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Gardening, Giveaways, Parenting

Save your Knees with Kneepal (and win)

May 24, 2015 | 36 Comments

2539058_141114063321_Packshot***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. The winners were Linnet Crow, Romona Moonsamy and Cirsten van den Heuvel – congrats!***

This is not something I knew I kneeded (LOL) before it came across my desk. When the kids’ bathtime came along every day at 5pm, I always just hunched over the bath on a folded up bathmat and suffered. My back was sore, my knees were aching and the end of bathtime couldn’t come soon enough, but I just sucked it up. Well I kneedn’t have (see what I did there), because the Kneepal could have saved me from all of that.

Developed by Ingrid Conroy, a grandmother who got tired of many uncomfortable hours bathing her grandkids, the Kneepal is a locally produced, ergonomically designed kneeling pad. It’s waterproof too and available in four cool colours: charcoal, aqua, pink and green. It sits permanently in our bathroom where we’ve used it for washing our dogs (as well as our babIes), plus it can be used when you’re cleaning, doing DIY or weeding (I always end up bending over and hurting my back).

Remember how I mentioned that I’d been asked to help judge the MamaMagic New Product Awards recently? Well, the Kneepal won silver at those awards in 2012, which I think was well deserved. It’s a clever invention that would make a unique baby shower gift for someone, or just make your own life easier as a busy parent. It’s also good for those of us with dodgy backs who need to take better care of ourselves. The Kneepal costs R250 and you can buy one online or at these stockists around SA.

***Win one of three Kneepals worth R250 each***

I’ve got three Kneepals to give away to three lucky readers (in pink, charcoal and green). Simply comment below this post saying why you need one! Please note:

This giveaway closes at noon on Thursday 28 May 2015. 

  • You can only enter once (duplicate entries will be deleted).
  • Only South African citizens can enter.
  • The winners’ names will be chosen randomly and announced on this blog and via Twitter.
  • Winners will be assigned a colour randomly.
  • The winners will be contacted via email no later than Monday 1 June 2015.


P.S. The winner of the kids book hamper was Peter Imrie! Congrats.




Food, Gardening, Writing

10 Things We Did This Weekend

July 28, 2014 | 4 Comments

photo 1

  1. I went with Ben to our first ever lesson at Clamber Club. He’s got to that age now where he needs to see other kids and do something a bit different to his usual day (crawling around the house trying to break stuff). He was entranced, clapping along, playing on all the cool jungle gyms and generally beaming from ear to ear. It is money swell spent and I’m looking forward to the next one.
  2. We went with friends for dinner at Coobs. We don’t get out for dinner much so when we do, it’s a BIG treat and we don’t want to be disappointed. Well, we weren’t. My pork belly was sublime, the mojitoes were excellent and there was this dessert that include white chocolate tart and peanut butter and jam ice cream. Delicious.
  3. It was cold so Rachel and Ben wore their new hand knitted beanies from my Aunt June. They looked so snuggly and cute that I made them wear them to the shops and then waited for strangers to admire how gorgeous my children were. I mean, look at those faces?! I just love handmade things in general. My Mom was an excellent seamstress and I now have her sewing machine but still need to learn how to use it. Sewing and knitting and making things ourselves is an art that seems to be dying amongst my generation and I don’t want it to. I guess we are time poor but still, that’s no excuse.Rae and Ben in beanies
  4. We visited the Parkhurst Village Fair and it was lovely. Great stuff for kids to do, homemade ginger beer, the most delicious paella, plus brownies to die for from The Counter. There were dogs running everywhere, live music and a general air of good neighbourliness. Going to events like that make me happy.
  5. I giggled a bit at this post about 19 Mistakes First Time Parents Make. I still do some of those, including accidentally hitting your baby’s head on the door frame and letting them play with your phone without locking it.
  6. I FINALLY got around to buying two new plants (called verbena) to go in pots on our verandah. All I did was take them out of their black bags and pot them in soil in their new wooden containers but for some reason it was really satisfying.
  7. I wondered why crawling babies are inextricably drawn to dog’s food bowls, toilets, dustbins and ashy fireplaces. Basically all the dirty disgusting places they are not allowed to go.
  8. I thought about this post by fellow blogger Keri. I’ve also been so caught photoup in all these recent terrible events (see my post on empathy) that it can be hard to see the wood from the trees sometimes. Anyway, Keri’s point is that if we want to achieve anything, we need to start by taking care of ourselves first, because nothing good can be done if we let ourselves fall apart (she’s right hey?). P.S. Keri’s blog Midlands Musings is a wonderful read, so check it out.
  9. I made this Lamb and Bulgur Stew with White Beans for Sunday night supper and it was a hit. So quick and easy but still with a high comfort and deliciousness factor. Recommend.
  10. I heard of this book called My Salinger Year and it sounds just up my street. It’s about a 23-year-old girl who dreams of being a writer and then moves to the big city and works in the publishing world as the assistant to the literary agent of J.D. Salinger. It’s described as: “a coming-of-age story of a talented writer and a testament to the universal power of books to shape our lives”. Yes please.

So that was my weekend. Have you entered my giveaway to win a personalised phone cover yet? There are some beautiful ones to choose from and the competition closes tomorrow at lunchtime – so get to it! (even if you already have one yourself, it would make a great gift).

Have good weeks all.


Food, Gardening, Lifestyle

How Was Your Weekend?

July 6, 2014 | 4 Comments

DeltaI don’t normally write posts about what we got up to on the weekend. Mostly because they are typically quite chaotic and I spend them picking up squashed banana, trying to locate dusty dummies and generally following Ben around so he doesn’t crack open his head. But this weekend I managed to do all of that and more, so here’s a quick look into our activities.

On Saturday morning we met some friends at Delta Park to go for a long lovely walk. Delta is a gem – a huge belt of green that’s always packed with runners and cyclists and dog walkers. It’s not looking at its best right now, because our beautiful sunny winter climate dries out all the grass and they’ve also been making fire breaks in some places. So everything is painted in shades of yellow and red but it’s lovely in a different kind of way, all set against the backdrop of a bright blue sky.

Gareth, BenWe walked with four kids and six dogs and it was nothing short of chaotic. The dogs went swimming in the dam. The kids got knocked over. Both dogs and small humans ran away. But the great outdoors also makes people friendlier. We chatted to strangers about our dogs (such great ice breakers!) and the weather. We stopped and saw some Boy Scouts building a bridge. We all got mud all over our clothes. There’s something about being in the outdoors that humans need – it’s so good for the soul.

Sunday was spent weeding and sweeping the veggie garden, which my friend Philippa from How Splendid has recently come over to help me with. She has put up fences to keep Juno out, composted the soil and then put in a whole lot of amazing plants that I’m so excited about.

Radishes, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, wild garlic, cabbages, onions, ALL the herbs, leeks, spinach, beans, celery, carrots and more. Rachel loves getting involved so I’ve bought her a small broom and she also helps with watering and other bits and pieces. It really is a lovely place to sit and reflect – my happy place.veggies

And then on Sunday afternoon we made scones, Rachel and me, together. Scones remind me of my Mom, she taught me how to make them. I always remember her saying that scones don’t like to be touched too much, the less you handle the batter the better.

They also need a very hot oven if you really want them to rise beautifully (we had an old gas oven on the farm that used to achieve this perfectly). Rachel and I used some fun cookie cutters including ones in the shape of an elephant, a hippo, a heart, a star, a teddy bear and a flower.

Kids just love helping out in the kitchen and then eating the fruits of their labour, so she was chuffed with the results (we used this recipe from Yuppiechef and it worked perfectly). We ate them warm out of the oven, dripping with melted butter and a bit of home made lemon curd (thanks Andrea!)…yum. It was great snacking on them while we watched that epic Wimbledon final – what amazing tennis?

sconesWe had friends popping in for tea or a meal and met up with others we hadn’t seen for a while and I guess I just felt like I was in the right place in the world. Does that make sense? When you aren’t questioning where you are for once and you’re just going, yes, this is home, this is what home must feel like and I’m here.

I have spent most of my life in limbo. In a place not my own. And this weekend I finally felt like I was managing to carve out a comfortable space for me and the ones I love. And that felt good.

How was your weekend? Wishing good weeks to all of you.


P.S. Sorry for the error message you may have got earlier – I got overexcited and hit “publish” on this post too soon;)

P.P.S If you want to see what I’m up to more regularly (including lots of posts about food, some of my kids, a few of stuff I wear and the rest of things I see), you can follow me on Instagram at @belindamountain