perfectly imperfect, to being beautiful.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

My ♥ stopped when I created it. The perfect little-man cave.

A couple of days back I wrote a post about being a book lover. It was on my mind because I was hunting for the perfect book shelf for my little boy. I didn't do the traditional nursery for him because I never felt connected to all that lace and baby-esque stuff. In my mind I always imagined creating the ultimate 'little boy's room' with rocket vinyls, Tin Tin posters, cars etc. This week I decided it was time to carve out a little-man cave for him :) And so the search began. And what a search it was. What I can tell you is that Cape Town is full of rubbish. Rubbish at every corner, rubbish in every so called 'Home' shop. There's nothing good for kids in this city. Well so I thought. I like simple, clean design, nothing patterned, nothing that's going to date. Just white and simple. And that's exactly what IKEA gave me! Ikea at Kids Living that is. The parts were packed separately and were super easy to assemble (that's why we love Ikea) and within 15 mins BOOM! There is was.




That photo is ridiculously skew! Forgive me. Just tilt your head like you've had too much wine and it'll be 100%.
So onto the pillows (how suburban I've become)...





My husband looks more excited about them than Daniel right? Ok so they weren't THAT cheap but I don't have millions of decorative pieces in his room so the R120/pillow was spent and forgotten, quickly. The cutest part is the number plate on the car that says 'Hiccups' (I die!).

The Tin Tin posters I got lucky with. I found them for a fab R75 each at Garden Centre! Who knew Garden Centre could be good for anything! Don't look for these kinds of prints online, they'll cost you a bazillion rand and that's without the postage. It's a pleasure.




Now that that's done I'm moving onto the hunt for vinyl...will post more about this as soon as I've found the right pic to paste onto a giant canvas above his bed. 

Anyone got any sites that I should be visiting to find wall stickers? (Let's hope that's not a call to action for millions of spam sites).

Happy Thursday.
xxx

Friday, 7 June 2013

I ♥ books.

I'm a bookworm, a book nerd, a hoarder of old books, a framer of illustrations, a referencer of passages, a sucker for a hardcover, totally and ridiculously into books. And when it comes to children's books you can pretty much turn the dial up on all of the above. 

My childhood storyboard is made up of Roald Dahl (just ignore that he threw his wife down the stairs), Tin Tin, Asterix & Obelix (the movies were also great), the Magic Faraway Tree, Beano comics (ok not a book but must be included), Beatrix Potter (invited Mrs Tiggy Winkle to many a tea party) and many, many, many more.

Daniel is only 7 months old and we read every day. A part of me does feel a little stupid reading to him when he can't even say 'mama' yet. I sometimes get that awkward reading aloud feeling and I literally laugh out loud at how bad I am at voices and accents. But! He gets it. I just know he does. He smiles in the same places in each book, he goes super super quiet like he's internalizing everything I'm reading and his eyes light up when he sees certain pictures. This makes my heart happy. It's so important to me that he remembers these stories, that he uses his imagination, that he creates his own world of characters. It's important that life is colourful, that possibilities are endless.

There was a study recently about the affects of talking to your baby (even from teeny weeny). It's super long and super boring but the gist is that if you talk to your baby they will be more intelligent. I wonder if the same works for creativity? That if you inspire your kids to be creative they will be? Who knows. 

Stories help us to frame our world. I want him to have access to the right ones, to meet and love the great characters that I met and loved as a child. Soon it will be all Xbox and TV and MXit (puke), and books will take a backseat again. But they're precious, they stick, they shape us to a degree and if anything they provide so much joy.

So much joy.



Sunday, 2 June 2013

♥ Stop is back.

It's been a while hasn't it? 

I've neglected my little spot on the web and can only apologize to those who religiously came to check if I had updated. 

The truth is having a baby and working like a maniac in the advertising world has meant that many of my past pleasures have been neglected. But that's all about to change. 

The last 7 months have been life-changing, obvious, but true. From the moment we brought him home, nothing and I mean NOTHING was the same. Nothing was the same in the sense that my heart was living outside my body in the shape of a 3.2 kilo, Mick Jagger-lipped bundle of awesome. Nothing was the same in that there were times that were so hard. Parenthood is such a yin yang of emotion. With every good thing comes something bad and vice versa. The learning then is that when the times are tough the sun is just around the corner, and when it's sunny, the clouds move in. Cheesy but oh so true.

It's also a massive lesson in patience. I'm an A-type solutions-based individual and a Copywriter, which means I find solutions to client's problems on a daily basis. I enjoy it. Apply this to a baby? No. Not possible, not even remotely possible. For every tear you imagine there is a quick-fix, a 'I'll just do this and he'll sleep through'. Instead you find yourself rocking them at 2 in the morning not knowing how long it will last or if you'll sleep at all, ever again. You learn how to be present, because it's all you have. And it can be lonely. 

You know this isn't the end of the story right? The experience is bigger than anything I've been through, and I'll put all my chips on the table and guess that it's the biggest thing I'll ever do. You surprise yourself at how much love you can hold for another person, how other-worldy it is and how amazing it is. They smile, they laugh chesty full-bodied laughs. They are innocent, excited by the small things and just when you think you can't love them anymore they surprise you and learn a new skill, hungry for life.

You get to teach them the things you learnt as a child, read them the stories your mom read you. You build who they are. 

Fashion blogger turned mommy blogger. I hope you'll enjoy the new Heartstop journey.





xxx

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My ♥ stopped at the Baby Sense Seminar.

Last Saturday I dragged my husband to the Grand Westin Hotel in Cape Town for the Baby Sense Seminar. It was recommended to me by a friend and considering we aren't going to antenatal classes, I thought I'd go to this quick crash course in newborns.




The tickets were R260 and we bought them off the Baby Sense website (here). I thought I'd be the biggest preggie lady there but was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by LOADS of others, in fact I've never seen that many pregnant people in one room. And there was a good turn out of dads, albeit disgruntled dads (SA was playing rugby at the same time, oops!). 

We got goodie bags on arrival and I was blown away by how amazing they were!



They included Nuk bottles, Tommee Tippee dummies and a range of other mommy delights. The only 'wild card' was a Driving Manual, which I found quite strange! We all know how to drive by this point surely? Anyhoo...

The Seminar itself lasted 3 hours, with breaks in-between (pregnant women need to pee, a lot) and canapes and tea were served. The talks included subjects like birthing options, from womb to world and the 4th trimester. I found Megan Faure's lecture the best, she's the renowned author of the Baby Sense series and has years of experience. She pointed out the importance of creating a 'womb-like experience' for a newborn in the trimester following birth, everything from swaddling to white noise. Another interesting topic was that of colic, I'm sure we all know that poor mother that dealt with a colicky baby and barely lived to tell the sad tale. The advise given to us was that colic is often a symptom of overstimulation and NOT dietary reflux. Signs of overstimulation include the baby failing to make eye contact and crying (obvs). Also covered were topics like cord care, nappy rash and nasal congestion (joy). 

Basic overview is that I thoroughly enjoyed this Seminar and recommend it to any expectant mom. It's not preachy, it's not too long and it just gives you that edge in terms of trying to understand a newborn. Of course I haven't had the baby yet so I might be cursing Baby Sense next month if none of these tips work! But jokes aside, it was well worth it.




Thursday, 16 August 2012

My ♥ stopped at Mr and Mrs.







Wow. So beautiful! Came across these pieces on the Mr and Mrs blog today, designed by local designer Famke. Simple and such statement pieces! Here's what she had to say about her designs:


When designing what are you most inspired by, do you design your collections/ranges with a specific story behind them or do you simply make whatever you want?

I'm inspired by geometric shapes and angular lines as well as natural, more rustic objects (bones!!!). All of my bespoke and more intricate pieces have stories behind them, but my more simple things and mass produced jewels are just things I find pretty.


See the rest of her interview here

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Heartst♥p Mama Drama

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now. Before I found out I was pregnant, I had a 'magazine article idea' of what I thought it would be like. That idea was SO far from reality, and so I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned i.e. "What you don't expect when expecting".







The positives



  • The world loves a pregnant woman, and people will literally part the way and stop the traffic for you. This happened to me today, again. It's as if people are both cautious of you and protective over you, all at the same time, and it's surprisingly marvellous.
  • Strangers want to talk to you (this also comes into the negs later). I am slightly introverted in the sense that I won't jump to make unnecessary conversation with people I don't know. It takes me a while to warm to people and it's something I've always struggled with. Everyone, from the cashiers at Woolworths, to the old man in the post office, to the little boy in the car park, will talk you. It's quite amazing. They want to know how far along you are, whether it is a boy or a girl, whether it's your first, or in the case of the little boy - if there's a 'baby in there'. They want to comment on how you look, how low/high/small/big you are carrying. And all of them do it with warmth. You'll know what I mean if you've experienced it. It's has taken me by surprise once or twice, like today when the Woolies' cashier started up a conversation about how much she wants a baby and her husband isn't ready. Without warning you are thrown into chats like this. It's been amazing for me, drawn me out of my shell a bit.
  • People love buying baby clothes. And it's not about you, it's about them. There is some kind of projection that goes into baby buying, I've come to realise. People buy the things they would buy for their own babies, and each has a definite reason for why they bought you this SPECIFIC gift i.e. I've bought you this baby sleeping bag because I had one when I was little. I've had gifts from so many people, and I'm only 26 weeks. The generosity is overwhelming.
  • You have an 'out' whenever you need one. Our social schedule is hectic most of the time, and most of the time I love it. But sometimes I just want to go home early, and that's when the preggie perks kick in. You can be the first to leave and everyone understands. I imagine kids 'needing to get to bed' is a good excuse too at a later stage.
  • You'll detox like you've never detoxed before. No alcohol, no caffeine, no smoking (I'm not a smoker anyway). 9 months of eating well and taking more vitamins than you thought possible does wonders for you. It will be the healthiest time of your life, so avoid all these things for once. The time will come when you can indulge in all of them again, and will. Miss you caffe latte.
  • Incremental "getting to grips with things". Before I fell pregnant, I imagined that movement might feel alien, that my stomach might look grotesque, that my ankles would swell up and become 'cankles' and more...the truth is, you have so much time to adjust, each month brings some small new adjustment. But nothing is sudden. Well not for me anyway. You are pregnant for 9 months so that you can sort your life out slowly and not have to race to the finish line. It really was 'planned well'. 

The negs

  • Belly touchers. They're everywhere. Like a "Where's Wally" sea of hands coming at you. Ready to touch, jiggle, tap and stroke your belly. This has been a BIG adjustment :)
  • Maternity clothes. Or in this case, a SERIOUS lack thereof. Don't be fooled by the clothes in some of the major retailers, they were not designed for you, they were designed for aliens. There's a big gap in the market, please fill it someone! And yes, I know you can find nice stuff online, but I can't grasp spending that much when I'll be out of them in less than 3 months.
  • Not feeling 'quite yourself'. This seems like an obvious one. From hair to skin, to clothes, to lack of energy, to baby talk, to feeling 'frumpy'. 
  • Drunks. I miss having drinks with friends and having a good time. Being the only sober one past 11pm does not have any perks, is not fun, and is not advisable (unless you're knocked up).
  • You know you really should...SHUT UP! Mention the words 'pregnant' or 'babies' and the world is your expert. Everyone and their dog will give you advice. It's done out of love (must be said) but god knows it's the most annoying of the negs. I had a guy tell me the other day that 'the fitter you are, the easier your natural birth will be (because c-sections are a no-no), and you'll just pop the baby out in time for a mani and pedi'. Or something like that. Well buddy, last time I checked, overweight women the world over have given birth without even knowing they were pregnant. Pop. This story aside, people will bombard you with "use that nappy", "have a c-section definitely", "my cousin's mother's sister's gran's parrot said that breastfeeding makes your baby superhuman'. Or something like that.
This is a small peek into my life right now. I'd love to know any  positives and negatives other moms/preggie ladies have/had. So please drop me a mail, or comment on this post. 

In the end, we are all doing our best, and our best is best.


xxx




Wednesday, 1 August 2012

My ♥ stopped at the Mr Price Online Store








Social media is buzzing with news of the new Mr Price Online Store, so I HAD to check it out. I've always been a fan of Mr Price because they have a dedicated team that keeps up with street style, and we all know they won't break the bank.

I've put some of my favourite items up, but really there is a HUGE variety of clothing and accessories. This year has seen the rise of many online stores in SA and we are finally catching up (not there yet) with the rest of the world, where shopping online is the norm. 

Go and check out their latest collection here

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

My ♥ stopped at Hatch.










Elegant, feminine and chic. These are the perfect words to describe The Hatch Maternity Collection. And can we just have a moment for how cute that name is! There really is nothing like this in SA, and thank goodness for that because the pieces are pricey. It would be great if there was an affordable alternative though (without compromising on style). Love.


Visit Hatch here.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

My ♥ stopped at 36 Boutiques.

Some exciting news popped into my inbox this afternoon. 36 Boutiques (the fabulous online shopping destination) has created "The Hipster Boutique" – a collection of the essential items for any Hipster's wardrobe. What an interesting concept. I like.


That Nica bag! There are just no words...


This is what 36 Boutiques had to say about this boho move:



If you’re tired of all things mainstream, and you prefer sipping a craft beer and trawling vintage markets over weekends, there’s a strong possibility you’re a ‘Hipster’ or heading that way soon. To make your shopping experience more convenient, or to speed up the process and ensure you’re on-trend, 36Boutiques.com, South Africa’s premier online fashion destination, has curated ‘The Hipster Boutique’.

While finding the perfect elements for the Hipster wardrobe can be a shopping nightmare in a mall, a carefully curated online boutique features the essential items grouped in one place. You will be able to select midi skirts, check shirts, brooches and brogues easily, and create ensembles that include craft rings, fedora hats and detachable collars.

I love the Hipster trend, and a I'm a BIG fan of brands like Missibaba so I think this is a move in the right direction for online shopping. And why not create 'niche wardrobes', it's the perfect way to find what you're interested in with one click.

Visit 36 Boutiques here.

Happy shopping readers

xxx


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

My ♥ stopped at Mama Mio.


Since I found out I was expecting a little boy, I have furiously been rubbing cream on my belly to avoid stretch marks. It's the one thing I REALLY want to try and avoid. A wonderful 'fellow mum' recommended Mama Mio to me and what a great recommendation it was! You'll find it at the Wellness Warehouse on Kloof (if you live in Cape Town), otherwise on their website. 


Mama Mio says this:


The yummiest, purest, creamiest, melt-in-your-skin butter we could possibly make.

Mama Mio pregnancy skincare products work because of their very high levels of Omega 3, 6 and 9 to ensure your skin has the best fighting chance against pregnancy stretch marks. One scoop and you'll know our Tummy Rub Butter deserves every award and accolade it has won.



It's completely delicious (please don't eat it) and leaves your skin very soft afterwards. The only catch is that it's not THAT cheap, i.e. about R400 BUT you don't need that much for each tummy rub so it'll last you a fair amount of time. 


You can pop over to their website here.

My ♥ stopped at DKNY Pure.


I was lucky enough to receive some DKNY Pure in the post from Fairlady magazine :) When it comes to fragrances, I am totally a creature of habit and I think I've been using 212 for about 10 years now (seriously). BUT I can say that this perfume really surprised me and I am now converted. The fragrance is reportedly built around the idea of 'a drop of vanilla in water' – how romantic! I just love that. And it's not just ANY drop of vanilla, but a drop of vanilla ethically sourced from a women’s agricultural project in Uganda; as part of a collaborative project. I like that it stems from a place of giving back, makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

DKNY Pure notes that in today’s fast-paced world, “you need a moment of calm, to find beauty in living simply”. I can really relate to this and feel like the world is slowly trying to go back to all that is simple. We are trying to get away from mobile phones, and Internet and deadlines and more deadlines. Pure is the perfect solution to modern day woes, try it, you'll love it like I did I'm sure. 

My ♥ stopped when I saw this :)


Sorry about the lack of posts recently readers. When you work at an agency and are booked on about 4 campaigns per week, time slips through your fingers and draws you away from hobbies like this. But on a happy note, I was asked to do a little write-up on 'my first car memory' for Glamour (above). Surprised and honoured that they featured it! Have always loved Glamour, filled with fabulous beauty treats and fashion delights.



Wednesday, 27 June 2012

My ♥ stopped at Design Team Fabrics










This week has made me realise that there is a serious lack of nice fabric in Cape Town. It's so surprising because CT is such a 'designy city'. You get a lot of the same, and I'm going to be honest and say that many stores look like they're only selling curtain material from the 90's. But Design Team is different. I first came across their fabrics at Still Life home and decor and it was love at first sight. My home is scattered with beautiful pillows of theirs, the bunny and bicycle prints being my fave. 


The reason I started the search this week is because I want to cover a canvas in fabric. It's for the baby's room and it's above a bed. 


They have a stunning range of African and Nostalgic prints, if you feel like browsing, just go here.


All pics from Design Team's website.



Friday, 15 June 2012

M♥ma Drama: the toy box.

As I told you a couple of posts ago, I'm expecting a bundle soon. And in true a-type fashion, I've already started thinking about the nursery (amongst other things). I found a really amazing store called Kids Living in Northgate Mall (the one before Century City). They have all the things your bub could need but what impressed me most is they make up kids' furniture. 


I've decided to have a toy chest made for the baby's room, it's great storage for toys and can be used post-baby years but the main reason is, I remember having one as a kid. Nostalgia is a funny thing when you're having a baby, you begin digging up memories from childhood, like for me it's a spongy blue car seat (very 80's) and a blue chest that my toys lived in. So naturally I've made myself believe he'll love the toy chest as much as I did :) 


It's still a work in progress but here's what I've got so far. I'll post pics of the final product when I've got them.


His toy box is based on this one (also done for a customer):




As you can see, it's super minimalist. I've done this because it would be great to use after he's grown, and I can justify the price that way. They've left the gap so that he won't be able to slam his fingers (smart) and the lid goes down slowly, also a safety feature.


Next step is that I want to have vinyl stickers put on the side, to add a bit of fun. Here's the inspiration:




If you're looking for kids' furniture, cots, prams and all the bells and whistles of babyhood, then visit Kids Living. The toy box was very reasonable and I think it's beautiful :)


Which items do you remember from childhood? Was there something that stood out that you'd like to recreate for your little ones?


xxx