Kids Health Insurance – Why I pay for it

Kids Health Insurance – Why I pay for it

(The irony of what I’m writing right now doesn’t escape me as we are on what I call, ‘hospital watch’ with Nixon after a day of vomiting and 2 days without a bowel movement.  Fingers crossed x).

I’m sitting here blogging and thinking back to 3 years ago when we had a very sick child.  Multiple GP visits had come to nothing and no-one seemed to be quite as concerned as we were about the fact that Nixon hadn’t passed a bowel motion in 45 days.  This had been his (and our!) lives for the past 9 months since he was born; obsessing over diaper changes, hoping for action in the downstairs department and fretting constantly over the lack thereof.

After two general anaesthetics and invasive biopsies of his large intestine, he was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s Disease, a congenital condition meaning (basically) he couldn’t poop.

Shit.  Literally lol.

Life with a newborn is frantic, multiplied by 100 when they’re sick.  Had I remembered to add Nixon to our health insurance policy?  Who knew?  Did I remember my failure to do so literally minutes after his diagnosis?

Of course, and that was cool as I totally needed something else to beat myself up about at that time.  Not!

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My brother and I were fortunate enough to inherit ‘legacy’ health insurance as we moved into adulthood, meaning that my parents had insured us as kids (with no pre-existing conditions) and these policies had been renewed continuously until we took ownership of them in our adult years.  Similarly, Ethan has also been insured since birth.  Nix obviously has a pre-existing condition (because of the delay in purchasing his insurance), so as Hirschsprung’s is a congenital disease, anything related is excluded for him.  Nix receives treatment via the public health system thank goodness, and the kids are both covered for the other great worry in our life – Melanoma.

I only realised the immeasurable value of our health insurance when my Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma, a horrible battle which he lost after 9 months.  Dad’s treatment and condition warranted numerous scans, which to have with any urgency (or without the associated inconvenience of huge wait times and the very real risk to my immune-compromised Dad of spending large amounts of time in a hospital waiting room) would have cost Mum and Dad $1300 for each scan!  The mental/emotional support the policy gave our family was a huge relief in a time of massive stress and eventual grief.

So, HECK YES I love health insurance and continue to prioritise its place in our household budget.

This month, I switched the kid’s health insurance to KIDSmart by Accuro.  Both of the boys are now insured under a policy customised for kids that does NOT require an adult to be insured.  Our old health insurance saw the kids piggy-backed on to my policy without the ability to adjust individual amounts of cover as needed.  I found this incredibly frustrating and for parents who want to want to prioritise health insurance for their children but can’t afford the combined expense of an adult policy, this archaic way of issuing cover can make the whole exercise unaffordable and simply too hard.

There are some super cool perks to this kids policy as well, my favourite two are;

  • Your child will be charged the Kids Premium Rate until they are 25!
  • After 3 years of continuous cover, your child will receive an exercise-based loyalty reimbursement of $150 per year to be used towards school or sports clubs, swimming or dance lessons.  How cool is that?!

For a free online quote (it literally takes 5 minutes!), visit KIDSmart by Accuro and find out exactly what they mean when they say they take care of their people when they are healthy and when they’re not doing so well : )

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Thanks to Accuro for sponsoring this post!






Summer Skin – It’s Time to Reevaluate your sunscreen

Summer Skin – It’s Time to Reevaluate your sunscreen

Despite the rain, wind and volatile temps here in New Zealand – it IS actually Spring.  The kids are back in the routine of compulsory hat-wearing at kindy and school, which serves as a great visual reminder for me that it’s also sunscreen season.

My childhood, teen years and early adulthood were spent in a blissfully bronzed (read: naive) state of perma-tan.  For a Gen Xer like myself, nothing signalled the onset of Summer in New Zealand like a crispy nose, cracked lips and a good peel to get you set for the rest of the season – a new Fido Dido t-shirt also worked just as well!

But then, my father lost his very short battle with melanoma at age 57 and sun protection for my family took on a whole new meaning – one of life or death.  Dad never wore a hat or sunscreen, got viciously sunburnt many, many times and was moley as hell – as am I.  As a mum to 2 young boys, one of which has pale, virgin, ‘unburnt’ skin (thus far), I never imagined I would be so, um, ‘maniacal’ about sunscreen but it’s happened and it’s a good, good thing.

As consumers we’re pretty used to products improving year after year and sunscreen is no different.  We’ve seen SPF creep up and up, all manner of new application methods from spray trigger to roll-on to aerosol but this year’s new sunscreen release from NIVEA is actually so simple I guarantee you’ll be mystified as to why no-one thought of it before.

Press play to check out my review of the New NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Sunscreen Lotions.


So, I imagine as parents we all expect similar things from the sunscreens we use upon ourselves and our kids;

  1. It needs to be easily absorbable.  Nixon is 3 years old.  I do not have all the time in the world to delicately apply sunscreen before he rubs it in his eyes/nose/mouth.  I actually have 7 seconds.  Literally!
  2. It needs to be non-greasy – sticky sunscreen and kids/summer/sand/ice cream drips is not cool.
  3. It needs to be water resistant.  I have no time for attempting to get kids to sit still on their towels, abstaining from sand and surf whilst they dry so I can reapply sunscreen.  This is a mummy-pipedream that will never happen.  There is also nothing worse than slipping and sliding while paddling out because your sunscreen is washing off!
  4. It needs to WORK! And by work I mean provide highly effective UVA and UVB filters so I never have to see my kids with a raging red sunburn.
  5. NEW – I’m adding this requirement in for 2016 and I highly recommend you do too; sunscreen needs to be moisturising.  If we are applying a product at least once, possibly multiple times per day, why shouldn’t it do double duty?  It is 2016 after-all!  Sun exposure is an incredibly dehydrating experience for our skin, and dry skin is much more prone to sun damage.  If a sunscreen can provide 24 hour hydration as well as high SPF, water resistant protection that’s light and non-greasy, then that’s the one I’m going to use every time.

NIVEA’s 100 years of skincare experience comes to the fore with the Protect & Moisture range.  The adaptation of fantastic broad spectrum sunscreen to include moisturising care has resulted in a family friendly sunscreen that’s absorbed in a flash with no greasy residue.  Make sure you always read the label and use only as directed.

I can’t imagine a better addition to Summer to be honest!

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NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture is available nationwide from supermarkets, department stores and pharmacies now.

  • NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50+, 400 ml NZ RRP: $23.49
  • NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50+, 200 ml NZ RRP: $19.39
  • NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50+, 100 ml NZ RRP: $11.99
  • NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Moisturising Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30, 200 ml NZ RRP: $16.29

For more information please head to:

www.nivea.co.nz / https://www.facebook.com/NiveaNZ

Thank you so much to NIVEA for sponsoring this post – and making such amaze sunscreen!

NOTE: Always read the label. Use only as directed.

What’s missing from your daily beauty routine?  Awareness.

What’s missing from your daily beauty routine? Awareness.


TODAY 7 WOMEN will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

THIS YEAR 650 will most likely die.

YET 30% of eligible women don’t have regular mammograms.

AND 60% of young women don’t know the signs beyond a lump.

Those stats are scary.

I’m going to be brutally honest here; watching someone you love die from cancer is horrendous, torturous and unforgiving.  It will leave you hating cancer so much that some days you can’t breathe.  Living with cancer makes no sense, has no rules and turns your life into a never-ending roller-coaster of appointments, tests, waiting, treatment, tears, anger and fear.  Except is does end……..

Throughout October you can purchase a luscious product that can make a difference.

Skin Food has paired up with the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and created Breast Cream – a simple, nourishing moisturiser that makes no promises other than to increase our awareness of what’s normal for our breasts.  The concept is simple and brilliant; encouraging women to get more familiar with their breasts, helping them to quickly identify any changes that could be signs of cancer.

Pick up your Breast Cream during October from supermarkets, The Warehouse and skinfood.co.nz for $11.99 with $2 from each sale going directly to the good peeps at the NZBCF.  

You can’t afford not to really.

352 Days

That’s how long it has been since my Dad died of melanoma.

I think of him every day, I have conversations with him every day in my head and I talk about him to someone else every day.  I can still smell him every time I hop in his old truck to drive anywhere.  I love that.

Most of the time I think I’m doing pretty well.  Until something sneaks up on me that I wasn’t expecting and then I feel like I’ve been flattened all over again.

Tonight we started watching My Sister’s Keeper and I could feel the sorrow creeping over me like a shadow.  The girl with cancer began chemotherapy and I lost the plot.  It was all so familiar.  I think Dave just about gave himself a hernia in his scramble to find the remote and change the channel.

To make a bad night even worse, our normally quiet neighborhood has been transformed into party central, overrun by obnoxious 18 year olds; shrieking, banshee-like females and their male counter parts who do not speak only yell and race the POS cars.  I do not drink enough to sleep through this shit.


Things I love …..BACON

I love bacon.  But, nitrates are bad news.  Nitrates are even badder than bad news when you fry the shit out of them whilst you are cooking your bacon.  On the hunt for an alternative, I spied Henderson’s Dry Cured Bacon in Pak ‘n Save Albany last week (it was  $6.99 for 500 grams – very comparable to standard brands) and popped it in my cart.  Before I even opened the pack there was a visible difference between the Henderson’s bacon and the other brands.  Dry cured bacon looks more like other cuts of pork.  It is pale – way closer to white than pink.  Nitrates preserve colour in meat products.  Blecch.  So how did it taste?  Seriously the BEST tasting bacon I have ever eaten in my life.  If you want more bacon taste from your bacon and need more bacon-ness in your life than give the hippy bacon a whirl.  Foods that can cause cancer suck.



49 Days Later

I don’t know what the grieving process is.

Because I need to be in control and hate surprises I read incredible amounts about what to expect in Dad’s final days.  And you know what, it was right on the money.  I was nursing him.  I had to be able to recognise all the signs, I knew what to look for, I knew when he had had enough, I knew when we had to let him go.  I did not expect the semi-bell curve of grief that I am now riding.

I thought April 6th must surely be the worst day ever.  But the funeral was worse by about 10 thousand chinese burns.  And now 49 days later, the panic I feel when I dial Dad on my Iphone instead of Dave just about makes me crash my truck.  Because that’s when I used to call Dad – when I was driving home from work.  But I can’t delete his number from my phone.

It’s the worst day ever when I just want to talk to him so bad and I can’t.  It’s confusing, disorienting and feels like the day we first found out he had cancer all over again.  EVERY DAY.

Dad and I were close, we talked all the time, every day, about every thing.  And now we can’t talk any more.

Dad, I love you so much and I need you.  It’s hard being strong all the time, that was your job, but I’m trying.



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Nine Months

Two weeks ago the worst two weeks of my life began.  Actually they began nine months ago when Dad came home from work early one day.  Really early.  He walked into the house  and said “I might have cancer”.  That was the first time we cried.  We haven’t stopped crying yet.

Dad did what he needed to do.  He fought the whole damn nine months.  He refused to ever consider even for a second that this was a battle he couldn’t win.  He looked to the future, he tried whatever options were available to him and he was the husband and father we knew and loved right to the end.

To the bestest Dad in the world, you are my hero xxxx

Dad’s first hospital stay

I haven’t written much about what’s been going on with Dad.  I’m not sure why, maybe because it all seems a little bit more real when you type CANCER and describe what’s going on.

The last couple of weeks have been hard for Dad and for all of us.  Every current affairs show at the moment seems to have their own angle on metastatic melanoma and seeing it on TV all the time is getting old.  Dad got out of bed yesterday at 7pm and the first thing he saw on tv was a 47 year old man with the same cancer as him, looking like he was on deaths door.  It sucked.  Everything is highly emotionally charged at the moment.  There have been more tears in this house from all of us in the last 3 months than I thought was humanly possible.

Dad was woken at 5am this morning by a bad bout of coughing.  He had another chemo round on Wednesday and has pretty much been in bed ever since.  Prior chemo sessions have not wiped him out this much.  We also received his 9 week scan results on Wednesday.  No good news.  New tumors in his spleen and spine and some have gotten bigger in his right lung.  I HATE the chemotherapy.  I know it is human nature to want to try anything that may help, but he has been generally pretty good when he is not recovering from the drug marathon.  Chemotherapy nails him, for no gain.

So the pain in his chest was so bad this morning he almost blacked out.  Dad’s oncologist told him to head to the hospital and that’s where they have been since 10am.  Mum just called and he has blood clots in both lungs requiring daily injections for at least 3 months.  Thanks chemo you fucking rock.

My family are amazing though.  I got to see my Auntie Judy today, albeit by accident but it was so nice.  My Auntie Deb is also being amazing, I can call her anytime and she just listens.  I love that.  Hadyn and I are doing great.  We have never been close but I am so glad he is home.  It feels really good that we are all together at the moment.  Who would have thought that five adults and a kid could all live together in one house and make it work?  Certainly not me but we are doing it.

It feels like some kind of macabre milestone was reached today – “the first hospital stay”.  Cancer sucks.

Upside Down

You know how people say that life can change in an instant? Well life has changed, been flipped on it’s ass and all of us along with it.
It began with a visit to the doctor for a pesky cough. A sinister cough that was actually indicative of a big ass tumour hiding in Dad’s lung. An X-ray showed this and a ct scan showed some more masses on his spine and in his lymph nodes. Holy hell.
Surgery not an option there would not be enough viable lung tissue remaining so chemo began on Wednesday.
We are 2 days post chemo now and Dad is doing great, I’m playing chauffeur so he doesn’t go crazy in the house and can keep jobs rolling. His attitude is amazing, so positive and strong I don’t think I would be able to drag myself out of bed or my lip off the ground.