Gunny Sack Gardening & Purposeful Gifting this Mothers Day

Nixon and I made the most of a break in the rain this morning and headed outside to create our own gunny sack garden and plant it with kale seeds.  ChildFund New Zealand are using this innovative and eco-friendly initiative with families in Kenya to help address severe malnutrition in children.  I’m fighting an ongoing battle of wills with Nixon right now as we struggle to maintain a balanced diet now that he has a fairly established pallette.  I can’t begin to imagine how hard this would be for mums in remote Kenya with scarce nutritional knowledge, water and resources.

Mothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New ZealandMothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New Zealand

A super-easy gunny sack garden helps to provide a family of six supplementary veges for three months plus these little wonders have also been implemented within Kenyan schools to provide for nutritious lunches.  This project start-to-finish took my little helper and I 30 minutes max and gave me some brilliant insight into how I can better maximise space in my garden and use resources more efficiently.  The gunny sack garden is brilliantly simple yet contains a gravel drain for water economy and will slowly decompose leaving only waste that can be re-used.  In about 4-6 weeks we will have a bounty of kale ready to harvest!

Mothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New ZealandBeginning a conversation with your kids and creating a gunny sack garden of your own will help highlight the huge nutritional deficit that is faced by many Kenyan families.  We can all help by considering purposeful gifts this Mother’s Day and shopping from ChildFund’s Gifts that Grow Catalogue.  

The same mothers in Kenya who are benefiting from the Nutrition Training programme provided by ChildFund donations are also part of Maka Emali, a livelihoods project. With the additional support of NZ artist Chris Delany, the project has helped revive almost lost cultural arts. They make stunning woven baskets which are sold around the world including in NZ through Iko Iko stores (http://ikoiko.co.nz/search?q=kenya&search=Submit).  I have one of these beautiful baskets to give away!  To enter, please head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the instructions on the contest image.  Competition closes Sunday May 3rd 10pm.

Mothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New Zealand

Outsmart your kids with DUPLO Mum Hacks + Giveaway!

Toys that do double-duty are my absolute favourite when it comes to creating hours of meaningful, educational play for Nixon.  I will not buy single purpose toys for under 5’s as little ones tire of them so quickly and often require intensive supervision to ensure they stay focused and on task.  Duplo however, is guaranteed to keep my boys entertained through the daily ‘witching hour’ of 5.50-6.30pm, when all hell breaks loose and ringing through the neighbourhood are the cries of “MASH”, “I’m hungry”, “when will dinner be ready?”, “what’s for dinner”, “MASH”, “we always have THAT”……… your house, too right?  RIGHT? So, I’ve been trying to think out of the box and come up with some simple and quick games Ethan can help Nixie with, freeing me up to feed the masses.

Stage 1 Mum Hack: Nixon is 21 months old and has a rudimentary grasp on his colours.  I built four basic squares and had a rummage in our Duplo box to find a good range of different sized bricks to match the four primary coloured squares; red, yellow, blue and green.  I pop these in a large basket so Nix can easily see all of the bricks.  Using verbal cues we show Nix what the expected result is i.e. all of the Duplo sorted by colour into the squares, and then we prompt him to do it himself.  Creating a basic colour matching game with Duplo will assist with his fine motor skills (picking and sorting) as well as colour identification, differentiation and association.

Duplo Mum Hack Mum Blogger New Zealand Duplo Mum Hack Mum Blogger New Zealand

Stage 2 Mum Hack: Once Nix has grasped colour sorting I’ll print out some flash cards with varying images on them i.e two blue bricks, and ask him to match his Duplo bricks to the image before sorting it into the squares.  This will ease him into emergent numeracy work, identifying shapes, patterns, measurement (big vs small) and numbers – all under the guise of play!  You can take this as far as you want to, flash cards can be quickly drawn up to work on sequencing – the aim in the example below is to make a pattern as described on the flash card.

Duplo Mum Hack Mum Blogger New Zealand

What’s your tip to help make mum’s life easier? LEGO DUPLO is celebrating these tricks with #DUPLOMumHacks. Upload your idea, using #DUPLOMumHacks, and be in with a chance to win a LEGO DUPLO prize pack.

Simply share your hack on Instagram (tag me @thebestnest), Facebook (share on my page The Best Nest) or Twitter (tag me @thebestnestnz) with #DUPLOMumHacks and you’ll go into the draw to win a LEGO DUPLO prize pack of your own. I have three DUPLO My First Playhouse sets to give away! Winners drawn Friday 31st May 2015.  NZ residents only.

All entries shared via Instagram and Twitter using #DUPLOMumHacks will be aggregated in the #DUPLOMumHacks Facebook tab and entered in the grand competition to win a LEGO DUPLO prize pack each month. Click here to find out more and see other entries.

This post was made possible thanks to LEGO DUPLO. All views are authentic and to the best of the authors knowledge at time of publication. 

All entries uploaded using #DUPLOMumHacks will automatically go into the LEGO DUPLO Facebook Competition, please see additional T&C’s here. By submitting an entry, each participant: (a) warrants and represents that he/she owns the rights to the content submitted and that the content submitted is: (i) original to him/her and has been legally obtained and created, (ii) does not infringe the intellectual property rights, privacy or publicity rights or any other legal or moral rights of any third party; (b) grants the LEGO Group a worldwide, royalty free, perpetual license to, copy and reproduce the video or entry on the LEGO® website at www.LEGO.com, its websites and its social media channels; and (c) agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the LEGO Group against any and all claims, damages, expenses, costs and liabilities relating to trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property rights, right of publicity, right of privacy or defamation.

We tried: Precious Eco Nappies! + a Giveaway for you

Prior to Nixon’s pull-through operation to help his Hirschspungs Disease we were using cloth nappies.  I invested the money, got my little system sorted and felt good about what we were doing.  I was soon to realise that cloth diapering is very, very easy when you have a baby that never, ever poops.  Post-op, things were radically different.  Nixon’s shorter bowell was fully operational within 15 minutes of waking from anaesthesia and pretty much didn’t stop for about a month.  It’s a miracle that his little baby toosh isn’t scarred from the nappy rash that ensued!

Anyway, I digress as usual……..It was at this particularly difficult time that I packaged up the cloth nappies and eagerly sold them on Trade Me, happy to never see another insert or pocket ever, ever again.

Having an eco-friendly alternative to cloth diapering is so important, because, let’s face it, cloth is not for everyone.  I love disposable nappies.  There.  I said it.  

What is super cool is that now we do have a choice.  We were sent some of the New Precious Eco Nappies to try and Nix has now been wearing them exclusively for the past week.  Did I mention that Nix has had rotavirus over the past week?  No?  I’m sure there is no better road test for a nappy than a Hirschsprung’s kid with rotavirus lol {I’m actually crying on the inside}.

Verdict:  Great.  Super.  No leaks.  Can’t believe I’m saying that after the week we’ve had but it’s true!  A little less stretch than regular disposables but pretty much a non-issue.

New Precious Eco Nappies are 75% biodegradable and compostable in managed landfill and composting facilities, and just the answer for those mums that worry about the environmental implications of conventional disposable nappies.

New Precious Eco Nappies come in six sizes including Newborn, Infant, Crawler, Toddler, Walker and Junior and are available from all New World and Pak’n Save supermarkets as well as online from The Wholesale Nappy Company. Recommended retail price is $11.99.

Here’s your chance to win one of 3 Precious gift packs consisting of a pack of Precious Eco Nappies, a pack of Precious 99.45% Sensitive Water Wipes and a pack of Precious Travel Wipes plus a super cool duffle bag from Cotton On Kids!  I’m giving away 1 prize pack here, just leave me a comment below and let me know how you roll – cloth, disposable, both?  I’m giving away the other 2 prize packs on Facebook so head over to The Best Nest and follow the instructions on the prize image.

Competition closes Wednesday 6th May at 10.pm.

Precious Eco Nappies were provided to me for editorial consideration, opinions expressed are my own.Eco Nappies Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Munch: Litter-less Lunchboxes with Munch Reusable baggies and wraps

I’M SO PLEASED TO HAVE JOINED MUNCH COOKING THIS YEAR AS ONE OF THEIR MUNCH MUMS!   LOOK OUT FOR MY REVIEWS AND GIVEAWAYS EACH MONTH AS I INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME AWESOME {AND PRETTY INNOVATIVE} PRODUCTS FROM THE MUNCH CUPBOARD.

Munch Review and Giveaway Mummy Blog NZ

I’ve never explored the concept of litter-less lunchboxes.  I’m not sure why, but it’s probably got something to do with an ingrained love of gladwrap that I inherited from my mother.  We love to wrap up food.  Weird, I know, moving right along!

Plastic wrap poses huge environmental problems, there is no refuting this.  The risk it poses to animals as well as the environmental impact of non-degradable materials is now a problem that we as consumers can no longer ignore.  Preventative measures don’t have to be difficult either.  Simple solutions are ones that stick and sometimes end up making an impact far greater than large grandiose gestures.  The perfect, simple and effective solution to plastic wrap and sandwich bags is made right here in NZ, by a Mum (!), is lead, phthalates and BPA free, the exterior is 100% cotton with waterproof fabric on the inside and it’s inexpensive and cute to boot. Win!

Meet the Munch Litter-less wraps and baggies.  My kitchen and my kids lunchboxes will hopefully never be missing either of these super eco-essentials again!

The Munch Baggie is the perfect size for a half sandwich, snack pack or a slice of feijoa loaf as pictured – (find the feijoa loaf recipe here).  Measuring 19 x 15 cm, this makes managing snack time on the go so much easier for little hands.  Fill with popcorn, grapes, dried fruit, vege sticks or baking……….the possibilities are endless.  A feature I love is how easily Nixon is able to navigate the velcro closure; have you ever seen toddlers trying to extricate food from the prison of plastic wrap?  Sometimes it’s just too hard and healthy options can get relegated back to the lunchbox because of their inaccessibility.

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The baggie’s big brother is the Munch Wrap.  Ethan and Dave like a big filled roll for lunch so I was interested to see if the reusable wrap would be able to cope.  Pictured below is a large ciabatta roll stuffed with fillings.  The Munch wrap is 37cm in diameter and made short work of Ethan’s lunch roll, wrapping it firmly and securely with no spillage before the lunch bell rings.Munch Reusable Food Wraps NZ Mummy Blogger These wraps are cute, eco-friendly and do exactly what they are intended to do – provide a perfect replacement to plastic wrap that is easy to use, keeps food fresh and is also easy to re-use.  Just wipe them down with a cloth or give them a quick wash when they need it.  An easy investment at $13.99 each, available from the Munch Cupboard.

If you would like to win a Munch Baggie and Wrap simply comment below, telling me who would use these in your house.  Competition closes May 3rd at 10pm.

Congratulations to Bridget Whittaker!  I will get these in the mail to you asap, please check your email xx

Munch Reusable Food Wraps NZ Mummy Blogger

Flying by the seat of my pants.

Last week saw the somewhat anticipated beginning of Term 2. After a lovely, lazy two weeks of school holidays E left the house last Monday happy and ready to get stuck in to another school term. Compared to holidays past, the Easter break was chilled and calm. I made no School Holiday Activity Lists as I have done in the past, in fact there were only two days of ‘planned’ excursions over the entire break. Quel horreur!
It was bloody good. And cheap.
The Problem With Last Week began upon Ethan’s return to school. See, I forgot to kick myself out of school holiday mode and spent the rest of the week trying to remove my head from my ass the clouds and get some shit done.  Nixie was very busy getting shit done as he picked up another bout of rotavirus the week before, let the good times roll!  

So it was the kind of week where permission slips and gold coins were scrambled for 5 minutes after E was supposed to leave for school, dinners were freezer-to-microwave affairs – unplanned and unremarkable, I was out two nights, further complicating matters and leaving me even less time to, well, not do Very Important Stuff.  Like be an awesome mum and wife : (

Sigh.

The ‘work’ week ended with Dave and I having a big fight about an outdoor project we were going to be completing over the weekend.  Ridiculous, but the culmination of a very stressful week for Dave and a useless, self-absorbed week for me.  I’ve been focussing on all the wrong things, neglecting the right things and letting my beautiful family slip by the wayside.

This week will be better.  The work week is already a day shorter so I’m winning already.  We had such a great long weekend, Dave and I are totally back on the same page and aside from him smashing his face skateboarding in the weekend and chipping a tooth badly (read: $$$), I’m ready to rock this week!

I hope you guys are on track for an amazing week too xx

 

Say hello! Think.Play.Love + Giveaway!

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUM’S OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO! [email protected]


 

Ok, so today we are Saying hello! to a business that gives me ALL of the mummy guilts.  When Ethan was a babe we did every activity on offer.  You name it we had a booking; Jumping Beans, swimming from 3 months old, baby art classes, Mainly Music, regular play dates………meanwhile, baby #2?  Nixon and I have been chilling for almost 2 years lol.  And there are reasons for that of course, but one thing I do remember from all of my excursions with Ethan was that sometimes, classes with young bubbas are just as beneficial for the Mums as they are educational and stimulating for the wee ones :  )

Let me introduce Sam and Think.Play.Love.  “Nurturing playful minds for kiwi kids” – how lovely does that sound?  Sam and Hannah from Think.Play.Love bring a uniquely kiwi element to music, movement and sensory classes for babies under 14 months and toddlers 14 months – 3 years.  These two qualified early childhood and primary teachers have crafted their fab, experiential classes to support the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, including learning and experiences in Te Reo.   Based in Auckland, classes are held in Browns Bay, Whenuapai, Takapuna, Pt Chevalier and Henderson.

For more information or to book a class please visit Think.Play.Love online or on Facebook.

Hello Sam!  Which came first, the baby or the business?

The baby, but the idea for the business was dreamt up long before Cooper came along! My business partner, Hannah, attended music classes for babies while working as a nanny in London so we often talked about setting up something similar ourselves but with a New Zealand flavour for our Kiwi kids. After Cooper turned one I wasn’t ready to return to my teaching job as I wanted more flexible hours to be at home with him so we decided to go for it and Think.Play.Love was born!

 What is your background and how does this influence your business ethos?

I worked as a Primary teacher for 10 years so I am extremely passionate about education and child development. Think.Play.Love has allowed me to build on my existing skills as a teacher but broaden my knowledge and experience by branching into the Early Childhood sector. I feel that learning through movement and sensory play is absolutely crucial for the developing minds of babies so this is always at the forefront of my mind when planning our classes.

How do you manage to balance your young family with life as a business owner?

It’s hard that’s for sure! My partner also has his own glazing business so there is a lot to fit in. I try to be really present when I am with Cooper rather than on my phone or the computer so most of my work is done while he is napping during the day or at night once he is in bed. I am so lucky to have such a strong support network, my family have been great! My mum and sister often look after Cooper so that I can run classes.

 Social media is changing the way businesses tell their stories and reach out to customers, how do you incorporate SM in your business plan and is it hard to keep your personal stories separate?

We have found Social Media to be the most effective way for us to get our name out there and generate a following for Think.Play.Love. I do share personal stories or photos of Cooper from time to time. I actually see it as a good thing as I want our followers to be able to relate to me and know that I am a mum just like them.

What’s ahead for Think Play Love?

We are really excited as we are in the process of adding toddler classes which will be available from Term 3. The classes will still include sensory learning experiences but we will add in a lot more movement activities to promote fine and gross motor skills and cross patterning through climbing type activities, all of which develop important brain pathways.


 

If you would like to win a double pass for you and a friend + your babies to try a Think.Play.Love class for yourself head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the competition guidelines.
Think Play Love Baby Sensory Classes Auckland Mum Blogger Think Play Love Baby Sensory Classes Auckland Mum Blogger

 

A Girls Guide to Mac’s Cider Pairing

Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

Bucking the trend that has seen sickly sweet ciders flood the market recently (if I never taste another Strawberry Lime Cider it will be too soon!), Mac’s have taken inspiration from their brewing roots and brought to market four stunning wee drops that will easily find favour with palettes of all persuasions.  I love drinks that have a varietal for all occasions, I think this is why many of us gravitate towards wine.  Cider can also produce flavours as varied and complex as other brews and ferments, you may just have to step out of your comfort zone to experience them! Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

Food and beverage pairing is difficult to get right and even more difficult to remember – for me at least!  With their crafted ciders, Mac’s offer four stunning new flavours that won’t be forgotten; Cloudy Apple, Cranberry & Ginger, Blood Orange & Cardamom and Chilli & Lime.  To make things a little easier for those of us who struggle with the complexities of menu planning, I’ve put together some handy infographics to ensure you always get your cider pairing just right!  Take special note of the flavour scale which is now on all Mac’s beers and ciders, a #1 on the scale will offer refreshment and quenching relief while a #7 will leave you wanting to take your time and savour the intense flavour experience on offer. Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

This range brings innovation and a modern twist on classic cider while remaining true to the tart apple base which remains present throughout the range.  Whether you’re a gumboot girl or a city babe there is something for everyone here, but you simply must try the Chilli & Lime.  Get over the seemingly bizarre concept of a chilli cider and prepared to be wowed.  This one’s a keeper for sure!

Enjoy!

Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

The Lipstick Project + Karen Murrell

While many teenage girls were excited about makeup and waged battles with their parents about the appropriateness of their blue eyeshadow, I was entirely disinterested and more than likely at the beach surfing.  When I was heading out for the night my entire routine consisted of a quick application of Natural Glow {I am deadly serious btw} and some good old Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.  That.  Was.  It.  The sum total of my makeup prowess for years………and years.

Time and age have caught up with me and I’ve set myself a little goal this year, to take care of my skin with some great products and to get this makeup disaster under control before 36 turns into 40!  With the help of my wonderful Facebook community we quickly sorted the mascara situation.  A product showdown between Benefit They’re Real and Eye of Horus saw the EOH Goddess Mascara as my new lash fave.  Time to turn my attention elsewhere.

I am a lipstick virgin.  

It’s true.  I will do full face makeup {as best I know how!} and leave my lips completely bare.  I have never fallen in love with a shade, never lusted after those addictive little tubes of colour………but then that whole red lipstick thing happened a couple of years ago and a statement lip seemed to be something I might be able to get on board with.  Sadly, no lipstick wearing eventuated as just the thought of heading in-store and trying to pick ONE colour to fall in love with and feel confident and comfortable wearing was enough to send me running back to my Chapstick.

Until now.

Thanks to Karen Murrell Natural Lipsticks I am about to undergo a pretty outrageous form of therapy.  I’m not sure it’s ever been attempted before but beginning today, I am undergoing Full Lipstick Immersion.  Lipstick all day, every day for 7 days.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with my daily routine {how can this be?  Twitter?  IG?  FB?  Do you not follow?}, I am a stay at home Mum.  I have a toddler and a 10 year old.  I do not live the glamorous lifestyle ya’ll.  So be prepared for lipstick whilst lawnmowing, lipstick whilst at rugby training, lipstick whilst cleaning off the porridge that’s stuck to the dining table……….  If I’m there, some gorgeous shade of cruelty free lipstick will be right there with me.

I’d love you to follow along this week on Instagram (@thebestnest) as I bumble along and hopefully get my grown-up pout rocking, even if I am a little late to the party lol.

If you fall in love with any of the shades I wear, head over to www.karenmurrell.com where you can shop onine or browse for a stockist in your region. 

Karen Murrell Lipstick Beauty Blogger New Zealand

*Product was provided for editorial consideration, all opinions are genuine and my own.

New Product | Neat n Sweet Sheets + Giveaway

Everytime I think that surely there are simply no more amazing ideas out there left to bring to market, a Mum comes up with something new and fab.  It’s always a Mum isn’t it?

Kirsty from Neat n Sweet attempted making up her cot whilst pregnant and soon realised what all Mums and Dads (maybe only some Dads?)  know as fact; making up a cot is almost as futile and aggravating as making up a top bunk!  She then began a journey of trial and error combined with years of research and experimentation which has led to the development of Neat n Sweet sheets.

Neat n Sweet sheets are designed to tuck baby into bed the good old-fashioned way. Made with special fittings that fasten under the mattress, they keep the entire sheet set secure and in place and avoid the top sheet from lifting up, becoming loose and untucked.

 With a top sheet sewn in, parents no longer have to fuss around with tucking in multiple sheets and blankets that could later fall or be kicked off in the middle of the night. A wrap is also fitted to the base sheet that keeps baby in the preferred sleep position through the night – on their back.

The top sheet is fitted with two zips and each provide access to your baby from either side of the cot. Simply zip them up at night and parents can rest assured knowing that baby is tucked up for the night comfortably.

Made from 95% cotton, Neat n Sweet sheets are available in two colours – pretty pink gingham trim or baby blue gingham trim with white sheeting. Both are filled with breathable cotton fibre and each have an RRP of $139.

For more information and to order Neat n Sweet sheets, visit www.neat-n-sweet.com

I have one set of Baby Blue Gingham Sheets to give away so head over to The Best Nest on Facebook to enter.  Competition closes Sunday 26th April at 10pm.Neat n Sweet Sheets Giveaway Mum Blog NZ

 

Cook, Eat | Sugarfree Feijoa Loaf Recipe

Tis the season ya’ll – feijoas are back and when you are blessed with a feijoa tree you don’t just get one or two do you?  You get ALL the feijoas, so having multiple recipes up your sleeve is never a bad idea.  I make this loaf multiple times each year, we love it in all of its sugary glory, but, it works just as well with a stevia natural sweetener.  Yay for reduced calories!

Feijoa Loaf
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chopped feijoas
  2. 1 cup boiling water
  3. 50 grams butter
  4. 3/4 cup sugar or stevia natural sweetener
  5. 2 cups flour
  6. 2 tblsp baking powder ( 3 if using stevia)
  7. 1 tsp baking soda
  8. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Simmer feijoas, water, butter and sugar for 5 minutes.
  2. Beat in 1 egg.
  3. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Pour into loaf pan and bake 180° for 40-50 minutes
http://www.thebestnest.co.nz/