We had just landed in Melbourne last week and loaded into our taxi when I realised it was my phone that was ringing – a different kind of ring I didn’t immediately identify. My brain fog cleared, I remembered my new Ring Video Doorbell app and opened it up to reveal one of our dogs caught on camera at our front door – where he was NOT supposed to be, imagine if that was Nixon?!
After shooting off a text to Dave along the lines of, “Louie is roaming in the yard, trying to ring the doorbell BUT HAS NO THUMBS! Please let him in”, I showed my girlfriends how our amazing new, Ring Video Doorbell works.
In a nutshell, the Ring Doorbell is a wide-angle HD camera, mounted by our front door that streams live video via your home WI-FI to your smartphone either when someone (or Louie lol) activates the customised motion sensor or presses the unit’s doorbell button. This triggers a notification on the Ring smartphone app that someone is at the door! How awesome is that?!
But we’re not done yet. Once triggered, the HD video camera turns on so you can see who’s at the door and the two-way audio means that Louie and I can discuss the repercussions of small dogs escaping from the backyard – or I can just tell the courier that it’s fine to leave the package. Either way, it’s amazing!
Install was easy, Dave had to pack out our door frame with some extra wood for mounting and he still had it up and operational within 30 minutes!
Aside from the obvious convenience of being able to communicate with someone who’s at your door when you’re not home, I LOVE the security features that are included with Ring. Night Vision captures motion and activity around the clock, the unit’s design is weather resistant, there’s lifetime purchase protection if your Ring Video Doorbell is stolen plus, video recording is an optional add-on.
This incredible (easy to install, totally sensible) piece of video tech is now available in New Zealand from leading retailers Noel Leeming, Mitre 10 and Harvey Norman, RRP $349, but I have one to giveaway!
Win a Ring Video Doorbell worth $349!
I love, love, love our Ring and am super excited to have one to share with you guys.
If you would like to experience the awesomeness of a Ring Video Doorbell at your home, leave me a comment below and tell me which feature of Ring you think is seriously amazing > find out more here
Competition closes Sunday 21st May, NZ residents only.
The Ring Video Doorbell was sent to The Best Nest for editorial review. All opinions are my own.
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
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
Mung bean sprouts to serve
In olive oil, saute onions, garlic and chicken on stove-top in Crock-Pot Sear & Slow pot until chicken is no longer pink.
Add chopped capsicum, grated ginger, red pepper flakes, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and salt and pepper to pot. Cook on low for 3 hours.
Add rice, water chestnuts, green onions, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and cashews to mixture. Stir through and cook for 5 minutes.
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.
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.
I’m not exaggerating here, my kids’ dental hygiene is the bane of my LIFE.
The big one just doesn’t care/can’t be bothered/isn’t interested and the little one thoroughly enjoys it but would be only slightly less effective if he was using his toothbrush to scrub the floor instead of scrubbing his entire face – as well as approximately 10% of one tooth.
None of this is made any easier by the times of day that teeth-brushing is permanently scheduled in at; The Early Morning Before School Rush and Bedtime; Peak Procrastination Hour. Undoubtedly two of the most difficult times of the day by any parental estimation.
Things began to look up late last year when Ethan got a toothy tech upgrade to the Philips Sonicare for Kids (read about that here). The 2-minute timer has been amazing for improving his brushing routine plus I can hear its beeps and whizzing from afar so it’s much easier to keep an ‘ear’ on how long he’s brushing for lol. The beeps are the quad pacer on the timer that helps him work out when to move to a different part of his mouth. Kid-friendly genius!
That just leaves Nixie and now it’s his turn to hit the oral hygiene big league (meaning he’s got an awesome toothbrush too!).
Philips Sonicare for Kids have upped their game again with the launch of their mobile app to further aid kids with establishing awesome brushing habits.
Look, I’m an unashamed modern mum and I’m perfectly at peace with exploring ways in which technology can benefit my kids – and by benefit my kids I mean provide my very easily distracted toddler with a visual reference on how to brush, why to brush and for how long to brush because I’ve tried and am failing!
I can see wheels spinning and Mama’s shaking their heads thinking ‘generations of people before us have taught their kids how to brush their teeth without the help of an app’.
This is true. But generations before us weren’t raising kids in this digital age we find ourselves in, where our toddlers have favourite YouTube channels!
After he decorated his toothbrush, we worked through the app setup process which is super-cute and really engaging. Nix got to hatch his ‘Sparkly’ and name him – Truck. His toothbrushing friend is called Truck lol!!! This initial meet and greet (?) is very clever, it totally encouraged Nixon to take responsibility for Truck’s teeth and get cracking. The visual interface shows kids their progress as they are brushing and provides a reference that helped Nixon actually understand, for the first time, why we need to brush our teeth. Check it out in action in the clip below;
As I said, Ethan’s been using his Sonicare for Kids for 5 months now and the proof of its efficacy (Philips states they are 75% more effective than manual toothbrushes in hard to reach areas) was noted in his latest dental checkup. A positively huge improvement from his prior visit when he was threatened with a stain to show just how much plaque his lazy brushing was leaving on his teeth. That’s a HUGE parental win, I was so stoked with that.
What you need to know about the Philips Sonicare for Kids
-A rechargeable sonic toothbrush for ages 3 and up
-Built-in Bluetooth wireless technology connects to the app
-Kids adopt their own Sparkly and help it brush its teeth so that it can be happy and evolve
RRP $99.95 available from major retailers nationwide.
Win this amazing toothbrush for a little person you know!
I have one Philips Sonicare to giveaway! Make it yours by leaving me a comment below telling me who you’d gift it to.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Help 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.
5.40am Subconsciously doing backflips because at the very least I won’t be waking up in the death hour of any time beginning with 4.
5.41am Little hands slapping on my face. “Mummay what’s inside woodlice?”.
Inward groan and realisation that I’m going to have to actually dissect some woodlice so he’ll quit asking me this same question every day.
5.42am Drift off pondering where one finds woodlice in our neighbourhood.
5.43am “Mummay I have poops”.
Yes, motherhood gave me spidey-senses, I can smell them, I’m acutely aware of the poops in your diaper Nixie.
5.51am “There’s poops on my fingers and DADDY, where’s my breakfast?”
Repeat 7 days a week except for those days that start at 4.40am, Nixon’s other favourite wake-up time. Ethan was away on school camp this week so there was one less mouth to feed and lunch to make at 6am, but otherwise it was business as usual; the kindy run, work, housework, washing, life admin (I saved $300 per year on just one vehicle’s insurance today! BAM!), I ran 5km, had a playdate, spent 3 hours at the rugby club facilitating registrations and I have a deadline tomorrow so am still working.
I can’t remember the last time I actually thought to myself “That’s not going to happen, there aren’t enough hours in the day, there isn’t enough coffee, I haven’t had enough sleep, I just can’t do it”.
Can’t isn’t really in my Mummy Lexicon unless we talking about running 10km in which case I’m totally stuck in a 5km rut and I CAN’T run through it lol. Doing ALL the things (whether we want to or not) is how many of us survive and thrive. Limitations of what it was possible to achieve in a day flew out the window as soon as Ethan was born, and though, I undoubtedly would like a few more blank spaces on our family calendar, the last 12 years have taught me that everything and anything is possible and I can, in fact put one foot in front of the other (over and over again) and make it all work.
The catch-phrase of the moment, particularly applicable to Mums, is ‘self-care’. I’m not good at this. Giving myself a ‘break’ and letting the washing or the dishes pile-up does my head-in and any benefit to be gained from relaxing and not doing chores is instantly negated by mess-induced anxiety. For people like me, who are active-relaxers, a run or an exercise class is a perfect way to take some time out and practice some of that self-care we hear so much about without the associated guilt of “doing nothing”. Finding a way to take care of your Unstoppable Mum-Self and recharging your batteries is so important, but we all do this in different ways so if you’re not a zen yoga goddess every Sunday morning don’t sweat it, just find your own mummy-mantra and practice it. Regularly!
My kids are the ones that drive my Unstoppable Mum Life, they are the sole reason why Dave and I can get out of bed at 4.40am with something resembling a smile and look forward to the day’s routine, domestic schedule. Each day will undoubtedly be similar to the day before and will recognise tomorrow but it needn’t be mundane or boring.
As I am undoubtedly a YES person, the people I meet through throwing myself into MumLife and Yessing my way through the weeks, are the ones that remove any smidgen of boring-ness from the sometimes l o n g days – and equally long nights…..with Nixon! Getting out and about in your community, doing, volunteering, meeting and helping other parents have a better day will give you more and more positive momentum and help you become the Mum you really want to be.
I love little details like this! I’m picturing myself on a dark, cold night at the rugby club, waiting for Ethan to finish training, dealing with the minutiae of rugby committee life, my mental to-do-list rapidly overflowing as I remember (not to forget!) that it’s bike day at kindy tomorrow and that Ethan needs money for his school bus card so we can’t go straight home after training, that the truck’s RUC’s have run out and I still need to get the tyres balanced……..
Breathe. Smile. I am unstoppable.
Do something amazing today!
We’re ALL unstoppable right? Here’s your chance to recognise a woman that inspires, empowers and motivates you every day……..with a little help from Ziera!
Ziera is searching for unstoppable women to win one of five prizes of $2,500 plus five pairs of shoes to give them a helping hand towards achieving great things. You can nominate as many unstoppable woman as you like. Each time you nominate, you’ll go into the draw to win one of 100 pairs of shoes, one for you and one for the person you nominate. Achieve the extraordinary every day. Be unstoppable.
Submit your nominations here and make a positive change in the life of a deserving woman, just like you!
Win with The Best Nest & Ziera
Because Ziera are all about YOU and supporting unstoppable women, I have a $250 voucher to spend with Ziera for one of you! Head over to Ziera, pick your favourite style (mine are the Zorro) and let me know which shoes you’ve fallen in love with in the comments below.
Ok girlfriends, I’m rocking my Mum-Bun so you know it’s business time.
Getting changed this many times in ONE hour (let alone one WEEK lol) was hard work, plus filming myself trying to model clothes in my lounge is excruciating – so you better love this video okay?
Seriously though, The Warehouse has put together another really easy-to-wear and accessible range this season which makes me excited about throwing some layers together and getting a bit of texture going on!
I went out on a limb and picked some items I usually wouldn’t look twice at – like that blush cami?! Amaze, will go with everything, plus the Midi dress and Longline shirt – super easy to see how these will slip into my mum-wardrobe over the coming months.
Pro-Tip: Shop across the various ranges to put together a fresh, new look for the season ahead.
Check out the vlog to see these pieces in action, I’ve popped full shopping links below as well as details on how you can win a $50 gift card to get your shop on at The Warehouse!
I know there’s something in that stellar line-up that’s calling your name. Tell me below what your wardrobe needs as we head into the cooler months and you’re in the draw to win a $50 gift card to spend at The Warehouse!
Make sure you’ve commented on the first New Season Fashion post as well for a second entry!
The golden days of summer are over and if the thought of hitting the streets in the cold and dark this winter just doesn’t fill your #Fitspo tank, then I’ve got something for you!
Thanks to Gym and Fitness we have an awesome prize that will allow you to get your steps in and get fit this winter all in the safety, comfort and privacy of your own home.
The Freeform F20 in fab pink is a Walker and Light Runner Treadmill worth $974, perfect for those wanting to squeeze a walk or light jog in around naptimes or later in the evenings when you just don’t want to hit the streets!
Check out the awesome features below, find out more online at www.gymandfitness.co.nz and enter to win this treadmill by telling me how much you want it in the comments section at the bottom of this post!
HiTorque 1.75 CHP DC Commercial Motor. HiTorque is an industry leader when it comes to quality and durability. This commercial motor’s precision engineering boasts an oversized casing that cuts noise and vibration; AAA Grade copper coils; silent fan-cooled heat management; dual carbon brushes; and high-grade insulation and sealed bearings that make up the HiTorque longevity.
One Touch Quick Speed Controls. Adjust speed easily from 0.8km/h to 12km/h either on the console or on the hand grip button.
Incline Controls. Choose from 3 levels of incline.
E-Z Lift Assist. Fold your treadmill even with just one hand. This feature helps you save some space.
E-Z Drop Assist. Release the safety lock to let the treadmill fold out by itself.
VersaTred Oversize Running Tred Area. Run on a 1280mm long and 400mm wide surface that allows a safe and unrestricted training session.
FreeFlex Precision Cushioning. Walk, jog, or run on a comfortable, flexible and cushioned surface.
OrthoTred Treadmill Belt. Designed and engineered for superior performance.
BeltProtect Roller. Reduce maintenance and prolong the life of your treadmill.
PreSet Programs. Reach your fitness goals with your individual abilities. The FreeForm F20 makes various preset programs available.
Safety Assist Protective Feature. Keep safe with the FreeForm F20’s protective features. Emergency stop braking is applied when the safety key is disconnected. Removal of the safety key is also encouraged when the treadmill is not in use to avoid possible injuries to children.
I read a lot of books and 99.999% of them are not about me (surprise!) or my life or anything remotely resembling my life. They serve as the distraction needed at the end of the day, the vehicle with which to escape and be transported far, far away, to meet strangers in foreign lands and solve mysteries, eat exotic foods join the mafia etc. The books I read generally do exactly what a good book should do – provide escapism and a method in which to calm and quiet my frantic mind.
Rants in the Dark does the complete opposite.
Rants in the Dark is the ONE book that is about me, it is about my life. When Nix woke us at 4.30am this morning I rolled over and saw it on my nightstand and half-smiled at the irony of seeing it there, the words inside like a fist-pump emoji sent via Instagram from one mum to another – ‘you’ve got this, you know how to wake up at 4.30am, you know there are 2 Nespresso capsules left and you can have them BOTH because Dave is awesome like that. You know it’s Little Kindy day tomorrow so you’ll have 4 hours in the morning to gather yourself and work and not-tidy the house ’cause what’s the point?’
Ahhh. This book is my people.
Rants in the Dark will find audiences among mothers, obviously, but I think there is a great read in here for anyone who themselves HAS a Mum, or knows a Mum, or is married to a Mum. Emily gives us short, snappy, witty vignettes that don’t bog you down with the oft-mundane minutiae that is #MumLife, rather, these details are woven into beautiful accounts of how, at the end of the day (or in the early hours of the morning!) we can still love it all, and be ready to repeat these days over and over again.
For 18 years or so.
Buy it, read it, love it, lend it.
Rants in the Dark is a modern-mothers voice in a snappy navy cover. Emily’s my literary hero and it was incredibly awesome to meet her on Monday at her launch event. Bravo you beautiful woman, Rants in the Dark is everything I hoped it would be and more.
Win your own copy of Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes
I have three copies to give away, one here on the blog – to enter just leave me a comment below.
Poor New Zealand has undoubtedly had one of the craziest summers in recent memory. It’s been warm yes, but mostly accompanied by rain and humidity resulting in more bad-hair-days than beach days! The one *upside* of our punishing summer is that we can start incorporating New Season fashion goodness into our wardrobes a little earlier than normal.
Checking out the latest women’s ranges from The Warehouse each season has become somewhat of a regular editorial piece here on the blog. I found some amazing separates in the Summer 16/17 collection so am super excited to be back with a curated look at some of my top picks in stores and online now!
As Kiwi Mums, our fashion requirements are not over-the-top but we do love it when retailers get it right across the board. When I’m shopping I have certain key considerations in mind;
Functionality + Style – I like to dress with at least a passing nod to what’s trending but I’ve got to be able to actually be a ‘mum’ in what I’m wearing!
Price – I can be a bit fickle sometimes plus the budget’s not there for me to shop as a hobby lol. I don’t want to feel guilty after picking up something new for myself.
Convenience – If it’s too hard it’s not going to happen! I don’t want to have to pack a cut lunch and a compass to go shopping for a new top. Easy is good and works when I’m juggling kids and family obligations.
The Warehouse have nailed the brief this season and delivered some great pieces, that work beautifully together.
Pro-Tip: Shop across the various ranges to put together a fresh, new look for the season ahead.
I know there’s something in that stellar line-up that’s calling your name. Tell me below what your wardrobe needs as we head into the cooler months and you’re in the draw to win a $50 giftcard to spend at The Warehouse!
Look out for a second chance to enter on my fashion vlog coming soon x
Never made zoodles before, preeeety sure I’ve never created OR made a whole foods recipe before either.
First time for everything – including using New Hemisphere Hemp Seed Oil – and let me tell you, I will be making this again, and again and again. The nutty taste of the Hemp Seed Oil is the perfect complement to the smooth, creamy avocado blend (especially as I forgot to buy pine nuts for the pesto!).
I read a lot about zoodles before I began, it seems the key to making them is not to overcook them, you don’t want a pile of courgette / zucchini mush on your plate. Use the same principles as cooking regular pasta – firm, al dente noodles are your goal.