PRODUCT REVIEW: PALMER’S COCOA BUTTER FORMULA

PALMER’S COCOA BUTTER FORMULA TUMMY BUTTER FOR STRETCH MARKS

I got Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks with Vitamin E as a gift from a friend when I was pregnant with Teh. Its for preggy bellies but I still use it. It really is like hardened butter that you have to rub between your hands to soften and apply. It absorbs well and leaves me feeling moisturized but not sticky. I think it helped with stretch marks. I’d certainly recommend this to any pregnant friend.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I bought the Body Moisturizing Oil with Vitamin E in the same range.

 

PALMER’S COCOA BUTTER FORMULA MOISTURIZING BODY OIL

It was the first time I used oil as I would body lotion. I didn’t know what to expect. It absorbed into the skin quickly and didn’t leave an oily residue. That said, I wont buy it again. My skin was glowing after the first treatment but the next day the dry skin was back. The effects are simply not long lasting as some other body moisturizers out there. Plus the bottle leaks oil once opened. So I always find myself wiping it down so that the cupboard it gets stored in isn’t left with oil stains or it doesn’t stain anything else, like clothes. I cant travel with it for this reason.

CARVING OUT THE TIME

I remember asking a friend once if she went on dates with her husband. She replied mockingly: “dates, what’s that?”.

That’s how so many parents feel. I sometimes think that I when Sean and I had kids we somehow disappeared into them. They came from us and became us. The chaos of parenting is often all consuming. Sean, when not wrapped up with demanding work is being a dad. And when I’m not working or writing, I’m mothering. And when all is said and done and you have that sought after moment (usually after 8 when cherubs are asleep and dishes cleared) – the quite sets in.

That’s when Sean and I have time to ourselves and it’s often at that time that we fall into craved sleep. Or we do a magic trick and turn into vegetables, I a pumpkin and Sean a potato in front of the TV. Admittedly brain numbing TV takes all the strain of the day away but it’s like white bread – good to taste without nutrition. And as for sleep – when you do manage to sleep through or sleep deeply, you wake up energized having taken a break from your kids but gained nothing for yourself.

That’s why Sean and I entrenched date night. I thank God for live in nannies. Sharon watches over the bubs while we escape, albeit exhausted to a night out with friends, a movie or dinner alone. Ah the bliss of date night!!!!!! I can dress up. I can eat warm food, sometimes gourmet food, that I haven’t cooked. I can drink delicious warm coffee. I can hold my mans hands and his gaze and not be pulled away by little fingers. And we can talk and listen and catch-up, connect, flirt and under stand one another again.

We try not to look at our phones or talk about our little people appendages. It forces us to find one another in the fast pace of life.

It’s not always possible to carve out the time away for just the two of us. But we do it because we need it. My husband is my best friend. I need him to know my head and heart space. And he needs the same thing. We need to stay strong as a couple to parent effectively. It’s fundamental.

 

A WISH FOR MY CHILDREN: FRIENDSHIP

Seans’ varsity friends have been meeting up, more or less, for the past 7 years – once a year in July or August. The friendship between seven, has grown to include spouses and children. We now number 10  adults and 16 kids. Massive.

Our gatherings are always special occasions. This year we met up in the Kruger Park, in the city for a black tie event and birthday bashes. Its always a time to catch up, bond, reminisce, make more memories and have laugh out loud fun.

I’m always astounded at how this friendship has evolved and  endured over a period of 20 years. Our children have now all become friends too.

It got me thinking about my wish list or prayer list for my kids. Among the many things I desire for them, somewhere on the long list is that they develop meaningful friendships. Its  rare  and beautiful, to be friends with someone who knows and understands where you come from. Someone who has shared important parts of your life and continues to play a part in it, is a treasure, I think. It makes life interesting, meaningful…..deeply rewarding.

DELIBERATE ABOUT NATURE

We’ve just come back from a weekend away in Hazyview, Mpumalanga again! This time Seans’ old varsity friends came from near and far to meet, catch up, check in and bond. Picture it  15 adults and 17 children (ages 5 months to 15 years old) descending on Mpumalanga – like a zoo, a plague – no – thats much too negative. More like one happy boisterous family!!!! Our neighbours at the Cabanas certainly thought so when  complaints rained in about noise levels at 7h30 pm. My first thought was: ” Really ! – So jealous”.

We stopped at the magnificent Sudwala Caves before checking in. Just awesome making our way through the oldest cave in the world – 250 million years. It once was the home of 3000 Swazi fleeing from their brethren in a bitter family feud for the throne. In about 2 hours we learnt so much, from geography, archeology and geology to  anthropology and history. You get my meaning. Saying it was a rich experience is an understatement.  Its the kind of place you take your child to over and over again so they can grasp its fullness with the different stages of their development. The darkness of the cave is haunting yet exquisitely beautiful. My daughters were keen to bend low into the dirt to get to the fairy chamber where the shallow lake showed still reflections of the rock above – just like a mirror.

Then to the Cabanas we went. No frogs this time. In the heart of winter the place was warm enough for the kids to swim. They had an amazing time with so many friends.

Our trip to the Kruger National Park was on a Safari vehicle with a ranger this time. Its an experience all on its own. We were so blessed – one of one thousand leopards crossed the road in front of our vehicle that morning. What are the chances, in a Park the size of the State of Israel?

That cat was awesome !!!!,  but boy oh boy if you saw the girls, you’d be gob smacked.  A while later five lionesses walked out of the bush into the road to parade their strength, their fierce beauty. I don’t think there was one person in an open truck who didn’t feel a cold rod of panic pierce their core at some point. Those beasts were simply breathtaking. Having them come so close to the vehicle was met with a strange sense of disbelief. The children’s emotions moved from heightened excitement to fearful and freaking out. And when Mufasa made his appearance after the pride, we were all quite simply in awe. Majestic. Hands down its the place for families and kids of all ages.

It sure beats TV and mobile phones and what ever other techno junk besets our children. It got me thinking about nature and how little of it our kids get to experience. There are very few little peeps who ask for the channel to be changed to national geographic or animal planet. but after the park my kids can sit through an entire show. And even so- there’s nothing like being in the midst of it. I loved giving the experience to my kids – deliberately giving them the alternative, giving them nature. I left feeling its a kind of responsibility, a duty to show them real beauty, real history and the fun they can have when outdoors,  against a back drop of mountains, tall trees and African sunsets.

BIRTHDAY PARTIES – A FRENZIED AFFAIR

Is it just me, or does everyone find birthday parties a mad rush.   Tali’s eighth birthday celebration turned into a  roller coaster.

It was supposed to be fuss free,  we had it at a venue for that reason. And as per usual, the latest craze for kids was served up as the main course. This time round it was Emoji’s. My daughter is at the age where everything technology (from tablets, to phones to computers) is all the rage. She’s become adept at  sending and receiving whatsapps with Emojis.

Tali also loves – as do most little girls – painting her nails. And so its was with much excitement that she agreed to a nail salon as the venue for her party. Admittedly Emoji’s and a nail salon are an unlikely pair. Not so when the nail polish has little shiny emoji’s’ embedded in it.

And so my only job for the day would be to supply a few eats and a bit of decor for the space. The plan was helium balloons, a large Emoji cake, a few Emoji biscuit pops, party favours, stylized cups and paper plates and voila – Emoji party. I would relax with a cappacino served by the salons waiters and engage in chatter with family and friends. Wow could anything fall further from the plan.

Lets start with the night before. Expert fondant roller granny arrives to cover the cake. Its around 5 in the afternoon and a large yellow pancake of fondant lay beautifully on the counter ready to be flipped. I bring my freshly baked cake around for the flip. And “snap” – just like that the electricity cuts out.  AAAAAAH. We wait a few minutes. Nothing goes back on. We wait again, and again. Its late. We fold up the fondant. Granny heads home to bake a few more cake treats for the party. My heart begins to sink as I watch valuable time slip away. All the other eats will not be finished on time. Hummus, baba ganoush, zacusca, falafels, biscuit pops etc etc stand about incomplete. My sister Ros arrives for her customary cup of tea to console me. She stays until 10 when the lights go on. I roll the Emoji out again. Its winter and for fondant lovers, we know that winter is not kind to fondant. Its not kind tonight. The fondant gets flipped with my sisters help and cracks around the edges. It feel  just like that fondant – about to crack. Its very late. Ros heads home. The lights go out again.  On. Off. On again like some evil game of ping pong. Defeated, I put the unfinished cake away in the dining room and close the door to ward off any curious little people. Its past 11 and I begin melting chocolate for biscuit pops. I’ll fix and finish the cake in the morning, I think.

Morning hits. Sean is away on a Harvard programme in Rwanda. I am alone in the milieu of party day. I take Tali to school.  School ends at 1:30 and the party starts at 2:15. So Ellie (4) and Zara (2) stay home to avoid any pick up delays. On my way back  from drop off I call a caterer and organize 2 platters at astronomical prices.  I get home. The kitchen looks like a bomb exploded with a whole bunch of half made things. Sharon, my nanny, asks me to look in on the cake as somethings happened. TERRIBLE. JUST TERRIBLE. Ellie found the  cake and dug into the fondant, pulling out pieces to consume. I cry. I sigh and call my mother.

Expert roller granny arrives with a new batch of yellow fondant. The party is now costing a small fortune. We save the cake in the nick of time. My brother arrives to do the cheese platter and help load the car. We fly to the venue to set up and fly home to change. Tali’s home, family’s packed in and its 2:15. We’re still on the road and Tali screams “I’m late for my own party”. We pass guests along the way and meet others as we enter the salon. At least most of the eats are on the table.

I breathe and settle down.  The Beauty Box Northcliff salon is amazing. They’ve spelt out “happy birthday” in rose petals for Tali. She loves it. Twenty kids have mani’s and pedis and a blast. I drink cappucinos and wait for the treatments to end. Parents begin to arrive and the treatment hasn’t ended. It goes on and on and one dad begins to look very irate. We sing happy birthday, dowl out emoji ball party favours, pack up and leave.

“Thank God its over and thank God for family” is all I think as we leave. I’ve pulled off enough parties to know that they require planning. But I now  know, that pulling off even the simplest of parties requires a specific state of mind – the state of mind that plans but also holds the expectation to adjust expectations. Its a metaphor for life. I realize that curve balls  can pitch up at any time in life – the way to deal with it, is to go through it calmly and still enjoy yourself at the party.