The Christmas List > Toys for Little Boys + Giveaway

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

So shopping for my little guy is so much easier than for #1, the possibilities are pretty much endless and I find before I even think about hitting the toy aisles I have to write a list, check the budget and be FIRM in my resolutions.  It’s way too easy to keep purchasing ‘little bits’ here and there because toddler gifts are relatively inexpensive (compared to a freaking Xbox lol), so it can be easy to over-spend.  Here are some of my faves for the little guys this season, let me know what you’re adding to Santa’s list in the comments below xxTop Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

Little Tikes Farm Memory Matchup $29.99

I have a freaky weird memory when it comes to my childhood and I can remember desperately wanting a toy just like this when I was little!  So, it was a total no-brainer when I spotted Memory Matchup on the Planet Fun website.  

The super-cute farm animals split in two, you hide the halves under the haystack cups, mix them up and play matching pairs!  

Nixie is going to love it – and cheat like a demon lol.

Pssssttt > Keep reading to win one for your Little Tike!

Leapfrog Number Lovin Oven $54.99Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

Oooh Nix is ALL about cooking at the moment so I couldn’t go past this wicked, educational toy from Leapfrog.  Aside from the obvious fun that is playing kitchen, there are so many other elements to explore here; number skills, parts of a whole, sharing, songs and phrases.  This is exactly the kind of toy I love to have in our house as it draws others in to play with our lovely little people.
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

Ty Beanie Peppa Pig Soft Toys 

Dave and I have been married for 11 years this month and one tradition he has brought to our wee family is gifting a soft toy to the kids each Christmas.  I’m not a cuddly toy kinda girl so the boys are blessed that their daddy likes to buy teddies!

Nix is mad over Peppa and George Pig and Ty Beanies are classics that kids instantly fall in love with.  I’m going to squish 3 of the small size into his stocking this year and watch him absolutely squeal with delight when he cuddles them to death!

Kurio 7″ Kids Tablet $199Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

I’m a tech geek and my kids will be tech geeks too.  This is a fact and something I make no bones about.  Truthfully, Nix is responsible for the death of one iPad – so far!  It was during his in-and-out-of-hospital period where he was confined to a cot for long periods while connected to various tubes, catheters, epidurals etc.  He didn’t do it on purpose but I’m not that keen on him destroying another one.  

So, an alternative device with similar capabilities as it’s more expensive peers is a VERY welcome addition to our household.  Meet the awesome Kurio!  A fully functional Android tablet with stacks of value-adds which I’m loving such as;

  • Internet filtering
  • Time controls
  • Piggy bank system
  • Proprietary Kurio Motion games to get kids up and moving while enjoying their device – so awesome and fun!

Look, tech is not going anywhere and our family’s philosophy is to embrace the positives and try to minimise the negatives with careful time management and parental involvement in what our kids are using devices for.  I can’t wait to use the Kurio with Nix in some of his routine quiet times after Santa arrives this year!  (the kid-safe bumper is included in the box too, hopefully it’s Nixon proof!).

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift GuidePaw Patrol Lookout Playset $99.50

Might as well just come out and say it, I’m a huge Paw Patrol fan.  It’s the catchy jingle, the cute dogs, their awesome vehicles…….I think Chase and his pals are totally cool.  Combine this with Nix’s LOVE of cars and trucks and what I call ‘contained’ play ie play centred around one main object (like a garage or more often a windowsill!) and I knew we needed this playset!

With a real working elevator, lights, sounds and a wraparound slide, we are all going to be spending some serious time on the carpet these holidays!  We’ve been collecting the small vehicles since the beginning of the year when we first discovered the TV show so adding this interactive playset to our games will be amaze – I’m a little curious as to what else Nix is going to fire down that slide lol!

Fireman Sam Vehicles $29.99Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Toddler Gift Guide

Fireman Sam is one of those sentimental shows for me.  E loved to watch it and so does Nixon.  I could totally do with a few less cameos from ‘NORMAN’ (you must say that with a very high, exasperated British accent please!) but hi-ho.

The assorted Fireman Sam vehicles are so great, they are chunky and substantial feeling in your hand and have opening and closing doors – which is a very important consideration when you’re two fyi!  These and the matching figures are sold separately so take that into consideration when purchasing.

The cool thing about all of these toys is that you won’t have to search high and low for them – available from The Warehouse, Farmers, Mighty Ape,Toyworld, Whitcoulls, Toyco and Kmart.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift GuideJR Wooden Balance Bike $89.99

I’ve already given this guy the thumbs up over here, so make sure you click through and get the full rundown.  So sad to be saying goodbye to our trusty plastic motorbike but he’s been thrashed and Nix has split the front wheel, fingers crossed it even lasts the next 3 weeks before Christmas!

Who wants to win a Little Tikes Farm Memory Matchup of their own!!!!  Thanks to the wonderful team at Planet Fun we have one to put under someone’s Christmas Tree this year!  Enter via the widget below and cross your fingers and toes xx

 

The Christmas List > Toys for Big-ish Boys + Giveaway

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

Ethan turned 11 just last week and present-wise it was a total non-event.

He had been saving for a big ticket item (Xbox One) for ages, and after tucking his pennies away and pretty much everyone gifting him cash for his birthday he was able to buy himself his fancy new nerd box.  Phew!  Those things are expensive guys!

So I’m looking forward to popping some wrapped pressies under the tree for my big boy this Christmas, even 11 year olds have toys on their wish lists and these 5 picks are total winners (I know because I’ve checked them out in person and they’re ALL hidden away for Santa to deliver!).

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift GuideMinions Talking Bob with Teddy Bear $100

Minions are making the kids go cray cray this year and I totally get it.  I fell in love with some weird plastic stuff when I was a youngun – Snuggle Bums anyone?  The pinnacle of Minion fandom would have to be the interactive series.  Ethan’s favourite Minion is Bob and I’ve got to admit, Talking Bob is very awesome.  He’s pretty down with his teddy, he vocalises 20 Minions sayings, songs and sounds in the original movie voice, his arms move and his soft skin upper body sort of detracts from the feeling that you’re hugging a giant capsule.  Kids don’t care though!  Bob and his pals are the business this Christmas.Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift Guide

Chill Factor Tutti Frutti Slushie Maker $25

I didn’t quite get the attraction of these slushie makers last summer until I tried one at a friends place.  Instant awesome!  No wonder they are back for summer 2015 with a colourful new look.  There’s really no limits here, you can make slushie’s from your favourite milk based-smoothie combos, natural fruit flavoured water, sodas…..I’m pretty sure if it will freeze, you can slushify it!  The best part is these require little to no adult supervision, keep them in the freezer, pour in the liquid of choice, squeeze and go!  It’s really that easy.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift GuideBananagrams Game $29.99

I’ve Ethan’s wanted this game for years.  Literally years, it’s just been one of those things that I always forget to add to the gifting list and then I see it in Farmers after Christmas and slap my head Homer Simpson style, DOH!  It’s played like Scrabble but without the board, each player simultaneously forms their own words, totally perfect for those long summer nights we’ve got to look forward to – without a device in hand YAY!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift GuideDreamworks Action Dragons $20  approx.

So How to Train your Dragon came out years ago, but I’ve got to say, I have never enjoyed an animated film as much as I did when watching those Dragons in 3d!  Apparently Ethan feels the same way as his appetite for the books and toys hasn’t waned at all.  This year we are liking action figures (still) so the Action Dragons are a great option, and a great price!  E’s hoping for a Hideous Zippleback to add to his Toothless and Stormfly duo, we’ll have to see what Santa thinks won’t we!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Boy Gift GuideAir Hogs Shadow Launcher $119 approx

Remote controlled vehicles never go out of favour, the technology in them just gets better and better and Air Hogs are leading the way this Christmas.

I can’t wait to play with the Shadow Launcher, it’s a 2-in-1 super toy!  A serious ground vehicle carrying a secret cargo – a push of a button opens the bay doors to reveal a gyro-stabilised helicopter, both controlled by the same remote!  A little boy’s dream toy!  Though, I’m fairly certain there will be a certain Dad in our house clamouring for his turn at the remote!

The cool thing about all of these toys is that you won’t have to search high and low for them – available from The Warehouse, Farmers, Mighty Ape, Toyworld, Whitcoulls, Toyco and Kmart.

Who wants to win a Minions Talking Bob of their own!!!!  Thanks to the wonderful team at Planet Fun we have one to put under someone’s Christmas Tree this year!  Enter via the widget below and cross your fingers and toes xx

Oh How I Laughed – Adult Napping

 

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top sleep NetflixLast night was a rare, rare occasion where I was simply too exhausted to do anything else but lay on the couch under a blanket (WTF is this weather about!!), drink wine and watch tv.  Usually my mummy-ADD kicks in after about 25 minutes and the To-Do list show reel starts running through my head and I get fidgety.

And then I get up.

And that’s the end of Relaxing Time.

But not last night, so great was the Nixon-induced exhaustion that once I was on that couch there was no budging.  Dave and I were watching our “new show” Master of None on Netflix – it’s seriously THE BEST, think Parks and Rec, but less blatant comedic acting, more real life grit.  So, there are lots of youngish, 30-ish? single peeps in the show with no kids.  In one of the episodes we watched last night, main character Dev takes a potential girlfriend on a 24 hour trip to Nashville.  

How awesome we thought!  Nashville looks amaze!  If we were still living in the states that’s totally a city we would visit, so much to see and do and so many restaurants and bars……..

……..and then they took a nap.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY.

ON A 24HR TRIP!

See this is where the disconnect between parents and unencumbered singles becomes a huge freaking chasm.  If Dave and I had 24hrs kid free in an awesome new city we’d probably be running around like maniacs trying to cram everything in because god knows how many years it may be until the next child free trip!  And to waste some of that precious time napping? – even though goddamn it I need a nap SO bad right now, I just don’t know if I could do it!

I mean I literally can’t do it, take a nap that is.  Nix has given up his naps so I’m shit-outta-luck there, and even when he was napping it was just something I didn’t prioritise.  Should I have?  Maybe, then cumulative years of exhaustion might not be breaking my balls right now lol.

Let’s put this in context; Dave and I were weighing up watching 30 minutes more of Netflix (this is an important decision because more show = less sleep and it’s so hard to adult on 5 hours sleep) whilst the characters in the show miss their flight (imagine the horror of that if you have kids, THE SCHEDULE IS OUT THE WINDOW!!), arrive back in New York at like 11pm or something, and then go out to eat – again –  like it’s no big thing.

Parents, can you imagine that luxury of time?  Missed flight?  No big deal.  Eating – anytime you want, there’s no bedtime to worry about of course, no-one is going to descend into the madness of a hangry tantrum if they don’t eat dinner at 5.30pm.  

Time is a luxury and so are my children, I wouldn’t wish them away for all the naps in the world.  This post isn’t about that.  It’s simply about trying to remember how wonderfully laid-back our narcissistic days were before we had kids.  I struggle to remember them to tell the truth!

So, two things;

  1. Do you remember enjoying the luxury of time in your pre-kids, nap-if-I-want-to years?
  2. What’s the procedure on having multiple shows on the go at once on Netflix?  Is it like reading where you finish one book before starting another, or is it cool to dabble in a few different series?  We’re currently watching Shameless, Orange is the New Black and now Master of None depending on our mood. 

Have a great week!  Maybe you might squeeze in a nap?

ps.  Watch the Master of None trailer, SO good!

Raw Apricot and Cacao Bumper Bars Recipe + Giveaway

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Raw recipeI love the classic old Kiwi Bumper Bar SO much but haven’t been able to bring myself to buy one for years due to a whopping 20.6 grams of sugar in each bar!  I do not practise a restrictive diet for either Dave and I or the kids but even I know that 20 grams is just way too much sugar per serve. I decided to try and recreate the delish apricot and chocolate flavour with some slightly more healthy ingredients including Vogel’s new Café-Style Toppers.  I wanted to keep this recipe raw so used the Raw Protein Mix ( paleo + no sugar added!) containing Sunflower Seeds, Linseeds, Cashews, Almonds and Pumpkin Seeds. This is a protein packed snack using easy, unfussy ingredients that will get your through the 3pm slump without heading for the nearest vending machine.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Raw recipe

Raw Apricot and Cacao Bumper Bar Recipe


A delicious raw alternative to processed snack bars.

Ingredients

1 cup Brazil Nuts 1 cup Vogel’s Toppers Raw Protein Mix 1 cup Pitted Medjool Dates 3/4 cup dried apricots 2 cups Desiccated Coconut 1/2 cup Cacao Nibs 3 tbsp water

Method

Combine nuts, Raw Protein Mix, dates, apricots and coconut in a food processor (I use my NutriBullet Pro which got the job done but took a while as I had to blend in batches) until well combined. Add water gradually until crumbly mixture becomes sticky. Stir in cacao nibs and press mixture into a lined baking dish.  Pop in the fridge for at least 3 hours until firm then cut to desired size.  Store in fridge.

>> Try something new

Vogel’s new Café-Style range is perfect for incorporating into raw baking recipes, bircher muesli and just lightening up your traditional cereal breakfast.  I’m not usually a cereal-for-breakfast kinda girl but this morning post-run, I added a handful of Vanilla & Almond Café-Style Light to the top of my smoothie and omg, best breakfast ever!  No gluten guys and less than 6g of sugar per serve! Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Raw recipe

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Raw recipe

If you would like to win an amaze Vogel’s pack of your own PLUS one for a friend enter via the widget here

3 Salads to put on the Menu this Summer!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Salad

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Salad

It feels odd to be writing this on a very gloomy and rainy Saturday here in Auckland, but the weather is (slowly) heating up and I’m feeling the urge to crank up the BBQ and relax into a season of easy salads and lazy dinners outside.

I enjoyed these three amazing salads at a lunch last week introducing media to Diabetes Action Month 2015.  Next Saturday (Nov 28th) is FitBit MoveMeant Day when nearly 40 gyms and recreational facilities will be opening their doors FOR FREE to encourage their local communities to take control of their health through fun, accessible exercise.  This is SO important in helping to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes or helping you manage your diabetes.  Find out what’s happening in your region by clicking here.

These delicious salads were prepared by Claire Turnbull at the Fitbit event in support of Diabetes Action Month and I pretty much haven’t stopped thinking about them since – no joke they are stunning!  Plus they’re super easy and cheap. (Shared with permission).

Lebanese Brown Rice SaladTop Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Salad

(Serves 4–6 as a main or 8–10 as a side)

1/4 pumpkin (approx. 600g), peeled and cut into cubes

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

2–3 tsp ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 cups cooked and cooled brown rice

1 punnet cherry tomatoes (approx. 200g), cut in half

1/2 cup sun ower seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 red onion, very finely sliced

1 handful coriander or parsley, chopped

Flesh of 1 avocado, cut into chunks

Dressing

Juice of 2 large lemons

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Lay out the chopped pumpkin on the tray and sprinkle with olive oil, brown sugar (if using), cumin and crushed garlic.

Roast in the oven for 20–30 minutes or until soft (the time will depend on the size of your pumpkin pieces). When the pumpkin is cooked, remove from the oven and cool.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, place the brown rice, tomato halves, seeds, red onion and herbs. Mix together and put to one side.
To make the dressing, simply place the lemon juice and olive oil in a clean jam jar, put the lid on and shake.
Add the cooled pumpkin to the brown rice mix and stir through. Add the chopped avocado and pour over the dressing.

Adapt it

• You can use cooked quinoa, buckwheat or bulgar wheat as an alternative to brown rice, if you prefer.
• Add extra lemon juice, if you like.

Nutritional information per serve (based on 6 serves)
kJ = 2392 kcals = 570 Carbs = 58g Protein = 15g Fat = 31g Fibre = 5g

Rainbow Power SaladTop Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Salad

(Serves 4–6 as a main, 8–10 as a side)

A fresh, colourful salad packed with goodness.

2 medium beetroot, peeled and grated

3 large carrots, peeled and grated

2 courgettes, grated

1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes (approx. 100g), cut in half

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1 handful parsley, finely chopped

Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp runny honey

Juice of 1 large orange

1 tsp sesame oil

On a large platter or plate, lay out the grated beetroot. Sprinkle the grated carrot on top to create a layer that is slightly smaller than the first. Add a layer of grated courgette – again, making it smaller than the carrot layer so you can see the rainbow effect. Place the sliced tomatoes on the top and sprinkle with seeds and parsley. To make the dressing, simply mix all the ingredients together and serve with the salad.

Mix the salad up just before you eat it, if you like, or leave it all layered up; whatever works for you! Enjoy as a main for lunch or dinner with grilled chicken, lean meat, fish, tofu, a boiled egg or pulses, or serve as a side salad with a main meal.

Nutritional information per serve (without dressing, based on 6 serves) kJ = 518 kcals = 123 Carbs = 7g Protein = 6g Fat = 8g Fibre = 4g

Nutritional information per serve (dressing only, based on 6 serves) kJ = 183 kcals = 44 Carbs = 9g Protein = <1g Fat = 1g Fibre = <1g

Asian-style Slaw

(Serves 4 as a main or 8 as a side).  Healthy, crunchy and delicious.

2 cups shredded red cabbage

2 cups shredded white cabbage

2 cups grated carrot 1 red capsicum, finely sliced

1 cup shelled, cooked and cooled edamame beans

4 spring onions, finely sliced

1/2 cup peanuts (may be chopped)

1 handful coriander, chopped

Dressing

4 tbsp rice wine vinegar or sushi vinegar

1 tbsp neutral flavoured oil (e.g. canola)

2 tbsp runny honey

1 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp smooth peanut butter

1 chilli, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

In a large bowl, mix together the cabbage, carrot, capsicum, beans, spring onion, peanuts and coriander.  To make the dressing, simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or put them in a clean jam jar, put the lid on and shake thoroughly until the peanut butter is completely mixed in. Pour the dressing over the salad. Perfect served with grilled or shredded chicken, tofu or fish. Add an extra sprinkle of nuts before serving if you like!

Adapt it

  • You can use white wine vinegar if you don’t have sushi or rice vinegar.
  • If you want to take some to work the next day, don’t add dressing to the whole mixture. It is best to add the dressing just before you serve it.

Top Tip

  • You can buy edamame beans from the frozen section of most supermarkets – ideally choose those which have already had the shells removed.

Nutritional information per serve (slaw without dressing, based on 4 serves) kJ = 457 kcals = 109 Carbs = 9g Protein = 10g Fat = 4g Fibre = 8g

Nutritional information on per serve (dressing only, based on 4 serves) kJ = 391 kcals = 93 Carbs = 9g Protein = 1g Fat = 6g Fibre = <1g

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-recipe

Curating a Toddler Capsule Wardrobe

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fashion Blog

I hope no-one ever feels sorry for me for not having any little girls to primp and style.  I know I’d love a daughter, but I have enough trouble picking out my own outfits each day (hence my ever-present ‘active wear’!) and dressing my two big/little guys really is so much fun!  Doubly so when you can go shopping without them every now and then.

The glorious weather we enjoyed last week was all the motivation I needed to head in-store to The Warehouse and get Nixon’s summer wardrobe rolling.  As I was shopping alone (did I mention how awesome this elusive opportunity was?!), I was hoping to create a Toddler Capsule Wardrobe.  

There are so many stylin’ tops and bottoms in the boys Summer Range this year that it was quite hard having to narrow down everything I grabbed off the racks and condense my ideas into just four outfits.  But, I did it and I love each of these looks!  The secret to creating the ultimate Mix ‘n Match toddler wardrobe is shopping for neutral shorts that can be worn with all of the tops.

Look #1 Hitting the Beach to Throw Sand at Your big Brother (who can’t retaliate!)

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fashion Blog1.  WZ Singlet Animal $12 (Check in-store), 2.   WZ Denim Shorts $12, 3.  Basics Canvas Play Shoes $5 

I loved this singlet when I picked it up, mesh detail on the yoke and a super cool retro-sports-vibe which our family is ALL about!  The sweet little denim shorts look long in the stock photo but are actually a very cute shorter length.  Love!

Look #2 Visiting Poppa and Dazzling him with my Fancy Shirt (so he doesn’t notice me terrorising his cat)

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fashion Blog1.  WZ Printed Plane Shirt $18, 2.  WZ Joshua Shorts $20, 3.  Basics Canvas Play Shoes $5

This little button-up is the BEST.  The all over print is so on-trend and is perfect for all of those summer BBQ’s and maybe even Santa photos!  The Joshua shorts are so good I got them in two colours, they are a heavy, stretch fabric that won’t crease and will be super comfy for all of that toddler-squirmy-goodness!

Look #3 Cruising Christmas Parades and avoiding Santa at ALL costs!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fashion Blog1.  WZ Split Front Tee $12, 2.  WZ Vinny Shorts $25, 3.  Hippo + Friends Check Shoes $15

I love Nix in black, and this graphic tee with mesh detail is the best, paired with those little slip-ons!!!  I die.  The Vinny denims are a great, hard-wearing option for a full-on kid like Nixie.

Look #4 Ready to Hustle Hand Stamps from Whomever is Holding (preferably a pretty lady)

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fashion Blog1.  WZ Yoke Stripe Tee $12, 2.  WZ Joshua Shorts $20, 3.  Hippo + Friends Check Shoes $15

The mix of fun neon with classic navy tripes is a total winner.  This shirt is bright so works perfectly with toned down, neutral shorts like the Joshua in khaki.

So cute right?  Every season when I head in to The Warehouse for some dedicated clothes shopping, I leave completely sorted and so happy that I was able to cross so much off my shopping list in just one store!  I will be going back to spend some time in the women’s section as I spied this and this (both of which I NEED to complete my Mum uniform lol).

I would love to hear where you are shopping for your summer staples and seasonal trends as the weather warms up!  Leave me a comment below with your shopping hotspots xx

The Christmas List | JR Wooden Balance Bike

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Christmas Toys

As much as it pains me to admit it, jumbo Nix is just TOO big to ride his classic plastic motorbike anymore!  Every time I run behind him as he careens at full speed down a hill I can see the little axel at the back shuddering and groaning under strain.

Time for an upgrade Santa!

Balance bikes are the obvious choice for toddlers in that transition period between a trike and a bike.  On a balance bike, kids learn balance first, pedalling last compared to a  traditional bike where the opposite is true.  Makes so much sense to get your balance down first right?

The bike we’re putting under the tree for Nixon this year is a super-cute lime green racer from online baby specialty store www.babies.co.nz.

I love this bike!  It’s perfect for Nix who will be 2yrs 5mths come Christmas.  It was pretty hard to hide this away from little eyes for another month but Dave whisked it off to the garage after he put it together so out-of-sight-out-of-mind for me at least!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Christmas Toys

5 things I particularly love about the JR Wooden Balance Bike;

  1. It’s super easy to put together.  It arrived in two pieces and took Dave approx 5 stressless minutes to complete. Yay! We’ve had WAY too many Christmas Eve meltdowns from assembling toys so pretty keen to avoid this at all costs this year!
  2. It’s made from natural birch plywood which is FSC Certified (FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests).  Anything that’s working towards sustainability gets a big tick from me!
  3. This is a solid wee bike that feels super safe and sturdy but is also light enough for a typically coordination-challenged toddler to manage.
  4. They are available in an awesome range of colours; Blue, Pink, Red, Green, Black and Frozen (pastel) Blue.
  5. They are on sale now! 30% off, time to go shopping > JR Wooden Balance Bike RRP $89.99 now $62.99!

I can’t wait for Christmas Day!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Christmas Toys

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Christmas Toys

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Christmas Toys

My Breakfast Evolution

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Breakfast I think it’s fair to say that as we move through life, we go through various stages and phases, trying out different eating patterns and meal favourites until we find the things that just ‘fit’.  Whether it’s the way we drink our coffee, the way we prefer our steak, whether or not we eat breakfast and if we do, what it is that we eat for breakfast. Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Breakfast

More than any other meal of the day, my breakfast habits have changed dramatically over the years.  I’ve always been a carb-fiend so crumpets, bagels and toast were my breakfast mainstay for at least two thirds of my life.  Following that I went through a super healthy phase where my morning meal consisted of a Diet Coke and a cigarette! – I’m not joking either.  

Post-kids I’ve dabbled in protein-only, juicing and most recently, the acquisition of a NutriBullet has seen us making smoothies almost every morning. The problem with smoothies is that they don’t tend to keep me full for too long and after a 5km run most mornings, I’m completely ravenous by the time I eat.  This results in snacking, which has long been my downfall.

So, over the past week, Dave and I have made a return to incorporating cereals into our breakfast and we’ve been doing that a couple of different ways using Vogel’s New Café-Style Cereals. .  End result – NO snacking! The inclusion of varied, ancient grains such as Buckwheat and Millet (my new fave!  Soo crunchy and good!) combined with the healthy protein and good fats of cashews, pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds and linseeds makes Vogel’s Coconut and Cranberry Café-Style Light Cereal a morning winner.  A similar experience to muesli’s we’re all familiar with, but lighter and easier to eat. Depending upon how hungry I am I’ll either scoop a few tablespoons on top of my smoothie to add texture, taste and just enough ‘substance’ to knock those snacking urges into touch, or, I’ll make one smoothie and split it between Dave and I and have a 50/50 cereal/smoothie bowl with added fresh fruit.   Yum! Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top BreakfastChange is good, so is trying new things and tweaking old habits.  Adding a light cereal back into our morning routine was just the pick-me-up Dave and I needed to keep our energy up through work-day mornings.

If you would like to win an amaze Vogel’s pack of your own – plus one for a friend! – so you can both get creative with their delicious range of new products, enter via the widget below.  Hint:  for an extra entry visit Vogel’s here and tell me in the comments below which of the new Café-Style products you’d most like to try!

The Prize Packs includes:

Cafe-Style Toppers – Raw Protein Mix, $10.99

Cafe-Style Toppers – Golden Toasted Protein Mix, $10.99

Cafe-Style Super Oats (Wholegrain oats and chia with coconut), $7.99

Cafe-Style Super Oats (Wholegrain oats and barley with banana and pecan), $7.99

Cafe-Style Light Cereal (Coconut and Cranberry), $9.49

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Set a Goal – 5 Reasons to Enter a Fitness Event……NOW!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness Blogger

On Sunday I finished my first ever, road running event.

This was my second fitness event – I ran the Mud Run back in winter.  So a lifetime total of TWO events!  In one year!  

I actually can’t believe it!

The Skechers Women’s 6k was a game changer for me.  After a cracking summer of running and a great autumn, winter became the massive mental hurdle I had dreaded.  Entering my first road run 5 weeks out gave me the motivation to kick my ass back into gear and start taking my running seriously again.

The event itself was amazing.  The Cloud played host to thousands of women and their families so well.  There was ample room for everyone, a great warmup, plenty of accessible toilets and vendors providing drinks and food, JJ Harvey was a fantastic MC and the vibe was just SO good!  Women as far as the eye could see, endorphin pumped ladies ready to run, run/walk or just walk the flat 6km course that is perfect for any level of fitness.  I entered with three goals in mind and managed to smash 2 of them (I ran 6km in 32.32!!! My fastest pace ever!).  Other women I know entered simply to see if they could complete the 6km.  They did and they felt fabulous for doing so let me tell you!

Let’s talk about the course.  I’m sure it was gorgeous – I mean waterfront Auckland is hard to beat, but the truth is, I didn’t look at the water once.  Not.  One.  Peek.  So you’ll just have to enter next year and check it out for yourself lol.  The Skecher’s course is definitely a runners dream, wide pavement on one side plus an open lane on the road.  Makes for a fast course if that’s your jam.  Not entirely flat, there is an incline at about the 2 and 4 km marks which you can definitely feel when you’re running, it’s little but it nailed me!

The logistics of getting to The Cloud and ready to run by 8am were such a non-event.  I was thinking about bussing but decided to drive and I’m so glad I did.  For the first time in my life I got a park on the ground floor(!) of my fave Victoria St carpark and enjoyed a casual stroll though a very peaceful Auckland City on a Sunday at 7.15 am.  Another first!  Total parking cost $6.

So.  Do it friends!  Set a goal and make some positive changes.  Having an event on a particular date to work towards definitely helps keep you motivated and on track, it’s also a little bit addictive – I’m already thinking about entering another event plus I know I’ll be back next year to run the Skecher’s again!

5 Reasons to Enter a Fitness Event……NOW!

  1. Trying new things is fun and super important.  We are creatures of habit and I’m sure you’ve got a few habits that could use replacing just like I do right?  Switch them out for some new, healthful habits and start a chain-reaction of  positivity in your life.
  2. Giving yourself opportunities to make YOURSELF proud is a rare thing as an adult.  Completing a physical challenge or distance for the first time is a sure-fire way to get you feeling good about being you!
  3. Your fitness and physical health is a great reason in itself to enter an event!  It doesn’t matter who you are or what body you’re in, DOING MORE STUFF is always good for you!
  4. Find your tribe.  Committing to an event is a great way to find and meet likeminded people all working towards the same goal.  Friends are cool and working out together makes sweating and turning red and stinky a little more enjoyable!
  5. Goody bags!  If nothing else so far has you convinced, remember; there are always goody bags full of awesome products to take home and try (or scoff in the car after you have finished the run like me lol!)

Here’s a pretty version for pinning or sharing to Facebook!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Fitness Blogger

 

 

Life Hack | When all your kid wants is a plastic toy bus from South Korea + Giveaway

Nixon is two and quite the savvy YouTube aficionado (Imma let you finish, but don’t even go there about letting my 2 yr old on the iPad mmkay?  Time and place, time and place).  He has his favourite Mummy Finger music videos, favourite ‘Egg’ opening channels and his All Time Favourite Show EVER – Tayo The Little Bus.
Tayo is a public bus from Seoul, South Korea.  He lives with his ‘brothers and sisters’ under the watchful eye of mechanic Hana (female, yes!  No gender stereotyping here!) and quite simply, does a stand-out job of being a Friendly Little Bus.  He also has a kick-ass, catchy K-Pop theme song which is stuck in my head 24-7.
Nixon LOVES Tayo.  
Do you think I can find a small, plastic Korean bus anywhere in New Zealand?  The answer is no. No.  And NO.  So I took my search offshore and found SO many cute toys which ONLY ship overseas that you just can’t source here in New Zealand! Check out my faves below:

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top toys Christmas

Rosi The Little Patient from Sigikid

Constructables Motorized Building Dinos Playset

Peaceable Kingdom / Hoot Owl Hoot! Award Winning Cooperative Game for Kids

Fairy House Making Kit By Liza Gardner Walsh

Ertl John Deere 5″ Monster Treads Value Pack, Truck and Tractor Play Vehicles Toys Push&Pul, playground equipment Preschool Pre-Kindergarten Activity Toy

My search has been further hindered by the Little Tyrant being quite specific in his requests.  Tayo and his family of buses are of course on the wishlist, but there is also Bong Bong (a baby VW bus) and Carry (a car carrier) to consider.  Oh Help!
There was a way around my quandary,  I’d just always put it in the ‘too hard’/expensive/complicated/what-if-I-mess-it-up basket.  As luck would have it, that basket is currently overflowing in my brain, so it was time to give YouShop from NZ Post a go.  I’ve said it before, I’m pretty much a professional shopper and as such, there was no way I was going to be beaten by a hard-to-find toy bus from Korea! ::::::shakes fist::::::
Here’s how it works in picture form – in case you haven’t had your morning coffee yet lol;

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor

……..and here’s how I did it;
Making the Little Bus Mine

  1. I signed up to YouShop via the NZ Post website. Surprisingly quick and easy.  Within 5 minutes I had received an email with my personal YouShop delivery address for the USA plus one for Europe and one for China.
  2. I found Tayo and his mates for sale on Amazon.  ‘But Amazon ship to NZ’ you say?  Not always the case.  The Korean suppliers who had the toys I was after only delivered to the USA.  Never mind…..
  3. I completed my purchase using my new YouShop warehouse address located in the USA, yay, now I can shop like I live there – again!
  4. My packages are now en-route from Korea to the warehouse in Oregon, where they will be packaged together to save $$$ and shipped to NZ!  Too easy.

I lived in the states for six years and my husband is American so there are lots of things we miss from many different stores.  YouShop is a game changer for us in that we can aggregate purchases from different retailers plus we can now shop from stores that only deliver to American addresses!  Also, my shopping will earn Airpoints as my packages are winging their way over to us!
Loving it.
Also loving that the search for Tayo the Pesky, formerly unattainable bus from South Korea is now over.  We can move on!

I have a $50 Prezzy Card and 3 x 20% off YouShop tokens to giveaway that you could put towards that hard-to-get item you’ve been lusting after, simply comment below and let me know which overseas retailer you’d love to shop with using YouShop. (All in all I have four prizes up for grabs across my blog, facebook and instagram).Everyone who has commented and is eligible automatically goes in the draw to win. A winner will be announced here on Monday 30 November.

Thanks NZ Post for contributing to my shopping and providing free YouShop shipping!