Food to Share: The BEST Prawn Taco Recipe

Prawns are an ingredient that I think we shy away from a lot here in New Zealand, in fact, I don’t think I’d ever actually eaten one until I was well ensconced in my 6 year ‘OE’ in the states.  After living in both Florida and San Deigo where ‘shrimp’ are a dietary staple I’ve definitely come around to the fact that these bite-sized beauties are a perfect inclusion into many kiwi faves from summery salads to pizza and pasta.  They’ve got to be one of the most low-fuss, easy proteins to cook, which makes them even more attractive in my book.

Prawns, shrimp, whatever you call them, also pair beautifully with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc – incidentally, my favourite varietal, as well as the rest of the country – yes, it’s official, kiwi sav is our nations favourite wine variety!  I’m all about discovering and celebrating our wonderful local winemakers, so, after finding my own new fave in Peter Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017, I decided to get creative in the kitchen. 

Taking my cues from the winemakers tasting note (I’m NOT a wine connoisseur btw, more like a devoted fangirl!), marrying the citrus aromas and finish of the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc with lemon, lime, garlic and seafood seemed a no-brainer.  The result?  A bloody cracker of a dish that’s so easy to prepare I cooked it on holiday in a minimally equipped AirBNB kitchen.

It’s International Sauvignon Blanc Day on May 4th so why not add some prawns to the grocery list this week and see what you think of my wine pairing.  There’s also a super fun comp running right now to celebrate our love of Sauv!

To enter; create a dish that you think pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc, upload your photo here, share with friends using the #ExpressYourSauv hashtag and tagging @Yealands and you’re in to win!  
New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Prawn Shrimp Tacos Recipe
Lemon Garlic Prawn Tacos Recipe

Ingredients

500g raw prawns, tails removed
2 tbsp butter
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp brown sugar
Salt n Pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one lime

To serve

Corn tortillas
Undressed coleslaw
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped coriander
Chopped red onion
Spicy sauce (mix sriracha or taco seasoning with aioli to taste)
Lemon/lime wedges

Method

  • Melt butter in pan, saute chopped garlic over medium heat for a couple of minutes max.
  • Remove from heat and pour butter and garlic over prawns.  Add juice of lemon and lime, stir in sugar and salt and pepper.  Toss to coat prawns and add mixture to pan.  Cook quickly over medium/high heat until prawns are pink and getting some good colour on them.  Remove from heat.
  • Heat corn tortillas in a stack wrapped in foil in the oven, microwave for around 20 seconds, or sprinkle with water and warm in a clean pan.  Don’t skip this step as corn tortillas are more brittle than flour and will crack and rip when folded cold.
  • Layer tortilla with coleslaw, prawns, tomato, onion and coriander.  Serve with spicy aioli and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Pairs perfectly with Peter Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017.

Enjoy!
This post was a collaboration with Yealands Family Wines.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Prawn Shrimp Tacos Recipe

PIN ME!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Prawn Shrimp Tacos Recipe

Creating a Healthful Morning Routine

I’ve been working hard on improving my morning routine over the summer and I’m happy to share it with you in conjunction with Harraway’s new Oat-activ® range.


As we welcome autumn in New Zealand, we are well past the heady, New Year’s enthusiasm of resolutions, good intentions and well-meaning but (perhaps expensive?) ‘motivational’ purchases of workout gear, gym memberships and fitspo apps. Taking stock of which habits have ‘stuck’ over the summer months and which ones can be filed as a ‘flash-in-the-pan’ exercise is an excellent way to move into the season ahead and clear out mental clutter (and any associated guilt lol).

So how do you introduce positive life changes and healthy habits in a way that will ‘stick’?

I have NO idea.

Literally, I got nothing for ya lol.

What I do know is that I’m a 38 year old work-in-progress, constantly battling age, injury – and my old mates’ white toast bread and wine! Dividing my day into morning, afternoon and evenings has helped tackle the massive ‘overwhelm’ that is often associated with implementing any kind of lifestyle change. Putting some thought into small, positive changes I can make to my routine (or lack thereof) across the day has given me the headspace to realise what’s important at various key times, and how awareness leads to positive, lasting change.

My Healthful Morning Routine

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Breakfast Oats

Starting your day off right and figuring out how to do this is a goal across the board I’m guessing? Though this is going to look vastly different for everyone, I’ve found a couple of key tweaks and behaviour mods that have had a lasting impact on my mood, wellbeing and productivity throughout the day.

  • A great day actually begins the night before. Saying no to another episode on Netflix and spending time on a bed-time routine to actively unwind from the day improves my sleep immeasurably.
    What does this actually look like? For me that means TV off and device down at 9.30pm, 500ml of water + magnesium and vitamins, time spent removing makeup (mentally washing the day off), treating my skin with a night serum or cream, brushing my teeth, reading or a sudoku puzzle.
  • Rising early. Getting out of bed has never come easily to me I’ll admit, but over the past 4 months, I’ve discovered that initiating an earlier wake-up time using my phone and Fitbit alarms is paying dividends. I’ve got some mental space to myself before the boys wake-up, an extra 30 minutes does wonders for my productivity and waking of my own volition as opposed to a body slam to the head via Nixon works wonders on my mood! 
  • Getting breakfast right. Sometimes the wheels fall off throughout the day so starting as you mean to continue is an invaluable mental tool. I’ve long been a fan of oats for breakfast, they are delicious, satisfying, inexpensive and easy to prep. The latest oats to hit shelves, Harraway’s Oat-activ® range, can also add cholesterol reducing to their impressive list of health benefits with the combo of added LDL reducing plant sterol + the beta-glucan found in oats. Cholesterol is important to our cells but too much LDL, low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Harraways Oat-activ® hits bad LDL cholesterol with a plant-based ‘double-action’ attack; beta-glucan forms a gel in the digestive tract, binding to excess LDL, blocking the re-absorption of bile acids and removing the mixture as well, while phytosterols extracted from plants are added to the Oat-activ® range in powder form get to work preventing absorption of LDL in the intestines. Busy brekkie is an understatement, right?
    Why stop at breakfast? We’re all privy to a little afternoon nibble, so I like to keep Harraways  Oat-activ® on hand for a convenient, nourishing snack or smoothie booster. For the best results, it’s recommended that you have two Harraways Oat-activ® sachets per day to lower your cholesterol*, so it’s a win-win in my book.
  • Water before coffee – ALWAYS.  My morning coffee is one part of my morning ritual I really look forward to but two tweaks I adhere to now are; 500ml of water before I even lift my coffee mug! Non-negotiable. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of milk so passing on the flat white and saying yes to a long black is now routine and I feel much better for it. 
  • Get outside in the am.  Natural light is the cornerstone of our daily rhythms and contributes massively to our physical and mental wellbeing. Late last year, after a couple of weeks of walking every morning, I noticed how amazing I felt – physically, mentally and emotionally. I was energised (sunlight triggers cortisol), I was happy, my anxiety had disappeared (serotonin stimulation lifts our moods), productivity was up and I was sleeping like a babe as exposure to sunlight was suppressing melatonin expression until I needed it in the evenings. Winning all round!

So that’s what’s working for me so far in 2018.  Five little steps that are easily accessible, require zero subscriptions or outside influence and combined, result in an easy, healthful morning routine that sets me up for the days of working and parenting.

Available in selected Pak N Save & New World supermarkets now in oat singles packs, Harraways Oat-activ® is available in Original or Original with Cranberry flavours. Find out more about the healthful benefits of Oat-activ® here.

*As part of your daily intake of 3g beta-glucan or 2g of plant sterols.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Breakfast Oats

This post was sponsored by Harraways Oat-activ®

4 Ways to Use Essential Oils in your #Fitspo Life

I’ve loved working with Bosisto’s on this post.   They make such awesome and accessible products from 100% pure, natural essential oils that are perfect for integration into both personal and family household routines daily.


Despite really, actively trying to avoid falling into the ‘busy’ trap that gets me feeling constantly anxious, worried and stressed,  our family is on the cusp of a really, freaking busy winter season of sport.  Dave, Ethan and Nixon all play rugby over winter, training began this week, I’m the rugby club captain so the sport literally consumes all of my free time, Ethan plays basketball for both his school and North Harbour and Dave is (always lol) training for his next marathon.  Me, I’m just in survival mode, sneaking a run or walk in when I can! The amount of sports footwear in our house is mind-boggling as is the amount of sweaty laundry I’m smashing out each week.

2018 is a funny old year for Dave and I.  We are trying to look at the daily routines and processes in our home on a micro level and implement improvements, tweaks and hacks wherever we can.  The goal is to be constantly simplifying, reducing and making more sense of how we live.

Finding more natural alternatives to everyday products we use around the house fits in well with our intentions to not only minimise stress and stuff but also to minimise the chemicals we use in our home and on our bodies.  Dave is a really easy-sell when it comes to this. Though the man will obsess about a running injury he is super adverse to taking medicine, paracetamol is a last resort!  After an introduction to essential oils about 12 months ago, I’ve loved learning new ways to introduce them into our family routines.

So with sporting commitments showing no sign of slowing, it’s the perfect time to share how we use Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Lavender oils daily.  Australian heritage brand, Bosisto’s range of oils are totally complementary to our goal of simplifying day to day life. They are all multi-tasking marvels that are available as both liquid and sprays, making essential oil use even easier and more convenient.

4 Ways to Use Essential Oils in your #Fitspo Life

DIY Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Gym Gear Spray:

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential Oils

I’ve whipped up two bottles of this gorgeous spray, one for Dave’s car and a second to pop in my gym bag.  The calming, deodorizing properties of Lavender combined with the bacteria-fighting power of Tea Tree oil make the perfect pairing to combat sweaty, post-workout odour.  Dave drives to the forest most days to run the trails, so his car (and cloth seats) need a helping hand to stay fresh, as do yoga mats – ever cleaned yours? Spritz this gorgeous spray around like magic, and keep that post-workout high rolling throughout the day.

I picked up a little spray bottle in a travel pack for $3 from a dollar store, filled it with distilled water and added 5 drops of Bosisto’s Lavender Essential Oil Blend and 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil.

Shake and spray!

Eucalyptus Oil for Muscle Pain:  
Heading into his trail marathon a couple of weeks ago, Dave was suffering an Achilles injury which was stressing him out like a bad case of Man Flu.  At this point in his preparation it was too late to pop some heel wedges in his shoes or anything like that, so, massage and rest was how he tackled the injury.  Always preferring natural remedies, Dave used Bosisto’s 100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil, massaged twice a day on his Achilles and calf muscle. The soothing, warming effect of the Eucalyptus Oil worked wonders on his symptoms, and has since become his go-to for all of his running-related niggles.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential Oils

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential OilsLavender Oil for sleep and rest:  I’ve been using Lavender Oil as a sleep aid for a couple of years now and honestly, wouldn’t be without it.  Both Ethan and Nixon find it hard to wind down at the end of the day, with Ethan having severe difficulty approx once per week where he might struggle for hours to fall asleep.  Implementing a calming, relaxing bedtime routine has helped both boys (and Dave and I!) finish each day much more peacefully, and with less stress and struggle around switching off and sinking into a restful slumber.

There are three ways I use Lavender at bedtime;

  1. Spray around the bedroom at night – yes, you can buy pure Lavender Oil in a spray aerosol!  Bosisto’s have made using essential oils even easier and more convenient with this genius packaging.
  2. Use an aromatherapy diffuser to spread that Lavender goodness far and wide throughout the house
  3. Create a skin-safe dilution to dab on your babes at bed-time!  I use 5 drops of Lavender oil in 10ml of almond oil and rub a drop on the soles of feet, behind the knees, on the insides of elbows and on the neckline of PJ’s.

Tea Tree Oil for foot health: Running shoes, rugby boots, touch rugby shoes, basketball sneakers, gumboots, (expensive Dr Martin’s school shoes that are used to play Basketball in every day at school grrrr)……we have ALL the shoes in our household and they are all used for very active pursuits.  Keeping them fresh is hard, keeping active feet healthy and odour free is also hard. Tea Tree Spray from Bosisto’s is a natural antifungal agent and so easy to apply; simply spray shoes to freshen and help knock out fungal infections such as tinea, follow up by spraying affected skin after washing and drying feet.

Ethan wears 100% wool socks to school and they have an odour like no other lol.  Adding a capful or two of Tea Tree Oil to the laundry is literally the ONLY thing I’ve found to combat and eliminate the smell of teenage, schoolboy feet – at least until the next day!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Bosisto's Essential Oils

For more great ideas on how to use natural, high-quality essential oils around your home, head to Bosisto’s Facebook Page and get yourself in the draw to win an amazing prize pack!  Trust me you will LOVE these products, they are so incredibly useful as well as naturally therapeutic.

Home – Easy Eco-Friendly Product Switches

Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Who would ever have imagined that Bob the Builder – a beloved children’s show – would be so ahead of its time?  With sustainability and environmental issues ramping up in importance and public awareness every day, the onus on individuals to increase responsibility as both consumers and caretakers of the land is becoming a more widely accepted proposition.  

Taking action on a micro, personal level, and claiming responsibility for the generation and disposal of waste in our own households is the first step in the much bigger picture of building long-term, sustainable communities.  I’m sooooo not a traditional ‘green’ early adopter – anyone who knows me can tell you that – but, I do love products and brands that make sense, make my life easier and combine ethical integrity and environmental concern with common-sense practicality.

So, here are some brands and products that tick all of these boxes and that we’re using daily in our home or out and about;

6 Green ‘n Easy options for reducing household waste

Ecopack Compostable Plastic Free Bags and Bin Liners

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Biodegradable Bags

I going to be honest here – I’ve never once considered ditching bin liners and using layered newspaper.

Never once.  I mean who even HAS newspaper any more to start with, and secondly, ew.

Which brings me to my first eco-friendly find; 100% compostable, plastic-free and biodegradable bags and bin liners from Ecobagsnz.  Single-use plastic presents a major environmental concern around the world.  Determined to make a change here in New Zealand is locally owned and operated Ecobagsnz.  They produce a range of ethically produced bags suitable for both retail lines and personal use.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Biodegradable Bags

The Ecopack Compostable range eliminates the need to reconsider my stance on drippy newspaper (thank goodness!).

Available at leading supermarkets and health food stores nationwide, the Ecopack Compostable range is available in 6 different sizes and only takes around 90 days to break down in your compost!

ECOPACK COMPOSTABLE KITCHEN LINER 27L (20) RRP $7.99
ECOPACK COMPOSTABLE KITCHEN LINER 36L (15) RRP $7.99
ECOPACK COMPOSTABLE BIN LINER 60L (5) RRP $6.90
ECOPACK COMPOSTABLE BIN LINER 80L (10) RRP $8.99
ECOPACK COMPOSTABLE WHEELIE BIN LINER 140L (5) RRP $6.50
ECOPACK COMPOSTABLE WHEELIE BIN LINER 240L (5) RRP $8.80

Reusable Produce Bags from The Rubbish Whisperer

Another kiwi company determined to reduce single-use plastic bags is The Rubbish Whisperer.

Most of us care about the environment but don’t realise the scale of the pollution our disposable lifestyles are creating. The Rubbish Whisperer shows people how easy it is to have a huge positive impact on the environment by making small and simple changes. www.rubbishwhisperer.co.nz/pages/aboutus

I’m loving the super-cute Reusable Produce Bags, RRP $22.49 per 5 pack.  NZ made from strong and lightweight polyester tulle, these beautifully bright bags are a fun visual reminder to by-pass the plastic bag roll next time you’re in the fruit and vege aisle.  An added timesaving bonus of the quick-dry fabric is that you can wash produce directly in the bag!

Noteworthy: 1% of all Rubbish Whisperer sales are donated to local conservation projects!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Reusable Produce Bags

Put your money where your mouth is: Shop The Source

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Zero Waste ShoppingFinding retailers that are supportive of your zero-waste efforts can be tough.  Cutting through the layers and layers of packaging that almost every retail product is subject to can be disheartening and in my case, a massive workout for my recycle bin.  Shopping at the most established zero waste grocery store in Australasia is now easy if you live in Auckland.  The Source has two beautiful locations in Milford and Kumeu and is stocked to the rafters with delicious ways to say YES to healthy, nutrient-dense food.  They also supply kefir, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup on tap, you can make your own nut-butters, shop for home cleaning supplies……and take everything home in your own reusable containers, use paper bags or purchase your zero-waste supplies in store.

Genius!

Online shopping will be all systems go in the next 8 weeks so everyone in New Zealand can get a taste of this awesome shopping experience. 

Follow The Source Kumeu here > Instagram, Facebook and The Source Milford here > Instagram, Facebook

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Zero Waste Shopping

Drink SMART and ditch the disposables

It sounds dire but plastic straws have to be one of the greatest ecological follies ever unleashed upon the world by the industrial age.  Trust me, once you go stainless you never go back, they deliver a really lovely drinking experience especially with smoothies!

My faves are these beauties from CaliWoods, available in cocktail, smoothie, drinking, tall and bubble tea options plus each four pack comes with a cleaner brush!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Zero Waste Stainless Steel Straws

Another Melissa Must-Have is my New Zealand made CuppaCoffeeCup.  These beauties are lightweight, durable and 100% recyclable, plus they showcase NZ artists in a range of designs.  Released just in time for Mother’s Day is the new ‘Miromiro & Manuka design by Janine Millington – I’ll be hosting a giveaway at the end of the month so keep your eyes peeled!

You can find the CuppaCoffeeCup range in Farmers, Whitcoulls and selected gift and kitchen stores for around $16.50 each.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Zero Waste Reusable Coffee Cup

Go Green with Personal Care

Four months in and I’m still raving about my Lunette Menstrual Cup.  Yes, the whole concept is a bit weird at first when you’ve been using tampons or pads for over 20 YEARS!  But ladies all I can say is, change is good and this change is one you will NOT regret.  Read more about my personal experience here > Lunette Menstrual Cup

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Lunette Menstrual Cup Review

Weleda Skincare

Skin care is BIG news when it comes to living your best sustainable, eco-friendly life.  The brands you choose to spend money on should reflect your own personal values and help support your retail decision making.  You are applying these products to you skin, the largest organ in your body as well as the precious skin of your little people so, a considered choice made by any consumer one is to be respected.

A firm fave in our home for years now, is the huge range from Weleda.  With ethical and sustainable standards that are so aspirational (read about them here), it’s easy to find yourself in the midst of a guilt-free bathroom cabinet makeover!

Three of our faves are; Pomegranate Regenerating Body Oil, After Shave Balm and KIDS 2in1 Shampoo & Body Washes.

Look at those beautiful glass bottles!!!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Zero Waste Weleda Skincare

Beauty Review: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Looking for something totally fabulous to spoil Mum with or (even better!) to pop on your own Mother’s Day wish list?  This toothbrush is IT.  It’s hard to believe that I’m writing with such affection about a toothbrush, but hey, weird things happen when you’re over 35 and know how much a visit to the hygienist costs!  There’s a $50 Mother’s Day cashback offer on the Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Electric Toothbrush right now so it’s a great time to invest in beautiful teeth.  Details here.


Hate me if you must, but, I’m Becky with the Good Teeth.  Hair be damned, I can’t style it to save my life, but I’ve got the teeth on lock.  I can’t claim it’s due to an extensive oral health routine (the shame of it), pure genetics.  I even hate milk guys.

No braces, no fillings, just bright, shiny, healthy teeth.

I could put on weight (I have), leave the house without makeup (I do) but I’d always have my pearly whites to carry me through.  Flash a shiny smile and many a grievance is forgotten, items exchanged without the receipt, late pickups at kindy overlooked………

This was how Becky with the Good Teeth rolled until, approximately two years ago when I discovered my Motherhood Lifeblood – coffee.

And we all know the story from there.

Despite semi-regular appointments with the dental hygienist, I’m talking yearly guys, my once brilliant teeth have been showing signs of staining and increased plaque build-up.  I hate flossing with a passion so I know I don’t do myself any favours.

So with this in mind, and a vanity-driven desire to head into my 40’s with at least one part of my body on point, I’ve taken to the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush with enthusiastic abandon.

It’s time to get my bad-ass smile back.

The box itself makes a bold claim – in a fairly large font so you know this is the real deal; ‘Whitens teeth in just 1 week’.  I was pretty, freaking excited about this and hoping no-one was pulling my leg as I ripped into the packaging to get the most beautiful toothbrush I’ve seen charging and ready to use.

Let’s discuss;

  • Rose gold accents on the toothbrush
  • A luxe rose gold charging glass. You simply put the toothbrush in the glass to charge!  It’s magic!  Actually, it’s not, it’s just awesome technology but magic goes better with a rose gold toothbrush mmkay?!
  • A charger travel case that’s so pretty it looks like it could be an evening clutch

Soooo, we’ve established the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush looks amazing and comes with two fantastic charging options.  But does it actually clean and whiten your teeth?

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush

It does and it does it like NO other toothbrush I’ve ever experienced.

The first time I used the DiamondClean, the crazy, buzzy, vibrating sensation made me squirm, but over the past 6 days of use I’ve become totally accustomed to it and now it doesn’t bother me at all.  Honestly, nothing would bother me after seeing and feeling how incredibly clean my teeth now are.

I mean SHINY clean btw.  Plaque removed from between my teeth clean.  Just left the hygienist clean.  Never had a cup of coffee or glass of red wine clean?  Oh, I have no doubt that’s coming.  My teeth are soooo much whiter and brighter already I am so excited.

One thing I was nervous about, totally unnecessarily as it turns out, was how the DiamondClean would feel on my gums.  I’ve been a solid manual toothbrush ‘scrubber’ my whole life.  My teeth never felt clean unless I used Medium bristles (against my dentist’s advice) and as previously mentioned, I may not floss as often as I should.  Hence, my poor gums often bled whilst brushing my teeth.  Total thing of the past; my gums have not bled once whilst using the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush.  Not once.

There are five brushing modes available; Clean, White, Polish, Gum Care and Sensitive modes – switching between them is intuitive and easy via the on/off button.  I love the 30-second Quadpacer intervals in Clean mode, signified by beeps.  It’s made me so much more aware of exactly how much time and attention I spend on each area of teeth.  Or didn’t spend as the case may have been!

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush

The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush is an exceptional personal care product that I now can’t imagine living without.

It’s not cheap, this is true.  But, the potential health benefits and future savings on dentist visits are undeniable once you’ve been using the DiamondClean for just a couple of days.

I’m in love for sure.

For more info (ie technical stuff you might be interested in!), find out more about the DiamondClean Sonic Toothbrush here.

Plus, There is a Mother’s Day $50 cashback available NOW until May 27th!  Details here.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Beauty Review Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush

 

 

Book Review: The Second Child by Caroline Bond

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Book Review The Second Child

I read The Second Child a couple of months ago over summer and deliberately waited until I had finished work for 2017 before I picked it up as I had an inkling that I’d loathe to put it down once I began reading.  

And I was right.

This complex tale of two families is told by switching point of view between four family members, a technique that can annoy and confuse readers in a fast-moving tale, but that’s not the case here.  The Second Child describes an unimaginable discovery that could shake everything two teenage girls hold dear to them, but, in an exquisitely slow, familiar way that almost leaves you feeling like the whole novel is playing out in your kitchen.

The (almost mundane) intricacies of family life are at the core of this debut novel, and I think those are what endeared me to this tale almost immediately.  Sarah and Anne, both mothers, must navigate their families being thrust together out of circumstance (and a mean plot twist!) and decide how both their own futures and those of their daughters will take shape.

There are so many great discussion points introduced by Bond in this novel; how we define what it means to be ‘family’, our unwavering trust in the institutions that serve our first world society, the complexities of mother/daughter relationships, the far-reaching effects of the pursuit of perfection, particularly when using your family as the vehicle for this, and most notably, the discussion around organic human imperfections, particularly when they manifest as life-long disabilities.

The Second Child is an excellent read, a perfect Book Club addition as it’s characters are all so relatable yet full of the simmering, deep-seated emotions that are always present in any family.

I will be looking forward to future novels from Caroline Bond as I thouroughly enjoyed The Second Child.