Thursday, 26 November 2015

Singin’ in the Rain comes to Montecasino

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They had me at “splash zone”!

If you’re going to see Singin’ in the Rain, just note that there is a “strong chance of a shower” if you’re sitting in the three front rows. 

I’m so thrilled that Pieter Toerien is bringing Singin’ in the Rain to the Teatro at Montecasino from 15 January until 13 March next year. 

I love going to the theatre, and I’ve been privileged to see shows in Broadway and London’s West End. Thanks, Dad, for making sure that I got to see the world before I started a family - one of the best gifts you can give your children before they settle down!

The show, now touring the world’s stages with it’s utterly brilliant South African cast, has been to New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong. Next stop: Cape Town. And then it’s Joburg’s turn.

Singin’ in the Rain: The Story

The 50’s was a golden era for movies, and the 1952 musical comedy Singin’ in the Rain wasn’t afraid to poke a bit of fun at the film industry. Starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, the musical is set in the late 20’s, right around the time when silent movies were being replaced by sound productions. (You can read the full plot here.)

Bringing this classic to life on our stages is Grant Almirall (making his debut as the enigmatic Don Lockwood). Taryn-Lee Hudson plays Lina Lamont, who is Don’s co-star in the silent films, but it turns out her character doesn’t quite have the voice to star in a 1920’s “talkie” with Don. Enter musical star Bethany Dickson (who plays aspiring actress Kathy Selden, who must cover for Lina). 

Here is a behind-the-scenes from the New Zealand leg of the show:

See you there!

Before the festive season swallows up your end-of-year bonus, buy your tickets for Singin' in the Rain at the Teatro at Monte Casino in Johannesburg.

It's running from 15 January 2016 to 13 March 2016, and tickets start at R200.  

(Psst, for those worried about water restrictions: it is worth mentioning that the clever production peeps have figured out how to recycle the water from each show. Most of the water is drained back into holding tanks, filtered through sand and UV light, and used in the next performance.)
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Monday, 16 November 2015

When love comes early... up close with a preemie

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You probably know a friend of a friend who had a baby prematurely, but I wonder if you’ve had the opportunity to see a preemie up close?

It’s one of the most breath-taking experiences I’ve ever had – and I mean that literally: you are too awestruck by this miniature creature to breathe in its fragile presence.

When Travis was born, he was in the ICU unit at Parklane for about a week. In the same unit was a premature baby – I never did get to find out if it was a boy or a girl, and it was hard to tell underneath all the tubes and wires that kept this itty bitty human growing inside the safety of the incubator.

What I do remember is that this tiny fighter weighed 1kg. That’s two sticks of butter, people.

After feeding Travis in the ICU, I would drift over to the incubator and gaze in at that preemie – skin almost translucent; you could see the veins pulsing gently underneath, the birdcage of a chest rising and falling with small puffs of air filling those underdeveloped lungs. Those fine-boned fingers.

Any baby that is born before 37 weeks is classified as premature, and in South Africa about 14% of all babies are born too early and need special care.

The emotional toll on the family is heavy. I got to see this up close. Not only is there the trauma of having your baby suddenly arrive earlier than expected - the mother of the preemie that was in Parklane while I was there with Trav, she’d been booked out of hospital a week or two after her baby was born. She would be visiting the hospital every day for months until her little one was strong enough to come home.

What if mom's maternity leave runs out before baby comes home from hospital? What if medical aid funds run out - the daily cost of keeping a baby in ICU is insane! Preemie babies sometimes develop complications and health problems.

And consider this. You can't measure a prem baby using the same developmental milestones we apply to babies who were born full term. If a full-term baby should be able to sit unsupported at the age of six months, then a baby that was born eight weeks too early should only be able to sit unsupported by the age of eight months.  6 months + 8 weeks = 8 months.


Tomorrow is World Prematurity Day (17 November). Huggies has a great idea: why not show your support to an institution like Little Steps, which is dedicated to the well-being of premature babies?

I went to a Huggies launch a while back and got to see the eensy weensy Huggies Preemies nappy range. Each nappy was so small, and so thoughtfully made to protect the skin of these fragile little babies, and be extra comfy with natural, breathable materials.

Show our preemies some love and Like the World Prematurity Day Facebook page. It has some great printables and banners in the media kit section, like this one.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Panic at the disco. And the library. And just anywhere, really.

The first time I had a panic attack I was in my early 20s. I thought I was dying. And so I did what any sensible 20-something-year-old who regularly pup-crawled in Melville and had way too many boyfriends in too short a space of time, would do – I hid the news of my impending death from my mom and my dad.

Cold sweat between my shoulder blades. The icy prickle that gripped my heart. The mental disorientation as the world seemed to tilt on its side.

I was so sure I had developed a heart condition, or that my mind was being ravaged by the drain cleaner that was surely in an Ecstasy tablet I once ingested outside a rave in 2001.

Not something hereditary, but some side effect of my lifestyle, some disease that only “bad girls” picked up.

It would strike while I was in a crowded mall. It would strike at 9am while I was stuck in peak hour traffic on the way to work. I would wake in the dark, tangled in my sheets, clawing at the left side of my chest, dipsticked in dread.

Once I caught it just in time, and burst into my local Mediclinic ER-style, my mind swinging on its hinges like a back door caught in a Highveld storm, and demanded they did an ECG right now! Nothing.

My GP wasn’t even in that day, so one of the other docs on duty delivered the diagnosis: panic attacks.


“Panic attack” is something that jelly-spined high-schoolers cry when they flake out of their Maths final. It’s for folk with fluttery hands and weak dispositions. It’s as real as unicorns. That was my opinion, anyway.

So much rolling of the eyes.

Except this unicorn was real, and its terrible mythical horn was lancing straight through my aorta with regularity. An SSRI was prescribed. And a tiny plastic bottle with exactly 10 tablets of Ativan that dissolve on the tongue (because that shit is addictive).

I was being medicated for panic attacks.

Man, I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I felt vulnerable. To be at the mercy of some bodily condition that could incapacitate me in any moment, that’s my idea of hell.

I’m a control freak, you see. A first-born. Type A. And I thrive under stress, which is why I am so good in a deadline-driven environment like a newspaper’s editorial department, or treading water in the production-driven chaos of agencies. I don’t have panic attacks when the clock is ticking.

No, I have panic attacks in between deadlines. When my brain goes offline, and my body decides its safe to release all that pent-up adrenaline in a gush, like a dam bursting. So I’ll be sitting on a beach drinking a pina colada while my heart thumps so hard it feels like that chest-bursting scene in Alien.

WHY am I telling you all this? Because I had a panic attack last night; the first one in forever. It started at about 11am and I finally crawled back into bed at 3am after typing up most of this.

I wanted to share this story for World Mental Health Day, but deadlines… you know.

From having two or three panic attacks a week in my 20s, I now only have them a handful of times a year and I haven’t taken any form of medication for them in eight years.

If you’re having panic attacks, you must be afraid. I know I used to be. But now that I know what they are, I also know my personal triggers – and while I can’t predict when they will happen, I can manage my panic attacks when they do.

So can you.

Friday, 6 November 2015

How to raise a child with healthy eating habits, with PediaSure Complete

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If you have read my last few posts, you will know that I have a bit of a theme these days: nutrition. With The Husband in and out of hospital with gastrointestinal problems, I'm giving our diets a complete makeover - and that includes the boys. Which is easier said than done, of course.

My two-year-old eats absolute everything you put in front of him. My four-year-old, however, well... let's just say he is a picky eater. I am blessed in the picky eating department, it seems, because Ryan will rather eat the colourful tomato, cucumber and cheese off his plate and leave the meat behind. But most picky eaters tend to just eat "white foods".

This was just one of the interesting things I learned when Pediasure invited me to a talk with paediatric dietician Deborah Jacobson at a school in my area this week. I sat there, on a small plastic chair, and had my mind blown.

(As I dig deeper and do more research on healthy eating and vitamins and minerals, it feels everything I thought I knew about nutrition is wrong.)

It was an informal discussion with nursery school teachers and moms, so here are just a few highlights that might be of interest to you:

  • Picky eating usually starts at 9-10 months, when your baby starts rejecting certain textures of food, and it is outgrown by the age of 6 or 7.
  • Deborah says that picky eating is so commonplace, that you should consider it a developmental stage - almost all kids go through it.
  • The problem happens when the picky eater doesn't outgrow it. Mom and dad become exhausted with all the drama around mealtimes and give in, and then poor eating habits become established. The trick - don't get emotional around the dinner table.
  • It's for this reason you find your picky eater actually eats much better when he is at school with his friends. Because it's routine, there is no fussing, it's not a big deal.
  • You also find picky eaters are often first-borns, when new moms and dads are feeling a bit unsure how to handle the situation.
  • Often kids with eating problems also have speech problems. This is because the fine motor skills associated with feeding yourself are underdeveloped.
  • Children with many allergies are often smaller than their peers, because their bodies use all their energy fighting illness, and there is less left for growing.

Children are not little adults. Meaning, they don't just need a smaller portion of what an adult would eat. They have different nutritional needs, higher nutritional needs. 

Think about it: we adults use our "fuel" for our daily activities and maybe healing, but kids are using their "fuel" for growing organs and bones and their brains.

I got to taste a shooter of PediaSure Complete for kids. It doesn't taste like milk, it's slightly thicker - more like a milkshake - and it's rather sweet. It has all the vitamins and minerals that a growing child needs. You can get it in DisChem.

So all this was interesting, but the bit about Deborah's talk that I most enjoyed revolved around vitamins and minerals. (I scribbled as fast as I could during the talk to get all this down, so I hope I covered everything.) We all know about the goodness of Vitamin C, and calcium being good for your bones, but for me, it was especially the minerals that I was interested in. Turns out, I don't know a lot about them, like:

  • The first 2 years of your child's life are the most important for brain development, a process that starts in the womb.
  • For brain development, you need taurine, amino acids, omega 3s that you find in fatty fish, and importantly, iron.
  • Here's the thing about iron. It comes into play when your baby is 4-6 month old. Up until then, it's living off the iron that cam from mom - but then the iron in his liver runs out and it needs to come from food.
  • This is why so many baby cereal are fortified with iron: because it is the most nutrient-deficient in the world! And here is the kicker, lack of iron will affect your baby's IQ. 
  • 45% of South Africans have a zinc deficiency. This mineral is critical for wound-healing, sexual development (who knew?), it stops diarrhoea and boosts the immune system. 
  • Vitamin A is also lacking in South Africa.
  • Do you know what nucleotides are? I didn't. You need more of these when you are growing, because they help make your DNA.
Last nutrition nugget: did you know that most of your immune system lies in your gut? And if your stimulate your gut (with pre and probiotics - the good guys), you also stimulate your immune system.

Tips for raising a child who eats well:

  • There are ways to teach children healthy eating habits that will last them a lifetime:
  • Manage mealtimes by establishing set meal and snack times.
  • Help your child to choose healthy foods by making the right foods available to them.
  • Make mealtime family time by letting all family members sit together and eat the same meals.
  • Avoid television and other distractions that may lead to a disinterest in food.
  • Learn to understand your child’s hunger signals.
  • Consistently offer new healthy foods but introduce one new food at a time instead of serving a completely new meal.
  • Serve small portion sizes when introducing new foods and gradually move on to bigger portions.
  • Resist the urge to give your child sweets and fried foods to encourage them to eat.
  • Look for fun, creative ways to educate your child about the benefits of healthy eating and an active lifestyle.
  • Encourage self-respect and self-acceptance and never criticise your child’s body type.

You can join in on the discussion about picky eating and what to do about it with other parents over at the PediaSure Facebook page.

This post is sponsored by PediaSure®Complete. The comments on this page do not constitute medical advice.

Your healthcare professional is best placed to evaluate your child's growth and development. Should you have any concerns or questions, please seek advice from your healthcare professional? For product-related questions, contact the Abbott Nutrition Support Line on 0861 22 68 87.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

I'd like to thank Grey's Anatomy

*This is just a quick update, because I am exhausted, people.

The Husband was released from hospital on Friday and on Monday he was booked back in. Same problems. We haven't even received the results of last week's tests back, and the doctors are already ordering more.

Here is the list of um-err-maybe diagnosis received so far: phosphate deficiency, stomach tumour, inflamed stomach lining... or "Wait, hang on, his blood tests are coming up clear! Maybe let's run more tests. What do you mean your medical aid says it won't pay for a CT scan?"

The good news is that The Husband is feeling much better. The bad news is that when I ask the doctors what I can do to treat the problem i.e. change diet, I am told: "No, no, there's nothing special you need to do."

You know, I held out for 10 years before I started watching Grey's Anatomy. The whole thing is on Netflix so I watch it on my laptop when the boys are watching Supercross or MotoX or whatever RedBull special with wheels.

Now I am living a real-life episode of my new favourite show. I'm all like: "Oh, so are you a resident at this hospital, doctor? What is your speciality? Will you need to incubate my husband?"

The Husband looks very "McSteamy" in his open-back hospital gown and surgical blue tissue paper underpants, btw.

Anyway, we receive biopsy results tomorrow and hopefully we get the all-clear and he can come home.

This week has just highlighted in yellow marker with lots of underlined bits just how much I rely on The Husband to keep our family organised and happy. He takes the boys to school in the mornings and fetches them at 2pm. It might seem like a small thing to do, but it buys me precious extra hours at work. And I really need them right now, because end-of-year projects are rolling in! He also makes dinner every night, and spends so much time with the boys.

My sons adore their dad. Ryan broke down in tears when I told him that his dad was back in hospital, and Oliver has been throwing some gale force tantrums. For the first time since placing Travis in residential care, I am relieved that I don't have to be dealing with his special brand of quirky right now. Because between doing the school run twice a day, driving 25km to the office and back, attending functions and meetings, sneaking in hospital visits, then dinner, bath and bedtime routine - I would snap like one of those candy cigarettes! SNAP.

Did I mention we were supposed to be on holiday in Durbs last week, so we postponed it to this weekend? Say it isn't so. Because I think beach sand between the toes is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Oh yes, I'm still going strong with the banting. I've tested a couple of recipes out of the Real Meal Revolution and Raising Superheroes books, and I'll type up a blog post with photos soon.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

The battle of the cauli mash

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that we had a bit of  scare this week with The Husband being admitted to hospital for gastrointestinal problems.

Two trips to the emergency room in 24hours, for what we assumed was just a "bug" going around, ended up with him being booked into the main wing for two nights while various tests and procedures were done to figure out what the hell is wrong with him. In the 9 years we have been together, he's always struggled with his stomach, and it's getting worse as we get older.

And we are getting older. It doesn't feel like it, but he's approaching 40 and I've just hit the 35-year mark. Physically, we're just not as bouncy as we were, if you know what I mean.

I'm getting a freaking wattle underneath my chin. A WATTLE, people. Like a chicken!

We are still waiting for his test results, but I don't need to see them. I am making changes to our family's health right away, because I was scared shitless seeing him KO in the emergency room drifting in and out of consciousness.

I have been blogging about my need to do something about my health all year:

As a family, we don't eating terribly badly. We're just not putting much thought or effort into our meals. Growing up we'd eat meat, starch and two servings of veggies every night. Using that as the benchmark we fall woefully short.

We have fallen into the habit of eating quickie dinners - so mince on rice, or mac and cheese, or eggs on toast. Which is great, if you're a bunch of 5-year-olds eating off the kiddie menu at Spur. Nutritionally, it's terrible. Not enough veggies. Not enough "trees", as my in-laws like to tease me.

So for the first time ever, I have the full support of The Husband and the whole family to give the lchf diet a try. Yes: banting. Lawd, I still hate that word.

But what I hate more is how I feel like I have to be hush-hush about it.

"Banting" she hissed.*

It's not about the proteins. It's about not eating empty carbs anymore, and getting more veggies in. It's about nourishing the bodies of my loved ones, putting the good stuff on the plate, putting some thought into the fuel we're sending down the chute.

What's useful is that years ago when the Atkins diet (the original "banting" diet) took off, I pilfered the book with its bright orange cover off the family bookshelf and read and reread those page until I had them memorised. Then, when Travis started showing the signs of epilepsy and autism, I researched the crap out of the ketogenic diet. Another version of the low-carb-high-fat lifestyle that's changed the lives of so many special needs families like ours.

And now, here we are: with the Tim Noakes version. People are still bubbling over with disdain for the cult-like popularity of his eating philosophy, but frankly, it's hardly groundbreaking stuff. If you are going to hate on Noakes for anything, don't hate him for vilifying carbs, but definitely mutter about the way he has turned science into a crass, "7-day free subscription then cough up R595 for the rest of my eating programme" machine. That's the real genius at play here.

I have no interest in getting entangled in the "carbs are bad" debate. I'll leave that to people with more energy for banting banter. (Hah, that was fun to type.)

But what I will do for you is write honestly about the experience. I have both of the books: Real Meal Revolution and the new one for kids, Raising Superheroes. The red and the blue.

The kid-friendly recipes in Raising Superheroes look way more delicious, by the way. It's written in the same conversational tone as the first book, but the food styling is what I found most compelling. The pages are gorgeous, and even my boys love looking at all the bright, enticing dishes.

I can already tell that I will be serving more family dinners from the pages of the blue book - even though the recipes are higher in carbs than the ones out of the Real Meal Revolution. Kids need more carbs than adults, is the assumption.

Because that's really the rub with this whole banting thing, isn't it? Is it good for your kids... and... how do you get your kids to eat cauli mash? Because the one and only batch of cauli mash I ever made for the family made me throw up in the back of my mouth a little when I ate that first spoonful (I told you I was going to be honest).

I also made a "fat shake" earlier today, and ended up pouring the contents through a sieve into the glass to filter out the tiny chunks of butter. Butter! Maybe we just need a better food processor thingie. I also don't have one of those "blitz" thingies. Basically, I'm going to have to buy more banting thingies if I am going to make this work.

Anyway, hold thumbs for me. I am making a cottage pie with cauli mash on top instead of potatoes, and tomorrow I am making coconut-crusted chicken bites.

* This would have made a better headline.  

Monday, 26 October 2015

How many hours a year do you spend on Facebook? I was gobsmacked.

For someone whose schedule is as frantic as mine, I sure seem to spend a lot of time on Facebook. I mean, almost 2000 hours a year! That can't be right?!

I don't even do that much community management these days; my team is rocking that department.

What kind of metrics were used to come up with this figure?

Do they count how long your browser tab is open on Facebook?

I mean, I could be watching Grey's Anatomy while I have a tab open on Facebook.

I'm just saying.

Not that I put a lot of stock in these kinds of online tests. I mean, this Facebook test was right alongside "Which fruit were you in a past life" and "What colour is your happiness?*"

My happiness is orangey-brown. The same colour as a R200 note.

Still, you have to wonder. Every time this year I've said I don't have time for that Tuesday morning yoga class, or time to make myself a salad instead of grabbing a McDontEatMe, what I am actually saying is that scrolling through the baby photos of a Facebook friend I think I might have known in high school - is actually more important.

I probably could have learned to crochet in those 1969 hours. Think of all the audiobooks I could have devoured! More quality time with the kids. Sexy times with The Husband.

Instead I have sweet eff-all to show for those hours.

What a ludicrous waste of time.

Look, I can't delete Facebook out of my life, because... work. But I'm taking the app off my phone, for starters.

If you want to know how many hours you are wasting on Facebook, here's the (probably not very scientific) online test here.

Then come back here and tell me.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Just another #basicbitch

I know, I know. It’s not the kind of headline you’d expect to find on a mommy blog.

Ever since I heard the term “basic bitch”, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that I am deeply, depressingly ordinary.


As defined by Urban Dictionary, a basic bitch is: 

“Someone who is unflinchingly upholding of the status quo and stereotypes of their gender without even realising it. She engages in typical, unoriginal behaviors, modes of dress, speech, and likes.”

“She is tragically/laughably unaware of her utter lack of specialness and intrigue. She believes herself to be unique, fly, amazing, and a complete catch, when really she is boring, painfully normal, and par. 

“She believes her experiences to be crazy, wild, and different or somehow more special than everything that everybody else is doing, when really, almost everyone is doing or has done the exact same thing.” 


Just the fact that I am referencing Urban Dictionary makes me utterly, utterly basic.

I have a mom-bob. My bras all come from Woolworths. I buy R100-for-3 notebooks from Typo. I drive a Honda freaking Jazz. Now I should just get my kids’ names tattooed onto me and complete my transformation to vanilla.

It is funny how you spend your teens and early 20s trying so desperately to be different. Pierce your tongue! Dye your hair blue! Lock yourself in your bedroom and write dark poetry!

Then something shifts and you have babies, start collecting Le Creuset bowls and meet for brunch. You embrace this inevitable decline into genteel suburbia...

...and it really grates my tits!

We’re all so... same-same. We wear the same brands of clothes and read the same books and right on cue - are OUTRAGED - about the same things.

So you decide to get a quirky hobby, like, hunting for lockets on eBay, which is just fucking sad really because you only remember that you have a quirky hobby once every three months when Netflix crashes and you can’t figure out how to fix the DNS thingie.

I am not sure what is making me more grumpy: this brand-washed world where we’re all dressing, talking and thinking the same or the fact that I’m becoming more and more irrelevant as I get older.

Now excuse me while I go colour in my adult colouring book.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

35 life lessons I have learned before turning 35

Back in June, I wrote a letter to my 21-year-old self.

This list is a little different. It's what I have learned over the years, little truths in my personal life, my career and parenthood. They might be useful to you, or they might want to make you unleash hellfire in the comments section.

Here goes:

  1. You are what you binge-watch.
  2. But you are not your status updates, not even close.
  3. Studies say that you are at your happiest when you're in your mid-20s. Your ability to learn new skills, like languages, also peaks at about 26 and so does your intelligence. Then, I read a study that says most people stop listening to new music after the age of 26. The moral of the story? Don't waste your 20s mooning after that asshole who doesn't WhatsApp you back.
  4. On that (ahem) note, don't stop listening to new music.
  5. Buy property as soon as you can.
  6. Never buy a brand new car; it is an insane waste of money. You lose 30% or more of the value before you drive it off the showroom floor.
  7. Think you have what it takes to work for yourself or start your own company? Stop wondering, do it now. I wish I had made my first hire back in December 2010 when I started freelancing full-time; Content Candy would have been triple the size it is today.
  8. The best presents are experiences. No one can take them away from you.
  9. Marry someone who is your intellectual equal; someone you'll never get tired of talking to. Someone who challenges you. It is the only bond that lasts the test of time. 
  10. Having a baby is a lottery. I cannot overemphasize this enough. When your baby comes out of you, you kind of project your own personality onto it. Well, surprise! Personalities don't come custom-order. You could be raising a socially awkward, Nobel-winning gene-splicer who will still be living in your house when he's 42 OR you could be raising Dexter and might have to help bury a body in your back yard. And there are no backsies.
  11. While we are talking about babies, you know how they say: "Don't worry about having enough money; that will come right in the end"? This is the single dumbest advice I have ever received as a young mother, and I heard it from so many people. No money = no babies. 
  12. Opinions. Don't be afraid to have them.
  13. Everything they told you about using sunscreen is true.
  14. Learn to read food labels. You are responsible for your own nutrition, and it's not something to take lightly. I did, for far too long, and now I'm sorry.
  15. Learn how to activate your "pause" button, and get rid of your "rewind" button. 
  16. My mother took her own life. My fiance died drunk driving. My eldest son is mentally challenged and in a home. Do I blame any of this on an unhappy childhood? No, I am an adult and I am responsible for the circumstances of my life and the manner I choose to live it. I see far too many people blaming their absent father or their alcoholic mother as the reason they are the way they are. Grow a pair, will you?
  17. Opinions. Don't be afraid to share them.
  18. Travel, travel, travel. Once you have kids, you'll have to wait until you retire before you get to do any more globe-trotting.
  19. So you're not that young anymore. Don't forget to goof around. Stuff an entire bag of marshmallows in your mouth; suck out the air from a helium balloon and sing Bohemian Rhapsody. Superglue someone's mouse to their desk.
  20. No one wants to see your belly button after you turn 35. It's sad. My belly button is lonely.
  21. No one knows how to "adult"; we're all winging it and hoping someone "adultier" than us will help when it all goes for a ball of shit.
  22. One thing I do know about being an adult is, we answer our phones. We make phone calls, we take phone calls and we do business over the phone. With our actual voices. Sometimes even face to face. 
  23. It should be illegal to schedule 60-minute meetings. Nothing needs 60 minutes to discuss. You talk for 17 minutes and fill the rest of the time with waffle.
  24. Get insurance. Make the payments. Life is full of nasty surprises.
  25. No one's "outside" matches their "inside". Don't be quick to judge.
  26. Opinions. Don't be too proud to change them.
  27. Know when to lead, and when to step back to give someone else a chance to shine.
  28. Ask stupid questions. Usually everyone is wondering the same thing.
  29. In the early days of my freelance career, I fucked up a few times. Exactly four times. I am embarrassed about it. You know how they say: "Be careful who you step on on the way to the top, because you will bump into them again?" Now I am working alongside some of the people who I let down all those years ago, and I have to put on my big girl pants and own my mistakes. It has been character-building to say the least.
  30. Have one friend who is much younger than you, and one who is much older than you. Have one friend who posts an endless stream of motivational quotes and never stops cheering for you, and have another friend who is a complete nutjob conspiracy theorist. 
  31. If you worked hard in your 20s and early 30s, by now you'll start seeing the rewards. Stay humble. If you don't, karma will arrange to tuck your skirt into the back of your panties.
  32. Don't say "yes" to events that you feel obligated to attend, and then flake out at the last minute. Just say "no" right up front.
  33. If your kid has to ask you to put your phone down because they're trying to talk to you, that's one time too many. (Yeah, I know: it reads like a stab in the eyeball. Guilty as charged on this parenting crime.)
  34. While we are talking tech: you don't need an app for that! You don't need an app to track the quality of your sleep, or one to help you mediate, or one to make rain sounds. Less is more. 
  35. Yes, you are turning into your mother.
Last one: You're only going to get squishier around the middle. Find someone who loves your squish.

Oh wait, I have one more: Know when it is okay to break the rules. Sometimes you are going to have to, to get results, to save a life, to make a meaningful change. Other times, you're just breaking the law because you're an ass.

Have you just crossed over into your 30s or 40s and have some wisdom to share? I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Hands-up if your kid is a picky eater. Here is how Pediasure Complete can help

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There was a time when Travis the Lionheart would only eat yogurt or custard. 

That was it. 

I was a first-time mom dealing with a kid with sensory issues, and I was so stressed. He hated the textures of certain foods. 

I would buy bags of organic veggies and make little mix packs of carrots, and sweet potato and baby marrows to keep in the veggie drawer. At night, I would boil them and mash them as finely as possible, with a dollop of butter thrown in. He refused to eat it. 

Travis refused to eat the veggie soup I tried to get down him. He refused absolutely everything, and as he grew older, his eating habits did not improve, and I was in a permanent state of anxiety at mealtimes, worried about his nutrition.

Picky / fussy eating is a common phenomenon and most parents at some point face challenges from their children about eating. Your kid might refuse to eat, play with his or her food, eat less than usual, dislike certain food groups, throw tantrums at mealtimes, or simply refuse to try new foods.

Fact is, about 25% of all young children are picky eaters.

Here are some tips for dealing with a child who is a picky eater:
  • Don't force your child to eat.
  • Set regular meal times: in other words, eat at the same time every day, sitting down as the table as a family.
  • Meals should be between 3 and 4 hours apart.
  • Serve small portions of food. Only top up (with another small portion again) once the first one has been finished.
  • Mix things up - serve some foods they haven't yet tried, alongside foods they know and like.
  • Don't make mealtimes longer than 20-30 minutes.
  • Supplement your child's diet with an all-in-one nutritional solution like Pediasure Complete.

For more tips on how to create healthy eating habits for your picky eater, visit

Picky eating is normal childhood behaviour, and it is not a reflection on your ability as a mom. As long as you're making sure your child gets all the vitamins and minerals your kid needs to grow up healthy and strong, you're doing everything you can.

PediaSure Complete is a complete and balanced nutritional supplement (scientifically-proven), ideal for the picky or fussy eater. Pediasure ensures that children who are fussy eaters receive the nutritional support they need to grow and develop normally, while giving moms complete peace of mind that their child’s nutritional requirements have been attended to.

Give it a try! You can find PediaSure Complete at Dischem, Clicks, pharmacies and baby stores nationwide. Here's a place where you can speak to other parents who are battling with picky eaters and get advice from experts.

This post is sponsored by PediaSure®Complete. The comments on this page do not constitute medical advice. Your healthcare professional is best placed to evaluate your child's growth and development. Should you have any concerns or questions, please seek advice from your healthcare professional? For product-related questions, contact the Abbott Nutrition Support Line on 0861 22 68 87.