New Season Updates your Wardrobe will LOVE

Poor New Zealand has undoubtedly had one of the craziest summers in recent memory.  It’s been warm yes, but mostly accompanied by rain and humidity resulting in more bad-hair-days than beach days!  The one *upside* of our punishing summer is that we can start incorporating New Season fashion goodness into our wardrobes a little earlier than normal.

Checking out the latest women’s ranges from The Warehouse each season has become somewhat of a regular editorial piece here on the blog.  I found some amazing separates in the Summer 16/17 collection so am super excited to be back with a curated look at some of my top picks in stores and online now!

As Kiwi Mums, our fashion requirements are not over-the-top but we do love it when retailers get it right across the board.  When I’m shopping I have certain key considerations in mind;

  • Functionality + Style – I like to dress with at least a passing nod to what’s trending but I’ve got to be able to actually be a ‘mum’ in what I’m wearing!
  • Price – I can be a bit fickle sometimes plus the budget’s not there for me to shop as a hobby lol.  I don’t want to feel guilty after picking up something new for myself.
  • Convenience – If it’s too hard it’s not going to happen!  I don’t want to have to pack a cut lunch and a compass to go shopping for a new top.  Easy is good and works when I’m juggling kids and family obligations.

The Warehouse have nailed the brief this season and delivered some great pieces, that work beautifully together.  

Pro-Tip:  Shop across the various ranges to put together a fresh, new look for the season ahead.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Garage Lace Up Back Jumper $25.00, Garage Satin Bomber Jacket $25.00

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Garage Lace Trim Cami $15.00, Garage Tassel Hem Tee $15.00 – Hurry, selling fast!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Maya Drape Front Maxi Skirt $20.00 – Hurry, selling fast!, Maya Hi Low Hem Skirt $25.00, Garage Jersey Harem Pants $20.00 – Hurry, selling fast!, Amco Women’s Curvy Skinny Jeans $25.00

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Garage Lace Trim Midi Dress $25.00, Garage Lace Up Festival Dress $25.00

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Basics Brand Women’s Freya Casual Shoes $15.00, Debut Women’s Korey Anklet Boots $25.00

WIN with The Warehouse and The Best Nest!

I know there’s something in that stellar line-up that’s calling your name.  Tell me below what your wardrobe needs as we head into the cooler months and you’re in the draw to win a $50 giftcard to spend at The Warehouse!

Look out for a second chance to enter on my fashion vlog coming soon x

Entries close 21/3/17, NZ residents only.

 

 

Parenting Must-Do: Get your kids eyes tested for free!

When I think about sight and eye health, the sum total of knowledge accrued in my near-38 years is limited to;

  • I like colours
  • Carrots (may?) help us to see in the dark?
  • Sharp objects and eyes don’t mix

I realise I’m pretty much an expert already HA, but as there are two little men and their four, fairly virginal eyeballs under my care I dispatched them to the professionals at Specsavers last week for comprehensive eye exams.

I’m going to put this in bold because it’s important and I will probably remind you again ok?

Kids under 16 receive FREE eye exams at Specsavers.

Yes, yes YES!  Free!

The thought of taking both of the boys to any type of appointment together fills me with dread so I made them individual appointments on separate days and this worked perfectly for us.  It allowed me to give both Ethan and Nixon and their respective optometrists my full attention and eliminated the stress of trying to keep Nix under control during Ethan’s exam.

Initially, I assumed the check-ups were going to be all about this;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

I feel as a mother that the latest hot-topic and source of parenting guilt is undoubtedly that which revolves around screen-time.  How much and how often and the detrimental effect of screens on the body, mind and of course, developing eyes.

I was sooo relieved that Jason at the Specsavers North West store took an entirely holistic approach with Ethan.  Instead of grilling us on the amount of time Ethan spends online, he began by asking E what his hobbies are, what sports he plays, what activities he likes to do outside?  At first, I was not following this line of questioning at all but as the eye exam progressed, everything fell into place.

I’m going to sum this up for you in #mumspeak; instead of trying to understand the complicated little gadgets that eyes really are, it’s easier for me to think of them as a muscle.  If kids (and adults) are constantly asking their eyes to do the same workout ie look at screens within close proximity OR enjoying close reading, eyes never get a chance to ‘stretch’ and extend themselves just like our muscles need to do through exercise.  This is increasingly important as one in five New Zealand children spend the equivalent of a full-time job (up to 35 hours) per week staring at screens!  Screentime itself is not bad for your eyes, it’s the time spent viewing screens in close proximity, the lack of variation in ocular activity that results from device usage and the associated social and physical implications that result from digital isolation which do have negative effects.

Jason’s suggestion for managing screen time made a lot of sense and seemed reasonable to both Ethan and I; 20 minutes on, then take a break – outside if possible.  The beauty and value of outside play for both kids and adults is irrefutable but particularly for eye health, the range of distance that’s available for our eyes to gauge provides a great ‘workout’ and is in direct contrast to the close work done inside on devices or whilst reading books.

Just remember to wear your sunnies!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

Nixie’s exam also went really well.  The tests were perfectly age adjusted for little guys like him and he was pretty intrigued with the ‘robots’ that wanted to look in his eyes (Digital Retinal Photography is included free in all eye exams at Specsavers) as well as the funny glasses he got to wear.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

We survived!  And the boy’s eyes are in tip-top shape thank goodness.

If you’re worried about your kids’ eyesight, get them tested people!  Long term eye issues have a higher chance of being cured if they are detected and treated before a child turns eight.  And their eye tests are FREE at Specsavers until they’re 16, you got that right?  

Both adults and children should have their eyes tested once every two years so shake off that procrastination and book your kids in for free exams now > www.specsavers.co.nz/

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

10 warning signs that there might be something wrong with a child’s eyesight:

  • Straining their eyes or tilting their head to see better
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Losing their place while reading, or using a finger to guide their eyes
  • Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing
  • Falling behind in school
  • Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
  • Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework; or
    distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
  • Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
  • Avoiding using a computer or tablet because it ‘hurts their eyes’
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers
Caption: Nix was obsessed with these Finding Dory frames! So many cute options for littles.

Homewares – New Season Dining Refresh

Dave and I have recently realised that our home-owners enthusiasm for pfaffing, improvements and once effervescent tszuj-ing has pretty much plateaued into nothingness.

A visit last week from Jade Turner, Lead Designer at The Warehouse, got me totally pumped about homewares again and showed me how little, inexpensive touches can make a big difference.

This season, think matte black, mixing organic elements with harder silhouettes and geometrics.

Enough about that, the pics will do ALL the talking x

Shop the gorgeous and affordable Onyx vs Blanco range below;

Dining/Serveware Autumn Update Shopping List

  1. Living & Co Speckled Dinnerware $2 per piece!
  2. Living & Co Double Old Fashion Glasses Matt Black 4 Pack $15
  3. Living & Co Matte Black 16 Piece Cutlery Set $19
  4. Living & Co Round Cork Placemats $3
  5. Onyx Matte Black Candle  – smells amaze btw! $10
  6. Living & Co Matte Black Pitcher $5
  7. Living & Co Canvas Art Round Blanco Horse $16

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares BlackNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black

Everything you want is on the other side of fear

Assuming different roles and their associated responsibilities as we move through life is simply part of the human condition. In our early years in New Zealand we generally follow a fairly well-prescribed path – we move through the traditional education channels, followed by employment or our ‘Big OE’, more work and then maybe a partner and kids if starting a family is part of your plan.

Although these years of raising little Kiwis can be some of the most wonderful and rewarding of our entire lives, they can also be the times when the wheels begin to fall off of what we once recognised as our sense of ‘self’.  We, as parents, can easily lose sight of our hopes and dreams as we begin to travel the long road of prioritising our kids’ needs, and perhaps our partners, over our own.

As such, at this time of year, our well-intended New Year’s resolutions can lose their inspirational sparkle and old habits may be creeping in.  I’m so used to February rolling around and me chucking out my resolutions (with a shrug and a glass of wine lol) that I didn’t even bother to make any this year.

What I did do however, was do some serious planning and thinking about the year ahead.  2016 was a crazy, successful, busy year personally, but one that lacked any structure, planning or direction.  From my experience, this typifies how quickly we ‘lose’ months and years when we are deep in the trenches of parenting.  A good plan requires direction, and direction combined with positive momentum will get you to where you want to go.

So ask yourself this, where do you want to go?

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Massey Distance Learning

When I was at home with our firstborn Ethan, I squeezed every possible ounce of joy out of the experience of being a stay-at-home-mama.  I loved it and was grateful that Dave and I agreed it was worth the sacrifice – we were broke but happy.  Overwhelmed by the cost of living in New Zealand after moving home from San Diego, we both knew it was time to get cracking.  Dave began an apprenticeship at age 33, I started The Best Nest and headed back to uni (figuratively speaking as I studied via distance learning at Massey) to begin a second degree.

Changing tack and adopting structure and a clearly delineated pathway – the one that came with studying – gave my day-to-day life a massive amount of forward momentum.  It also gave me back a strong sense of who I was and how I was going to guide our family towards the future that Dave and I dreamed of having for our kids – and ourselves.

Everything you want is on the other side of fear.

I saw this quote this morning and it’s so perfect for those other mamas who are considering distance learning like I did.  When I began my BAcc, I was scared of the cost, the time commitment, of failing, of submitting assignments and sitting exams again……it turns out these ‘fears’ were actually just excuses I was throwing out there as potential reasons NOT to step outside of my comfort zone and really take control of my own future.

Here’s my ‘Hindsight’s a Wonderful Thing’ pep talk (in bullet points lol) for those of you who might be a bit scared to follow your dreams like I was;

  • Don’t be scared, be excited!
  • Don’t feel guilty for doing something for yourself, mama!  Education always benefits the person with more than just a brand spanking new Student ID.  A little time becoming the very best version of yourself will benefit everyone around you.
  • You won’t be alone just because you’re studying off campus, the support network and guidance from Massey is the best and the myriad number of ways to interact and meet your classmates will amaze you.
  • You think you don’t know how to study?  The requirements, expectations and weekly program for each paper are clearly set out.  You will know exactly what you need to do.
  • Baby steps work.  Don’t fret about having to commit to a degree programme; start small with a paper or a short course and get ready to channel your passions in a direction that suits you.

Seriously, don’t waste another minute.  2017 could be the year you stop second-guessing yourself and start creating the change you want to see in your life.

For more information on how to dive in get started, head to Massey University to find out more about distance learning.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Massey Distance Learning

The Toilet and the Three Boy Household

When you’re a Boy-Mum, many habits around the house (need to) change.  You realise that vacuuming anytime before 4.30 pm when the children are home is pointless and only results in ‘why do I even bother’ angst.  You quickly learn to always check pockets before turning the washing machine on.  You discard any expectation that socks will be removed and put in the laundry in any manner other than in balls.  Eau de LYNX and preteen/teen boys go together like peas and corn and you should never, ever forget to check the toilet seat before sitting down.

This is a scientific fact.

As the only female in the house there are 4 risk factors that present themselves every time I enter the bathroom;

  1. A blind entrance with a still-raised toilet seat, means a splash entry no-one wants to make
  2. A rapid descent without checking for puddles on the seat often spells wet thighs and I HATE THIS SO MUCH IT MAKES ME SCREAM EVERY TIME!!!!!
  3. Entering the bathroom at pace if someone’s been spraying can lead to a painful slip ‘n slide that should never happen indoors :::::::ewwwww:::::::
  4. Boy-Mum, Girl-Mum it doesn’t matter.  A stranding is a less than ideal and I’m not sure whether they find it amusing or not but the boys seem to prefer a naked toilet-roll holder over one suitably equipped.  I’m straight up calling that laziness!

I’ve been a Boy-Mum and a wife for 12 years now and I’ve managed to implement many awesome habits amongst the Jack Family menfolk.  Folding towels in half, then thirds to put away in the linen cupboard is still a work in progress, but I’m hopeful in 2017 we will be triumphant in this area.  

Eliminating the three Female Risk Situations described above completely, is also progressing rather slowly.  Baby-steps were evident until an actual baby arrived in the house.  Nixon’s arrival and progression through toilet training has seen standards lowered across the board, and further evidence to support my assertion: toilet domination is a numbers game and a war I’m struggling to win.  Quite frankly I’m outnumbered and undergunned.  Your support and sympathy would be very much welcomed in the comments below ::::::::sobs:::::::

Last week did allow me a toilet-related giggle or two however.  We had a tradie at home doing some building work.  He started early in the morning, as is good practice, but he must have left home before he finished his ‘morning business’.  I popped out to drop Nix at kindy and he took this very small window of opportunity with gusto and acquainted himself with our bathroom.  

First and foremost, I have absolutely no problem with this.  Nature calls of course, what else can you do?  The situation was apparent when I returned home minutes later having forgotten Nixon’s bike and a very, very embarrassed builder rushed past me with cheeks ablaze as I ran smack into a toilet ‘smell’ that literally left me reeling!  I wasn’t going to put the man through any more embarrassment but I totally wanted to slip him a bottle of V.I.Poo and kindly suggest that a smart tradie never leaves home without it lol.

All you need to know is that Airwick V.I.Poo is a genius pre-poo toilet spray that creates a layer trapping odors under the surface before they escape – IT WORKS PEOPLE! And it’s available at your supermarket : )

One less obstacle between me and a state of bathroom bliss……………….that’s never going to happen in my house fyi!

Better living everyone xx

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Frosé Recipe with Akarua RUA Pinot Rosé

#YesWayRosé, it’s the second annual NZ Rosé Day on February 5th – a ‘National Holiday’ I’m totally on board with FYI. 

Celebrate at home and enjoy this gorgeous Frosé (frozen rosé) recipe with Akarua’s RUA Pinot Rosé RRP $24.  This would be a perfect pairing with a classic Waitangi weekend BBQ with crayfish, salmon or lamb, a rich cheese or a decadent pudding recommends Akarua Winemaker Andrew Keenleyside.

p.s NOT just for ladies – lads call it Brosé.  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Frose Rose Recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 bottle of Akarua RUA Pinot Rosé

Juice of 1 lemon

4-5 strawberries OR a handful of raspberries

¼ cup sugar

1 cup of water

INSTRUCTIONS

Place RUA Pinot Rosé, lemon juice, strawberries or raspberries, sugar and half the water in a blender, blend until smooth

Pour into ice cube moulds and freeze for approximately 4–6 hours

When you are ready to serve, place cubes into blender and add the remaining half cup of water.

Whizz to a smooth slushy-like consistency (more water may be required to loosen the mixture).

Garnish and serve with a straw!

For more information on New Zealand Rosé Day 2017, head to sipnzrose.com and become part of the conversation using #sipnzrose

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Frose Rose Recipe