What to do in Quarantine

Since both the U.K. and South Africa are in, essentially, full ‘lockdown’ now (movement restricted, shops and businesses closed), I’ve decided to dedicate a few posts as promised to what it is we, as a family, are doing to stay sane during this extended quarantine.

First things first, we have to acknowledge how incredibly lucky we are right now. As I said in my last post, my in-laws’s home is not a bad place to be quarantined – second only to being at home. I know most people probably won’t have easy access to the space that we have, and I can’t claim it as my own so this is in no way a smug post. What I can do is share ideas which have worked for us, and which can, hopefully, work in smaller spaces, too.

My mother-in-law, since she moved to this house 20 years ago, has become a keen gardener. She’s had the girls helping her with doing the borders – if you have a balcony, terrace, or even a big, sunny windowsill, this is definitely possible.

She’s given me a tutorial in the best things to plant for little kids – they can get their hands dirty AND make the place look lovely! Kids love knowing they’ve been involved with something they can see; they love feeling proud.

Firstly, please, don’t be put off if you only have a sunny window. Secondly, you may think that, in quarantine, you can’t find seeds etc, but most can be found either at your local supermarket or on Amazon. Finally, these are super purse friendly, even after all the corona virus nightmares. If you don’t have a plant pot, find a decent size, deep bowl – make sure to gently drain it the evening after you’ve watered, to make sure you don’t get stagnant water in the bottom.

The best flowers to start with for kids, and ones that yield pretty flowers, are probably sunflowers (seeds available at every supermarket with your fortnightly big shop, on Amazon for less than £3 or Takealot where you can get an entire 2kg for R149) or Nasturtiums (Amazon for £5 or Takealot – R99 for a bulk pack, also including sunflowers!).

Both can be planted in a small-ish pot, either on a windowsill, on a balcony/terrace or in your garden. Make sure to keep the seeds far enough apart, treat them lovingly, and watch them grow! If you have access to a bird table, or space for birds to land, then, once your sunflower has lived its beautiful life you can pop the spent head on the table and watch all the birds flock to nibble on the seeds in the middle. Nasturtiums are, as I’m sure you know, the edible flowers you see on cakes and cheese boards. Plant them now (before the end of April) and they’ll flower all through summer. They’re a no-brainer for kids – they look pretty and they can eat them afterwards!

Other easily bought options are herbs (you can buy them already planted in small pots at most supermarkets), which you can pop on a kitchen window and eat straight from the pot. Rocket seeds are easy to get hold of, and can be grown in 3 weeks (plus, it’s a year-round herb). It can be eaten straight from the pot, and occasional ‘thinning’ (i.e. eating and tasting, so nobody can see) only helps it grow better. French beans and carrots are also easy to grow, and start in small pots – and Sweet Peas are great fun if you want another cute little flower – plant them now, and they’ll flower from May until October.

I understand gardening might not be for everyone, but it’s a fun way to keep kids entertained and concentrating. Another, really easy way to amuse them, especially the younger kids, is to feed the birds. You might think that sounds overly simple, but why not mix it up a bit? Fat balls and suet-based feed (available at bigger supermarkets, on Amazon and Takealot) last for ages. You can make a bird-feeder out of old wire coat hangers, or buy from the same places. My girls love watching the birds (and squirrels, ahem) eating the food they’ve put out for them, but they also really like dividing the food out, too.

It can be difficult trying to keep children occupied when they’re not allowed out of your property (even in the U.K., we can only go out once a day for exercise purposes) – and trying to do things other than screen time can be trying. Much as we’re resigned, for now, to letting the girls watch more telly than usual, we’ve still started saving ideas to do over time. Tomorrow, we’ll be making banana bread. Watch this space!

Sum Ting Fresh

If you’re a follower on Instagram, you may have noticed my now-monthly obsession with fried chicken. A specific fried chicken, in fact, from local food-truck-turned-restaurant Sum Ting Fresh.

Started in 2012 by Hezron Louw and Andrew Leeuw as a loose idea of a food truck, they opened their restaurant in trendy Norwood in 2016.

I first tried the wonder which is their Gua Bao in early 2017 at the St. John’s Rugby Fest. I was on the lookout for something gluten free for my sister, and found these beautiful little fluffy buns of joy. A few weeks later, we went to Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein for the first time, and found them again. I was hooked. Pete took a bit longer to come around, but we soon found ourselves making excuses, on Saturday mornings, to drive into town for our fried chicken fix.

At the end of 2017, when I was 8 months pregnant, that same sister got married in Hartebeesport, the most beautiful location an hour from Johannesburg. The day after their wedding, guess who did the catering? Yup, the one and only Sum Ting Fresh popped up again. Imagine my pregnant excitement? I think I ordered 2 portions of Gua Bao.

Then, the Bedfordview Night Market came to town. On the last Friday of every month, Jeppe Quondam, a local sports centre, allows the market to take over their cricket pitch. After a couple of months, Sum Ting Fresh moved in. Well, that was us happy forever. We could have our date nights in between, at their Norwood location, and, once a month, we could sit outside in the lovely evening air and enjoy our chicken while the kids go crazy on the bouncy castles.

The Norwood cafe is now closed for renovation, until further notice. We are exceptionally thankful for the Night Market, especially as we are heading to the U.K. for the next 7 weeks. We managed to get our final Sum Ting Fresh fix for the year, last night! I wonder if it’ll tide us over long enough, until we’re back in the lovely, hot, African summer sun?

Hello, Old Friend

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? If anyone is interested in a very long story, read on. If not, there’ll be a TL;DR at the bottom for you.

Shortly after my last blog post (we never did win that World Cup, after all) I decided I was going to focus wholly on my modelling, and take a step back from the blog. All went well for a while, until I had an 8 day stint in London which, well, didn’t go quite so well. It was decided, mutually, that, since I would need to spend infinitely more time overseas than I already was doing, I would take a giant leap back from the European modelling circuit.

Why didn’t I start my blog back up then, you may ask? Well, because I’ve been working on a couple of novels, and to be quite frank this year has been a big, hard adjustment for us all. I’ll dedicate a whole post to that in the new year, once I’ve got the festive season out of the way.

You may now be wondering, why have I not changed the name of my blog? Well, I still have representation here in Soutb Africa, and over in Germany. And I still do bits and pieces, here and there. Expect a video, starring both me and Pete, to come soon, and I’ll share mine and Stevie’s full shoot and cover story for Your Family in the next few days.

TL;DR I’ve taken a step back from modelling and will be restarting my blog ASAP

Welcome back to the wonderful, chaotic world of Mumming and Modelling. Hope you enjoy it as much as last time!

PS – I chopped off my hair, by the way!

Millennial Friendships

Since moving to South Africa, Instagram messages, Facebook and WhatsApp have been my saving graces with my friends. At least once a week, I’ll chat privately to my friends in the U.K. (and some here in South Africa), and keep abreast of what each other is doing. These days, I’ll be honest, it’s usually kid-or-work-or-husband related. Because, you know, life.

But yesterday, chatting with Portia, made me realize how lucky we are. We millennials (own it, if you were born in the late 80s you’re a millennial) are so fortunate to have instant access to our friends’ lives. I can see Portia’s kids growing up, even though I see them once or twice a year. I relive my own pregnancies through Billie’s. I get to pretend I’ve met Milly’s daughter, even though the last time I saw her she was 34 weeks pregnant. I can read Rebecca’s blog (modeltypeface.com) and reply to her, pretending we’re chatting here and now. I can see Emma’s renovations on her house, moderate MC’s Facebook mum’s group and watch videos of Chloé’s daughter dancing, and read about her hideous Hyperemesis Gravidarium.

Most of my friends in England, I’ve known since well before Pete and I got together. We’ve known each other through various boyfriends and work problems, through multiple births and a few family deaths. We’ve been hungover together, argued over where to have drinks, been in foreign countries together and held one another’s babies (mostly – I still need to meet Olive). And through it all, we’re still friends – even though some of us live miles and miles from each other.

I feel so lucky to live in a time where communication is so easy. Friends are so, so important – they’re the people we chat to about our husbands, good or bad, and who we moan to about our kids, and who we tell when we’re excited about something (even like a new bottle of wine we’ve discovered – those things are important!). So, this is my homage to my friends, just to let them know how happy I am to have them, and to keep in touch with their lives from afar! I love you all!

Some blogs and accounts to follow if you want to know my friends:

YoungLdnMum

Platforms and Pushchairs

Modeltypefac

The Model Mama – Milly Simmonds

Sivad Media

Tamara Kester

MotherTHUD

Pregnancy photo shoots

It’s weird being pregnant and being a model. My entire life is made up of photo shoot after photo shoot, contorting my body in ways to make myself look even more lithe and long than I already am, in order to make a more appealling picture.

But being pregnant and modelling is completely different. Firstly, there aren’t as many pregnancy shoots as everyone thinks. Sure, I modeled up until 16 weeks, but then once I started showing I had to stop for a while. I’ve done two shoots for Your Pregnancy magazine, which were great, but this time, unlike with Stevie, I decided to try something different. I actually did a real pregnancy shoot with my friend Tahlecia.

Last time I shot with Tahlecia, it was a hair job and I was about 9 weeks pregnant. So normal business. This time was different and strange, but so lovely. This time it was just Tahlecia and I, so she did my hair and make up and just the two of us got me set up in her amazing home studio.

We’d already shared inspiration pictures, so we knew exactly what look we were going for – think of all the Victoria’s Secret models when they do pregnancy shoots: sleek, natural and just nice. No excessive make up and hair, or overdone outfits. Just me, the bump, a pair of baggy Acne jeans and my favourite, white H&M shirt.

Mega pregnancy inspiration right there – thanks, Behati!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but they took us about 45 mins to shoot and I’m so happy I did them. I’m not one of those people who loves being pregnant, but neither am I the girl who hates it. I’m kind of indifferent, but I do feel as though I’ll have some very valuable memories to last me from this pregnancy.

Toddler on the Beach

I love the beach. I always have done – I’m not saying for a second that I’ll turn down a day relaxing by the pool, but I will JUMP at the chance to go to the beach.

When we were planning this trip to Florida, Pete and I spoke about trying to cram in a day on Clearwater beach. Stevie could run around and go crazy in the sand, Mummy would get to relax for a bit and Daddy could be ‘cool dad’ in the sea. However, since we’re with family, they decided that the two-hour drive was too long for a day, and FIL very kindly booked us all in for a night at our regular hotel, the Sheraton. Pete and I had our ‘babymoon’ here (when I was pregnant with Monks, funnily enough) and we love it.

So off we trotted. For anyone who doesn’t know, Clearwater is a barrier island with 4km (told you the beach was big) of white, sandy beach. They’ve regularly been voted as one of the top beaches in the US, and with good reason. The waters are warm and clear, and dolphins and stingrays are common (we even saw a couple of fins on our first day – not shark fins, but dolphins coming up for air!).

We unpacked and had the entire afternoon, from 11.30am until about 3pm, relaxing in the sand. The usual Florida wind and rain picked up then, so we retreated to the pool area and spent the next hour and a half there. The Sheraton is amazing for kids – they have private beach rental and wifi on the beach for hotel guests, a golf cart to take people the 300m to and from the sea, and the pool is directly on the beach itself. There is one huge main pool, with pool floats and noodles, a kids pool 30cm deep, and a hot tub. There’s also a naughty little tiki bar – of course this time I only had the mocktails, but I can speak from past experience that the piña coladas are out of this world.

For dinner, we trekked across to the mainland (Clearwater, as opposed to Clearwater Beach) to the Island Way Grill. Pete and I have eaten here every time we’ve visited, and I have never had a bad meal. They have a full kiddies’ menu and bring pencils and colouring paper to the table, which is always a bonus! Stevie had what was probably her fourth fillet steak (medium rare) in a row and was satisfied.

We had a beach morning again the next morning, then headed back to Orlando. I wish our beach trip could’ve been longer – but then I always do! But for anyone wondering or worrying about a decent holiday with a toddler – try not to overthink it, and book a simple room or Airbnb on a nice, wide beach (we have lots in SA) and let the beach entertain the family.

The Clearwater Tourist Board has lots of information about the best places to stay and be entertained in the area.

We always stay at the Sheraton Sand Key on Clearwater Beach, where a standard room is available from $267 per night at current rates.

23 Weeks

How on EARTH did we get to 23 weeks already? We’re 2 days from being 6 months pregnant. All of a sudden, now it’s September, things seem a lot closer. December (please be December) doesn’t seem all that far away.

Stevie started school yesterday. She’s doing Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at a lovely pre-school close to our house. The theory is that we can walk her around there every morning with the dogs. However…

This second pregnancy is killing me, body wise. I’m much smaller than I was at the same stage with Stevie (see enclosed Beached Whale picture), but my poor, poor hips are suffering horribly. I’ve had to stop running after I overdid it last week. Long walks are taking it out of me – hello, early SPD symptoms. Childbearing and childbirth really changes your body.

So far, I’ve put on 8kg (1.2st, or 17lbs). That’s not even half of the 20kg I gained when pregnant with Stevie. I’m aiming to top out at about 10-12kg, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just one of those girls who puts on weight when I’m pregnant.

I ate ALL the food whilst I was pregnant with Monks

I’m still managing to squeeze in a weight workout 3-4 times per week, and Pilates once a week. I’m eating pretty much as I have done since actually giving birth last time, which is a great thing! I really struggled giving up all the junk I ate when I was pregnant last time, so I’m looking forward to not having to change my eating habits.

We have our next appointment with our fantastic midwife next Tuesday. But so far, everything is going pretty smoothly. Now, if only I could learn to walk properly…

Leftovers for Lunch

So, last night we made excellent stuffed peppers for dinner. I stuffed them with quinoa (boiled in chicken stock with peas), mince beef (stir fried with coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric), finely chopped baby spinach and grated mature cheddar.

So today, for lunch, I wanted to do something that both Stevie and I could enjoy – something healthy (because I am not getting fat this time around) and tasty and filling.

So I decided to use the leftover stuffing for a quinoa bowl – with a twist.

I should explain now – we love quinoa bowls in this house. They’re a staple meal for when we’re feeling lazy. Before Stevie could use utensils, she could get her hands in and dig around, and as far as sensory experimentation and pincer grip goes, it’s fab!

So back to the recipe. I just made more quinoa-and-pea mix, and strained some baked beans. Stevie adores any kind of legume, and they’re full of goodness. She sometimes brings me cans of kidney beans from the cupboard if she’s hungry… I know, odd child. Maybe I should move them up a couple of shelves.

I chopped more spinach, grated some more cheese and fried everything off in a coconut oil-filled pan.

And voila! We have a glorious, healthy, economical lunch that both adults AND toddlers can enjoy. Next time I’ll add a soft-poached egg!

The best thing about this, is that you can meal prep as it’ll stay good in the fridge for a good 3 days – and it can be eaten cold or hot.

The Traveller

So, remember that time I had to leave my two-year-old with my 83-year-old Nan? And they had such a bloody ball without me? Well here’s what I was working on…

This Harley was AMAZING – for an avid SoA fan, I was in my element!

Shot for Elle Croatia by the wonderful Elizabeth Gibson

Styled by Maureen Vivian

Hair by Alex Price at Frank

Makeup by Jaime Thomas

We shot on location in North London. I travelled with Virgin Trains

For my IMG portfolio click here

For my Boss South Africa portfolio click here

Sick toddlers

We got back to Joburg today, after spending all of yesterday and last night in Parys (with my mum and my youngest sister, Georgia – otherwise known as ‘Wildlife Sister.’)

But lo and behold, of course Stevie decides to get poorly. A 24-hour bug, falling directly over those 24 hours we’re away from home.

Call me a bad mum, call me what you want, but she didn’t eat and she was vomitting water and cattargh (sorry for those with sensitive stomachs). Pete had a couple of things to keep an eye on at home, so it fell to myself and Hollie (‘Yoga Sister’) to drive the 1.5 hours with a vomitting baby. And of course, the thought of leaving her at home did cross my mind, but I didn’t. She was so looking forward to seeing Nana Berny (or Nana Burby, in toddler-speak) and ‘Georda’ and My-Chew (Michael) that I couldn’t say no. And besides, she had a cold – a bit of excitement should take her mind off it, right?

She dozed uncomfortably the whole way there, waking up periodically for water. And she was extremely excited to see Nana Burby. But the excitement lasted all of about 10 minutes, until she realised Nana Burby was holding her instead of Mummy. And so began the rest of the day…

We went to see some cheetahs – usually Stevie’s favourite pastime ever – and she got bored within 20 mins. She giggled a bit when they hissed at her, but all too soon the tiredness set in and we went back to Nana’s.

Auntie Lollipop (Yoga Sister) didn’t get a look in. We got the wrong flavour Panado, so I had some sport trying to get it down her throat. She hurled up her Zinplex and sent (yes, she sent them) Nana and Yoga Sister to the shop to get her crisps and rusks.

She perked up a bit in the evening, but of course woke up every 3 hours or so annoyed because she couldn’t breathe through her nose. Mummy was very tired. Typical, 24-hour-bug hits when we go away.

This morning we left Parys at 9.30am. And of course, after a lie-in (by her standards) Stevie wakes up happy as Larry, ready to “go home and see Daddy and Cleo and Spoo.”

Little s**t. Of course, she’s fine today…