HOW TO BE THE BEST FATHER XMAS EVER.

In an age of less is more, I am still astounded by the number of friends who rent storage for the one-half of their possessions that don’t fit into their house. I bow deeply to the Millennials who have a pack-up-and-go lifestyle, and I get really grumpy at old school corporates who do not understand that most businesses can run on a bit of trust, Skype and WIFI.

Gearing up towards Christmas Day the question of Christmas gifts rears its ugly head.

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Wall Street Journal recently reported that “more than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season—about $60 billion in merchandise, according to Optoro, a logistics provider. The U.S. Postal Service handled 3.2 million returns in the two weeks that followed last Christmas and said there will be even more this year. United Parcel Service Inc. expects to handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15% from two years ago as online sales continue to grow.”  Although these are American stats, South Africa is surely short on the heels of its international counterparts.

With so many unwanted or unfit gifts being returned, we surely need to reassess what and why we are giving gifts?

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, known as “The Minimalists” to their 4 million readers, help people live more meaningful lives with less. They share some valuable tips on minimalist gift-giving:

Joshua explains: “I tend to avoid physical gifts, but I still enjoy participating in the holidays. I now give gifts of experiences, charitable donations, or, if I give material goods, I give consumables, such as a bottle of wine or a bag of coffee from a local roaster. It must be something someone can use, or, if it’s an experience, it’s a memory that can be shared, from concert tickets to an evening of watching the sunset together. It sounds cliche until you actually do it, and then you realize it’s great.”

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Being part of the hotel and spa industry certainly has its perks. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than enjoying a chilled glass of Chardonnay overlooking the mountains and dams, relaxing into a Spa treat, or just nibbling on something as simple as a snacky Ploughman’s Platter with the sounds of a waterfall close by. Would I choose any of the above instead of another set of wine glasses? Or another photo frame? Hell, yes.

So before you test your road rage levels and parking warfare skills, ask yourself if an online Spa/hotel voucher (or even a movie ticket, for goodness sake) would not be better for your own sanity and those around you. I hear a resounding yes all around.

Happy holidays and may the experience-gifting bring you much joy.

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http://www.guvonhotels.co.za | http://www.guvonspas.co.za

Click here to buy your Spa vouchers  | Click here to book now at one of eight Guvon Hotel properties.

 

Words: Christa Badenhorst | Group Marketing & PR |Guvon Hotels & Spas | Photo credits: @Four_cousins

CLEVER IDEAS FOR PET-FRIENDLY WEDDING DECOR AT WARTHOGS BUSH CAMP.

There are some insanely cute and clever ideas when it comes to pet-friendly weddings. Every single time I pin new images to our fabulous Pinterest board, I have a #feelgoodfriday. (Yes, I do know its only Tuesday today!)

Part of the fun of having a pet-friendly wedding at Warthog Bush Camp is the many ways which the theme can be rolled out and incorporated  into your wedding:

NEED SOME INSPIRATION?   4 SURE WAYS OF HAVING WOOFING GOOD WEDDING

1 – Make your table numbers dog-centric. Use all those cute puppy photos and mad moments for personalised table numbers.

2 – No cake is complete without a memorable cake topper. Make yours one to remember with  a fun figurine of your favourite pet.

3 – In the spirit of giving, share the love with a wedding favour to take home. Your guests’ furry friends would be most impressed. It certainly beats another engraved wine glass which will just gather dust on the guests’ shelf.

4 – Keeping it real with wedding decor at a Bush camp is a must-do. Ambrosia Events did this wonderful rustic, proudly South African set up for us at Warthogs which we love to bits. Let the creative Christina Roussetis in on your pet-friendly wedding ideas:

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For more inspiration on pet-friendly weddings, visit our fun Facebook page! www.warthogs.co.za |Tel 014 577 2658

 

 

JINGLE BELLS IN JULY? GLENBURN LODGE CELEBRATES WITH A WINTER WONDERLAND.

We may not be quite ready for Jingle Bells in July, but Glenburn Lodge is celebrating the traditional Xmas in July celebrations with a new-look Winter Wonderland Evening in the stunning riverfront Glenkyle venue.

Belgian Chef Vincent will be wooing guests with item such as  Lamb, potato and pea korma with roti, Glazed gammon accompanied with crispy polenta,  Grilled Kingklip wrapped in smoked salmon infused with dill crème fraiche, Rolled turkey on a bed of spicy couscous with an orange and tarragon sauce and Gnocchi with a wild mushroom and truffle oil sauce, just to mention a few. For the full menu click here.

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Our Winter Wonderland Dinner & Accommodation Package includes the following:
– Winter Wonderland themed dinner on Saturday 16 July 2016  |  VIEW DINNER MENU
– Accommodation of your choice as listed below
– Breakfast the next morning

Winter Wonderland Accommodation options:
Hotel      |  Single: R 947.50 pp  |  Sharing: R1 490 per couple
Suites    |  Single: R1 325 pp      |  Sharing: R1 860 per couple
Chalets  |  Single: R 885 pp        |  Sharing: R1 415 per couple

Make a weekend of it:
Stay with us on 15 July 2016 and receive 50% discount on accommodation B&B
Dinner can be added at R210 per person

Bookings and enquiries:  (011) 668 1600 | reservations@glenburn.co.za

Terms & conditions apply
Winter wonderland accommodation package only available on 16 July 2016
50% discount on accommodation only applicable when staying for both evenings (15 and 16 July)

25+ Tips and Car Activities for Traveling with Kids.

School holidays are around the corner – moms are you ready for this? Pack the kids and the hubby and take a few days to visit Umbhaba Lodge next to the Kruger National Park. Great winter specials are available – Ask for our best rate and last minute specials on Tel 013 737 7636 | http://www.umbhaba.co.za

Enjoy this wonderful blog packed with 25 tips from a mom who has obviously done this before (apparently with three kids and two cats in tow – respect!)

Our favourite tips is no 25: “My favorite trick for long road trips is a stash of small novelty gifts. They are exciting for kids, break up the monotony, and don’t break the bank! Learn how to make your own Travel Tray and read more tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler.”

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25+ Tips and Car Activities for Traveling with Kids

  1. Have a nighttime dance party in the car with music and glow sticks. That and 9 more tips for traveling with high energy kids. – Creekside Learning
  2. Think about everything you might need at an overnight stop or for our overnight stays and then pack it all in one suitcase. Put that suitcase in LAST when you pack the car and it will be easy to grab. Read more about Road Trip packing here. – KC Edventures
  3. 25+ Tips for Traveling with Kids: Family road trip activitiesFor more confident, cooperative little travelers, you can start preparing kids for long journeys by chatting about what to expect in the weeks beforehand as well as during the trip itself, with this Toddler Travel Timetable from Kids Play Space.
  4. When traveling with kids, be sure to carryboredom busters! Printables make great quiet activities without taking tons of room. – 3 Boys and a Dog
  5. Pack an activity bag for each child, with a few wrapped new items in each. The thrill of opening a new item (even if its just a dollar store sticker book and a pack of stickers) every half hour or so will make the time fly by. –Study-at-Home Mama
  6. On “shorter” trips of 6 hours or less, plan for the child’s nap to land in the middle of the trip, and get gas (change diapers, take a potty break) just while they are getting sleepy so you don’t wake them up too soon. It takes us about 4 hours of highway driving in our minivan before we start to get low on gas, so we plan accordingly. – Kid World Citizen
  7. When traveling on long car rides, make simple magnetic lap boards and glue magnet strips onto markers and crayons so they don’t fall out of reach. Then print a variety of free games and coloring pages to keep the kids busy. Find additional road trip activities for kids ages 2-8 here. – The Measured Mom
  8. An ice cream container can be filled with things you don’t want smushed or smashed (like crumbly crackers) and then packed in your suitcase. Once you get to the beach, it makes a great sand bucket! For more unexpected ideas on what to pack for the ultimate family beach vacation, check out this post (and the free printable list). – Nate & Rachel
  9. For long car trips, pre-pack snacks in individual servings. Bring a small cooler for drinks or anything else that needs to stay cool. That way, when hunger hits, you’re ready. Plus, the snacks are much healthier than what you’d find in a convenience store! – Creative Family Fun
  10. Don’t leave dirty nappies on the roof. After a side of the road quick nappy change, I may or may not have left the nappy on the roof of the car. – Canberra Mummy
  11. Bring lots of travel activities, books, and DVDs. The key to traveling with kids is to change it up. For an hour, let them look at books. Next hour, have them play with a travel game. And next, let them watch a DVD. Read seven more great tips for traveling with kids. – I Can Teach My Child
  12. Pack just the most necessary things you and your children absolutely can’t do without. Your children only need that many outfits and toys! – Little Artists
  13. If you’re travelling with babies, try to work around their routine. E.g. leave for a car journey just before nap time if they’re able to sleep in the car (most babies will.) – Snotty Noses
  14. Busy bags” and what I like to call “the stranger effect” are golden! Learn more about both of these tactics for traveling with young kids. – Montessori en Casa
  15. Bringing along easy to pack, play anywhere activities is a must. Two of our favorites are the preschool rhyming game called “Little Mouse, Little Mouse” and our free printable Road Trip Activity Pack. -Playdough to Plato
  16. When you see a fun opportunity at a road stop… fight the urge to rush forward and instead say YES. – Let’s Lasso the Moon
  17. When traveling with toddlers and preschoolers in the car, bring toy cars, a cookie sheet and an Are We There Yet? Map. Read all about it and see photos here. – Growing Book by Book
  18. Always bring a variety of activities for the kids! Busy bags are awesome. Before we head out on a road trip, I assemble a collection of five or six busy bags for Yaya. If she doesn’t whine for the hour, she earns a new busy bag. Read more great suggestions here. – Africa to America
  19. Always have a shoe spot in the car (makes bathroom stops so much easier!) Read more road trip tips and tricks here. – Peace But Not Quiet
  20. To keep kids occupied in the car, make them a travel binder filled with fun activities. – The Sunny Patch
  21. Check out this free Road Trip Journal printable – Peace But Not Quiet
  22. 15 wonderful sing-a-long CDs to make the time FLY past with the kids during a car trip.- JDaniel4’s Mom
  23. Check out these 3 ways to turn a travel experience into a learning experience. – iGame Mom
  24. We make sure to stay flexible and have emergency funds when traveling with 4 kids and 2 cats. The Air Force sends us to the neatest places every few years! – Royal Little Lambs
  25. My favorite trick for long road trips is a stash of small novelty gifts. They are exciting for kids, break up the monotony, and don’t break the bank! Learn how to make your own Travel Tray and read more tips on how to survive a road trip with a toddler. -It’s A Long Story
  26. I chuckle when I think about how my perspective of “normal” and “safe” have changed since my two littles have joined in on our adventures. Traveling with kids can be stressful, or it can be fun. Most likely it will be both, but I like to do everything in my power to aim for fun. Read more tips on fun travel with kids here. – BonBon Break
  27. Pack plenty of things to keep them entertained, both while travelling and while on holiday. My kid wake up very early as they are excited so something quiet to keep them amused in the early mornings is a real necessity! Colouring books or even a small set of Duplo work really well for this. Check out some of my favorite products for travelling with kids. – In the Playroom

AND if you’re traveling with a toddler or a little baby, rest assured… it gets easier. My top piece of advice for you? Take a breath and repeat that, “It will get easier.”

For ongoing family-friendly tips be sure to follow my Traveling Mama Pinterest board.

UMBHABA LODGE (HAZYVIEW) | TEL 013 737 7636 | www.umbhaba.co.za

IS THAT AN ELEPHANT IN YOUR “SELFIE”?

5 fun things to do in the ‘wild’ this school holiday.

Sometimes the old adage “If you can’t beat them join them”, is a good bit of advice when dealing with kids and social media. Introduce your social-media-savvy kids to a new experience – one where they will be able to get in touch with nature.

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Leigh-Anne Nanguia recently took her little group of girls for a day with the Big 5 and reported back: “Thank you all so much for a most amazing day.  Please send an extra thank you to Dumisani who really looked after us. He was so patient and obliging and answered ALL the girls’ questions. We had a most incredible day from beginning to end and would not hesitate to recommend a kiddies party at Askari.”

MUST DO FUN ITEMS:

  1. Start your kiddies outing with a tour of Museum where kids can see how great granny and gramps lived.
  2. Take fun pics with mock skulls from the Cradle of Humankind area, or in front of the old ox-wagons.
  3. Watch the elephants splash in the elephant dam. Take a selfie and be the envy of your friends on Facebook!
  4. Dig into a delicious Hamburger and chips or hot dog and chips, with juice for lunch.
  5. Learn all kinds of interesting facts during a special kiddies formatted 1 hour game drive and then cool off in the swimming pool on a sunny day.

Adult supervision is required at all times and Askari Lodge recommends age groups between 6 and 16, when kids will understand and enjoy the day the most.  Aside from being a wonderful birthday surprise, this is also an excellent school outing and an educational element can be built into the museum visit and game drive.

Host your busy bunch at Askari Game Lodge in Magaliesburg, where from R120 per child will keep them occupied for the better part of the day. The outing can be tailor-made by Pat Naude, our friendly reservationist.

For the moms or teachers who accompany the group, we recommend checking into the Spa for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Just remember to book this treat in advance. See www.askarispa.co.za for a treatment list and current specials.

Please note that this package is only available in the week. Booking is essential and can be made by calling Askari Game Lodge & Spa on 014 577 2658/9Askari Game Lodge & Spa is.

 www.askarilodge.co.za