90+ Days in Lockdown Auckland:  How’s your homeschooling going?

90+ Days in Lockdown Auckland: How’s your homeschooling going?

Does parenting through a lockdown get any easier? Have you adjusted to the ‘new normal’ or has your adjustment just felt like a slippery slide into a very average, daily grind like mine?
Stepping outside of my own feelings and frustrations during Auckland’s extended lockdown and I can see 8yo Nixon experiencing the same emotions and lack of motivation that has been hitting me in waves.
Nixie’s 12pm online learning each day brings the social interaction, routine and structure that he desperately needs right now as well as the basic reading, writing and maths tuition that has all but disappeared while school has been closed.
90+ days into lockdown, the association between these regular online touch-points with his peers and teachers and ongoing digital learning (complete with those feel-good success vibes) is only getting stronger.
Recognising this, it’s definitely time to get proactive around successfully wrapping up the school year for Nix and what that looks like. With return to school days set at a grand total of 8 (omg) before the summer holidays begin, I’ve realised that perhaps the best strategy in our home is to capitalise on the digital learning routines that are already in place – and that means fleshing out our digital tool-kit.

The price of 1-on-1 online tutoring quickly ruled that out as an option, plus, I wanted something more flexible that Nix could sit down and get into whenever the mood struck him – strike when the iron is hot right?!
That’s exactly what Reading Eggs has given us.
We used Reading Eggs years ago when getting Nix ready for school and I had entirely forgotten about this awesome programme until now, a time when if I think too much about Nixon’s schooling this year (or lack thereof) I can get whipped into an anxiety attack pretty swiftly!

Reading Eggs Online learning in lockdown
Nix can work through his Reading Eggs lessons at his own pace, completely self-directed.

Like most kids, he has his favourite subject (maths), and as a result, leans towards the maths work offered via his school’s online platform. My problem until now has been trying to ensure that reading and writing are not entirely cast aside as we navigate the rest of the school year in a format that is different each day.
I’m all about POSITIVE screen time and Reading Eggs delivers that for our family. Nix is engaged at a level that is perfect for him, he is willing and even, eager (!) to spend time working on his reading and motivation hasn’t waned as this child is all about rewards and certificates and I can print those out for him and celebrate his successes.

I have been increasingly nervous about how Nixon’s learning has suffered through this lockdown and Reading Eggs has done a great job of bringing a realistic, practical and ongoing reading curriculum into our home, just when we needed it.

The results and change in Nixon’s attitude to his literacy work have been so great to see and I’m so happy to share a 30-day FREE trial with you guys!

The trial includes access to Reading Eggs 2–13 yrs, Mathseeds 3-9yrs, Reading Eggs Junior 2-4yrs, Reading Eggs 3-7yrs and Reading Eggspress 7-13yrs.

Tap into this award-winning resource, with the free trial perfectly timed to finish our school year here in New Zealand on a positive note.

Boy using online learning platform Reading Eggs
Cook, Eat: The BEST Country Chicken Pie Recipe – Ever!

Cook, Eat: The BEST Country Chicken Pie Recipe – Ever!

The seasonal rain hasn’t yet arrived here in New Zealand but there’s no denying that Winter is here. We are currently enjoying bluebird days but the temps aren’t playing around – she’s cold mate!

Along with buying too many jackets and woollen socks (my winter fashion weaknesses!), when the days get shorter I love, love spending time in the kitchen and cooking some classic, hearty meals. Rich gravies and casseroles, slow-cooked, large cuts of meat and traditional kiwi-comfort food like this beautiful chicken pie form the menu for our family over the winter months.

The original Chicken Pie recipe was shared with me by Stevens, I have adapted it a tiny bit to suit our tastes. The gorgeous stoneware casserole dish I used (kindly gifted) is from their Winter Cooking range – shop Oslo Casserole Dish – and as at time of publication is 50% off!

The BEST Country Chicken Pie Recipe


  • 2 x pre-rolled sheets of puff pastry, big enough to cover your dish
  • 1 free-range egg beaten
  • 75g butter
  • Olive oil
  • 750g chicken breast chopped into 3cm chunks
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 300g carrots chopped
  • 15 button mushrooms sliced
  • 130g fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp crème fraiche
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • Salt and pepper

First, cook the vegetables – melt half the butter with a tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and onions, and sauté until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until the water evaporates, and they begin to brown on the edges. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the chicken to the pan and brown slightly. Next, add one cup of the chicken stock and return the vegetables to the pan. Simmer for around 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Spray the Oslo Casserole Dish with oil and line with the first pastry sheet. Remove the chicken and veggies from the pan and place this in the base of your pie dish, reserving the cooking stock in a bowl. Melt the rest of the butter with a dash of olive oil in the pan and sprinkle in the flour stirring gently to brown it slightly. Add the mustard and then the reserved and extra stock, stirring all the time to thicken. Finally, stir through the crème fresh and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the spinach leaves through the hot sauce to wilt them, then pour the spinach mustard sauce over the chicken and vegetables, stir gently to combine.

Preheat oven 200°C fan bake.

Lay the second pastry sheet over the filling and using a fork go around the dish edges to seal. With a sharp knife cut two to three steam holes in the top.

Brush the pastry surface with beaten egg and bake for around 25 minutes or when the pastry is golden and crisp.

Serve warm with a green salad on the side.

Kids Parties: Garden Glamping + Movie Night

Kids Parties: Garden Glamping + Movie Night

Ethan turned the BIG 13 at the end of November and though we celebrated at the time with a Breaker’s game and burgers with his friends, we really wanted to do something a little more special at home to mark the occasion.  The end of the school year is a super busy time for everyone with summer quickly approaching here in New Zealand and Christmas around the corner so, we waited a couple of weeks until Ethan’s two basketball leagues had finished and planned a wee surprise.

Ethan loves sleepovers but sleepovers do not love him back.  The child basically can’t deal with lack of sleep, plus his sport schedule is so ridic with rugby over the winter and basketball taking up six days per week recently, opportune weekend nights to have friends stay over are few and far between.  Saturday night was  w i d e  open however, and happened to coincide with a rare, vacant booking for the awesome husband and wife team at www.partyinabox.nz.  So, we locked it in, called it a Movie Night and I (secretly) gathered the troops.

I think when I (and Ethan) were younger, I wanted complete control over his birthday parties and spent days and weeks meticulously planning and agonizing over every detail.  One year I handmade fish-shaped chocolates to decorate his homemade cheesecake birthday cake after I had hand stamped the goody bags with a beautiful fish-shaped motif I carved from a freaking potato!

I honestly don’t even know who that person was lol.  Suffice to say, these days I’m all about outsourcing and simplifying birthday parties.  I say HELLO to $5 Pizza Hut pizzas (1 each!) and YES to a tub of Tip Top ice cream for dessert.  And, if the outsourcing results in the 5 teenaged boys (and his girl bestie) sleeping in the front yard, then a birthday blessing was just bestowed upon ME.

Party in a Box Glamping Packages

We decided on a Night Out Package for Ethan and 5 friends which included setup and overnight hire of a gorgeous bell tent, 6 x mattresses, bunting, fairy lights, rugs, floor cushions, tray tables, super cool decor items, popcorn, huge tv and DVD/BluRay player.  All delivered set-up and then packed away again the following day. 

It was spectacular, roomy and totally picture perfect.  Dave and I loved it so much we almost considered handing the house over to the 13-year-olds and treating ourselves to a night glamping in the garden!

 The best way to describe how utterly amazing the bell tent and set-up was on Saturday night is to let the pictures speak for themselves.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Glamping Party Bell Tent

The kids had a blast, we had a quiet (ish) night and a clean (ish) house thanks to the kids being in the tent lol and I know we celebrated Ethan’s very special birthday with an event to remember.

Get in touch with husband and wife team Christian and Wencke at Party in a Box to make a booking enquiry.  They have a range of options and themes available – if they can make a glamping experience work perfectly as a Movie Night for a 13-year-old boy and his mates, then trust me, you will be blown away by how stunning this experience is!



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comp closes 14/9/17 NZ residents only.

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

Crock-Pot Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Crock-Pot Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Ooohhhh yaassss, come at me chicken wraps!  

PF Chang’s is a popular restaurant chain in California that serves a lettuce wrap dish and people go gaga over them.  I ate there once and wasn’t flipping out over them to the point that I felt I would never be able to recreate them at home.  I mean, they were totally delicious, but not intimidatingly delicious, does that make sense?

Fact: I did recreate them successfully.

Fact: They are super easy!

These lettuce wraps are filling, warming, and pretty healthy without even trying to be an on trend hipster-paleo dish.  I LOVE that lol.  

The title may have been a giveaway lol, but this is indeed a Crock-Pot recipe so you can get the dinner prep crossed off your list before witching hour arrives and all hell breaks loose – or is that just my house???

To get this dish off to a great start I sauteed the chicken mince on our gas stove top first – in the Crock-Pot pot!  No switching pans and making extra dishes, the new Sear & Slow model is induction, gas and electric ready so you can make the most of those delicious flavours and keep them all in one pot!

Recipe: Crock-Pot Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog crock-pot crockpot slowcooker asian chicken lettuce wraps recipe


600 gm Chicken mince

1 cup Rice uncooked

1 x Medium onion chopped

2 Cloves garlic

2 Green onions chopped

½ Red capsicum

1 Tbsp Grated ginger

1 Tsp Red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp Olive oil

½ cup Hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp Soy sauce

1 Tbsp Rice wine vinegar

1 ½ Tsp Sesame Oil

1 Can water chestnuts, drained

¼ Cup sliced cashews

Iceberg lettuce

Mung bean sprouts to serve


  1. In olive oil, saute onions, garlic and chicken on stove-top in Crock-Pot Sear & Slow pot until chicken is no longer pink.
  2. Add chopped capsicum, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and salt and pepper to pot.  Cook on low for 3 hours.
  3. Cook rice.
    New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog crock-pot crockpot slowcooker asian chicken lettuce wraps recipe
  4. Add rice, water chestnuts, green onions, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and cashews to mixture.  Stir through and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Gently pull apart lettuce leaves, fill with chicken mix and garnish with mung bean sprouts to serve.

Adapt for kids – The boys weren’t too keen on the idea of the lettuce wraps so we switched theirs out for flour tortillas and dinner was served.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog crock-pot crockpot slowcooker asian chicken lettuce wraps recipe

Win a Crock-Pot® Sear & Slow – CHP700 worth $299.99!

If you want to get inventive in the kitchen with your own amazing Crock-Pot then you’re in luck as I’m giving one away – actually I’m giving THREE away, so keep you eyes peeled for two more posts in my Crock-Pot series and two more chances to win!

> To win the Crock-Pot® Sear & Slow – CHP700, leave a comment below and tell me one of the awesome features on this innovative Crock-Pot model (psssttt, have a look here).

Competition closes 18 May 2017, NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog crock-pot crockpot slowcooker asian chicken lettuce wraps recipe

Beauty Review | Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening

Beauty Review | Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening

I always thought I had white teeth.  

I know I have great, strong, cavity free teeth (yes it’s true!), but after living in America for 6 years where at-home whitening is something that everyone does, I realised that my teeth were definitely not as white as I would like.  Whitening products in the states are relatively inexpensive and easy to come by.  White strips, tooth pastes and gels containing peroxide are available at supermarkets, chemists and discount stores in myriad variations and brands, the only difference being the mode of application.

This is not the case in New Zealand.  I’ve just checked online and at one of our main nationwide supermarkets, there are only two at-home whitening options on offer after excluding all of the supermarket brand toothpastes – which have never worked for me personally.

Smile Brilliant offered me the opportunity to try their whitening system and I accepted because of two very important inclusions in the kit;

  1. This system includes custom fitted trays to actually hold the whitening solution against your teeth.  I used the common whitening strips when I lived in California and they are super fiddly, hard to apply and don’t cover all of your teeth.  Gels feel icky and gross and end up all over the inside of your mouth rather than staying on your teeth where you want the solution to be!
  2. Desensitizing gel to remineralize teeth following the whitening procedure.  I remember whitening strips sometimes hurting my teeth, a strange feeling to try and convey, but I was impressed with the addition of a post-whitening treatment to address this issue.

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe

The Process
  • The tray creation kit arrived super fast from the states
  • After reading the easy to follow instructions I mixed the catalyst and base paste together, and made the impressions of both my upper and lower teeth
  • After the impressions hardened I popped them in the padded bag that was provided and sent them back to the states to have my custom trays made – check out my dental molds below!  These are not usually returned to customers but it shows how thorough the Smile Brilliant process is.
  • 5 days later I received an email to say my trays were ready and winging their way back to New Zealand.  Amazingly fast service, and great email updates throughout
  • And then, they were here!  Super fast shipping is always appreciated, especially here in NZ.

The actual whitening process is much easier and comfortable than I had imagined, namely because the trays are so thin, soft and pliable.  I was expecting trays akin to a rugby mouthguard, but Smile Brilliant trays are near invisible and so soft and comfortable you forget you’re wearing them. 

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe

Points to note
  • Whitening systems (ALL of them) don’t whiten your actual teeth, they remove the stains from your teeth.  The natural colour of teeth resides in the dentin which lies below the enamel, no whitening system can change the colour of dentin.
  • The active ingredient in whitening systems either at the dentist or at home is the same – peroxide.  The difference between systems is simply the method of application.  For me this is where the efficacy in the Smile Brilliant system lies, the custom trays hold the whitening gel against your teeth for as long as you’re wearing them.
  • Smile Brilliant is not recommended for children under age 12-14, dependent upon when permanent teeth have erupted.
My thoughts?

The kit comes with 3 syringes of whitening gel and 3 of desensitizing gel.  This will last me for many applications as the trays sit so snugly against my teeth I only need a tiny drop against each tooth.  Ive used the system about 6 times and haven’t yet finished 1 syringe!  Because my teeth are naturally quite white and unstained, I’m using Smile Brilliant once a week to maintain my unstained teeth.  I’ve only just started drinking coffee so I’m pretty vigilant about keeping my pearly whites looking tip top.

I love this system.  It works.  It’s easy with NO mess.  It’s pain free.  It’s affordable.  It’s not a supermarket gimmick and my teeth look kick-ass.  

I’m happy to recommend Smile Brilliant 110%.

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Crepe Recipe



Munch Reviews | Baby Food Tray + Giveaway

Munch Reviews | Baby Food Tray + Giveaway


Munch Review and Giveaway Mummy Blog NZ

We get to see a lot of the ‘latest and greatest’ kids products here at The Best Nest so I hope you trust me when I say, this new offering from Munch is one of the coolest, most useful things I’ve received in quite a long while.

The Baby Food Tray is quite simply, genius.  I made all of Ethan and Nixon’s baby food and would have loved the simplicity of this container.  I was forever digging deep within the freezer trying to keep track of little pots of baby food, the dates always rubbed off or stickers fell to their deaths deep in the ice………you get the picture.

Made from food grade, BPA free silicone (which is super sturdy btw, not all floppy like most silicone trays), you can just push up the bottom to remove a perfectly portioned 1/4 cup serve.  

Obviously we are way past feeding Nixon purees and mashes but there are so many other uses for this container.  Nix loves it as a meal tray, exploring the 7 compartmentalised options has definitely resulted in an increased uptake of new foods.  The novelty factor is a big win!

The lid snaps on super firmly so is also a perfect on-the-go snack box.  I find having to fill 7 spaces is making me get a bit more creative and think outside of my normal options for the little guy.  There are so many other ways you could use this marvel of the tupperware drawer (do other people call it that or is it just us?), I’m thinking freezing stocks (you can write on the lid and it washes off with soap and water!), gravy, mini jellies, lemon juice, it’s oven safe so you can even use it to whip up perfectly sized mini-muffins or quiche for kindy/school lunch boxes!

Vital Stats: Munch Baby Food Tray (Toddler Snack Box lol)
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Food grade silicon
  • Microwave safe
  • Oven safe
  • BPA Free
  • Durable
  • Available from Munch Cupboard $24.99
I have one of these awesome Baby Food Trays to giveaway!  Head over to The Best Nest on FB and comment on the competition image to be in to win before 29/7/15
Cook, Eat | Chorizo, Tomato and Paprika Free-range Egg Bake Recipe

Cook, Eat | Chorizo, Tomato and Paprika Free-range Egg Bake Recipe

Chorizo, Tomato and Paprika Free-range Egg Bake

Download recipe card here
Serves 2


1 tablespoon olive oil
80g chorizo,diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small onion, fine dice
250g cherry tomatoes
4 free range eggs
1 cup cannellini beans with juice
Handful parsley,chopped Smoked paprika
1 French baguette


Sweat down the chorizo in the olive oil for a few minutes,add the diced onion and the garlic,fry for a few more minutes.Add the chopped cherry tomatoes and slowly stew until they are soft and breaking up. Add the cannellini beans and a touch of juice from the can or water if moisture is needed, then add chopped parsley. Season with sea salt.

Place in an earthenware dish and flatten gently then crack two eggs on top, bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until the eggs are just cooked. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

Nespresso Coffee Match – The Weekender

We all live for the weekends and with nowhere to go in a hurry mornings become a slow-burner. Breakfast becomes king and Nespresso Rosabaya de Colombia is the perfect companion to a morning spent enjoying the food and the change of pace.


Rosabaya de Colombia




Flowery & Fruity


Intensity 6 – Fruity Winey

Gunny Sack Gardening & Purposeful Gifting this Mothers Day

Gunny Sack Gardening & Purposeful Gifting this Mothers Day

Nixon and I made the most of a break in the rain this morning and headed outside to create our own gunny sack garden and plant it with kale seeds.  ChildFund New Zealand are using this innovative and eco-friendly initiative with families in Kenya to help address severe malnutrition in children.  I’m fighting an ongoing battle of wills with Nixon right now as we struggle to maintain a balanced diet now that he has a fairly established pallette.  I can’t begin to imagine how hard this would be for mums in remote Kenya with scarce nutritional knowledge, water and resources.

Mothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New ZealandMothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New Zealand

A super-easy gunny sack garden helps to provide a family of six supplementary veges for three months plus these little wonders have also been implemented within Kenyan schools to provide for nutritious lunches.  This project start-to-finish took my little helper and I 30 minutes max and gave me some brilliant insight into how I can better maximise space in my garden and use resources more efficiently.  The gunny sack garden is brilliantly simple yet contains a gravel drain for water economy and will slowly decompose leaving only waste that can be re-used.  In about 4-6 weeks we will have a bounty of kale ready to harvest!

Mothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New ZealandBeginning a conversation with your kids and creating a gunny sack garden of your own will help highlight the huge nutritional deficit that is faced by many Kenyan families.  We can all help by considering purposeful gifts this Mother’s Day and shopping from ChildFund’s Gifts that Grow Catalogue.  

The same mothers in Kenya who are benefiting from the Nutrition Training programme provided by ChildFund donations are also part of Maka Emali, a livelihoods project. With the additional support of NZ artist Chris Delany, the project has helped revive almost lost cultural arts. They make stunning woven baskets which are sold around the world including in NZ through Iko Iko stores (http://ikoiko.co.nz/search?q=kenya&search=Submit).  I have one of these beautiful baskets to give away!  To enter, please head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the instructions on the contest image.  Competition closes Sunday May 3rd 10pm.

Mothers Day Ethical Gifts Mummy Blog New Zealand

Why am I trying to be a 1950’s housewife in 2015?

As 2015 unfolds, I’m noticing the ‘slow it down’, ‘rewind’, ‘simplify’ phenomena becoming more and more prevalent, none more so than in the area of homemaking.  But is this trend actually making our lives simpler/easier/more fulfilled?  Whether you are a SAHM or a working Mum or not even a Mum at all {maybe you’re a Dad, an Uncle, a serial killer who likes reading Mummy Blogs?} you will undoubtedly have noticed that expectations have changed.  The bar has been raised again, higher than it’s probably ever been before and the pressure is on.

I grew up in the ’80’s, in what must have been a wondrous time to be a homemaker.  The introduction of the microwave, the dryer, the VCR, muesli bars and snack packs of chips must have each brought squeals of excitement to consumers as all of a sudden, efficiency and convenience became one’s ultimate goal.  Getting those boring jobs done – like preparing dinner – was suddenly barely a blip on the radar, there were chicken nuggets in the freaking FREEZER!  Best of all, dishing up a Big Ben pie for tea once a week came judgement free! No one gave a damn what you fed your family for dinner, there was no required Instagramming of every meal, no need to worry about pinning the recipe because it was just a pie, some frozen peas and some mash right?  Washed down with some Jungle Juice or a full sugar blast from the Soda Stream and the whole family was fed, happy and watching Macgyver by 7pm. 

No judgement, no expectations, no constant self-analysis or exclusion diets.  Just getting on with the day to day business of life and trying to snatch back a few precious minutes here and there by making life easier.

Chances are the kids weren’t involved in after school tutoring and at least 3 other assorted extracurricular activities, Mum probably wasn’t consumed by getting her pre-baby body back and perfecting the art of vignettes while cooking a Pinterest-esque GF, dairy free, organic, whole foods meal every night and maintaining her mani-pedis.

{That last sentence makes me so tired just reading it}.

It goes on and on doesn’t it?  Birthday party planning needs to begin months in advance to ensure the invitations match the cake, theme, decor, food and goody bags.  Don’t even think about presenting a cake from Countdown and a simple round of pass-the-parcel, oh hell no girlfriend.  It’s time to step up your game. 

Your kids wardrobe should essentially match your home decor; think uber cool, scandi, monochrome with a touch of expensive kawaii graphics, finished with some Nike roshe runs, a bento lunch box and BPA free drink bottle – preferably in stainless steel.  This may require a second mortgage – if you’re lucky enough to have been able to get on the property ladder here in Auckland anyway < I count the many blessings of our house every day, our mortgage is one expense I will NEVER complain about.

Times have changed and now more than ever the expectation of maintaining perfection in our roles as wives, mothers, homemakers, business women is creating a pressure-cooker environment for those of us that are buying in to the dangerous ideals that abound on social media darlings Instagram and Pinterest.

I’m not just a passive commentator btw, and I’m also not suggesting that common sense around food and family nutrition haven’t come a long way since I was 6.  I love All the Pretty Things as much as the next Home & Garden subscriber, but I can’t be my version of an Awesome Mum and wife if I can’t say, “you know what?  It’s Friday, it’s 4pm and I’m going to have a glass of wine, call Pizza Hut and sit on the couch with a book for a while.  Ignore the crumbs on the floor, I couldn’t be bothered vacuuming for the 4th time this week.  The kids?  They’re fine, Ethan is playing Xbox – he’s very happy.  Nixon is digging in my vege garden wearing a nappy and he is as happy as a pig in shit.  Dave?  He’s skateboarding with his mates, pig in shit reference applies here too”.  Things might not be picture perfect, but I need to learn to live with that and not call it a bad day because the beds didn’t get made.

That sounds actually quite hard for me to do, but damnit it’s worth a try!  0800 838383……….

Happy Housewife New Zealand Mum Blogger

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