Friday, 29 June 2012

Attack of the killer (Spanish) robot!

Oh goodie gum drops, another post about toys!

We have an in-joke in our social circle. When your kid’s first birthday rolls around you, and while you’re distracted by finding the perfect Barney-themed cupcakes and a party clown who doesn’t eat small children in his spare time, the rest of us are playing Who Can Find the World’s Noisiest Present™!

You only get caught out when you’ve had that first baby – after that onslaught of Barbie’s Karaoke Party microphone, My First Drum Kit and plastic keyboards from China, you can consider yourself properly initiated.

Still, there are noisy toys. And then there is Smart Talk Robot, an android buddy that Santa dropped off for the Lionheart last year. This robot is loud; SHOUTY CAPS LOUD. So loud that I confiscated him and placed him on the kitchen counter where little hands can’t (quite) reach.

Mr Robot creeps me out while I’m chopping mushrooms and what-not on the counter. I keep waiting for his eyes to light up red like in the Terminator, or some kind of microwave death ray to shoot out from behind his plastic visor.

After seven days of school holidays, it’s become necessary to put Mr Robot back in the hands of the trouble brothers before they spontaneously combust of boredom.

The good news is, they've been suitably distracted. The bad news is: Travis has managed to change the language settings to Spanish, so now there’s a beeping, booping killer robot rolling around my house going: “¿Dónde está el círculo rojo?” or “Where is the red circle?” which I find ironic given my earlier Terminator reference.

In other news, now that Travis and Ryan have methodically smashed every singly lamp and it’s light bulb in our household, the Lionheart has discovered: light switches.





He particularly likes to flick the kitchen light on and off. The only problem is that the kitchen light switch and the switch for the back garden lights are on the same panel.

So our neighbours – and we live in a complex, y’all – were treated to a little light fantastic at 3AM this morning as the Lionheart household lit up like it was Christmas in a Texas middle-class suburb. It took me a good 15 minutes to get out of bed and investigate.

And frankly, I’m disappointed the security guard didn’t check in with us. Because if the lights were flashing on and off in my neighbour’s home at 3am, I would assume that they were sending an SOS. Or building a Frankenstein in their loft.

So how are you keeping your kids busy these holidays, or do they go to one of those awesome playschools that stay open?

Friday, 22 June 2012

The Adventures of Turd Squirrel and Megalomaniac Mommy

Sometimes I wonder if this blog shouldn’t be called: There’s a Poo in the Bath Tub! Because really, I’ve scooped enough chocolate logs out of the bath – with my bare fingers – to put it on my CV under Skills or Hobbies.

“Dear prospective employer. In my free time I like to go bobbing for faeces.”

Given my years of poop-scooping experience, you’d think I’d be fairly indifferent when I marched into the bathroom while the Lionheart was throwing his own version of Splashyfen, and spotted this (below) floating in the tub.

Cue the music from the shower scene in Psycho.

But I’m not indifferent! I’m already anticipating the slimy consistency of well-soaped lumps of crap. Shooting for hoops as I hurl it from tub to toilet… and miss. Getting it under my fingernails! Oh the horror of it!

Imagine my relief when I find out that my kids haven’t taken a dump in the bath water… it’s just Turd Squirrel having a laugh on us.

His plastic bushy tail really does look like a floater when he’s partially hidden by bubbles. Damn you McDonald’s and your cheap Pixar knock-off happy meal toys!

And then there are the times when I think its Turd Squirrel... but its not.

How do you know you might be a megalo-mom-iac? When you idly wonder how much Home Affairs will charge you to change Trav’s surname officially to ‘Lionheart’.

Just to be clear, I’m not really going to do it. (If you think the Husband had a cadenza when I wanted to name our unborn child ‘Phoenix’, you can just imagine how he’ll handle this news. “Put that frying pan down nice and slow, honey…”)

But for a moment there, it didn’t seem like such a crazy idea.

I mean, Travis will never get married or have children of his own. In some upside-down-topsy-turvy way he really has no use for his actual surname, legally. But when I started calling him ‘the Lionheart’ and through the wonderful medium that is the interwebs, suddenly lots of people began referring to all children with special needs (and their families) as ‘Lionhearts’, it became a Thing.

Travis is the first of the Lionhearts. The poster boy (cub?) for Lionhearts! It’s a movement, baby.

Of course, in this whole idle daydreaming scenario, I wouldn’t rename our entire family the Lionhearts, either – although I flipping LOVE the sound of Stacey Lionheart; now that is something that would look great on a CV.

My main reasoning is that baby Ryan should get to have his own Thing. Be his own kid; rock his own avatar and moniker and Twitter handle and whatever virtual personas we’ll all have as social media and connectivity evolves in the future.

So yeah, that’s quite a (pompous) idea, huh?

But then of course, I’d have to legally change Trav’s middle name to ‘the’.

This is where someone hits a cymbal in the background. Da-dum-doosh!

Also, where you all cause the Kidzworld servers to crash as you rush through to vote for the Lionhearts in SA’s Best Mommy Blogger. I didn’t spend hours getting the perfect shot of a fake turd in the tub for shits and giggles, you know.

More cymbals?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

GIVEAWAY: Pampers Premium Care nappies worth R2500!

AND THE WINNERS ARE: Sonja Cronje, acidicice; Helen Janse van Rensburg; Brigitte Buys and  Pheodora Holmes

This competition is now closed.

Pampers nappies: they’re like wrapping your baby’s bum in velvet, waterproof underpants! I’ll never forget when my husband and I were nervous newbies, going to antenatal classes with Dr Diane – who is something of a fairy godmidwife in our social circle.

“You want to know which brand of nappies to use?” she asked the classroom, waving a pair of cuticle scissors a little too enthusiastically.

All the soon-to-be-moms and dads nodded. This was Serious Business.

Then she snipped out the absorbent padding from several brands of disposable nappies, and dunked each square into a jug of water like a tea and rusk. It was all very dramatic.

“There!” she said, “Pampers!” She passed around the gel-filled square for us all to feel. I felt like I was back in Biology; the Pampers really did hold more liquid than any of the others.

That was five years ago, and you bet that diaper tech has only gotten more impressive. The Pampers Premium Care range is their thinnest, driest disposable yet, and it fits little bums from 2.5kg all the way to 25kg. They’re pretty much the Cadillac of nappies, and the Lionhearts have quite a few packs to share with you.

What’s up for grabs?
Five Lionheart readers can score a bumdle – sorry, ‘bundle’ of course – of Pamper Premium Care nappies. Each hamper contains two packs of nappies in a size of your choice, plus a packet of Pampers Sensitive wet wipes.

How can I win?
If you’re a mom, you’ve can probably change a Pampers with one hand, prop up a bottle in the other and wipe a booger-nose, all without switching on the lights at 2am. So we’ll keep it straightforward…

  1. Join the Pampers fan page on Facebook.
  2. Join the Living Lionheart fan page on Facebook.
  3. Then scribble a comment below to let me know you’ve done it. Easy breezy!

(PS: remember, if you do comment as Anonymous, leave me an email address where I can get hold of you if you’re the winner.)

Terms and conditions: This competition is open to SA citizens only. The winner will be drawn randomly, and announced on Friday 6 July at noon. Prizes take 2-3 weeks to be delivered.

RECIPE: Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose

On Monday I blamed my weekend weight-gain on an evil bowl of the richest, most lip-smacking, more-ish chocolate mousse in the universe. Even though both my kids had chocolatey ‘ohs’ smeared around their mouths, this really is more of a dessert for mom and dad, especially if you add a splash of something boozey to the recipe.

(This recipe is originally from an old issue of Taste magazine;
I’ve typed it here from memory because I can’t find it on their website.) 

150g dark chocolate
4 egg yolks
250ml cream
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
A splash of liqueur

  1. In a glass bowl suspended over a small saucepan that holds boiling water, melt the chocolate. (Remember, the water must never touch the bottom of the bowl.) 
  2. Now is the time to add that splash of liquor – try something like Cointreau (pricey orange liqueur that’s the shizz for making Cosmopolitans) or good old coffee-flavoured Kahlua. 
  3. Add the egg yolks one by one. Adding the first yolk will make the melted chocolate seize a little. Don’t freak out! As you add the remaining yolks it’ll take on a glossy, gooey consistency. 
  4. Remove from heat. While the chocolate mixture is cooling slightly, whip the cream until it’s nice and thick. 
  5. Fold half the whipped cream lightly into the chocolate mixture. 
  6. Sift the cocoa powder and then fold into the chocolate mixture too. Add the remaining cream. Don’t over-mix the mousse; the more you work it the denser it becomes. 
  7. Now sneak a big spoon of chocolate mousse when no one is looking! Try not to look too guilty. 
  8. Spoon generous helpings into some fancy glasses (usually there’s enough for 4 to 6 servings), and leave to set in the fridge for four hours. 
  9. Garnish with a sprig of mint, white chocolate shavings or if you want to be really fancypants, some candied orange peel.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Letters to Bump: Now that you’re here

(To read the entire Letters to Bump series, you can read here, here and then here.)

Dear Bump – or should I say… Ryan. My Squishy.

It’s been almost eight months since I’ve become a ruggle mom.

I didn’t really think your name through, did I? “Ryan the Ruggle”. I’ve seen the name dropped in magazine articles twice now, and I’m doing my best to grind it out before it becomes a Thing. Because ‘ruggle’ implies that you are an ordinary baby – a regular Joe Soap.

Make no mistake; your dad and I fervently hoped for a slice of ordinary. As I lay in the maternity ward at Flora Clinic being prepped for your birth, I closed my eyes and for the first time since lo-o-ong before I became a mother, my lips sent a prayer winging to The Big Guy Upstairs.

“Please God. Let this child be whole.”

(Up until you were rudely yanked out of me – the gynae pulled a real Dr Frankenstein number on your old mom – we’d still had no idea if you were a boy or a girl. You were almost Lily Grace, just so you know.)

Ryan, you came into this world howling! For a good 60 minutes you blasted the hospital nursery with your indignation while I babbled incoherent nonsense at your Nana and Granddad in the recovery room. I vomiting most ungracefully into a plastic kidney dish and passed out. And when I came back to my senses, there you were wrapped neatly in a blanket at the side of my bed: my Squishy Gorilla.

Nothing has been the same since.

Before the Mighty Squish entered our lives, the Lionhearts were living comfortably in the Mariana Trench of society. The deepest, gloomiest parts of modern suburbia, surrounded by others of our kind – the ‘special needs’ fishes. Flat ones, funny-looking ones, glow-fish and lionfish and puffer fish… Sure, it was weird, but it became home after a while.

And then you came along.

Ryan: you’ve turned our upside-down world the right way up.

For the first time in a long time I’m not holding my breath anymore.

And it’s not because you’re a ruggle – you are a fascinating (chubby, gurgling) ball of energy and wonder and babbling. There’s not a stop sign in life that you pay attention to; you’re all “I’m passing Go Go GO and give me that 200 bucks and a bottle of formula, why don’t ya?”

I’ve had to replace all the baby books I threw out. I’ve had to go online and Google ‘nursery rhymes’ because my repertoire is sadly lacking. You’ve been sitting since five months, crawling at six months, and at seven months you’re already showing us: “Look parent people, no hands! I’m standing!”

(This lasts for about three seconds before you land hard on your bum.)

Your big brother Travis has kicked you, bitten you, pinched you, shouted at you and just this weekend, he squashed you FLAT when he accidentally sat on you! At least, I hope it was an accident.

You have no idea that your big brother is disabled. He’s your hero, and that’s why you think he’s special.

Your optimism humbles me, Mr Squish. Try to hang onto it as you barrel so cheerfully through your milestones; your baby days are slipping away far too quickly for me.

Love, Mom xXx

(PS: Dear readers, voting is still open for the whole SAs Best Mommy Blogger thing-a-ma-jiggie, if youre so inclined.)

Monday, 18 June 2012

Crapsticks. 71.4kg.

I must be the only Sleek Geek contestant who’s actually gained weight in the first week. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been ‘putting on muscle’, but the only workouts I’ve done in the last seven days are McDonald’s drive-thru pull-ups and one-handed lifts of a bowl of homemade chocolate mousse.

So I’m pushing the reset button this Monday morning and starting again. I have printed out my #iPadsforLionhearts poster and pinned it to my cubicle wall at the office for motivation. Doing it for the kiddies! And I packed a Tupperware of Weetbix biscuits to keep in my desk drawer so that I have zero excuses when I skip on breakfast at home.

I’m not so much a yo-yo dieter as I am a never-dieter. The longest I’ve ever stuck by an eating plan is three or four days.

My biggest problem at the moment is what I’ve come to call Fatty Fats Weekend.

You’ll recall that I play Wombles because I can’t leave the house AT ALL with Travis and Ryan. So not even can I not hit the gym running during the week, but weekends are a no-go as well.

I’m trapped in the house with nothing but my babies and the refrigerator. And leftovers. And the pantry – which I’ll transform into more leftovers. And our Kook en Geniet recipe book. And my stack of Taste magazines. And re-runs of MasterChef. And my dreams to be able to pipe icing like Roxanne Floquet.

I don’t believe that I’ve ever told the Lionheart readers that I am the daughter of a restaurateur: my dad is intimately connected with the Mugg & Bean franchise chain – yes, a brand known for its over-the-top portions, or what they like to call its brand cornerstone of ‘generosity’.

I’m big (ahem) into generous portions myself.

So it’s back onto the treadmill for me. Not a real one, a mental one.

I’m already salivating at the thought of my toasted ham-and-tomato on rye bread for lunch. Roll on 12pm! In the meantime, it’s ho-hum Weetbix for me.

(PS: It would cheer me up considerably if you voted for the Lionhearts in the 2nd annual SA’s Best Mommy Blogger competition by KidzWorld - you can clickety click here.)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Review: Cuddlers nappies and baby wipes

Nappies and bum creams, bottle and teats… which brand you use is a Big Deal with moms, especially first-timers fresh out of the maternity ward. If I had a R5 coin for every kitchen tea and play date where I’ve listened to the Great Debate about Pampers versus Huggies; my kids’ education funds are sorted.
So why not Cuddlers? Is it because they’re cheaper?

There is one test that a disposable nappy needs to pass to make it onto the monthly shopping list in the Lionheart household – it mustn’t leak overnight. After bath-time both Ryan the Squishy Gorilla and Travis the Lionheart have been taped into a Cuddlers nappy to sleep in for the last few evenings. The short of it is: no leaks or soaked PJs.

The long of it is: the Cuddlers range comes in fives sizes – newborn (2-5kg), small (3-6kg), medium (5-9kg), large (8-18kg) and x-large (15+kg). Baby Ryan fits into the large and Travis miraculously fits into the x-large, but only just-just. Congratulations, Cuddlers, because the Lionheart weighs in at around 25kg!

In fact, the size of the nappies is the first thing that I noticed when I took one out of the packet to examine it. The flaps around the edges and the ones that extend up to the bellybutton and at the back are rather generous. Now, I know that in the more ‘premium’ brands of nappies these have been trimmed close, probably with comfort in mind. But hey, I’m no baby ergonomics specialist.

We’re having a terrible problem with poo leaking out of the back of the Squishy Gorilla’s nappies at the moment – probably because he is so very active that it’s just forced out of the top and dirties the back of his T-shirt. (I totally nearly wrote T-shit there). This hasn’t happened since Ryan’s been testing out Cuddlers.

And another point I’d like to make – there’s no weird smell, other than the usual, err, ‘natural’ ones, coming from the nappy once it has been wet. I do know of other brands that have a worryingly ammonia smell, no doubt coming from whatever magical chemical retains the liquids in the lining.

I only have three critical comments.

The first is that having two diaper-rockers in the house, I struggled to figure out which size went onto which bum, as there is no ‘large’ and ‘x-large’ stamp anywhere on the nappy. The second is that the Cuddlers naps are purple with butterflies, a design which is distinctly girly, in my humble opinion. The third is that that the Husband did rip the tabs off a few tester nappies when we were trying to see if they would fit Travis – but I can’t really say if that means that the tabs are flimsy, as the Lionheart is clearly too big to be squeezed in the x-large Cuddlers.

Cuddlers also have their own wetwipes which are alcohol and perfume-free, with aloe vera for sensitive skins. There’s even a handy pocket-size packet, which I’ve been carrying around in my handbag.

Which brings me neatly back to: why not Cuddlers? They’re cost-effective, comfortable, and don’t leak. What more do you want in a disposable nappy?

The Cuddlers range gets three-and-a-half 'roars' of approval out of five from the Lionhearts.


Friday, 15 June 2012

GIVEAWAY: Van Coke Kartel & Fokofpolisiekar merchandise worth R430!

AND THE WINNER IS: Kristi Fraser! Congrats! Your rocking hamper is on its way courtesy of The Greek Merchant.

I’ll bet it’s not only the Lionheart and the Squishy Gorilla that have a rocking dad! With Father’s Day happening over the weekend, we’re stoked to able to give away a prize for the guys courtesy of the Greek Merchant.

The Greek Merchant is the official manufacturer and merchandise retailer to more than 50 of SA’s biggest artists including Goldfish, Locnville, The Parlotones, Die Antwoord, Jack Parow, Fokofpolisiekar, Lira, aKing, Van Coke Kartel and Die Heuwels Fantasties and more!

We giving away an official Van Coke Kartel T-shirt, plus their album Wie’s Bang and the Greek Merchant’s throwing in an awesome (and one of my personal favourite SA bands) Fokofpolisiekar T-shirt, too! That’s two shirts and a CD worth R430.

Just answer these two easy questions in the comments below (hint: visit the Greek Merchant’s site for answers).

1. Name three of your fav local bands the Greek Merchant manages and designs merchandising for.
2. What is your favourite song by Van Coke Kartel?

You get one extra entry each if you tweet or share this competition on Facebook.

Terms and conditions: This competition is open to SA citizens only. The winner will be drawn randomly, and announced on Friday 22 June at noon.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Where is the volume button on this baby?

Oh bother… we’ve got a Situation on our hands.

Ryan the Squishy Gorilla only knows how to talk IN BIG SHOUTY CAPITALS!

Leaving the house with him is like a Tourettes skit on Comedy Central. We’ll be standing quietly behind a granny in the queue at Woolworths, and suddenly my adorable, pink-cheeked bratling will break into air-siren mode: “BA BA WA BOO BWEEP MMMMMMMMMMMMA MA!”

Translation: “Move your fat ass out of the way, lady! I’m trying to shoplift a Kit Kat while my mom is distracted by my overly loud babbling!”

This is what comes of trying to raise a lionheart and a ruggle in the same household. Travis spends large chunks of his time screaming, kicking, yelling at the top of his voice and biting himself…

And Ryan hero-worships his big brother! He thinks that Travis is the bees’ knees – it’s all “I want to be Just Like You when I grow up.” Ryan has no idea that Travis has special needs; that his big brother is perhaps not the best role model to be copycatting.

This leaves mommy bear in a bit of a pickle. How the blazes do you tell a seven-month-old baby to turn down the volume? I’m a total amateur at this raising a ruggle business.

Is there some fancy baby massage trick? Is the ‘mute’ button located on the instep of his left foot? Do I ignore this behaviour – even though it’s getting worse? Or knit my eyebrows into my best “Mommy does not approve” frown?

Because so far patiently explaining, “Ryan, you are too loud, my boy,” is having bugger-all results.

Please, dear readers: I need help! SOS! Sending up a flare, here.

(PS: This is not some of the time, this shouting thing is ALL of the time. Ryan doesn’t appear to have an ‘inside voice’.)

(PSS: And would you be as so kind as to vote for me in the 2012 SA’s Best Mommy Blogger awards? It would appear that you can vote as many times as you want. )

Monday, 11 June 2012

In the starting blocks: Sleek Geek

I’m not shy about sharing this number: 69.8kg (I mean, it’s not as big as THIS number). But then I viewed the ‘before’ photos that the Husband took for my eight-week Sleek Geek Winter Warrior challenge this morning! Holy Mojitos! And hot wings. And every packet of delicious smoked beef-flavoured crisps I’ve ever devoured in one sitting…
The horror.

And just to be thorough, the Husband was sure to also take a photo of me bending over while adjusting the newspaper showing today’s date.

On Saturday morning I had to report to Old Ed’s Virgin Active in Houghton to have my measurements taken. I really did look like a ‘winter warrior’, armed with an egg-lifter to scrap the ice off the race car ya-ya’s windscreen at a chilly 6.20am, wearing my Eye of the Tiger style beanie. Did I mention that Saturday was the coldest, most noombie-chilling recorded day in Jozi’s winter season so far?

I’m dropping the post-baby pounds for a good cause: #iPadsforLionhearts. There’s a pot of R45 000 to be split between four winners (the pool is 90 contestants). Even if I don’t win the prize money, I’m still saying goodbye to about 10kgs of adipose tissue.

When I picture my fat rolls, it helps me to think back on that ghastly yellowish tissue that you can see on the video and photos when the doctors sliced into my belly for both my caesareans. There I was… spread out on a delivery room table, and instead of being overwhelmed with joy as both my sons were yanked into the world, I’m cringing at the visceral sight of my fat – the actual goopy, jelly-ish fat like you’d trim off your stewing meat – exposed for all the world to see!

I’ve never been able to flaunt my body in a bikini, but with age has come a certain level of comfort. I’ved become okay with my shape… Now I realise I’ve confused being comfortable with being complacent.

It’s not so much fatness as FITNESS that concerns me. With Travis not being able to walk, I cannot let myself slide! For goodness sake; I’m grunting with the effort it takes to life him out of the bath tub! I’m wheezing if I have to carry more than a few steps. The effort to cart him from his classroom to my car parked outside of his nursery school was tremendous.

This morning’s teeny weeny black-and-white polka dot bikini ‘before’ photos for the Sleek Geek challenge show a mommy with zero muscle tone! So I’m replacing a few kilos with muscle over the next eight weeks – and if I do really well and win, I might raise some much-needed funds for #iPadsforLionhearts and buy three second-hand iPads for children with autism who can’t afford one of these pricey gadgets.

Don’t forget, if you have an old iPad at home you could donate it, too. We’ve already re-homed one iPad with little Emma Hunt, who has Aspergers. A second iPad is making it’s way to us to find a new home for it. My goal for the year is 10 #iPadsforLionhearts. That’s the course of 10 young people with autism’s lives radically changed for the better.

The wonderful, witty, generous, AMAZING (really, I could go on and on with the flattering adjectives here) Tamarai is doing the Sleek Geek challenge too. She’s raising funds for #iPadsforLionheats and the SPCA. Please do support this generous soul, by sponsoring her for every kilo she loses. You can email Tam on, and she’ll pop you a sponsor sheet!

Here are my before measurements:

Height: 166cm
Weight: 69.8kg
Chest: 55cm
Bicep: 27cm (flexed – pathetic hey?)
Tummy: 96cm
Thigh: 53cm
Hips: 104cm GASP!
Body fat (with calipre): 27%

I may do a little fundraising of my own... with the big reveal of my horrendous ‘before’ photo as the prize. Public humiliation: back in the good old days I’d do it for free Tequila shots – but 31-year-old me will do it for charity. What do you think? Could you spare some change for #iPadsforLionhearts in return for having a giggle at my expense?

Friday, 8 June 2012

The tortoise and the hare

The reigning SA’s Best Mommy Blogger. That’s me. See Stacey type type type. See Stacey twirl her plastic tiara like a flaming baton! But don’t stand too close, when Stacey tried out for the Potch Girls High drum majorette reserve team in high school she was informed that Stacey has the hand-eye coordination of a three-legged giraffe.

So the top 10 finalists were announced on Monday morning already.

Dear readers, if you’ll kindly click this link and open it in a new window, I’d like to draw your attention to Exhibit A. There, right at the bottom of the list. That’s my name and the name of this here Lionheart blog.

Naughty, naughty, naughty. I mos TOLD you guys not to nominate me this time around! And now that I’m finished wagging my finger in an appropriately motherly manner, I want to say: “Thank you, skatties!” The whole Lionheart family is flattered, honoured and has that chest-puffed-up feeling.

At first, I was going to pull this blog out of the running. I genuinely felt that it would be bad for South Africa’s mommy blogging community if the same blog should win a second time; the more fresh talent we have out there, the better.

And then The Husband informed me flatly that this would be a slap in the face of all my readers who nominated me, and I should be gracious dammit. He is right, of course – it’s a very annoying habit of his that I intend to gradually curb over the 50 or so years we are chained together by matrimony.

Get ready, Lionheart fans – I intend over the next three weeks to tickle my keyboard for your amusement. Prepare to be tickled and tugged at in places you never knew existed! Your spleen will be amused.

So here is the first of many pleas for your vote: pick me, oh, PICK ME, PLEASE! I have a lot of catching up to do.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Clink a tea cup with Helen Zille! It’s for a good cause

A cardboard box of dog-eared (read: much-loved) paperbacks, with a handmade IN/OUT card filled out in neat handwriting, and tucked behind each front cover – that’s the memory the words ‘book club’ call up in my mind. Until the age of 10, I grew up in my grandparents’ home, and my paternal granny who we all called ‘Ma’ graciously hosted book club at the Witbank house I grew up in.

I was too young to understand that her book club was more than chatting about literary heroes and sipping glasses of Old Brown Sherry. It was a collection of like-minded, spirited women who had kicked off their office heels and untied their apron strings once a month, and gathered in one place to do what women do best – share and care.

It’s with this in mind that I present to you: Third Thursday. There’s no cardboard box of books when these ladies meet (you guessed it) on the third Thursday of every month. Instead this loose-knit group of women friends from all walks of life gather with the purpose of adding a little sunshine, by organising fund-raising events for community-based projects and causes.

They must be an influential bunch of babes, because in the eight years they’ve been doing this, they’ve roped in Ruda Landman, Debora Patta, Deshun Deysel, Graeme Codrington, Gill Marcus, Jenny Crwys-Williams and Clive Simpkins as guest speakers and MCs at their swish events. For free; nothing… nada!

*This is my impressed face*

But surely the Third Thursday gals have outdone themselves this year? They’ve gotten HELEN ZILLE in big shouty capitals to fly into Jo’burg, give a speech and nibble flapjacks with us, and then fly straight back to Cape Town afterwards! And Ma’am Zille won’t be bringing her political soap box along; Helen (can I call her that) is going to chatting to us as a woman, a mother…

*I like to picture her with her feet up, and with cucumber slices and a mud pack on*

The event is happening in Johannesburg at Sandton Hilton on Saturday 14 July from 7am SHARP (in Ms Zille’s words). Tickets cost R250pp and include a delicious breakfast, tea, coffee and the chance to ambush Helen and ask for her signature on a serviette.

But I can’t promise a SWAT team won’t rappel down from the ceiling if you brandish your Koki pen too threateningly!

The charity to benefit is the Mthimkhulu Daycare Centre ( in Soweto. It’s a centre, run by volunteers mostly, that offers day-care for severely mentally handicapped children, so that their parents can leave them in safe custody for the day in order to earn a living.

This is a cause that’s close to my heart.

The lionhearts of Mthimkhulu are in desperate need of a vehicle to get to the centre and back. As you can imagine, wheelchairs and taxis are not a great combo! A suitable, wheelchair-friendly vehicle will cost in the region of R450 000. That’s what your R250 smackeroos are helping to purchase, m’kay?

At the breakfast, there will be prizes up for grabs like high tea for four from Clico Boutique Hotel in Rosebank worth R800, and a two-night getaway from the Valley Lodge in the Magaliesberg, worth R10 000. There will also be an American auction, where you pay a flat fee to take part (say R50), then you are eliminated by showing either heads or tails – so hands on your head, or hands on your bum! Sounds hilarious and I’d pay R250 just to see Helen Zille take part!

Book a space for your booty by emailing Helen Pournara on

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

GIVEAWAY: A Balm Balm goodie bag worth R650!

AND THE WINNER IS: Linnet Crow! Congratulations! You're going to love your Balm Balm goodie bag; it’s full of winter wonders.

Oh, Balm Balm… how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
  1. The ‘Little Miracle’ rosehip serum is my good night kiss on the cheek before bed time every night. Sorry winter, no drying out my skin this season! *sticks out tongue*
  2. The balms are so versatile – I rub the Rose Geranium face balm into my cuticles, the fragrance-free Baby Balm even works as bum cream, and you can dab the Tea Tree lip balm on spots, stings and cuts.
  3. The products smell so good! It’s like a refreshing walk through a secret garden.
  4. Balm Balm’s pastel-coloured packaging in pink, blue, green and yellow is eye candy deluxe.
  5. The range is not only 100% organic, it is kind to my pocket too – and I can order online! (Visit here for stockists.)

And… you know it! Living Lionheart has a magical Balm Balm hamper to give to one (sooper doper extra) lucky reader. It contains a product from every colour.
  • Little Miracle Rosehip Serum
  • Rose Geranium Face Balm
  • Fragrance-free Baby Balm
  • Tea Tree Lip Balm
All you have to do is zip on over to Facebook and…
Bada-bing! Join the Balm Balm fan page.
Bada-boom! Join the Living Lionheart fan page.
And comment below.

That’s it! No need for shaking poms-poms and all that jazz. Just be sure if you comment as ‘Anonymous’ that you leave me an email address in case you are the lucky weena-wena!

Terms and conditions: This competition is open to SA citizens only. The winner will be drawn randomly, and announced on Friday 22 June at noon.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Radio Silence and Killer Heels

You know what they say: “If you don’t have anything nice to say… zip it.”

I’ve maintained radio silence for seven straight days because frankly, I’m not sure the Lionheart fans were up for a string of posts entitled:

MONDAY: “The Incredible Unfairness of Being”
TUESDAY: “Now Showing in Trav’s Bedroom: Night Terrors!”
WEDNESDAY: “Why I Regret Putting my 4-Year-Old on Behavioural Drugs”
THURSDAY: “Sleep Deprivation, Deadlines and the Urge the Throw my Coffee Mug at Someone’s Head”
FRIDAY: “Kill Me Now: Why I Hate My Job, My Life, But Mostly, Myself”
SATURDAY: “The Moment the Idea of ‘Living Lionheart’ Got Stuffed in a Sack and Drowned in the Bath Tub!”
SUNDAY: “A Photographic Exhibition of Bite Marks and Scars”

Yup, it has been balls-to-the-wall at Casa Lionheart for days now. But thankfully, it has all calmed down to a panic and now I can resume my usual broadcasting: on killer heels.

I rocked stilettos and tight jeans for the whole 38 weeks I was carrying Travis back in 2007. I was 26 years old, with (relatively) tight buns and the belief that as long as my T-shirts covered my protruding belly button, there was no need to splurge on flappy maternity outfits.

I had just started a new job – my first editorship – and I was determined to show that I could run this ship AND have my out-of-wedlock baby: “It is business as usual here, people! The next person who offers to carry a box of magazines from the stock room for me will be beaten to death with this here petrol station chicken pie. What? You’re judging me for eating junk food? You’re fired!”

Okay, I was a terrible poster girl for a healthy, glowing pregnancy… but I wore high heels, dammit!

Since then I shuffled through a post-caesarean recovery, four years of lugging a getting-heavier-and-heavier-but-no-closer-to-walking Lionheart about, a long stint in corporate, another pregnancy, a miscarriage, press functions, weddings and more weddings, then the arrival of Ryan the Squishy Gorilla – all wearing an assortment of ballet pumps, pretty sandals, slip-slops, fluffy slippers, pointy work shoes i.e. flats, flats, and more FLATS.

It’s not my fault! Am I the only one who left the delivery room with Flintstone feet?

Five years later, and motherhood is looking decidedly unglamorous from where I’m sitting. So in a bid to rekindle my inner diva, my new battle cry is:

“You may puke on my pinstripe work jacket! You may hide teeny socks and half-eaten Boudoir biscuits in my handbag! You may even keep me up until 2am and use my sticky lipgloss applicator to pick your nose… but you will NOT… take away… my leopard-print, faux suede platform heels!”

The fact that I look like a jaunty C-3PO robot tottering about in them is irrelevant. Also not important: that I am an accident waiting to happen on the N1 when I drive in them. Also, it takes me 87% longer to walk from my desk to the canteen downstairs, and I clutch the stair railing with white knuckles on the way down. Not important.

I’m claiming a little piece of the old me back!
(Disclaimer: I predict this fad won’t even see out the end of June.)

This is Boardroom Geisha Mommy… signing out.

(I'll bet Charlize doesn’t look like C-3P0 when she struts about with her tot.)