I got an email from Jill Savage from Hearts at Home, that I will include at the bottom. And I wanted to confirm and share what she says. When was the last time you celebrated your small victories at a mom or as a family?

My husband recently started his own company. He works at a contract and says all the things we will do if he gets it. Then he does,… and life just goes on. We are afraid something might still go wrong, so we feel foolish to celebrate.

I can relate in my world. The baby sleeps through the night. Do we celebrate? No. Too afraid that tonight will be different. I had time to wash 2 loads of washing today. Do we celebrate? No. Too busy and too tired. I did not yell at the kids once today. Do I celebrate? No. What if the burden of the expectation never to do it again becomes too heavy. Etc.

But what if we did celebrate every contract. Bottle of bubbly just for the 2 of us tonight, an ice cream for the whole family, something small something big. It is not really important how. What matters is that we stop to look back and experience the thankfulness of the moment. Stop to enjoy. Because tomorrow might be hard. Something might go wrong. But today was good. This moment is good. And no one knows as well as I do how great every success is for me.

Be blessed today. Helena xxx



JillShe finally did it.  She stayed dry all night!  Even though it happened over 26 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday!  It was a triumph worth celebrating!


Motherhood is hard. It’s filled with all kinds of goals that we work towards with our kids like weaning from the breast or the bottle, potty-training, learning their letters, writing their name, or tying their shoes. As they get older we work toward them completing their homework without help, or writing their first paragraph.  As they move into the teen years, they get their learner’s permit and eventually acquire their license. They learn to do laundry or write their first research paper. 


Some of these triumphs are our kids’ accomplishments and some are a blended accomplishment of parent and child.  Many times the accomplishment is under-celebrated, particularly when it comes to acknowledging the effort the parent has contributed. 


When we work hard toward a goal and the goal is achieved, it deserves a celebration! 

As moms, we’re pretty 

good at celebrating our kids’ accomplishments, but not always so good at celebrating our own.  Sometimes we let one challenging season just blend into the next challenging season without stopping to celebrate the progress made.


When we love and celebrate our triumphs, we give ourselves a much needed reward or pat on the back for a job well done. It’s unlikely that your three year old will say “Gee mom, great job potty-training me!” so you and I have to find ways to mark those moments with a celebration of some sort. You might ask a friend to meet you for coffee, suggest your hubby bring home carry-out for dinner, take a candlelight bath, or go treat yourself to a pedicure.  If it’s something you and your spouse have trudged through together, then a celebration date or dinner out just might be in order.


In some way, pause and take notice of your accomplishment. It’s a love-your-life self-care strategy that will keep you plugging along the parenting journey for the long haul! 


Joining you in the journey,



Jill Savage

Wife to Mark

Mom of Anne, Evan, Erica, Kolya, and Austin

Nana to Rilyn, Landon, and Marie


Review Elaine Otto Photography

What a great photo shoot we had on Friday 1 Aug with Elaine Otto Photography!! Goodness, my kids loved Elaine so much they keep on asking when she is coming for tea!

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Elaine studied photography, thinking it a hobby, but enjoyed it so much that she decided to follow it as a career. She prefers natural light, and as she has a good relationship with a few wine farms in the district, she enjoys many of them as her natural canvasses.  She took us to Meerendal Wine Estate outside Durbanville.  Very familiar to us because of all the Markets we have held there. But even so, she led us to an open space where we had not been before. It was beautiful and it was late afternoon – she chooses her time as carefully as her spaces.

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Can I just interrupt myself here and say that yes I was very worried about the late afternoon time slot with 3 little kids. The little one refused to take every opportunity I created for her to sleep while driving around. So after school, several other stops, rushing to cut my son’s hair at the very cool barber shop we discovered!, getting dressed AND doing 2 little girls’ hair for the second time that day, I had a very cranky toddler in the car.

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As recommended by Elaine, I carefully chose and laid out everyone’s clothes, all in the same colour pallet. Seeing trouble was brewing when middle child pulled her own outfit from the cupboard in a very different colour pallet!!, I tried to explain that we should all match. “How will it look if the one dresses in orange, that one in pink, that one in blue, that one in red… – we will look like a circus!” “Or a rainbow”, my son said. And that did it for me. I realised that we are a rainbow. Our family is loud and full of colour. I will not worry about the colour pallet anymore! (took 3 different scarves with me just in case.)

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Years spent as an au-pair was the best training for Elaine’s job, apart from the photography of course. She drew my kids in, complimented them and even took some lead from them. My son wanted a photo where he leaps through the air, and middle child wanted one with her new hair band, etc. Elaine instructed them very well, but never made them feel like they were less important than the shot.

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Apart from beautiful and relaxed family shoots, Elaine also does maternity and newborn shoots, engagements and couples, children, weddings and portraits. She has a lovely special running for winter – if you book before the end of August 2014, you receive a 30% discount on all location shoots until the end of 2014. Take her up on it! Is there anything more sweet than the faces of your kids and the chance of seeing us all together. As a family, in rainbow colours. Thank you Elaine. xxx



Product Review : Cotton Candyfloss

Litza’s package arrived in the post yesterday! I love getting parcels – reminds me of when I was a little girl and my grandma used to send us parcels for our birthdays – filled with all sorts of non-related goodies; sweets, knitted things, toys bought, card written, all packed in brown paper box tied up with string and sealed with red wax. (these are a few of my favourite things…hmmm – hmmm)


Inside were two parcels, one for baby girl and one for baby boy…

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My friend is waiting in for her third little girl and ended up in the hospital a few days earlier than planned. How great is was to deliver her special package in the hospital room where no flower arrangements are permitted. Litza, from Cotton Candyfloss makes up special baby gifts, good enough to eat, but also quality enough to use. For Sonja, it was a white metal bucket filled with soft brushed cotton baby receiving blanket and a pair of soft cotton baby socks. (comes in sizes 0-3mths, 3-6mths, 6-12mths). All packaged so beautifully. Even the other visitors had to take a picture!

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Then today, I blessed my other friend, expecting her 3rd son with a box of cupcake socks!!

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Cotton Candyfloss is based in Johannesburg and makes these special gifts for babies and toddlers. What to give my two friends who already have everything? These were a pretty good idea!!

She also makes facecloth cupcakes,


soft rabbits,




glass jam jar with cotton baby grows inside (comes in sizes: 0-3mths, 3-6mths, 6-12mths),

glass jar jam with cotton baby grow inside 0-3 3-6 6-12

and sweet owls nesting on a branch of cotton baby sock!

owls resting on a branch of cotton socks!

Order these gifts directly from her. She is also one of this month’s exhibitors on our Baby and Kiddies ONLINE Market. Remember to view all the wonderful stands there for NEWBORN gifts in July 2014.

Proudly South African handmade gifts for babies and toddlers
+27 725570255


I remember the NEWBORN smell. My daughter was born at home and we wrapped her and then dressed her with bathing her. I would sit and just smell her for days. after a week I realised at some point I would have to bath her. I cried my heart out afterwards as I held her and she smelled of soap, realising that I can never go back and she will never smell like that again. and in all likelihood I will forget what she smelled like. And I did. But I remember what it felt like to smell her. I wanted to lick her little head like and animal their young. Funny isn’t it? did not feel that way with any of my other children or recall such a beautiful smell. I have also asked around and have not found another mother who shared my experience with scent of my NEWBORN. I will never forget how it felt when I lost that. Lost her being NEWBORN. I literally had to encourage myself to enjoy the fact that she is now growing up and that her life is now about her and not anymore just about my experience of her.

I wonder if you can relate. Do you have similar stories of having to release you NEWBORN to grow up? Please share them with me if you will.

I now love the fact that my children are getting older, or youngest is now 3 and suddenly life seems to seep back into my world. We remember what we liked and enjoyed and actually have the time and energy to explore it again. I can go to bed at night and know I can sleep until I wake up. that seem silly to normal ears, but many mother  probably knows what I mean. what it means to be at a dinner date and look at you watch and KNOW you are running out of sleeping time, because after 12am your baby will need you again on a regular basis! none of my 3 kids slept through until they were at least 2years old, so by the time one started sleeping better, the next one came. I remember before I had kids one of my friends told me that it has been a year since she slept through the night. I though it impossible to survive that and look so normal! she must be joking! but I had 7 years of that experience and live to tell it. my kids were good eaters and bad sleepers. yours might be the other way around. xxx But to finish my story, so now I go to bed at night without that feeling of dread. of being totally exhausted and KNOWING that you will not be rested by morning. No I get up early to go running! because once again I have energy left to spent. But there is one bad thing about the kids growing up, no two: I can never go back – they will never be NEWBORN again, never smell that way again, never toddle around and say things in that super cute way again and I WILL FORGET! Too much, I will forget too much. And that’s terribly, even though normal. The second thing is that I am loosing my ability to relate with NEW mothers. And I hate that. It is a very different season in your life with a NEWBORN even if it is your 2nd or 3rd, that to have older kids. And I think it is important to have grace with each other’s seasons.

So this month it is with great joy that I celebrate our NEWBORN ONLINE Market. I get to see NEWBORN babies, meet NEW mothers, and discover NEW ideas and products. If you are in this season of all things NEWBORN, remember to visit and browse through the stands at your own leisure. Comment at the bottom or send me an email or comment on Facebook to I can meet you a little. And share this precious season with you. It goes by so quickly.



Almost July, Almost Newborn!

Wow! it has been an interesting month for me. Entering the ONLINE market, editing my own website, smoothing out hiccups, meeting with the designers, discovering new exhibitors, contact with new visitors. Oh I hope that this means we can now reach the whole South Africa via the internet. Both to support my exhibitors but also the visitors.

We reached 1000 visits within 4days after our launch! How great is that? I am so excited that I want to celebrate by making July a special price for exhibiting as well!


So after our Introduction Market. July 2014 will be our NEWBORN market. To celebrate the birth of our NEW market with all things NEW – NEW babies, NEW mothers, NEW products and NEW ideas.


So remember to visit and share with new mothers. As most of my feedback suggests – climb into bed with your laptop in the evening when you have a little time to yourself between kids and husband and sleep and browse through the market at your own leisure. See you there!!!


Going Online – where we come from and where we are going

I started my website about 4 years ago after the birth of my second baby. I loved finding interesting and lovely products that really worked and was looking for a platform to share these on. I also had such a heart to encourage mothers through tough seasons and days of motherhood. I asked every young mother I knew to share with me their Favourite Things for certain seasons, but also their Favourite Advice to make things better. Many wrote in and could share mine.


Then life happened and the website stood still. But people started to contact me telling me of the great products they make or import for babies and kids. Would I not be interested in advertising these on my website? But the website was not meant for advertising, merely for non-imposing referrals and advice from mother to mother. So I got the idea to start a market that sells only baby-and child-related products. The first My Favourite Things Baby and Kiddies Market was held at our private home in the garden and living room. Over 30 exhibitors sold their goods and 150 visitors walked through that morning. Over the past 2.5years we have had many markets in Durbanville, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Somerset West areas. We visited shopping malls, wine farms, restaurants and play schools. Always with the same quality events and products. Every market brought new products, exhibitors and visitors and we grew.

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This year we decided to follow the advice we kept getting. Hold 2 monthly markets at 2 fixed venues, on fixed dates. Quickly we saw that this does not suit both exhibitors and visitors. We are spoilt for choice in Cape Town and people will rather visit a once off event than a regular one. I pulled the plug. This was hard. I knew we had to grow and change once again.

I started toying with the idea of going ONLINE. So many people only shop ONLINE. I regularly receive enquiries from exhibitors in other areas of South Africa who would love to be involved in the markets but the venues are too far away. Also most of exhibitors are mothers themselves with full-time jobs, who cannot just get away for a full Saturday. What if we hold monthly ONLINE markets that run in-between the actual events? This way exhibitors can showcase their products on an on-going basis even though the events are less regular. Exhibitors from other areas of the country can take part. Visitors from all over SA can browse these virtual stands filled with the incredible baby- and child-related goods. Some people love market events, so don’t. Some love shopping online. We can reach them both!

The challenge was to keep the market’s feel. To NOT become another online store, and NOT become another online marketing site. I want you to still feel like you are walking through a market and browsing through the stands and products. Read the descriptions, talk to the exhibitors directly and order your own unique product. Many exhibitors are open to “make one in pink” or “take those ribbons and put it there” or “make the wheels smaller”. And remember to return next month when we will have different exhibitors and different products.

And here we are. I am very excited about this new addition to My Favourite Things. Our first ONLINE market will be an Introduction market that will start in June 2014. Look out for STARS that will mean a market special, or extra Info offered. Remember to comment at the end of the market, even just to say that you were here. It puts you in line to win a lucky draw prize at the end of each month! Feel free to ask for products or services you cannot find or give any suggestions and give feedback. Please share the market and send your friends to visit. I hope that My Favourite Things will continue to bring you new and exciting, quality baby- and child-related products and services that you cannot find in the shops, and things to make the hard days better and the seasons of motherhood extra special.

(some of our flyers over the years)

My Favorite things market rev 4aMy Favourite Things Invitation 17 March 2012MyFavouriteThings_ADVERT_24_Nov_2012InvitationInvitationFamily Fun DayFEBRUARY klein

MFT Online market banner1



To say that ADOPTION is one of my Favourite Things might not be a new idea to anyone who knows me. I have been in love ever since I read about it as a child and it became a full blown passion while adopting our son. But since then it has become deeper and stronger and I have been looking for a door, a platform to share this with the world. There must be a way to encourage others to be brave and curious enough to consider this option. Both from a biological and adoptive perspective.

I dream about going to schools and universities and talking to girls about this 3rd option. Because everyone seems to know what will happen if you keep your baby, or what to do if you want to abort it. But who knows about what will happen if you choose to give it life and give the gift of life to someone else through adoption? Does anyone know who to call, where to go, or what will happen? What if girls could be told in advance that life is a miracle, even if you did not plan it, or want it. And that many couples out there are praying for such a miracle.

I dream about encouraging families to look to the option of adoption in stead of, or as well as In Vitro, or any other medical intervention. I dream about finding families for the children who are waiting, or more even, the children who have stopped to hope that someone will ever come for them. Can you imagine that?! What if its your child out there waiting for you. I would run! Because one more day is just too much.

I have  a market. A market for young families. For grandparents and mothers with prams and kids running around. For mothers with babies in their tummies and mothers with babies in their hearts. When I do share about adoption I find the same fears in the hearts and minds of people. I know people have questions and concerns and stories to share. I will use this platform and create a space and hope that they will come.

So from now on, at every My Favourite Things Baby and Kiddies Market , at 10am, I will be waiting at the take-away coffee for anyone who wants to join me in a time of sharing and asking questions about adoption. Because like someone special once told me, you never know.