Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Our Madiba

Wishing so much that I could be in South Africa right now. So sad, regardless of knowing this day had to come.

"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of  others."

PS: Great news from us! Olivia is home! Our little family is complete, and thankfully my parents are here to help juggle feeding two babes. Phew!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Giving Thanks

On October 10, 2013 my life changed forever: my babies, Olivia Harper and Thomas George were born. It has been a whirlwind seven weeks, and I have not been as exhausted or as much of an emotional mess in all my life! The twins were born nine weeks early; which was a little scary and wonderful all at the same time! Our Liv is a blondie, and looks like her Dad, while Thomas is dark-haired like me, two little opposites and both so lovely. I am so blessed to be their mama.

They both spent two weeks in the Neo-natal ICU at St Elizabeth's hospital in Brighton, where they were born, then when they were bigger they were moved to a Special Care Nursery closer to our home. Tom has since come home and is keeping us busy, while Liv stayed on at the Nursery to perfect her breathing, a fairly typical occurrence with a premature baby. The great news is that we're planning on her being home by the end of next week! So while they will both most likely have some preemie "issues" to deal with as time goes on, they are both doing well and making their parents feel so grateful and exhausted (wait, did I already say that?) this Thanksgiving weekend. We have been so overwhelmed with the love and support our friends have shown us over these last crazy weeks... I know other South Africans overseas and expats will know how much that means.

I leave you with some hurried pics of the completed (3 weeks after the babies' arrival!) nursery, with the promise of some more photos of it, and the babies soon! I'm still on pinterest now and then, as much as my sleep-deprived brain manages, so pop over to see what is catching my eye.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sign Here

A little something fun for the weekend - for my South African readers, you may not have heard the expression "put your John Hancock here". I never had before moving to Boston! I believe because John Hancock's signature was so beautiful on the American Declaration of Independence, his name has become synonymous with the word signature.

Well, in Boston there is the John Hancock building - next door to another that used to be the John Hancock building (unfortunately I don't know the whole story). So, we were driving by the old one on our way to a class on parenting multiples (!!) when the garage door was open and we saw this! It must be the sign that used to hang on the outside of the building. Gorgeous! I love the combo of the lights against the subway tile...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Projects Around the House

In between parenting classes and just simply finding the energy to help make dinner and get the laundry done, we've slowly been making some upgrades around the house so our visiting family and friends are not mortified when they come visit our babies for the first time. I have some lengthier posts up my sleeve (maybe for when the to-do list gets smaller? More likely just slowly over time!) but for now here are some sneak peeks at some of our projects.

Changes to our living room

And a little bit of the lovely new curtains that are cozying up and simultaneously making our bedroom seem taller and bigger.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Johannesburg Loft

I loved this penthouse in the Johannesburg CBD, in the September 2013 House & Leisure Magazine.

So open and airy, and relaxed. It definitely feels urban, African, and cool without trying too hard.

And, check out these views! (And the vertical garden!) Sigh.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nursery Inspiration

So, as you can imagine, we are baby crazy over here! Everything is going well, the babies are now about 2 lbs (900g) each, and growing nicely. We have three months to go, and so we are focused on getting ready! I wish I could blog more, but it turns out that I've been tired quite a lot, and getting through the work week, and getting stuff done on weekends is leaving very little energy for blogging. But Wednesdays I'm now working from home, so hopefully it means I get through the week more easily, and maybe I can do more blogging! Yay!

One of the biggest things on my mind has been getting our babies' room ready for them. I'm envisioning a calm, cozy place - because heaven knows with one baby things would be slightly un-calm at some points, so I can only imagine what it will be like with two!

Here's my inspiration for the room.

1. This room inspired me for its colour. Soft browns and golds, white walls and lots of texture.

2. So I started with this rug, from West Elm. It was on sale, so I snapped it up! The dresser will double as the changing table and was a craigslist find. I've since spruced it up a bit because it was in bad shape. I decided to get it restored at a later point, once the babies are less likely to beat it up even more.

3. A wonderful friend gave us the crib her babies, and the rest of her family's babies, first slept in. We love that our babies will become a part of this long line of snuggles and happy bubs. We bought this second one from Ikea - the Gulliver - because its clean lines matched our inherited crib. We're still undecided on whether or not our twins should share a crib to start with. I think its something we need to discuss with our pediatrician, when we get to that point.

4. For window treatments (and some sound proofing!) I got sheers and curtains from Ikea. The sheers are not great quality (but they were the right length) but the curtains are just divine. For the life of me I can't remember the name of the curtains but I'm pretty sure they're the Ritva in beige - although there are no "natural" Ritvas on the Ikea website, and the backing in the online pics is not the backing on the curtains I have. Anyway, I love them. I was originally going to get the Aina (I was inspired by this blog post) but in person I liked that the Ritva were a softer colour.

I decided to add pom pom trim to the inside edge of the curtains, to add some fun and a splash of colour. Not exactly an original idea, you can see more here and here - but it looks great! The nursery is nowhere near done but I have put up the curtains and its just fabulous with the pom poms.

5. Another friend has gifted us a glider rocking chair, which we are so pleased to have! It's most likely that two of us could be in there for feedings, so we needed two chairs. We already had one rocking chair, one that we used to have in our living room, that we bought on our visit holiday on Cape Cod. Its a stereotypical New England rocking chair - and to make it more comfy for those long nights, I decided to make a cushion for the bottom and the back. I found the floral fabric on ebay, by searching "vintage fabric" (thank you Little Green Notebook for that idea!) and that will be for the bottom (I got the style of fabric idea from Marin's big girl room), and the blue ticking is for the back cushion. You can see the yellow pom pom I purchased in the pic I took in the car after my successful run to the fabric store.

To put up our feet, I got the yellow Moroccan pouf for a great price on fab.com. And I decided to get the West Elm Martini side table for a place for bibs, bottles and other little things. I hope that because its hard to push over we can use it in the babies' room for a while. It will sit between the glider and the New England rocking chair.

6. Once it got to decorating, I realized I headed into a bit of  a theme - animals. I decided on Sharon Montrose's baby animal prints for the wall - they're all over the blogosphere but no one I know has them, and I love them, so why not? I've chosen all African animals so my babies won't embarrass me when we go home to South Africa and they don't know their zebras from their elephants! The star picture of the bunch though? The twin lion cubs, of course!

We holidayed in Key West earlier this year (it was wonderful! check it out here) and bought this beautiful coastal bird mobile, while our baby (just one in our minds back then!) was just a twinkle in our eyes!

I also fell in love with these hunting dog pics in an image on pinterest. Since then I've found a matching pair in cross stitch (one for each baby!) on etsy. You'll see them when the nursery is done!

7. For some some soft light in the room, I got owl lamp from West Elm. Looking at it now, I hope it doesn't scare them when the babies get bigger! But we can always put some specs on him, or maybe add a mohawk!

8. Lastly, for a place to store their books and toys, I pretty much decided to copy this beautiful set up I found on pinterest - an Ikea Expedit bookcase. Books can go up top, and toys can go in the baskets.

For finishing touches, we have some childhood and family toys to add to the room, as well as a picture I grew up with as a child. Right now the room still has some of my husband's furniture in it (we live in an old house, with small closets, so he's been using the room as a dressing room of sorts) but we're almost there. I promise to show you everything in its place when its done. Until then, you can see more inspiring baby rooms and pics on my pinterest page.

Can't wait!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Your View on the World

I'm sure you'd agree with me, architectural details can make a home. My apartment has the most amazing glass door knobs, woodwork and radiators. I love them (check them out here and here, if you want to see).

Another South African blogger's home that is very different to mine in style but has interesting detail too, is Ashe's. She lives in Durban, a city on South Africa's warm and tropical East coast that kind of reminds me of Miami in some ways - the art nouveau buildings, and the beaches... there are a line of them on one side of the city (some great surfing!) and then a harbour with a marina and yacht club, accompanied by a pine-treed lined high way. I love and miss Durban.

Anyway, Ashe has bought a flat there, and polished that little jewel so you can actually see its beauty. Here's some befores and afters of her kitchen.

So, my question is - how do you live in a place with such unique and beautiful windows and not make them a feature? Well done, Ashe, for bringing out the beauty. 

You can see more of her place here

PS: Plus, she has great taste in chairs! Why do I think so? Hmmm.... click here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Christmas in July

So things have hit planning mode over here big time - with the imminent arrival of not one but two babies later this year, I've been busy making plans. One of the more fun things I have up my sleeve is our babies first Christmas, and we are lucky enough to be spending it with all of their grandparents! I've always wanted to create a cozy, tartaned-up Christmas and this is the perfect excuse... so while everyone else around me in Boston has been celebrating the height of summer Independence day fireworks, I've been dreaming of Christmas.

I have plans for the tablecloth, I've ordered some beautiful black raffia placemats, I have hurricane lamps and bone-handle china for the table. We'll pick up some pine cones for the centrepieces... And guess what arrived the other day? The tablecloth! The joy of planning Christmas in the middle of the year is the great bargains you find! (And it comes in a runner, if you prefer).

It was such a treat to open such beautiful packaging (even if I was in the car with the air conditioning on at full blast!)

Here are some of the images I've found on the web to inspire me (all images and more on my pinterest Christmas Table page, where you can follow them to their sources).

Monday, July 1, 2013

Coffee Addiction

So (doesn't any good story start with so?) my husband and I have lived in the States for ten years. And yes, we have somewhat grown accustomed to the coffee culture. No, you won't find me schlepping an idiotic (sorry to those who love them!) travel mug on my morning commute BUT I do love to make a stop on my errands sometimes and grab a latte from Starbucks. On the go. Gasp. I know. Sacrilegious to not stop and enjoy it but, hey, they have these handy straws and everything.

My husband, on the other hand, will not be caught dead with a Starbucks. He is a Dunkin' Donuts guy, through and through. Dunkin' is a local company and he swears by it. Personally, I can't handle coffee that's too strong, so I only drink lattes, and Dunkin's lattes are nothing to write home about!

So, here we are, accustomed to our American coffee traditions - like ice coffee - and we head home to South Africa. Americans who've visited South Africa may know this - you can't get an ice coffee there,  you get milkshake coffee type things. And other similar fancy drinks but nothing you're used to. My husband, the eternal optimist, ordered various cold coffee drinks while out and about but nothing would scratch that itch. So we were at a restaurant one day and he asked for coffee, ice in a glass and milk, all separately. The waitress brought everything - and instant coffee! In South Africa, filter coffee is not what most people drink, it's instant - so she thought that's what he wanted. So what he did was ask her for a shot of espresso, then poured that over the ice and added the ice. Finally! The itch was scratched.

So (here's another so) it seems like there are some guys who are going to change all that! The Department of Coffee - in Khayelitsha, of all places! I say go boys! I read a lovely article on them in the Jul 2013 House & Leisure magazine, and they say their coffee was really popular in winter but are still convincing people to try ice coffee in the summer. It is just. a. matter. of. time. I know. It didn't take us very long to be addicted!

The guys host events and do tons of fun stuff at their location, so if you're South African or American and find yourself in Cape Town and needing a good (and reasonably priced!) cup of coffee, these are your guys.

Images from here

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hertex Fabrics

Hertex Fabrics. Love their ads.

And, have you seen their wallpaper? The City Limits collection is pretty sweet.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Surprise, Surprise

Well, once again a crazy amount of time has passed since my last blog post - but this time I have a couple excellent reasons!

Firstly, the hubby had ligament reconstruction surgery on his ankle. So, for about 4 weeks he was unable to help out around the house. If you read my blog regularly (or should I say used to!) you'll know I work full time and my little blog is my pet project for after hours. Needless to say, blogging wasn't high on my list of to-do's.

And on top of that, I was really, really tired. All the time. Because I have some amazing news! I'm expecting! We were beyond excited to hear we had our own little bubsy on its way, but the timing was a little, uh, cramp in our style! I really could've done with having the 8 week recovery period for the hubby to be first trimester tiredness-free.

And then, a BIG surprise - we discovered at our 12 week ultrasound that there are two babies!


It's now 3 weeks later and we still turn to each other every now and then and say twins. Twins! We are so, so excited! We were considering two children for our family (at some point) but now we will have an instant family - we are already planning first baths, first swims, first stand up paddle boards (there are boards for four year olds - woohoo!) and all that fun stuff. I can't wait to meet these little guys. Or girls. Or one of each. We don't know yet.

And, if you're wondering, it was a complete surprise - no maternal (that's me) history of twins, no IVF. The first thing I did after the ultrasound was google how someone like me becomes a mama to twins. Here, you should know this - if you have those first two criteria (history of twins on the woman's side, or medical help) you are more likely to have twins, but also if you are African American (well, to me as a South African, that means black - there are tribes in Nigeria with the highest multiple birth rates in the world), tall (!?), overweight (!?!), or older. According to one website I found, that meant over 30. According to another, it means over 35. I'm 34. I'm also somewhat tall, but not overly so (5'8"). 

So there you have it! The passed few weeks have been focused on getting through the tiredness, and taking care of the foot. I am now catching up on some projects I promised to help friends with, but hopefully soon I can start some fun stuff, like the nursery! I will be sure to share the details, but also any exciting decor and design news from South Africa, like I usually do. 

I hope you are well, and if you're south of the hemisphere I hope your weather is not too cold, and if you are north, I hope your summer is in full swing!

I'll be back soon. Promise.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Strong Muti

I am loving the illustration work from South African design outfit, Studio Muti.

 *Muti means medicine in Zulu.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Piso on Sale!

I end the radio silence to bring important news! Remember the Piso Collection? Its now on sale! 40% off with the code ROBERTSPORT. Click here.

What would I choose? This dress!

And how cute is this dress for a little girl? Aw.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beach Bungalow

Sometimes I see images on Pinterest, and I know they're from South African decor magazines - but I can't remember which or when. It drives me nuts because usually the image makes me want to go back and see the whole house. One such image was this one:

The always tasteful Court pinned it - and I had seen this image so many times I thought I knew the house... not so! (yay!) The rest of the house was new to me, and featured on Dust Jacket: a beautiful home on Bakoven beach.

I love, love, love the beadboard.... you can see the rest of the house in its original publication, here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Rockin' Weekend

This fashion shoot from South Africa's April edition of Marie Claire totally blew me away!

I hope this inspires you to have a totally bad-ass weekend, to borrow a phrase from my American friends!

You can see more and get more info from here