Currently: Between Scorched Almonds and Brandy Snaps

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Toddler Beach

Hi everyone!  It’s New Years Eve eve!  What in the actual fuck.  2015 must hold the record for the most insanely quick blink-and-you-miss-it year on record right?

So much happened for us this year and there were many events which delineated the year for me and resulted in some very clear benchmarks with which to measure the passing of time………..but still! 

We are in Waipu for the the 3rd year running for our end of year celebrations and I’m so stoked our family is here with Mum and her awesome partner Geoff!

The first year here was a mental party night followed by impressive hangovers on the 1st.  Last year we were in bed by 10pm, too scared of a repeat performance.  This year I imagine the festivities to fall somewhere in between.  I’ll get back to you on that one!  So;

Currently;

  1. Listening: Ethan decided that instead of Star Wars Lego, he was going to spend his Christmas money from his Grandparents and Aunties on a UE Roll portable speaker.  I LOVE that he did this however his Spotify playlist, though very, very good, is also very, very small.  So we are listening to approx 10 tracks on repeat.  Boys got taste though and has asked if we’ll spot him a ticket to the Violent Femmes concert we are attending in March!  Woohoo!  If you’d like to see what we’re listening to, check out Dave’s family-friendly (mostly) Spotify playlist here.
  2. Eating: The scorched almonds are all gone, the Christmas Shortbread we baked has been brought up here for NY so hopefully that disappears quickly.  We are mostly eating lots of cold meat and salad, which is exactly what I need.  And eggs.  I’m always eating lots of eggs lol.
  3. Drinking: Ugh.  Problem #1 is eating.  Problem #2 is drinking.  Too much alcohol and not enough water in this silly season.  Long White Vodka and wine mainly, with a few Jim Beam’s thrown in for good measure!  And coffee.  Dave has cracked my perfect Nespresso over the past week; 2 capsules, 2 Equals and a splash of frothed milk.  LOVE.
  4. Wearing: Right now?   A Motivate Me M Fit tank and Bonds undies.  Today I wore Country Rd denim cut-offs, a Zara striped tee, Saltwater sandals and a Brixton felt hat.
  5. Feeling: Fat – see #3 above.
  6. Weather:  The past week has been a series of picture perfect days, clear blue skies and HOT temps.  Today was no exception.  We arrived up north around 2.30, headed to the beach for the afternoon and spent the evening out on the porch.  There is a nor-easter blowing in some bad weather so we are making plans to see the new Star Wars movie in Whangarei with Ethan on one of the rainy days that are on their way.
  7. Wanting: Nothing actually!  What a lovely feeling.
  8. Needing: Sleep, exercise, to start and finish GST, to potty train Nixon.
  9. Thinking: About blogging and what 2016 will hold for The Best Nest.
  10. Enjoying: Being on holiday!  I never imagined I would say this but my blog is pretty much a job now.  The last 6 weeks were ridiculous, with numerous campaigns finishing, deadlines, two trips in one week (!) and a massive project for Dave finishing.  The Jacks needed to regroup.  And we are.  I feel like we have been maximising our time together over the Christmas break and with just 5 days left before Dave goes back to work I know we are going to squeeze in as many good times together as is humanely possible!

How’s the Christmas season been for your family?  If you’re blogging I’d love it if you wanted to join in with a ‘Currently‘ post of your own.  Copy and paste the 10 prompts, add your information to the Linky widget below and copy and paste the Linky code to your own post to create a blog Hop!



Fostering Independence – Safely! + Giveaway

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If you’r a long-time reader you’ve probably got a fairly good idea about what kind of kid Nixon is.  I mean he has his own hashtag……..#nonixonno…….says it all really lol.

He’s my big-little-guy with a huge personality and an even bigger appetite for fun and (potentially) mischief.  After we removed the ladder from the trampoline to prevent him climbing up without supervision he would drag whatever he could find in the garden over to the tramp, pile it up and clamber up his haphazard, toddler-sized Mt Everest and party on.  Living with this child is chaos I tell you!

After we rearranged our entire living room to prevent him from using a couch to access the bench tops I realised, prevention is only part of the struggle Dave and I face over the next 18 years or so (OMG!!!).  We have to actively keep this child safe and focus on that all day every day.  

A big part of this is ensuring that things he uses around the house everyday are fit for purpose, even if that purpose is dragging a step stool from the bathroom into his brothers room to reach the ‘Big Boy Toys’, that step stool should be stable and sturdy.

The Dreambaby® range of baby safety products is the most comprehensive and complete range I’ve ever come across.  A quick browse of their website and I found a solution to every household conundrum that comes with parenting a baby through the toddler years and beyond.  

We have so many Dreambaby® products in our house (my faves are the foam door stoppers and the furniture anchors which stop heavy pieces tipping) that we use every day,  I was totally happy to get on-board and feature a couple of products.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Step Stool2 -Up Step Stool $24.99 Available in NZ here

This is now an indispensable ‘member’ of our household, I must pick up this stool at least 10 x a day and return it to the bathroom.  Nix takes it everywhere throughout the house, even if he doesn’t quite need it.  It’s used in our bathroom for hand washing and teeth brushing, in the kitchen for food scavenging and helping with cooking, outside for climbing on the tramp ::::sigh:::: and reaching leaves he needs to pull from the trees ::::sigh:::: and trying to open the latches on our gates so he can escape ::::::SCREAM:::::

It’s light, non-slip and holds up to 80kg so Dave and I use it all the time as we have some high storage in our bedroom and laundry.  I love a product that multi-tasks around the house!

Easy-Clean Potty Seat $17.99 Available in NZ hereTop Mummy Blog new Zealand potty seat

It’s summer here in New Zealand so I can’t put potty training off any longer lol.

It’s going to be a slow, tedious process, compounded by Nixon’s Hirschsprung’s disease, but we will get there and it’s certainly going to be made a little easier by the awesome combination of the 2-Up Step Stool and the Easy-Clean Potty Seat.

This little seat fits standard toilets, is soft and comfy for little bottoms and its genius feature is the handles on each side which help Nix actually stay put long enough to maybe get the job done!  He feels safe when sitting on this seat and loves the ocean-themed animals.

Win a Dreambaby® Prize Pack for your little one!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand potty seat

Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and enter to win via the competition image.  Prize includes;

  • Dreambaby® Premium Nail Clippers with Magnifier F355
  • Dreambaby® Anti-Slip Mat F679
  • Dreambaby® Easy-Clean Potty Seat F678
  • Dreambaby® Bath Tub Spout Cover F869

Find Dreambaby® online: LIKE them on Facebook, on Instagram plus check out some of their super useful videos on YouTube for help in baby-proofing your home.

 

 

5 Days, 5 Ways – Family Cooking with the De’Longhi Multifry

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Ok.  Lets just start by saying I had NO idea what to expect when I was asked to get on board with De’Longhi and create some (hopefully?!) delicious and inspiring content around their new Multifry Multicooker.

The name is what threw me off.  This fabulous piece of Italian tech – which will never leave our bench-top again – is not a fryer in any traditional sense and is SO much more than that.  For me it’s definitively a Multicooker, a genius kitchen appliance that I think will become a household staple in years to come.

Things have been literally insane in our household over the past month.  Dave’s had a massive project on at work and things here at The Best Nest have been out of control busy.  Anything that can help us to minimise stress and maximise our time over the next few weeks until Christmas is being embraced with open arms!  Dave and I have used the Multifry Multicooker every day for the past 3 weeks and it’s been a welcome addition to the kitchen.  It’s so versatile, economical in terms of time and power and helps us whip up family-friendly meals that are both easy and delicious.  We are both IN LOVE……..with our new kitchen spaceship lol.

So, to show you the varied ways we use our new kitchen BFF, I’ve decided to highlight 5 different dishes we cooked over 5 days in our De’Longhi Multifry.

Enjoy!

5 Days > 5 Ways with the De’Longhi Multifry Multicooker

Monday > Bacon & Brie Quiche

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top RECIPE

Lord I love eggs.  Quiche and frittata are two of my go-to quick meal faves.  They are almost fail-proof and are packed with protein which keeps the boys fuller for longer.  This recipe is insanely good.  Like, this is the BEST quiche I’ve ever made.  You’ll love it too I guarantee it!

  • 2 sheets savoury short crust pastry 
  • 6 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 red capsicum sliced
  • Sliced Brie to taste

Line the bottom of the De’Longhi Multifry bowl with baking paper.  Defrost the pastry sheets, combine into a ball and roll out on a floured surface to cover the bottom of the De’Longhi Multfry bowl so the edges stand up about 5cm.  Add the chopped bacon, mushrooms and salt and pepper.  Whisk eggs and milk then pour over the bacon mixture.  Arrange the capsicum and brie slices on the top.

Close the lid, select the OVEN program, set power level 2 at 35 minutes and press start.  After 20 minutes rotate the quiche 180 degrees using the greaseproof paper and finish the cooking time.

Serve with a green salad and pesto or chutney.

Tuesday > Mushroom Risotto

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top RECIPE

Risotto is my favourite rice dish but it is time consuming and can easily go wrong.  This was our first time attempting risotto in the Multifry and we were blown away – absolute perfection!  Creamy and perfectly balanced, I will never make risotto on the stove again, using the Multifry was way too easy. 

The Best Nest Mushroom Risotto Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil (Level 5 on the Multifry oil dispenser)

1 small onion chopped

2 celery stalks chopped

1 carrot diced

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup sliced button mushrroms

1 cup dried Porcini mushrooms – rehydrated

Salt and pepper to taste.

Add oil, onion, celery and carrot to the De’Longhi Multifry.  Turn dial to rice/casserole setting, power level 4 for 35 minutes.

After 5 minutes add chicken stock, wine, rice and mushrooms.  That’s it!  Enjoy your perfect risotto garnished with chives – we had spring onions lol.

Wednesday > Half & Half Pizza

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top RECIPE

The old family pizza quandary; I can’t stand Hawaiian pizza – or pineapple on pizza in general – and that’s the kids fave.  Cook once and eat twice by making a half & half pizza.

We used our own dough recipe which has been our family standard for years now; this is another tried and true recipe which thankfully required no adaptation to work beautifully in the Multifry!

The Best Nest Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup water

Add liquid after mixing dry ingredients.  This amount of dough will make two pizza bases.

Remove the paddle and oil the base of the Multifry bowl.  Roll the dough over the bottom of the base and spoon on your pizza sauce of choice.  Close the lid, select the PIZZA program at power level 2, set for 30 minutes and press start.

After 15 minutes apply your toppings.  We used pepperoni and cheddar cheese across the whole pizza and added feta and sundried tomatoes on the ‘adult’ side.

The non-stick surface is amazing, the pizza slid out of the pan easily with a fish slice underneath to support it.

Thursday > Easy Dinner! Frozen Fish ‘n’ Chips

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Ethan, Dave and I all play touch on Thursday nights.  It’s hectic to say the least.  We usually eat up at the Rugby Club whilst Mum watches Nixie at home.  Look I’m not organic, free-range, raw, gluten-free Mum – sometimes the kids eat frozen chips and fish, it’s true lol.

Cooking frozen convenience food is another area in which the De’Longhi Multifry excels.  You don’t have to wait for the Multifry to heat up saving at least 10 minutes of cooking time.  Perfect for those evenings when kids need to eat – fast!  We all get caught out, and I always make sure I’ve got some quick dinners in the freezer for those crazy days when we just can’t get a ‘from scratch’ meal on the table.

I popped the paddle in the bowl, added the frozen chips, selected the POTATOES program on level 3 and pressed start.  After 12 minutes I added a piece of Sealord frozen hoki.

That’s it.

Dinner ready, perfectly crispy with no added oil.

Friday > Canned Peach Cake

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top RECIPE

We are not the family that has dessert every night following dinner.  Heck, we’re not the family that has dessert ever lol. But I love to bake cakes and they are also mega easy to whip up in the Multifry – I’ve made two cakes so far and they’ve both turned out perfectly.  The first was my Nana’s traditional Banana Cake (recipe here).  This required no adaptation to use in the De’Longhi Multifry other than doubling the recipe as the cooking bowl is quite large.

The second cake – Canned Peach Cake – is a recipe from De’Longhi’s Multifry App which is available free from Google Play or the App Store.  In this instance I used canned peaches but will be making this moist cake again throughout the summer when Golden Queen peaches are in season.  Can.  Not.  Wait!

Right now when you purchase a De’Longhi MultiFry Multicooker you’ll receive $50 cashback via redemption.
Promotion commences 1/11/2015 and concludes 10/01/2016.

But, I’m giving one lucky reader the chance to WIN a De’Longhi MultiFry Multicooker!  Enter via the widget below, good luck!

 

Top Toys for Christmas 2015

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This is the very last gift guide for 2015 which means two things; 

  1. Santa is very, very close
  2. It’s time to wrap gifts!

I know some of you are last minute shoppers, some totally thrive on it.  A good friend of mine is notorious for doing her Christmas shopping for her 3 kids on Christmas Eve!  I get stabby thinking about going anywhere near a mall at this point in December – I hate it!

If you’ve still got some little people to shop for, hopefully this round-up of six of the top toys this Christmas will help make your shopping easy and quick as they are all available at The Warehouse, Farmers or both!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-gift-guideThomas & Friends Trackmaster Shipwreck Rails RRP $149.99

I’ve been waiting with baited breath for Thomas fever to hit our household after Ethan’s complete lack of interest when he was a toddler – I freaking LOVE that little blue train!  This playset takes Thomas to a level I’ve never seen before, it’s a BIG motorised railway with epic features including a death drop where Thomas spins 360º.  This is totally going to blow Nixon’s mind (and Ethan’s to be honest!) and I can see the Trackmaster series becoming a collection that we add to over the years.

Psssst, there’s some mega sales on this right now! Check the links!

Available from The Warehouse and Farmers.Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

Fisher Price Bright Beats Dance And Move BeatBo RRP $120

Gotta say I can’t wait for this guy to join us on Christmas Day!  BeatBo is a 13″ interactive robot-esque toy that is bright, tactile and soo visually attractive you just can’t help but want to press all of his buttons.  He has 3 modes; Dance & Move, Learning & Games and Record and Remix where you can record a word or phrase that’s played back and remixed into a song!  SO rad, Nixon’s going to love yabbering away to BeatBo and making music.  I found BeatBo super intuitive to use, Nix at almost 2.5 years should have no trouble navigating the voice prompts to make the most out of this super fun toy.  This is a tech/toy mashup that works SO well!

Available from The Warehouse and Farmers.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand GiftMega 123 Learning Train RRP $40 + Mega Blocks RRP $29.99

Ok, blocks.  Crucial element in any kids free-play repertoire.  I love Mega Blocks as they give Nix the freedom to just build whatever he wants – easily.  That’s the major attraction for me.  Usually he’s whipping up big towers to form ‘cranes’ or other building site equipment and the ease with which he can pull pieces apart and dismantle his creations leaves little room for frustrated tantrums – a pervasive storm cloud always on the horizon when you live with a toddler!

The 123 Learning Train does double duty as an educational aid and a super fun toy.  Blocks are printed with numbers which I’m excited to use with Nix to firm-up his number recognition.

Available from The Warehouse and Farmers.Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

Hot Wheels Monster Jam Dragon Blast RRP $59.99

Nixon is a card carrying member of Hot Wheels Anonymous – child is addicted to little cars!  We were at a friends house recently and her son (who is a little older than Nix) had a Hot Wheels playset which captivated my little guy for the duration of our playdate.  This set ticks all the boxes for us; Dragon?  Yes.  Monster Truck? Yes.  Hours of fun?  Definitely.

Available from The Warehouse and Farmers

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand GiftHot Wheels Stack A Track RRP $59.99

Stack A Track is next level Hot Wheels for sure.  With this set you can design and build your own track (and then tear it down with reckless abandon which is what Nixon will do with it lol).  I love the freedom sets like this give little engineers, it becomes a two-pronged toy encouraging creativity and imagination as well as the base fun of simply playing with little cars!

Available from The Warehouse and Farmers

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

We were so fortunate to have been gifted these wonderful toys by Mattel for review purposes.  The amazing thing is, they have donated an equal number of toys to my charity of choice, The Auckland City Mission!  We are so grateful in both instances xx

 

A New Christmas Tradition to Share

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To be honest, my Christmas mojo totally needed a big fat injection of Festive Spirit this year.  December has arrived in all of it’s red-velveted glory but my head was still back in September.  Where oh where did spring go?

One thing that never fails to get me in the Christmas mood is seasonal baking – whipping up shortbread, gingerbread and other pretty treats for friends, family and the kid’s coaches and teachers is a sure-fire way to shake off seasonal doldrums and get pumped about giving and gifting.  Usually this requires some prep, some checking of recipes, purchasing ingredients and packaging cellophane, angst in the kitchen, much mess, kids underfoot hustling for scraps………

……..actually that’s every day lol.

This Christmas one of New Zealand’s most iconic brands has created a gorgeous gift that’s guaranteed to inspire every lucky recipient to bust out the José Feliciano and get down with Santa. Not actually with Santa but …….. you know what I mean!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

Meet the new Superstar of the Christmas gift aisle at your local supermarket – The Tasti Tin of Tremendousness.  A kiwiana style collectible tin (the PERFECT size for your Christmas Cake!) complete with everything you need to whip up your own Tasti Choc Almond Christmas Tree.  So easy I let the kids do it, and I mean, I really did let the kids do it.  Together even!  

That wasn’t such a good idea in hindsight.Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

When we realised that Nixon was entirely focused upon eating all of the ingredients himself he was removed from the equation and Ethan did a wonderful job of finishing what was our first Christmas cooking activity for 2015.  

Ethan had no trouble following the directions, melting the chocolate, combining the ingredients and moulding the mixture to the star stencil.  I may have taste tested at this point and ah-maze-ing!!!!
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

We were a tad skeptical about how these ‘piles’ of deliciousness would transform into a Christmas Tree, but after an hour or so in the fridge, the chocolate had hardened and some beautiful stars emerged which then took 5 minutes to assemble in tree form.

I love this project!  It’s super quick, very kid friendly, all of the ingredients are in the tin and it literally screams ‘Christmas!  Christmas!  I’m ready for you!’.  Purchasing the annual Tin of Tremendousness will become a new Christmas Tradition for our family for years to come I hope!

Obviously the Choc Almond Christmas Tree will be a lovely addition to the dessert table on The Big Day, but in the meantime, this is a seriously stunning gift for anyone who loves baking or creating their own Christmas treats, plus, I think this would make an awesome gift for kids who love spending time in the kitchen!  

Pick up your on Tasti Tin of Tremendousness from supermarkets nationwide RRP$15.99 or, try your luck at winning one here!  Comment on this post or enter via the widget below – don’t worry if it says closed – competition will be drawn Sunday 20th @10pm.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift

2016 #goals: 5 Reasons to Hydrate and 5 Ways to do it

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Drink More Water

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Drink More WaterI wish I was one of those water chugging babes that effortlessly put back a couple of litres a day……but I’m not.

To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m only drinking a couple of litres a week right now.  That’s freaking horrible!  No wonder I’m feeling so tired and generally under-the-weather in what is without doubt the busiest month of the year for me right now – as I’m sure it is for many of you too.

Forget the traditional, wanton new Year’s resolutions, I actually have to implement some serious change come January 1st as I can’t keep living at break-neck speed, scraping through each day by the skin of my teeth, barely remembering important appointments, meetings and family commitments.  I’ve got to slow down, figure out a work schedule that actually works (!) and start taking better care of myself and my amazing family.  Increasing my water intake is at the top of my list.  

5 reasons why we need to stay hydrated;

  1. Vanity.  Plain and simple.  When I’m dehydrated my aging, 36 year old skin looks lackluster, dry and doughy.  Yuck.  Dehydrated skin loses its plumpness resulting in wrinkles that are more apparent and papery.  Hit the water cooler to keep your selfie game looking fresh guys!
  2. Slim ‘n Trim.  If this is your jam then you’re going to want to stay hydrated.  Often I mistake thirst for hunger and head to the pantry instead of the water filter.  Tsk tsk.  Knocking back a big glass of water when those faux hunger pangs hit may just help keep those calories off your hips!
  3. Clear head.  Whether it’s self-inflicted (did Mummy have a bad day and reach for the wine?  ME.  TOO) or from natural causes, water can help relieve headache symptoms and maybe get rid of them all together!  Headaches and fatigue are common sign of dehydration so drink up – especially during any ‘festive’ celebrations this summer!
  4. Energy.  Fluid loss can be detrimental to working memory, mood, brain function, motivation and feelings of anxiety and fatigue.  I’ve got enough external factors contributing to that list of ailments so compounding those influences with self-inflicted dehydration has got to stop!
  5. Support Kidney & Bowel Function.  I’m not going to go into detail here, but there’s a couple of important points to note;  when you’re dehydrated your body pulls water from wherever it can find it, often from stool in the bowel which in turn makes it harder and more difficult to pass.    Keeping hydrated helps kidneys eradicate waste and toxins from the body and dilutes the salts and minerals present in urine that can cause kidney stones.  Ouchie!

These reasons don’t just apply to me but to our whole family.  Nix has a surgically shortened bowel so hydration is super-important for him and Ethan is 11 so makes a point of forgetting anything that is remotely good for him lol.

SodaStream makes water more exciting for both Ethan and I.  I love using it to make sparkling water – adding freshly squeezed lemon is the perfect pick-me-up to keep on my desk while I’m writing, or as a base for a refreshing summer cocktail (also whilst I’m writing lol).  I love being able to eliminate sugary soft drinks but still be prepared with a classic mixer when we entertain.

SodaStream are heating things up this summer, post a pic on social media of how you make water more exciting in summer and include #sodastreamnz to be in the draw to win one of five SodaStream summer packs worth $180!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Drink More Water

 

 

Christmas Gift Guide – For Her (which is probably you right?)

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Christmas Gift Guide

How ironic that the final Christmas Gift Guide I put together is for women like myself, maybe Mum’s, often the member of the family that is overlooked until the last minute, partner/husband frantically rushing to the mall on one of the final shopping days before Christmas to grab something, anything to pop under the tree.  Let’s not be martyrs ladies because, honestly, no-one likes those types.  If someone asks you what you want for Christmas, for god’s sake TELL THEM!

Or send them the link to this blog post for some hints ;  )

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift GuideBonds Underwear

I’m a simple creature (HA!), 99% of the time I’m rocking super fun, cotton Bonds boy leg underwear.  I love this underwear.  I’ve been wearing it for years and years and swear by the fit, quality and comfort.  This season’s Glow range from Bonds has some very cute prints and pieces available – perfect stocking stuffers for the whole family – but mostly you Mama!

BONDS Boyfriend Triangle Crop, BB Holo, RRP $25

BONDS Boyfriend Hot Shortie, BB Holo, RRP $18

2016 OTi Organiser RRP$34.99Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift Guide

I’ve tried pretty much every app based diary/organiser/planner there is and I’ve not been able to make a habit out of any of them.  I need a visual, tactile point of reference, one that works with an actual pen.  How old school I know!  

It also needs to look gorgeous and inspire me to organise my ridiculous life.

The OTi (On To It) organiser comes in three super stylish cover designs, you will want to take this everywhere with you I promise.  The main consideration however is function and the OTI delivers; the range focuses on wellbeing with a week-to-a-spread layout and value-add inclusions such as;

  • Removable Contacts and Info booklet.  A single place to store important numbers – both phone and account numbers, plus usernames and passwords for websites and important annual dates.
  • Refillable shopping list post-it notes
  • Pen loop and pen included
  • Elastic enclosure
  • Bookmark ribbon
  • Pocket for loose papers
  • Durable and wipeable cover

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift GuideEssence Marble Collection Soy Candles RRP$49

I love candles, I really, really do.  I just need to remember to burn them more often lol.  If you want to support a local business this Christmas then look no further!  Candle-maker Megan Harris has put her artist husband Paul to work for the latest Essence soy candle collection. Each of the gorgeous marble-finished candles in the range have been hand-painted by Paul at their Auckland, studio. 

Totally on-trend with their marbled finish and striking brushed gold lid, my Peony candle was super easy to style and looks beautiful on our mantle. Megan prides herself on loading them heavily with fragrance, and the scent totally fills your home when lit. These candles are 100% soy wax, have a 70 hour burn time, cotton wicks and their fragrance is phthalate free.  Gorgeous!Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift Guide

George Foreman Mix & Go with Chill Sticks RRP$89.99 

The big blenders are getting a lot of coverage this Christmas, and they’re totally amazing.  I love my Nutri Bullet dearly but if you’re not whipping up smoothies for a family of four daily you may consider the price prohibitive.  The slimline design and fab price point of the George Foreman Mix & Go sets it apart from it’s competitors.  You’re definitely not losing much of that valuable bench-top real estate with this gadget!  Plus, now you can guarantee that your smoothie will always be chilled to perfection with the NEW George Foreman Chill Sticks, included with your purchase of a George Foreman Mix & Go or available separately for your existing collection. 

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift GuideThe Great New Zealand Colouring Book RRP$24.99

I’m not sure a Christmas Gift Guide is complete this year without the addition of an adult colouring book, but this one is a little different.  Available exclusively at Warehouse Stationery stores, this is a high quality coffee table art book created by kiwis for kiwis.  Who doesn’t need to de-stress over the Christmas period?  I personally can’t think of a prettier way to do it.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift GuideRemington Girls on the Go Bikini Trimmer RRP$49

I’m not going to dwell on this one too much because, well, TMI.  There are only 2 regular beauty appointments I can handle, and neither of them are for waxing.  I have to wear togs year round at the moment because I’m still in the pool with Nixie during swimming lessons so ‘things’ have to be maintained.  This bright little gadget is perfect for us gals who take care of bikini trimming at home.  It does what it needs to, is simple to use, battery operated and compact enough to take away in your toilet bag over the summer holidays.  Super good price point too. 

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift GuideRemington Silk Ceramic Straightener RRP$199

I haven’t used anything but GHD’s on my hair in over 8 years so I was super keen to try out the latest straightener from Remington.  It delivers, I’m super impressed with this guy, it’s a top of the range, feature packed straightener that still comes in $160 cheaper than the GHD Platinum.  A little more lightweight in the hand but the plates are seriously silk smooth and glide right over your hair.

  • High heat to 240°C
  • Turbo boost function
  • Heats up in 10 seconds
  • Informative digital temperature display indicates the best temperature for your hair type
  • 5 variable heat settings 150°C to 240°C
  • Memory function remembers the last temperature used
  • Floating plates for constant contact and fast styling
  • Temperature lock function
  • Automatic safety shut off and worldwide voltage
  • Heat resistant storage pouch
  • Hinge lock
  • Salon swivel cord

MAC Irresistibly Charming Lip Gloss Mini-Kits RRP$95Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Gift Guide

Oh swoon!  I pretty much want to take this little briefcase of epic glosses with me every where I go.  They are amazing, but you already know that.  The Pink Palette is perfection for me, containing;

  • JUST SUPERB neutral pink (cremesheen glass)
  • CRÈME ANGLAISE rosey mid-tone pink (cremesheen glass)
  • COLOUR SATURATION deep wine (cremesheen glass)
  • SUGARRIMMED milky pale pink w/multi-pearlized pigments (dazzleglass)

These are Limited Edition M.A.C Holiday releases so don’t dilly-dally, head in-store to your nearest counter now!

Trilogy Rosapene Beauty Collection RRP$46.90

Ahhh Trilogy.  I recently stated that their Age Proof range was my favourite release of 2015 and I totally stand by that.  This is a brand that knows women’s skin.  A gift set like those offered this season is the perfect introduction to some wonderful new products that I’m sure you will fall in love with. 

With a full-size, award-winning Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ and deluxe minis of Vital Moisturising Cream and Rosapene™ Night Cream, this premium pack will have your skin glowing around the clock. Harnessing the power of Trilogy’s potent antioxidant complex, Rosapene™, which repairs and protects for optimum skin health and radiance, this is the perfect gift for someone you love. 

Christmas | Hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Party

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Hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating Party was not part of my Christmas Agenda this year (I don’t actually have one, BELIEVE ME!).  But, Someone shared a Pinterest Perfect Pin of such a party on Pop Roc Parties super special Facebook Group and many of us oohed and ahhhed …………………. and I ended up saying “I’ll host it!  No worries, leave it in my capable hands”.

Now that statement is hilarious and couldn’t actually be any further from the truth.  I’m a really, really bad hostess, honestly, there was plenty of wine at the party but the only food served was what the guests brought themselves!

But, I was pretty pumped on the whole Gingerbread House concept so called in the big guns to help make the morning a success.

Penny from Little Housewife took one for the team and made the most beautiful Gingerbread House pieces for us to assemble and Gingerbread men for Ethan to decorate (both my kids were there as Dave was out of town on business), as well as whipping up her fail-safe icing to stick everything together on the day.  You can find the recipe for her Gingerbread here.

IMG_3150

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Spotlight was my natural go-to for baking supplies and Christmas decor for this event.  I previewed their gorgeous Christmas range earlier in the year and haven’t stopped thinking about it since!  When I first hit the Albany store for supplies I was completely overwhelmed but found that once I had decided on a colour scheme – white and silver with red accents –  everything seemed to fall into place – or into my basket lol.

Party Decor

Considering I only had a few rudimentary ideas floating around at the outset, I’m so happy with how the table turned out.

Key pieces were definitely the foil balloons spelling XMAS.  I has purchased the huge helium numbers before but wasn’t aware that they also came in a 30cm size that you can air fill.  The best part?  They have tabs with holes pre-punched ready to hang!  Seven days later and our gorgeous foil garland is still looking amaze.  RRP $3.99 ea.

Each place setting comprised;

 

Centrepiece 

  • Joy Marquee Light RRP$34.99
  • Ceramic Tree RRP$19.99
  • Paper Mache Reindeer RRP$7.99
  • Snowy Invite Glitter Reindeer – Check in store
  • Snowy Invite Nutcracker 35cm  – Check in store
  • Red Copenhagen Cement Candle -Check in Store

 

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Decorating 101

It’s a fact that you can’t decorate Gingerbread Houses without pretty, pretty candy.  Sweet Scoop are our family’s favourite; a range of delicious, traditional lollies that are available to Pick ‘N Mix at selected PAK ‘n SAVE and New World stores nationwide.  To decorate our houses we used; Fairy Mushrooms, Licorice Mix, Sour Fruit Dots, Rosie Apples, Tutti Fruitti Belts, Love Hearts, Blue Mouth Painters, Raspberry Sours, Fizzy Bricks, Tangy Sticks, Spin Tops and Cupid Hearts.  

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Those gorgeous serving trays can be found for hire here at Pop Roc Parties.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Because I have no idea what I’m doing, I was planning on buying an icing bag and attachments for each guest.  Thankfully I called Penny whilst I was in Spotlight and she directed me to the Party department which is where you find all of the icing equipment.  One box of Wilton Disposable Piping Bags and we were all set!  Cutting off the end on an angle is perfect for decorating these little houses.  I picked up quite a range of sparkles, sprinkles, Frozen-coloured snowflakes, and gel pens from Spotlight and Julie from Pop Roc supplied the Christmas Pearl Sprinkles (red, white & green) plus the cutest little reindeer and tree topper figurines.

I also grabbed these very cute 3d Christmas Cookie Cutters which were perfect for cutting out fondant shapes to add a little extra dimension to our decorating.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

The Finishing Touches

This is where I let Julie from Pop roc Parties go crazy!  Decorating the table for an event like this is totally her forte and she had no end of amazing party products to flesh out my concept and make it look ‘finished’.  I’ll include a full ‘Shop the Look’ links section at the end for you.

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You can’t host a Christmas party without crackers and these Jolly & Joy Poinsettia Bon Bons were a gorgeous addition to the table.  I’d never considered gold serving-ware before but how amazing do the berries look on that gold hexagon plate????  I love it, the subtle pop of metallic adds a little luxe feeling to the nibbles table.

With SO much that needed to be on the table Julie was keen to create some height.  I had the decorating sprinkles on a cakestand some upended wooden crates worked well to get the decorations out of the way when it was time to get down to the ‘hard work’ of decorating our beautiful little houses.  Mason jars were used to keep our icing bags upright and ready to go and tying the bags off with festive ribbon from Spotlight just added to the cohesive theme.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Not going to lie.  It was a crazy, hectic morning due to the fact that everyone pitched in and pulled the party together in situ!  But it was so much fun and the finished Gingerbread Houses looked amazing!  I cannot believe I had the foresight to pick up a large roll of cellophane from Spotlight (so not like me to think ahead!), but I did and it was perfect for wrapping up the finished products to ensure they made it home safely to the little people who were eagerly awaiting them!

Thank you so much to the beautiful ladies who came and enjoyed the First Annual Best Nest Gingerbread House Decorating Party!  Aimee from My Beloved Style, Penny from Little Housewife, Megan from Thread and Julie from Pop Roc Parties.

Also a huge thank you to Spotlight, Sweet Scoop and Pop Roc Parties for your generous contributions to this event xx

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Megan Robinson from www.thread.co.nz with her beautiful Gingerbread House

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Shop the Look from Pop Roc Parties

 

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Say yes. It will happen.

Top Mummy Blog new ZealandKids and tech.  Tech and kids.  Screen time.  Devices.  Inside/outside.  

I can honestly say, the battle for playtime wages constantly in our house, and it’s an undisputed Battle Royale which I’m sure is playing out in most homes around New Zealand.

Truth:  Our two year old Nixon tells me to put my phone in my pocket.

Top Mummy Blog new ZealandTherein lies the problem (no pockets! Joking lol) and also the solution.

Like every facet of life, the desire to be constantly connected and the ever present smartphone in many parents hands has set a precedent that our kids are all to eager to follow.

The buck stops with us because recent research suggests some alarming trends – over 80% of Kiwi children are spending more than two hours a day in front of a screen during the week, with even more doing the same on the weekend.  This is Ethan.  And potentially Nixon if we don’t make some changes.

I’ve thought about this a lot, and in our family it’s not going to be that difficult to turn the (digital) tide.  It’s going to require commitment from Dave and I but not in the way one might think – no tantrums, raging, slamming of doors, no changing of wifi codes – this would work instantly, but not in the way I want to. 

Read on.

I’m pretty sure as parents we know that, especially with younger kids, the easiest and most desirable play option is free and easily accessible – kids just want to play with YOU, their parents.  Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

So, I figure, (and we’re are trying to implement this in our house right now) place yourself outside, or wherever it is you want your kids to play, wait for them to notice you (they will come trust me!) and simply say YES.

Can I play with water?’ which let’s face it, in my house means mud manufacturing.  ‘YES! Go for it, mud washes off after all’.

Can I go eeling?‘.  This also means mud, often more mud than after a rugby game, but, ‘HECK YES! GO forth and catch-and-release those eels!’ ::::::shivers::::

Can you jump on the tramp with me?‘.  Potential loss of bladder control in this scenario, but again, washing clothes hasn’t killed me so far, ‘YES!  Mummy loves jumping on the tramp, I can peek over all of the neighbours fences!’.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

You get the picture?  Go and they will follow, do and they will emulate.  Take your little sponges outside and watch them soak up what you’re doing.  Get a small bucket and bowl and start collecting twigs, flowers, petals and just sit on the grass at home or in a park and make patterns, take some string and make little teepees out of sticks for their mini-character toys………the possibilities are endless and the benefits are undisputed.  

Persil has partnered with the AUT Human Potential Centre to understand the State of Play in New Zealand. It’s their view that unless we let Kiwi kids indulge in unstructured free play we deprive them of the chance to really develop their independence, creativity and a good sense of judgment when it comes to taking risks.  This may well mean that we erode the qualities that we Kiwis have become known for; ingenuity, resilience and inventiveness.

Getting back to Real Play need not be a massive family transition.  Don’t overthink it, just get down to your kids level and get your hands dirty.

The nationwide State of Play Survey asked over 2,000 Kiwi parents about their perceptions of children’s independent movement, and how they feel about a less structured and more traditional approach to play.  Our friends at Persil feel passionate about helping kiwis make positive changes in their kids daily lives so have put together some fab tips and tricks to help us all incorporate more Real Play into our daily lives.  Find out more here > visit http://persil.co.nz/

To help keep up with the laundry, Persil are giving readers of The Best Nest a chance to win an awesome prize pack.  Comment below and tell us your #Reaplay tips to get in the draw to win a MASSIVE Persil prize pack consisting of: 10 x 1L bottles of Persil liquid and 10 x 1KG boxes of Persil top loader powder!  Competition closes 10th Jan 2016.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

 

5 More Minutes – Me and Them

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It’s one of the defining catch-cries of modern kids, one that seems to defy age, gender and geographical constraints.  Whatever it is that kids are doing and enjoying, they always want 5 more minutes of it.

Enough is never enough, ‘done’ infrequently means ‘I’m actually finished’ and ‘NOW’ is 9/10 times debated – at least in my house if I’m being honest!

When thinking about this post, the difference between what my kids wish they had 5 more minutes of and what I would love to spend 5 more minutes on is hilarious in it’s juxtaposition.

My 5 More Minutes Wishlist

  1. Sleep.  I would love 5 more minutes of sleep every day.  Shit, I would love 5 more minutes of sleep every hour, a cumulative total over the day that I could cash in each night.  But that’s a ludicrous thought (and awfully sexy lol).
  2. Bathroom.  More time in the bathroom, even just 5 more minutes each day could possibly change my life.  I’m serious.  This blogging gig I’m trying to run here sometimes means I have to present a semi-professional facade on occasion.  Hell, professionalism aside, I actually SHOULD shower each day.  5 golden moments of door-shut, kid free bathroom time would be bliss and prob do wonders for my mood and confidence.
  3. Sitting.  Some days I fall into bed around midnight and realise that I didn’t sit down all day long.  Not once.  Mum life is rough man, the hours are terrible, the pay is shit and you don’t get regular breaks lol.  More sitting please.
  4. Socialising.  If I had 5 more minutes to talk – to ADULTS – my world would be a better place.  Stimulating, riveting conversation in which I LEARN something, or am inspired by someone would be a tremendous coup for the part of my brain that is currently overflowing with the names of Wiggles and assorted construction equipment.
  5. Sleep.  Oh I already mentioned that?  See above x 2.

My Kids 5 More Minutes Wishlist

  1. Pantry.  The boys are constantly IN the pantry.  It’s not a walk in pantry but they still like to hangout in there, just looking, thinking about food, deciding on what they’re going to request next.  If they could have 5 more minutes of unimpeded scavenging time they would be in heaven I tell you.  This is the stuff dreams are made of for Ethan and Nixon!
  2. Semi-nudity.  Clothing and footwear irritates the boys no end.  Like seriously pisses them off.  Ethan is 11 and this past winter was the first in his life in which he came home from school actually wearing shoes on some days!  In winter.  Nixon is the same.  Every day, every change from pyjamas to clothes and back again is a fight I’d pay money not to have.  Our two feral kids would love five more minutes of clothing optional time, every day for the rest of their lives.
  3. Screen-time.  What kid doesn’t want 5 more minutes to spend on their devices?  Look, we’ve been through this before I know, I’m a blogger, I love my tech and I love it with me 99% of the time.  But that’s not going to fly with kids, they can make those choices when they’re old enough to apply some perspective.  Ethan is getting harder to regulate but I’ve got a new tool in my arsenal when it comes to Nixon.  One of his favourite shows, DinoTrux has added 5 Minute Favourites to their offering on Netflix.  Bite sized viewing perfection to help me out when I’m in a jam or Nix needs some enforced downtime.  LOVE it.
  4. Dad.  Dad time is the best apparently.  Everyone wants more of it, notably when Dad is walking out the door or away on a work trip.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Proves difficult when you are not in fact ‘Dad’ and have to deal with the aftermath, but all in all not a terrible situation.
  5. Outside.  This one I have no qualms about, but herding my kids through the door and locking it behind them after dark/in a cyclone/at dinner time often necessitates the skill of a United Nations negotiator.  Exhausting, often requiring tricks or bribes and repetition on a daily basis.  I’m tired.
  6. Awake.  I have no idea why small people are so adverse to sleeping but life is cruel and ironic.  At the time in our lives when we are ‘adulting’, more tired than ever, working hard, often stressed – along come our little cherubs who are keen to avoid sleep at all times.  Nixon is currently waking at 4am, which is totally killing us!  Kids LOVE 5 more minutes before bed right?  Every.  Damn. Time.

Top Mummy Blog new ZealandIf you had 5 more minutes each day what would you use if for {aside from reading The Best Nest obviously!}