Say hello! The Creative Lunchbox + Giveaway

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I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS 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]


Whether you’re a homeschooler, a mum of mainstream schooled kids, a kindy mum, caregiver or a grandparent enjoying a sleepover on weekends, you will undoubtedly be packing a lunchbox at some point or other.  The standard kiwi lunch box is fast becoming an endangered species as more and more parents discover the internationally trending Bento-style lunchboxes. (Not sure what I’m talking about?  Take a look here for some bento inspo).

Justyne, Mum of three, is a veritable Bento expert.  She is the owner of the one-stop lunchbox shop, The Creative Lunchbox and has carefully curated a covetable range of kid friendly lunch products that will leave that Glad® ClingWrap in the drawer for good!

Mummy Blog new ZealandLet’s meet Justyn in her own words;

 

Tell us a little about what led you to launch The Creative Lunchbox

I launched The Creative Lunchbox after shopping for a lunchbox for my nephew and noticing a distinct lack of quality litterfree lunch options available in the NZ market. After a huge amount of research on what is available, The Creative Lunchbox was born. We offer a range of products that support wastefree lunches, many of which are exclusive to us in NZ.

Mum’s (and kids!) LOVE the bento/litterless lunchbox phenomenon, what’s the attraction and what are the benefits?

The Bento phenomenon; you are right it is starting to explode. Schools are becoming more environmentally savvy and many are embracing “litterfree” policies. Bento has been a way of life in Japan for many years.  Mums there have found that being creative with food presentation in their kids lunchboxes makes healthy food much more attractive for kids to eat. The distinct lack of waste such as plastic wrap and foil is an added bonus because not only are we saving money by not using these products, we are also helping the environment. No fumbling for fingers either having to unwrap food. It’s an easy solution, the same wrapped healthy food presented in a creative manner with no packaging makes kids want to eat what is in front of them. My own kids lunchboxes rarely come home with food waste anymore.

What are your favorite products in stock right now?

My favourite products in stock right now are our Bentology Lunchboxes and our awesome Juice In The Box – A revolutionary patented designed reusable drink box. It’s safe, completely chemical free, easy to clean and comes in four awesome colours kids will love.

How do you manage the work/life balance now that you’re your own boss?

Being your own boss is fun. I have three daughters and we live in a rural location so working from home makes sense for us. My kids are busy with activities and we also have an electrical business and a farm (life is busy). Managing the work / life balance can be tricky at times and very hectic trying to fit everything in but generally most of my working time is when my youngest (11 month old) has her day sleep and in the evenings when the house is quiet. Working from home is a balance just like any other job. Family first then work, things like housework often have to take a backseat….one day I dream of having a cleaner … lol 😉

What’s ahead for The Creative Lunchbox?

What’s next, well 2015 is going to be a big year for us. We are researching plenty of amazing products, hopefully some of which we will be able to bring to NZ. We are a new business so it’s about getting the word out there about how awesome and top quality our products are. Our aim is to not only have them available on our website but also in stores throughout the country.

Mummy Blog new ZealandThe Creative Lunchbox has an amazing prize for one lucky reader!  Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and comment on the competition image to be in to win.  Closes Sunday 6th September.

The Best Nest goes to Rarotonga!

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Kia orana!
I’m sitting on a plane, heading off to our family holiday in Rarotonga right now, approx 3 hrs into our flight and my second glass of bubbly is finally starting to take the edge off.
In typical Jack fashion, I feel like all prep for this vacation has been totally last minute and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants.
That is not to say it was a spur of the moment trip. 

All week people have been saying, ‘omg, you’re SO lucky!’, as if we won a prize or something.  The truth is, we have been saving for this holiday for well over a year.  Last winter we decided that 2015 would be different.  We would be among those who escape winter for some tropical sun.  I determined what we could afford to save weekly and we put it away in a separate bank account.  Dave needed a new car a couple of months ago and instead of going over budget (which would have affected our savings plan) we only purchased what we could pay cash for.  Hence he’s driving a small nana-style hatchback lol.  Goals baby.
I have no idea if I have packed everything we need, taking 2 kids to the islands for 12 days is daunting and Dave and I’ve been running on 5 hours sleep each night for a couple of weeks so lord knows what made it into our many bags lol.
I do know that both boys have been amazing so far and this holiday is all about making memories with them.  I’m so grateful to Dave for working so hard to make this happen and letting me squirrel away the money as it comes in – I’m the master of compartmental budgeting lol.
I’ve got some super cool partnerships lined up with tourism operators in Rarotonga so I’ll be blogging about the very best family-friendly experiences the Cook Islands have to offer, so please follow along here or on Instagram to see what we’re getting up to xx

WIWT | NZ Fashion Week + Jord Wood Watches

Mummy Blog new ZealandNew Zealand Fashion Week is in full swing and downtown Auckland is awash with beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes.  The sun shone bright for Day 2 as I headed into the city to attend the ITZME and Julian Danger show followed by lunch at The French Cafe for a gorgeous Dermalogica launch.

How fab does that sound?

Not going to lie, it was pretty amaze but I felt like a complete fish-out-of-water at the runway show.  Getting the kids off to school and kindy by 8am, pulling an outfit together, doing somewhat acceptable hair and make-up before driving into the city, parking and charging a couple of blocks in heels is not my average Wednesday morning lol.  Heck, it’s not even my average Saturday night to be honest!

However, it was totally fun playing dress-ups and accessorizing.  I built my outfit around my Jord Wooden Watch which I love!  I paired the natural wooden beauty of the Green Argentinian Sandalwood with a stacked wooden heel (Country Road) and continued to add texture with a sheer chiffon blouse (F21), pleated skirt (Country Road) and a leather jacket (Just Jeans).

My Ely watch is a dream to wear.  My usual Marc Jacobs is super heavy, (I’m sure it could be used as a weapon actually!) so wearing a quality watch that qualifies as a featherweight is a welcome respite.  The wood is a juxtaposition of hard-wearing functionality and soft, rounded lines that make it a pleasure to wear, plus, free shipping worldwide and the team sizes your watch for your before  despatch.  10/10.

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An Extra Pair of Ears

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Sometimes big corporates do the right thing by the little guys.  Sometimes this goes unnoticed and that’s totally fine as well.

I had never heard of Jetstar’s Flying Start Programme until about 3 months ago when I was extremely humbled to have been invited to join the judging panel.  We convene quarterly to deliberate and award a deserving community group or organization a massive $30,000 grant ($15,000 cash and $15,000 travel) to help them keep on trucking and spread the love amongst more and more kiwis just like you and me.

This quarter, we couldn’t go past the opportunity to help kickstart Hearing Dogs New Zealand’s pilot programme ‘Companion Dogs for Children’.

One in ten New Zealanders is deaf or hearing impaired and Hearing Dogs New Zealand delivers the important service of training assistance dogs to aid and guide them.  Five and a half year old Tom Wilkinson from New Plymouth was one of the first recipients of the ‘Companion Dogs for Children’ programme.  I had the pleasure of chatting to his mum Jo last week and finding out what life is like for a hearing impaired child and just how a companion dog can make a huge difference to a little person.

Mummy Blog new ZealandMum Jo describes five and a half year old Tom as a cheeky wee fellow who’s as full of mischief and fun as most other kids his age.  The not so obvious difference is that Tom was born profoundly deaf.  This is often overlooked as he’s incredibly articulate, but without his two cochlea implants Tom can’t hear a thing.

I was completely unaware that dogs can be trained to assist the hearing impaired. Tom’s Dad initially heard about the Companion Dogs for Children program and after finding out about the many ways in which a companion dog would benefit Tom, the family signed up for the program.  Initially Tom’s young dog Albert (a silky cavoodle) would visit the family home during weekends as part of his training.  The two continue with ongoing soundwork homework now that Albert has been placed permanently with the Wilkinson family.

When I asked Jo to describe some of the day-to-day challenges faced by Tom, she mentioned something I had never considered; though Tom’s implants mean he can hear and function in the classroom and in other social situations, all sounds are transmitted equally.  What this means is chalk on the blackboard, a discussion at the back of the classroom and his teacher talking are all reaching Tom at the same volume.  Simultaneously.  Can you imagine? With no ‘filter’ so to speak, the processing required for Tom to meaningfully listen is exhausting and requires massive amounts of concentration.

Albert is trained to assist Tom in situations where he cannot rely on his implants.  During the night for example, Tom removes his implants so will rely on Albert to notify him of a fire, an alarm or any other disturbance which would reach him aurally.  Albert is also being trained to respond to sequencing cues to assist in communication.  For example if Jo needed to alert Tom to to something she will call Albert and say “Go to Tom”, once Albert has reached him, Tom will say to Albert “Where is it?” and Albert will lead Tom back to Jo.  How awesome is that!

I can’t wait to hear more about how Tom and Albert develop their relationship and further their training together.  In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the Hearing Dogs New Zealand program head over to their website www.hearingdogs.org.nz where you can make a donation.  These guys receive no government funding so public donations and programmes like the Jetstar Flying Start grant help keep them running.Mummy Blog new Zealand

 

Beauty Review | Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening

I always thought I had white teeth.  

I know I have great, strong, cavity free teeth (yes it’s true!), but after living in America for 6 years where at-home whitening is something that everyone does, I realised that my teeth were definitely not as white as I would like.  Whitening products in the states are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by.  White strips, tooth pastes and gels containing peroxide are available at supermarkets, chemists and discount stores in myriad variations and brands, the only difference being the mode of application.

This is not the case in New Zealand.  I’ve just checked online and at one of our main nationwide supermarkets, there are only two at-home whitening options on offer after excluding all of the supermarket brand toothpastes – which have never worked for me personally.

Smile Brilliant offered me the opportunity to try their whitening system and I accepted because of two very important inclusions in the kit;

  1. This system includes custom fitted trays to actually hold the whitening solution against your teeth.  I used the common whitening strips when I lived in California and they are super fiddly, hard to apply and don’t cover all of your teeth.  Gels feel icky and gross and end up all over the inside of your mouth rather than staying on your teeth where you want the solution to be!
  2. Desensitizing gel to remineralize teeth following the whitening procedure.  I remember whitening strips sometimes hurting my teeth, a strange feeling to try and convey, but I was impressed with the addition of a post-whitening treatment to address this issue.

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe

The Process
  • The tray creation kit arrived super fast from the states
  • After reading the easy to follow instructions I mixed the catalyst and base paste together, and made the impressions of both my upper and lower teeth
  • After the impressions hardened I popped them in the padded bag that was provided and sent them back to the states to have my custom trays made – check out my dental molds below!  These are not usually returned to customers but it shows how thorough the Smile Brilliant process is.
  • 5 days later I received an email to say my trays were ready and winging their way back to New Zealand.  Amazingly fast service, and great email updates throughout
  • And then, they were here!  Super fast shipping is always appreciated, especially here in NZ.

The actual whitening process is much easier and comfortable than I had imagined, namely because the trays are so thin, soft and pliable.  I was expecting trays akin to a rugby mouthguard, but Smile Brilliant trays are near invisible and so soft and comfortable you forget you’re wearing them. 

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe

Points to note
  • Whitening systems (ALL of them) don’t whiten your actual teeth, they remove the stains from your teeth.  The natural colour of teeth resides in the dentin which lies below the enamel, no whitening system can change the colour of dentin.
  • The active ingredient in whitening systems either at the dentist or at home is the same – peroxide.  The difference between systems is simply the method of application.  For me this is where the efficacy in the Smile Brilliant system lies, the custom trays hold the whitening gel against your teeth for as long as you’re wearing them.
  • Smile Brilliant is not recommended for children under age 12-14, dependent upon when permanent teeth have erupted.
My thoughts?

The kit comes with 3 syringes of whitening gel and 3 of desensitizing gel.  This will last me for many applications as the trays sit so snugly against my teeth I only need a tiny drop against each tooth.  Ive used the system about 6 times and haven’t yet finished 1 syringe!  Because my teeth are naturally quite white and unstained, I’m using Smile Brilliant once a week to maintain my unstained teeth.  I’ve only just started drinking coffee so I’m pretty vigilant about keeping my pearly whites looking tip top.

I love this system.  It works.  It’s easy with NO mess.  It’s pain free.  It’s affordable.  It’s not a supermarket gimmick and my teeth look kick-ass.  

I’m happy to recommend Smile Brilliant 110%.

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe

 

 

Shop Tour | Get Fitted @ Bras N Things

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Accepting that my body is dynamic and constantly evolving as I age and move through some of life’s most amazing milestones (pregnancy, birth, postpartum recovery, breastfeeding and weaning) has actually been one of the hardest ‘adult’ lessons to learn.  Body positive vibes don’t come naturally to me, and I’m just not a boob girl – you’ll never see me in a plunging vee neck!).  Thus, pretty underwear has never been something I’ve paid much attention to or spent much money on.  Function has always won over the pursuit of cleavage.

Shopping for bras has always involved hit and miss guesswork for me, but after receiving an invitation to #getfitted at Bras N Things I decided it was time to pull my big girl panties up and head in-store to experience this new service.

I met shop assistant Lily at the Albany store on Monday morning and she had me measured up and correctly sized within 5 minutes.  It was super quick, not awkward at all and no nakedness – winning!

Despite my initial request of a boring t-shirt bra I ended up picking out a bralette with an underwire and matching knickers.  I totally didn’t even know these on-trend bras were available for those of us not in the perky 10B size range lol.  

Lily and the Bras N Things #getfitted experience were both totally lovely.  I was actually wearing the right size bra, but visiting a store dedicated entirely to women’s underwear was super fun and, for the first time ever, made me take a little time and think about what lingerie I’m wearing and how it makes me feel.

Seriously ladies, take a little time out to get fitted correctly and experience how much more comfortable it is when you’re wearing a bra that fits perfectly.

Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty Blogger

 

 

Win | Art of Cake 2015 at Shore City

Mummy Blog new Zealand Art of Cake

Visit Shore City from August 6th to 27th and you’ll see five awe-inspiring cakes, all competing for your vote for the Art of Cake 2015 ultimate winner. 

All of Auckland’s professional cakers were invited to enter this year’s competition, taking their cues from 5 beautiful, artistic and perfectly curated mood boards created by LeeAnn Yare, Kylie Cooke, Clare Grove, FOUREYES and Shore City’s charity Cure Kids.

The finalists have been announced and their cake creations are spectacular!  This really is a must-see event that will be appreciated by young and old alike.  It’s colourful, elegant, thought provoking and fun.  There will be exciting new prizes, fashion and foodie celebs involved, and as always, it will be your vote that decides this year’s winner.

When you spend $5 or more you can vote for your favourite cake and help decide this years Best Cake Artist at Art of Cake 2015.  By casting your vote, you’ll also be in to WIN a $500 Shore City Gift Card or 1 of 10 annual subscriptions to Taste magazine.

2015 Finalists

Oriental Gardens – Sondra & the Sweet Bites Cakes team, Best Cake Artist at Art of Cake 2013 and 2014

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A Monochromatic Statement – Jenny from For Heaven’s Cake

Mummy Blog new Zealand Art of Cake

Pop Couture – Kelley and Trudy from Cherry Cake Company
Mummy Blog new Zealand Art of CakeThe Bold and the Beautiful – Kerry, Joanne & Nina from Cake Collective
Mummy Blog new Zealand Art of CakeDark Romance – Elina from Bake-a-boo

Mummy Blog new Zealand Art of CakeMummy Blog new Zealand Art of CakeWIN:

LeeAnn Yare contributed the Dark Romance mood board which inspired the entry above, crafted by Elina from Bake-a-boo.  I have one copy of LeAnn’s fab book “Rooms to Love” to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Just comment below with your winning pick from this years Art of Cake finalists.  Competition open to NZ residents only and closes Sunday 23/8/15 10pm.

 

 

 

 

Win | Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Bamboo Eau de Toilette

Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty BloggerFresh.  Inviting.  Serene.

The latest fragrance from iconic beauty house Elizabeth Arden debuted this month.  In stores now, Green Tea Bamboo is a lush, energising citrus-green fragrance, it’s launch perfectly timed to shake our senses out of the winter doldrums and reenergize for Spring.

I’m not a huge fan of heady floral perfume, so this scent suits me beautifully.  Bamboo and lush green notes mingle with sparkling citrus nuances to uplift your spirit. Green tea leaves, soothing cucumber, violet leaves and syringa offer the perfect blend of calming and invigorating properties. The fragrance leaves a warm feeling through musks, soft woods and rich resins to continually revive the senses.

Present in many parts of the world, Bamboo is widely recognised as a symbol of longevity and healing. Its vibrant green shoots grow in tandem with each other, younger plants growing around older plants being careful not to block their sunlight. Tall, still and abundant, these gardens emanate peace, and well being. Lush bamboo enhances the fresh green feeling of the invigorating original Green Tea fragrance, to create this new energising citrus-green fragrance.

 Top Notes: Sparkling Lemon, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Bamboo Scent Trek™, Tamarind Tree Leaves, Galbanum

Middle Notes: Green Tea Accord , Violet Leaves, Cucumber, Syringa Scent Trek™

Base Notes: Soft Musk, White Birch, Lentisque Resin, Moss, Italian Orris, Mate

The Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Bamboo Collection:

Green Tea Bamboo EDT Spray 50ml RRP$52

Green Tea Bamboo EDT Spray 100ml RRP$73

Green Tea Bamboo Honey Drops Body Cream 250ml RRP$52

Availability: At all Elizabeth Arden stockists from 3 August 2015.

If you would like to win a bottle of Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Bamboo, just comment below and let me know what your go-to fragrance is.  Competition open to NZ residents only, winner drawn Sunday 23rd August 10pm (pssst, there’s another bottle to be won over on The Best Nest’s Facebook page!).

 

Bear Grylls | Ghost Flight, Father’s Day Gift Idea!

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I’m a HUGE Bear Grylls fan.  Dave and I went through a serious Man Vs Wild faze and when we actually got to use his scree running technique while completing the Tongariro Crossing (and it worked!) we became fans for life.

Ethan loves the Bear Grylls junior novels so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into the first offering in his new adult adventure series.  I’m probably not exactly the target demographic but I figure there’s no hard and fast rules when it comes to adventure thrillers!

No mucking around, this book is awesome.  I believe it’s ‘co-written’ by Damien Lewis, to what extent who knows but the tone and voice is undeniably that of Bear Grylls.  This book reads exactly as Grylls talks on tv, adding some authenticity to the fast moving and globe-spanning plot.  Our hero and main character is Will Jaeger, who is basically Bear Grylls doing some freelancing under a pseudonym.  He’s got some baggage (and a wife and son who’ve been missing for a couple of years!) but he soldiers on and leads an international team deep into the Amazon for a page turning adventure.

The premise is a cracker and the twists and turns keep coming until the very last page.  The revelation of a covert Nazi enemy is probably the most successful and gripping element in this introduction to Jaeger and his team of soldiers-for-hire.

Ghost Flight covers a lot of ground and does seem to skip over a few details fairly quickly but the action is engaging and believable. I found this a surprisingly engrossing read and can’t wait for the second book in the series.
If Dad enjoys Bear Grylls and/or the action adventure genre then this book is an addition to the Father’s Day haul that is sure to please.

Ghost Flight by Bear Grylls RRP $34.99 EBook RRP $19.99

Beauty Review | Estée Lauder New Dimension Shape + Fill Expert Serum

Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty Blogger Estee Lauder

Let’s get the price out of the way quickly and move on to the science as this new (miracle, hero, MY FAVOURITE serum of all time) product firmly sits in the splurge category for me; 30mls – RRP $174, 50mls – RRP $252.  However, my 4ml sample size lasted the month easily, using it both morning and night.  Considering I’m a bit heavy handed when it comes to application, the 30ml size would easily see you through 7.5 months!  I call that a wise investment in your skin.

Ok, now the good stuff.

Last month Estée Lauder launched the New Dimension Collection.  Dubbed ‘transformative’, a multi-faceted approach shows both immediate effect as well as cumulative over time. This is a beauty range devoid of bloat.  Four products, four seriously good products;

  • New Dimension Shape + Fill Expert Serum
  • New Dimension Expert Liquid Tape – helps to tighten and tone
  • New Dimension Shape + Sculpt Face Kit – Instantly sculpt the face
  • New Dimension Shape + Sculpt Eye Kit  – Instantly transform eyes

 

Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty Blogger Estee Lauder
The New Dimension Shape + Sculpt Face Kit is being used to give me angles, cheekbones and contour! It’s also relatively easy to use, the palette contains only two tones so even I may be able to replicate this myself.  Resting-bitch-face attributed to me thinking “WTF was I thinking by wearing a plaid flannel shirt to a gorgeous beauty launch?!”

Using Neuroscience Testing on their consumer panel for the first time, Estée Lauder discovered that after using the New Dimension Shape + Fill Expert Serum for 10 weeks the transformative nature of the product had yielded tangible visible results but had also resulted in a positive change in attitude regarding their appearance in 91% of respondents.  After using the serum for 4 weeks I can totally agree.

My skin has been going through some sort of mid-life crisis this year.  I had an inflammatory reaction to a face mask which resulted in peeling redness and hideous acne-like flare ups.   The New Dimension serum has started to undo the damage caused.  The surface scarring has begun to turn around, my skin is way more refined, less saggy and doughy and my confidence is back for the first time in months.  This product’s focus on the ‘inner architecture’ of the skin sounds gimmicky but that’s where I feel the improvement in my skin has stemmed from.  The texture of my skin has never been so smooth, plump and refreshed.  

I (almost) love my skin again lol.

These beauties in blue hit counters August 31st, or you will be able to order online via www.smithandcaugheys.co.nz.  

Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty Blogger Estee Lauder