Super 6 Jozi Presents For Christmas

Expat Life

Christmas comes early in Johannesburg, mainly because the schools finish for their main summer holiday at the start of December and soon after everyone flees. My first year here I found it lonely and sad with the lack of Christmas Festivities. My favorite home comforts (Christmas Songs on the radio, Christmas parties, Christmas Specials on TV) weren’t here. Now I actually find it quite refreshing, and low key, with the celebration being about holidays and family time rather than the whole commercial take that there is in the UK and US. 

What I have come to love about Christmas Shopping here, is the ability to buy your presents from local small businesses, through the wealth of Christmas Markets that take place across Joburg (for a list of markets see Top Christmas Events for 2019)

Here are my top brands to shop from on Christmas:

1) For Anyone

A Love Supreme - Wonderful South African brand, I have just purchased one of their beach umbrellas - but also check out their cute gift tags.

Love supreme wrapping.jpg

2) For Him 

Hip Kit - Belts imported from Argentina (they also sell dog collars) 

Melville and Moon - Great place for something a bit different, handmade safari luggage, camping chairs, Leather bags, portable drinks cabinets. Based in Kramerville.  

Simon and Mary - Beautiful hats made here in Joburg. 

Simon & Mary.png

3) For Kids

Kapas Baby and Toddler - Beautiful clothes and accessories for the little ones, from Memory Cards to cute muslins and these beautiful blankets. They were also rapidly selling out of their cute clothes too.  

Pool Pillow - Hours of fun in the pool, or use it as a sun bed. These are just great for the whole family. R850 each

Yummy Baby - Great selection of kids toys on 4th Avenue, Parkhurst

PlayToys - This is a smaller toy shop that focuses on great wooden toys, educational games, and high quality playthings. Good from baby to teenager-or older! Shops are now located in Kyalami, Menlyn, and Blubird Center.

pool pillow.jpg

4) For You

Patrick Mavros - From Zimbabwe, these exquisite items make the ultimate luxury gift.  Stores on the Fulham Road, London, Harare, Mauritius, and Nairobi. This is a brand you want to start collecting.  I dream to have a dinning table with one or two of his sculptures in the centre one day.  

How can I not include the beautiful Henrietta Botha - I adore every single item! From necklace's to her ear rings, and bracelets an item and price tag for every family member! She now has a shop in Parkview, or you can purchase online here.

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 5) For Sibling/Friend

I adore these beautiful throws, table linen and blankets from Mungo - if you are in Joburg you can pick them up from A Beautiful Life in Parkhurst.

For the holiday - Stitch and Social Enterprise - cotton picnic blankets, in variety of styles. 

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6) Online Shopping

Whilst post in SA isn't the most reliable, more and more retailers are coming online…

Nonna - Great selection of gifts for him, her and kids!

Kramers - based in Cape Town, but head up a few times a year to run markets showcasing the best South Africa designers. 

Hello Pretty - Online network of crafters, artists, and designers across South Africa. Kind of like a local Etsy site!

What else do you recommend?? Leave a comment or let us know on our Facebook page!

The Best Children's Birthday Parties in South Africa

Planning a Birthday Party 

Image by the amazing  Zsuzsanna Fedak Photography

Image by the amazing Zsuzsanna Fedak Photography


Looking for help planning a birthday party in South Africa? Whether you are looking for child-friendly party venues, party suppliers, birthday cakes or something special, such as a magician or performer, we have you covered. In this mega list, we give you a wide list of resources that will make party planning a breeze.


A Stress-Free Guide to Party Planning in South Africa

First things first, take a deep breath. We know how tough it can be to plan a child's birthday. When you are a long way from home, in a brand new country, without your usual support network, this task becomes even more stressful. To help you get started, we have put together a list of tips, resources and info that make party planning in South Africa as stress-free as possible.


Birthday Party Suppliers in Joburg


First up, here is our list of birthday party suppliers in Joburg.

Venues

REEA Urban Farm (Braamfontein)

Johannesburg Country Club (Auckland Park)

Indaba Hotel (Fourways)

Bryanston Country Club (Sandton)

BOUNCE Trampoline Park Waterfall (Midrand/ Various)

Model Train Park / The Rand Society of Model Engineers -

best childrens parties in Johannesburg



AcroBranch Melrose (Melrose)

Jungle Joes Party Adventures (Bramley)

Avalanche (Fourways)

Gold Reef City (Ormonde)

Entertainers


Smilemakers – wide range of entertainment options from magic to face painting

MonkeyMagic – making kids party dreams come true

Magic Circle Entertainment – magicians and illusionists

Facepaint Fanatix – balloon animals, face painting and more

Jumpees Jumping Castles Hire – jumping castles for hire

Baby Boffins – kids art lessons

Cakes

Paul's Homemade Ice Cream Cakes (Parkhurst/ Rosebank - various)

Emily's Cakes (Observatory)

Inspired Cakes (Sandton)

Cake And Bake (Honeydew)

best childrens birthday party ideas in Johannesburg



Decorations

Flower Spot (Woodmead)

Westpack Lifestyle (Various Branches)

Kidz Cardz & Party Buckets (Alberton)

PartyNet (Edenvale)

Party Planners

Bash

Pudding and Pie (Nicky)

Count on Us


Birthday Party Suppliers in Cape Town

Next, we have a list of birthday party suppliers in Cape Town.

Venues

The River Club (Observatory)

The Play Shed (Pinelands)

Lasertag Cape Town (Various Locations)

The Blue Train Park (Mouille Point)

Ottery Barnyard (Ottery)

Clay Cafe (Hout Bay)

Wild Clover Farm (Stellenbosch)

Ratanga Junction (Century City)

Entertainers

Hip Hip Hooray - helium Balloons, jumping castles, parties, carnivals, events and more

Glendini – kids magic shows and more

Face Choice – face painting and other fun

Matt Gore - The Ginger Ninja – hilarious magic and entrainment shows

Rumble Grumble Parties – jumping castles for hire

Cakes

kids parties Johannesburg
best childrens parties in Johannesburg

I really hate giving away meaningless party packs, full of additional sugar, and more plastic, but its hard to think of alternatives. Here are a few suggestions, but I would love to know if you have any ideas?

  • Balloons with sweets at the bottom

  • Play-do

  • Lego pieces

  • CD of favourite music

  • Biscuits (animal or themed)

  • Glow sticks


Have a specific question? Or need advice on a party for a certain age, come and ask for feedback inside our Moving to South Africa Facebook Group.

Travelling with Kids - The Kit

Living abroad often means you become a pro at traveling! Whether by car, plane or train with or without kids! Since living in Joburg we have done 16 hours + car journeys, and countless plane trips, it becomes part of life. 

Our Traveling with Kids blog series will review top products, provide helpful preparation tips, ideas on what to pack, and finally hints on how to survive the journey itself. Do you have any recommendations? Or tips that have been really helpful for you? Come join the conversation over in our Moving to South Africa facebook group, click here to join.

Would love to know your hacks, hints and tips for how you get you and your family from A - B.  

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The Kit:  

There are lots of new and innovative pieces of kit on the market, but often they come with a high price tag, and only suitable for small age bracket, here are the ones we think are worth investigating. 

Ergo Baby 

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- One of the best pieces of kit we brought, we continued to use it for our daughter up to 3/4 years old!

- Carry your child / baby in 4 different positions, depending on your personal preference or the childs' age/ weight. 

 - Great support for your shoulders and back, due to distributing the childs weight across your hips rather than pulling at your shoulders.

$125   

Age - Birth - 3years  

http://store.ergobaby.com

Travel Buggy

 
Rather than take your big buggy - which often will fill up the entire boot of your hire car, get yourself a smaller cheaper travel buggy.  

A great tip - we always used to ask if we could take the buggy on board with us (particularly if you are travelling Business), usually if you can get the buggy right to the aircraft door, and then ask the staff on board they will often find a place for it. Particularly if you are traveling on your own.

MacClaren  - Tried and tested guaranteed quality. Prices from £115 upward 
City Jogger Mini - Easiest buggy to collapse particularly if you will be using it on public transport too. $259 upwards    
Uppa Baby  - G-Luxe or G-Lite   - Really light, and comes with strap so you can carry it too. $159 upwards

Pram Pack  

- Its great at protecting your pram throughout the journey. 
- The pram is itself the bag it is VERY bulky. 
- The up side of it being so big is you can fit your car seat, travel cot, and clothes inside it too!  - 

Brought In SA from Yummy Baby - R3,7500  / or in the US Amazon $199

http://yummybaby.co.za/shop/strollers/stokke-pram-pack-travel-bag/

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Hand Luggage Bags:  

The Bed Box  

- Fantastic idea, extending an average seat to create a bed for your child. 

- Works well if have a window seat - not so good if in the aisle. 

- During turbulence, you would still have your child strapped in, but dependant on the aircraft. 

 - Big bit of kit to take through the airport. 

- It would be amazing if they are kept on board the plane and distributed to you - so then you wouldn't need the hassle of carrying it!  

Rough Age Guide 2 - 3years (the website suggests up to 6yrs) but looking at the size its around the same as a changing matt. 

£119  

http://jet-kids.com/bedbox.html

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Flying Leg Pillow 

- Same concept to the Bed Box,

- Inflatable pillow,

- Takes a while to blow up (and then deflate),

- Small and light to carry with you.

- Again great if you have a window seat, probably not so good in exit seat.  

$49.99 (Australian Dollars)  

http://www.1stclasskid.com  

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Toby Tiger - Trunki  

Love them or hate them, we have had ours for 3 years for our daughter who adores her Toby Tiger, she packs it herself and its nice and light and good quality. However we brought the UK addition, the product has since been sold to Melissa and Doug in US, and sadly the quality has reduced.   

- Its quite hard for our daughter to pull along herself (steering is no where near as good as normal pull along case). 

- Often I ended up carrying it, so would have been easier to have a normal soft rucksack. 

Rough Age Guide  3 - 5yrs

R999,90

http://trunki-sa.co.za/shop/trunki/tiger-tipu/

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Micro Scooter - Luggage  

- Best thing we can brought!  Lots of attention getting through the airport.
- Got our daughter from A - B, kept her entertained whilst waiting.  
- Quite hard transferring it from scooter to pull along bag, but this looks to be fixed in the newer version.   
- Scooter can be used for adults too - so we all had a ride!  

Micro Scooters (suitable for Adults and Children 3/4yrs+):  
New Model £275  
Older Kids Model on sale - £125  

http://www.micro-scooters.co.uk/scooters-age-luggage-scooters.html

Or Zinc Flyte Kids Scooter  
£69  
https://www.zincflyte.com/
  

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Samsonite Kids Luggage 

- Reliable

- Easy for kids to push themselves.

- Will last for years!

Age 3yrs +

From R1895   

http://www.samsonite.co.za/kids-suitcases

Trunki Car Seat 

- We have used this since our daughter was 3 years old, check regulations for the country you are visiting since its just a boaster seat rather than actual car seat. 

- Fantastic Back Pack, our daughter loves packing her toys and colouring books in. 

- Brilliant for taking with you and then using in Uber / Taxi to get around. 

Age 4 - 8years

R999

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http://trunki-sa.co.za/product-category/boostapak/


As much as we love technology to connect us all, there is nothing better than meeting in person - so come say hi at our next monthly meet up! Click here: What’s On in Joburg to find our next one.

Should I send my child to an International or Local School?

An important factor to think through when choosing a school here in South Africa is to think about whats next for your children. We have interviewed a few families who have transitioned out of the local and international school system to give us their reflections on the choices they made.

International school vs Local School

Katrin Barass is mother to 3 girls, who left the UK when the girls were 6yrs, 4yrs and 2yrs. Last year they left for Dubai after 4 years here in SA. 

Katrins girls all went to Kingsmead Girls School in Rosebank. 

Why Did You Choose To Send Your Children To A Local / International School ? 

We chose the school because it was the closest to what we left behind. Simple things like uniforms, emphasis on manners and an ethos that we felt would benefit our girls. We chose this over an international school where the turnover of pupils
And staff would be higher. 



I would definitely make the same decision again. Kingsmead was a great building block for our girls

How Has The Transition Been Taking Them Into A Different System.

For the older two who I actually was worried  about, the transition was easy. They filled gaps by reading during the holiday. My youngest has had to have intensive learning support ( 3 lessons a week) to catch up on reading, writing and maths. This has been a year now. I would therefore watch out as to when you transition. So perhaps have the few critical years covered and then move back into the British System. Also choose a school that will provide support within school hours. After school my youngest is not interested or willing to sit at a desk.

Having Now Left Johannesburg, Would You Make The Same Decisions Again?

Yes, I would make the same decisions again.

https://kingsmead.co.za/

 
My Advice Would Be:

If you are leaving the SA system, I would transition after 8 years old, (rather than earlier) as the basics will then have been covered.

If you are moving systems Choose a school that understands this transition. A lot of schools in Dubai said they could not help my youngest and would only take her if she was up to her age group level. As a result I didn’t choose what I considered the best school but one that could meet my families needs. I chose keeping my kids together over academic performance. 

Be opened minded, I thought my shy oldest would hate moving to a big school. They moved to a school with over 1,500 students. I was amazed when she told me she actually prefers it as there are no groups of popular and unpopular kids. You think small and intimate is the way forward and that your kid will get extra attention but actually sometimes it can make them feel left out by their peers. My concern over it being a big school was blown out of the water. 
 

The best of Christmas In Joburg

Expat in Johannesburg will have to get used to celebrating Christmas so early! Christmas markets and fairs start early October and run until start of December, mainly because the schools finish for their main summer holiday at the start of December and soon after everyone flees. My first year here I found it lonely and sad with the lack of Christmas Festivities. My favourite home comforts (Christmas Songs on the radio, Christmas parties, Christmas Specials on TV) weren’t here. Now I actually find it quite refreshing, and low key, with the celebration being about holidays and family time rather than the whole commercial take that there is in the UK and US. 

What I have come to love about Christmas Shopping here, is the ability to buy your presents from local small businesses, through the wealth of Christmas Markets that take place across Joburg. Some are better than others, but here is our list of whats on when over the next few months!  

Christmas in Johannesburg

FESTIVE MARKETS & SHOWS

By Word Of Mouth Festive Market - Sunday 6th And Monday 8th October  

Hosted at The Polo Room at the Inanda Club. Word of Mouth host fantastic workshops sharing, decor looks, edible gifts and weaths, along with christmas food ideas. 

Sanlan Handmade Contemporary Fair - 11th - 14th October 

If you only get to one Christmas Market, make sure its this one! They alway curate the best of South African design (plus food and drink is amazing!)  

Glenshiel Christmas Market- Westcliff 25th - 28th October 

Catch the tail end of the Jacaranda's in this spectacular property. This annual fundraiser for St Johns Ambulance service hosts a high end carefully curated market and tea garden.   

 

November 

Bryanston Organic Christmas Night Markets - Every Tuesday From 20th November 

Parkhurst Late Night Christmas Shopping - Thursday 22nd & 29th November 

Parkview Christmas Market 30th November - 2nd December

Community Market, with carols sang by the local primary and high schools. Lovely outing for the whole family.  

Boutique Christmas Market - Hyde Park -  24th- 25th November 

Melrose Arch Christmas November 2nd - 3rd January - place to go and see beautiful christmas lights!  

 

December 

Linden Market - 1st & 2nd December. 

Linden market is a local boutique market, they have managed to source some of the best products out there. Set in Emmarentia Dam, its a beautiful setting with kids play area, and great food and drink venders there is something for everyone. 

Kamers - 4th - 9th December Pretoria. 

expat life in south africa

From fashion to food… skincare to ceramics… jewellery, lifestyle, music and more – at Southdowns College, a trendy venue that perfectly reflects this uniquely South African event. 

44 Stanley Christmas Market - 7th December - Date TBC 

Christmas with Richard Cock - 8th & 9th December Join the the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra for a Christmas carol concert at the Linder Auditorium

The Sheds 1Fox St Christmas Carols Market - 7th December
Monte Casino - Christmas Village - 12th December - 17th December

(+ outdoor screen showing family christmas movies) TBC

Fourways Christmas Day And Night Market - 9th /10thDec & 16th/ 17th Dec Date TBC 

The Neighbourgoods Market - Saturday Morning & 1st Thursday Of The Month  

expat life in south africa

 

HAVE WE MISSED ANY MARKETS? PLEASE LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW