More LO’r, Please.

Does anyone else feel like September is the Monday of the year? Yes, the weather starts warming up and the air feels fresher and sweeter, but it’s also a time when everyone seems to hit that end of year slump and daydream about holidays and breaks and a teeny tiny bit of downtime.

For us photographers, it also means the start of busy season, so whilst we were counting Rands and Cents in the Winter months, the Summer months mean the bookings start flooding it. Great for debit orders, not so great for exhaustion and fatigue

So a little drop from L’Or coffee was the best timed present I could have received recently – they delivered (straight to my office!) a fancy pod espresso machine and a huge supply of all their delicious coffee pods. These haven’t even touched sides as I’m starting each day with atleast 3 or 4 of these bad boys. Even more on days when I have back to back shoots – or in the case of today, triplet newborns!

So, make mine a, er, triple?

My clients are loving them as well and I literally had a dad in studio last week drink seven in a row – oh, how newborns can make caffeine our new fuel 😉

You can find out more about L’Or on their online and social media channels. But the real way to experience them is to buy some pods and taste them. they are compatible with Nespresso machines and taste even better than the real deal. My favourite is the Ristretto in ’11’. It’s dark and black. A bit like my grouch morning personality.

The best part? the pods are recyclable – yay for us greenies!

Have you tasted LO’r? What are your thoughts?

PS  if you do want a sample come visit me in my studio for a cuppa. I can’t promise I wont put you to work though 😉

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Life Lately

Guys, how are we in August already? I honestly feel like this year has been one of those ‘blink and you miss it’ ones, but it’s also been insanely busy and filled with a ton of stuff, and busy stuff. Ever since having the second kid I feel like my life has quadrupled with busyness – perhaps it’s because Piper is the most hectic of all the humans, ever, but she has completely turned my life around in terms of managing my time – or even finding time – to get anything done

I know my last update was all about the new business and where that’s at – so I wont bore y’all with more news on that.

Health

I write this 10 days after having a tonsillectomy – an op which everyone warned me would be incredibly sore as an adult. I went into it thinking I would rock it like I do most things that are considered ‘painful’ – but it seems that my pain threshold was finally met with this one. Not that I’ve been in bed wallowing in self pity – I wish! But the ongoing pain from the op has left me beyond irritated and sore. I am also incredibly exhausted – which I think has a lot to do from both the strong pain med and the fact that I haven’t actually allowed myself the time to rest. I blocked out a week in the diary after the procedure but I’ve still been going to meetings and editing and doing all of the admin that I have been meaning to do this year. I was looking forward to a bit of a ‘break’ while I recovered – but my bank balance and new dog, Pixel – prevented any of this.

Why my new dog, you ask? I think this video explains it best:

On the health and wellness front, I took up keto in solidarity with my husband, a few months back. He is severely carb intolerant and so, to support him, I went full fat ahead so he wouldn’t have to do it alone. Sadly, he has the willpower of a Garfield in a lasagne factory, so that eating plan came crashing down like a ton of freshly baked cheese rolls. And so once again, on the weight front, I stand in front of the mirror wanting to cry. Nothing has shifted since having my daughter and I am fed up. I decided this morning that I need to lose 6 kilos by October. Any grand ideas for me?

Yo-Yo dieting aside, I have signed up to an awesome outdoor bootcamp company called ‘Fab Fit Slay. The classes are 30 minutes each, 4 days a week with the option of doing 2 or even 3 in a row. I love that they are close to home and quick – plus you can bring your kids (although I really try not to) so there’s really no excuse. If you’re in the Douglasdale area you should really come check it out – it’s tons of fun.

Luck

They say bad things happen in threes, so I can’t help but think that someone out there needs to learn better maths, because the last month has been horrific! My poor pooch, Rupert, the name behind this blog, was hit by a car. I have no idea how he survived, but I thank my lucky stars that he did. It was such a big scare and I cry even thinking about it. My husband was mugged last week and had his phone stolen. Our house was burgled the weekend before and both my kids have been in and out of doctors with random Wintery revoltingness. Apart from that (and our 100 other insurance claims, my tonsillectomy and a spider in my bed) I’m hoping that from here our luck starts to improve a bit 😉

Things I love

I was  recently gifted a floor cleaner from a company called Karcher, called an FC5. Granted, it may be my age. It may be the fact that I have 2 kids and 3 dogs and an all vinyl floor. It may be that my photo studio is all white or it may be that we are renovating, again. Whatever it is, this thing has changed my bloody life. it’s also changed Kelly, my nanny’s life. She wipes this things down after every use and thanks me for it, almost daily.

In a nutshell, it’s a wet dry vacuum cleaner that uses a teeny tiny tank of water, some floor cleaning solution and magical unicorn powers to suck up dirt and mess and leave your floors shining like new. I’m so excited by this thing that I even did a sexy time dance with it in my studio. Photos as evidence.

 

I’m using it so much that i’ve already had to replace the rolls and I now have rolls for outside screeding, inside vinyl and studio floors. Not that I’m specific, or anything.

Another exciting gift, which literally arrived this morning, is going to benefit me as well as my shoot clients. We have had a really bad run with insurance claims lately – and one of the items which was dropped and broken at home was my much loved Nespresso machine – so this delivery from L’Or has come at just the right time. It’s a L’Or pod coffee machine and a delicious supply of L’Or coffee capsules.

I promised the nice folk at L’Or that I would be sharing it with my client but now… I’m not so sure 😉

PS – L’Or coffee capsules are all recyclable and the coffee is all sustainable – so you can get your caffeine kick, guilt free

 

I am a huge Lisa Raleigh fan – mostly because anyone who looks that good after having a baby is clearly to be worshipped, but also because I really believe in her products. I bought her rebounder trampoline last year, which I loved and was recently sent a box of goodies containing her ‘Super Scoop’ products. These are dissolvable powders containing  superfood ingredients that can be added to water, smoothies, yoghurts and more. They are apparently incredible for kids (this is for you, moms with fussy eaters!) and I also add them to my morning smoothies.

Amazing sponsored goodies aside, I have also started an honest review story on my Instagram feed, and I am just having the most fun. From reviewing tattoo eyebrow gels to K beauty and everything in between – it’s really not good for my wallet – but it is good for a laugh. Head on over to my IG to find out more

Ambassador News

I was recently announced as an ambassador for a brand that I simply adore – Lens Love Accessories. they are a Cape Town based company who make the most gorgeous camera straps, bags and accessories, and I still can’t believe they have picked little old me to represent some of their goodies. If you own a camera, you need one of these straps – check out their page here. I’ll also be sharing photos of the goodies as soon as they arrive.

Inspiration

I have found an incredible photographer, by the name of Sujata, who’s work has just blown me away. i’m making it my 2019 mission to learn her editing skills and share some pics similar to this. I started yesterday by taking some photos of my 95 year old Oma and 1 year old daughter together – so I will be sharing those on the KRP ‘gram, soon!

Look at her work – isn’t it insane?

 

The Kids

And what’s a Rupert blog without a mention of my two favourite things – Carter and Piper. Apart from keeping me very busy, my house very messy and my wallet very empty, these two are still ‘pinch me’ amazing.

 

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Hey Parents, Let’s Not Raise Asshole Children.

Yesterday, my normally ‘good’ child gave me a glimpse of what we could expect in his teenage years. He was surly and rude and quite frankly, no bum klap or timeout was working. I eventually resorted to banning his TV time for 3 nights (yes, shit escalated).

Now, any parent worth their salt understands that a ban on TV time is actually harder for the adults. Our Netflix gets switched on so fast an hour before bed that sometimes magicians blink twice. I use the time to cook dinner, catchup on emails or just hit my head repeatedly against a door if I’ve had a particularly trying day.

Yes, folks. I both smack my kids and let them watch television. Sometimes I even give them S U G A R

Anyways. After a half an hour of slamming doors (him, not me), a few glasses of wine (me, not him) he came out to apologise. We chatted and hugged and made up and that was that. Until 5 minutes later he asked if he was therefore allowed to watch TV before bed. To which I had to tell him, ‘no’.

The poor kid was devastated – he could not understand why, when we were big buddies again and all was forgotten, that he was still punished. And this is when I had to stand resolute in my shaky parenting skills and explain to him that in order for him to understand what he did, and to respect me, I had to follow through with his punishment. He actually took it like a champ and that night, instead of Noddy or what every drivel the animators are churning out these days, he sat and chatted to a friend who was over for dinner, drew pictures and read books.

Now, before you go thinking this is all about me giving parenting lessons (I mean, why would you, I drink on the job and use TV time to browse Instagram) I did have a long hard think about this, and other ‘Raising children conundrums’ that have been bugging me.

I’m pretty certain we all know where I stand on the whole ‘girls are princesses, boys are princes’ thing, so I’ll move on. But the whole cutesy naming of our gendered children has also led to another growing concern – WE, yes, us as parents – are letting hem get away with absolute murder.

Remember my whole ‘don’t make vegetables‘ the enemy’ speech? This is kind of like that, except replace the word vegetables with ‘discipline’.

Now, public disclaimer, this is not applicable to everyone, but some millennials in the work place walk around as if the CEO position is owed to them next month, they watch the clock like hawks, insist on the full 60 minute lunch break and their work ethic is pretty much down there with anyone in home affairs.

Guys, I do not want my children growing up like that. I want to instil some sort of ethic into my kids that turns them into smart, go-getting young adults. This in turn will hopefully ensure that when they enter the big bad world of adulting and work, they do not get turned out like dirty soapy bath water wondering where their participation medal is. Because it is going to happen. One day our kids will be doing things for themselves (collective gasp) and we need to give them the right footing to let them get there.

I am so tired of watching parents place the blame on teachers and peers instead of actually putting in the hard work themselves. Parents, your little girls are capable human beings. They are not delicate flowers who will break if scolded or given chores. Please don’t let them be purposefully soft (all the time). It is a hard hard world and we need to encourage them to stand up, use their voices, make rules and change the game. Let them ask questions and eat sand and build train sets. Encourage them to get messy, run wild, explore the world and be bold. Let them wear camo, high five their successes and dance around in tiaras. And then your sons, they should be allowed to cry, they are allowed to hurt and be sad and have feelings. Let them paint their nails neon pink or buy barbie dolls. Let them also climb trees and run barefoot and hit a golf ball high into the sky.  Let your girls do all this as well. Let them break the invisible boundaries of ‘he vs. she’

I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. None. My kids vaccines are always late, my four year old has only just started seeing a dentist and sometimes dinner is scrambled egg on stale toast. But what I am trying to be better at, is treating my children the same. What’s good for the Goose must absolutely be good for the gander.

Manners. Eye Contact. A firm handshake. A clear voice. Respect. Kindness. Empathy. Interest in others. Social skills. A broad smile. These are not pink or blue traits. They are human traits.

Please, I implore you. Before all the good teachers have given up, before society has turned everything into a participation award and before everything becomes soft and bland, let’s take ownership over raising people who other people want to hang out with.

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I’m Back, B*ches!

I was thinking about, how when I wrote this post, that I would need some witty intro line like ‘hey, remember me’ or ‘gosh, I haven’t blogged in so long my website is dusty, har har’. But then I can to my site and logged in, and realised I had forgotten my password. So  this, in fact is my opening line:

Hi, I’m Kate, former blogger who cant even remember how to access her own website.

I realise that too many of my (sporadic and poorly spaced out) posts have started like this, so it’s also made me realise that A) I need to get my writing ass into gear and B) I’m sorry. I’ll try harder. All 3 of my followers tell me they miss my content.

So where does one begin after an almost 1 year hiatus? Everywhere and nowhere. I guess in a way my re-emergence from the fog means that my next few posts may be more of a (what the fuck?!) life lately than anything specific. So here goes:

It has been a hell of a year. In the last 13 months my husband and I both lost our jobs, started our own businesses, had a baby, renovated (twice) and then because I clearly didn’t have enough going on, I bought a business. So whilst some of that was super good, it has also been a really really terrible year. An Annus horribilis as Queenie would say.

I can’t get into the work front but let me just tell you, to be out of a job the first week you go back after having a baby is pretty much the biggest kick-while-you’re-down thing that can ever happen to a gal. I realised, recently, that I’m suffering from PTSD and am trying, every day, to remind myself that I am freaking awesome, capable and talented. Sounds pretty arrogant, but I need to start building my own confidence up. As with all sad stories though, it had a happy ending, and I finally had the push I needed to take my photography business to the next level. So I’m thrilled that Kate Rankin Photography is doing so well, and amazed that people keep booking me and using me and it really is the other love of my life. I love t so much, that when I was approached in January to buy a posed newborn business, I jumped.

On 1 March I became the official owner of Slumberings photography, and as I type this I am still sitting in a puddle of wee (not my own) glowing after having just shot a twin newborn session in my brand new studio.

The business, although wonderful, has come with a lot of additional stress. Not only have I had to get funding to buy the business, but I’m also loaned to my crotch hair on building debt and other-fun-stuff-that-comes-with-renovating. It’s been a long journey but I am so so happy to finally have an amazing little studio and office and a home for all aspect of my photography (come visit, I have good coffee;))

On the family front, Piper, the baby I told you about when I last blogged over a year ago, is already 14 months. This little spunky, wild eyed feral child has turned my life upside down and inside out. She took everything I thought I knew about parenting and blew it to smithereens with 8 months of no (and I mean NONE) sleep, dramatic flairs and tiny pint sized diva meltdowns. To say I love her is an understatement. She has climbed under my skin and into my heart and absolutely changed the way I feel about the world around me. Someone told me that she was sent to earth to teach me a lesson, and whiles I have no idea what lesson is, I do know that in her short 14 months she has made me more patient, more exhausted and more of a mom than ever before.

Carter, my angelic now 4 year old is just the most amazing child. He is the calm to her crazy and the brains to her bossy. My little big man makes me so proud with his intellect, thoughtfulness and eagerness ot learn. They always say that children are different but these 2 kids are polar opposites. yet it works. I think he has come to accept that his sister is the ruler of the Rankin roost, and he is merely her plaything and food-bringer. My sweet child.

Oh, and on the family front, because I clearly hared any sleep I was getting or any free time I never had, we got a puppy, Pixel. I have always wanted a Pointer and so I applied to a few rescue groups as I desperately wanted to re-home a dog. Three times we were approved, and then denied when a re-homing position became available – due to us never having owned the breed before. It was heartbreaking meeting a future dog and then being told he wouldn’t be yours. So we got Pixel from a farm in White River, and he has matched my daughter in character, busyness and attitude. He is wonderful (and so fucking naughty we threaten him with the SPA several times a day. (Rupert and Bella are still trying to make up their minds, though)

 

So that’s it, really. Apologies if you clicked through looking for dramatic anecdotes and hilarious stories – but there is just so much going on that it’s almost impossible to out down into just one post. Make sense?

Next week I promise to write about asshole friends, bad parenting and too much wine 😉

I can guarantee that I will be back here, way more often, and hopefully this Stella will get her writing groove back soon

Thanks for the love, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why We Need To Stop Rewarding Our Kids With Junk Food

It’s amazing, when you become a parent, what gets you all riled up and what leaves you completely un-phased. I was at a recent school induction where the parents were up in flaming and flailing arms about teacher reshuffling, play vs. work ratio and school diaries. The one mom even wept through a sob story about how she had to take a weeks leave to assist her child to deal with the trauma of getting a new teacher. As I sat there, eyeballs wedged firmly in brain, I was brought back to reality when the topic of school lunches came up.

For some reason, children and vegetables brings out the demonic mother in me. I am genuinely so fatigued from hearing about how we have to disguise veggies in meals, about sneaky chock chip cookies made with – gasp – chickpeas! And about seeing kids menus at restaurants look like a future diabetes diagnosis. The other day I  saw this video doing the rounds on facebook and I felt genuinely sad

Parents are using junk food as a reward for eating healthy food, and we have to stop.

Remember the first time little Johnny used the word ‘fuck‘? Guess where he learnt it from? YOU. These kids are sponges and will mimic everything they see around them – so if your little sunshine gags at the sight of anything green on his plate, chances are that he has learnt that from someone else.

I have been in an environment with a family member who makes disparaging comments about vegetables in front of my children, and I have told that person that I will not let them be around my child if it carries on.

Look, I realise that some kids are just fussy eaters – and I also realise that I am hashtag blessed with my children when it comes to food. They will eat, literally, anything. My son and I fight over gherkins and olives and I have to cook double portions of my dinner every-night as he inhales fish and veg off of my plate like a wedding crasher at an open bar. Without actually licking my own arsehole, a lot of what they eat has got to do with the fact that I have never made food a big deal in my house. I love salads and veg and my kids have watched me munch my way through steaming mounds of broccoli as dessert. On the flip side, they’ve also watched me smash my fat beak in a party pack of cheese curls and finish it off with a spoon of cheesespread out the jar. And whatever I eat, I offer it to them. So to them, there’s no good and bad food, there is food that is more healthy and food that is less healthy and they (my son atleast) understands about moderation, but that’s it. he doesn’t associate baby marrow as the start of a painful journey to an ice cream end. He loves baby marrow becasue it’s delicious, and he picks it out the garden and helps me chop it and prep it. He has grown up sitting on the counter assisting with dinner and being a part if the whole process. When he visits my folks he dines on tongue and tripe and giant glossy apples from the fruit bowl. At birthday parties he eats his body weight in flings and Oros but knows that it’s a treat. Not a treat because he ate a salad. A treat full stop.

I realise just how revoltingly high and mighty I am sounding right now. I’m not, I promise, I just feel so strongly about not making my food issues, their food issues. I haven’t eaten meat in over 23 years – t I cook meat for my kids and encourage them to try and taste and get involved. My meat issues are not their issues.

A few weeks ago I was so hungover that the thought of prepping food for anyone in the house felt like actual torture. So I bought a Woolies meal for the baby and asked my son if he wanted to get a Happy Meal. The delight on his face as he clutched that red little box all the way home was too cute. I may have munched my way through a large friend on that trip as well.

It’s all about balance.

You ant your kid to eat better? You eat better. Do it as naturally as you would driving to work, turning on the TV or making conversation.

We need to stop rewarding kids with food. Because guess what, they will turn into adults who reward themselves with food. Trust me, you’re looking at someone who has spent the better part of 10 years trying to stop the bad cycle of bad day = wine/chips/cheese.

Right, rant over. It’s lunch time 😉

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That’s a Wrap, 2018

You know when you think you’re kinda holding it all together and then you realise you haven’t actually put proverbial pen to paper and blogged in several months? Not that anyone really cares, but me, although I have had a few loyal readers ask me when I’d be back. It gets harder, the less you write, and so I’ve put all blog things in the back of my mind cupboard and procrastinated hard about writing – because as much as I adore it, I also don’t want what I do wrote to sound contrived and forced. Because you should never force farts, friendships or writing.

So, I’m pretty grateful that I stumbled upon this Instagram post that was shared on Twitter. A,  because it resonated with me and B, because it’s the perfect structure for my re-entry into the blog-o-sphere. It’s also brilliant timing as I wrap up what has got to be one of the most hectic years of my life.

So, thank you @elmanga – I’m going to jump on board and take part in your virtual closing the loop retreat.

I began the year feeling…

SO excited. I was 7 months pregnant with my Piper and couldn’t wait to meet her. She was the absolute highlight of my year

The experiences that stood out for me this year…

My daughter being born

Leaving my job and becoming self employed

Understanding that I wasn’t at fault for a lot of the bad things that happened to me

Battling in my marriage and realising it’s been the hardest thing I have ever done

Finding myself falling more and more in love with my kids – I never thought you could actually love this much

Going solo and finding work and job opportunities around every single corner (why didn’t I do this sooner?!)

Getting my garden redone and FINALLY getting rid of our pink floors

I felt most supported by…

Strangely enough, strangers. I really feel as if I get the most wonderful and kind validation from my followers on Instagram and Facebook. I 100% realise we should never ever rely on social media to make you feel supported – but I guess it’s the whole concept of being able to talk more openly to relative strangers (you know, striking up a conversation with the person in line at the supermarket, or telling your hairdresser your deepest secrets). The kid words, blog shares, photography support and all round niceness that I feel from thousands of people I have never met is truly wonderful, I don’t think any of you realise just how happy you made me.

I have also had the support o a group of moms on a Whatsapp group – several of whom have become exceptionally close friends. It’s amazing how a daily check-in or ‘how was your day’ can make you feel buoyant.

I felt most inspired by…

Natalie. More on that below

My heart broke when…

A client/friend lost her baby boy to leukaemia. I met him when he was in her tummy, and then did his newborn shoot and so when he left to be with the angels I felt shattered for his family, for his life and for just how unfair it all was. Natalie, his mom, has inspired me every.single.day. She has made me realise that you have two options when something bad happens and she reminds me not to sweat the small stuff and to embrace, love and honour people more.

I continued to…

  1. Work my arse off. I feel like in between having a baby and taking 5 days off at the coast I literally did not stop working. hopefully one day I can reap the rewards, but man, I am tired.
  2. Start an eating and training plan and then stop. 2019 needs to be the year when I can be more consistent with my diet and my exercise and it shouldn’t be the result of a ‘fat day’ or boozy weekend. I need to treat my body kinder.

I let go of…

A friendship. It’s never easy but it had run it’s course and I think we both felt like we weren’t getting what we needed from the other person.

My body told me that…

It can make great babies. It is strong and powerful. It can feed said great babies and it can work just as well at 39 week pregnant as it can at 8 months post-partum. My body also told me that it didn’t like post-baby Kate and shifted and swelled and bloated and widened. After many thousands of rands with endocrinologists I do feel slightly better knowing that a lot of my grievances with my image are due to hormones, and out of my control.

I was exhausted by…

My workload. (I’m sure you’re exhausted of hearing it, but it’s true). I went back to working when Piper was 28 days old and basically haven’t stopped since.

I felt most alive when…

We took a spontaneous week holiday to the South Coast last month. On our last day we went for a long walk on the beach and saw dozens of whales in the distance. The salty sea air was spraying my face, my baby was nestled in her carrier and my son was jumping on sand dunes. My heart was the most full and content it has ever been. If I could bottle that feeling I would.

I was confused by…

How people can be so cruel. Both my husband and I have experienced something this year thats made me wonder about humanity. Thank goodness we are both removed from it now, but how people can treat other human beings has left me quite shaken. I unfortunately cant talk about my situation but I am genuinely suffering from some form of PTSD.

I was amused by..

My hilarious children. carter especially. He says and does the greatest things, and if I was a better mom I’d for sure have written a book by now

I tolerated too much of…

Selfish relationships. Although I say this every year and I do nothing about it, so I’m clearly a sucker for punishment 😉

I freed myself from…

An abusive miserable environment.

I learnt that…

Life goes on, and t goes on fast. People don’t change. Not many people can be relied on. What you give others is not what they will give back. People show love in different ways. You can survive (barely) on no sleep. You have to look after yourself.

I surprised myself when…

I solo parented my kids for 5 days. PROPS single parents. Jaysus but you have the hardest job in the world ;))

I also learnt how to be a bit more honest and push back – can’t say the people who have been on the receiving end of my new-found conflict skills were thrilled, but I suppose its new to them and me.

I placed top 10 in 4 Admired In Africa categories – a photographic competition that honours South Africa’s top photographers.

I had the courage to…

Become self employed with less than 24 hours warning. 6 months on and I couldn’t be happier.

So, I guess, my year in a nutshell. I would love to hear yours?

 

 

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Why Are We Not All Talking About The Menstrual Cup?

One of the greatest parts about being pregnant – apart from the obvious ‘baking an adorable baby’ bit, is that your period leaves you in peace for anything from 9 months to 2 years, depending on how long you breastfeed for.

However, as they say, what goes up must come down, and so when Aunty flow does finally come back, she brings her extended family and their in-laws and it’s a fucking party in your pants, and you’re reminded once again just how little control you have of your own body.

Men, queasy folk and those sensitive to gore, stop reading.

It’s a literal blood bath and renders you exhausted, anaemic and stocking up on hand washing powder on a monthly basis.

Roughly 2.0705 billion women in the world get their period. Yet no-one ever talks about it, and when they do it’s usually a poorly narrated Tampax ad with some sunkissed blonde haired beach babe wearing tight white jean pant playing volleyball or leaping in the air in a cream tutu while the camera slow pans over her crotch mid flight. Look ma, no blood!

And because no one ever talks about it, no one ever knows if what they are going through is normal. I just assumed that everyone was like me and went about my business for 21 years before finally plucking up the courage to ask some girlfriends about their flow.

I was shook. Apparently bleeding out like a sacrificial lamb for eleven days a month is actually not normal. Apparently having to change pads and tampons and underwear every 45 minutes is also kinda odd. So I’ve basically spent the equivalent of a newly legal American thinking that everything was OK DOWN THERE.

It was only when I started talking to friends that the channel of communication opened. One friend, after a Whatsapp conversation detailing the goriest details about my life, suggested I try a menstrual cup. She caught me at a weak moment and I decided that spending R250 on an egg cup shaped piece of silicon couldn’t hurt. Plus, it was pink.

I did some research, jumped online and 2 days later it arrived on my doorstep.

Honestly? I was terrified to try it. It looked big and bulky and I could not fathom how I would ever fit that up there. Turns out, a quick YouTube tutorial and I was good to go. They are remarkably easy to use – out the box you do need to pop it in a cup of boiling water to sterilise it, then in between cycles it needs another good sterilisation, but during your cycle you can simply rinse it off and re insert.

Let me interrupt my self here by saying that this post is in no way sponsored, I just had to share a product that Ive been using because I truly think it’s amazing. It does take some trial and error so I’ve answered the FAQ’s you probably don’t have yet, below:

  • Often referred to as the moon, cup, goddess cup, diva cup etc
  • Any woman over the age of 30 or who has had a baby (regardless of how said baby came out) is a size ‘large’
  • The cup can be inserted in a few ways – I use the C fold, but each to their own
  • The cup is designed to stay in for 12 hours at a time so you can (if you aren’t me and need to re insert a lot during the day) plan it so that you do it in the morning before work and at night before bed.
  • They hold between 20-30ml depending on the brand. It’s frightening to see how much you do or don’t bleed. For me it was enough to see my doctor and for him to be absolutely horrified. Again, sorry queasy readers. And my dad.
  • No, you cannot feel it.
  • Yes, taking it out feels totally weird. Tip – take it out slowly and at an angle. Don’t just yank it out unless you’re keen on a scene from Kill Bill
  • Yes, it can leak if not inserted properly. There are tons of tips online, I wont bore you here
  • Yes, if it’s in properly it will not leak. I have done a shoot with it, chasing a 5 year old, a 1 year old, a LabraDane puppy and a grumpy husband and it stayed put. An early Christmas miracle
  • It has a lifespan of 10 years
  • I got the ‘Pink Cup’ from Takealot, but there are tons of options out there.
  • Its eco friendly and saves you money on buying sanitary products. Fuck you Li-lets and your overpriced toilet-rolls-with-string!
  • I have now converted 10 mates to try this product, and I like to think of this post as a way of cutting out the bullshit from your period. Period.

Try it, and let me know?

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Life Lately… And An Apology

Guys! , I know it seems as if I’ve fallen off a cliff face, and whilst it kinda feels like I have, I managed to get caught on the ledge and am slowly starting to make my way back up.

So, first off, my apologies for the radio silence. I know my 6 loyal readers have missed me terribly. But I’m back, kind of, and now that the craziness of the last few months has come to a semi-solid place, hopefully this little ol’ blog of mine will gain some momentum again.

So, where did we end off? Oh yes, having a baby leaving my job and starting a business. Somewhere there, I think.

Yep, I went back to work after maternity leave, and left. So, whist it was all very unexpected it was the push I needed to get my little business that I had been running for two years off the ground. You are now looking at (well, reading words by) Kate Rankin Photography owner founder and creator and Kate Kearney Consulting, owner, founder, tea lady, loo cleaner, MD etc etc.

The photo business, as you know, has been happening and thriving and doing better than I could have ever imagined (see what happens when you buy a fancy camera? ;)). The consulting business started recently, and sees me doing a little bit of everything – I’m running and managing the social media for some awesome clients and freelancing at a company in Sandton assisting with their project management. Its amazing and wonderful and BUSY as all fuck. So, if you ever need a photographer slash writer slash social media’r slash jack-of-all traders, you know where to find me.

So, that’s the work news.

Kid news? Pinch me, cos I got the best ones out there. Seriously. I look at my daughter and am filled with absolute awe that I made this inquisitive, big eyed, feisty, fun, friendly and loud human and I look at my son and cant believe this cheeky, smart, creative, anal, obsessive, quirky, shy and kind little man is all mine. And together, well they are just amazing. For those on the fence about adding a sibling to their brood, all I can see is, despite the manic chaos of it all, it’s a bond thats actually too beautiful to describe.

Whilst this all sounds super happy and posotive it’s been a really rough few months as well. I learnt some valuable lessons about human nature and trust, I lost out on so much sleep that my body went into a state of mild depression and I am still fucking fat after having a baby. (Side eyes rooibos tea. Dreams about cake.)

Those are the two biggest and most obvious parts of my life, and I guess it’s what I naturally talk about. But the past few months have also got me thinking about feminism, emigration, the menstrual cup, chronic fatigue, stress and weight loss. All things I’m going to be delving into deeper on this blog, because if I cant tell you the perks of a moon cup, the anxiety over whether to stay in SA or flee for ‘greener’ pastures or about how women are fed up with the patriarchy, then what use am I to you, really?

So, thats it really. My last 4 months in a very tight little nutshell. A hazelnut, really.

Thanks for sticking around, if you did, I appreciate every single (literally, single digits) one of ya.

xx

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Win A Love To Dream Swaddle

Yesterday I posted a photo of Piper in her Love To Dream swaddle, and the response I was just incredible! So many other moms and dads got in touch telling me how it’s changed their life in terms of baby sleep.

Now, I’m just a mom of a 4 month old and never-gonna-leave bags under her eyes, so I’m no expert – but I will do whatever it takes to get my baby down, and keep her down! So for me, I cannot live without four things when it comes to Piper having a sleep:

  1. A Love To Dream Swaddle Up
  2. A good dummy (I swear by those hideous ‘honey dummies’)
  3. A sleep du-du (there are so may on the market but Piper favours a little pink bunny)
  4. A full tummy

Since posting the pic, I have received so many questions  about Love To Dream , so I thought I would do my research and answer them all here:

Where do you get the sleep sack? I have been looking and cant find anything suitable

You can get them from The Bub Hub (and they now have an online store, yay!), Takealot, Kids Emporium, Baby Fantasy and A-Z

Do you find the sleep sack really helps to keep Piper sleeping? Grayson has started waking and I’ve been wondering if that might help him

Yes. I really do. It hasn’t got her sleeping through the night, but the aim isn’t for it to do that (that’s just baby to baby specific) – but it has been a lifesaver in helping her feel secure. Since she was born she’s suffered from a really bad startle reflex and kept waking herself up. In the Love To Dream she can’t wake herself up with that jerky arm movement, and so her sleep is deeper and much better. Sometimes she goes down for a day nap, without her Swaddle Up, and she sleep is only about 30 minutes long. Like today. She has literally just woken up form her sleep after 20 minutes (her swaddle is on the line, drying). I think Grayson may be too old for the original swaddle – but you can get him something called the ‘Swaddle Up 50/50’ which has removable wings and is made for babies age 4-8 months. This is what I’m moving Piper onto next.

 

I cant imagine how Stevie would handle it – she uses her hands so much to self soothe and get herself to sleep. Are her (Pipers) elbows bent and hand up by her face?

The Swaddle Up has been designed for exactly that! To allow a more natural “arms up” position which allows baby to self-soothe. If you look closely at the pic of Piper you will see how damp and grubby the arm parts are – because she literally sucks on them all the time.

What is the age range?

Birth to 3 years – the swaddles are available in 3 stages – ‘Original’, ’50/50′ and ‘sleep bag’.

Sounds like a winning recipe! How old was Piper when you started using it? I have one, but not sure what age to use it from

I think she was a few days old when we started, the second I realised how bad her reflex was, was the second I popped her in one. You can start now for your gorgeous little girl 🙂

Do they make these swaddles in adult sizes?

Haha, I was wondering the same thing!

How do you put them to sleep in it?

You literally pop them in, put their hands and legs inside and zip it u. Then you lay them on their back, or side, depending on their preferred sleep position

Check out this video to see a more detailed description of the Original Swaddle Up and how it works

So, I kinda bet you’re dying to get your hands on (and your baby in!) one of these Swaddle Up’s, right? Lucky for you I have one Swaddle Up™ Original in Pink, Blue or Grey in Small or medium to give away.

To enter, simply tell me what you would do to pass the time while your baby has a gorgeous long sleep in his or her Swaddle Up. Would you read a book have a nap, hit the gym or just sit and watch them sleep? I’ll be drawing the winner on Monday so make sure to drop your answer in the comments, follow my blog and like Rupert Approves on Facebook. If you want an additional entry, simply share this post from here, or my Facebook page, to your Facebook page.

Good Luck! 🙂

 

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My Instagram QnA – You Asked and I Answered.

A week or so back I was inspired by a blog post that an Instagram friend, Gaelyn, had written. It was based on a whole bunch of questions that she had got people to ask her on the app. I told her I loved the idea so much that I was going to steal it, so I did. I had tons of fun with this – it’s been a bit of a slumpy few months in the writing department, and so this was just the creative unblocking I needed. You guys were the perfect writers block laxative 😉

Thank you to everyone who took the time to ask me questions, You guys were all super tame, I don’t know if I’m relived or not!

Let me know if I should do another one of these?

PS – I wasn’t sure who wanted to remain anonymous or not, so I’ve removed everyones names.

How is the weight loss going and how are you staying motivated?

You know the saying ‘a year ago you’ll wish you had started today?‘ Well, that’s kinda me right now. It’s been 6 weeks since a group of us made our #FatttisAndMoanies pact and I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon too many times to count. That being said, the last 2 weeks have been really good in terms of consistency and training. I’ve started doing a bunch of classes at gym, which for me, are so much easier than following apps or plans. I tend to give up if I miss a training day on an app, but with classes it’s just easier to pick up where I left off. I’ve also been training with a friend which really helps to stay motivated and committed. As far as weight goes, I haven’t even lost 100 grams! Nothing is shifting which is really, really demotivating. So, I’ve actually decided that instead of stressing about fitting into my pre baby jeans I actually just went and bought 3 new pairs of bigger jeans to tide me over. Trying to fit into my thin clothes was causing me so much stress that I just want to put them away for a few months and not feel like an octopus in a condom every morning, trying to squeeze into them.

That being said – I am shocked to see how many retailers have inconsistent sizing in their shops – I recently bought 2 pairs of size 12 jeans from Cotton On. the one pair doesn’t even go over my knees and the other pair fits perfectly – something I need to remember when berating myself for being a certain ‘size’.

When are you starting solids and what are you starting with? (Need some solid inspiration)

We are going to try wait until 5 months, like we did with Carter. I’m not going to do any rice cereal as they just have such a bad rap – rather I want to try get her tasting all sorts of flavours and textures from the get go. I haven’t got a set plan in mind but I do want to (where possible) incorporate as much protein into her food as possible, because protein = sleep and well, we could ALL do with more of that around here.

How many adverts have you been “the voice” to on radio?

8 years ago? TONS. Nowadays, I think one ad that’s still doing the rounds in a Dubai IKEA 😉 When I took up photography, and when photography took off, I had to cut the amount of voice over work I did as I just wasn’t able to get to the studio when they needed me. I miss it, but I also had to be realistic.

What is your biggest fear?

How long is your piece of string? I am fearful by nature – everything from car accidents to retiring with no savings. My ‘silly’ fear is spiders and my ‘serious’ fear is something happening to my kids. Drowning, getting hit by a car, leaving a baby in the car seat. Everything! I’m pretty sure all parents feel this way and its true what they say, that as a parent you will never ever stop worrying. I also worry about my place in this country and our financial security and future. Man alive, thanks for the question, now I need a Xanax 😉

What or who inspires you every day?

Seemingly normal and everyday people. Just yesterday a woman I followed on Instagram shared a pic of an interview done on her in which she talks abut being a hot shot lawyer. My socks were knocked off – I had no idea! I am motivated by my friends for following their startup/entrepreneurial/study and travel dreams. I am inspired by the work I do – being a perfectionsit means I can never settle and am constantly striving for excellence. I am inspired by a random lady stepping off a taxi looking like a runway model, or how great someone looks in a messy bun, or the busy mom who still gets up to train every day at 5 am. I don’t really do the self help books or TED talks, rather, I look to my peers and society and use them all as one big Pinterest board.

Im looking at starting my own business. eek. do you have any advice? 

No, I have zero idea what I’m doing 😉 I have been doing my photography on the side for almost 2 years and so the advice I can give is this: Start small and start on the side, like I did. Open up a business bank account and allocate 20% for tax/SARS. Take advantage of platforms out there to help you with your admin (I particularly like Wave as my invoicing platform). Use your connections and gain trust by being reliable, reputable and kind. Don’t underestimate your value either and charge competitive rates. Offer discounts but try not to do too much for free. I had a rule when I started taking photos; The first of anything was free (first wedding, first newborn etc) that way, there’s less pressure but you also get great experience. Learn wherever you can – mentorships, online courses, YouTube tutorials and shadowing. Ask peoples advice and don’t be scared to put yourself out there. Lastly, fake it till you make it and remember that everyone suffers from some sort of ‘imposter syndrome’ and that is totally OK. Good Luck!

I just found out Im pregnant! can I ask you all the baby questions as i go?! 

Yay! Congratulations! And yes, absolutely, but my answer to the hard questions will probably be something along the lines of ‘have a glass of wine and don’t sweat the small stuff’ 😉 Kidding. Kinda.

Who did your micrblading? They are so perfect 

Firstly, thank you 😉 Secondly, what makes you think they’re not natural? Thirdly, who am I kidding, I have awful features. I had mine done by a lady called Melanie at a place in Clearwater mall. I’ve just tried to find her on Instagram but it seems she’s no longer on it… and I cant remember the shop name either. That being said, I’m pretty sure if you ask around you can get some great referrals for other brow artists. PS – I went a shade darker which means my hair grows blonde over them, and it looks a bit odd. I still tint my eyebrows once every 6 weeks and use a brow pencil (‘Brow This Way’ from Rimmel) to touch up the dodgy patchy bits.

Bedtime routine for two tots 

What is this routine you talk of? My once angelic boy now pulls out all the nightly stops to avoid actually getting into bed at the prescribed time. That being said, amidst the madness we do sometimes have moments of luck, so our typical night/bedtime routine goes like this:

Carter gets home from school at 5/5:30 and we play, chat catchup a bit. He then eats supper between 5;30 and 6:30 depending on his hunger levels. If we are both at home one parent will sit with Carter while the other carries Piper (because her royal highness will not be put down during suicide hour). My hubby always does the evening bath time at 5:45 with Piper. Either Carter will bath with her or shower with Barry later. Barry will give Piper her bottle at 6 and she’s asleep (again, not always successfully) by 6:10. If Carter is still in the bath while Piper is having her bottle, and only one parent is home, then we have a rule whereby we call out to him every 5 minutes and he has to answer, otherwise he’s not allowed to bath alone again. Carter’s bathed/showered and in his pyjamas by 6:30 and then he is allowed half an hour of TV before bed. Some nights we build puzzles or draw but 5/7 times he gets TV. I think our strict TV rule has worked well as its such a novelty for him that it keeps him occupied for 30 minutes and allows us to prep dinner, pop Pipers dummy back in 87 times or just sort out lunches for the next day. At 7 pm the TV magically turns off (thank you iPhone remote!) and Carter is then given the option of 10 more minutes of TV or a story in bed. The story usually wins and – if he’s not being a threenager – he’s in bed and sleeping by 7:30. We went through a massive wobbly when he was about 2.5 and his bedtime routine is only coming right now (thanks to spanking, bribing, shouting, crying, timeout, toy confiscation and wine).

How do you juggle marriage, motherhood, your career and still manage to go to gym? 

I have a spouse who carries 50% of the parenting load, for which I’m so grateful. He’s very big on us each getting our own time off to train and so we usually alternate mornings or evenings. So, one of us will go to gym in the morning leaving the other to dress the kid for school (ha sucker!) and then the other one gets to gym after work or go for a run in the evening. That being said, the arrival of baby 2 totally threw this off kilter as shit got super busy. Hard core training like Iron Man stuff has completely fallen by the wayside, which is OK, I mean, who really has time to train for several hours a day? We have both slacked in the exercise department, but I am now fortunate enough to leave Piper with the nanny for an hour, once Carters been dropped at school at 7:30, and head to gym. Barry’s started running a lot more and we have a stationary bike and treadmill in our dining room. When Piper is a bit older and we don’t need to split the bath time and feeding routine I like to think we will get back into a proper groove. As for marriage, I’ve always said that it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I think we both had a really big wakeup call a few months ago and so we are taking the time to be kinder with each other and go on a few date nights. It’s a work in progress but just these small changes have made us a stronger team. As for career – it’s tough for everyone – but we share calendars and can always see when the other person has a shoot/meeting/function so we can plan accordingly. It’s not perfect, but it helps.

Remember the day you, Lucy and I were counting microscopic ferns? Now you have Carter and Piper 

So, this wasn’t really a question as much a statement, but I loved it so much that I decided to include it. (thanks for the fun reminder, Zee!) The back story – I was told that I would battle to have kids, and me being me, I went into panic and planning mode. I bought this little lipstick sized ovulation microscope online that – when ovulating – showed up as teeny tiny fern like shapes. Well, I brought it to work the one day and the entire office had a go at seeing their saliva under the microscope. Imagine my surprise when it was my turn and BOOM! There were hundreds of fat ferns. Needless to say, Carter was born 10 months later. PS – it’s clearly a lucky charm as the three friends I lent it to afterwards all fell pregnant.

Why are you so hard on yourself? I ask because your honesty and humour when dealing with life is so relatable.I think you’re doing an amazing job

I have, for as long as I can remember, used sarcasm to hide my insecurities. I feel like I have always been the ‘good enough’ girl. good enough looking, good enough at school, good enough at sports. Nothing ever really defined me, and so I used wit to give myself an identity. So I guess what you see by me being hard on myself, is the only me that I know. Plus, aren’t we all? As much as I know that social media is almost entirely fake, where people only show their greatest and most joyful moments, it also makes me incredibly insecure, and so I swore that I would ever not be authentic on the platforms I’m on. So I show the good, the bad and the ugly – and as much as I want to – I don’t even use on of those face filter apps to make me look like I’m not mid-thirties with 2 kids 😉 But I promise I’ll try to be gentler on myself (after I’ve lost the 20 kilogram and had a boob job). kidding!

Why did you leave radio? 

I am a verbal person, and have always spoken my mind. Working in radio began to feel a bit too scripted for me – I didn’t feel as if I had an opinion or was actually making a difference. It was also the first job I had ever had and as much as I loved it – I still miss it – I wanted to see what else I could do with my life. I was worried that I would never grow in a professional sense and the corporate world seemed quite exciting. Even though I left commercial radio, I feel like my blog and my photography has allowed me to still be creative and express my feelings.

Tips for breastfeeding/sleeping through the night 

I’m not sure if you mean getting baby to sleep through the night, or mom being able to sleep after she’s woken for a feed, so I’ll give this answer my best shot:

Firstly, I chose to stop breastfeeding at 2.5 months. I battled in public and it was leading to massive weight gain (for me, not her ;)) However, when I was breastfeeding I would express, alot. Which meant Barry could do feeds and I could sleep, and visa versa. This allowed us both to get to atleast 5/6 hours stretches. I am also 100% routine mom and so from day 4 we tried to get Piper on a day and night feeding routine. I would limit her time on the boobs so she didn’t get lazy which meant she knew that at feed time, it was time to chow! We also didn’t feed in between her 3 hour sessions, unless it was an emergency. It’s worked for us and we know (sort of) what to expect.That being said, my darling daughter does not sleep though the night, and between her and Carters new-found night terrors, I feel like no one in my house will ever sleep again 😉

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