Parenting – The Jump Off

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Springfree Trampoline

The past month, our first with our treasured Springfree Trampoline, has flown by with a blur of little noses pressed to the windows, assessing the rain, the temperature, the amount of towels left in the linen cupboard to dry off the tramp’s mat for the 4th time in a day………….(OMG rain!).

#tgomalife is real guys and my boys have caught the bug HARD.

And when I say my boys, I really mean the whole family.  We are some jumping fools/beans.

When you initially look at the tgoma technology, it’s really easy to get caught up and distracted by the gaming aspect of it.  Yes, this is a super cool and pretty revolutionary gaming platform, but, to me the real value of tgoma lies in the activity tracking benefits.

The ability to track jumps, jump time, energy burnt and height jumped, PLUS create custom goals for each user is invaluable to me.

I’m a very quantitative person – numbers, measurement and statistics just speak to me lol! If I’m able to measure my own exercise whilst engaging with my kids as we take turns battling fruity mutants on the tramp, then I’m going to spend more time outside playing with the boys. Some parents find ‘playtime’ difficult, I’m not scared to admit I’m one of them, but I now find that I’m the instigator of more and more trampoline time because our Springfree is just about our favourite thing ever!

Secondly, we have big boys, not huge by any means, but bigger than average, and destined for the forward pack where Ethan currently plays prop. Dave and I are alway trying to keep them active and we’re loving being able to set goals for E to achieve before he embarks upon more ‘sedentary’ leisure activities. 20 minutes, 300 jumps, kilojoules burned, the choice is yours, it’s all measured and tracked.

To have a little fun this week I challenged Dave and Ethan to a Family Jump Off. We were to use the tgoma to track our individual jumps over 5 days, with the goal of being the Jack Family Jump Off Champ!

Of course winter sickness and rain hampered our efforts but we pressed on – take a look at the video to see how the Jump Off panned out and who logged the most jumps!

Win an iPad Mini with tgoma Springfree! CLOSED

Congratulations Kelly Blackie!

This prize is ahhh-mazing so you’re going to have to work for it! – 10 jumps on the spot NOW!

Just joking.

What you DO have to do, is head to the Springfree website > click here, read all about tgoma, then come back and comment below with one of the many features of the tgoma app.  Easy right?

You can enter as many times as you like in separate comments.  For an extra chance to win you can also comment on the first tgoma blog post here AND triple your chances by heading to Facebook and commenting on the tgoma post here.

Competition closes 10/7/16 @ 10pm.  NZ residents only.

Parenting – Raising Awesome Eaters

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My two boys may eat ALL day long but one thing I don’t worry about is the variety of what they’re eating.  From a young age, both Ethan and Nixon took to food like ducks to water and pretty much haven’t stopped eating since lol.

My younger brother was a terribly picky eater, pretty much surviving childhood on chicken nuggets and banana sandwiches.  This drove me absolutely mental as his sibling and now as a mother myself I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been for my parents at the time.  
 
As a mum I’m constantly trying to give my kids exactly what they need at any given time, this is not always in line with exactly what they want of course, but try and explain that to a rampaging, hungry toddler!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler EatingNixon is going on 3 and mealtimes are a work in progress.  His nutritional needs are a little ‘special’ because of his Hirschsprung’s disease but we’ve got that under control and he’s well on his way to becoming a wonderful eater like his big brother – if not better I think!

I was watching Nix and Dave working together in the kitchen the other day and I realised that, yes it’s a stereotype, but our kitchen really is the heart of our home, both spatially and as a family hub.  We spend a lot of time with the kids in the kitchen, cooking, eating together, trying new things and just, living.  I think our family’s focus around the food we prepare, serve and eat has played a huge role in our boys adventurous, appreciative and non-fussy approach to meal times.

Tips for Raising Awesome Eaters

    • Avoid ‘Hangry’ eating.  Hungry kids become irrational kids really quickly.  If I catch the boys with a well balanced snack or meal before they reach the ‘hangry’ tipping point, they’ll eat everything happily and get back to playing quickly.  If he gets too hungry, Nixon in particular will obsess over one particular snack or meal that may not be entirely appropriate – cookies for breakfast, yoghurt for dinner etc and will reject healthy or new options.
    • New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler EatingWelcome kids to the kitchen.  As soon as he was sitting up, Nix was always in his Bumbo, or clipped onto the bench in his high chair watching me make his baby food or the family dinner.  Now he’s a wee bit older, he drags his step stool into the kitchen every morning to help his Dad prepare breakfast and most afternoons when we are getting dinner ready he’s also there.  Pretty much every new vegetable we’ve introduced Nixon to has come from the chopping board at meal-prep time!  Taking an active role in cooking gives our boys a sense of pride and ownership, they WANT to eat what they’ve helped make.  It’s totally awesome.
    • One meal for EVERYONE.  In our house everyone eats the same meal or at the very least variations of it.  When I was prepping Ethan and Nixon’s baby food their meals would usually be a blended combination of the protein and veggies that Dave and I would also eat that day.  This just makes sense financially and in terms of minimising the time and effort you spend in the kitchen each day!  If everyone’s plates look the same there is less wriggle room for pickiness, plus the boys can see Dave and I enjoying something they might have ‘decided’ they don’t like.
    • Eat meals together.  Family time is becoming an ever more precious commodity with our household’s bustling schedule.  We can’t make it work every night as the needs / bedtime of our toddler vary greatly from that of our 11 year old, but we try.  Nixon needs to regularly see his family enjoying meals together, trying new foods and modelling healthy, social eating habits for him to emulate.
    • Offer foods repeatedly.  Toddlers in particular are nuts, often displaying behaviors and choices that appear to have no rhyme or reason – refusing a celery stick one day only to eat 5 the next.  If Nix leaves something in his lunchbox or on his plate, I have figured out that there is generally no underlying meaning – he just simply didn’t get around to eating it.  Try again in a few days in a different scenario.  Feeding my boys the same thing at the same time of day is a sure-fire way to create a boring routine which inhibits adventurous eating.  If I feed Nixon Nutella on toast for breakfast EVERY morning, that’s what he’ll expect and he’ll fuss if we break the routine.  Not good lol!  
    • Watch for cues.  Nixon is a compartmental eater.  By this I mean he eats ALL of his beetroot before he moves onto his tomatoes.  He will then eat ALL of his tomatoes before his quiche.  Someone that’s not used to this might assume that he simply doesn’t like quiche – not the case, he’s just getting to it in his own time.  Sushi is perfect for Nix as it can combine carbs, veges and protein in one tidy package that ALL looks the same!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Eating

  • Don’t force the issue.  Food, eating and mealtimes can be fun and should be enjoyable experiences for everyone.  The 8.5 year age gap between my sons has resulted in many adjustments to our parenting, one of the most profound being that I don’t stress about how much our toddler eats at any one mealtime.  If he’s hungry, he’ll eat.  They’re intuitive little beings, and they probably listen to their tums a lot more than we do as adults and getting pedantic about ‘cleaning your plate’ is probably unnecessary most of the time.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Eating

Here in New Zealand, and in many places around the world, the conversation around where our food comes from and how it’s grown and produced is one that we are engaging in more and more frequently.  Many of us are making choices to eat locally, eat organic, to actively avoid over-processed foods or those with artificial and unnatural ingredients.  As a mother of two however, I’m so happy that this conversation has finally trickled down to those brands producing infant formula.  Or ONE brand in particular I should say.    

Munchkin has just launched the world’s FIRST 100% Grass Fed Formula.  

Why is this important?  Grass fed milk is healthier than grain fed milk because it comes from cows who eat only grass and plants – as nature intended, ­creating the richest, most natural and best ­tasting milk in the world.  What better place to farm these lucky cows then right here, at home in New Zealand!  We enforce some of the toughest dairy and food regulations in the world – Kiwis all know we take our milk products seriously down here lol.  Munchkin’s new formula range can boast no unnatural growth hormones and steroids plus, the milk in this formula is completely free of GMOs YAY!  

This post was sponsored by Munchkin who know, like we all do, breast is best, but for families who choose to supplement (or HAVE to as we did with Nixon) or bottle feed their babies, new Munchkin grass fed formula is the best you can buy because it comes from such high­ quality milk.

Find Munchkin online at grassfed.com. For more information and for the latest in parenting news, visit the Munchkin Facebook page.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Eating

Fit Tech – The Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch

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Fitbit expanded it’s range of fitness trackers earlier this year with their much anticipated launch of the all new Fitbit Alta and Fitbit Blaze models.  Fitbit faithful were in raptures as their beloved step-counters got a radical new makeover and the feature that everyone has been asking for for years – interchangeable wrist bands.  Small but significant when you wear your Fitbit EVERY day!

I was sent the new Blaze to put through it’s paces a month ago and it hasn’t left my wrist since. A perfect combination of form and function, the Blaze is almost everything the Fitbit Surge is not.  Though, let’s be clear – the Surge and Blaze are apples and oranges, the defining difference being no GPS in the Blaze.  

To be honest I was pretty gutted about this, I didn’t research (and should have) before I wore the Blaze running and it was immediately apparent that something was up with the tracking – the distance was .5km off, which affects pace, calories burned, steps etc.  The watch was using my phone’s GPS (optional) so I turned that off and the next run tracked about 200m more accurately.  Still not ideal, but I can live with it and I don’t need the map info that is recorded when using a GPS tracker.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Fitbit Blaze

Aesthetically, the Fitbit Blaze is beautiful, The colour screen is amazing and battery life isn’t compromised at all by the luxe,  vibrant display.  I’m still getting at least 7 days from a full charge which is so good IMO.  I didn’t use the smartphone alerts at all on the Surge because the screen was a little blah, but I love this feature on the Blaze and use it all the time.  Not having to pick my phone up to receive every alert is a massive help to my overall productivity as it eliminates at least a little distraction from vacuous social media wandering!  The profile of the Blaze is incredibly slim and sits much more flush to your wrist than the Surge which tbh, is quite a fatty.  I like a big watch so both the Blaze and Surge appeal to me, however I think some women are going to find both just far too big.

Another feature new to the Blaze is FitStar, an on-watch app that can take you through a warm-up, a seven minute workout or a mean abdominal session which I’ve been doing at night.  I’m officially out of excuses to avoid those planks now lol.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Fitbit Blaze

My fave, fave, fave thing about the Blaze?  The gorgeous, tan leather strap (sold separately) that I can pop my tracker in when I’m not running – or mumming!  Think back to a Pop Swatch Watch of the ’90’s and mash it up with the clean lines and super-tech of a modern smart watch.  That’s the Fitbit Blaze in a nutshell – but better. 

Fitbit Blaze $369.95

Threenager and Tween

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After five days of sickness, cold temps and behaviour inspired by the hounds of hell from both of the boys, I clocked a sleep that broke the 6 hour mark last night (!!) and I’m feeling ready to take on the week.

Too bad it’s Friday already.

Hands down, the lowest point in the week was Wednesday.  Nixon was home from kindy with that green-snot nose and relentless cough, Ethan was home from school with a minor cold but was able to swindle me because of my own raging head cold and hacking cough.  My Mum Faculties are running on empty at the moment so this wasn’t a particularly hard task and that child can pump out the waterworks at the drop of a hat!

So, 2 boys home, rain all day, and…………… a scheduled power cut from 9-3.

I KNOW.

We were at the very top of a major downhill slide, compounded by the fact that all 3 of us were sick so it wasn’t like we could go visiting or hang out with people with wifi or anything.  In hindsight we should have just packed up the iPads and parked outside McDonalds for an hour, that would have kept everyone happy – plus Coke Zero.

The slide plunged deeper on Thursday, culminating in a barrage of terrible behaviour from both boys.

Nixon – Threenager

Life with Nixon runs something like this at the moment;

“Nix do you want to go for a walk in the stroller with Mum and Nana or stay here with Dad?”

“Stay home with Daddy”.

“Ok, see you in a while”.

Cue massive, thrashing, deafening tantrum because he wants to go for a walk.  You might receive a black eye, lose some hair, a window could get smashed, definitely some toys thrown or books ripped.  Repeat every time you have to add or remove clothes, change diaper or toilet him, require him to eat a meal, or defy him by not purchasing a fucking $7.50 cookie stamp in Farmers yesterday – the fact that he seemed to know it was in a 60% off sale and was like “Mum, are you really going to put yourself through this, for the sake of $3 and change???” didn’t deter me.  I WAS NOT CAVING.

He was carried kicking and screaming out of a department store in my weakened state whilst I also manhandled a giant bag of 6 bath towels because who can resist a Thursday Manchester sale at Farmers right???  It.  Was.  Exhausting.  Nix is 18.5 kilos and when you factor in the thrashing and kicking force and the fact that I’d been bedridden for 2 days, I was out of reserves.  He wasn’t finished yet.  After calming down, I thought we’d go for a walk through the mall seeing we hadn’t seen any other humans since Monday.  That was not acceptable to the threenager who dug his heels in and starfished his way around the floor in a tight loop until I eventually gave up and took a second to breathe and raised my head upward, eyes closed, searching for patience………

Cue friendly stranger – “Just wanted to say hi, I LOVE your blog!!!  Looks like he’s having a moment there?”

“Oh him.  THIS IS HIS STATUS QUO, just ignore like I am”.

Jesus.  Of all the days of all the moments to meet a reader, it happened on this day.  The day of Exit-the-House desperation, the day of I-may-have-showered-or-I-may-not-have, you be the judge.  The day Nixon is shooting death lasers out of his eyes and his butt, all of them aimed at my head.  I actually just wanted to lay down on the mall floor with him and just succumb, wait for someone bigger than both of us to do what I knew I’d eventually have to do – put Nixon under my arm in the horizontal tantrum hold and march his ass (slowly as he’s so freaking heavy and there’s the shopping bag…..) back to the truck where we can sit and cry breathe with no one watching our collective meltdown.

Ethan – Tween

I’m not sure I can funny up this situation as our eldest son just seemingly hates me 24 hours a day right now.  Which, he tells me, is because I am always mad at him.  This is invariably the truth.  I am mad at him 95% of the time and I don’t like it.  I hate feeling this way and honestly it’s affecting the whole family dynamic.  But to be fair, he is an asshole 95% of the time.  Not a ‘Bad Kid’, just an asshole doing normal asshole stuff, back-chat, not self-managing, disrespecting all of the adults in our house, picking on and antagonizing his brother which is basically just throwing petrol on Nixon’s extremely ‘bright’ flame and invoking more chaos.

So yeah.  Combine that with a couple of revelations about how small and seemingly irrelevant my blog is (ie my WORK that I pour my heart and soul into) in the grand scheme of things and it’s been a pretty blah week.

One thing I read this week that I totally loved was this post from Lisasaurus which actually was the kick-in-the-butt I needed to sit down and write > Living My Truth.

How was your week guys?  Anyone else got some amaze threenager or tween stories to share?  Obvs I DID get new towels so there’s that I suppose………

 

Book Review – Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

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This book took me a  l o n g  time to finish, not because it isn’t good.  It’s good.  Pretty excellent actually.  I just got really caught up in doing anything but relaxing, and reading for me is my number one way to switch off, destress and relax.

So, take from that, that I’ve been feeling pretty stressed lately lol.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog FamilyBut, today I finished this marvellously dark crime novel, and I’m adding Robert Galbraith to my ‘Author’s to Read Again’ list (this list may or may not exist in my head but it DOES exist!).  Cormoran Strike has the strangest name of any character EVER (in my opinion) but I easily constructed a mental image of him that was deftly developed by Galbraith as the novel progressed.

There are really horrendous crimes to be solved in this book, those alone make it a morbid page-turner, but the relationships between the characters in the present day, as well as historically is what helps elevate Career of Evil above the many dime-a-dozen crime novels that are so hard to avoid these days.  Strike and his employee Robin Ellacott are being targeted by a terrifying predator that is slowly losing control and getting closer and closer to his ultimate target.

As the action ramps up, those aforementioned relationships begin to crumble, seemingly beyond repair.  There is a wicked cliffhanger ending which has done what it’s meant to in that, I can’t wait to read the next novel!

And………I’ve just discovered (from reading the press release lol) that Robert Galbraith is actually a pseudonym for J.K.  Rowling!  No surprises then that I loved the way Career of Evil was written.  I sometimes struggle with novels written by English authors because of the heavy colloquialisms and writing-in-accent that I find off-putting.   Thankfully, Galbraith / Rowling doesn’t go there at all and has penned this brilliant tale with great prose and skill without relying on a ‘voice’ to narrate it.

This is such a great, wintery novel.  The themes and characters are so dark, you just want to snuggle down with a warm blanket, a cup of tea and a roaring fire and read it cover to cover.

 

 

Budgeting for Winter Energy Costs

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The past two weeks in New Zealand have seen Winter announce its arrival.  It’s wet, thundery, cold, dark  bleak  arrival.

Sigh.

There are however, approximately three things I like about winter: coats, layering and a cozy lounge with an open fire.

Oh wait.  We have a gas fire grrrrrrr.

I agonise over using our aesthetically pleasing, slightly less effective, non-wood burning fire because I can’t budget for it.  I have no idea how much it costs to run our fire through the 6pm news, Shortland Street, The Block and My Kitchen Rules.  Does anyone know?  I’m not sure, all I know is that those massive silver gas bottles need replacing a whole lot more frequently the more TV we watch in winter!  Or maybe it’s because it’s cold.

Either way.  Eeeekkkk – winter gas bills!

Dave is the family breadwinner, the man with the money and his money arrives only once each month.  I hate monthly budgeting with a passion, you have to be super thorough, careful and resilient in the face of impulse purchases but flexible enough to accommodate unexpected expenses.  

FYI, the Mystery of the Gas Bottle constitutes an unexpected expense in my opinion.  We use gas to heat our water, and run the fire and our cooktop, and I have no idea month-to-month how much gas each of those elements uses or when one of our two bottles will run out.  In saying that, I absolutely can’t abide a cold house for my kids, so that fire will be on if we need to get the house warm.

Because of this, our LPG bill can range from nothing one month to the cost of two bottles the following month, a variation of well over $200!  This wreaks havoc on my budget and also prohibits me from indulging in my favourite winter hobbies – buying coats and layers to wear under said coats!  Damn you monthly paycheck!

I’m not one to switch energy providers on a whim, based on short term incentives, but Genesis Energy have taken up the challenge the mystery of the gas bottle poses and have come up with four LPG plans that smooth the winter spike and give me some fixed numbers to pop into my monthly budget.

We have three adults and two kids in our household so the LPG Plus Plan is the right option for us.  A fixed rate of $99 per month throughout the year will provide us with 12 gas bottles whenever we need them over the 12 month plan.

I LOVE it!  Power bills are notorious for their winter heart-attack-inducing values but at least now our gas costs will remain the same year round – plus I can order my refills from their handy app!  

For more general information on LPG, click here. Or find out how Genesis Energy can help your budget this winter here.
A big thanks to Genesis Energy for sponsoring this post and providing me with an LPG Value Plan.

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Crockpot Recipes – Shredded Taco Chicken

This shredded chicken recipe is a guaranteed family favourite!  Dust off your crockpot, winter is here and it’s time to work some easy, slowcooker magic!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-travelblog-shredded-chicken-recipe mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-travelblog-shredded-chicken-recipemummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-travelblog-shredded-chicken-recipehttp://thebestnest.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/@eclaremagazine.jpg

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-travelblog-shredded-chicken-recipe

Crockpot Shredded Taco Chicken

3 x chicken breasts or equivalent chicken thighs, tenderloins

1 packet of taco seasoning

1/2 large onion chopped

1/2 large capsicum chopped

2 tsp chopped garlic

1 can black beans

1 can whole kernel sweet corn

1 large jar of salsa (approx 450g)

Salt and pepper to taste

Coriander and tortillas to serve

  1. Coat chicken in taco seasoning.  
  2. Spray crockpot bottom and sides with oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Add chopped onion, capsicum and garlic to crockpot.
  4. Place chicken pieces on top, season with salt and pepper.
  5. Empty jar of salsa onto chicken.  3/4 fill jar with water, swish around and pour into crockpot.
  6. Cook in crockpot on low for at least 6 hours.
  7. Using two forks, shred chicken pieces
  8. Add cans of beans and corn.  If mix is too watery add cornflour by the tsp to thicken, stirring to combine.
  9. Cook for another hour at least, or crank it to high if you’re in a hurry and go for 30mins.

Serve as tacos, burritos or on top of a yummy salad.

Enjoy! 

Kids snacks just got a whole lot easier!

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My children and food are a team that function best when they are together – all the time.  The thought of leaving our house, child in tow, without multiple snacks gives me the shakes.  It’s a truly terrifying scenario.

Not all snacks are created equal however.  This is of critical importance when one of your children is a Toddler/Warlock/Shapeshifter.  In this instance you’re really going to have to sharpen up your mind-reading skills to ensure accuracy when deciphering the exact type of snack required at the optimal time to avoid any catastrophic failures (of either the parenting or toddler-meltdown variety!).

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Bento LunchboxVariables to consider when pondering snack selection include;

  • Location – home, car, hiking pack (snack in hair?)
  • Audience – who will witness snack consumption?  Other Mums? (judgey), your Mother-in-Law? (opinionated), your other children? (disastrous if snack distribution is uneven – you have been warned!)
  • Situation – Doctors office (ewwww the germs!), mall, playground (hallelujah, put your crumbs errryywhere child!)

I’m 11 years into my journey of snack discovery and feel like I’m finally hitting my stride.  I’ve made administrative changes – shopping list must-haves, legislative changes – no crumbly food in the car and my nutritional awareness has increased greatly over the past few years when it comes to making better food choices for my kids.

A definite winner in my search for the ‘perfect’, ‘easily transportable’, ‘not too messy’, ‘not full of sugar’ snack-on-the-run is the pouch range from Anchor Uno.  The boys have been enjoying these in a number of different ways over the past couple of months and they have now become a supermarket staple.  Nixon will often do a yoghurt warm-up before his 2nd breakfast, Ethan will grab one as he’s running out the door to rugby practice and I pop a pouch in my purse when heading out with Nix to run errands.

In our household we prefer a ‘low sugar’ approach to food over a ‘no sugar’ mandate.  In my opinion, non-essential exclusion diets don’t teach kids how to listen to their bodies, don’t allow them to develop their own discretion nor learn anything about how to eat a moderate diet.

Making smart choices at the supermarket makes everything easier back at home, so familiarising yourself with nutritional labels and purchasing products with the lowest sugar content in each category is a habit we all need to practice.  It helps of course when the kids favourite yoghurt is also the lowest sugar, fruit flavoured yoghurt on the market – nice job Anchor Uno.  There’s between 5.7 and 7.1 grams of sugar in each pouch depending on which flavour you choose! (FYI, strawberry contains the least sugar per serve).

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Bento Lunchbox

Find out more about Uno yoghurt, including the unique recycling initiative and fundraising opportunities here

Win with Anchor Uno!

Comment below to go in the draw to win a month’s supply of Ancho Uno plus 1 x Red Yumbox Bento style Lunchbox, 1 x set of Lunch Punch Sandwich Cutters and 1 x Camelbak Kids Eddy Drink Bottle! 

Competition closes 13/6/16 at 10pm.  NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Bento Lunchbox

This post was made possible by Anchor Uno, whom my kids truthfully can’t contemplate life without lol.  No kidding.  They love those green yoghurt pouches!

Tried and Tested – 6 Winter Skincare Must-Haves

Winter arrived here in New Zealand this week, preceded by last month’s familiar, seasonal focus on skincare and hydration from beauty and skin care brands.

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May brought with it new releases from some of New Zealand’s favourite consumer brands such as Simple, Aveeno and Neutrogena as well as some more specialty products from boutique lines Oasis and Manuka Doctor.

Here’s what I’ve been trialling;

  1. Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil RRP $11.99

    I’ve not been completely sold on oil based skincare products to this point.  I go through phases of using oils and then switch back to my regular faves.  Simple released their Hydrating Cleansing Oil in May and I’ve got to say, I’m quite a fan!  My skin feels super clean, cleaner than after using a foaming cleanser or cream alternative (not really a fan of these) and so, so soft.  Baby’s bum soft – which is a pretty big deal when your face is 37 years old lol!  Made from pure Grapeseed oil.

  2. Oasis Lips & Lashes Treatment RRP $39.90New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Beauty SKincare

    Ok this is a crazy little product – a 3-in-1 eye, lip, lash treatment for sensitive skin.  The addition of Arnica to combat puffiness and dark circles was put to the test this morning after 2 nights of totally rubbish sleep.  I’m impressed.  I went makeup free today and wasn’t too concerned about my usually super-concealed under eye area.  I’m very interested to see how it delivers on the promise of longer, stronger lashes – will let you know!

  3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Serum RRP $22.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Beauty SKincare

    I’ve been using the Hydro Boost range on and off for over 6 months now.  The Hydro Boost mask, Gel SPF15 and Foaming Cleanser are all among my favourite products (Dave actually LOVES the Foaming Cleanser!) so the addition of a serum to the range was a very welcome one.  In my opinion, Hydro Boost is a perfect collection of products for those  that don’t love heavy or oil based creams and lotions on their skin.  I wear a serum every day under moisturiser and this one’s a good one.  A little goes a LONG way so, excellent value for money.

  4. Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Gold Dust Firming Serum RRP $49.95apirefine_gold_dust_firming_serum_30ml_carton

    The announcement of Kourtney Kardashian as Manuka Doctor’s Golden Ambassador was timed perfectly to coincide with the launch of their glittering new serum.  This is definitely a product with a difference, I love using it on my makeup free days to add some highlight to my skin – luminous is the perfect word for describing the result and it is as good as my skin gets really!  If you’re familiar with the Manuka Doctor range, think Radiance Serum on steroids!  And with Colloidal Gold – what the?!

  5. Karen Murrell Moisture Stick RRP $29.95km

    No news here, a GREAT lip balm is essential over winter.  Dry lips very quickly become sore lips due to icy winds at this time of year.  I’m a big fan of the Karen Murrell range of natural lipsticks, as such it’s quite ironic that the Moisture Stick was the very last in the range to become (an essential!) part of my collection!  I have to keep close tabs on this guy as I like to have it in my pocket every day.  It’s just the right consistency, none of that inconvenient slickness that constantly traps your hair, but thick enough to stay put and protect as well as rehydrate.  Definite winter essential.

  6. Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturising Lotion RRP$16.99616fyndTNVL._SY355_

    I’m notoriously lazy in winter when it comes to ‘peripheral’ beauty routines.  Shaving and moisturising my legs just get put in the too hard / too cold basket.  A well timed reminder from the team at Aveeno has sorted my neglected skin out quick smart.  I’ve said it before, I never imagined that I would ditch my favourite Vaseline body lotion but it’s happened.  I’ve been an Aveeno girl for well over a year now, purely because it is SO quickly absorbed without leaving a greasy residue.  I’ve been using the Sheer Hydration formula over summer but will now switch to this slightly heavier formulation to combat winter dryness.

*All of these products were provided for editorial consideration.  However, I have used each one and all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

Symptoms of Oestrogen Dominance and what you can do about it

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog 30 Plus

I haven’t hidden this from everyone, but I also haven’t been particularly forthcoming over the past six months.  I’ve been struggling.  A lot.

Nix had hit a really rough patch of sleep regression which had seen us facing night after night, AFTER NIGHT of sleep deprivation.  I couldn’t deal with lack of sleep, in fact, I remember the whole newborn, fourth trimester phase was easier to deal with than this almost 3yo “Imma gonna punish my parents and make them stay awake for  h o u r s” routine.  That got old really fast and took a heavy toll on me.

Dave seemed to be able to handle waking at 4am and just got on with the day (the long, long days!), whereas I found functioning on repeat doses of minimal sleep akin to torture.

Oh wait, sleep deprivation IS torture!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog 30 PlusSo yes, like every other mother who’s gone before me, I was being tortured by my toddler.

Luckily, the past 12 months have also seen the introduction of coffee into my life via the fabulous Nespresso, this has helped get me moving in the mornings which is crucial to life, yes, but believe it or not, coffee can’t fix everything  :::::sad face:::::

When I’m tired, I obviously have zero energy but what is more noticeable to others, is how my mood suffers and I was losing the plot more frequently.

This was NOT good.

To help with LIFE basically, I’ve been taking 30 Plus NuWoman twice a day for the past 3 months.  Initially I thought it was a multi-vitamin for old chicks like me (HA!), but it’s totally not.  Designed by a naturopath, 30 Plus is a hormone balance pill.  And by god it’s worked it’s magic on me!

JUST ASK MY HUSBAND!

Had I been paying more attention to myself, there were definite signs that something was amiss:

  • I’d been snapping at the kids and Dave more than usual
  • An anxiousness/stressy shortness of breath had returned that I hadn’t felt for ages
  • Motivation was lacking and I was becoming even more of a homebody
  • I was struggling to maintain a steady weight – those scales kept going up and up despite keeping active and eating how I always have
  • I was always tired
  • Chocolate cravings were ever-present

There are more symptoms which you can read about here, but these are the ones that were particularly affecting me, every single day.

I did a bit more digging and found out what causes excess oestrogen and/or hormonal imbalance:

I had never heard of Oestrogen Dominance before (and thought it sounded quite ominous tbh) so was interested to find out how commonplace the contributing factors were;

  • Oral contraceptives – not in my case
  • Childbirth – YES
  • Synthetic or artificial Oestrogens from food – not sure
  • Prolonged stress levels – YES
  • Erratic menstrual cycles – not me
  • Long term hormonal imbalances – highly likely!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog 30 PlusWho is 30 Plus for?

Despite the name, 30 Plus isn’t just for women in my age bracket.  It could definitely work for you too as they say it’s for women of ALL ages.  There are many phases during our adult lives when our hormones can cause mayhem; you could be trying to get pregnant, trying NOT to get pregnant, rebalancing after having children or navigating that tricky pre/post menopausal period.

The Verdict?

I haven’t felt this calm and level in years – 11 years to be exact.  I’m pretty sure my hormones have been out of whack since Ethan was born and I’ve been riding an emotional rollercoaster ever since, with my family unwillingly along for the ride.

30 Plus NuWoman is the real deal, it’s made me feel like a new woman and I plan on taking it well into the foreseeable future.

Where can I get it?

Pharmacies, Health Stores and in Countdown! Look out for great deals and connect with the team at 30 Plus here or on Facebook here

The Giveaway

I’d love for you guys to try 30 Plus NuWoman and see if it can help you get your mojo back too!

4 readers will each win a 3 month trial of 30 Plus NuWoman Natural Hormone Balance Support!  This makes me SO happy!

To enter, simply leave a comment below.  Contest closes Friday June 17th.  NZ + Australian residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog 30 Plus