Planning family vacation

Planning family vacation

Who doesn’t need a break in the sun? Few people will say no to that. On this blog, we share our tips for booking that family vacation. We hope this will help someone and that we also will get some ideas and tips from you too.

So for us, we are a family of four, consisting of three adults and 1 teen. We love experiences and making memories. We have had to learn how to travel on a budget and so far we are grateful. We prefer to visit uncommon destinations💕.

Each year we set a realistic budget of how much in total we would like to spend on a Summer break. Once that’s determined, we start looking for offers, deals, sales etc. It’s such a commitment that my husband and daughter are married to. They invest so much time in researching places to visit etc. We learn a lot about ourselves, and potential destinations as a family through the planning sessions. This year our daughter and youngest planned this Sicily- Malta break meticulously it’s humbling 💗

We have found that once we have decided on destination, making a hotel reservation early is useful. We use Booking.com as well as Hotels.com and many other apps such as Trivago etc. We tend to book our summer holiday by Christmas time.

By booking early, most hotel reservations are free so you can swap or change to a certain period. This offers peace of mind as you many not want to commit to a holiday 8months in advance. Arbnb is a game changer for accommodation too, especially for city breaks. It has introduced us to amazing communities and apartments. We stayed in a quirk apartment in Copenhagen and as I write we are in a historic Italian apartment in Catania, Sicily in Italy. The apartment has won me some brownie points with teen daughter who is keen on history and all things beautiful.

Flights are tricky and a deal breaker when looking for family summer break. Being the single most expensive entity, we have allowed flights to determine our destination. For the past 4 years we have visited mainly Europe and North Africa (Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Moroccco) for that reason.

As for timing, in terms of when to go, it all depends with the two above as well as working schedules and family calendars really. We tend to go away mid August so that we break even the long six weeks. The past two years we have strived for two get aways. The first tends to be a mini city break in one of European capitals. In that break, it’s mostly about culture and history so we book walking tours, visit museums and places of interest. We absorb as much as we can about the city. Visiting street food markets is a MUST in our house thanks to hubby. Once that intellectual holiday is done, we then go on a chilled relaxed break by the pool/ beach. The beach holiday tends to be 5-7days long and we are ready to face the winter.

Hope this has been useful. Let us know how we can help. Share some ideas, tips and strategies for making an epic family holiday.

Does your family have traditions that you do for summer? Would love to hear from you.

We will soon be sharing more about our holiday experiences with each destination we have been, look out for details.

Take care.

Fadzai x

Courage

Courage

Webinar 12.09.2018

We were glad to be back on the webinar after the summer holidays. We talked about having the courage and confidence to slow down in a an era that celebrates busyness. We acknowledged that being a millennial mom has become hectic due to the need to fit in all these other activities.

Our key strategy was drawn from the life of Martha  who found herself so busy hosting, preparing and entertaining. It is recorded that Jesus encouraged Martha to slow down, not be so pre-occupied with what needs doing. Jesus went on to say to Martha :

Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her’ ” (Luke 10:39-42).

           Relationships are what matters

 

How are we investing in the relationships that matter the most; our families? Are we finding the time to unplug and make eye contact? On our most recent webinar last week 6.6.19 one mother acknowledged that the balancing act of being a career woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, entrepreneur to mention a few is fraught with guilt and shame as we find ourselves spinning all these roles whilst feeling ineffective.

A great strategy was shared of the DINNER TABLE. Allowing the dinner table to be the centre and hub of family life. Putting boundaries and making it clear that no phones or gadgets are allowed on the table. Being committed to the art of breaking and sharing food together. For those of faith, it is illustrated in the book of Acts 1, that the apostles broke bread together and shared what they had. It is clearly mentioned that the Lord added so much to them whilst they were doing that.

What would you like to be added into your family life? For us, as we deliberately come to the table, we are saying ‘Lord increase your love, faith and hope in this family. Let this tradition proceed from this generation and many others to come. Allow our conversations to bring healing and peace in our home.

It is our prayer and hope that you found last week’s home work doable and achievable. We were tasked to develop the art of being self aware. One of the steps to do that, was to look back to our own childhood and find out what we thought was good parenting, and why? We then needed to know how that good parenting is measuring with our current.

We desire that you find the value to this gathering of brave and courageous mothers. We encourage you to take the steps towards growth and these small tasks are positive steps towards that. We look forward to hearing your courageous introspection.

Yours in pursuit of courage.

Fadzai xxx

Mums matter

Mums matter

Mums do matter. A cliche’, yes, it may sound just about that, however, this is today’s theme for peri natal mental health awareness week. The week long campaign serves to raise awareness on this not talked about issue of mental health during and after pregnancy.

Mental health in certain communities is difficulty to talk about because of misunderstandings and misconceptions of vulnerabilities in people. How can you be sad/overwhelmed, unhappy or depressed when you are carrying or having Gods blessing? Yes, our children are just that, blessings. Sometimes those blessings come with challenges.

image from @metro

I remember how excited we were on finding out that we were expecting. Unplanned as it was, we were elated. Soon after, the vomitting commenced and it got worse by the day. By the time we got to second trimester, the plastic bag on my daily commute into work had become my friend. I was literally worn out on daily basis, couldn’t stomach much apart from the TM buns, ham and black tea. I looked forward to the weekend lie ins and not getting out of bed at all.

To a certain extend, I was fortunate to be at home in Zimbabwe ‘surrounded’ by family even though they did not know how to help or support me. The challenge with mental health is that even the sufferer does not know when to seek help because most of the time one is able to just smile through it.

So what are some of the symptoms and signs of pre, peri or post natal mental illness? According to charity mind, around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. The charity goes on to highlight that there are a varied reasons as why one may suffer mental illness, mainly

For us we had a few risk factors such as moving house, quick unplanned transitioning into parenthood, employment pressures as well as general ill- preparedness. We didn’t attend any pre-marital counselling or ante natal classes. We pretty much found ourselves reacting to situations and circumstances instead of being proactive.

When I had our second, the stresses were there as we had moved continents and I was adjusting to being a mature nursing student. Once again the Zimbabwe community of student nurses rallied behind me and supported me through another ordeal with severe morning sickness, tiredness, looking after a pre – schooler and unending assignments.

So what helps with maternal mental health?

-Talking to someone about your feelings help. Its important to let someone know how tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, struggling or sad you are feeling.

You don’t need to self diagnose, if your feelings/ emotions tell you something isn’t right, then talk to someone about it.

As mothers it becomes imperative for us to talk about our mental health with our children so they can learn. The report in the news highlight the worrying increase in children’s mental illness and lack of resources to support this demand.

Faith in action Charity is doing some work with faith communities about supporting members of the congregation who may need support.

Prayer, meditation and mindfulness do help as well. Being able to pray with someone can make a huge difference

Mind is also a good charity to reach out to.

GP’s can help with referrals to support services. Talking therapies is a good service where you can self refer into depending where you live.

Other community services such as midwifery, health visiting and home start are also very good.

Don’t suffer in silence

Don’t smile through it. 💕

Links and resources:

1- Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/postnatal-depression-and-perinatal-mental-health/#.XMdbnjBKjIV

2-Maternal Mental Health Alliance https://maternalmentalhealthalliance.org/

3- Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/child-and-adolescent-mental-health-services-camhs/

Motherhood: career, studying and family juggle.

Motherhood: career, studying and family juggle.

Came across this facebook memory and a flood emotions came through. The year is 2011, April 27th to be exact. I was undertaking a postgrad certificate in Critical Care. It was an interesting time from the commute to juggling work and family. I got through it, passed whilst planning our marriage blessing back home.

Looking back, I have done all my tertiary education as a mom. I went into nurse training when our son was 3years old and fell pregnant mid-way, finishing the course with two children. The studying carried on pretty much every couple of years on average. I have thoroughly enjoyed the world of academia. Not the best organised mama but I seem to get through it. Will I go back to studying again? YES. I just need to find something that tickles my fancy, is useful and relevant.

Tips for surviving the juggle:

1– Create a Calendar that everyone can Access. Empower the family unit to use the calendar, so everyone knows who is where and doing what.

2- Cook and freeze meals on the weekend to be thawed and eaten during the week. This will help to save time. No time for cooking or detour to the takeaway? Buy food from the student canteen to take home.

3-Use public transportation, so you can study and answer emails on the train. I car shared with a colleague and that was the greatest blessing in revising on the way home, cut costs as well as as provided therapy when talking through the difficulties of studying, working and raising a family.

4-Access help from the student learning center early instead of procrastinating or trying to get family to help. Oh I remember expecting so much from my husband and children to help with graphs and diagrams so much to my frustration 😍

5-Don’t ignore your social life. You need and deserve relationships outside of your family. It’s tempting to want to drop those social events in a bid to study. Take time out and let your hair down. You will be more efficient when rested. I planned our marriage blessing whilst undertaking this course. That was my therapy and I have to say, that kept me sane.

6- Eat well, try not to miss breakfast, even if it’s a piece of fruit or yoghurt. Keep active, move your body more and get the needed energy and nutrients to the brain.

7-Pray and meditate. Prayer has the ability to energise and stabilise our thinking and well being. There are so many apps you can use on the go. Having a quiet time and deep breathing helps to keep calm.

If you know someone who could use the tips, please share. 💕

Motherhood and Me

Motherhood and Me

The confident mama

Find those mom-ents in your parenting journey that light your fire. Treasure and hold on to them. When my two were younger, those moments were in surplus. As they have both now transitioned into #teenhood, they are rare and far apart. The teen world can be quite complex such that sometimes they, themselves, don’t know how to articulate it.

As a professional, I know and appreciate teenage brain development. I know how hard it is to be misunderstood. As a mom, I need to contain them,  unpick these challenges all before we can have great warm mom-ments. You would think the unpicking would be easy because I believe we are almost always in tune with our children. In reality it is the hardest bit for me.

My greatest challenge is life outside my home. By the time I come in, after a full day’s work, I also would like to be acknowledged and they are probably in the midst of problem solving their own dramas 😞. It’s painful, I know. Most #parents will totally agree that parenting is challenging. However, there are moments we feel in control, fulfilled and purposeful. I am learning to embrace those mom-ments more and cherish them.

Look for those mom-ments. Be intentional in finding them. Repeat them as often as possible, being careful that you may get a different response or effect. My mom-ments are typically when I am well rested 😎😎 I am a better mom when I have had a good sleep, fresh air, meditation and not worrying much about dinner 😍. My children react better to me in that state.

Holidays tend to give us more of these #mom-ments. Take inspiration from them and replicate them at home maybe once a week and build to twice a week if possible. I know the sun and sea are major ingredients to it all. Take  vitamin D supplements 💊💊they are key to our moods and overall health. Remembee exercise too, however that may be 🤸🏽‍♂️🏊🏾‍♀️. I believe in good enough parenting and not perfect parenting.

Phone calls are vintage and a rarity these days, call another mom, encourage her. Not only will it leave you feeling good about being there for others, you are  also creating networks that are key to a good life

 

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Good luck in living your mom- ments 🥂

#confidentmama 💕

 

 

Our children and their sexual health

Our children and their sexual health

IMG_7575Webinar 3.10.18

Growing up in Zimbabwe, sex was a taboo and not talked about. The expectation was that one should stay pure and be a virgin till married. Talking to a few moms, highlights that abstinence was never the case. Yes, most women got married to the men that they were sexually active with but they were engaging in the act way before marriage. It was felt that if someone had talked openly about sex, possibly things could have been done  differently. The fact that it was done behind parents’ back, made it a sinful act and that transcended into marriage thereby making marital sex complex in some instances.

This then poses the question’ how best can we prepare our own children to have good sexual health?’

According to the World Health Organisation, sexual health is defined as:

“…a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” (WHO, 2006a)

   “Sexual health encompasses more than the act of having sex”

 

The implications of poor sexual health are recognised as early pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections as well as sexual abuse. What makes sexual health even more complex is ease of accessibility. The online world poses ,many challenges for parents and pornography is rampant (NSPCC).

With that definition we realised that the topic is very broad and needed to be streamlined. We then focussed on how do you talk to your child/ren about sexual health?

We agreed that there is the need to be honest, transparent, graceful and open-minded. We acknowledged that our upbringing, values and beliefs can be a challenge in embracing our children’s experiences especially where sex before marriage is concerned.

 

One of the strategies used in talking about this complex topic is using current affairs. If there is a program on television, use it as a conversation tool to explore the child’s understanding of sexual health. It is our responsibility as parents to talk to our children about this matter.

As parents we should aspire for our children to remain pure until they get married. A good question was asked about’ what do I do if my children admits to being sexually active, how do I handle such a matter when s/he is living in my house and not married.

                              What would Jesus do?

That was the question of the evening for us all to consider as parents/ mothers of faith. Dealing with this disclosure requires being composed and not being shocked as well as offering reassurance. We agreed that extending love, compassion is key to keeping the line of communication open. Acknowledging that there is a good and trusting relationship is a bonus and credit to the mother-child relationship. Whilst we may worry about STI’s, pregnancy, sexual abuse, using that window of trust can be a good opportunity to empower the young person with this risky behaviour. If a mother feels that they can’t breach the topic with the child, it was suggested that finding another person that the young person can talk to is important.

 

Our children want o hear our own personal experiences. Schools and other institutions may well be teaching our children different things to our value system We admitted that whilst it may be uncomfortable,  we should be willing to be honest and vulnerable with our children without jeopardising our relationship and position as parent. Talking to our children about soul ties, early pregnancies, STI’s and the joy of waiting for the right person is key.

A lot of the challenges with face as parents are to do with fear of being judged and shame. We encouraged one another, that our children belong to us and not for the society or community. Prayer remains a foundation and strategy of choice in raising our children. We continue to pray for them and ourselves as we partner with the Lord in bringing them up.

We remain hopeful x

Day 2

Day 2

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Thank you Lord that you are a sun and shield around our children. Help them to understand and appreciate Your help and sustenance. May they know that in You is refuge and strength. We lift up in prayer those children and their families who may be going through very difficulty and challenging times, would You surround them with Your love and embrace. Make a way for them so that they may enjoy life and be a blessing to their generation. Help them  not to be a thorn in the lives of our children.

Thank for helping the school leaders in taking the issue of bullying in schools seriously. We break every lie of bureaucracy and sweeping things under the carpet at the expense of our children. Raise up warriors within the school environment who are really there for the needs of the children.

Strengthen us as parents to do the RIGHT things always by our children and not the easy way out. Teach us to look to You always in every moment and circumstance of our lives. Allow us by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit to parent as you would want us to: courageously with grace, faith, hope and love. Amen

Back to school Series.

Back to school Series.

What would I tell my younger self?. Not sure because the time and space was very different to what it is now. The landscape has changed drastically.

This  is me at 17yrs of age in high school.

IMG_6923The only challenge I had at that time, was that I madly in love with a boy who has since become the father of my two. Life was beautiful. I am grateful to my parents who sacrificed so much to send me to a good boarding school.  Deeply indebted to my siblings who had to endure months of sadza and kale while my parents recovered financially. I am forever grateful to their sacrifice.

I remember the back to school days. Not so much in primary school years but certainly in secondary and high school. I remember the agony and pain of doing my shopping, packing my bags, stripping my parents of every last penny before I bid farewell. I remember my father’s long heartfull speeches. Yes, I was gone for 3months at a time.

The fours years at the all girls Catholic school were hard. The conditions were even harder. It was in those formative years that my character was built through dedication, hard work and team work. I learnt and grew alot in that place. How I missed home!! I missed my siblings, the comfort and food. In the midst of all that, I knew very well and appreciated what my parents were trying to achieve.

My own teenage experiences in Zimbabwe are a far cry from my teens’ world. Boarding school may sound like abandonment and believe you me, I thought so too and I didn’t mince any words when I penned my thoughts to my  parents. I broke my father’s heart and mama came to visit the very next week.

While an average mom worries and gets excited about her children going back to school, us the #migrantmamas have a whole lot to deal with. To my fellow #diaspora parents like myself who still struggle with school culture, school mums and curriculum, I see and hear you. To those who have been forced/ blackmailed, nagged into overdrafts, by their teens, I feel you. Most of the phenomena that we now encounter is as foreign as quiche 🍘.

Issues around school can be complex. For instance, understanding and appreciating what mental health especially in children looks like is a cobweb. Our communities do not make it any easier as mental health remains a taboo. According to mental health UK, 1 in 10 average adolescent has a mental health condition. As mothers, we strive to be strong african women and expect the same for our children.

As intentional parents, our drive is to be deliberate on things that help and move us forward. One of the main things we strive for is coming together in an atmosphere of learning together and loving each other. Prayer is key to our parenting jounrneg so this September, we are running a 30day back to school prayerthlon: 
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-In supporting the back2school campaign run by antibullying, my advice to the young people is to talk to someone if you are unhappy or someone is not being kind. Does your child have someone they can confide in? Sometimes, children choose not to confide in their parents for a multitude of reasons. Identifying that ‘other’ confidant is good.

-If your child or someone you know is/has experienced bullying, you can talk confidentially to someone from Antibullying.
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.Child-line is good for helping children to make sense of their world too.

– Mama do not suffer in silence. Connect with us via whatsapp, email or on facebook and instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

Thrive

Thrive

 

not thriving pic

Ever felt like not making it and struggling in life? Well, that image above could not be far from how I felt especially in the first five years of motherhood. I just felt that I did not have the neccessary skills and knowledge to blossom in my journey. I remember struggling to get big brother to eat. Oh my days, the boy was such a fussy eater and was as skinny as anything. In those moments, I was a failure and stressed. The health visitor would dimiss my concerns looking at my built and remarking ‘you are not of big built yourself’. True? yes it was, not helpful though. I did all the food diary, monthly weights, multivitamins etc. Sadly I didn’t understand the centile  lines and growth chart. Glad that the teen hormones finally kicked in the boy now eats.

Back in 2015, a friend brought me a very beautiful blooming orchid. I loved it. Prior to that, I had bought one myself from Tesco and sadly didn’t last any long. So it was refreshing to have another variety of this beautiful plant. I watered and placed it on the window sill as suggested on some online forum. Unfortunately, it lasted only a couple months. Distraught and disheartened one of my clients reassured me to keep the stump with the hope that it will bloom again. Blooming again never happened so I threw it away. This was only the first of many other orchid gifts to be given by friends. They never made it. Someone suggested I tried the artificial ones, saw some gorgeous ones in TK Maxx, it’s not the same is it?

I was at a baby shower somewhere in December and I said a couple of nice things to the expectant mom and boom, the orchid came out again. You can imagine the agony I felt. Driving home, I looked at it and gave thanks. I thanked the giver for their heart and consideration, I just wished they knew my bad luck with this type of plant. I went home and just continued to do what I had done with the other plants. Deep down, there was a desire to see it continue to flower and bloom. I wanted it to live. I wanted to break the curse of death on my hands. O how I wanted to succeed and not continue to feel the stench of failure.

I would speak to the plant in the morning before leaving for work, admire it when I am at the sink and do a silent prayer that it makes this time. I would move it from the sunny window sill to the shade of the downstairs lavatory. I was determined and keen. I needed this. Flowering it did but not like the other orchids I saw from friends window sills.

 One day, a dear friend who was visiting asked what plant food I was using for my orchid.  Plant food? The plant had not come with any food in the pouch. Flowers always do, don’t they? I was beyond horrified as I didn’t think I needed to give plant food. Gwen* advised where and what type of plant food I could buy from the shops. I did that and followed the instructions on the packet on how to feed and care for my plant.

The last eighteen years, have shown me that thriving in motherhood takes determination, vulnerability, a community and a whole load of learning. No-matter how many books I read, qualifications I attained, nothing seemed to equip me enough to get the job done  with little stress. Whilst I may have struggled with all this, I believe sometimes all we need to hear is that we are doing a great job. A little reassurance. I thrive in those environments because that’s my kind of learning style. Feedback is key. I have learnt to be deliberate in finding that community and that feedback. Now with two teens in tow, I am forever nagging and asking women who have gone before me to hold my hand.

I don’t know what it feels or looks like to have a son in Uni. Next year will be a first and yes, I have my anxieties. Will he survive is a big one at the moment. Survive on his own cooking, getting up in time for lectures without mom alarm clock?. Will he remember to breathe without me reminding him? Those are the conversations in my head at the moment and I have begun to speak to other mamas about it. I have been fortunate to find those soul sisters.

Here it is, my orchid, eight months down the line, blooming and my heart singing.

thrive pic

What would it take for your journey to be in full bloom and your heart skipping in excitement?  We are a community of mothers, learning, sharing and empowering one another on this journey. If you would like to be part of that community, connect with us via email, instagram or facebook.

“Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”. Eleanor Roosevelt

Bloom mama, lets bloom 🌸🌺🌼

 

For those wanting their orchid to thrive, I am using the Miracle grow ‘pour and feed’ plant food from B&M stores  xxx

 

Identity and intergration

Identity and intergration

Migrant women in the U.K.

A story of resilience, rebuilding life in a foreign country and the sacrifice women make. The act of forsaking the familiar for the unknown unites us as people of all age group, colour, creed or nationality. This was the Global Woman Club meeting headed by Mirela Sula.

The energy and camaderie as we entered the room was electrifying. Mirela was prompt to share her STORY and the inspiration behind the Global woman empire. A humble mom of Albanian heritage, who dared the seas for the lights and academia of London. Mirela told how she came with her teenage son to pursue her doctorate and a new life with little on her.

Her journey inspired me as a #migrantmama as she shared about being authentic and determined in the face of challenges and obstacles. What Mirela has managed to achieve is being available, available totally to her followers and those who attend her events. That’s what she portrayed to me as I attended this event. She was happy to engage in one to one conversations, mingle, socialise, obliging take selfies with almost everyone. Within a short space of time, Global Woman Club is being launched in different countries every month.

The anxiety of raising our children in an unknown and unfamiliar culture was the thread of most conversations I had with these amazing mothers. How do you embrace and blend the two cultures? As mothers we agreed that, there are sacrifices to be made, being hopeful and trusting our instinct remains key.

What Mirela Sula and her team have done is provide a platform where women can have a collective voice. A voice, of hope, unity, love and togetherness. I met inspiring women at the Global women event in London. From impleccable clothing designers ;Kotywear, mothers, social media managers, entrepreneurs such as Veronica to empire builders.

If you want to hear or learn more about this amazing movement of migrant women, check out global woman on links below:

.https://instagram.com/p/BmLv2cilTek/

https://globalwomanclub.com/our-story/

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