Swoon-worthy – Luxe Organic Cotton Sheets + a set for you!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family organic sheets

The words ‘luxe’ and ‘organic cotton’ seem like a bit of a juxtaposition in general but in the case of these gorgeous sheets from Babu they are totally synonymous.  

Nix is still waking quite often at night, climbing into our bed and then commandeering the lion’s share of our king-sized bed.  I never, ever imagined that I would wish we had upgraded to a super-king but then again I was never in possession of a Nixon before lol!  

Instead of toughing it out and being kicked in places that one shan’t mention, I now change camps and head for Nixon’s sweet little single bed that’s made up with the most divine set of sheets imaginable.  And I sleep.  Quite well to be honest!  

Babu’s 100% GOTS organic cotton stretch double interlock sheets are made from the the thickest, snuggliest and softest cotton I’ve ever felt in my life.  They literally transform Nixie’s modest (cheap!) single bed and mattress of dubious quality into one of my favourite places in the whole house.   Anyone that touches this fabric is blown away by the obvious quality and attention to detail.

The top sheet is fitted at the bottom end which is absolutely genius if you have kids who are wrigglers like mine, it makes making the bed each day a much more mum-friendly task lol.

I’ve washed these sheets multiple times and they still look and feel as good as the first day I popped them on the bed – without having to wash them first of course as they are organic!  Yay.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family organic sheets

WIN

If you would like to win a set of Babu’s gorgeous 100% GOTS organic cotton sheets just let me know which size and colour you would choose in the comments below; bassinette, cot or single and white, grey, grey star, pink star, yellow star.

Competition closes 7/8/16.  NZ residents only.

In the meantime, check out Babu’s amazing range here

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family organic sheets New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family organic sheets New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family organic sheets

How to make Ironing a little more enjoyable

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family iron review I’ve taken a sabbatical from ironing over the past few years.  When I didn’t return to my prior job after having Nixon I found that activewear and yoga pants usually fall into that wonderful ‘DO NOT IRON’ category in my wardrobe.  Likewise, Dave has been working from home for quite a while now so the weekly mountain of ironing has been much diminished – thankfully!

However, I’m finding myself out and about a lot more now that Nix has some regular kindy days and my calendar is quite full with blogging related events and meetings, most of which require some sort of sartorial effort that leaves the Lululemon at home.  Damn.

Effort = ironing.

Dave and I have tried and tried but we couldn’t actually remember how we came to own our previous iron.  Considering the state of its soleplate and the fact that it was leaving marks on the clothes we were ironing, this did not bode well for its future.  Luckily for me, the future was the new Russell Hobbs Smooth IQ iron.* 

*Be warned – I kind of, almost, look forward to ironing now, so if this scares you, you may want to avoid purchasing this iron.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family iron reviewThe features that I LOVE in this new, high performance iron are;

  • The 3m power cord
  • The ceramic coated soleplate – it feels as smooth as my hair straighteners!
  • The water tank has a plug!  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked the old iron over and spilled water everywhere
  • Auto shut off – Mummy brain can relax, phew!

Look, no-one likes ironing but the key to making any dreaded chore a little more bearable and get it done faster is having the right tools for the job.  The Russell Hobbs Smooth IQ Plus Iron ticks all of the boxes plus also provides features that I never knew I wanted in an iron – over-delivering is always appreciated!

The Russell Hobbs Smooth IQ Plus Iron RRP $199.99.  Available from retailers nationwide.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family iron reviewNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family iron review

 

Digital Parenting – The Easiest New Tool to keep Kids Safe Online

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family web filter internet

As a mummy of two boys, a mummy blogger that works from home, the wife of an IT Project Manager who also works from home and a self-confessed tech geek, the internet is my jam.  It’s both our family’s source of income and one of the ways in which we spend our downtime –  connecting on social media, streaming shows and movies on Netflix and gaming (by that I mean chasing Pokemon!).

The internet is so much bigger than that though isn’t it?  It’s pretty easy for us to keep a tight reign over what content Nixon consumes as we install all of his age appropriate apps and the only way he can access YouTube is through YouTube Kids, but, our 11 year old is a different story.

Ethan is very much a first-world digital native.  He has a hand-me-down smartphone, an ipad, his school chromebook and access to our computers at home.  I think you guys know us well enough by now to realise that all of this is very carefully and consciously balanced with plenty of sport and device free feral-boy-time – Ethan should have been raised on a farm, outside is his happy place!  Thankfully, at this point, I’m still up to speed with the apps and social networks he’s using online.  He doesn’t have a Facebook account but we have allowed him to use Instagram, providing his account stays private and he only accepts friend requests from people he actually knows.  

He’s also very much aware that his online presence is a privilege.  One of the terms of being allowed on IG was that his account was subject to random spot checks at any time by myself or his Dad.  We actively enforce this to keep him on his toes, but guys, you should see the friend requests and DM requests he receives.  LOTS of T&A profile pictures, most bordering on soft porn at best ::::::shudder::::::

Cue awkward conversation with my tween.

Not really, I’m exaggerating.  If you’ve always had a super-open and trusting verbal relationship with your kids, then discussing boobs on the internet won’t disturb the force too much. If topics like this easily invoke red cheeks on either or both sides of the conversation, well, you have to pony-up anyway and get talking!

I recently switched internet service providers as our previous ISP was driving us crazy with slow speeds and disconnections, and am stoked to have signed on as a Slingshot Brand Partner!  Like any Slingshot customer, Family Filter has been added to our account, not that I actually knew what it did.

Before I explain with words, let me show you what it does;

Here’s a Google search I did to test the efficacy of Family Filter;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family web filter internet

Ahhhh yes.  Google says my internet is porn free!  Just what every mother of an 11 year old boy wants to hear right?

What is Family Filter?

Over the years I’ve looked at heaps of browser-addon or stand-alone software filters that were all cumbersome, required extensive set-up and customisation and were SO freaking annoying to use that I ended up uninstalling them or cancelling my subscription.  Family Filter is different in that it acts at the network level (at the source of the interwebs coming into your house!), preventing access to inappropriate and dangerous material and R16+ sites containing nudity and porn, hacked or infected sites, sites encouraging suicide and self-harm, drugs, gambling, hacking dark web…………ick.  I feel creepy after just typing that list!

So, as you can see in the example above, I typed in what could be a potential search term of interest for a young teen and bam – no results!  I love it!  Image searches are also filtered for the same terms.  The best part is we’ve had no problems with Family Filter blocking sites that we actually do want to visit, which was one of the super annoying features of other net-nanny programmes I’ve tried and passed on.

Family Filter has got to be the easiest online tool ever to access and utilize.  There’s a simple on/off toggle on your Slingshot Dashboard.  That’s it. It’s also FREE for 12 months and only $5 per month after that.

Our Internet Safety Strategy

So obviously I’ve been thinking about the interwebs a LOT lately.  I had a chat to Ethan about what kids his age can access, what they feel uncomfortable with and what we can do to improve communication.

Here are his thoughts and also my thoughts on how to counter these experiences;

      • E quickly confirmed that he knows kids are able to access questionable content anywhere, anytime via a web browser or an app like IG.  
      • I say, reduce amounts of data available to kids on their mobile devices and stay firm with the rule that if you’re online you must be in a public part of the house such as the lounge.
      • E mentioned that ‘dares’ to search for certain terms sometimes happen at parties or hangouts where there may be a group of kids.  
      • I say, the answer to this is twofold; print out the rules and expectations that come with using your home internet, place it by your computer or make younger guests (and your kids!) read these before handing over the wifi code.  Secondly, your Slingshot Family Filter is made for catching Google search dares!  Sleep easy during that sleepover guys!
      • Ethan is definitely beginning to want his privacy, so whilst keeping vigilant I also need to begin to show him we trust him and give him a little space. But he also has many questions and kids of his generation know that Google can answer every-damn-thing!
      • This will be specific to whichever social media, or online forums your kids belong to, but Ethan and I have figured out a ‘go, no-go’ limitation on Instagram when I conduct spot-checks.  This works for me as I know what I’m looking for and he has always stuck to our family rules of only allowing people we know in real life to follow him and thus interact with him via direct message.  We’ve also talked about how if he’s curious or absolutely must know what something is, or means, then to just PLEASE ask his Dad or I.  There is no stupid question in our house!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family web filter internet

What do you guys think?  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences below and perhaps we can create a compendium of REAL LIFE experience and recommendations around our kids use of the amazing, wonderful, awesome internet.  

I’m so freaking glad I switched providers, I LOVE the Slingshot Family Filter product so much.  I give my kids a lot of scope on their devices and I have good reason for it (that’s an entire post in itself!), but I do fret about what they might discover online before they are emotionally able to understand what it is they are seeing.  

Please let me know how you guys tackle this in your homes and if you’d like to find out more about Family Filter, visit Slingshot right here.

School Holiday Craft – The Seven Day Mural

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art CraftThere’s only one thing better than a great art project and that’s one that lasts for 7 days!!!

This one’s all you need mamas; the 7 Day Mural can be customized to use up whatever craft supplies you have on hand, will suit whatever age/stage your kids are at and can easily incorporate whatever creative project the kids have been dying to try.  

The foundation of this crafty creation is definitely the Science Project Board.  Ethan spent last term working away on his project and Nix became quite fixated on that damn board (that had to be protected from him at ALL costs!) so I decided to create his own ‘project’ and let him at it.

So, the plan here is to divide the board into multiple art-boards and create a different, amazing, fun, visual medium in each, working on a different aspect each day.

For Nixon’s board, I had to use some restraint and keep his projects simple and fun.  I also wanted to use as many different materials as possible, resulting in a really textural, multilayered experience that he looked forward to working on each day and that he was super proud of at the end of it.  Being conscious of the age of your kids is key here – Nix has just turned three and his attention span maxes out at around 20 minutes. Quick and easy to complete is definitely what you want to shoot for.

Materials

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

Ummmm, anything goes in this art and craft tutorial!  I shopped my own craft stash for my supplies plus headed in-store to Warehouse Stationery where I really had to pare things back when I went to the checkout!  Create Month is on right now so there are heaps of inspirational ideas to be found at your local store.  Not a crafty bone in you body?  Don’t worry, sometimes you just need to get started – plus the kids’ enthusiasm and ideas you can find at the in-store Inspiration Station might be all you need to get those creative juices flowing!  As you can see in the photos I popped a cheap plastic tablecloth down on our dining table, which was one of the most genius ideas I’ve ever had to be honest!  No worries about mess and I’ll reuse it as a playdough drop cloth after this project is over!

Day 1, ongoing – Colouring pages

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

Print out some pages that relate to your theme (if you have one, we didn’t) or just something your kids are really going to enjoy colouring.  I did a Google search for dinosaur colouring pages and lots of printables popped up.  I left these out over the week so Nix could potter and colour bits and pieces when he felt like it.  When we were finished with the mural I cut around his gorgeous colouring and glued the dinos onto the board.  The crayons we use are Jovi Wax Crayons and they are perfect for stubby little fingers!

Day 2 – Watercolours and Stickers

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

Watercolours are the best!  Barely any mess and they dry quickly.  Once again I just let Nixon freestyle here (there’s not much else you can do with a 3 year old to be honest – remember that attention span!).  In the afternoon, when the paint was dry, we went back and decorated this panel with some assorted stickers that he had picked out in-store. Easy and great for fine motor skill development.

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

Day 3 – Geometric ArtWork!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft
The inspo for this activity came from a flyer I picked up at the Inspiration Station desk at my local Warehouse Stationery.  I used some masking tape and simply pressed it down firmly at multiple angles across the board.  Nix got stuck in and, voila!  I love this section of his board, he was amazed at how it looked when I peeled the tape off to reveal the clean white lines underneath.

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

Day 4 – Painting and Sticky Foam Shapes

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

I’ve always wanted to use a chipboard letter or word in a project so this was my chance!  I let Nix loose with some Crayola paints and told him to “cover up all of that yucky brown!”.  He did a brilliant job and we popped this off to the side to dry.

I had picked up a foam shapes ‘jungle scene’ in-store, but you can also buy a 10 pack of foam sheets if you wanted to cut up your own shapes.  Nix had a great time placing the sticky shapes and then went to town with some markers for an extra splash of panache lol!

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

Day 5 – Dressing Paper Dolls

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

When I saw these boy doll cutouts, I wasn’t too sure what my plan was, but look how cute they turned out!  I cut some pants and tops from my fabric stash, unwound some old knitting to make curly hair (just like Nixon’s) and used some googly eyes from the Fuzzy Craft Kit I picked up – just in case!  This was definitely his favourite activity; he loved dressing the wee boys and making them look cute.

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

Day 6 – Mixed Media

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

You could do whatever you like here depending upon the age of your kids.  I wrote ‘NIX’ in sharpie and popped some paper scraps, feathers, pompoms, coloured foil, bits of pipe cleaner etc in front of him with some glue.

Day 7 – Felt and Velcro

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft
I couldn’t believe how cheap a 10 pack of felt sheets was at Warehouse Stationery – something crazy like $2 a pack!  You can almost pay that for 1 sheet at other stores that I’ve visited.  I had some velcro dots that needed a home so popped those on the project board and cut some random shapes from the felt.  Nix loved this activity as he could take things off and move them around; he obviously had a ‘vision’ and knew when he was done lol.

The Finished Product!

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

So that’s it!  Isn’t it so cool?  Nixon is really proud that he created something so BIG – size is everything to a toddler and I’m quite proud that we did something creative every day for a whole week!  

Guess what?  The project board has TWO SIDES!  Start planning now for round 2 during the next school holidays lol.  

For more fun and creative inspo, check out our Dinosaur DIY’s here.

There’s heaps more inspo in store at Warehouse Stationery, plus lots of take home activities the kids can do, totally a School Holiday desperation destination!

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Family Health – Winter Remedies for Kids Under 6

I’m sure I’m not alone in absolutely despairing over my little one’s health this winter.  

Nixon has been unwell constantly and it’s wearing all of us down. The poor little guy can’t seem to catch a break as his maladies vary week to week from the classic green nose to a hacking asthmatic cough and this week, we were back at the doctor’s office again, this time for Hand, Foot and Mouth!  His immunity is obviously badly compromised this season and every bug, germ and now virus is making a beeline straight for him!

I was thinking back to last winter and trying to pinpoint any major differences in our diet or routines that may have resulted in a much healthier wee boy than we are currently caring for.  

There is only one element missing from our diet this year that we were taking every day last winter – UMF Manuka Honey.

We were adding it to our smoothies (which Nix would inhale!), stirring it into our tea and using it as a topping on yoghurt, muesli and cereal. Yum!

But this year, no honey.

And this year, ALL THE SICKNESS!
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health Winter Remedies

The worst part is that there is no particular reason we don’t have any UMF Manuka Honey on the go – I just simply forgot about it, and then all of a sudden it was winter and a bit too late for fortifying my poor little guy’s immune system; he’s already been super sick on and off for the past 6 weeks!

Obviously it’s a bit too late this winter for any pro-active and pre-emptive measures, BUT I’ve rectified the no-honey situation and finally have a couple of products in hand that can give Nix some relief.  The problem I found after last week’s doctor’s visit, is that there was nothing the pharmacist would recommend as suitable for a child under 6 to help relieve his awful cough and sore throat.  

Comvita’s comprehensive Winter Wellness range includes UMF 10+ Honey in every product, has three amazing kid-specific natural remedies, and every product in the range can be administered to children over 2 years of age!  You can probably imagine how incredibly grateful and relieved I was to have something that Nixon could use to help minimise his intense coughing fits that would result in him throwing up a couple of times a day.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health Winter Remedies

Nixon’s Winter Wellness Routine

  • FortifyChildren’s Manuka Honey Elixir Strawberry Flavour.  This elixir has passed the toddler ‘yum-test’ and will help beef up Nixie’s immune system with natural super-heroes UMF 10+ Manuka Honey, Propolis and Echinacea.
  • SootheChildren’s Lemon & Honey Lollipops.  These are genius!  Soothing relief for sore wee throats. These also help quiet Nixon’s cough for periods as well – winning!
  • Relieve –  Cof-Ex Chesty.  Ok this syrup contains some herbs I’ve never heard of (Mullein, White horehound??) but, it definitely helps to loosen phlegm in Nix’s poor wee chest and clear his airways. This was a godsend for us – as I mentioned above, there are no ‘traditional’ cough syrups available for under 6’s – well at least not at our local pharmacy!

We’re obviously hibernating for the next week or so whilst Nix recovers and gets over his contagious spots, which, to be honest, is probably just what his worn-out little body needs – plenty of quiet rest to help his body heal.

The gorgeous Winter Wellness range isn’t just for kids – it contains products suitable for the entire family.  Comvita’s lozenges, oral spray and Cof-Ex formulas will suit any age and can be given to little ones over 2 which is so amazing!

Check out the range here and enter ‘Comvita2016’ at checkout for 20% off the Comvita Winter Wellness range until 22 August 2016!

Glaucoma – What you NEED to know

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health glaucoma

When I walked in to Specsavers for an eye exam last week, three things immediately hit me;

  1. I prioritise every other aspect of my health and wellbeing (and that of my family) over my own vision
  2. I had absolutely no idea why this was the case!
  3. I had absolutely no idea what constituted ‘good eye health’ or how this was measured

I’ve had my eyes checked twice in the past 10 years (it’s recommended you have them checked every TWO years fyi!) so was conscious that I’m long sighted, I should be wearing my prescription glasses when I’m reading or working online – so pretty much ALL day long!  Have I been wearing my glasses?  No.  Would I have made my boys wear their glasses if they needed them?  Yes.

So my reasons for visiting Specsavers were twofold.  I was super keen to see how my vision was doing and it’s also World Glaucoma Awareness Month, about which I knew nothing!  Sitting down with optometrist Maheep in the Albany store was the most interesting ‘health’ appointment I’d ever had and got me totally on board with spreading the word about the devastating and irreversible effects of glaucoma on vision.

After some preliminary tests (including one very strange one where air was puffed at my eyeballs!)  I had a big chat with Maheep and got the scoop on why we ALL need to be glaucoma savvy.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health glaucoma New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health glaucoma

What you need to know about glaucoma

Maheep dubbed glaucoma the “silent killer of vision” – how scary is that!

  • Glaucoma is the #1 cause of preventable blindness in NZ
  • Glaucoma has strong hereditary links – talk to your family about vision and blindness, find out if you’re potentially at risk
  • Glaucoma results from the gradual deterioration of the optic nerve, narrowing vision from the periphery.  This is why it’s nearly impossible to self-diagnose, there’s no way of noticing this as it happens!
  • That strange test I experienced where air was puffed into my eyes?  That was measuring the intraocular air pressure in my eyes which is an important risk factor in developing glaucoma.  My left eye measured 11 and my right 13, both are within the normal range of 10-21.  When pressure in the eye is too high, delicate structures in the eye get damaged.
  • The progression of glaucoma can be halted with early detection and treatment.  It’s a simple as applying eyedrops to reduce pressure within the eye!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health glaucoma

I’m not generally very ‘proactive’ about my own health (though I definitely kid myself on this one lol), but I now feel like I’ve got a good handle on protecting my vision and that of my family’s.  Once you know about glaucoma and the HUGE risk associated with it, you can’t unknow it.  It’s not complicated, prevention just requires a biannual appointment to track any changes in your eyes.

Too easy!

So, the fun part of any eye exam is picking out frames!  I’m fairly decisive and know what I like so was able to make some quick decisions but I can imagine this process taking ages for some people as the range at Specsavers is so huge!

Here’s what I picked out;New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health glaucoma

For my standard prescription I chose a rectangle frame from Tommy Hilfiger – clean lines with a preppy, nautical vibe.  Shop them here

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Eye health glaucoma

So excited about these, I’ve never had prescription sunglasses before.  I chose a classic black Collette Dinnigan Frame with lace detail on the arms.  Shop them here

Win!

Find your local Specsavers here (and maybe book an appointment for an eye exam : P ), come back and comment below with which store you would visit if are our winner who will receive a free eye exam and one pair of designer glasses from Specsavers! Amaze!  

Competition closes Sunday 24 July, NZ residents only.  Thanks so much Specsavers for sponsoring this post and spreading the word about Glaucoma!

 

 

 

School Holiday Must-see – The BFG + Take Home Talking Points

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

As a child I was a reader of epic proportions, one of those kids that parents and teachers love as I always had a book in my hand, never, EVER leaving home without one!  We all have our favourite authors and genres but I’m fairly certain that beloved author Roald Dahl is the undisputed KING of children’s fiction, invoking and inspiring a love of reading worldwide, setting alight the imaginations of both kids and adults and forging lifelong relationships with his brilliant, hilarious and sometimes tragic characters.

Sometimes those characters come alive on the big screen (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr Fox are my faves!)………….and when they do, it’s an immediate immersion into one of Dahl’s magical world’s, crafted with care by the world’s finest filmmakers (Disney and Spielberg!) – there is no room for second-best when tasked with bringing the tales of our childhood to life.

Though it was written over 30 years ago, The BFG addresses themes that are still relevant today and carries with it important social messages that are sooooo worth having a think about and discussing with your kids before and after seeing the movie.

The BFG Talking points

  • Loyalty and friendship.  There are numerous times in the movie where the BFG displays his unwavering loyalty to Sophie.  The result is an unlikely friendship that accomplishes something wonderful to benefit the entire world!  
    Talk to kids about how sometimes, we can find dear friends when we’re not even looking for them and what can be achieved by working with others and sticking by their side through thick and thin.
  • Bullying.  Yes, even giants get bullied.  The BFG is considerably smaller, and less gross than the other giants – I mean he doesn’t eat human ‘beans’ after all!  
    Talk to kids about how being a little bit different from a majority can make an individual or a group a target for bullies.  Ask them who are the targets in their social groups?  How can they be supported and helped?  How can bullying be stopped?
  • Seeing past appearances.  Sophie’s reservations about befriending the BFG weren’t without merit (see their preferred diet above lol), plus, giants do look pretty freaky if we’re being honest!
    Talk to kids about how the BFG’s physical characteristics may have looked strange to Sophie initially, but she came to appreciate them.  Ask how the BFG’s size and large ears made positive contributions within the story, what can we discover about people if we close our eyes, forget about how we look and simply listen?  How can we celebrate our differences in our day to day life?
  • Bravery.  Both Sophie and the BFG have to be brave time and time again as they struggle to keep Sophie safe, implement their cunning plan and secure an audience with the queen!
    Discuss the ways in which each character showed bravery during the film, what else did they have to call on to keep being brave even if they were scared e.g. trust, self-belief, the greater good.  Are ‘normal’ people brave in our everyday lives?

 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

WIN!

Writing those discussion prompts made me super excited to get our copy of The BFG out for a re-read with Ethan!  Roald Dahl was noted as saying The BFG was his personal favourite out of everything he’d written, have you read it yet?   Let me know if you’re a ‘movie first’ or a ‘book first’ kind of person in the comments below and you’re in the draw to win 2 x Double Movie Passes to see The BFG which is in cinemas from July 7th.

Watch the spellbinding trailer here and cross your fingers xx

Competition closes 25/7/16 @ 10pm, NZ residents only.

School Holiday Craft – Dinosaur DIY’s

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

School holidays kick off here in New Zealand next week and I like to be organised and have a pretty clear plan of what we’re New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craftgoing to do or where we’re going to go each day.  This helps me get organised and also (hopefully) avoid the “I’m bored” catch-cry that’s every mummy’s nightmare!  

It’s also Create Month at Warehouse Stationery! They’ve just launched their brand new Art and Craft Club – Inspiration Station.  There’s lots of super-cool and creative initiatives happening in stores around New Zealand and we’ve teamed up to bring you some fun and crafty ideas to help survive the school holidays!

Crafts are good, if not essential winter holiday activities.  They are cheap, fun and creative and can usually be re-invented and repeated without your little darlings losing interest.

Both Nix and Ethan are obsessed with dinosaurs at the moment, so integrating what they are playing with into a creative exercise is a no-brainer.  Both of these craft ideas would work well with any animal theme – come on Mum’s you can do it!

Let’s get creative!

DIY Dinosaur Fossils

This is a great, therapeutic activity using everyone’s favourite – modelling clay!  I wanted to create some cool looking bones and fossils that the kids could use in play with their dinosaurs or alternatively they could bury them in kinetic sand and use small paint brushes to excavate them and play paleontologists – think of the fine motor skills mamas, not the mess of the sand lol!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 1:  Head into Warehouse Stationery and pick up some bake-in-the-oven clay (all modelling products are 30% off until 31/7/16!).  

Step 2:  Roll out clay ready to use.  I had totally forgotten how hard these clays are!  I used little dabs of canola oil, dotted it on small pieces of clay then rolled it out really flat to get it soft enough for Nixon to use.  There are ‘soft’ clay varieties available from each brand and these would definitely be better for little hands.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 3:  When the clay is nice and soft use toy dinosaurs and let the kids stomp footprints in it to make fossils, press shells or lay little dinosaurs on their sides and press into the clay to create cool profile fossils.  Slightly older kids will be able to make bones to add to the fossil pile!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 4:  Place finished creations on baking paper on a tray and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 130?.  The clay will harden fully as it cools.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

DIY Dinosaur Matching Game

This activity is so easy and cheap and will provide little ones hours of fun.  As I mentioned above, you could use any animals, trucks, household items that your child enjoys – you could even have them create their own artwork to use!  

Step 1:  Source your images, you will need 6.  

  • If finding them online, look for creative commons / royalty free images that you can legally reproduce.  
  • Take photos of toys / items you have at home
  • Use kids own artwork and take scans or photos of each piece

Step 2:  If you want to, label each image with the name of the dinosaur or animal etc.  I used Photoshop, but this can easily be done on your phone using an app like Phonto.  Can’t be bothered?  Once you’ve ordered your prints, write the name on each image with a marker!

Step 3:  Order your 12 (x 2 per image) 4×4 photos using the amaze Printicular app.  I love this app so much, Ethan and I use it all the time for his school projects or when I need crafty images printed out in a hurry!

Step 4:  Head in store to Warehouse Stationery to pick up your prints.  I took some double-sided tape and scissors with me so I could get everything finished while I was in store – there is plenty of bench space to work on projects at the print centre!

  • Lay out your images on a large piece of cardboard available to purchase in-store and fix the photos with a small piece of tape or glue.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

  • Get the print centre staff to cut up your cards using one of their guillotines and then laminate them so they will last well.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Take them home and play!  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

There’s heaps more inspo in store at Warehouse Stationery, plus lots of take home activities the kids can do, totally a School Holiday desperation destination!

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Easing into Essential Oils

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential Oils

This will probably come as no surprise to many/most of you, but alternative/natural therapies such as the use of essential oils and I generally aren’t bff’s.  I’m a hard-out science, evidence based consumer of Big Drug Company Medicine.  Lead me to the chemist and show me a box of Codral and I’ll pop open those foil packets and happily get on with my day!

But, I’m also not naive – I’m totally open to trying new things and experimenting with natural products that have helped so many people I know.

So, I’ve been road-testing three of the more well known and easily accessible Essential Oil variants and have found multiple ways to incorporate them into our family’s daily routines with (surprising? – to me lol) benefits.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential Oils

As I’m writing this I’m also tucked up in bed, man-flu-ing hard out – with a raging head cold.  I feel like my head is actually filled with solid concrete.  When I first lit my oil diffuser and added a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the water I couldn’t smell it at all (despite the fact that Dave rushed in exclaiming ‘What are you cleaning?  You’re supposed to be resting?!).  Now, my sinuses have cleared enough to enjoy the super fresh scent of the Eucalyptus oil.  I’ve also dabbed some undiluted oil onto the neckline of my jammies to help keep me breathing easy.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential Oils

The easiest and probably most effective use I’ve discovered so far, is dabbing undiluted Eucalyptus in the bottom of our interior rubbish bins and letting it dry before popping bags in.  Gone are yucky smells and instead of odour, I now get a fresh burst of Eucalyptus every time I open our kitchen pedal bin.  I’m also doing the same with Ethan and Dave’s rugby gear bags – SUCH an improvement!

Lavender Essential Oil

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential Oils

I’ve documented the troubles we are having with Nix during the night quite extensively, so the first job on my Lavender Hitlist was trying it out as a sleep aid.

I’ve been rubbing it on the soles of his feet and dabbing some around the neck of his pajamas before bedtime which does double duty as it helps calm him down and simply be ‘still’ before we begin our nighttime rituals of reading books and talking through our day.  Adding a ‘scent’ as a cue that it’s bedtime is genius as kids can tune out verbal cues in a second if they want to. I’m stoked at the definite calming effect lavender has on Nixon, he is settling to sleep much faster and he is sleeping longer – not waking up at  4.40am is a MASSIVELY positive endorsement if you ask me!

There are a couple of other ways I’ve been using the Lavender Oil:

  • Both of the boys have asthma and are really struggling with it this winter, rubbing Lavender Oil on their chests is recommended to help with that hard-to-shift asthmatic cough so we are now adding this to our daily routines too.
  • Lavender Oil is great for stress relief! I keep a bottle on my desk and dab it on my temples if I’m feeling anxious or, if the whole household needs to chill out, I pop a couple of drops with water into our diffuser.
  • Dave and Ethan both play rugby and are covered in bruises from sprigs, elbows and whatever else they run into on the field.  When applied immediately, Lavender constricts the blood vessels. reducing the effect of bruising. We will definitely be trying this out after their Saturday games for the rest of the rugby season.

Tea Tea Oil

Ok, this oil has fast become indispensable around our house!

Dave and I both run multiple times each week and Ethan and Dave have rugby training and games 4 days a week, which results in loads and loads of stinky, smelly workout clothes to wash each week.  When added to your washing machine cycle, the antimicrobial properties of Tea Tree Oil help kill odour causing bacteria and leaves clothes smelling amazing – even those gross synthetic running shirts!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential Oils

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential OilsWe are also trialing By Nature Tea Tree Oil as a spray cleaner by adding 10 drops to a spray bottle containing ½ cup white vinegar and 3 cups of water.  I’ve been using it on our benchtops in the kitchen and am loving that we’ve been able to remove chemical cleaners from our food prep area.  (Just make sure you research safe ratios first, as Tea Tree can be toxic to pets and humans if taken orally undiluted).

There are some big name Essential Oil brands that are now available worldwide through multi-level marketing companies ::shudder:: such as doTerra, but I’m stoked that my first foray into Essential Oils has been with products that are made in New Zealand and are available from stores I shop in all the time (ALL THE TIME lol) like The Warehouse.

By Nature have recently released their own NZ made range of Essential Oils to complement their simple, honest and uncomplicated skincare range that is available in supermarkets and from The Warehouse nationwide.

By Nature Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Essential Oils are 100% pure, natural oils and of the highest quality, contain no nasty chemicals, no parabens, are not tested on animals and are made in New Zealand which makes them amazing value at only $5.99 each!  

Find out more here and enter to win a By Nature Skincare pack for you and a friend valued at $120 each!  Just comment below with which By Nature Essential Oil you would like to use at home and you’re in the draw to win!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Essential Oils

Competition closes 17/7/16, NZ residents only.  Thanks so much to By Nature for these gorgeous oils and for sponsoring this post – I now love using them at home!