Shop: Your dream sunglasses and where to find them

I’ve noticed over the years that people generally fall into two very distinct camps when it comes to sunglass purchasing.

The first crew use and abuse their glasses, preferring quantity over quality as they just can’t seem to hold on to a pair (or keep them in one piece!) for longer than 2 weeks.

The second camp, totally me, considers sunglasses an essential, non-negotiable part of leaving the house.  My Sunnies are
on every day, throughout every season, and absolutely every single time I get behind the wheel during the day.

As such, I’m happy to invest in a hero-pair each summer as I know they’ll go the distance – and I can trust myself to NOT lose them and NOT break them.

Hopefully lol.

This season, www.smartbuyglasses.co.nz reached out to me and invited me to try their service.  Initially overwhelmed by the unparalleled range (7234 pairs of women’s sunglasses!!!) I began using the seriously good search filter to narrow the results down to the shape, frame type and brands that I love.  It was like a Tinder for sunglasses that actually works lol.

With 319 contenders to choose from, not an easy task when the brands are Prada, Burberry, Kenzo, Tom Ford to name a few, I finally found my perfect sunglass match;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Sunglasses

The Michael Kors Polynesia in Black/Tortoise.  Amazing right?

This colourway has sold out but you can shop the same model in other colours here.

My order arrived within 5 days guys!  Perfect timing for all the travelling we are doing at the moment.  Offering free shipping and 100 day returns plus prescription and contact lens sales, I can’t imagine shopping anywhere else for glasses.

Totally happy to recommend www.smartbuyglasses.co.nz 10/10 service and quality.

We Love: Dough Queen Natural Play Dough

Here in New Zealand, the first school holidays of 2017 are very quickly approaching and if the recent unsettled weather is anything to go by, we better get prepared for some rainy days inside!

Nixon is our hurricane child, whom we often struggle to settle down into focused, prolonged play.  He tires quickly of traditional toys but, give him creative options and he’s good to go and engaged for at least half an hour – that’s amazing for our little guy!

Despite having to be carried out in the football hold under my arm during the show last year (epic, most public meltdown either one of my kids has ever experienced!), Nix LOVES Mister Maker and often asks for time with his ‘Making Box’ full of art supplies.  His other favourite form of creative play is sitting down with some play dough and letting his imagination take over – I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen him play the same way twice when he’s working and squishing with dough.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

Over the past couple of years, it’s pretty apparent that as Kiwi parents, we are changing the way we choose and shop for products for our kids.  When we have the option to purchase great quality, natural products it’s a no-brainer, especially when it’s going to be a guaranteed hit with the kids!

Fellow Kiwi Mum Claire Shannon has taken this movement to market with her Dough Queen range of natural New Zealand made play dough.

Dough Queen’s NZ-made natural non-toxic play dough is produced with food grade ingredients you can find in your own kitchen. That means if someone takes a nibble there’s no need to panic. We like our little customers to have a good amount to play with so each resealable pouch has 500g of dough. DQ dough will last around 5 months, as long as it is returned to its pouch or stored in a sealed container after play time.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

We’ve been playing pretty hard out with Claire’s lovely dough since before Christmas and I’m totally hooked – as is Nixie.  I’ve made my own dough before, and whilst it’s not a particularly difficult thing to do, it is time-consuming and messy.  Let’s face it, the beauty of tactile play with play dough IS that it’s messy and you can smush it into a million little pieces (that get into every fibre of every fibrous thing in your entire house lol), so mess is good.  But avoiding a pre-mess before the Main Mess Event is much more my style.

In short, I’d rather buy natural play dough then make it myself – #LazyMum, maybe.  Time poor?  Definitely.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

Dough Queen Natural Play Dough retails at $9 per single pack, with bundle pricing available as well as lab-tested, gluten free options, making beautiful handmade dough safe and healthy for everyone.

There are two new colours in the Dough Queen range, DQ Colour #10 and DQ Colour #11.  Both come in the super generous 500gm resealable pouch, both are bright, fun colours, they last for ages, and they both need names!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play doughHelp Dough Queen name the two latest colours!

Come up with the winning name for either #10 (teal) or #11 (purple) or both, and a twin pack containing each of the new colours could be all yours!  There are two prizes to win so comment below with your name suggestions and Dough Queen will choose 2 winners 3/4/17.

NZ residents only.

Why I Love My Unstoppable Mum Life

5.40am  Subconsciously doing backflips because at the very least I won’t be waking up in the death hour of any time beginning with 4.

5.41am  Little hands slapping on my face.  “Mummay what’s inside woodlice?”.  

  • Inward groan and realisation that I’m going to have to actually dissect some woodlice so he’ll quit asking me this same question every day.

5.42am  Drift off pondering where one finds woodlice in our neighbourhood.

5.43am  “Mummay I have poops”.  

  • Yes, motherhood gave me spidey-senses, I can smell them, I’m acutely aware of the poops in your diaper Nixie.

Silence.

5.51am  “There’s poops on my fingers and DADDY, where’s my breakfast?”

Repeat 7 days a week except for those days that start at 4.40am, Nixon’s other favourite wake-up time.
Ethan was away on school camp this week so there was one less mouth to feed and lunch to make at 6am, but otherwise it was business as usual; the kindy run, work, housework, washing, life admin (I saved $300 per year on just one vehicle’s insurance today!  BAM!), I ran 5km, had a playdate, spent 3 hours at the rugby club facilitating registrations and I have a deadline tomorrow so am still working.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Winter Boots Ziera

I can’t remember the last time I actually thought to myself “That’s not going to happen, there aren’t enough hours in the day, there isn’t enough coffee, I haven’t had enough sleep, I just can’t do it”.

Can’t isn’t really in my Mummy Lexicon unless we talking about running 10km in which case I’m totally stuck in a 5km rut and I CAN’T run through it lol.  Doing ALL the things (whether we want to or not) is how many of us survive and thrive.  Limitations of what it was possible to achieve in a day flew out the window as soon as Ethan was born, and though, I undoubtedly would like a few more blank spaces on our family calendar, the last 12 years have taught me that everything and anything is possible and I can, in fact put one foot in front of the other (over and over again) and make it all work.

The catch-phrase of the moment, particularly applicable to Mums, is ‘self-care’.  I’m not good at this.  Giving myself a ‘break’ and letting the washing or the dishes pile-up does my head-in and any benefit to be gained from relaxing and not doing chores is instantly negated by mess-induced anxiety.  For people like me, who are active-relaxers, a run or an exercise class is a perfect way to take some time out and practice some of that self-care we hear so much about without the associated guilt of “doing nothing”.  Finding a way to take care of your Unstoppable Mum-Self and recharging your batteries is so important, but we all do this in different ways so if you’re not a zen yoga goddess every Sunday morning don’t sweat it, just find your own mummy-mantra and practice it.  Regularly!

My kids are the ones that drive my Unstoppable Mum Life, they are the sole reason why Dave and I can get out of bed at 4.40am with something resembling a smile and look forward to the day’s routine, domestic schedule.  Each day will undoubtedly be similar to the day before and will recognise tomorrow but it needn’t be mundane or boring.

As I am undoubtedly a YES person, the people I meet through throwing myself into MumLife and Yessing my way through the weeks, are the ones that remove any smidgen of boring-ness from the sometimes  l o n g  days – and equally long nights…..with Nixon!  Getting out and about in your community, doing, volunteering, meeting and helping other parents have a better day will give you more and more positive momentum and help you become the Mum you really want to be.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Winter Boots Ziera

I recently discovered a little message on the sole of a new pair of winter boots from Ziera;

Stand your ground”.  

I love little details like this! I’m picturing myself on a dark, cold night at the rugby club, waiting for Ethan to finish training, dealing with the minutiae of rugby committee life, my mental to-do-list rapidly overflowing as I remember (not to forget!) that it’s bike day at kindy tomorrow and that Ethan needs money for his school bus card so we can’t go straight home after training, that the truck’s RUC’s have run out and I still need to get the tyres balanced……..

Breathe.  Smile.  I am unstoppable.

Do something amazing today!

We’re ALL unstoppable right?  Here’s your chance to recognise a woman that inspires, empowers and motivates you every day……..with a little help from Ziera!

Ziera is searching for unstoppable women to win one of five prizes of $2,500 plus five pairs of shoes to give them a helping hand towards achieving great things. You can nominate as many unstoppable woman as you like. Each time you nominate, you’ll go into the draw to win one of 100 pairs of shoes, one for you and one for the person you nominate. Achieve the extraordinary every day. Be unstoppable.

Submit your nominations here and make a positive change in the life of a deserving woman, just like you!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Winter Boots ZieraWin with The Best Nest & Ziera

Because Ziera are all about YOU and supporting unstoppable women, I have a $250 voucher to spend with Ziera for one of you!  Head over to Ziera, pick your favourite style (mine are the Zorro) and let me know which shoes you’ve fallen in love with in the comments below.

Competition closes Sunday 2/4/17, NZ residents only.

Family Travel – Four Days in Napier

After a pretty manic end to 2016, Dave and I had absolutely no inclination to plan an extended, extravagant summer holiday with the kids.  There was to be nothing involving chilly-bins or tents, no road trips, no car/boat combo packed to the hilt…..

Some years that stuff seems easy, is easy, this year we just couldn’t manage it.

What we could do (and did lol), was plan a mini-vacay with minimal fuss, minimal rushing from here to there i.e a minimal, or even better, NO itinerary and minimal expense to be honest.  

Napier was our choice of destination as it ticked all of those boxes plus even more.

In Napier City there are;

  • Flights leaving from Auckland daily – we flew with our travel partner Jetstar
  • Plenty of accommodation options right in town
  • ‘Town’ happens to be a $25 dollar taxi ride from the airport, no rental car needed.
  • ‘Town’ is right across the road from the beach, the pools, the fountain – which kids are welcome to play in!
  • ‘Town’ is the Art Deco capital of New Zealand!  Everywhere you look Napier is freaking stunning!
  • Plenty of awesome family friendly activities you can do, again, without having to rent a car.

We loved it!

So what DID we do?

We arrived at 9.30am after our quick and easy 1-hour flight, jumped in a taxi that was waiting right outside the terminal and headed to our hotel to offload our bags.  We always fly as early as we can for two reasons;

  1. The kids are better when they are well rested and fed.  After breakfast is the perfect time to confine my boys to a small public space where they must remain seated lol.
  2. Arriving early means you’re not travelling during one of your allocated ‘holiday’ days!  We always have our whole arrival day to explore and get cracking with making the most of our vacay time.  Also, if you arrive prior to check-in, your hotel won’t mind storing your bags for you whilst you get your tourist on.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

We stayed at the stunning Scenic Hotel Te Pania which boasts an unbeatable location right across from both the beach and the pools and a single block walk to the main hub of beachside Napier.  We would absolutely stay here again, outstanding beds, great service and a lovely bar in which to sip a Hawkes Bar wine whilst working – as I had to throughout the trip lol.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

On Friday we explored!  We hit the shops, the stunning pier, had a swim, enjoyed cocktail hour and finished our day off with takeaway pizza in our hotel room!  Kids were stoked lol.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

On Saturday, Dave and I both had to work a little, so I took the kids across the street to the amazing beachside pool complex that is Ocean Spa Napier.  With multiple pools and depths, there is something for everyone here and the boys begged to come back each day during our stay.  It was also great value, a Family Pass cost us $30 and I was able to leave, pop into Subway for some lunch and bring it back to the boys and Dave.  We spent most of the day here before heading out and about for another stroll, enjoying the Art Deco sights which are everywhere!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

Sunday was one of the most fun family days we have ever had I’d day!  The weather wasn’t amazing and we had to change plans a little but everything just fell into place.

We walked across the road to the beachside market in the morning for breakfast and were a tad overwhelmed by the choices on offer!  Nixon enjoyed waffles-on-a-stick, Dave and I treated ourselves to humongous bacon and egg sandwiches and Ethan combined both into a bacon and egg waffle!  We also picked up some fresh fruit as snacks for the remaining two days.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

After filling our tanks, we rented bikes from Napier City Bike Hire and Tours on Marine Parade, who had the best prices and incredibly helpful and accommodating staff.  Nix was well catered for with a super-comfy toddler seat on the back of my bike and so we headed north along Marine Parade.  Our destination was Pandora Splash and Play, an easy, flat 5km cycle along the waterfront.  We knew Ethan and Nix would have a lot of fun at the inflatable water playground however super high winds meant it was closed for safety reasons.  Not really a big deal as we all enjoyed the ride anyway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

With some time on our hands, we pedalled south to the National Aquarium of New Zealand, locked up the bikes and spent a couple of blissful hours exploring hands-down, the BEST aquarium we’ve been to.  Once again this was such great value for money, $54 for a family pass was definitely money well spent and money I’d spend again in a heartbeat.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

Because we’re cheap lol and the children were too tired to risk eating out we had dinner in our room again, this time a roast chicken, salad and buns from Pak ‘n Save.  Easy and delicious.  When travelling,  we often will visit a little cafe or restaurant later afternoon for a glass of wine, a beer for Dave and a couple of appetisers to share.  This keeps the boys fed and happy and gives Mum and Dad a little respite and a chance to enjoy local offerings.

On our final day in sunny Napier, all we had on the agenda was relaxing, swimming and soaking up some of the sunshine that had been in such short supply in Auckland!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

Dave headed off to get a skate in at the newly opened concrete skatepark, just south of the Sunken Gardens on Marine Parade whilst the boys and I headed back to the beach for more swimming.  Of course, a trip to Napier with a small child wouldn’t be complete without a dip in the Tom Parker Fountain.  Who am I kidding, BOTH of the boys swam in this fountain every day, playing with local kids and tourists alike.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

On the way back to the hotel we stopped in at the Hog’s Breath Cafe for a fruity ‘umbrella’ drink and an ice-cream sundae for the boys to share – a perfect ending to an absolutely awesome long-weekend – and we didn’t even make it to any vineyards!

Visit Napier, do it with the kids, you’ll have an amazing time.

Thanks so much to our travel partner Jetstar, we love flying with you guys!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier
Sunset over Marine Parade. View from Te Pania Scenic Hotel

 

 

Vlog – New Season Updates your Wardrobe will LOVE

Ok girlfriends, I’m rocking my Mum-Bun so you know it’s business time.  

Getting changed this many times in ONE hour (let alone one WEEK lol) was hard work, plus filming myself trying to model clothes in my lounge is excruciating – so you better love this video okay?

Seriously though, The Warehouse has put together another really easy-to-wear and accessible range this season which makes me excited about throwing some layers together and getting a bit of texture going on!

I went out on a limb and picked some items I usually wouldn’t look twice at – like that blush cami?!  Amaze, will go with everything, plus the Midi dress and Longline shirt – super easy to see how these will slip into my mum-wardrobe over the coming months.

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

Check out the vlog to see these pieces in action, I’ve popped full shopping links below as well as details on how you can win a $50 gift card to get your shop on at The Warehouse!

My New Season Shopping List

Garage Lace Up Back Jumper $25.00 (Awesome stuff sells fast and this is moving quickly!  Still available online though)

Garage Lace-Trim Cami $15.00

Amco Women’s Curvy Skinny Jeans $29.00

Garage Lace Trim Midi Dress $25.00

Maya 3/4 Sleeve Check Shirt $25.00

Maya Lace Up Back Jumper $29.00  (This is another super popular style selling out!  Still available online though)

Basics Brand Women’s Wide Strap Singlet $7.00

Maya Sleeveless Longline Shirt $25.00

Maya Mesh Panel Tunic $20.00

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 gift card to spend at The Warehouse!

Make sure you’ve commented on the first New Season Fashion post as well for a second entry!

Entries close 19/3/17, NZ residents only.

Get fit in 2017 – Win your own PINK Treadmill!

The golden days of summer are over and if the thought of hitting the streets in the cold and dark this winter just doesn’t fill your #Fitspo tank, then I’ve got something for you!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Get Fit Win Treadmill
Thanks to Gym and Fitness we have an awesome prize that will allow you to get your steps in and get fit this winter all in the safety, comfort and privacy of your own home.

The Freeform F20 in fab pink is a Walker and Light Runner Treadmill worth $974, perfect for those wanting to squeeze a walk or light jog in around naptimes or later in the evenings when you just don’t want to hit the streets!

Check out the awesome features below, find out more online at www.gymandfitness.co.nz and enter to win this treadmill by telling me how much you want it in the comments section at the bottom of this post!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Get Fit Win TreadmillPACKAGE INCLUSIONS:

  • HiTorque 1.75 CHP DC Commercial Motor. HiTorque is an industry leader when it comes to quality and durability. This commercial motor’s precision engineering boasts an oversized casing that cuts noise and vibration; AAA Grade copper coils; silent fan-cooled heat management; dual carbon brushes; and high-grade insulation and sealed bearings that make up the HiTorque longevity.
  • One Touch Quick Speed Controls. Adjust speed easily from 0.8km/h to 12km/h either on the console or on the hand grip button.
  • Incline Controls. Choose from 3 levels of incline.
  • E-Z Lift Assist. Fold your treadmill even with just one hand. This feature helps you save some space.
  • E-Z Drop Assist. Release the safety lock to let the treadmill fold out by itself.
  • VersaTred Oversize Running Tred Area. Run on a 1280mm long and 400mm wide surface that allows a safe and unrestricted training session.
  • FreeFlex Precision Cushioning. Walk, jog, or run on a comfortable, flexible and cushioned surface.
  • OrthoTred Treadmill Belt. Designed and engineered for superior performance.
  • BeltProtect Roller. Reduce maintenance and prolong the life of your treadmill.
  • PreSet Programs. Reach your fitness goals with your individual abilities. The FreeForm F20 makes various preset programs available.
  • Safety Assist Protective Feature. Keep safe with the FreeForm F20’s protective features. Emergency stop braking is applied when the safety key is disconnected. Removal of the safety key is also encouraged when the treadmill is not in use to avoid possible injuries to children.
  • FreeMix 5.0 Speaker Sound System. Listen to your favourite music while working out. Simply plug your iPhone®, Android®, Tablet or MP3 player into the FreeMix Acoustics™ 5.0 Sound System and listen to incredible sound through two high-quality speakers.*iPhone® is a trademark of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.  © 2014 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Android™ is a trademark of Google Inc. 
  • Dual-Grip ZoneTech Heart Rate Monitor. Optimise your training with a wireless and hands-free heart rate monitor.
  • A compact design that saves space.

CONTEST CLOSES 17/3/17, NZ RESIDENTS ONLY.

Book Review – Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes

Published 27/2/17, Random House NZ RRP $35, EBook also available.

I read a lot of books and 99.999% of them are not about me (surprise!) or my life or anything remotely resembling my life.  They serve as the distraction needed at the end of the day, the vehicle with which to escape and be transported far, far away, to meet strangers in foreign lands and solve mysteries, eat exotic foods join the mafia etc.  The books I read generally do exactly what a good book should do – provide escapism and a method in which to calm and quiet my frantic mind.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Emily Writes Rants in the Dark ReviewRants in the Dark does the complete opposite.

Rants in the Dark is the ONE book that is about me, it is about my life.  When Nix woke us at 4.30am this morning I rolled over and saw it on my nightstand and half-smiled at the irony of seeing it there, the words inside like a fist-pump emoji sent via Instagram from one mum to another – ‘you’ve got this, you know how to wake up at 4.30am, you know there are 2 Nespresso capsules left and you can have them BOTH because Dave is awesome like that.  You know it’s Little Kindy day tomorrow so you’ll have 4 hours in the morning to gather yourself and work and not-tidy the house ’cause what’s the point?’

Ahhh.  This book is my people.

Rants in the Dark will find audiences among mothers, obviously, but I think there is a great read in here for anyone who themselves HAS a Mum, or knows a Mum, or is married to a Mum.  Emily gives us short, snappy, witty vignettes that don’t bog you down with the oft-mundane minutiae that is #MumLife, rather, these details are woven into beautiful accounts of how, at the end of the day (or in the early hours of the morning!) we can still love it all, and be ready to repeat these days over and over again.  

For 18 years or so.

Buy it, read it, love it, lend it.  

Rants in the Dark is a modern-mothers voice in a snappy navy cover.  Emily’s my literary hero and it was incredibly awesome to meet her on Monday at her launch event.  Bravo you beautiful woman, Rants in the Dark is everything I hoped it would be and more.

Win your own copy of Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes

I have three copies to give away, one here on the blog – to enter just leave me a comment below.

And;

One on Facebook, enter here

One on Instagram, enter here

I’ll draw the winners on Sunday 5/5/17.  NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Emily Writes Rants in the Dark Review