Kid’s Books: A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies by Kate Hursthouse

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Book reviewThere are some books where everything comes together in a gorgeous package that you just want to hold and touch and look at before you’ve even turned the first page.  A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies and other such collective nouns by New Zealand artist Kate Hursthouse is definitively, one stunning book.

Nixon, our 4-year-old is obsessed with Kate’s first, beautiful book.  This is no one-time read guys.  We sit on the couch and pour over each page, counting creatures and soaking up the riot of colour and fun that is each of the 25 animal groupings.

And then we go back and read it again lol.

A simple literary concept has resulted in a delightful marriage of art and language.  Discovering the collective nouns for animals and insects is as enjoyable for me the adult reader as it is for Nixon.  A tangle of octopuses!  A conspiracy of lemurs?!  It’s all freaking gorgeous and a fun read.

Beautifully bound and presented, A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies is a book to keep, pass on and enjoy again and again.

A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies and other such collective nouns by Kate Hursthouse, RRP $30 Available online from Kate’s website here.

New Zealand's Top Travel Lifestyle Blog Book review

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

 

 

Parents, this is how you win at the internet – MindLabKids.com

Summer school holidays are almost upon us here in New Zealand and, as far as I can tell, there are two distinct methodologies parents use to tackle the school holidays;

  1. The Organized Planner: Days, playdates, excursions,  picnics are all planned with military precision – only to be completely at the mercy of the sometimes/usually unpredictable January weather (especially if you live in Auckland!)
  2. The She’ll be Right Parent:  No planning necessary – it’s the holidays after all!

Whether you identify as a #1 or a #2 or a happy mix of both, it’s inevitable that weather, exhaustion or, real-life necessity such as parents having to adult and go to work, will result in days spent at home.  If you find this heralds the ‘I’m bored’ chorus we all dread, well, I’m all for letting kids ride out their boredom (if you can stand it!).  Giving kids the space and independence to be bored allows them the creative freedom to ‘un-bore’ themselves in ways adults may never have imagined.

If that doesn’t work, or has run its course, some intentional time online may be just the ticket.  Screentime for the kids; they’re happy, combined with educational, productive activities; Mum and Dad are happy.

Everyone wins!  (So bookmark this website now before you forget >> www.mindlabkids.com

What is MindLabKids.com?

The Mind Lab by Unitec is an award-winning, specialist learning lab dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of modern technology via workshops, school visits, holiday programmes and teacher professional development.  Emerging from this cutting-edge combo of education and fresh ways to deliver it, comes MindLabKids.com.

The website itself is an engaging, exciting online destination where kids can discover science and technology at their own pace, through hands-on experiments, challenges, and safe collabs with other kids.  Three new challenges are released each week around kid-magnet topics such as; robotics, 3D design, animation, and stop-motion, movie making and more.

How we use MindLabKids.com

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

First points to note, rego is free, quick and easy.  Ethan was instructed NOT to use his own name as the username, plus, the only contact information requested was a parents email address – which I had to verify before the account was activated.

That was it!  Ethan was off, with Nix observing at elbow height, of course, intrigued by the fact that his big brother was stoked to be using the computer with Mum’s encouragement.

The home feed is a collation of challenges, fun facts, members responses to challenges, surveys, and cute memes – essentially everything kids want or more importantly NEED from an educational site that is kinda a cross-over with an age-appropriate social network.  You can respond to user-created content in a positive way via likes and even ‘favorite’ accounts that are uploading videos you love.

But obviously, the very BEST part, which the boys are loving, is getting their curious neurons firing and getting stuck into the online challenges.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

Nix and E both have a Mind Lab Kids Starter Pack (which got them so pumped to get cracking I gotta say!)  These are definitely not necessary to participate in the challenge responses, but Ethan found after looking at the kit inclusions such as a propeller, 3V motor, battery pack, pager motor, hovercraft plate (stuff we generally don’t have lying about the house), his mind was a little more open to the creative, problem solving process, knowing that he had some extra tools on hand.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

On that note,  seriously great Christmas gift right?!  Create your child’s login, write their username and password on a gift tag, wrap up the Mind Lab Kids Starter Pack and you’ve got the perfect parental gift trifecta; it’s educational, not a toy they don’t need and can be reused over and over again in different ways.

Boom.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

The first challenge the boys tried their hand at was Professor D’s Hovercraft Challenge – obvs Ethan and I helped Nix a lot with his, he was just down to go crazy with the glue gun to be honest, but that’s every 4 year old’s prerogative lol.

Check out our Hovercraft Challenge Response Video here on the MindLabKids.com website.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.comNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

Win a MindLabKids.com Starter Kit!

Get your kids excited about science and technology and they could win their own MindLabKids.com starter kit!

To enter;

  1. Join Mind Lab Kids, if your kids are already a member then they are good to go!
  2. Film and upload a challenge-response video to www.mindlabkids.com before 10am 10 December 2017.
  3. That’s it!

Full terms and conditions can be found here, otherwise, the main point to note is that you must be a NZ resident.

This post was made possible by www.MindLabKids.com.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

 

 

New Beauty – The Herb Farm Facial Serums + Skincare Minis

The Herb Farm NEW Enhanced Formula Facial Serums

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Herb Farm Serum ReviewIf you love beautifully natural, New Zealand made skin care, you absolutely MUST visit The Herb Farm’s website if you’re not already familiar with their skincare and healing and therapeutic ranges.  All products are produced on the farm, a family business that believes that ‘living a natural life shouldn’t cost a fortune or the earth’.

It’s easy for individuals and companies alike to rest on their laurels when they’ve got a good thing New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Herb Farm Serum Reviewgoing.  In contrast, The Herb Farm’s founder and herbalist Lynn Kirkland seems committed to pushing forward with new product development and improving existing formulas, which has resulted in the relaunch of their two serums.  

Radiance Boost Facial Serum RRP $39.90 which targets; uneven skin tone, pigmented skin, redness, dull, tired and stressed skin, has been enhanced with Elderberry Extract resulting in a more easily absorbed formula

Renewal Advance Facial Serum RRP $46.90 gets to work on ageing concerns; fine lines and wrinkles, skin elasticity, environmental stressors and free radicals.  The new formulation includes Gotu Kola Extract, further targeting the visible signs of ageing.

I use a serum every day under my moisturiser, I absolutely love them.  The two little beauties from The Herb Farm will become firm faves in my routine.  They are lightweight, silky smooth, absorb quickly and leave my skin feeling and looking fabulous.  Really impressed with the 2 year BB date also as a little goes a long way with serum.

The Herb Farm Skincare Minis

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Herb Farm minis ReviewI love skincare minis for two reasons;  they are the perfect way to fine-tune your skincare routine, discover what works for you and experiment with a new brand or product before spending a lot of money on a full-size product.  Secondly, I love them for travelling.  I have way too much kid gear to lug around to be adding weight to my toiletry bag with large bottles and glass jars.

Just in time for Christmas gifting and summer roadies, The Herb Farm has released four Skincare Mini packs across each of their skin concern ranges; Signs of Aging Skincare Minis, Oily and Combination, Dry, and Normal/Sensitive.

Each system contains a cleanser, exfoliating powder, toner and face cream and is perfectly sized to slip into your hand-luggage.  We are heading to Japan in the New Year so I’m super happy to have a complete skincare system – in mini! – to take with me.

RRP $ 34.90 – $39.90 

 

Health – 5 Easy Ways to Improve your Sleep

This post was made possible by the world’s number #1 selling mattress protector, Protect-A-Bed, who know a thing or two about helping us get a good night’s sleep!


How many times have you caught yourself complaining about how tired you are, how you could sleep for days, how you need to go to bed earlier………only to repeat your unhealthy nocturnal habits over and over again?  Every.  Single.  Day.   Right?

Of all the health-related science that is becoming increasingly more available to consumers, info around the importance and wide-ranging benefits of adequate sleep is one field of research that provides equal benefit to all of us.  A good nights sleep is crucial to both our mental and physical well-being, often identified as the third pillar of health along with exercise and nutrition. 

If you’re wondering how much sleep is enough;  adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, school-age kids require 9-11 and pre-schoolers need 10-13 hours.  Nix heads to bed at 7 pm and wakes up at 6 am so he’s tracking well, Ethan (13) heads off at between 8.30 and 9 pm to wake at 6 am so he’s falling a bit short, but, it’s Dave and I who really need to hit the hay earlier.  We wake up at 6 am every day so our late night Netflix bingeing has got to stop!  In bed with the lights off by 10 pm at the latest should be what we are aiming for each evening.

Re-training our body clocks and resetting our natural circadian rhythms will no doubt take some time, but there are some tried and true tips for enhancing and encouraging sleep.  I’m working on introducing the 5 ideas below into our night-time wind-down.

Sleep, COME AT ME!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mattress Protector Review

5 Easy Ways to Improve your Sleep

  1. Routine – The human body LOVES routine.  Giving ourselves the same cues every day that it’s time to wind down and head to bed will set the scene for a great nights sleep.  Here’s my new sleep-prep plan; drink 500mls of water, take my vitamins – including magnesium, wash-up, relax on my Shakti mat and read for 20 minutes, then lights out – by 10pm!  Sounds so virtuous!
  2. Turn off the Tech – Just.  Do.  It.  Ethan is turning 13 next week and Dave and I had been allowing him to use his iPhone as an alarm clock.  Before we made a rod for our own backs later on when we are deep in the teenage years, we purchased him an actual clock and implemented a no-screen policy in his room – much to his disgust.  It’s well documented that the short wavelength blue light emitted by our digital devices disrupts sleep-inducing melatonin production.  Dave and I will be walking the walk and removing our chargers from the bedroom, this should also help with late night Candy Crush zone outs when we should be snoozing!
  3. Invest in your nest – Create a cozy, bedtime space that you crave at the end of a long day.  Think linens you love, a clutter-free environment that promotes a sense of calm as well as the New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mattress Protector Reviewopportunity for healthful sleep and don’t forget to start at the bottom with your mattress protector.  Look for one that is compatible with your needs; for eczema or allergy sufferers or those with sensitive skin, do your research.  The entire range of Protect-A-Bed® products have been approved by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand’s Sensitive Choice Program plus, the TENCEL® range gets the tick with approval from the Eczema Association.  I’m switching all of our beds over to  Protect-A-Bed mattress protectors as the fitted sheet style is an absolute game-changer.  I can’t believe I’ve been struggling to make the beds with those super-annoying, corner-loop style protectors for so many years, it makes me shudder just thinking about them to be honest!
  4. Watch your temperature – I’m one of those annoying people who is cold all the time, so I LOVE being warm and snuggly in bed.  But, our body naturally cools down as bedtime approaches, helping us both to fall and stay asleep.  Evidence also suggests that allowing the body’s temp to drop naturally whilst sleeping has a beneficial effect on metabolism. So, if you haven’t ditched the heavy, winter weight duvet yet this spring, here’s your reminder!
  5. Cut the consumption – Whether it’s nicotine, alcohol, caffeine or eating a large meal before bedtime, what you put in your mouth affects your quality of sleep.  Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, no surprises there and though alcohol may have the perceived effect of helping you drop off to sleep, hours later, after alcohol levels drop, you may find yourself awake, restless and struggling to nod off again.

I popped the Protect-A-Bed® king-size Traditional Cotton mattress protector on our bed last weekend and we have slept like babes this week.  No more crinkly, crunchy, plasticky feel which is awesome, but somehow the genius fabric is still waterproof and breathable – perfect for those nights (4/7 I’d say) when Nix sneaks into our bed.

Shop the full Protect-A-Bed® range here, or find a New Zealand retailer here.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mattress Protector Review

Win yourself a Stay New Cotton Terry Mattress Protector!

Leave me a comment below with your preferred size and I’ll pick a winner to receive 1 x Protect-a-Bed Stay New Cotton Terry Mattress Protector!

Competition closes 24th Nov 2017.

 

Parenting – Bright Ideas for Young Minds

A couple of weeks ago I attended an event that was a little bit different from those I normally go to each week.  It wasn’t a cosmetic/foodie/makeup event, it wasn’t a glamorous, heels and frock, dress-to-the-nines occasion (thank god!).  It was a book launch.  A beautiful thought-provoking, inspiring book launch that gave me all the feels and left me with an innate desire to be a better mother.

Cripes that’s pretty heavy!

Bright Ideas for Young Minds is a book that screams for your attention as soon as you lay eyes on it.  It’s big, robust and beautifully designed, printed and bound, with fun and exciting content to match.  But what is it?  It’s an activity book brought to life by New Zealand’s largest early learning provider, BestStart and written by kiwi educators with contributions from Plunket, Heart Foundation NZ and Jumping Beans.

In short, it’s amazing.

As well as providing parents and caregivers with a resource chocka-block full of 70 step-by-step activities that cost little or nothing, what Bright Ideas for Young Minds does so well (for me at least!) is remind me how easy it is to bring great joy to my kids.  Showing love through mindful, yet incredibly simple play is the very best education every child deserves.  The great part is, creating positive interactions such as those included in the book, are play options accessible to every New Zealand caregiver.  Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration, a gentle reminder that the currency most cherished by children is our time.

Bright Ideas for Young Minds (Mary Egan Publishers $39.95) is an amazing resource for anyone caring for kiwi kids age 0-6 years and is available now from all leading bookstores.

Win a copy of Bright Ideas for Young Minds!

Tell me how you’d benefit from this beautiful book, or, who you’d gift it to in the comments below.  I’ll draw the winner drawn 11/12/17, NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bright Ideas for Young Minds

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 www.meadowmushrooms.co.nz

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 www.rockburn.co.nz

 

The Little Laundry Appliance that Could – Meet my Spindel

My favourite household chore (if I’m going to say that I actually have a favourite chore!) is definitely laundry.  I really don’t mind rinsing out muddy rugby gear, sorting washing, hanging it out, getting it in.  In fact, the only step in the process that I don’t enjoy is putting clean laundry away.  That’s what my floor-drobe is for.

Despite my enthusiasm for washing clothes, it doesn’t seem as if there is a whole lot of innovation and tech to get excited about in the laundry.  There hasn’t really been a game changer since the electric dryer became a consumer fave so it’s definitely time for a shake-up.

Meet Spindel!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-spindel-reviewLaunching in New Zealand this month, Spindel is already a firm fave in South African homes.  I’ve been test driving mine for the past month and I’m totally convinced that kiwis are going to love these specialist laundry dryers that cut fabric drying time significantly.

Here in New Zealand we are a nation that’s pretty committed to our clotheslines and drying racks, generally looking to avoid the expense of using the dryer at all costs.  Winter makes this hard and a wet winter like we are having this year makes it near impossible.  Air drying clothes inside using a drying rack instead of a dryer may save some money on your power bill but it might be a false economy as you switch on your dehumidifier to remove the excess water that’s evaporated from your clothes into the air.  This is where the Spindel comes in.

I’ve been completing my usual wash cycle in our fairly late model Bosch washing machine, then running the finished load through the Spindel before hanging it out to dry.  Here’s where it gets amazing; I’m spinning around 1.25l of water (more than what the website suggests) out of each load after my washing machine has completed its spin cycle!  That’s a lot of water right?!

Spindel uses no heat, just a large amount of centrifugal force to spin excess water out of your washing.  Spinning at 2800rpm (more than twice that of most washing machines), an energy efficient, 3-minute cycle is all it takes to cut down air drying time or the amount of time you need to run your costly electric dryer.

Genius.  Imagine how much water would come out of a load of super-absorbent cloth nappies?  Totally a laundry life-saver.

I really can’t recommend Spindel enough, it’s slotted into my laundry routine beautifully and is so simple to use – pop a bowl under the spout to catch the water and turn the latch.

The 6.5kg Spindel is now available to pre-order for New Zealand delivery!  Head to www.spindel.nz and click on shop or, email directly here

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Beauty Spotlight: June ’17

Need-to-know news / Beauty Reviews from New Zealand’s most loved Health & Beauty Brands


Beat the Microbead

Trilogy put their money where their mouth is this month as they launched limited edition packaging to support the global Beat the Microbead campaign.  Celebrating World Oceans Day which was June 8th, Trilogy is championing the “Look for Zero’ initiative and urging consumers to make informed shopping decisions when purchasing beauty products.  Plastic microbeads commonly found in scrubs and exfoliants are so small that they bypass filtration systems and head straight for our oceans.

Look for Trilogy’s Love the Ocean packaging for the remainder of the month as $2 from the sale of each product worldwide will be donated to the NZ Whale & Dolphin Trust.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review

Schwarzkopf Beology Range Launch

This new range has been all over the internet this month, a big launch for Schwarzkopf and one that’s garnered a lot of attention.

Beology is a therapeutic range, addressing dry, damaged and ageing hair concerns combining science and natural actives across 8 products.  Deep Sea Extract, Sea Algae, fruit juices, seed oils and herb and flower extracts care for the scalp and hair fibres while 3 types of Keratins and Proteins strengthen and repair.

Available in Beology Repair for damaged hair and Beology Aqua for normal to dry hair.

RRP $16.00 in all leading department stores, supermarkets and pharmacies.

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New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review Paw Paw OintmentSukin Paw Paw Ointment

A brand with mass appeal due to it’s ethical, affordable and effective beauty products, Sukin launched it’s Paw Paw Ointment this month, dubbed “The Quintessential All-Rounder”.

I’d have to agree!  I took it with us to Queenstown earlier this month and was so glad I did.  The dry air and constant indoor heating quickly gave us all chapped lips and Paw Paw Ointment was a great remedy to have on-hand.  Ethan suffers from painful peeling around his finger-nails and is quite fussy about what he treats it with so I was happy that Sukin’s new Ointment provides an effective barrier and treatment, without rubbing off instantly and losing efficacy.

Cruelty-free, vegan, paraben free, sulphate free.  RRP $9.99 at Farmers, pharmacies and health stores.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil

Another product I used religiously in Queenstown and is now always in my pockets and bags is Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil in Misted Plum.  This is my first lip oil product and I’m definitely a fan.  Think awesome, moisturising gloss without the stickiness and gorgeous sheer colour.  I have no idea what Meadowfoam Seed is but its oil in combination with Coconut oils is a perfect base for adding subtle shine and colour to your lips.

Just as you’d want in a lip product, Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil is 100% natural.  

Available in 6 shades, RRP $20 from selected pharmacies, department stores and health stores.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Oil

Good Health Immuno-Biotic Pre+Pro Biotic in OneNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review

Knowledge of the role the gut plays in our general health is becoming more and more evident and topical, especially as we are smack bang in the middle of winter!  Probiotics increase the number of friendly bacteria in the digestive system, restoring gut flora balance and promoting optimal digestive and immune health.  The super-cool thing about Immuno-Biotic from Good Health is that the addition of a PREbiotic acts as food for the PRObiotic and other beneficial bacteria to feed on!  Yay for increased efficacy!

RRP $29.90 30 capsules, from selected pharmacies and health stores as well as online.

Tangle Teezer Skinny Dip Compact Styler

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I’ve been using Tangle Teezer’s exclusively on my hair as well as the boys for a couple of years now.  We all have big, tangly hair with a LOT of curl going on and these are the only brushes that cut through our knots without sending E running for the hills and bringing Nix to tears.

An added bonus is that they’re super-cute and the compact styler is the perfect size to slip in your purse, gym bag or toilet bag when travelling.

RRP $34 from selected pharmacies, salons and department stores.

Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment

Dermalogica is one of my all time faves so any new release from them has me ripping into the courier package as soon as it arrives.  It’s pretty rare these days to try something completely different and new.  At least for me, Nightly Lip Treatment is the first product of its kind to land on my desk.  

Formulated to address ageing concerns in the perioral (mouth) region such as; vertical lines in the upper lip, sagging around the mouth, skin fragility and wrinkles and folds, Nightly Lip Treatment is my new bed-side bff.

Wait until you try the metal applicator!

RRP $95, available from authorised Dermalogica skin centres and counters nationwide and online at www.dermalogica.co.nz.

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Atzen Renew Eye Lift Serum

Another brand fave right here.  Eyes are kinda my obsession right now, I’ve realised how much I unconsciously pull that fragile (read: thinning, more-papery-every-day) looking skin around as I rub my eyes and try and squeeze in another hour of work in front of my computer zzzzzzz.

Ok, I’m awake.

There’s some major science in Atzen’s range including bio-available DNA from a natural marine origin that holds 10,000 times its weight in water = mega hydration for your skin, a lifting film that remains at ultimate levels for over four hours and peptides that mimic the neuromuscular action of viper venom, acting as a safe alternative to Botulin Toxin.

Too good right?

RRP $145, available online at www.atzen.nz, or at selected beauty therapists and health stores.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review

Home Tech You’ll Love – Ring Video Doorbell

We had just landed in Melbourne last week and loaded into our taxi when I realised it was my phone that was ringing – a different kind of ring I didn’t immediately identify.  My brain fog cleared, I remembered my new Ring Video Doorbell app and opened it up to reveal one of our dogs caught on camera at our front door – where he was NOT supposed to be, imagine if that was Nixon?!

Heart attack.

After shooting off a text to Dave along the lines of, “Louie is roaming in the yard, trying to ring the doorbell BUT HAS NO THUMBS!  Please let him in”, I showed my girlfriends how our amazing new, Ring Video Doorbell works.

In a nutshell, the Ring Doorbell is a wide-angle HD camera, mounted by our front door that streams live video via your home WI-FI to your smartphone either when someone (or Louie lol) activates the customised motion sensor or presses the unit’s doorbell button.  This triggers a notification on the Ring smartphone app that someone is at the door!  How awesome is that?!

But we’re not done yet.  Once triggered, the HD video camera turns on so you can see who’s at the door and the two-way audio means that Louie and I can discuss the repercussions of small dogs escaping from the backyard – or I can just tell the courier that it’s fine to leave the package.  Either way, it’s amazing!

Install was easy, Dave had to pack out our door frame with some extra wood for mounting and he still had it up and operational within 30 minutes!

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Aside from the obvious convenience of being able to communicate with someone who’s at your door when you’re not home, I LOVE the security features that are included with Ring.  Night Vision captures motion and activity around the clock, the unit’s design is weather resistant, there’s lifetime purchase protection if your Ring Video Doorbell is stolen plus, video recording is an optional add-on.

This incredible (easy to install, totally sensible) piece of video tech is now available in New Zealand from leading retailers Noel Leeming, Mitre 10 and Harvey Norman, RRP $349, but I have one to giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell

Win a Ring Video Doorbell worth $349!

I love, love, love our Ring and am super excited to have one to share with you guys.

If you would like to experience the awesomeness of a Ring Video Doorbell at your home, leave me a comment below and tell me which feature of Ring you think is seriously amazing > find out more here

Competition closes Sunday 21st May, NZ residents only.

The Ring Video Doorbell was sent to The Best Nest for editorial review.  All opinions are my own.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell