That Retail Life – New on Supermarket Shelves this Month

I’m seeing a lot of awesome new products each week so thought it was about time I curated these new releases into a regular ‘Hot List’ that’s short and snappy, giving you guys the lowdown on the latest and greatest from brands we love.

 I Love Pies Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Pie RRP $4.99

I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch today, tucking into the latest addition to the I Love Pies Family.  I’m a massive pie fan, rarely passing up the opportunity to enjoy a classic mince ‘n cheese but my appetite for meat isn’t what it once was.  Give me a hearty, tasty vegetarian option and I’m a happy little kiwi.  That’s exactly what I Love Pies have delivered here; a satisfying pie (with that trademark, to-die-for sour cream pastry!), grown-up flavours and a perfect combination of NZ spinach, chickpeas and a sauce to rave about.  Pop these in your freezer for a Meat Free Monday meal in a pinch!

Available in the chiller section of supermarkets and gourmet food stores.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Chickpea Spinach Pie

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Cadbury Spider ChocolateCadbury Marvellous Creations Spider RRP $4.69

I love a good throwback and these two new creations from Cadbury certainly nail the brief!  The Marvellous Creations range is always a little bit different and surprising but in a totally delicious way.  Chocolate lovers won’t be disappointed with the two new varieties.  Choc Raspberry and Choc Orange are now on shelves, reimagined as a mashup with the classic Spider dessert we all loved in the ’80’s.  Don’t be fooled into passing these off as more suited to a younger palette, these are full fruity flavours that definitely satisfy my very ‘adult’ sweet tooth.

In stores now.

Cadbury Favourites – Kiwi Edition RRP $18.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Cadbury Kiwi Favourites

This Christmas I’d bet money that this new Favourites assortment will be winging it’s way all across the globe as New Zealanders send a little taste of home off to their loved ones abroad.  This is actually a genius product, forget about the Turkish Delight vs Cherry Ripe argument once and for all and just give in to the favourites everyone loves.

Think Caramilk, Peppy Chew, Buzz Bar and Perky Nana – every option’s a winner, right?

Available now at supermarkets and dairies across the country.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Meadows Canned MushroomsMeadows Canned Mushrooms 220gm & 425gm RRP $2.19 & $4.69

Mushroom lovers rejoice!  Every day meals, last minute throw-togethers or special occasion triumphs just got a wee bit easier with the launch of Meadows luscious range of canned mushrooms.  More times than I care to remember, I’ve opened the fridge to find my paper mushroom bag crumpled in a corner with the last remaining soldiers a broken mess inside.  As a mushroom lover, this is obviously a travesty but it also throws a bit of a spanner in the works when you were counting on your beloved mushrooms to steal the show at dinner time.

Available in 4 varieties; Whole in Brine, Sliced in Brine, Sliced in Garlic Sauce and Sliced in Sauce, Meadows canned mushrooms have cemented their place in our home as a pantry staple.  They are unarguably delicious but also contain selenium, potassium and B7 vitamins making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

For more Mushroomy goodness from Meadows, check out this incredible mushroom pie recipe or head to

Available at all major supermarkets and produce stores nationwide.

Nutella Morning Mood Jars

Every person in our house loves Nutella.  It’s obviously genetic or it could be that it’s just too yum to deny.  Thick, buttery white toast spread with Nutella’s hazelnut magic is an excellent way to put a smile on any grumpy pre-teen’s face and is a trick I use quite often as needed lol.

Limited edition jars have just arrived in New Zealand, each labelled with a different morning mood – yes grumpy is one of the options, along with cheeky, smiley, legendary and loved.

Nutella 220g RRP $4.19, Nutella 400g RRP $6.81, Nutella 750g RRP $10.49

Available in supermarkets nationwide.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Nutella

New Regal Manuka Salmon Range

Marlborough King Salmon is such a bloody gem, isn’t it?  I could eat it every day and never get sick of it.  Regal have knocked it out of the park with their brand new range of salmon, Regal Manuka, which is just as incredible as it sounds.  Think King Salmon, cured with premium sea salt, smoked over Manuka wood and then sliced – AMAZING.  

Salmon works beautifully in our household as the retail portion sizes are easy to work with and there’s never any waste because it’s insanely delicious.  You’d be hard-pressed to convince me of a more versatile protein source that’s suited to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The new range of Regal Manuka Cold Smoked Salmon is available in 2 x 50g, 2 x 100g convenient twin packs and Regal Double Manuka Wood Roasted Salmon is available in a 200g pack.

Available from supermarkets nationwide.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Regal Salmon

Speight’s Summit Ultra Low Carb Lager RRP $21.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Speight's Low Carb Beer 

Summer (and touch rugby season!) is almost here and that means it’s time for cold beer/s after a hot day and a great evening game.  Sounds like bliss as I sit huddled under a nana-blanket at my desk lol.  Each season it seems like everyone adopts a few more healthy habits than the one before.  As such Speight’s is making it easy for beer lovers to cut carbs without sacrificing the flavour of a great lager.  Summit Ultra Low Carb beer contains 75% fewer carbs than the average content of leading NZ beer.  That’s a massive reduction – looks like I may have found my summer drop!

Because no one ever said “Get that man a kale smoothie”

Available in 12 packs.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Akarua PInot GrisAkarua Pinot Gris 2016 RRP $29

From the cool climate of Central Otago comes Akaroa’s 2016 Pinot Gris.  A perfect match for lighter summer meals of fish, salads, veges and flavourful BBQ meats, this is a wine I’m really looking forward to enjoying this summer.

Described as having a bouquet of white peach, pear blossom and a hint of ginger with ripe pears, notes of nectarine and orange peel across the palette.  Serve, share and enjoy!

Available at leading restaurants, selected supermarkets, Glengarry and other fine wine retailers nationwide.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Rosé RRP $29.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Rockburn Stolen Kiss

Speaking of Summer…….Hello Rosé and hello Rockburn’s limited edition Stolen Kiss Rosé!  Released this week as we switched over to daylight saving, the story of grapes stolen from Rockburn’s highly awarded Pint Noir makes a delicious back-story to a wine that’s fast building a cult-like following here in New Zealand.  Winemaker Malcolm Rees-Francis’ tasting notes describe “candy-floss and crème-brûlée aromas, leading into a flirtatious toffee-apple and simmering strawberry palate smeared with cherry lipgloss”.  If that doesn’t wet your whistle for hot days and cold wine then I’m sorry, you’re dead to me!

Available in selected fine wine stores including Glengarry and online via


Female Hereditary Hair Loss – What you Need to Know

As a New Zealand women, I’ve grown up with the notion that much of my sense of self (and sometimes even self-worth!), is intrinsically associated with my appearance and how others, or more importantly, how I feel about my appearance at any given point in my life.

As normalised/wrong/gender biased as this may seem to some, for me, it’s simply a fact. I am a 37-year-old product of my environment and my physical characteristics and how I choose to present myself to the world do play a strong role in how I identify with my heritage, my family, my friends as well as strangers.

The body positive movement is forcing many of us to ask some hard questions about this very topic, about why the size or shape of our thighs should have any impact on how kick-ass we deem our femme-selves to be. But, our physical self is made up of much more than thighs, bums, mum-tums and bingo-wings (what remains of my triceps!). We love – or should try to love – our skin, our noses, our teeth, our big foreheads we inherited from our dads and, we probably do love our hair, at least on that one day each month we have time to wash and blow dry it!

Much is out of our control. We can go to the gym, exhibit full, disciplined control over what we eat and drink but we can’t control when our hair will begin to grey or if we will be the 1-in-3 women who will experience hair thinning or hair loss after age 30. Many women identify strongly with their hair, it can ground us and remind us of our heritage, styling it – or not styling it – can make us feel empowered, or simply……..beautiful. Our hair as females can make a statement, we can use it as a symbol of our beliefs and what we stand for, or in protest against what others feel we should believe in and stand for.

As such, female hereditary hair loss can be a devastating experience for many women. I was researching this piece whilst travelling, and amongst the crowds in airports and in close quarters on planes, I began to notice just how common it was among women.

Hereditary Hair Loss Facts
  • Most people lose between 50-100 hairs a day, which is considered normal hair loss; a consistent loss of 150 hairs a day is considered significant hair loss.
  • Can resemble an Evergreen tree pattern with the most extensive hair loss occurring on the top of the head and along the part.
  • If untreated, hair thinning can worsen over time.
Treating Hereditary Hair Loss

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Women's Regaine Female Hereditary Hair Loss

Don’t despair, ladies, there is help available and it’s an easy, quick addition to your daily beauty routine and doesn’t require expensive specialist appointments.

Women’s REGAINE® Foam is the first and only once daily foam clinically proven to regrow hair in women.

Once daily. At home. Available in pharmacies without a prescription.

Sounds amazing right? But how does it work?

Launched in 2016, Women’s Regaine works to reactivate hair follicles and stimulate hair growth with the added bonus that new hairs can be up to 48% thicker than before. Active ingredient Minoxidil 5% works to increase the supply of blood and nutrients to hair follicles, resulting in strengthening existing hairs and encouraging them to grow.

Clinical studies show results in as little as 12 weeks but if you can’t wait that long, the amaze stylists and hair professionals at Frenchie & Co have shared some of their go-to methods for styling thinning hair;

How to Style Thinning HairNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Women's Regaine

  • Create volume by backcombing around the crown of the head and part where female hereditary hair loss is most apparent.
  • Use your straightener to lock that volume in by clamping hair at the root with your straightener set on low heat – try 150°
  • Use products such as powder grip, dry shampoo and hair spray to maintain lift throughout the day.
  • Lighter colour hairy creates the illusion of more volume
  • Avoid a centre part
  • Lobs, bobs and side fringes work well

How to Care for Thinning Hair

  • Avoid tight, pulled back styles
  • Give your hair a break! Try a ‘gentle hair day’ once a week
  • Use sulphate free shampoos that don’t open the hair follicle
  • Avoid over-processing hair
  • Comb when wet, not dry

Women’s REGAINE® Foam is available from pharmacies nationwide RRP $85.99 for a 2-month supply, $129.99 for a 4-month supply.

This post was sponsored by Women’s REGAINE® Foam, all opinions expressed are my own.  

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

Food for Thought : Kids Nutrition + Super-Dad Kieran Read

As the junior club rugby season wound to a close here in Auckland last week, I was privileged enough to spend a morning with some ecstatic Kiwi kids and their idol, All Blacks Captain and Swisse Ambassador, Keiran Read.

Verran Primary school played host to the Swisse team and media as students participated in a super-fun event, the ‘Swisse Kids Cup for Champion Eaters’.   I love exercise-in-disguise activities, they involve and engage kids in a physical way that cements learning and educational values perfectly.  In this instance, Swisse was keen to leverage the results of independent research that discovered 89% of parents share concerns around the way Kiwi kids are eating and their attitudes towards nutrition.

As a mum of two boys I have individual concerns about nutrition for Ethan and Nixon that are as unique as the kids are themselves.  One is a dedicated ‘foodie’ with a varied experimental palette and the other likes butter sandwiches on white bread.  Sound familiar?

Both boys have always taken a multi-vitamin, Nixie needs this especially, but I love the Swisse philosophy that supplements should be approached as a back stop.  Giving kids and their wider family’s the right tools to identify which food sources can add a variety of essential vitamins and minerals to our diet is an investment in future generations and their health.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Rugby Nutrition Kieran Read

The kids at Verran Primary School were in for a double treat as they had been chosen to receive a $5000 sports equipment upgrade after being nominated during a Swisse promotion in Unichem and Life Pharmacies!  

After the fun and games were over, the presentation of the Very Large Cheque by Read to Principal Jeanette Dunning had been concluded as well as the signing of autographs for every child at Verran Primary (Kieran is such a natural with the kids and so generous with his time!), I got to have a 5 minute chat with the great man himself about nutrition, kids, and sports – three things that are very dear to my heart!

How can we best prepare kids for game day on Saturday mornings when they’re often tired after a long week at school, or in some situations (Ethan prior to his last 2 rugby games) where they haven’t been able to eat breakfast due to concerns around a weight requirement?

KR > The night before and days before a game are really important.  It’s not just about fuelling for a specific event but also about building up stores.  Including good carbs and lots of protein helps keep us going and to keep those energy levels up.

Now you’re a father of three, are you prepared for the life of a sideline parent?

KR > I’m really excited about my kids getting into sport, my girls will be getting involved soon.  I know what it can be, but kids are out there to have fun, that’s my philosophy and our philosophy as parents.  I’ll do my bit to help them but it’s really important that we don’t end up dictating what they’re doing, that everyone’s having fun and enjoying it.

From I where I sit as a mum and Rugby Club Captain, identifying pathways for young rugby players to follow is really important if they have dreams and goals of moving on to bigger things.  At the top level of the sport, do you find a great variation in the journey your team mates have made from junior player to All Black, or have the guys traveled a similar path through rep rugby, First XV at top schools etc? 

KR > There are plenty of different pathways to reach the top level.  I really believe that one of the best things about New Zealand is that you’ve got the kid that shoots up at 15,16 and shows their potential then, who has as much opportunity as the one that’s been the star since they were 7.  You don’t necessarily have to go to the big school, the school that’s on tv.  That special age from 10-18 is the time to be yourself and have fun and try as many sports as you can.  What that’s doing is just honing your skills in a way that focusing on one sport, whether it’s rugby or something else, can’t do.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Rugby Nutrition Kieran Read

Swisse tips for better nutrition for Kiwi kids include:New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Rugby Nutrition Kieran Read

  • Never skip breakfast – Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Research shows that eating a good and well-balanced breakfast, made up of whole grains, protein, dairy and fresh fruit kick-starts your metabolism and means that you are less likely to get hungry and overeat later in the day.
  • Get your kids to cook with you – Most kids go through a stage when they want to do everything themselves. They may be more interested in eating something that they have helped to create themselves.
  • Disguise vegetables – if you struggle to get your children to eat vegetables, try hiding them in things like pasta sauces and muffins, or serving vegetable chips made of kumara, pumpkin and zucchini.
  • Eat all the colours of the rainbow – Food that is rich in colour contains a unique set of disease fighting antioxidants called phytochemicals. These can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease; reduce the risk of stroke; and are great for eyesight and preventing macular degeneration.
  • Blend it up! Smoothies can be a great way to increase your children’s fruit and vegetable intake and are good at any time of the day. Let your child pick ingredients to blend up such as yoghurt, fruits, vegetables and a dash of honey.

Thanks to Swisse I have two Kids Vitamin packs to give away, each worth $140!  To enter just comment below with your favourite way to encourage healthy eating at home.

PS, there are two more prize packs up for grabs over on Facebook and one on Instagram so make sure you get in the draw as many times as you like!

Comp closes 14/9/17 NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Rugby Nutrition Kieran Read

Remote negotiations – The Battle of the Box

Like many Mum’s I can often catch myself discussing the very different natures of my two boys.  Polar opposites, chalk and cheese……… name it I’ve said it.  Their uniqueness translates across every moment of our day from Nixon’s need for control over what he’s wearing, to Ethan’s general compliance and respect for authority.  Everything one boy is, the other isn’t.

This can make family time quite a struggle as deciding on mutually agreeable activities that cater to a 4-year-old, an almost 13-year-old and two parents, can be an exercise in diplomacy akin to USA v North Korea negotiations.

Ethan just craves information.  He has a voracious appetite for visual media and will essentially watch anything at any time.  Great content can be rewatched over and over if it’s of particular interest – I can’t count how many times we’ve all seen Walking with Dinosaurs, The Blue Planet or Changing Seas.  What’s great about Ethan’s viewing habits is that despite his faves, he’s always keen to branch out and discover new shows, docos and movies.  His attitude is definitely ‘The More the Merrier!” 

Nixon, on the other hand, hates change.  He has around 5 shows he likes to watch over and o v e r  again on Netflix; Wild Kratts, My Big Friend, Justin Time, Oscar’s Oasis and Mouk.  That’s all we’re allowed to work with.  Settling in for some couch time and snuggles with my little guy can be a tad painful.  Did I mention he has an aversion to movies?  Asking Nix to watch a full-length feature is like asking an 11-year-old boy to pick just one ice-cream flavour to eat for the rest of his life.  My four-year-old has commitment issues obviously, a movie is just waaayyy to long to be a viable entertainment option – at least in his mind lol.

What to do, what to do?………………

Don’t ask, Don’t Tell

Honestly, when it’s time for a group consensus, sometimes the only way to reach one in my family is to ignore the ‘consensus’ part, or even the very notion that I was hoping for some family time.

Mum’s and Dad’s everywhere know that the sure-fire way to get your children’s attention is to sit down on the couch and at the very least create an illusion of relaxation.  They’ll come running within minutes and be all up in your business.  The secret to introducing a new show, movie or genre is simply this – have it playing before they realise what’s going on.  Set the stage for Family Movie Night or a rainy arvo snuggling on the couch without the public service announcement, “Kids we’re going to watch something new!”.

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

Try it, it works.  

So far I’ve successfully introduced Nixon to Puss in Book (which is super-fun as you can control the action),  he’s been snookered into watching The Land Before Time (a beautiful dinosaur movie I remember seeing in the theatre with my little brother) and the Netflix Original, Troll Hunters has been accepted as the new go-to by both boys if they’re in that (very) rare, couch-cohabitation mood which all parents dream off.

Don’t settle for watching the same shows guys, just employ your grown-up smarts, get creative and discover some new content to enjoy with your family next time the couch is calling.

PS, this also works on your significant other.  Dave wasn’t convinced my new obsession, Ozark, was for him, but he walked in after I’d already begun an episode and was very quickly converted!