Monday, 19 March 2018

Festival of India at Montecasino - Great for families >Giveaway

Samoosas at Festival of India
 #FestivalofIndia - punjabi samoosas
This week has a public holiday coming up on Wednesday. The place to go is to the authentic Indian market at the Festival of India, open at Montecasino until 25 March.  This is a one-of-a-kind shopping experience with authentic Indian lifestyle, fashion, culture and cuisine. The performers and traditional foods, to authentic Indian clothing and genuine homeware, are one of the most vibrant festival offers that have something for the whole family.

The opening ceremony was on Saturday, and even rainy weather couldn't damp the colourful spirit. The festivities are inside a marquee tent which makes it perfect for any kind of weather.

There are two double tickets up for grabs. See below.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Turns out the meltdowns have an underlying base

Girl with her dog sitting next to her
Miss with dog
I feel so sad today. We have always struggled with the meltdowns, but we thought it would fizzle out! It's not so bad!

But after one particular blow-up about a muffin one morning, I phoned the school psychologist, and she has been seeing Miss at school.

We had our first feedback last night. She did the Rochard Psychology Test. What is underneath is much worse than we though. Obviously I am not going to share much about the details, as this is not my story.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

This is 51

Instagram filter - Karen with martini and sunset reflection in sunglasses
What I wanted!
At the age of 51 we can poke fun at ourselves. I am constantly amazed at the number, because I don't feel it at all! I am supposed to be wise and have all the answers... Most of the times I think I do have all the answers! But I know for a fact that the more I think I do know all the answers, is that I don't! Life shows it to me in so many ways! Ha! Life! You are so funny!

Most of the times I ignore my own wisdom in any case. For example: Who wants to drink water, when you can drink wine? Or: Who wants to hike at Kloofendal, when you can stay in pajamas until 10 on a Saturday? Me, of course! Life is short! Ha!

I wanted to be in Mauritius last year on my 50th birthday, and this year we are doing the wedding! The engagement has come and now it is the preparations. It is also exciting, and we are looking forward to it.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Jodene Shaer Tips for Instagram success in 2018

Exterior photo of Emoyani Estate with big bay window in foreground
MamaMagic Awards at Emoyeni Estate
Jodene Shaer gave interesting tips about social media at the recent MamaMagic New product Awards recently. The post on Facebook tips on how to increase engagement is already live on the blog.The social media sphere is changing constantly, and we have to keep up with constant changing algorithms.

Instagram has BOOMED, and social media influencers and brands cannot ignore this powerful platform. Here's some tips by Jodene Shaer. (I am copying from my cryptic notes)


MamaMagic notepad with Instagram tips, with coffee and Stabilo pens
Instagram tips by Jodene Shaer
1. Use visually strong images.

2. Don't brand the images too heavily. The authenticity of the image is the most important.

3. Always include the event and brand hashtag in Instagram posts.

4. Use at least 15 hashtags in a post. Also use the hashtags with less than 1 million images related to it. Instagram does not give visibility to the higher related hashtags. The smaller rations get better reach.

5. Don't copy and paste your hashtags. It is seen as spam.

6. Tag relevant brands and people in the image.

7. Create Instastories. Use the location tag and the hashtag on the story to increase reach.

8. Follow back to create community.

9. Respond to comments. This is most important. Instagram is all about engagement.

 Thanks, Jodene!

What tips have you picked up about Instagram that we should know for future success?

Related post:

How to improve Facebook engagement in 2018 - Jodene Shaer

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Make it Magical - Maddy Magoo Fourways Fairy Building Workshop *WIN*

Purple Fairy House with words Make it Magical
Fairy House built at Maddy Magoo Fourways #MakeItMagical
Kids Emporium in conjunction with Maddy Magoo has come up with a brilliant concept. A Fairy Building Workshop. This works great for a children's party and any other excuse for doing something with your child. Think Dad and daughter dates, as well as with besties or your mates. Yes, even the guys would love this! ;-)

Poster - Make it Magical Fairy Building Workshop
Fairy House Building Workshop at Maddy Magoo Fourways poster

Maddy Magoo Fourways is hosting the first three workshops at their branch at The Gantry, and the cost of a workshop is R295 per guest.

  • You can win one of these workshops, as well as a Free Haircut.
  • There's a second prize as well: A free haircut at Maddy Magoo Fourways. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Gadgets that make life easier - look no further than the MamaMagic Products Awards 2017

Banner of all the winners of MamaMagic New Products winners
Congratulations to all the MamaMagic New products Awards winners
The MamaMagic New Products Awards are a great way to find those gadgets that makes life easier, for parents and for children! The Awards ceremony was the previous week. I get jealous excited when I see all the nice gadgets that parents get to use nowadays! We don't NEED it, but it makes life so MUCH EASIER! Luckily we have a cousin and they have just announced that they are going to be parents. The 2017 award winners are definitely some ESSENTIALS they would NEED to buy!

MamaMagic trophies
MamaMagic New Products Awards
Here's the gadgets to put on the list of parenting gadgets that make life easier.

Monday, 5 March 2018

When you make a pitstop, but you want to linger...

Bru'House and Diner front deck with live band playing
Bru'House and Diner
We went to fetch Miss who was away on a camp this weekend. The camp was not that far, and it is welcome road trip out of the city. We were worried about her being sick, but she was fine when we fetched her. She did not get sicker and she listened to her mom who told her not to swim. Phew!

Fetching Miss at camp

Friday, 2 March 2018

Sick and off to camp

9-year old girl selfie
What do you do when your kid wants to go to camp and she's sick? The responsible thing should probably be to keep her home?

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

WIN tickets to Alice in Wonderland at the People's Theatre

Poster of Disney Alice in Wonderland
Disney's Alice in Wonderland - People's Theatre

We love the People's Theatre. The excitement and introduction to theatre for children are unsurpassed. We are so glad that they are going down the rabbit hole this upcoming holidays! Crazy, mad and wonderful Alice in Wonderland is always great escapism for the whole family.

In March and April, travel down the rabbit hole and join Alice, one of literature’s most beloved heroines, on her madcap adventures. The ever-curious Alice’s journey begins innocently enough as she chases the White Rabbit.  Her adventures become increasingly more strange as she races the Dodo Bird, gets tied up with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, raps with a bubble-blowing Caterpillar  is shrunk, stretched, scratched and stuffed into a teapot, and beats the Queen of Hearts at her own game!
Based on the Alice books by Lewis Carroll, the Peoples Theatre’s version of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland will bring all your favourite, wacky characters to life. And don’t forget the crazy ditties. Expect to hear all of them - from “In a World of My Own” to “I'm Late” to “The Unbirthday Song”.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

How to improve Facebook engagement in 2018 - Jodene Shaer

Emoyeni Estate, with people sitting outside
MamaMagic New Product Awards at Emoyeni Estate
MamaMagic is not only known for the MamaMagic exhibitions throughout the country. It has become a powerful platform partnering with the best products and people - from pregnancy to parenting babies and children. It is a platform to kick start new products and to empower the skill set necessary to drive this innovative growing industry.
Cover of Milestones Magazine with text MamaMagic New Products Awards at Emoyeni
Milestones magazine by MamaMagic - New Products Awards event

The MamaMagic New Products Awards Ceremony for 2017 was held at the beautiful Emoyeni Estate last week. It is always exciting to see the products, and meet inspiring people. Last week did not disappoint. Jodene Shaer from Chat Factory was there to get the business owners up to speed with what's happening in the social media sphere. Of course everything has changed again this year, and you can't be doing social media the same as previously!  Jodene has most of the answers for most of the platforms, and we need to know what to do differently this year. Facebook has changed their algorithms considerably. I share some of her insights about FB here!

Monday, 26 February 2018

LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machine - making life easier (Review)

Girl looking into LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machine while washing
#LGSmartInverter #SmartInverter

LG has launched the LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machine into the SA market with a bit of fanfare. Of course I said yes when asked if we would want to review the machine. The 17kg white LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machine was installed last week.

17 kg White LG Top Loader Washing with washing on top
LG Smart Inverter Top Loader Washing Machine
The most awesome and immediate benefits are that we only had to do two loads of washing for a whole week of clothes, and that it runs so silently we have to go and check that it is really working. It's probably not fair to compare with our 5kg front loader, but saving time and effort and not having an "aeroplane" (noise level) take off in our kitchen each time it spins is a HUGE DEAL!

It is making our life so much easier.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Grooming female scientists and engineers of the future

Girls in science classroom
Parktown Girls
Stories about inspiring women and girls are always great to share! We got an email about Parktown Girls who are grooming female scientists and engineers. We have a Miss that only has a few years (3 years eeek!) before she also has to decide what direction she is going to go with regards her career and her subjects. How do we prepare girls like her to choose a career in STEM?

South Africa is in desperate need of qualified scientists and engineers. Compounding this, only 11% of engineers globally are female according to an article published by UNESCO in October 2017.  This is a worldwide phenomenon, despite a rising global demand for qualified science, technology, engineering and, maths (STEM) professionals.
Tracey Megom, Principal at Parktown High School for Girls, says the idea for a Science Centre was born 15 years ago, but the school initially struggled to come up with the money to build it, so parents started fundraising and looking for partners. Anglo American helped them with their dream by a multi-million Rand investment that is already impacting this skills gap.
Following Anglo American’s contribution, the construction of two conjoined laboratory and classroom facilities for life sciences, physics and chemistry began in 2015 and the science centre was opened in late 2016 to the school’s 1 100 pupils. Its effect was almost immediate: 30% more Grade 9 girls chose the sciences as matric subjects.

Parktown High School for Girls is a government high school in Johannesburg that serves a diverse grouping of girls across class, race, and culture, and happens to be one of Gauteng’s province top-performing schools. It boasts a consistent 100% matric pass rate and achieved a 97% Bachelor Degree entrance rate in the 2017 matric results.  The school has been acknowledged by the University of the Witwatersrand as its top feeder school.

Tracy Megom answers a few questions, about herself and how to inspire young girls.

Monday, 19 February 2018

LIfe is a choice, not an excuse

Notes in notebook, with coffee in background and Stabilo Boss highlighters
Study course notes
We signed up for a study course, and this past weekend was the weekend that we could fit it in. Grade 4 is a culture shock! More for the parents than the kids, it seems! :-) The extra subjects, tests, exams and projects are a lot more than the previous grades. The parents need to help manage, AND time manage, AND help the kids to learn.

We are so glad we signed up for this! We got a couple of telephone numbers to phone from the Grade 3 teachers last year, and the lady who phoned me back is from a Tina Cowley Reading Centre. The course was from a Friday afternoon, followed up by the Saturday afternoon. It was more than a good six hours of learning how to learn.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Grade 4 is a culture shock, but mostly for the Mom

Girl looking through binoculars
Grade four is a total different ball game here! The children start changing between classes and they start writing tests and exams. The pace is also much faster than the previous grades. Miss Fine has been taking it all in her stride, but we (the parents) feel a little bit overwhelmed.

We have to make sure that we are abreast of her calendar and her homework, A standard request each day is to immediately take out her homework book so that we could check if there is something new. I am writing this down for future reference. We feel like we are doing grade four for the first time, but our grade four, way back when, surely did not involve as much as this? Even 15 years ago with the eldest it was not so tough!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Breather away at Dikhololo

Dikhololo sign board at the entrance
Arrival on Friday at Dikholo Nature Reserve, near Brits
We had a good rest at Dikhololo, a second year in a row. We are very blessed to be able to celebrate my Dad's birthday away in the Bush!

We complain about the eleven kilometers of bad dirt road we have to get there, and we even said this year was the last! But thinking back about the weekend, I have a rubber arm! I would be there in a flash if I get the chance. A weekend away is a great way to breath. I have been spamming my Instagram feeds. Sorry! Not sorry!

It was great to get away from the year that has started with a bang!

A post shared by Karen Du Toit (@karentoittoit) on

Thursday, 1 February 2018

World Read Aloud Day - Every Day

Girl searching for story books on library shelves
Girl searching for a story book on the library shelves #WRAD2018
This day needs a shout-out! World Read Aloud Day! It should not be the only day that we read aloud, but it is always good to get a formal reminder each year that we should read aloud to our children. They should also read aloud to us!

The Read Educational Trust, a NGO, and Nalibali are doing great work in South Africa with regards reading, and Read Aloud Day today!

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Colour and learning - STABILO BOSS PASTELS are perfect!

Notebook with STABILO BOSS pastels highlighters, pens fineliners
STABILO BOSS Original Pastel notes
The new STABILO BOSS ORIGINAL Pastels on review. What can be more exciting than new stationery? NO-THING!

I know that colours have a huge impact on my own learning. I have never tested it, but that's one of the major ways I learn and take note. We have signed up Miss Fine for a study course. Grade 4 is THE year they are starting with tests. The study course promises to find her best ways to study. (I hope!) Fortunately the parents will be able to sit in as well. I will let you know if such a course is worth it. And if colours have such an impact as I think it do? (Google says it does)

Monday, 29 January 2018

Wash Less Live More - OMO

Photos of the OMO #WashLessLiveMore activation
Photos from the OMO Gallery of Stains #WashLessLiveMore
Wash Less Live More! This is a positive hashtag that we can all get behind!

Shout-Out to OMO for running with this great hashtag! We can use it for all live quotes:
Clean Less Live More
Tidy Less Live More
Dust Less Live More
Cook Less Live More

We were invited to an OMO GALLERY OF STAINS activation at Cresta this weekend. It was open and free for all to enjoy! (Next time you see an activation at Cresta, jump in! It is always so much fun!)

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Miss Fine

Prisma filter of girl with new friend - photo taken from back
New school year and new friends
I think we worry too much! The anxiousness got penned down two weeks back in How to cope with the first day back at school? Miss was expressing some worries about being able to cope with Grade 4. The parents' meeting last year did not help to ease our worries, but exacerbated it! (Yikes! We already signed up to a study course for the family and the online Studiemeester is on the budget). The thoughts were around Miss and her being young for her grade...

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Play-Doh and the 4 C's of skills

Play-Doh box - Shape and Learn
Play-Doh Shape & Learn - Numbers & Counting
Play-Doh has been a firm favourite in our house from early on. It does not look as there is a cut-off date for creating and learning with it! We received the Play-Doh Shape & Learn - Numbers & Counting set yesterday as a blog drop. The package states 2+, but I'm sure we can go until 100 years of age. It's a great family activity, and we love the fact that the creative possibilities and learning opportunities are endless.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Win tickets to the Mozart Festival - for the whole family

The upcoming Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, in it's 10th year, is a musical smorgasbord for the whole family. It will be running from 26 January until 4 February. The Mozart Festival combines classical music concerts of the highest international standards with vital education initiatives and community engagement projects.

There is no better way to introduce our kids to classical music, than this opportunity. We like the fact that some of the events are for free, and some asking only for a donation.  Two readers of this blog can also win family tickets (4 members each) to attend the family concert on 4 February.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Star Wars The Last Jedi quotes - Twitter

Star Wars The last Jedi
One of the highlights of a movie year is usually Star Wars. We saw Star Wars The Last Jedi at the end of last year, and of course we loved it! It was everything as expected, and the story-line was enthralling! Of course, it was not too long! (Says a serious fan!)

Now we can't wait for the next one!

Here's a compilation of some of the quotes that made this movie epic, as copied from Twitter. It is good to use for every day life situations.

My favourite is this...

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

How to cope with the first day back at school?

Rusty Hook Restaurant
Holiday memories

This has been the longest school holidays ever! We did not do all the Johannesburg Staycation Wish-list things we wanted to, but it was awesome taking a break. The children are only going back to school tomorrow. It's already past the half-way mark of January.

We will miss the relaxed days of holidays, and not sticking to a fixed routine. Miss loves going to bed later, and sleeping until the sun is in the 9th hour quadrant already! We also love sleeping later (at least 30 minutes later), and not having to dodge the early morning traffic. Tomorrow it's a thing of the past! "Sigh!"

But, sticking to my "positive" word of the year, I have to grab this year by it's Grade 4 horns. Miss is apprehensive about this year, and after a school meeting with the prospective Grade 4 parents, we are also worried aware of the challenges! (Help!?)

Monday, 15 January 2018

Hiking at Kloofendal Nature Reserve with Dumbbells and Delights


We were pleasantly surprised this weekend when we went on a hike at Kloofendal Nature Reserve with powerhouse Samantha Dube of Dumbbells and Delights. The area is beautiful, and it is just around the corner in Roodepoort. There were so many people who were there, enjoying the hikes and the views, and sitting down for picnics. (But not overcrowded).

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Pretoria Zoo Snooze - it's an experience!

National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
I realized at the end of last year that I never wrote about the children camping overnight at the Pretoria Zoo. They had such a great experience! It is one of the things that gets a place in the memory books!

Monday, 8 January 2018

This is me - 5 silly questions to the blogger

I am answering my own five questions first. If you are keen, send me your own answers to this?  I am planning to run a regular feature.

Five questions to the Blogger

(Do not edit, and do not think too much)

Friday, 5 January 2018

Hill's Prescription Diet and our dogs

We were contacted last year to test Hill's Prescription Diet. Based on our dogs' profiles we got the Hill's Prescription Diet k/d + Mobility food for Benji (the oldest) and Hill's Science Plan Mature Adult for our pavement special, Petite Peu. (Petite Peu is already a senior after she passed the age of 7 years already. So quick!)

We had to say goodbye to our little Yorkie Benji last year. It was difficult for me to write about him, and think about him. Even while writing this, I am tearing up! Our pets are not only our pets, they are our companions and our friends! He left a huge gap. He was such a happy chappy all along!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Disney Pixar's Coco - reminds of the importance of family, living and dead

family movie
Disney•Pixar’s Coco
Ever since I saw the trailer of Disney•Pixar’s Coco at the Disney Life & Style Exhibition, I wanted to take the whole family to see this movie! It is bright with colourful characters, who shows us the importance of family, not only for the living, but also reminding us of our loved ones who have passed on already.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Positive - my word of 2018

Positive 2018 is going to be a good year!
Happy New Year! I am back at work! Jay!

I still love my word of 2017, which is KIND. I was thinking of extending it into this year, but an inbox email sorted my word for 2018. It's going to be POSITIVE! (Thanks, Rhonda Byrne)