Your Best Period Ever – My 3 Must-Have Products

This post may have been around 27 years in the making but I’m pretty sure I’ve finally figured out how to make my monthly period as ‘minimally disruptive’ as possible. (That was actually a really hard sentence to construct as it doesn’t really work saying “make my monthly period as ‘awesome‘ as possible”, or “as ‘fab‘ as possible lol. So, minimally disruptive it is!

I’ve been more active this year than ever before in my adult life (thanks F45 Massey!), which has been amazing, however, maintaining attendance at HIIT classes during that time of the month when I have my period has presented some challenges. I have been exclusively using a menstrual cup for almost 2 years now and will never switch back to single-use products – the convenience, cost-saving and environmental benefits are simply too great to ignore, but I was having some probs. My first cup had become increasingly uncomfortable – especially when running – and was prone to leaking. I wasn’t prepared to give up on the cup after a year of tampon-freedom so I switched to another brand ……….. and lived happily ever after!

Say Hello to Hello Cup! Made in New Zealand with a much smoother, more ergonomic design than my previous cup, I’m officially a fangirl guys. If you haven’t made the switch to a cup yet, here are some reasons why I love them; you never get caught out without a tampon in your purse or pocket, no trash, more secure when exercising, fewer leaks, more cash in your hand every month! Yay!

Your best period ever

Ok, my next period revelation came two months ago when I was gifted 3 pairs of period underwear by Modibodi. Along with a menstrual cup, period undies were something I swore up and down I would never use – because ew. Sometimes, girlfriends, it’s best to just shut those thoughts down and jump all in and give something a go. Holy moly I’m glad I did because Modibodi have been life-changing for me! I used to have incredibly disturbed sleep during my period as I’d automatically wake multiple times each night to prevent leaks and staining and now I sleep like a baby – until Nixon wakes us up at way-too-early-o’clock but I’ll take what I can get lol. I also have zero reservations about gym workouts. F45 classes are so intense and with such a variety of movements, I’d still often have to do a runner to the bathroom even whilst wearing my cup because leak paranoia is REAL am I right? I LOVE the Modibodi Active Brief under my workout tights. They don’t budge a bit, are super comfy, barely visible and best of all, they give me the peace of mind to just focus on my workout without any compromise on intensity.

Modibodi Period Underwear review

I honestly can’t explain how liberating the combination of my Hello Cup and Modibodi Period underwear is. I don’t dread getting my period anymore. I don’t feel like I can’t go for a run or head to the gym because my flow is too heavy. Yes, these products are SO out of the box for those of us that grew up with only pads or tampons as an option but give them a try, you will NOT be disappointed when they literally change your life!

The third product that I’ve been using over the past two months is the icing on the cake – or the powder in my smoothie to be exact. Women’s Hormone Health Blend by The Wholesome Co is ahhhmazing. I’ve never experienced painful pms symptoms like cramping, but lord, for the past couple of years my ’emotional’ pms symptoms have been ramping up. In other words, 2 days before my period begins I’ve been horrible to live with – moody, emotional, cranky, quick to yell……..ugh.

So far, I’ve noticed two massive benefits of taking the Hormone Health Blend daily;

  1. The emotional roller-coaster around my cycle has slowed down and evened out, to the point where I was even surprised when I got my period last month as I hadn’t been a major bitch in the preceding days! What the?!
  2. The heavy, heavy flow I’ve always experienced on days 2/3 has lessened and, much like my moods (!) evened out. Again this makes working out SO much easier and I am eternally grateful for the change.
The Wholesome Co Hormone Health Blend

Guys, girls, whoever is reading this, I’ve said to a few peeps that 2019 has been a really, really great year for me. I’ve maintained my diet overhaul that happened in 2018, I started working out regularly at F45 (life-changing!) and in general, I feel like I’ve taken control of my life a bit more instead of being a passive passenger along for the ride. Discovering innovative products that are designed to revolutionise the way we as women experience our periods and improve that experience monthly (as well as being environmentally friendly and sustainable) has also been a life-changing experience. Hello Cup, Modibodi undies and addressing the havoc my hormones were playing each month by taking The Wholesome Co. products has removed much of the trepidation and negativity I’ve felt around what is one of the most uniquely female things about me – my monthly period.

The big lesson here? You will probably have your period every month for years AND YEARS AND YEARS. That’s a fact. Can you make it a better experience? The answer is probably yes and if so, then why not try?! It’s 2020 real soon, there is literally no need to be sacrificing comfort, completely normal day-to-day activity nor your hard-earned cash each month simply because you are a woman and you have your period.

Disclaimer: These three products were gifted for review. I have used each for over 2 months before writing this post and am sincere in my review. They are all the bomb!

Our Modern Family and a Life Lived Online……….some of the time!

The Best Nest Blog turned 11 years old in October (that’s pretty much a century in blogger years lol) and, I must give credit where credit’s due.  By very definition, my blog wouldn’t be beaming its way around the world without the web, which I wouldn’t be able to access without the internet.  So, thank you mystical online world, existing in the ether, of which I have zero understanding outside of my own domain name!

Much has changed in our family over the past decade, Dave transitioned from a Marine Engineer working with his hands, on boats every day, to an IT Project Manager working from home, Ethan grew waaaayy too fast and is now a bona fide teenager, and our family grew from 3 to 4 with the arrival of Nixon just over 5 years ago. It was at this time that I decided NOT to go back to my former job and to focus exclusively on life as a ‘Mummy Blogger’.

Fast forward to 2018 and Dave and I are happily co-working from home, sharing one, long desk and at last count there are 17 devices in our home (sometimes more) connected to the internet at any one time.  That’s mental, but I know our family is NOT highly unusual, at least not here in New Zealand.  We are also travelling frequently for work,which presents its own series of online obstacles to overcome.

“With great internet access comes great responsibility”.

Our job as the parents in this online family environment is to facilitate a level of suitable internet accessibility for the boys – and their friends as is often the case.  But whilst doing so, there’s an inherent obligation to maintain their online safety, the security of our own digital assets, those of Dave’s employer and the integrity of my own online business.

What Does Online Safety and Security Mean in 2018?

So, SO much is the short answer, but if we dive a bit deeper we should be covering the following bases across all devices; PCs, Macs, laptops, Chromebooks, tablets and our beloved smartphones;

  • Virus protection
  • Protection from hackers
  • Safe, secure cloud backup to protect precious photos
  • Financial protection from in-app purchasing – thanks kids!
  • Moderation of screen time
  • Age-appropriate content
  • Real-time protection while using unsecured, public WiFi
Internet Security

The NEW Travel Essential

We just returned from a family trip to the Sunshine Coast.  As Dave and I always work during our family travel breaks, being without internet connectivity is simply NOT an option.  As such we relied on public WiFi whenever we were away from the Airbnb.  On our final day when Dave had Skype meetings after check-out, he had to sit in our rental car outside the library, so he could share his laptop screen, take his meeting and keep working.  Not a big deal but, when you rely on internet access so much, even when on ‘holiday’ it would have felt great to know that the network being used was secure. Norton’s got a product to tackle this exact issue that is our new, never-leave-home-without-it tech fave. Meet Norton Secure VPN, designed to keep personal and financial info safe when using public WiFi.  One of my late father’s most infamous quotes refers to the fact that he didn’t ‘spend all day in internet cafes waiting for someone to download all of his money’.  He was talking to his bank, frustrated at his password reset process lol.  However inconceivable this comment may seem, it could potentially happen without protection on a public network.

Dave and I have installed Norton Secure VPN on both of our phones (and Ethan’s) and laptops.  What this means is that all data sent and received using public WiFi is encrypted.  The creation of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) secures our logins, credit card info etc. and makes our extensive use of public networks just as safe as being at home.  That’s one less thing to worry about when we are far from home!

Online Security at Home…..and Everywhere Else

Ok, real talk – virus protection software is nothing new, so, choosing a product that offers comprehensive, family-friendly benefits is what’s going to impress me.

Norton Security Premium takes the cake here.  One subscription protects 5 devices from viruses and hackers, that’s really the minimum requirement isn’t it?  Over and above is what we’re really interested in and that’s what this package provides;

  • 25gb secure online storage – LOVE this.  Cloud storage is expensive guys, and I’m constantly needing more.  Why is this important?  Precious family pics are often targeted by ransomware, eek.
  • Norton Family – a comprehensive toolkit that can work cooperatively between parents and kids to both keep little ones (and not-so-little ones) safe online AND teach them healthy habits around their device usage.  The days of not knowing what your kids are actually doing online are over thanks to reports sent straight to your inbox, giving you an easy, automated way to get back in the loop and regain control over the content your kids are consuming when they’re online.

These two fabulous tools from Norton are an easy way for us as parents to take back control of the online activity happening within our families.  This isn’t about policing the internet, but, there is no way children have enough impulse control or common sense to make their own uncensored decisions about the content they access online.

Internet Security

I’m a parent and I take that job very seriously.  As someone who has dedicated over a decade to creating a viable business online via my own website and through the use of social media, I know just how brutal and often dangerous the internet can be.  On the other hand, it’s also bloody incredible, and it’s that facet of online user-experience that I want my boys to access as children.

For more info on Norton Security Premium and Norton Secure VPN, visit their website here, there is a wealth of resources on their site around keeping safe online. Thanks to Norton for sponsoring this post.

Family Travel Japan: Day 2, Ikebukuro

In my fast and loose ‘Mind Itinerary’, I had pencilled in Monday for a trip to Sea Disney in Tokyo.  However, after one day on the ground, what we really wanted to do was simply see and experience more of Tokyo.

So, we ditched Disney and saved hundreds of dollars.  The kids did not care and Dave and I were infinitely happier!

We began everyday in Tokyo with a visit to the most amaze bakery about 20 paces from our front door.  I had NO idea that bakeries were a thing here, and my god, everything that comes out of Japanese ovens is fit for the gods I tell you!  The Arteria Bakery was divine, the best pastries, breads, curry buns, melonpam, blueberry and apple pies………we tried it all.  Yes.  We.  Did.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

Dave had to work, so the kids and I headed off on foot, navigating the 30-minute walk to Ikebukuro where the boys were super excited to experience J-World, an anime theme park featuring Dragon Ball Z – off course.  I find Google Maps a bit dodgy at home in NZ, but here the app works perfectly.  We were navigated through gorgeous, quiet wee residential streets and alleys, just as spic ‘n span as the rest of Tokyo, and made it to Sunshine City in Ikebukuro in no time.  I’ve realised on this trip the beauty of having no car!  Exploring on foot is such a pleasure here and gives a real sense of what life is actually like here in Tokyo.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

We had unwittingly stumbled upon a kids-go-free day at J-world so we were off to a great start.  Ethan loved this place, Nixon enjoyed it even with only a cursory knowledge of anime, however, give it a miss if you or the kids are not fans as it will all go right over your head as there is no English translation or context.  That said, the boys were happy so I was super happy!  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

Sunshine City is a HUGE mall, it was a struggle to navigate but we found the restaurant level and I braved ordering food without Dave for the first time.  The kid’s option was easily identifiable by the Hello Kitty plate and was so perfect for Nix.  It came with a giant tempura shrimp, about 10 fries, a small hamburger patty and some rice, dessert and orange juice.  Literally ALL of Nixon’s favourite foods, neatly separated how he likes it.  The dessert was a strange custard that he wasn’t a fan of, but aside from that 10/10.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

I had a good look at the menu before ordering and noticed that there were two prices; one for the individual item and one for the ‘set’ which included rice and miso soup.  As Ethan is not a fan of miso and the rice servings are huge, we ordered one set and one individual item and saved around 200¥!

After a quick visit to the Pokemon shop (soooo cute!) we headed upstairs to the Sunshine City Aquarium located on the roof of the mall.  We absolutely LOVED this place.  Skip the sea lions and penguins and head for the aquarium tanks.  There were so many fish, reptiles and amphibians here that we had never seen before it was amazing for my animal-mad boys.  A leopard shark, huge sunfish, giant spider crabs, poisonous frogs and so much more.  It def got us pumped for the big aquarium visit to come in Osaka.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

Whilst in Ikebukuro we headed straight to the heart of this shopping mecca and soaked it all in.  There was a girl on the street with an owl advertising the ‘Owl Cafe’ nearby, there was an 8 story department store dedicated to DIY and basically, home and lifestyle called Tokyu Hands.  I could have spent hours in here but I was with 3 boys so time was limited lol.  Ethan was granted his final Dragon Ball Z shopping mission and found a figure he wanted in the giant Animate store.  He was happy and I was happy the search was over.

The neighbourhoods between Ikebukuro and our accommodation were so pleasant we opted to walk the 30 minutes home again and pick up some don bowls for dinner on the way home.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Japan Tokyo Ikebukuro

I know no-one will believe this but, the only shopping I’ve done for myself is a $5 floppy felt hat on clearance from Uniqlo!!!  Shock horror I know.  Not even ANY sneakers!

There are 12 more days though.

Day 2 = AWESOME.

Fly Jetstar to Japan like we did > www.jetstar.co.nz

Summer like a Kiwi – What happens above 23°

January marks the second, ‘official’ month of New Zealand summer.  We Kiwi’s are comfortably settled into the annual, seasonal slow-down we look forward to every year.  The kids have chilled out after the excitement of Santa’s visit, Mum’s everywhere have celebrated ‘un-decking the halls’ and returning Christmas to the boxes in the garage and everyone sadly mourned the last slice of festive ham and wedge of Pavlova.

If you missed the mania of the Boxing Day sales, tragic New Year’s Eve jandal blow-outs were easily rectified by those crazy enough to brave the malls and give the beach a miss for at least a couple of hours, joining those shoppers equipping themselves with everything they need to smash their NY resolutions once and for all.

The Summer of 2018 is definitely shaping up as one to remember.  In true NZ style, the weather has given us highs and lows (!! lol !!).  The gaudy, golden sunshine and blistering temps of the week before New Years gave many campers revelling in #ThatTentLife a false sense of security, as evidenced by the appearance of many quintessential Kiwi behaviours, only exhibited when the mercury begins to rise;

What happens in New Zealand when the temps rise above 23°?

  • An unwritten law in NZ requires many to revisit the ‘Togs, togs, togs……undies rule’ each summer.  If you’re unsure or have forgotten the accepted rule of thumb for ‘how far is too far’ to wear a speedo from the water, then please watch the public service announcement in the link above.
  • Unlike togs, there is less regulation around jandals ie, you can wear them everywhere for the period December-March (Summer here in New Zealand), and then again from April-November.
  • Here in New Zealand, we punch above our weight 24-7 – but if you’re talking about the ozone layer……..yeah we have none.  Hot times put everyone at risk of Coconut Ice Sunburn.  This kiwi fave is only acceptable when talking fudge, NOT tan lines so slip, slop, slap constantly.
  • No-one is too old for a swim in a paddling pool.  No-one.
  • Chilly-Bin ownership is mandatory, as is taking your chilly-bin everywhere with you in Summer.
  • Similar to birds flying in formation, New Zealanders possess a synchronicity that sees us switch from ice cream to ice blocks as soon as the temperature hits 23°.  This proven phenomenon is backed up with retail stats and the age-old debate surrounding the Best Fruju Flavour of All Time.  Of course, the big talking point amongst those participating in Summer this year, is the irresistible mash-up of  Kiwi icons Fruju and L&P, firing up the Fruju-flavour-frenzy even more!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Tip Top Ice Cream Summer Fruju

How Our Frozen Summer Faves got even BETTER

Like most parents, Dave and I are becoming more and more aware of how the food we feed the boys affects their health, mood and wellbeing.  Nixies shortened GI tract following Hirschsprung’s surgery means food moves through his little system super fast and adverse effects on his mood and behaviour become apparent really quickly.  Avoiding those dreaded artificial food additives can seem daunting but is made infinitely easier when you know that one company has eliminated all the baddies from their entire range of yummy products!

Who?  Tip Top that’s who.

The commitment to only using natural flavours and colours is a big deal, especially when you do a tiny bit of research about the alternatives.  You can’t really talk ice cream without thinking about chocolate right?  Tip Top has replaced dodgy additive E155 – Brown HT (made from coal tar, a suspected carcinogen and mutagen that is banned in the US, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Norway, Belgium) and is now using simple, caramelized sugar to achieve that rich chocolate brown colour we all expect in our fave Trumpets.  There are super-cool, and surprising, alternatives in place throughout the Tip Top range that sees beetroot, spirulina, gardenia and turmeric extracts replace the synthetic dyes and coal or petroleum derived additives that other companies are still using today.

We Kiwis are the best at just about everything we do, so we want our awesome, NZ made products to reflect that.  Gone are the days of ‘numbers = colours and flavours’, we are discerning consumers with a growing consciousness towards what we put in our bodies.  As we make better choices we are expecting the producers of our favourite foods to do the same.  It’s pretty awesome to see Tip Top, a name synonymous with New Zealand, take the lead and make our summer treats #GoodtoShare for everyone.

This post was made possible by the good peeps at Tip Top!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Tip Top Ice Cream Summer

Women’s Health: My first time using a Lunette Menstrual Cup

A year ago I never would have written this post.  A year ago I would have ignored/declined the invitation to try a menstrual cup, firmly placing the very notion in the ‘too hard/too hippy’ basket.

So why now?  The only answer I can come up with is simply; why not now?

My monthly period annoys the heck out of me.  It’s never been painful nor irregular, just heavy and inconvenient (a bit like me in the morning before I’ve had a coffee lol).  I’ve been using tampons my whole life, and while better than pads, they still totally suck.  They’re uncomfortable if not quite in the right position, they leak, they aren’t absorbent enough, a heavy flow day means frequent changes, they are expensive and require disposal, plus, they are just something else waking me at night and wanting attention – I’ve already got a husband and a 4-year-old taking up night-time hours #kthanksbyetampons.

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

So earlier this week, with Christmas in New Zealand done and dusted and tent-life beckoning (always a PIA when you’ve got your period) I decided to trial a Lunette Menstrual Cup for the first time.  I’d been gifted one just before the holidays and had been planning to give it a whirl before our trip to Japan in January.

What did I think?  Short version; amazing, liberating, life-changing.  Long version; read on.

Lunette Menstrual Cup Review

First tip:  Get ready in advance.  I was all raring to go as soon as my period began but hadn’t opened the box or read the short set of instructions that accompany the Lunette.  In fact, I hadn’t even touched it!  There are two sizes available, I picked size 2 which is recommended for women who experience a heavier flow or who have given birth vaginally.  The silicone is super smooth and soft, but also much firmer than I anticipated.  After sterilizing my cup for 20 minutes in a pot of boiling water I was ready to go.

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

The thing that puzzled me most about menstrual cups prior to using one, was placement.  A tampon sits so much higher than a cup and feels awful when it’s inserted wrong/low and feels like it’s going to fall out!  Yet, the Lunette cup sits low and you CAN’T FEEL IT!  It’s amazing, and I’m sure the imperceptibility is due to the flexible silicone moving with your body when you move.

Insertion/application, whatever, was easy, fold it in half and up she goes. A bit of a jiggle and you can feel the cup unfold – that’s it!  I was completely floored by how easy the process is and how completely ‘leak-free’ I feel when wearing the Lunette.  I realise that describing a state of being as ‘leak-free’ is a bit bizarre and a probably a complete misnomer, however, if you’ve experienced that tampon-angsty feeling when you know you could leak at any given time, you’ll totally understand what I mean!

The stem was the only thing I found uncomfortable and as recommended in the instructions I simply trimmed it until I found the optimal length.  I don’t actually use it for removal at all so cut it really short.

Am I converted?

Heck yes I am, I just wished I had been brave and tried a menstrual cup sooner.  The Lunette just makes so much sense; 

  • I feel completely leak free, even at night
  • I can go longer, up to 12 hours, without having to worry about reaching max capacity
  • I don’t feel like I’m going to get ‘caught out’ without another tampon on me when I need one
  • I haven’t yet, but know I’d be able to workout and run wearing a Lunette Menstrual Cup, something that was out of the question for me on heavy flow days with a tampon.
  • Cleaning/sanitizing is easy, there’s heaps of info here

In fact it’s all easy.  The only hard part about using a Lunette is in your head, once you’re over the mental hurdle you will never go back to tampons.  I never will, of this I’m convinced.

I can see how learning how to use a menstrual cup may be slightly more challenging for young girls, but to be honest, no more challenging than learning how to use a tampon.  The benefit of potentially NOT having to change a tampon/pad for the entire school day is incredible and totally worth the very little persistence that’s required to get super comfortable with using a Lunette Menstrual Cup.

There’s heaps of information on the Lunette New Zealand website, so check it out if you have any questions or are keen to make the switch – you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

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

 

 

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse……..Recycle!

This Mum Service Announcement (MSA) is sponsored by GLAD.

Life with kids can easily become an all-consuming cycle of coveting, collecting, consuming and then (sneakily lol) culling when the opportunity arises.  Kids are hoarders, I am not, plus, I’m on a bit of a decluttering binge at the moment, so any method of reusing what we have and reducing waste goes straight to the top of my ‘List of Awesome Things’.

Time for a confession; before I began working with GLAD on this post, I had never washed and reused a Snap Lock Bag.

I know, I know, I’m a terrible person……….but, I had simply not considered the idea that the little, do-everything bags that have been staples in my kitchen’s second-draw my entire adult life, were robust enough to live a life more fulfilling than a single trip to school and back.

Now I know better.  Every GLAD Snap Lock Resealable Bag deserved a second, third, fourth chance at life, which is the crux of today’s MSA; no GLAD bag deserves to be discarded after single use.  Heck, find those bad boys a spot in the cupboard, housing a pack of playing cards or a Lego set and let them retire, worry-free without fear of the landfill.

Check out all the ways Dave and I came up with to reuse ONE Snap Lock Bag after it returned from a successful mission to kindy, transporting snacks surplus to lunchbox capacity;

So here’s the thing right, I know what you’re all thinking.  I do.  Ya’ll are thinking, ‘that’s all well and good, rehome the happy Glad Bags, give them another lease on life, but what happens when Nixon rips the side seam right open?  Then, surely, it’s time for the landfill?”

No Lego is safe in a Snap Lock back with a ripped seam, this is a FACT.  What is also a fact is that GLAD Snap Lock bags, ClingWrap, ZipSlide bags and Matchware containers can all be recycled, – this is another thing I had NO idea about!  Terracycle and GLAD have partnered to create a program which is free to join and allows you to ship your (hopefully!) well used and reused GLAD products off for recycling – also for free!  Click here to sign-up and find out how the program works.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

In our house, we love our little GLAD Snap Lock bags even more now that we are reusing and recycling them.  Available in a range of sizes, they keep food fresher for longer – perfect for the pantry plus, they are BPA free which makes them safe to reuse over and over again, even in the freezer and microwave. 

The truth is out guys, knowledge is power and it’s time to put an end to single-use GLAD abuse. Join with me today.  Find a collection in need of safe containment (hint: look for those ‘special rocks’ under your kid’s beds) and send an old sandwich bag back to work, saving a Snap Lock from the landfill.  Together we can make a change.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

 

 

 

30 Day Spring Cleaning Plan

It’s Spring!  It’s a bit grey, gloomy and coldish, but it is indeed Spring.  

The notion of the ‘Spring Clean’ is not something we focus on quite so much in this modern era of the multitasking homemaker – who may or may not work outside the home, and whose life agenda is so full that simply remembering to start the washing machine each day is reason enough for celebration.  

Just me?!  Gosh.

I’ve joined forces with Dettol to give Spring Cleaning a facelift and have put together a 30 day Spring Cleaning Plan (in an on-trend, monochrome palette no less) that you can print, Pin, screenshot, whatever……The beauty of it is that you’ll, hopefully, clean your house super-thoroughly as you make your way through the 30 days, by only spending a teeny portion of each day actually cleaning.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean TemplateAlways read the label. Use only as directed.

The concept of the Spring Clean (as outdated as it sounds) is grounded in some ancient traditions that make heaps of sense and are increasingly more relevant in today’s hectic, too-busy, too-much-stuff, not-enough-time lifestyle.

Some researchers trace the origin of spring cleaning to the Iranian Nowruz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring. Iranians continue the practice of “khooneh takouni” which literally means “shaking the house” just before the Persian new year. Everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from the drapes to the furniture.  Wikipedia

Other ancient cultures and religions (Judaism, Catholicism) plus North Americans and Northern Europeans also acknowledge the importance of, let’s be frank, cleaning the crap out of the house you’ve ignored and collected dust in alllllll winter.  Plus, if we bring things forward a couple of hundred years, the minimalists and the discarding experts are all totally on board for a good clean out right?! (I didn’t actually ask them as such, but I think it’s a fairly safe assumption lol!).

I’m all about making this concept way more Molehill than Mountain, so this Spring I’m going to take little, cleaning baby-steps each day and fingers crossed my house will be sparkling by the time summer rolls around.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean TemplateAlways read the label. Use only as directed.

We can do this!

I’m not a big fan of hauling a cleaner’s trolley around our house filled with 10 million assorted products, so the equipment needed will be kept to a minimum.  You can probably accomplish most tasks with some Dettol Disinfectant Wipes as these kill 99.99% of germs (E. Coli, Salmonella, S. aureus) and are for bathrooms and kitchens.  Also, just knock these out in whichever order you please, some days you just won’t feel like dusting, and I reaalllllly feel you on that one, so, #youdoyouboo.  

Print my cleaning plan out (click to open up the PDF version), stick it on the fridge and spread the load by getting the whole family on board!  

My household lifesavers, Dettol Disinfectant Wipes now come in three handy sizes: 45, 90 and 120 wipe packs, in three fragrances, Fresh, Lemon and Apple so you can keep the right size pack, on hand, for whenever those messy emergencies strike – keep a pack in the car, trust me on this one!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean Template

Always read the label. Use only as directed. New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean TemplateNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean Template

Always read the label. Use only as directed.

The LunchBox Refresh – 5 Days, Zero Sandwiches

Week one, Term 3.

Uniforms, PE gear, homework, bus money, making lunches…………..it’s THAT time again!

Because we’re all about keeping it real, it’s totally ok to admit that you’re already tired of packing the lunch-boxes after just one week back at school.  My bet is the kids are probably getting sick of eating them too!  School lunches are tricky; what my boys will devour one day is returned untouched the next in a seemingly random, arbitrary lottery of lunch-time success or failure.

But, the answer is right there ^ VARIETY.  Some of us are creatures of habit and prefer the same lunch, eaten at the same time each day – many children are like this too, in which case, find what they love and stick with it.  Nixon prefers the predictable but Ethan would be happy to never see another ham and cheese sandwich in his lunch box ever again.  I feel ya son!

So, I challenged myself to come up with some different school lunch options, NONE of which included a sandwich.  Not as difficult as it sounds, plus, I know Ethan loves leftovers so that’s always another option.  I figure that by alternating a normal lunch with a ‘sandwich free’ lunch, we’ll stave off lunch-box fatigue – at least for a little while this term.  These also tick the box for Nix as there is a familiar fave, a ‘constant’ in there each day, in this instance, a Dole Fruit Bowl which he loves.

 

Pikelets & Peanut Butter

Who doesn’t LOVE pikelets???  Next time you’re standing over the frying pan, whip up a double batch and freeze half for lunches.  If you freeze them on the baking tray they won’t stick together when you transfer them to a sandwich bag or container for storage : )

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On the menu: pikelets, peanut butter, apple, dried cranberries, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice.

Frittata & Friends

I was a bit stumped for my next idea so came up with the idea of packing lunch based upon a colour scheme!  This would be fab for picky eaters whom you are trying to gently encourage to experiment a little more.  Everything looks better when it’s colour-coordinated after all!  I based this lunch around yellow and orange food, but there are so many options.  Totally easy and do-able once a week.

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-device-time-lunchbox-ideas

On the menu:  Ham & cheese mini-frittata, banana yoghurt, banana, carrot sticks, Dole Fruit Bowl – Mango & Custard, popcorn.

A Sausage Roll for Lunch!

This was def Ethan’s favourite, and the kiwi classic sausage roll tastes almost as good cold as it does hot (at least according to a bottomless pit, 12 year old boy!).

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On the menu: Sausage roll, pear, watermelon slices, bliss balls, Dole Fruit Bowl – Blueberries & Custard.

Cheese & Bacon Twist

This is an easy-to-bake idea that glams up plain old bread.  Try this calzone recipe and tweak the filling to suit your kids tatses.  Yum!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-device-time-lunchbox-ideas

On the menu: Cheese and bacon calzone, kiwi fruit, mandarin, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice, marmite and cheese bagel crisps.

Roast Chicken Sliders

We usually have a roast chicken on the menu each week and there’s always leftovers so I’ve repurposed them into a kid-friendly lunch option on a tasty, soft slider bun.  Nix struggles with full-size bread rolls so sliders work really well for him. I was expecting to find these in the bread aisle but I picked these up from our local supermarket, baked in-house!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-device-time-lunchbox-ideas

On the menu: Roast chicken sliders, kiwi fruit, pear, Dole Fruit Bowl – Tropical Fruit & Juice, bliss balls.

Hopefully, these ideas will give you some lunch-box inspo, and may even eliminate at least one of the #schoolrunsighs I know we can all relate to on a daily basis!  Finding your kid’s go-to snack like the Dole Fruit Bowls, that’s easy to slip into lunch-boxes and after school activity bags can be a life-saver when you’re in a hurry and running out the door.


This post was sponsored by Dole, thanks for helping to keep me writing!

We Love: Dough Queen Natural Play Dough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NZ residents only.