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Travel: Our holiday to South Africa

Hello! It's been a while hasn't it?! Trying to get back on the blogging wagon and wanted to finally share more about our holiday to South Africa which was back in April 2018. Our good friends were getting married in Franschhoek so we decided to make it into a big holiday with a group of friends and oh, it was wonderful. We spent time in Cape Town, Camps Bay and Franschhoek before heading to Johannesburg for a safari. Here's the lowdown on what we did, where we stayed and what our must-sees were - sadly I don't have an amazing memory and used my Instagram posts as a reminder of what we did each day!

Day 1: Cape Town

One of the great things about Cape Town is that there is only a small time difference so you don't have to deal with jet lag. On the first morning we arrived and went to our hotel - the Belmond Mount Nelson (totally dreamy) to check in and relax around the pool. We then went for dinner at Signal which is a restaurant in the Cape Grace Hotel on the V&A. Our first tasting menu of the holiday and it didn't disappoint!

Day 2: Cape Town

Belmond Mount Nelson high tea

Day two was spent doing some shopping at the V&A Waterfront before heading back to our hotel for their famous High Tea - it was indulgent and delicious, and well worth doing. We spent the evening at Harrington's Cocktail Bar for the first of the wedding celebrations.

Day 3: Cape Town - Franschhoek

Franschhoek Country House and Villas

There were a few sore heads the morning after (I also felt mega rough but mine was pregnancy related!) but no rest as we checked out of the Belmond, picked up a hire car and drove about an hour to Franschhoek which is a beautiful area in the winelands. We were staying at the Franschhoek Country House and Villas and so ditched our bags before meeting our friends to experience the wine tram; a tram which takes you to different vineyards for wine tastings. I only got to see one of the vineyards as I wasn't feel well at all and so went back to the hotel to sleep!

Day 4: Franschhoek

We celebrated our friends wedding at the Rickety Bridge Winery. It had the most perfect backdrop and was a gorgeous hot and sunny day with lots of laughter and fun.

Day 5: Franschhoek

After spending the morning by the pool at our hotel, everyone went for a post wedding BBQ at the wedding venue but I had to give it a miss as still felt unwell (was definitely pregnancy related!) although managed to make it out for dinner in the evening at a lovely restaurant called Reuben's.

Day 6: Franschhoek - Camps Bay

Grande Provence Winery Franschhoek

We had another morning by the pool before checking out and having lunch at the Grande Provence wine estate and then heading to our villa in Camps Bay which would be home for the next few days. Dinner was spent at Gold Restaurant which was very entertaining and we even joined in with a drum workshop.

Day 7: Camps Bay

V&A Cape Town

We had more of a relaxing day, starting with a lovely breakfast at The Bay Hotel and then a couple of hours on the beach. We then attempted to go to Robben Island to find it was cancelled so enjoyed a drink in the V&A and then went back to the villa for an evening BBQ.

Day 8: Camps Bay

Most of the gang climbed Table Mountain in the morning whilst I chilled in the villa sunshine. We had some lunch on the beachfront and then in the evening we went to The Roundhouse for their 5 course tasting menu which was delicious and in the most beautiful setting.

Day 9: Camps Bay

Boulders Beach Penguins
La Colombe Silvermist Wine Estate Cape Town
La Colombe Silvermist Wine Estate Cape Town

It was our last day in Cape Town so we got up early and drove to Boulders Beach to see the penguins! It was slightly surreal walking along the beach next to a penguin - I loved it. We had brunch at the Twelve Apostles hotel (which has great views but was sadly overcast for us) and then relaxed in the villa until dinner. Dinner was incredible. We went to La Colombe in the Silvermist wine estate and it was honestly the best meal and dining experience of my life; a great atmosphere, setting, service and the food was just amazing. We returned to the villa 4.5 hours later very full and happy.

Day 10: Cape Town - Johannesburg

We said goodbye to Cape Town and flew the two hours to Jo'burg before a 3 hour drive to Ivory Tree Game Lodge in Pilanesberg National Park to start our safari adventure.

Day 11-13: Johannasberg

Rhinos Safari Pilansberg National Park
Elephant Safari Pilansberg National Park
Cheetahs Safari Pilansberg National Park

The rest of the holiday was spent enjoying the safari. I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did - it was one of the best experiences of my life and I recommend it to everyone! We saw so many animals from lions to cheetahs, and I loved the safari 'routine' of an early morning drive before coming back for breakfast and chilling by the pool and napping, and then heading out for an evening drive.

Phew, that was a long one! I can't recommend South Africa as a holiday enough and I can't wait to take Florence one day.

Daisy x

Baby: Florence's 5 Month Routine

Up until around 4 months, Florence didn't have much of a daily routine and many books (and friends) say that it's difficult to establish one until 3 months onwards regardless. We have had a bedtime routine from when she was just a few weeks old but now her day is a lot more structured and I have to admit, I love it. I'm a big fan of routine and knowing what is happening when. And am also obsessed with hearing about other people's routines and what works for them with their babies.

Here's what a typical weekday usually looks like...

7am: Florence tends to wake up around 7 but it can vary between 6.30 and 8. She'll have her morning feed although if she's fed at 5ish she'll hang on until a bit later (she definitely doesn't need that 5am feed but that's a whole other story!). I haven't included her other feeds really as I tend to still feed on demand.

If Chris is working from home he will take her downstairs and play whilst I get some extra sleep. If it's just me we'll chill in bed for a bit before going down. She'll go on her playmat, or sit in her highchair and watch me unload the dishwasher whilst we listen to some music- 5 months old is great as she's so easily entertained!

9am: She'll be ready for a nap a couple of hours after she wakes up so we'll either put her in her swing chair, or put her in her cot for a sleep. She is having more naps in her cot now but the swing is handy for when we need her to nap before going out as she falls asleep more quickly. 

9.30-9.45: Her first nap of the day usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes which gives me time to get ready for the day and have a quick tidy.

In the morning we sometimes go out to a class or to a baby group, or if we have a home day we'll just play on her mat, or in her inflatable play nest. She likes me singing songs to her and dancing too. 

12: Around midday she's ready for her big lunch nap which tends to be in her cot. For naps, I'll put her in her sleeping bag, I'll read her a book and then give her a feed to get her nice and sleepy. We'll put on some white noise (usually a fan or hoover sound!) and she's getting really good at settling herself to sleep. I find it fascinating to watch on the baby monitor.

1.30 - 2.30: This nap really varies but is generally between 1 and a half to 2 hours.

In the afternoon we will usually be at home, or will go to my parents who live down the road so they can play with her - they have two dogs and she loves watching them.

3.30/4ish: Sometimes she will need a third nap to get her through till bedtime - sometimes she'll just fall asleep on my boob and have ten mins there, other times she'll go in her cot for half an hour. We don't let her sleep past 5.

5/5.30: We have started giving her some purees so I'll usually give her one around 5.30 - sometimes I'll do this before her lunch nap. She is really enjoying trying everything - current faves are courgette and parsnip.

6 - 6.15: She is starting to get ready for bed earlier and earlier but we try and stick to starting the bedtime routine at 6ish. Chris will bath her (or I will if she's away) and she absolutely loves the bath - it's definitely her favourite part of the day. Sometimes we do some baby massage too. We'll then get her into her sleeping bag and read her a book (by this point she's usually so tired that she couldn't care less about the book!) before giving her a final feed and putting her down.

7: She's usually asleep by 7

Nights are a different game - wake-ups vary from 1 on a good night, to 4 on a bad night. We're trying to cut out feeds gradually so hopefully by 6 months we'll have her sleeping all night long (ahaha).

Daisy x

Baby: How Hypnobirthing helped my labour

As I mentioned in my birth story, during my pregnancy I bought the Positive Birth Company digital pack which is an online course all about hypnobirthing and as Siobhan says 'gives you the tools needed to create a positive, empowering and calm birth'. I was tempted to do a course but they were so expensive and I really liked the taster videos on Siobhan's YouTube channel. Both Chris and I watched the whole set of videos and it made a huge difference to how we felt about the birth and the birth itself. I think a lot of people think hypnobirthing is all about having a natural birth with no pain relief but it's really not, and is instead giving you the tools to deal with whatever happens - whether you are induced, go into labour naturally or have a c-section. I had gas & air and a water birth but would have gone for more pain relief if I'd needed it.

I thought I would share 5 points of how hypnobirthing helped me....

1) How I felt leading up to the birth - before becoming pregnant, I thought of birth as a really scary thing and didn't really know much about it. The course taught me all about the different stages of labour and what your body is doing and why (it's pretty incredible). It completely changed the way I felt about birth and I went from thinking I would have as much pain relief as possible, to wanting to do it with the least possible (which was a tens machine, gas & air, and the pool).

2) It gave me some great ways of dealing with labour - in a nutshell, the more relaxed and calm you are in birth the more helpful it is for your body as it is focusing on doing what it needs to. If you're feeling scared of it then your body will be producing adrenaline and taking away the blood from where it needs to go. The course gives you lots of ways of keeping calm and the ones I used most were the breathing exercises which I did for most of the 36 hours! It really helped to have breathing as something to focus on. I also found that because I knew what was happening with my body, I didn't freak out as knew it was all happening as it should - although I did have one panic during transition (which is when you move to the pushing stage) and said that I couldn't do it anymore! 

3) It gave my husband a role - Chris enjoyed watching the videos and it really helped him to know what was happening and what he could do to help me. He counted my breathing constantly and also knew how important it was to keep hydrated and to keep eating food. He kept making me drink water and fed me grapes to give me as much energy as possible.

4) It gave me a great birth preferences template - the template is brilliant and makes your preferences really clear. I just amended what Siobhan had used in hers so it saved me a lot of work too! The midwives commented on how helpful it was and once they saw that I read that I was doing hypnobirthing they bought a diffuser into the room, and also added some essential oils into the pool.

5) Access to lots of positive birth stories - when you buy the course you get access to the Positive Birth Company's private Facebook group which is filled with people's positive birth stories. I really enjoyed reading these and it helped put in a good frame of mind when thinking about the birth. I still like reading them now!

I hope you found this useful. For £35 the course is such great value and I think it's so worth a try, even if you just come away feeling more informed about labour! Do get in touch if you have any questions for me.

Daisy x