DIY: Easter Wreath+ Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway #2!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

I love adding simple, unfussy decor items to our mantle to set the tone for the season or celebrate the holidays.  A wreath is always my go-to as it can be placed anywhere and when you DIY, it can be modified and re-purposed very simply.  Plus, it’s such a welcoming decoration to have on your front door or in your home, and can form the basis of your holiday decor by tying everything together if you build you colour palette on the wreath itself. 

This pretty Easter wreath took me 20 minutes tops, so get creative and give it a go!

DIY: Easter Wreath

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Wrap foam ring with the burlap (or your choice of ribbon, fabric or bakers string looks great!), fasten on the back side with floral pins.
  • Place the large artificial flower stems and fix with floral pins.
  • Attach the paper bunting.  This comes with adhesive stickers which are holding just fine on the burlap.
  • Glue the eggs in place using a craft glue.  I used Helmar Craft Glue.
  • Place remaining small flower heads and burlap flowers.

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY 

Halloween 2015 | #thescarehouse

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween DecorIt’s about this time every year that Ye Ole debate starts, you know, the one that starts with this gem; “ugh, I HATE Halloween, it’s so American humpfff”.

Yeah well, I pooh-pooh those haters and say BRING ON HALLOWEEN! 

Here are my Top 5 reasons for getting down with Halloween;

  1. Wearing costumes is fun and kids LOVE it!  Dressing up in a pumpkin suit never hurt anyone right?
  2. I’m all for a fun/one-off day each year that breaks up the monotony of the daily grind – be realistic, Halloween impacts at most, 6 hours of your year – why not enjoy it?
  3. Halloween is great for meeting your neighbours!  Many communities now plan amazing (and easy to organise) events that respect everyone’s decision to either be involved or abstain.
  4. Lollies are awesome!
  5. Decorating (see below) is super fun, inexpensive if you’re a savvy shopper and use what you have already, plus, Halloween is a great excuse for a party!

Halloween Decorating

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor

I love decorating my mantlepiece every opportunity I get so I decided to up the anti and take #thescarehouse to a whole new level this year!  Before I began I went room-to-room collecting anything that fit my ‘brief’ – basically black, black and creepy.  I grabbed a print and coat hanger from Nixie’s room, some swallows off the wall (the orange paint was perfect!) some black and white pottery, a framed owl print, a calendar (turned to the 31st – All Hallows Eve :::::::whoooooo::::::) and a black clock.  Random and easy.

I then mixed these up with some inexpensive Halloween decor essentials from The Warehouse;

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor

Skull Goblet Bone Colour $10, Hanging Small Skeleton $10, Skull Mug Bone Colour $10, Spooky Spiders $3, Spider Web with Spider $1, Skull with Moving Jaw $10, Skull Bone Bowl $10Dummy Gauze Cloth $10, Rubber Spiders – Check the toy department, Rubber Snakes – Check Toy Department.
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor

If you don’t have a mantlepiece, get creative with a themed centrepiece and get ghoulishly ready for a creepy dinner party – Halloween is on a Saturday this year!  FYI, one of the $1 bags of cobwebs covered all four dining chairs! Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween DecorTop Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween DecorTop Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor

And, it wouldn’t be Halloween without costumes would it?  Finding age appropriate costumes for littles is a bit tricky here in New Zealand, definitely easier if you have a little girl I think? Yes?  Princesses and fairy wings and all that?
Needless to say I was beyond excited to find this super-cute Pumpkin Costume for Nix also at The Warehouse, it’s comfy, not too hot and he can move easily in it – winning………….so far!  We’ll see how our Neighbourhood Fright Night works out lol.

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So, I’ve got my decorations, costumes and Halloween treats all sorted, early too I might add!  If you’re keen to get spooky with The Warehouse this Halloween, you can shop the range online or visit your local store, and I’ve got a little helping hand to make Halloween even more fun!

(CLOSED)  Congratulations Rhiannon Young!

If you would like to win a $50 gift card from The Warehouse just let me know in the comments below; Halloween: YAY or NAY?

Contest closes 26/10/15 at 10pm.

An Easy Bedroom Update

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Bedroom MakeoverMy bedroom linens have been on my make-over-radar for a while now.  I’m still in love with this pretty pastel mash-up featuring one of my fave Kip & Co duvet covers but unfortunately it’s suffered some major sun fade.  And that BUGS me no end.

We get almost all-day sun in our bedroom so a fresh white duvet is really the only option to avoid ruining any more expensive linen.  Heading into stores to leisurely shop for anything is just not possible at the moment with my 2 year old terror, so I was relieved/excited/super-duper stoked to check out the latest catalogue from Ezibuy Home – in the comfort of my own home!

I’m a very decisive shopper.  I know what I like and I’m great at making no-regrets, snap decisions.  But, I struggled trying to decide on what items to choose from this new range.  I wanted to incorporate a variety of textures and keep the look clean and white, preferring this time to accent with colour rather than feature it.
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Bedroom Makeover

I chose the Nantucket Quilted Duvet Cover Set RRP $119.99-$169.99 which is heavy, lush and has the most beautiful detailing – exactly what I was looking for as a focal point for the master bedroom.  White, but definitely not boring!
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Bedroom MakeoverTo complement the pretty detailing in the duvet cover I wanted to add even more texture.  The Epsom European Pillowcover RRP $27.99 has quilted herringbone chambray on one side and ticking stripe on reverse.  I finished the look with a Velvet Throw pillow in grey RRP $49.99, ramping up the soft, tactile feel I was going for.Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Bedroom Makeover

There’s still a couple of pieces I need to finish this look; a linen valance and linen sheet set are definitely top of my wish list.

I have never, ever shopped at Ezibuy before and the quality, price and on-trend range of this homewares line sees them firmly overtake some other large retailers in the very competitive home decor market.  I love it all!
Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Bedroom MakeoverStore credit was provided for editorial consideration.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Shop Tour | Global Baby

This little blogging gig does wonders for getting me out and about and exploring different parts of Auckland – it’s also pretty deadly on the credit card as I discover more and more fabulous businesses that are doing things so right in this very competitive retail market.  Our declining love affair with the bricks and mortar storefronts of old makes sense in a lot of markets.  Hell yes I’m going to order groceries online if Countdown sends me a code for $1 delivery – why wouldn’t I?  I can’t drive to the store for a $1, plus my time………

However, there are some things that one simply must shop for in person, and let’s be clear, I’m talking about everything related to baby-on-the-way.  For me, the nesting, list-checking, stroller perusing days were some of the most fun and special shopping days I can remember.  So much time, energy, planning and lets face it, money goes into ensuring you’ve got all of your bases covered before baby arrives – then you do it all over again after bubs is born when you realise you had no idea what you needed and what you didn’t!  Ethan, Nixon and I visited Global Baby during the school holidays and spent some time in the store with owner Anita and her lovely shop assistant Danielle.  These two ladies were the very picture of calm whilst the two boys manhandled everything in the shop and just as Nixon was about to lose ALL of his marbles Danielle sat down with a box of stickers and peace was restored.

That’s the kind of shopping experience I want need from every retailer!

I’ve picked out a few of my favourite, lust-worthy items that are available in-store or online if you can’t make it to Global Baby at 161 Manukau Rd, Epsom.

Mummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

Mutsy Strollers

It was love at first sight when I saw the Mutsy range of strollers.  Never before have I considered a stroller an object of desire but the finishing and leather detail on these are gorgeous.  Further complementing their stand-out range of strollers which also includes the Casual Play and Brevi ranges, Global Baby have their very own Stroller Technician who carries out any repairs and adjustments in-house so you and baby are back on the street in no time.  Both Anita and Danielle are NZQA certified Child Restraint Technicians; these are the ladies you need when deciding upon the very best travel system for your family.Mummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

Perfect Gift Ideas for Baby and Mummy
Mummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

1.  Pretty Brave Mint with Stripes Slip On $49.90.  I’m dying inside a little that Nixon never got to wear a pair of these super stylish shoes, so sad!  Global Baby has an amazing selection of Pretty Brave Moccasins, Slip-ons and Espadrilles in stock in BOTH boys and girls styles – they’ve just arrived though so be quick!

2.  Haakaa Natural Rubber Teether $14.90.  Shop the NZ designed Haakaa range here, all products are BPA, PVC, Phthalate and Lead free + are scratch and chip proof

3.  All mama’s, new or not so new, need recognition every now and then for the wonderful job they’re doing.  These gorgeous candles, exclusive to Global Baby are blended to promote sleep, relaxation and stress relief.

4.  Kip & Co Bamboo Baby Wrap 2 Pack $64.90.  One of my favorite brands, Kip & Co never disappoint and these stylish, functional swaddles are a nursery essential.  Shop Kip & Co here

5.  Mamoo & Lou Zig Zag Pullover $65.  I spied this NZ brand in the latest Good magazine and was even more enamoured after seeing these fabulous 100% merino knits in person.  Gender neutral, classic styles and superb quality.  Mamoo & Lou tick all the boxes for me and with carefully thought out features such as the folded cuff design on their pants, this range should be at the top of every baby shower wish list.

6.  Baby Wilson Lola Boot by Kathryn Wilson $64.90.  I don’t think these need much of an intro, swoon. Handmade, 100% leather, Baby Wilson by Kathryn Wilson boots make an ideal baby gift, christening gift or christening shoe.  These are the heirloom item every mother will cherish!

Mummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandKaylula Baby Furniture

Design perfection and functionality plus have finally arrived in the nursery.  The Kaylula YoYo cradle may be one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever laid eyes on.  Crafted from bentwood, this cradle is a lullaby-inducing dream!  The Kaylula range also includes 4-in-1 cots and changing table/drawer combos. 

If you’ve done your window shopping/research and are ready to order then head to the Global Baby website to shop their comprehensive range.  If you’re after advice and high-end service then the in-store experience with Anita or Danielle is a must!  Visit Global Baby at 161 Manukau Rd, Epsom, Auckland.  Phone 09 630 1960Mummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandMummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandMummy Auckland Blogger New Zealandmummy-blog-new-zealand-nz Mummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandMummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

 

Blogger Life | Mark Tuckey + Cotton On Homewares Launch in Auckland

Cotton On isn’t really setting a foot wrong lately.  Their growing stable of ranges just added another string to its bow this week with the Auckland launch of the Homewares collection – Mark Tuckey + Cotton On.

A breakfast launch, hosted at the flagship Queen St store was as relaxed and welcoming as the collection itself, introducing media to the range in the best way possible – visual, tactile and brought to market via the in-store merchandising display.  

Mark Tuckey is a renowned Australian furniture designer who has brought to the collection an effortless laid-back, bo-ho feel.  This new homewares category boasts a combination of luxe fabrics, chunky knits, wood and stone.  Classic neutrals are offset by a delicious palette of mandarin, cumin, ash, mustard, navy and muted, beachy stripes.

The collection is delineated by the classifications; Eat, Drink, Relax, Store, Bathe and Sleep.  I was particularly drawn to the soft furnishings in the Sleep & Relax categories, with the linen/cotton blend sheeting and duvet sets going straight to the top of my shopping list.

Charcoal

The mid-range pricing makes this an accessible, affordable and stylish option which will attract shoppers who might traditionally head to Freedom as a one stop shop.

The range is available in New Zealand at the Albany, Queen St and Napier stores and online at www.cottonon.com.

Mummy Homewares Blogger New Zealand

Mummy Homewares Blogger New Zealand Mummy Homewares Blogger New Zealand

7 Simple Steps to get your Home & Family Ready for Winter

The torrential rains of last week followed by the sudden drop in temperatures over the past two days have left me shivering, but no longer am I in denial that winter is coming!  It’s just around the corner which means it’s time to be proactive and get my A into G.  

I am always freezing cold (right now I’m wearing my #1 winter warmer – a stunning khaki green Swanndri Polar Fleece which is just the ugliest warmest thing in the world!), so keeping our home warm and dry is almost an obsession of mine.  I can’t bear the thought of the kids being cold and our house being damp.  Preventing both of those things will help us all survive the winter with a minimum of colds and illness – hopefully!

  • Seal the windows – Glass windows and doors lose up to 10 times as much heat as an insulated wall.  Light is good, so there’s no getting around windows but we can definitelyr educe the energy loss that they are responsible for.  In our last rental before we purchased our home, the wooden joinery was in terrible condition due to a complete lack of maintenance.  There were also no curtains or effective window treatments on any of the windows to prevent the warmth we were able to generate simply slipping through the cracks.  The solution was cheap and easy.  I sealed all the windows in the bedrooms with 3M Indoor Window Insulation Kits available from Mitre 10.  Once you get the hang of the application process, it’s not hard, this product will blow your mind.  It creates artificial double glazing – you know how you can feel the cold coming through the glass in an old window frame?  This plastic film completely stops that and the reverse effect of heat loss.  I used this every winter when we were renting and cannot recommend it enough.

3M Window Insulation Kit New Zealand Mum Blog

  • Draught stoppers – Much like windows, doors can wreck havoc whilst trying to keep your home snug and warm.  We have all wooden joinery which is a bit past its prime and our french doors in the lounge are so gappy you can feel a little breeze whistling through them which is not optimal lol.  Two solutions here; add a window strip and use an old fashioned draught stopper.  Last year I added a window strip down the length of our doors where they join and I’d say it cut the breeze by about 95%!  This year I will be investing in some of Kmart’s cute draught stoppers to seal the bottom of the doors – I think they’re only $6!

3M Window Insulation Kit New Zealand Mum Blog 3M Window Insulation Kit New Zealand Mum Blog

  • Dehumidify – My dehumidifiers are my all time fave household appliances.  I might be a little bit addicted to them.  I love them for their white noise and also for their intended purpose of drying your home!  I’ve had mine off all Summer but since the rain last week have been running the big guy every day.  Prevention is better than trying to fix a damp problem.  I rotate mine around each room, usually doing emptying it twice before moving on to the next room.  Don’t forget, it’s easier and cheaper to heat a dry house!
  • Get your chimney swept – This is just a basic maintenance and safety issue.  If you are renting this is something your landlord should pay for and have attended to annually to prevent build up in the flue.
  • Heating – We have a very charming but pretty ineffective gas fireplace with a hidden flue, so we don’t receive any benefit of all that nice hot air going up the chimney.  We also have an ‘L’ shaped house so warm air does not naturally flow through.  I’m not entirely convinced our heat pump is that economical so I’m thrilled to have been using the new Goldair Platinum Series Ceramic Tower Heater for the past two very chilly days.  Both Dave and I agree that we have never used any kind of heat source that heats up a room as quickly as this ceramic heater does.  I love it’s modern styling, tiny footprint and upright design which means it can safely operate in some awkward spaces.  The LCD display is a great feature that makes it easy to keep an eye on the temperature and adjust accordingly – with the remote!  With hurricane Nix in the house the most endearing feature for me is the safety tip-over switch.  Available from Farmers, Briscoes, Noel Leeming, Mitre 10 etc RRP$249.99

Goldair Platinun Ceramic Heater Mum Blog New Zealand

  • Linen – While I’m still able to get things {mostly} dry on the line I have popped the big blankets and flannel sheets in quick 15 minute wash cycles to get them all fresh and ready to pop on the beds when we need it.  There’s nothing worse than trying to dry large, heavy loads of laundry when the rain is relentless.
  • Gutters – After the trees have lost all of their leaves head up on your roof or get up the ladder and clear out the gutters.  Pooling water that’s unable to drain can get into your house and cause major damage.  It’s not the best job but one you only have to do once a year.
  • Clothing – Take a quick inventory of winter items that the family needs.  This is a great opportunity to clear out the drawers and wardrobes and pass on items that may now be too small or surplus to requirements.  Keep your ‘need’ list on your phone or in your purse so you can reference it while out shopping/thrifting if you stumble across a bargain.  Don’t put off buying items you know you need, like gumboots or raincoats, scrambling for these items the day of a rainy school trip or family outing will easily raise stress levels!

 

Stay, warm, and stay dry, but don’t be afraid to enjoy the outdoors even in less-than perfect weather.  Sometimes popping a raincoat on and heading out on a blowy, showery day can clear the cobwebs and make you feel alive!  Kids don’t melt in the rain and really don’t care about getting wet.  Puddles are friends (with the right equipment) and will instantly cure even the most stubborn case of cabin fever.

Enjoy the season everyone!

The Goldair Platinum Series Ceramic Tower Heater was provided for editorial consideration.  All opinions expressed are my own.

DIY | Refinishing our dining table

Our dining room table was not a pretty guy and was really letting down the overall ambience of the dining room. I joke!  I would never use the word ambience and mean it, I promise.

Our table was a hand-me-down from Mum and Dad and was still in awesomely solid condition, but the original varnish on the top was thin and the finish had suffered over the years (standard nail polish remover accidents etc).  My initial inclination was to just go out and buy a brand new table, but dang, those suckers are expensive!  It was decided that we would refinish our dining room table ourselves.

Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ BlogI knew I wanted the top finished in bright, high gloss, hard wearing white enamel.  The opposite of the dipped leg that is trending right now but I had Dave had exactly zero interest in sanding down all of those fiddly little side bits!  And so we began;

Step 1.  Strip the existing finish.  Dave used a 30 grit disk on an orbital sander.  This took him probably 5 minutes!  Absolutely no indicator of how long and arduous this project was to become!  (I have neglected to mention that we undertook this project in the middle of one of the hottest summers I can ever remember – the worst possible time for oil based enamel paint to harden). 

Step 2.  Buy premium rollers.  I began with cheap ones and paid the price of having to apply more coats than I otherwise would have.

Step 3.  Apply two coats of Dulux Prepcoat Oil Based Primer with a light sand using 220 grit in between.  I didn’t listen to Dave and only applied one coat!  You will probably have to hand sand the edges and sides as it is easy to strip these right back to the wood – over and over again.  Sigh.

Step 4.  Take careful note of drying times and stick to these religiously.    After a light sand begin top coats.  I used Dulux Super Enamel Oil Based High Gloss in white.  Paint the small edges first and roll longways down the table.  Light sand between each coat.  With proper prep and good rollers you should only need 3 coats max.  I did SEVEN.  fml.

Step 5.  Do not listen to your neighbor when he suggests you top coat your hours of work with polyurethane.  At any cost.  

Step 6.  You will hate your table by this point, but now you must wait for the enamel to harden.  Give it at least two days before returning it to use.  It will probably take weeks to harden, especially if you have applied seven coats of oil based paint!

Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ BlogHowever painful the process was, I swoon over the new finish every time I sit at the table.  It is so, so glossy and hard wearing.  Nixie’s crayon scrawls come right off and cleaning up after mealtimes is bliss compared to the previously worn varnish.  A labour of love that has given this fab table many more years to endure the abuse of my children!

Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ Blog Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ Blog Dining Table Refinish DIY NZ Blog

Dining chairs, wall art and copper basket from Freedom Furniture

Daily Look | Nixon’s Room

Almost two years on I still love this wee nursery.  I was laughing with some girlfriends the other night about the state of it though.  What you don’t see in this image is the gnawed, beaver tracks on the cot rails –  Nixon is THAT child in every possible way!  It will be time for a makeover soon though, as we move on from changing tables etc and make way for some more Big Boy furniture.  That gorgeous, snuggly bear blanket?  Kmart $7.  What the?!  I know, I couldn’t leave the store without it.

Daily Look | #shelfie

I have THAT child.  The one that is obsessed with getting his mitts on anything that cost more than a cup of coffee and may be potentially fragile and expensive to fix.  My DSLR has just returned from a holiday at Canon HQ and now needs to be kept up high.  A string shelf phaff was obviously in order!

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Daily Look | Our Easter Mantlepiece

I haven’t put up any Easter decorations for years, usually because they are in the Christmas storage boxes and who can be bothered digging through those in March!  However this year I remembered to pull the Easter stuff out as I was packing away the Christmas Tree, voila!  How cute is that bunting? $2.50 from Kmart!