Elo, elo elo!
Recovering well from the weekend? Or like me are you most likely found huddled under your desk rocking from side to side? What I wouldn’t give to be home with my kids on the beach or just, like chilling or something.
Our kids are all on holiday now so we spent yesterday evening putting up our tree. I can’t wait to share it with you – usually it ends up being a huge disaster but this time it was awesome. Keep a look out on the blog tomorrow. 😉
But for now, we’re about to take a peak inside the home of my fellow blogger, Shante. I LOVE the renovations that she has done and now, I am so inspired to go and knock down my entire house and start again!
INSIDE THE HOME OF… SHANTE HUTTON
1. So, who the heck are you?
I’m, Shante Hutton, a Brit who was whisked off her feet by a South African and moved to Cape Town in 2010. I still feel completely and utterly British (I’m sarcastic, I bake scones, I love to form orderly queues etc) and I totally stand out in the Northern Suburbs, where we live, because I can’t speak a word of Afrikaans and I really don’t like braais (oh the horror!).
I’ve been married to Mr H for 5 years and 6 months ago we welcomed a baby girl, Lily-Rose, so I’m a new-ish mum who is juggling motherhood and businesses. I’ve been a magazine editor, dabbled in events, then moved into the wine industry and was there for 4 years as a wine writer and editor before leaving to focus on family and my own passions and hobbies which include photography, graphic design, social media management, sewing and being a hands-on-mum.
I’m pretty much a pro-juggler now.
2. Give us the low down on your blog. We want to hear it all. (What’s your niche, what kinds of posts do you do, that kind of thing)
Rose & Thorns is, when I find the time to write, an extension of the ramblings in my mind. Being an English Rose with a thorny personality, I thought the name was fitting and the blog is home to my love of wine, food, baby madness and expert advice which should absolutely be followed and lived by (see, I told you there was sarcasm.)
If you want to know about great South African wines, days out or the yucky things that happen to you during pregnancy (and birth) then I have an opinion for you which obviously is gold. Since writing about motherhood, the reach has grown and I’ve really loved having people message me to say how much they loved my style of writing and how I don’t candy-coat motherhood and babies; my writing is very honest. I can’t hold back once I get started and I’d rather be an open book than a flimsy magazine with no substance.
3. Share all your social channels so we can stalk you…
4. What does a regular day in ‘the life of you’ involve?
The first hand in the face, followed by a giggle, starts at around 6am and little one is whisked away by Daddy so I can get a few more moments of psyching myself up for the day. And then the fun begins. Being involved in lots of different businesses and projects means that there is no cookie-cutter day; every 24 hours the ball changes and some days I can be doing photo shoots, other days I’m designing brochures and others, I’m cleaning up pureed prunes from floor.
5. When do you fit in time to blog?
I’ve become one of those “busy” people, the type that never seems to stand still and I hate it. It’s tiring and I end up feeling a little unfulfilled so blogging happens either at night, after Lily is in bed, or early in the morning. I wish I could do more and maybe, when I’ve organised myself a bit better, I’ll get it right… it gets better? Doesn’t it?
6. Please can you share your top 5 tips relative to you blog niche…
5 tips for surviving pregnancy, because honestly, Iron Man ain’t got nothing on growing a baby
1) Nest is best. When I had really bad days, bemoaning my widening hips, my super itchy, raw skin and my constant need to pee, I’d take a few moments out and sit in the nursery staring at baby items. In this way, I focused on what was to come, not what was happening. I looked towards the miracle that I’d be holding soon and not how tired I felt after just putting on my shoes. I folded and refolded so many of Lily’s baby clothes, just so I could remind myself that it was all going to be worth it. And it truly is.
2) Prop it up. Get yourself extra pillows for keeping your tummy supported at night as well as placing between your knees to keep away that nasty sciatica and ligament pain. If you’re feeling sore, rest. The world will wait for you mama.
3) Moisturize. Tiger stripes, aka stretchmarks, are just another of life’s little blessings *side eyes*. Some people are just prone to stretchmarks because of a lack of elasticity in their skin and others because of rapid weight gain. If you are the former, I really do advocate keeping your body as supple as possible with lots of rich moisturizer. It will also keep your tummy from feeling itchy which happens in the third trimester.
4) Get yourself a nice pregnancy outfit. We all want to save money, and if you’re a petite preggy mama who looks like they might have just had a large lunch at 8 months, you might wonder why you should bother with maternity clothing. However, if you have grown, visibly, and are feeling a little down about not being able to get one foot, let alone one leg, in your favorite jeans, think about spoiling yourself with something pretty to wear. 9+ months is a long time to feel kak about the way you look and I found an awesome striped maternity dress at H&M that made me feel human again.
5) Surround yourself with people who like to praise. Being told that you look tired and should get some rest is not helpful because if we could sleep – and who can when you’ve got backache, ligament ache and a growing abdomen – we obviously would. Think about possibly hiring someone who can, at random times, pop out and tell you how fabulous you look, how glorious your skin is and how, from the back “you don’t even look pregnant”. Also, think about having someone who can shoo away unwelcomed comments… possibly with their fists.
7. Give us a brief tour of your home and garden – tell us about renovations you’ve done – before and afters, parts you love, parts you want to change, go crazy…
My husband bought the house in 2008 with a friend and we bought the friend out in about 2012 and immediately started to renovate. The house was seriously old-fashioned and pretty yucky; the main en-suite looked like a set piece from the Emerald City; the floor tiles were orange; there were mice running riot in the old cupboards and we had a tenant living in our braai room who hoarded EVERYTHING (her dead dog’s hair was one of her many hoarding delights. I kid thee not).
When it came to making the house into a home, we went all out and broke down walls, smashed floors, cut up tiles and lived in a blur of dust and swear words for a year. We were really hands on. My Husband made all the cupboards and drawers in every room (look how amazing our kitchen is) and we painted everything ourselves and created the awesome shelving -units in the lounge and braai room from piping and wood.
Where once our house was dark and dreary, we now have an open-plan kitchen, dining area and lounge; the main focal point of the kitchen is our gorgeous pale green splash-back. I’m so in love with it. *swoons* It’s a beautiful pop of color that pairs beautifully with the white subway tiles and light beech cupboards and white Caesar stone worktops. We’re always asked why we went for such light counters which are prone to staining and simply, it makes me stay tidy…and it keeps the whole place dreamily light.
For watching movies in the lounge, we have a projector, which is why that wall above our shelves is blank.
For dining, we have an awesome sleeper wood table that seats 8, and that is actually the heartbeat of our house. Our bedroom has this epic Hunter-green focus wall and a minimalistic en-suite which has so much natural light. In all the bedrooms, we chose porcelain tiles that looked like wood and whilst they are costly, I think they look stunning and I don’t have to worry about getting liquids on them.
The spare bedrooms are clean looking now, we’ve made on of them the guest room and the other is the “nursery”. The spare bathroom has this elegant French feel to it and I’m a huge fan of the black and white tiled floor – whereas before, it was a plain jane, and yes, that’s me washing dishes in the bathroom because we stupidly decided to renovate EVERY room all at once (please don’t do that folks).
When we redid the braai room, it was a huge task because we had walls to knock out and new doors to put in. From the pics, you can see how we took out a lot of bricks to put in our sliding doors and they add in so much light – can you see a pattern here, I just LOVE light – and I like being able to push them open and expand the braai room, giving it an endless spacial quality. The floor is a poured, coloured cement which unfortunately scratches and dents really easily but, we have an entertainment/braai room that we’re now super proud of which houses my love of wine and Mr H’s love of beer – he’s also a bit of a craft brewer (Beatnik Brewers).
8. What’s your favourite room/area in your home and why?
The heart of our home (since the renovations) has always been the kitchen and we designed it so that if one of us was cooking, we wouldn’t be alone – I honestly can’t stand the idea of being alone in a kitchen whilst everyone else is in another room. Everything happens in the kitchen/lounge and with our sleeper table, I can place Lily in her seat and have her watch me and pretty much all work gets done at this table. In fact, this table is everything!
9. If you had endless money and you could change anything in your home, what would you do?
We want to fix the ceilings in the braai room (you can see from the pics that the skirting isn’t done yet) and we need to level the ceiling in the kitchen because we broke the walls down that originally made the kitchen a separate room. With some extra cash and an almost crawling baby, we need to get sliding pantry doors, and doors on our wardrobes. And, for those all-important movie nights, a new projector would be wonderful.
10. Where’s your dumping ground – you know that place that you dump all your clothes and frantically have to clean before you have guests over…
*in the voice of David Attenborough* “What we have here is what some people might call a bedroom, a bedroom that has slipped into utter chaos; an accumulation of clothing items has blended together to make a fortress and somewhere, under those unfolded, un-ironed t-shirts, was once a woman. Tune in next week to see if we can ever find her.”
I’ve never had a maid, and probably never will (it’s just not an English thing) but it does mean that things get a little messy. Okay, very messy. I have a serious dislike for folding washing so it gets dumped in artistic piles around the house. It drives my husband nuts. Some people just can’t appreciate art…
11. What’s the oldest and newest thing in your home?
I can’t stand Cape Town winters, they seem extra cold because houses are just not designed to cope with colder weather. For most of July, we spent most of our evenings rushing home from work and getting straight into bed which made us feel really old and lame. We decided that we wanted to enjoy our house and not just our duvet and in August, we invested in a fireplace AND BOY HAS IT BEEN AMAZING. Sure, it takes a lot of wood, but it means we can walk around without thick jumpers on and enjoy the whole house. It’s marvellous and quite possibly, the best thing we’ve bought this year for the house.
12. When you’re not at home, where are your top 5 places to go in your area (with friends, as a couple, with kids whatever).
- Willowbridge is always a firm favourite because parking is easy and there’s always space for pushchairs. If I’m meeting up with other Mums then we choose a place there; we have an eclectic range of ages and Willowbridge has a play area which is great for the older kids. Plus, Jerrys is there and their burgers kick ass. Also, there’s the Biggest Little Beer Shop for those all-important craft beers. And woolies café has the best cakes.
It kind of looks like I live at Willowbridge…
- For amazing bubbles, I always head to Villiera wine estate in Stellenbosch. The staff are great and it’s quiet and secluded. Sometimes you need those days.
Thank you for sharing your home with us Shante!! I absolutely LOVE what you did with the kitchen – it’s beautiful!