me Life and Times of the Fireflies: October 2017

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

School Holiday Vlog

About two months ago, my cell phone got stolen. I was out with my mom early on a Sunday morning and the next thing I knew my phone was gone. It's a tragic story actually - how quickly, easily and unknowingly you can be robbed of your possessions; but anyway, after the initial shock and anguish of losing my phone and being out of touch with what everyone was getting up to over the weekend ( social media access) - along with the trauma of losing all my contacts and other important information - what I was really sad about was losing all of my videos and photos. All my precious memories...GONE!
Lucky for me, about a week or so before this incident, I was trying to create some more space on my phone, so instead of deleting pictures, I transferred a lot (but not all) of  them from my phone to my laptop. But this whole incident just got me thinking...
I have lost so much footage over the years, a lot of cute and adorable moments while the kids were growing up because I was negligent with the process of archiving them properly. I either lost a phone or got a new one and didn't back up and save all my media at the time and now the moments are gone. I figured that I could be doing a better job of saving all the random little moments and making them into home videos for the kids to look back on one day.
Initially, I started making these videos as a way to document our family vacation that we took earlier this year, and since I'm doing a lot of the preserving on this blog already, I thought I'd add some of these videos here as well. They're not fancy or super creative or anything, but if you're keen to follow along, you can check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel over here  !


Thanks for reading!

Monday, 30 October 2017

It Takes a Village to Raise Kids

I was hiding away from the kids in the bathroom the other day even though it was a particularly good parenting day (maybe even a couple of consecutive days) - because hiding away is almost second nature to me now; even on the good days! I  seemed to have ticked all the relevant and required boxes of essentials in parenting (is there even such a thing) - my kids weren't hungry, I was meeting all their emotional needs, we were having fun together and enjoyed being in each other's company (a complete commercial scenario), and I had this false immense sense of satisfaction that I was nailing this parenting gig...even wanted to start an advice column on this little blog on how to do it. You know, just generally getting carried away with myself.

And as one does when you have had an hour extra sleep and a little too much time on your hands and things are looking fleetingly particularly good; my mind started to wander...and I was thinking how amazing I'd be from the get go if I were to have kids now. I mean, I know exactly what to expect, I feel completely Zen in my life right now, the teenage years aren't even such a nightmare like everyone said it would be - I could totally do this whole thing much more efficiently if I had to do it all over again! I had found the winning formula and I was feeling smug enough about it to plan an Agony Aunt column for parenting and an imaginary fourth child!! Colic, reflux, sleep training, tantrums and the teen years - pffft - I had it all my head of course.

And just as quickly as that thought popped up into my head, the bathroom door boomed with the impact of little fists almost simultaneously with me wanting to b!$ch slap myself back into reality. And there it was...the shrill voices of arguing kids that were missing for a few brief days? Hours? Hours that felt like days? Who really knows...but I felt that all familiar feeling of the life draining out of me and my reflection in the mirror verified that the scowl had returned to my face. Aaaah...the familiarities of parenting.

And when the noise eventually died down, I laughed at myself and wondered what the heck I was even thinking! Before having actual kids I might have had very similar ideas on what a fantastic parent I would be; but once you're sleep deprived and smelling of vomit and your boobs are the size of your sister's...and a year down the line you're saddled with two wailing babies...and next thing you know you're battling to keep up with a toddler whose energy is triple that of your own, and then the fights - oh the fights - all pleasantries fly out the window and you just try to survive any way you can!  And even though I had temporary amnesia in those few moments of silence while setting up fort in the bathroom, I know I wouldn't have survived even half as gracefully if it wasn't for the support of my family.

I'd forgotten how many phone calls I made to my family in tears and frustration because I wasn't quite coping with the day. How many house calls they made to rescue me from the kid who was testing my patience. How many sleepovers they had just so that I could regain my sanity. I'd forgotten about the morning school drop offs when I was in the thick of things with my third baby and the after school pick ups if I was ever delayed somewhere or running late. I forgot how we took turns pushing the pram so that the other can shop...I forgot, briefly, that I didn't raise them entirely alone. That I had the support of my tribe!

And maybe, in those moments of quiet, I also thought I had escaped passed a lot of those initial struggles, that we've moved on to an easier phase...until the very next day I was buckling up for the early morning commute to school and then later on I was strapping and offloading a car seat from my car and carried a sleeping toddler up a flight of stairs...and then it dawned on me that it will never be entirely over because I am part of someone else's village too <3

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

A 21st Birthday Message to my Nephew

Today you turn 21. That's 21 years of monumental moments and memories that make up your life as you know. 21 years of life around you unfolding in a way that has moulded and shaped you into the young adult you are today. But there's a lifetime of memories harvested in this heart of mine too...and I hardly know which one to pick out first about how our journey's collide.  
I was just 17 when you were born (it was the day before my matric accounting final)  but in my heart you held a position of so much more than just my sister's son. You were her first born, yes; but you were also the first for us all - first grandchild, first nephew - the first of everything for all of us and it was the first time I ever experienced a new kind of unconditional love!
So much of your formative years was spent in our home (technically Naani and Naana's, but we all lived there too. We all played a part), so many of those memories are housed in my heart and the hearts of your grandparents, uncle and aunts. For four years you were the only one. You filled the home with light and love and laughter. We all doted on you, spoiled you, showered you with love. Each one of us in our own special way.  
And then the others came one after the other. Life slowly started to change. You were no longer the only one and maybe felt like you were no longer the centre of our universe too. But you took on the role of big brother and cousin with pride and ease and built special relationships with everyone in the brood. But the one thing I'm most proud of is that the tight bond we have as aunty and nephew has always remained strong. It may have evolved over time; maybe even matured - but it's unmistaken that it's there! It's evident in our shared ditsy personalities...laughing at each others lame jokes...our out of key car karaoke we pick up random deep conversations in the school parking lot...our creative ideas...and it's in so many things that I can't even begin to expand on and explain. It's special to me, and whether I don't see you for a week or a month, I know that it's just there - without cause or reason or conditions!
It's hard to look back and not feel sentimental. 21 signals the start of your journey into adulthood. The day you get handed the metaphorical key to unlock your own destiny. But new beginnings always conjure up memories of times that have passed, and as silly as it sounds to have a whole group of people emotional about this day; it's only because we feel like we've always been part of the journey too. We've been there from day one!  We've rocked you to sleep, held your hand, and walked beside you through all the ups and downs, the highs and lows; and now we get to see you take flight, as you venture into this new stage of life too.
 21 is just the beginning. It's your foot in the door to your own future. It's a time for great discovery...of who you are and who you want to be. It is the beginning of you building your very own legacy. There's a lot of hopes and dreams that we all envisioned for you since the day you were born - to study hard and be successful in whatever you choose to do! We want  you to have a GREAT life and a bright future. But futures aren't built on the hopes and dreams of others; they are built on effort and actions and whatever steps we make in the present put effort into whatever you do in life, work hard, be kind and most importantly, always do what's right. Your future depends on it!   Every action can either be a building block or a sledgehammer, so act wisely
Lastly, I want you to know that whether you're 21, 31, 41 - for as long as I'm around to give it, I am always here to support you and I will always love you <3

Love Always,

Monday, 9 October 2017

Our 16th Anniversary Staycation

2Cherries Photography

16 years can do a lot to a a person. Far from the star crossed lovers of when we first met; the rose tinted glasses have fallen off. Life has altered us, bent and broken us, left us a little disillusioned; and yet here we still stand - together. We have laid our soul bare, are privy to each others imperfections, survived the initial teething stages of early marriage, the stumbling blocks of the adolescent years and now find ourselves smack bang in the middle of the marital teen years; which, strangely enough, involves a lot of eye rolling, witty one liners, hilarious metaphorical comebacks and enforced curfews (thanks to having kids and responsibility this time, and not our parents)... which kind of resembles a lot of the banter and real life engagement between my own teenagers at the moment! We have changed...our lives have changed. But I guess that's what marriage is - being together through a  landscape that is constantly changing.

We go through a big chunk of our youth imagining the perfect union, living up to false expectations and a skewed perception of what #couplegoals actually looks and feels like. Yet reality is so far off from the curated images that the media portrays. The reality is that there's a lot of work and effort that goes into keeping a marriage strong! Over the years our formula for that has had to change with our constantly transforming landscape...

We thought the early years with kids was hard to stay connected, but at least the kids had a fixed and early bedtime and we knew for a fact that we would have time for each other (and more importantly, some TV) after the kids were in bed and the chaos of the day died down.

We also had a lot of sleepovers at the Grandparents. A LOT! Like...almost every weekend! Needless to say, we looked forward to these kind of weekends (Hooray for family).

But then the kids grew up a little and we became snowed under with homework and projects and research and typing and printing then eventually, preparation for exams. And the 7:30pm bedtime shifted to 8pm...and the 8pm moved to 9pm; and I can't really keep my eyes open or mood intact after that!

So eventually we started to go on regular date nights. And this was quite cool, because never mind how disastrous and chaotic the week had been; or if we managed to live pass each other for a couple of days because we were too drenched in frustration and exhaustion; there was that little glimmer of light at the end of week that we always looked forward to. A chance to escape the drudgery of everyday life, dress up and have a chance to just be us - and it felt good!

And now, even though the kids are a little bit older and much more independent, an early bedtime is kind of non existent (for the older two...Zee still has a fixed bedtime); and "TV time" has evolved to comedic conversations and quality one on one time with the teens - which I love, because we get to have important conversations with them and it has created a strong bond that keeps us connected with our kids - but it's also left us with even less time for "us". And with date nights becoming more and more like a parenting strategy meeting instead of  a romantic rendezvous like it used to be, we knew it was time to change things up again.

So for our anniversary this year we decided to do something a little different by planning a mini staycation barely 30 (maybe 40?) minutes from home. In all honesty, I've been planning this whole thing in my head for months...but only in my head because I'm very last minute in real life; and in the end hubby took over the planning and we got this whole thing going a mere days before our anniversary. It was the first time in ages that we spent an evening away from home, and even though the kids are not little anymore, there was still a degree of mom guilt for leaving them behind...but not enough to make me cancel my plans!

There's a lot of things I've learnt about relationships during these 16 years, but I'd say that the best advice for this stage of marriage (any stage of marriage really) is to make time for each other. This may seem like it's difficult in the beginning years, but it really only gets harder. As the years progress, the outside noise only gets louder and life pulls you in a million different directions. Life with kids only gets busier and as important as it is to invest time in them, we also have to prioritise investing time in each other.

In the end, this whole idea of a staycation wasn't so much about our destination, but more about  escaping all the diversions that threaten to keep us apart, and kept the focus solely on ourselves for a change - and it was absolutely wonderful!

* In all the hasty last minute packing, I forgot to include a hairbrush so I had to finger brush my hair. My family would argue that it looks exactly the same as any other day!

2Cherries Photography

2Cherries Photography

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

WFOT Congress 2018 - Welcome to Cape Town

Hello, I'm Namreen. Welcome to my Blog!
If you look around this space of mine, you will notice that I write a lot about family. Our lives are entwined and interconnected and inextricably linked in infinite ways, and a lot of it is documented over here - which may make you wonder how exactly I'm linked to the WFOT Congress of 2018. With two of my sisters being Occupational Therapists, and both of them presenting at the WFOT Congress next year - and since we've also never really outgrown doing almost everything together- I've hopped on board the WFOT Congress train as the official Blogger in an effort to showcase our beautiful city and all it has to offer during your stay here!
Cape Town is an eclectic city found at the very tip of the African continent with a rich history and a unique, laidback and quirky charm. It prides itself on its diversity and is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. If the WFOT Congress wasn't enough reason to visit our city, then maybe the fact that it is currently one of the top tourist destinations in the world could help lure you here. With the iconic Table mountain as its backdrop, some of the most cinematic landscape and views you will ever see, and the tranquil setting of the surrounding Cape Winelands; Cape Town is up there as one of the most beautiful cities in the world! If you're still doubting whether or not it will be worth travelling all the way to the tip of Africa for the congress, then maybe this list of the top 6 touristy things to do while here (and also in close proximity to the Congress venue) may help make your decision a little bit easier.


 When you're living in one of the notoriously most beautiful cities in the world and the backdrop is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World; you tend to take things a little for granted! It's impossible not to gasp at the beauty that is the ionic Table mountain in all its glory and splendour irrespective of the season or time of day...Whether it's basking in the red and orange hues of sunset, or draped in clouds on a cold wintery day; like a seasoned model, it has the ability to look good in just about anything, any time of the year! 
For us living here, the site signals home; but for many tourists, visiting this landmark is a bucket list destination that they simply can't leave out! Table Mountain operates throughout the year (weather depending), and the panoramic views of the city from the top are just spectacular.

Known largely as being the tip of the Cape Peninsula and the African continent, it is also the point where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet! Cape Point is a nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park and is often referred to as the Cape of Good Hope. There's a lot of history revolving around this area that I won't really go into over here; but it's significant to us in more ways than just two oceans meeting!
 On the most part, the park is generally unspoiled and undeveloped. The main attraction here is to head up towards the old lighthouse and marvel at the spectacular views and obviously get to see the actual tip of the continent. If you're fit enough, there's a pathway and a couple of hundred stairs to climb - but the views make it worthwhile. Or you can save yourself the strenuous uphill climb by taking the Flying Dutchman Funicular. But for me, the best part of this reserve is the little hidden beaches! Cold Atlantic waters on the one side, and warm Indian ocean on the other...if you have the time, then a dip in either side of the ocean isn't a bad idea!



Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is up there with the best in the world and is frequented by both locals and tourists. It lies at the foot of Table Mountain and houses a wide variety of indigenous plant life and flora. Look out for labels on trees and plants with all the information you need to know about them and take a walk on the relatively newly added Boomslang  Canopy Walkway to get a panoramic view of the garden. Pack a picnic basket...or, put on your hiking shoes and tackle one of the several hiking trails leading to various parts of the mountain! You can get a better idea of what Kirstenbosch looks like from this video I've posted here .

South Africa is a country with a rich history and a dark past! Nelson Mandela is probably one of the most iconic and well known figures of our modern history, and his struggle to help end Apartheid is widely documented. It's for this reason that many tourist make the trek to Robben Island and visit the prison cell where he was kept for 18 of his 27 years behind bars. Believe it or not, I've never yet been there myself, but this is a picture I took from Signal Hill.


Cape Town definitely has it's own unique, laidback charm, and one of the best places to visit when you're a tourist, is the V&A Waterfront. With all the luxuries of a general mall on the inside; and a host of fun activities on the outside; you will be guaranteed to always have a good time. There's the harbour where you can catch one of several different boat rides, the Cape Wheel where you get great views of the city, a wide range of eateries, live African music, The Aquarium, The Watershed and the Red Bus Tours also leaves from here...there's just such a vibrant and tangible energy about the place that makes it a compulsory stop off for tourists.
Probably the best way to see a lot of the city in one day and also learn a lot of its history, is via the hop on, hop off  Red Bus Tour. Not only do you get to see a lot of the natural beauty of the city, but the commentary while on board is very educational. The commentary is pre-recorded and you listen at leisure via earphones while you get to relax and soak up the scenery (commentary comes in different language options as well). There's an option of a few different tour routes to take - a Winelands option or a trip around the Peninsula where Kirstenbosch is also one of the stops, and various others...but be sure to get an early start if you're keen to hop off and properly explore all the places en route.




This post only covers the top touristy, must see and widely known spots we have to offer! If this hasn't yet convinced you, then do follow along as I share some of the lesser known, but equally beautiful destinations we have on offer in our beautiful city; in future posts!

Thanks for reading!