Creating the ULTIMATE Easter Gift Basket + Giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Easter Gift Basket

I’m shaking things up a little this year and combining the family’s treats into one, Ultimate Easter Gift Basket.  Shopping for the kids Easter gifts is one of my favourite excuses for heading in store to The Warehouse and stocking up on my spirit-food……………….chocolate of course!

I thought quite hard about the boy’s Easter baskets this year, as you do lol.  I really love the look of cane baskets, and they are super fun to decorate with ribbon and cellophane but, I find them a nightmare to store and they take up valuable cupboard real estate only to be used once a year.

So function it is this year, although good looks have hardly gone out the window!  Whilst searching for the perfect ‘vessel’ at The Warehouse I headed in-store to the storage department and spotted a range of hampers perfect for Easter styling.  Comprising pretty pastels and fresh minty greens, you can get the Easter Bunny sorted and then re-use your on-trend hamper for disguising  your household mess –  Win!  

I used the smaller size Hexagon Hamper which was a steal at just $16.  It’s actually pretty big so I popped 3 rolled up towels inside and folded the front edge down to create the perfect base for the Easter goodies.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Easter Gift Basket

10 Easter Gift Basket Essentials

  1. A suitable bag, hamper or basket.  There are super-cute traditional willow baskets available at The Warehouse ($7+) but I wanted to think outside the box a little and pick out something that could be repurposed throughout the year.
  2. Coloured shredded paper $2 – it’s just not an Easter basket without this stuff, it instantly ties everything together.
  3. Non-sweet treats.  I always like to include a couple of non-sugar based items in the boys baskets.  This year I picked up the latest Bear Grylls novel for Ethan, and for Nixon, a Transformers blind bag, a Play-Doh Spring Characters 2 Pack $7 and  a box of Play-Doh Spring Eggs $12.  These are the cutest.  Nix is obsessed with watching ‘Surprise Egg” videos on YouTube so is going to love having some of his own!
  4. Every basket needs an Easter bunny!  Cadbury Crunchie Bunny for E, a Kinder Bunny for Nix and a couple of Lindt Bunnies for Mum and Dad.  (If you’re looking for allergy friendly Easter Eggs check out the range from The Warehouse here
  5. A hollow egg – it’s tradition!  A Cadbury egg each.
  6. Cadbury Mini-eggs.  I die over how much I love the boys love these!
  7. A novelty item – I picked out a tube of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups for E and a Smarties Chicken for Nixon.
  8. Creme Eggs.  IT’S NOT EASTER WITHOUT THEM, never forget the Cream Eggs ok?
  9. Plastic eggs for the hunt on Easter Morning.
  10. Assorted small eggs, including marshmallow eggs (these are also compulsory at Easter!) for the hunt.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Easter Gift Basket

I LOVE the Easter long weekend.  It’s a cruisy, family time spent in the twilight of the warmer months.  The hustle and bustle of summer and the start of the school year is over.  It’s probably one of the few times of the year when I find it easy to relax and actually take some downtime.  And the best part is that I’m already totally prepared for Easter – early!

The Easter range is in-store and online at The Warehouse now.
New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Easter Gift Basket New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Easter Gift Basket

If you would like to win a $50 gift card from The Warehouse enter via the widget below!


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Cruise Diary | Day 4 on the Pacific Pearl

After dancing the night away at the Bianco Party with Ethan I was seriously lagging when we woke on Sunday morning.  Fortunately for me the first point of business for the day was in the beauty salon!

A long overdue hair cut with Rex was just what the doctor ordered and he delivered one of those scalp massages you dream about ever after.  Loved it.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

When we (finally) kicked off our dancing shoes and returned to our cabin last night, we found a very special invitation to visit the bridge from the ship’s secretary!!  This had been high on my wishlist from the second we boarded so the opportunity to meet the Captain was something I was not taking lightly.

Holy shit.

Mind boggling.  What an experience!  The view and the personalities up there are outstanding and the crew totally put up with my myriad of semi-technical questions that come from being the daughter of a marine engineer and married to another one!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

After our tour E and I headed to Plantation for lunch and spent a couple of hours relaxing and swimming in the pool – top deck was totally the place to be on such a beautiful day.  The loungers were full and everyone was enjoying the bluebird conditions and smooth sailing on the way back to Auckland.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

We headed to Salt Grill at 3pm for my first ever High Tea!  (So many firsts on this cruise, you are definitely able to get involved with as much or as little as you like when you are on-board – your itinerary needn’t be as full-on as ours was!).

Salt Grill by Luke Mangan is one of the premium restaurants on the Pacific Pearl and the service and food at the High Tea event was nothing short of outstanding.  The beautiful tea setting, the luxe options and the delicious food made this a lovely and relaxing way to wile away our final afternoon on board.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

Of course we had a busy evening planned!  We took in a show in the marquee – Off the Charts.  We had been admiring the skill and energy of the ship’s dance team whenever we spotted them at the parties on board.  The troupe are super friendly and fun and exude so much energy, they totally make you want to dance whenever you see them!  The show was a ripper, a 45 minute song and dance performance with many sing along Top 40 faves included.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

We headed back to Salt Grill for dinner and I found deciding what to order the most difficult choice of the trip!  We skipped entrees (totally wise considering how much we’d been packing away over the past 4 days lol!), shared sides and ordered mains.  My lamb was phenomenal as was Ethan’s rare tuna. < That kid has a seriously sophisticated palette!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

It was the end of an amazing four days and we hadn’t yet begun to pack, so upon Ethan’s wise recommendation, we skipped dessert and headed back to our cabin for an early-ish night.

We were due to disembark shortly after 7am and my floor-drobe wasn’t going to pack itself.  God I loved this trip!  One week later and I’m still fan-girling over every aspect of the cruise. 

I’m going to pop up one more post this week with some Cruising Tips and Cruise Essentials to pack when you’re ready for your amazing get-away!

Hotel Transylvania 2 is out on DVD NOW! + Giveaway

Hotel Transylvania Colouring Page Printable Mummy Blog Blogger NZ New Zealand

Hotel Transylvania 2 is out on DVD in New Zealand on February 24th and we have one copy to give away!

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2: February 24, Rating PG 
Everything seems to be changing for the better at Hotel Transylvania… Dracula’s rigid monster-only hotel policy has finally relaxed, opening up its doors to human guests. But behind closed coffins, Drac is worried that his adorable half-human, half-vampire grandson, Dennis, isn’t showing signs of being a vampire. So while Mavis is busy visiting her human in-laws with Johnny – and in for a major cultural shock of her own – “Vampa” Drac enlists his friends Frank, Murray, Wayne and Griffin to put Dennis through a “monster-in-training” boot camp. But little do they know that Drac’s grumpy and very old, old, old school dad Vlad is about to pay a family visit to the hotel. And when Vlad finds out that his great-grandson is not a pure blood – and humans are now welcome at Hotel Transylvania – things are going to get batty!

If you would like to win a copy of Hotel Transylvania 2 on DVD, head over to The Best Nest on Facebook!  or

Download and print out these super cute colouring pages for fun at home!

 

 

Cruise Diary | Day 3 On The Pacific Pearl – Napier Art Deco Festival

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Shore day!

Saturday dawned a seriously stunning, blue sky marvel.  We docked, disembarked and were on a bus to marine Parade in Napier by 8.30am! 

I was once again blown away by the how streamlined and easy all of these processes are.  There were buses lined up on the wharf ready to shuttle cruise passengers to the incredible Tremains Art Deco Festival which was about to kick off with a Champagne Breakfast on the beach.

In terms of New Zealand’s heritage, architecture and culture this festival is a must-do.  In terms of a holiday destination with the most beautiful beachfront I’ve ever seen in New Zealand – Napier is it.  What a stunning spectacle!

We were treated to a beautifully staged breakfast with bubbles on the beach, entertained by a jazz band and caught our first glimpses of just how invested Napier is in the Art Deco Festival.  The streets were lined with smiling people in elaborate period costumes, accessorised by vintage bicycles, motorcycles, cars and perambulators – classic prams!  Men, women, retirees. young hipsters and tiny babies were all in on the Art Deco action and dressed to the nines!

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Our pre-arranged shore tour began with a walking exploration of the Art Deco district in the CBD.  Our guide was an amazing volunteer who has been showing tourists the sights for over 20 years, and her love and pride in beautiful Napier was a sentiment echoed throughout the day by all whom we encountered.  This little city loves to party so we headed up to the top of the beachfront Dome Apartments to watch the classic car parade and an incredible airshow over the water.  This was another beautifully catered event.  I highly recommend checking out some of the ticketed events if you’re visiting the festival next year, the two we attended were such a value-add to an already perfect day in Napier.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

Heading back to the ship was another exercise in ‘How easy can a holiday be?’  The buses were running constantly and were ready and waiting. Just as soon as we arrived at the pick-up location we were whisked back to the wharf and had embarked, changed into our togs and were poolside with a cocktail within 30 minutes of leaving the festival.  LOVE THIS!

Between dips in the pool and ice cream, E had fun on the mechanical bull and I enjoyed some downtime before we headed to dinner and the White Party later on in the evening.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

We ate at Luna and both Ethan and I agree it was our favourite meal of the cruise.  The modern Japanese menu is ridiculously good, everything on it is brilliant and unexpected.  The Sashimi of Ahi Tuna and Salmon tacos with chilled tomato salsa was as genius as the rice-free sushi of Blue Crab meat, avocado, salmon caviar and brandy sauce.  My mouth is watering reliving this menu and those were only two of the starters lol!New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

Our perfect meal was followed by the super fun Bianco Party.  We all dressed in white and danced the night away under the stars on the top deck as the Pearl pulled away from Napier and we began our trip north to Auckland.

Ethan loved the dance party, it was classic!  I had to tear him away as I was exhausted and my party boy was showing no signs of slowing down.  This was a great event, the ship’s dancers showed the crowd how to get down and both the DJ and the band played perfect sets that kept the energy up and the dance floor packed.

Holy smokes, 3 late nights in a row!  Who am I???

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

On the Water with Jetstar & Avonside Girls High School Dragon Boat team

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It’s that time again!  The latest recipients of Jetstar’s Flying Start grant were announced yesterday in the New Zealand Herald as the Avonside Girls High School Dragon Boat team.  The girls have held the competition at bay for the past two years, holding on to their national title despite the obvious hardships and handicaps that come with living in quake damaged Christchurch.

The girls are hitting the road – or more accurately, the skies – in April, heading to Adelaide to compete in the Club Crew World Dragon Boating Championships.  The logistics and financial commitment required to transport and accomodate the 26 girls from Year 12 and 13 are immense.  The team had raised about 20k of the $50,000 needed for the trip and now, with the help of the Flying Start grant ($15,000 cash and $15,000 worth of flights) they are able to focus on their prep and do what they do best – win!

I chatted with two members of the girl’s support team, Coach Evan Roper and the fab mum who nominated the team for the grant, Nikki, about what this opportunity means to the team and wider community.

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1. How did you announce the news to everyone? I imagine it was VERY loud with lots of #SQUEE!

Nikki – Yes, I let Grant (Head of NZ Jetstar) do the honors.  After gathering the girls around, I admitted to them that we had lied to them and that they were not there for a photo shoot for a ‘small local rag’ – which is what we had told them. I then introduced Grant and Phil. Grant told the girls about what the grant was and that they had made the short list. He then paused and said “sorry, I’ve lied to you too – you have actually won”. The girls squealed, screamed, cried, high fived and hugged each other – as did the other coach and some of the parents that were there (who of course did not know either). Grant was then treated to some dragon chanting – very loud – and even a wee trip in the boat, where they introduced him to their “side to side” chant (that includes tipping the boat from side to side).

2. What does the Jetstar Flying Start Grant mean for the team?

Evan – The cost to send the team of 28 to Adelaide is close to $50,000. Breaking that down to an individual cost of around $2,200 per student. The families of the girls who attend Avonside would generally not have a spare $2,000 to pay for their daughters trip. The only way this venture was going to be possible was with a tremendous amount of fundraising. The parents of the girls in the team have been tremendously supportive and inventive with fundraising ideas. They have sold wine, pies, frozen fish fillets. There have been sausage sizzles at Bunnings, car washes, quiz nights, stock taking nights for the Warehouse and raffles. The parents are manning food stalls at the 5 regattas that are held locally and at the finish line of the Coast to Coast event. One parent, Rhys Pocklington, who has twin daughters in the team, (Emma and Shannon) owns a car yard. He has generously offered some sponsorship for the team. The photo of the team shows them wearing the travelling tops that have his motor vehicle company name on the back of the top. (Black and White Motor vehicle Company). He has also bought a tent for the team to use at local regattas, again with his signage on it, and is paying the girls to clean the cars in the car yard twice a week. The girls have divided themselves into groups and undertake this work on a rostered basis.

Winning the Jetstar Flying Start Grant has been of HUGE benefit to our fundraising efforts. The amount of the grant, coupled with the fundraising efforts undertaken so far, will mean that the families of the daughters will not have to pay out much money at all from their own bank accounts when we head away to Adelaide.

The pressure of needing to raise $2,000 per week has been a constant worry for most of the parents of the team members and this grant has alleviated much of that pressure and stress.

3. How are you preparing for the Aussie trip? Is training mental right now?

Evan – We started training on the water in September of 2015. On water trainings have been twice a week until the end of January. We are now training 3 times per week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Before school works better than after school so that means a very early start to the day 3 times per week. We meet at 0600 at the boat yard. On the water between 0615 and 0715 and then the girls head to school at 0730. Getting to training for 0600 means they are probably getting up at 0500. That’s real dedication for you and a testament to the desire within this team.

4. How has being a part of this team helped with life post-quake in Christchurch?

Nikki – Obviously the pride in the community for a start – there’s so much negativity here (insurance issues, problems with EQC, large parts of unwelcoming bare land, etc) that it is nice that the girls have something positive to focus on and work towards.

5. Do you feel like this particular squad will be leaving a legacy for students to come as they progress though their years at Avonside?
Nikki – Absolutely – some of the past Avonside girls still support the current team – and there’s nothing like knowing going into a new year that there are big shoes to fill. Most of the girls welcome that kind of pressure.

Evan – The answer to that is unreservedly – YES. It seems that with the passing of each season, the team performance has improved. 2011 saw the team win it’s first medal at a major regatta – 3rd place in the 200m at the South Island Championships)
2012 saw the team medal again at South Islands (2nd place in the 200m) and our first medals at Nationals. (2nd in the 200m and 3rd in the 500m).  
2013 saw more medals at South Islands (2nd place in each of the three distances we race over. 200m, 500m and 2,000m) Results at the National Championships replicated the previous season with a 2nd in the 200m and 3rd in the 500m.
2014 was a stellar year. Christchurch Girls High School had held the mantle of top girls team for many years and any victory over them was hard to achieve. This season saw us build a formidable team that won every race against every other school girls team in every regatta with one exception. The only loss the Avonside team suffered that year was in the very last race of the Nationals Championships where they finished a close 3rd in the 2,000m race, only 5 seconds off first place. Trophies won that year included the Akaroa Super 12 regatta, Aoraki Open (Canterbury Champs), the Johnson Cup, awarded at South Islands to the winner of the 500m race and the Grand Champion Trophy for the winner of the 500m race at
Nationals.  2015 saw the team struggle to repeat the dominance of the previous season but still saw the team win gold medals at South Islands (200m and 2,000m races) and the Nationals (retaining the much sort after Grand Champion trophy for winning the 500m distance.)
This years team is living up to the high standards set by the teams that have gone before them. They are forming into a close knit team with exceptional leaders and the motivation and desire to win is very high indeed. The profile of the team has risen within the school and Dragon Boating is now viewed as being one of the premier sports that the school excels at. I have no doubts that this season is going to provide many highlights and will further enhance the standing of the team within the school.

6. (Silly question) I entered one Dragon Boating regatta in my years at high School……and my arm got really, really tired. I’ve always wanted to know if you switch sides when training/competing or are you a leftie or rightie every time?

Evan – Most of the girls try both sides when they are new to the team. A few are truly ambidextrous but most find that the paddling action feels more natural on one side so they tend to become much better on either the left or the right side of the boat. I don’t think that is the best practice. Most articles I read on the subject suggest that paddlers should alternate sides to prevent their body from putting too much strain on a particular shoulder or muscle group. When I get the girls to try paddling on their unnatural side they look completely uncoordinated and quickly want to swap back to their natural side. I don’t force the issue. :-

 Good luck Avonside girls, can’t wait to hear how you take on the world in April!

Cruise Diary | Day 2 on the Pacific Pearl

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OK.  So I forgot to mention a few things in my prior post here.

Like the fact that the second my feet hit the wharf yesterday I turned into the most scatterbrained, airy-fairy chick EVER.

My bag with all of my shoes and toiletries never made it to our room.  There’s no baggage claim on a cruise, your lovely room porters ensure your bags are simply dropped off inside your cabin like super-efficient magical elves.  It’s lovely!  This can only happen of course if your luggage is suitably labelled.

I had clipped my Country Road duffel onto my carry-on suitcase back on the wharf.  It must have promptly disengaged itself and sat there on its lonesome, although not quite, as apparently is was soon surrounded by sniffer dogs who thought it was an unaccompanied, dodgy piece of baggage.  It was discovered and was stored at reception, waiting for its crack-pot owner to retrieve it.

Me.

I also lost my Ship card within 30 minutes of embarking.  This doubles as your room key and is also your currency aboard the ship.  The kind gentleman at reception helped me out with a replacement after he found my missing bag.

After our lunch yesterday, I realised I had also become unencumbered of my beauteous hat.  If you follow on Instagram I’m sure you’ll remember my pride and joy, the grey Brixton Felt hat that I purchased in Sydney.  My baby was lost!!

My mate at reception went through every lost and found option available to him but there was no sign of my poor hat – reception friend also jokingly chided me, “Ma’am, Day One is not even over and so many problems!  I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon”.

Touche.

We awoke early, but rested after a solid nights sleep and headed up to Waterfront for breakfast.  As this was the restaurant in which we enjoyed our lunch yesterday, I thought I’d have a peek under the table and see if my precious was there – it was!!

With ALL of our possessions accounted for it was time to eat and begin our day.

The menu at Waterfront is fab.  We ordered fruit plates, a smoked salmon bagel and eggs benedict but grabbed pastries, toast and coffee from the servers who visited our table…..often lol.

So.  Full.  Ethan and I have a no-elevator policy so are making use of the stairs as we move around the 12 decks on board.  Gotta get those steps in guys!

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Aqua is the ships Day Spa and I headed there at 10.30am for a Hydratherapie De Nutritive Facial ($218AUD) with gorgeous Kasia.

This therapy uses the Parisian brand La Thérapie, and is luxe, luxe, luxe!  Think deep cleansing, Orbital Microdermabrasion, massage, mask and O2 infusion.  My skin looks and feels amazing.  There are so many options available at Aqua I genuinely struggled to choose a treatment – the Ionithermie Algae Detox came in a close second, but who can say no to a beautiful facial combined with a foot massage?  I’m in desperate need of a hair cut so have made an appointment for Sunday morning, fingers crossed all goes well.

E and I skipped the formal lunch and headed up to Plantation on Deck 12 to get stuck into the buffet.  The Chicken Tikka wraps, nachos and greek salads were exactly what we needed to prep for an afternoon of activities with P&O Edge.

TIP > Great coffee can be found at Charlie’s on deck 5, this is right next to an amazing sweet shop so consider yourself warned!

TIP > Like in any hotel, wifi is expensive so use accordingly.  As we were waiting in reception this morning a lady was freaking out ahead of us as she had used up all of her room credit on wifi at .75c per minute!  Watch that Instagram stalking whilst at sea lol.

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At 2pm we met on top deck and began our adventures with the Edge Team.  It was drizzly and gusty but none of us were deterred from harnessing up to whip across deck on the flying fox.  This is a perfect activity if you’re not too sure about the more adventurous options available onboard the Pearl.  Pretty much everyone knows what to expect from a Flying Fox so no surprises here.  The climb up the tower was the highlight for me, that birds eye view is so worth it!  We harnessed up and zipped across deck.  It was fast and marvellous!

Next up was Walk the Plank.  This was a whole different kettle of fish.  Higher, windier, on a narrow plank over the ocean.  Not for everyone.  Ethan killed it!  My mad child just strode right to the end and hung over the edge completely suspended by his harness.  I was not as surefooted.  This was such a buzz but SO freaking scary!  After two exhilarating walks I was feeling pretty proud of myself for getting up there and charging it.  Weather be damned our group agreed, the Edge events are not to be missed.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

The main event was still ahead of us – dinner at the Chef’s Table.  When I first saw our itinerary this was the standout for me and it far exceeded my expectations.

Canapés and champagne to start, then we headed below deck for a tour of the immense galley.  This was mind-blowing, the staff prepare 9000 meals per day!  Catering for a multitude of nationalities and dietary requirements, this mammoth galley has to run like the well-oiled machine that it is.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

Chef’s table is a private dining room in the centre of Waterfront restaurant.  A stunning setting for the seven courses to follow accompanied by perfect wine pairings.

This is a must-do whilst onboard.  At $95 AUD a head, I can’t recommend this dining experience enough.  It’s an adults-only event, Ethan at 11 was very fortunate to attend and rated it one of the best nights of his life!  I die.  So lucky.  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific PearlOne of the highlights of the trip has been watching how expert the ship’s crew are at interacting with kids.  Ethan has been treated with much respect and hashad a great time with all of the crew he’s encountered.  This is such a relief as I had a preconception that perhaps cruising wasn’t such a good option for families but this is totally NOT the case! 

TNew Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Travel Cruise Pacific Pearlhe night was not over.
The Gatsby theme party was absolutely cranking in the atrium so I dropped my tired boy off to our cabin and steeled myself for some dancing and cocktails.  Turns out I could only hang for one of the band’s amazing sets and a single daiquiri – I tried my best but you know, too old!  The cruisers costumes were outstanding, I couldn’t believe the hundreds of people that put their glad-rags on and turned up in full ’20’s and ’30’s garb to dance the night away.  It was totally fab.

And then?

Sleep

Cruise Diary | Day 1 On the Pacific Pearl

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Despite feeling a little overwhelmed whilst I was packing Wednesday night due to the sheer number of outfits required – our comprehensive inventory for the media famil includes 3 cocktail parties, 4 pre-dinner drinks,  4 dinners, 1 show, 1 champagne breakfast + more lol, I couldn’t be more impressed with our initial experience.

The thing that makes cruising different from other vacations is that there is no transit time (if you live in the port city).  To make life easier for Dave and Nixon, E and I drove into the city, parked the truck for the 4 days and walked the short distance to Queen’s Wharf.

The size of these behemoth ships never fails to take my breath away, it must be a throwback from the Love Boat glory days of the eighties, but gosh I’m counting my blessings to be able to cross a cruise off my bucket lis right now!

So the whole check in process was a breeze.  So chilled and relaxed compared to air travel.  Everyone is happy and smiling, the whole process moved smoothly and very quickly.

And then we were aboard!

We found our cabin right away (you may have seen it on Snapchat already (follow @thebestnestnz) and met our super helpful cabin porters Andrew and Ganje.  They greeted us by name the instant we turned the corner to our corridor!  Brilliant, personal service.

First stop was the Waterfront Restaurant for lunch with our new friends.  We enjoyed a beautiful three-course meal with wine pairings from our host Candace from P&O and got to know each other a little better.

I tried the cannelloni, snapper and fresh fruit while Ethan ordered a salmon omelette and the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake – amazing!

Our itinerary is jam-packed with a variety of events over the next 4 days so it was hustle hustle back to our cabin to get dressed for the Nero party on the top deck – all black outfits required.  Only slightly hindered by the light rain we enjoyed Pina Coladas, a DJ set and E snuck off to the Plantation restaurant to sample his first buffet afternoon tea of the cruise – first of many I’m sure!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog  Travel Cruise Pacific Pearl

Following the Nero event, it was pre-dinner drinks at The Orient bar.  I love the decor in here!  Dark, moody and classically elegant – such a great space to relax and chat. Discovered a beautiful Chardonnay here which I will up date you on later.

Dinner was a bit trickier tbh.  We were out in open ocean by this point and the swells were picking up.  One of our gorgeous hosts had sorted Ethan out with some Sea Legs tablets – which I totally recommend bringing – but it was possibly a little late.  He wasn’t ill, just feeling unsettled from the movement of the ship.  There’s some seriously good steak in the Waterfront Restaurant guys!  I rushed through dinner so I could get E back to our cabin and tucked up in bed for the night.

He was shattered!

It was an early night for both of us and we slept super well.  Our cabin is on Deck 6 and right in the middle of the ship both horizontally and vertically.  A pretty good place in terms of minimising the effects of sea sickness apparently.  We have an ocean view room which is lovely!  The porthole (window?) is huge and gives a stunning view of the sea.

First impressions – loving it!  I could totally get used to the cruising life!

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Run Fail

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I’ve sitting down thinking hard about the run I just returned from.  

It was supposed to be 6km.  It was 4km.

It was supposed to be fast.  It was slow.

I imagined it to be moderate.  It absolutely nailed me.

I quit after 4km and walked home.

Run Fail.

But it’s not really is it?  4km is a damn sight better than 0km, reality just failed to live up to my expectations this morning.  And that’s life I suppose.  Goals are not always met on the first attempt and though I wasn’t running to further my distance or better a time this morning I was expecting to be able to hit 5km at least!

Running has been by far the most difficult activity I’ve ever engaged in.  More so than surfing even.  For me it’s a constant struggle of mind vs body, will vs won’t, love it hate it.  That’s what I never expected when I laced up my sneaks and started running a year ago.  I thought it would get easier, that I’d get to a certain point and it would be all onwards and upwards.  Instead, I feel like I begin every run not knowing whether I’ll be able to complete it or not.  What I do know is that without Dave’s help and motivation I would have packed it in a long time ago.  

SO, that’s the only advice I can give you if you’re thinking about starting to run – find someone to share the journey with.  I’m sure everyone has their off days and having someone to lean on a little when you really, really can’t be assed makes getting out of the door a teensy bit easier.

So, after a year, I’m still not ‘there’, wherever ‘there’ is.  I still don’t feel like I can call myself a runner, I sure as hell don’t feel or look like a runner and to be honest, those 5kgs I started running to lose haven’t budged one inch.

Shit.

Easy Hummus Recipe

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Kids Hummus RecipeI’d never made hummus before and heard my friends recount epic tales of failure and grossness so I was a bit nervous about throwing all of this YUM into the NutriBullet and crossing my fingers lol.

Turns out no luck was required as this recipe is totally straight forward and delicious!  And it takes 5 minutes max.  LOVE that yo.

Best Ever Hummus Recipe

Ingredients

1 can Chantal Organics Chickpeas, rinsed well

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup of olive oil, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons Chantal Organics Tahini

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Handful of flat leaf parsley

In a food processor (or NutriBullet) puree the chickpeas and garlic with the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, cumin and 3/4 teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water or extra lemon juice as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

Transfer to bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the paprika and chopped parsley before serving.

Check out more organic products from Chantal Organics here

 

 

5 reasons to bring the kids to Auckland Kiddie Limits (+ Giveaway!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Kids Auckland City Limits

Lord have mercy!  Someone’s doing something super amazing and COOL for the kids this summer – and parents, totally, super cool for parents.  Trust me on that one because Dave and I are freeeakkkking about this festival inside a festival yo!

Auckland Kiddie Limits is doing what no event has done before; providing a world class kids festival in the centre of Auckland City and providing entertainment for the oldies if they need a little time out from the amazing-ness to be found inside the coolest kids mini-festival there ever was!

On Saturday, March 19th there’s this wee event happening at Western Springs called Auckland City Limits. Thinking outside the square, some very cool people decided that enough is enough!  Kids everywhere are sick of missing out on all the best bands and performers simply because of some niggly age limit.  The genius idea to allow kids under 10 FREE entry (with a ticketed adult) to Auckland City Limits was born, and let me tell you, the Kindy Grapevine is buzzing with anticipation!

Dave and I had previously decided that 2016 would be the year of Ethan’s first concert, so what better way to introduce him to the unforgettable, life-changing magic of live music than with his whole family – including Hurricane Nixon!  Festival/parental bliss I tell you!

“We want to see the next generation of music lovers getting a free taste of what an amazing festival this is” says promoter Campbell Smith.  “We’re catering to that with free entry and Auckland Kiddie Limits – their very own mini-festival within a festival.”

Bfm Kids Show legend Finn is handling the nitty-gritty, curating a fab lineup of events, performers, activities and spaces just for under 10’s and their adults to enjoy together – all within the confines of Auckland Kiddie Limits (AKL).  No-one’s going to get lost (aside from Dad trying to remember where he parked the car lol), all of the little peeps will be registered upon entering the AKL, situated in the Village Green in MOTAT but only accessible from the Auckland City Limits festival.

Sounding good so far?  I think so – I can’t actually wait!  I’ve nailed down my favourite reasons for bringing the kids to Auckland Kiddie Limits, check ’em!

Bring the kids to Auckland City Limits because;

  1. The kids lineup features musicians Kath Bee, APRA 2015 Children’s Music prize winner Levity Beet, Mr Roberelli and a session of mad live storytelling of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by Flaxworks. Plus a performance by up and coming band Sparrow from Auckland’s School of Rock.
  2. Kiddie Limits activities include music instrument making, hip-hop workshops with Serato, kids karaoke, punk rock hairdos, temporary tattoos by Inkalittle, a giant art wall and much, much more.
  3. It opens with the main gates at 11am and runs until 5pm – at which time rock’n’roll mums and dads can use pass-outs to get the kids home to grandma before coming back for the festival headliners, who play through to 11pm (THIS IS ME!!!  Can’t wait, much excite!  Modest Mouse, The National, Houndmouth I’M COMING!)
  4. Kiddie Limits will have its own specialized food vendors, including coffee for the parents, and a quiet space and changing facility for the smallest punters.
  5. Auckland Libraries are setting up a beanie bros reading area and a kid’s tech maker zone for some sound exploration fun.

If you’re keen to join Dave, Ethan, Nixon and I at Auckland Kiddie Limits then you’re in luck as I have a double pass (don’t forget kids under 10 are free!) to Auckland City Limits to giveaway valued at $359!!!  Enter via the widget below.

 

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