Female Hereditary Hair Loss – What you Need to Know

As a New Zealand women, I’ve grown up with the notion that much of my sense of self (and sometimes even self-worth!), is intrinsically associated with my appearance and how others, or more importantly, how I feel about my appearance at any given point in my life.

As normalised/wrong/gender biased as this may seem to some, for me, it’s simply a fact. I am a 37-year-old product of my environment and my physical characteristics and how I choose to present myself to the world do play a strong role in how I identify with my heritage, my family, my friends as well as strangers.

The body positive movement is forcing many of us to ask some hard questions about this very topic, about why the size or shape of our thighs should have any impact on how kick-ass we deem our femme-selves to be. But, our physical self is made up of much more than thighs, bums, mum-tums and bingo-wings (what remains of my triceps!). We love – or should try to love – our skin, our noses, our teeth, our big foreheads we inherited from our dads and, we probably do love our hair, at least on that one day each month we have time to wash and blow dry it!

Much is out of our control. We can go to the gym, exhibit full, disciplined control over what we eat and drink but we can’t control when our hair will begin to grey or if we will be the 1-in-3 women who will experience hair thinning or hair loss after age 30. Many women identify strongly with their hair, it can ground us and remind us of our heritage, styling it – or not styling it – can make us feel empowered, or simply……..beautiful. Our hair as females can make a statement, we can use it as a symbol of our beliefs and what we stand for, or in protest against what others feel we should believe in and stand for.

As such, female hereditary hair loss can be a devastating experience for many women. I was researching this piece whilst travelling, and amongst the crowds in airports and in close quarters on planes, I began to notice just how common it was among women.

Hereditary Hair Loss Facts
  • Most people lose between 50-100 hairs a day, which is considered normal hair loss; a consistent loss of 150 hairs a day is considered significant hair loss.
  • Can resemble an Evergreen tree pattern with the most extensive hair loss occurring on the top of the head and along the part.
  • If untreated, hair thinning can worsen over time.
Treating Hereditary Hair Loss

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Women's Regaine Female Hereditary Hair Loss

Don’t despair, ladies, there is help available and it’s an easy, quick addition to your daily beauty routine and doesn’t require expensive specialist appointments.

Women’s REGAINE® Foam is the first and only once daily foam clinically proven to regrow hair in women.

Once daily. At home. Available in pharmacies without a prescription.

Sounds amazing right? But how does it work?

Launched in 2016, Women’s Regaine works to reactivate hair follicles and stimulate hair growth with the added bonus that new hairs can be up to 48% thicker than before. Active ingredient Minoxidil 5% works to increase the supply of blood and nutrients to hair follicles, resulting in strengthening existing hairs and encouraging them to grow.

Clinical studies show results in as little as 12 weeks but if you can’t wait that long, the amaze stylists and hair professionals at Frenchie & Co have shared some of their go-to methods for styling thinning hair;

How to Style Thinning HairNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Women's Regaine

  • Create volume by backcombing around the crown of the head and part where female hereditary hair loss is most apparent.
  • Use your straightener to lock that volume in by clamping hair at the root with your straightener set on low heat – try 150°
  • Use products such as powder grip, dry shampoo and hair spray to maintain lift throughout the day.
  • Lighter colour hairy creates the illusion of more volume
  • Avoid a centre part
  • Lobs, bobs and side fringes work well

How to Care for Thinning Hair

  • Avoid tight, pulled back styles
  • Give your hair a break! Try a ‘gentle hair day’ once a week
  • Use sulphate free shampoos that don’t open the hair follicle
  • Avoid over-processing hair
  • Comb when wet, not dry

Women’s REGAINE® Foam is available from pharmacies nationwide RRP $85.99 for a 2-month supply, $129.99 for a 4-month supply.

This post was sponsored by Women’s REGAINE® Foam, all opinions expressed are my own.  

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

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!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Kid's Health Insurance

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 : )

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Kid's Health Insurance

Thanks to Accuro for sponsoring this post!

 

 

 

 

 

Little Moments Matter + Fruit Tea Gummies Recipe

It’s Mother’s Day season again and like (I’m guessing!) 99% of you, I’m staring at the calendar and my multiple to-do lists wondering how it can be that we now find ourselves in MAY, on the cusp of winter and racing through 2017 at such a rate that I’m struggling to remember the big moments in our year so far, let alone the small moments that can make such a difference to our day-to-day lives.

That’s the quintessential paradox of modern parenting though, isn’t it?  Celebrate everything, be and do ALL the things, say yes with reckless abandon only to overcommit yourself and fill your days with all the trappings of BUSY.

This is my life.

My name is Melissa and I am a BUSY addict.

I don’t know how to stop being busy (I’d desperately like to, to be honest), but, I’ve got a couple of tricks up my sleeve to help me slow it down each day, even for just a few of minutes here and there.  Little moments do matter and can make a big difference in your day.

Do something special just for you

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Natural Gelatine Gummy recipe

We sneak little treats into the kids’ lunchboxes now and then, surprise our partners with a favourite meal or a date night but it’s not so often we go that extra mile for ourselves is it?  Certainly not on a daily basis.

I just can’t seem to drink enough water, which in turn affects everything from my mood to my overall health.  Taking the time to address this water deficit, is a tiny bit of self-investment that will pay off in the long run.  

What you can do:  Spend 5 minutes prepping a delicious, hydrating drink that you’ll want to sip on throughout the day!

  • Find a caffeine-free fruit tea that you love and whip up a cold brew to add to your flask or drink bottle.  I love Red Seal Lemon & Lime Hot or Cold Brew.
  • Add ice 
  • Add lemon and/or lime slices
  • Pat yourself on the back and drink up!

Create a Daily Ritual

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Natural Gelatine Gummy recipe

When my boys are at school or kindy, they eat morning tea and lunch at the same time every day.  My days, however, are random and blurry in which I’m flying by the seat of my pants 99% of the time.

What we can do: Identify a time of day during which you can sit, undisturbed, in a relatively peaceful environment and just BE.  It could mean leaving your desk at work to take a break instead of just working right through, it could be taking a moment for a cup of tea at 2.30 before school pick-up, or setting aside 10 minutes of reading time before bed instead of mindlessly scrolling social media.

Ritual and routine are important to help everyone feel grounded and they needn’t take up large chunks of time which we just don’t have.

Try Something New

When it comes to food trends, I am definitely NOT an early adopter, tech – yes, bone broth – no!

Nix does have congenital gut issues, however, so I’m always on the lookout for some great, natural food ideas that both he and his brother will love (HA!) and that may have some therapeutic benefits for his little digestive system.

Homemade, natural gummies have been popping up here and there on my social feeds lately.  They’re made with the protein-packed, collagen goodness of grass-fed gelatin (great for Nixie’s tummy and great for my skin!), so whipping up some delish, fruity gummy treats has been on my to-do list for ages.

What you can do: Getting creative and allowing yourself permission to fail can be quite liberating!  Take baby steps, stop putting off something you’ve wanted to try, enrol in that yoga class and make today awesome!

These gummies took me two attempts to perfect, but were not a massive time commitment as start to finish they take 45 minutes max and have only 5 ingredients!

Fruit Tea Gummies Recipe

Ingredients

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Natural Gelatine Gummy recipe

3/4 cup of diced fruit (I used pre-frozen then defrosted sliced peaches from our tree this summer)

1/2 cup of water with two Red Seal Hot or Cold Brew fruit tea bags (I used Raspberry & Strawberry)

1 1/2 tbsp of natural, grass-fed gelatin

1 tsp Red Seal Manuka Honey UMF5+

Coconut oil to grease moulds if you are using them.

Method

Puree your fruit.  I use my Nutribullet with a touch of water.

Add gelatin, brewed Red Seal tea and fruit to a small saucepan, stir to dissolve gelatin.

Add honey and whisk constantly over a low heat until fully combined, thickening a little and just simmering at the edges.

Grease silicone moulds (or use a glass dish lined with baking paper), pour mixture in and pop in the freezer.  They should set in about 20 minutes.

Pop gummies out of the moulds or lift out the baking paper and cut into pieces.

Enjoy!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Natural Gelatine Gummy recipe

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Natural Gelatine Gummy recipe

WIN >  Make your own Red Seal Fruit Tea Gummies!

Want to try this easy-peasy recipe out at home for yourself?  Tell me which Red Seal tea flavour you’d most like to try (take a look here) by leaving me a comment below and you’re in the draw to win a 3-Pack of delicious fruit teas and two silicone moulds so you can whip up some yummy gummies at home.

Comp closes Sunday 21 May @10pm.  NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Natural Gelatine Gummy recipe

 

The Worst Part of My Day…………just got a wee bit easier

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.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Sonicare Toothbrush

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.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Sonicare Toothbrush

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

-Built-in timer

-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.

Competition closes 18/4/17 NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Sonicare Toothbrush

Parenting Must-Do: Get your kids eyes tested for free!

When I think about sight and eye health, the sum total of knowledge accrued in my near-38 years is limited to;

  • I like colours
  • Carrots (may?) help us to see in the dark?
  • Sharp objects and eyes don’t mix

I realise I’m pretty much an expert already HA, but as there are two little men and their four, fairly virginal eyeballs under my care I dispatched them to the professionals at Specsavers last week for comprehensive eye exams.

I’m going to put this in bold because it’s important and I will probably remind you again ok?

Kids under 16 receive FREE eye exams at Specsavers.

Yes, yes YES!  Free!

The thought of taking both of the boys to any type of appointment together fills me with dread so I made them individual appointments on separate days and this worked perfectly for us.  It allowed me to give both Ethan and Nixon and their respective optometrists my full attention and eliminated the stress of trying to keep Nix under control during Ethan’s exam.

Initially, I assumed the check-ups were going to be all about this;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

I feel as a mother that the latest hot-topic and source of parenting guilt is undoubtedly that which revolves around screen-time.  How much and how often and the detrimental effect of screens on the body, mind and of course, developing eyes.

I was sooo relieved that Jason at the Specsavers North West store took an entirely holistic approach with Ethan.  Instead of grilling us on the amount of time Ethan spends online, he began by asking E what his hobbies are, what sports he plays, what activities he likes to do outside?  At first, I was not following this line of questioning at all but as the eye exam progressed, everything fell into place.

I’m going to sum this up for you in #mumspeak; instead of trying to understand the complicated little gadgets that eyes really are, it’s easier for me to think of them as a muscle.  If kids (and adults) are constantly asking their eyes to do the same workout ie look at screens within close proximity OR enjoying close reading, eyes never get a chance to ‘stretch’ and extend themselves just like our muscles need to do through exercise.  This is increasingly important as one in five New Zealand children spend the equivalent of a full-time job (up to 35 hours) per week staring at screens!  Screentime itself is not bad for your eyes, it’s the time spent viewing screens in close proximity, the lack of variation in ocular activity that results from device usage and the associated social and physical implications that result from digital isolation which do have negative effects.

Jason’s suggestion for managing screen time made a lot of sense and seemed reasonable to both Ethan and I; 20 minutes on, then take a break – outside if possible.  The beauty and value of outside play for both kids and adults is irrefutable but particularly for eye health, the range of distance that’s available for our eyes to gauge provides a great ‘workout’ and is in direct contrast to the close work done inside on devices or whilst reading books.

Just remember to wear your sunnies!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

Nixie’s exam also went really well.  The tests were perfectly age adjusted for little guys like him and he was pretty intrigued with the ‘robots’ that wanted to look in his eyes (Digital Retinal Photography is included free in all eye exams at Specsavers) as well as the funny glasses he got to wear.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

We survived!  And the boy’s eyes are in tip-top shape thank goodness.

If you’re worried about your kids’ eyesight, get them tested people!  Long term eye issues have a higher chance of being cured if they are detected and treated before a child turns eight.  And their eye tests are FREE at Specsavers until they’re 16, you got that right?  

Both adults and children should have their eyes tested once every two years so shake off that procrastination and book your kids in for free exams now > www.specsavers.co.nz/

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers

10 warning signs that there might be something wrong with a child’s eyesight:

  • Straining their eyes or tilting their head to see better
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Losing their place while reading, or using a finger to guide their eyes
  • Sensitivity to light and/or excessive tearing
  • Falling behind in school
  • Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
  • Consistently sitting too close to the TV or holding a book too close
  • Avoiding activities which require near vision, such as reading or homework; or
    distance vision, such as participating in sports or other recreational activities
  • Closing one eye to read, watch TV or see better
  • Avoiding using a computer or tablet because it ‘hurts their eyes’
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Free Eye Test Specsavers
Caption: Nix was obsessed with these Finding Dory frames! So many cute options for littles.

Science and Skincare for your baby – Start Fresh with the Facts

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog FamilyJohnson's Baby

This post is sponsored by Johnson’s Baby, all copy and opinions expressed within are my own.

For an expectant parent, the 9 months prior to the arrival of a new baby is one filled with choices. To find out the gender of your most awaited delivery…….or not, to paint the nursery this colour………or that, this name, that name, hospital or home birth, breast or bottle, cloth or disposable……an endless keep-you-up-at-night intro to the never-ending decisions that mean you’ve made it – your choices will affect the welfare of your small-person for the next 18 years or so. Congratulations!

Our second son Nixon arrived in 2013, we were in NZ this time, and I realised once again that I knew absolutely nothing about being a parent – the only familiar thing was the feeling of knowing absolutely nothing lol. What was vastly different from 2004 when Ethan was born, was, the digital landscape had become a very real, almost tangible part of our daily lives, especially mine as a blogger and a mother. As parents, we now head online to research, discuss and vet our social audiences of their opinions on every aspect of our lives. We have intimate access to the lives of people that we barely know, we ‘friend’ people that are perhaps just a passing acquaintance and are then subject to their own views, lifestyle choices and social media ‘highlight reel’.

The influence of our own parents, close family and trusted friends has waned, taking a back seat to the ever accessible opinions and choices of those on the other end of a Twitter or Instagram handle. As a result, the choices we make as parents, both for ourselves and our kids can become based upon strong, reactive emotions, such as guilt, fear, inadequacy and envy.

I’ve had the ‘Mummy-guilt’ discussion with every single one of my female friends at some point over the past 11.5 years and though it manifests differently for each of us, it’s a massive driver when it comes to making purchasing decisions for our families. As new parents, we have literally 100’s of things more pressing requiring our attention than allowing ourselves to feel guilty for not purchasing the latest celeb endorsed green/vegan/organic/quinoa based/activated/squeezed-through-hemp-filters-held-by-yogis bubble bath for our precious bundles of joy.

Am I right?

In an effort to help shift this feeling of guilt from at least one aspect of daily life, I went straight to the company with the most research published, & the most peer reviewed baby skincare brand, Johnson’s Baby, and got the answers I need to make buying baby care products a choice that doesn’t require a referendum on Facebook – or a science degree!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog FamilyJohnson's Baby

4 things you need to know about Baby Products

  1. Are they safe? Pretty much a key concern I’d say and rightly so! Johnson’s baby products meet or exceed government standard in the countries they are sold. In New Zealand, baby personal care products are classified as cosmetics and Johnson’s Baby adhere to the New Zealand Cosmetic Product Group Standard.
    Prior to that, a robust internal safety mandate should be in place. Johnson’s Baby use a 5 step safety process that begins by sourcing raw materials from their trusted suppliers who comply with J&J’s strict safety standards, these materials are then tested, and are rejected if a full safety profile is not met. Next, different experts such as dermatologists, ophthalmologists & paediatricians clinically test the products for safety, suitability for use on s The products are also tested for environmental impact.  The next step is in-use testing of products by volunteers around the world, in their homes, the ‘uncontrolled’ environments of the real world. They also tested their products in the lab under several conditions such as extreme heat, cold, and humidity to make sure the products are safe and consistent. Only after this scrutiny are Johnson’s Baby products ready to hit the shelves. The 5th step is ongoing evaluation and consumer feedback as well as continued research into new and better ingredients to further improve products.
  2. If a product is marked as ‘natural’ what does that mean? I have a big issue with this one as it seems like certain terms such as ‘natural’ are bandied about in both product labelling and marketing without too much explanation of what actually constitutes a completely ‘natural’ product. I would argue that a natural product is one that contains no synthetic ingredients at all. This can seem like an attractive option for those concerned about synthetic products in skincare. It’s worth noting that some natural products and ingredients can be harsh on baby’s skin. For example, plant extracts will vary in quality and performance depending on how they are sourced and this can lead to irritation. In fact, some synthetic ingredients offer high performance, consistent quality, low impurities and excellent safety, that is why sometimes synthetic ingredients are added into Johnson’s baby products.
  3. How to understand ingredient labels? Much like reading food labels, reading product ingredient labels has become de rigueur for the modern parent. There is no simple how-to here, only reassurance in that there IS a global system for labelling personal care products called the INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) labelling system. What this means is that ingredients are required to be identified using standard scientific names so it’s easy to compare products across different languages. This system is in place on all Johnson’s Baby products so you can compare apples with apples right there in the supermarket aisle!
  4. Are there ingredients I should be concerned about? This is the million dollar question isn’t it and probably one of the main reasons why there is now so much choice in the baby care category. Remove an ingredient from a product or switch it out with an alternative and you’ve immediately got a point of difference. Most of us have probably heard of parabens, phthalates, SLS and maybe formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (I had never heard of this last one!), but, what you may not know, these ingredients are not added into Johnson’s baby products . Ah-maze!

I’m what I’d describe as a very ‘moderate’ parent. Until just 2 weeks ago we’ve never had to implement exclusion diets in our house but, moderation, exercise and family fitness is non-negotiable. Likewise, I don’t purchase products based upon their ingredients list, I simply purchase products that I like from brands that I trust. I’m sure this sounds more than a bit familiar to some of you right?! In between the housework, chauffeuring, grocery shopping, household admin, working, cooking, management of sports teams and breathing, if my mind happened to drift to the phthalate content of Nixon’s Johnson’s baby shampoo, I can now rest assured, safe in the knowledge that there isn’t any in there!

One less choice to make and one less thing to feel guilty about ; )

For more information on Johnson’s Baby products please click here.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog FamilyJohnson's Baby

Easy Oral Health Tips for Kids + Win a Philips Sonicare Toothbrush!

 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Easy Oral Health Tips for Kids

My two boys are complete opposites when it comes to brushing their teeth and sticking to a good oral health routine.  One will want to brush his teeth every single time he hears someone in the bathroom, whilst the other will ‘forget’ and actually leave the house – my worst nightmare! – without brushing his teeth.

We are not sharks (good discussion starter with your kids perhaps? lol), with only two sets of teeth over our lifetime we need to take super good care of them and teach our kids to do the same.  Like anything, establishing great oral health habits isn’t complicated, it’s just about consistency and routine.  Combining these two things with the right tools and your kids should be well on their way to a lifetime of great oral hygiene… fingers crossed!

Easy Oral health Tips for Kids

    1. Fluoride Toothpaste
      A tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste is recommended to clean children’s teeth as soon they pop up.  Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and prevent decay.
    2. Don’t fear the Dentist!  
      In New Zealand kids receive free basic dental care until they’re 18!  Yay!  This means, regular checkups, cleaning, X-rays, preventative treatments like fluoride or fissure, sealants, fillings and extractions.  Your child should be automatically enrolled at birth and be seen for their first check-up before they turn two.  Nix has just been for his 2nd visit and it’s totally no big deal, it honestly takes 10 minutes max and he enjoyed the whole process.  Call 0800 Talk Teeth (0800 825 583) for more info.
    3. Start early
      Good oral hygiene begins even before bubs has his/her first teeth.  Using a soft cloth to clean gums and their tongue helps remove bacteria in the mouth.  Keep up the good work with gentle brushing with fluoride toothpaste once teeth develop and continue to monitor toothbrushing habits until kids are at least 8 years old.
    4. Do it right
      Technique is everything!  Kids can struggle with the amount of pressure to use, the right angles to hit those hard to reach spots and remembering which segment they’ve brushed etc.  Having the right tools helps. Ethan’s been using the Philips Sonicare for Kids Toothbrush which uses a dynamic side-to-side cleaning action, rather than a rotating action and has over 31,000 brush strokes per minute which helps remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and (I’m sure!) is hugely more effective than the snail’s pace with which he was brushing his teeth before!
    5. Floss
      I didn’t know this!!!  Kids should be flossing as soon as teeth are touching the adjacent tooth.  Flossing removes bits of food and plaque that get stuck between teeth, as brushing alone simply can’t reach these tricky spots.  It’s about time that our boys step things up in this department.

The toothbrush E’s using below is the new Philips Sonicare for Kids.  It’s totally removed my urge to monitor how long he spends brushing his teeth as it has a built-in KidTimer that lets him know when it’s time to switch to a new spot and (crucially!) when he has finished brushing his teeth.  He’s also been able to customise it with fun, interchangeable stickers that have got little Nixon seething about his big brother’s new fancy toothbrush!  Suitable for ages 4+, Nix will have his own soon enough.  A bathroom used by two young boys can get super messy, so I’m loving the anti-roll feature of the Philips Sonicare which helps keep the bathroom at least a little bit cleaner!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Easy Oral Health Tips for Kids

You can win a Philips Sonicare for Kids toothbrush RRP $99.95 right here!

To enter, comment below with any tips you have for getting the kids to brush and I’ll choose a winner at random 17/11/16!  NZ residents only.  You can gain a second entry here > Happy, Healthy Halloween Ideas for Kids.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

 

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!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nivea Sunscreen review

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.

Happy, Healthy Halloween Ideas for Kids

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

Love it or loathe it, New Zealanders are slowly adopting a more favorable view of Halloween.  My opinion is simply that dressing up is super-fun for kids so let them have it whilst they’re still young enough to enjoy a special, spooky night out in their neighborhood.

I’m not one to get on the sugar bandwagon either, but there’s no denying it’s definitely the time of year when littles can go crazy on excess amounts of Trick or Treat candy.  Moderation is a wonderful thing but I don’t know anyone under the age of 12 – or 45? – who can resist delving into their Halloween loot a little more often than they should.

We all know that sugar and lollies are bad for kids teeth and oral health so I’ve teamed up with Philips Sonicare and come up with some ideas to help you and the kids focus on getting into the ‘theme’ of Halloween, rather than just dressing up and celebrating for the haul of Trick or Treat lollies at the end of the night!

When I watch my kids brush their teeth I swear I can count each brush stroke with ease as the boys seem to move in slow motion!  They’ve realised that spending the correct amount of time brushing their teeth *might* be halfway to fooling Mum and Dad that they’ve actually done a great job!  Ethan’s new Philips Sonicare toothbrush uses a dynamic side-to-side cleaning action, rather than a rotating action and has over 31,000 brush strokes per minute which helps remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and (I’m sure!) is hugely more effective than the snail’s pace with which he was brushing his teeth before.

5 Ways you can cut the sugar and ramp up the fun this Halloween

  • Host your own Halloween Party instead of Trick or Treating

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

We used to do this all the time when Ethan was little and walking the streets was just too much for him.  This is also a great idea if you live semi-rurally or your neighborhood isn’t conducive to Trick or Treating.  A party can remove the lollie element entirely and allow you to serve healthy, SPOOKY snacks the kids will love!  Remember a kids party doesn’t have to be elaborate, they’ll be having tonnes of fun in dress-ups with their friends, but, if you want some party inspo, you can check out my Pinterest Halloween Party board here

  • Stay at home and offer healthier Trick or Treat snacks  

Your kids will have just as much fun playing host to the neighborhood ghosts and ghouls as they would Trick or Treating themselves!  Pop a orange or black balloon on the mailbox to show your house is Halloween-friendly and serve healthy, fun themed treats to whomever comes knocking!  I’ve pinned loads of Healthy Halloween Treat ideas here

  • Offer non-food alternatives for Trick or Treaters

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween IdeasWho said Trick or Treating has to be all about food?  Think outside the box and head to your local dollar store for some spooky bargains.  Think pencils, mini spiders or other creepy-crawlies, stamps, stickers, glow-sticks or erasers.  Most of these can be found in multi-packs which makes them really inexpensive and a great surprise for the kids!  Or, make a batch of homemade orange play-doh, divide it up and wrap small balls in clear cellophane and tie with a green ribbon – super cute for littles!

  • Head out to a Halloween Event instead of Trick or Treating
New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas
Image from original blog post by Frugal Momeh

Many cities host amazing Halloween events where kids and adults can dress up enjoy the entertainment and forget about Trick or Treating altogether!  Check out Halloween in the Village if you are in Auckland.

  •  Host a Halloween Craft Station in your front yard

Give Trick or Treaters something to take away that’s NOT filled with sugar!  A simple craft or activity station can be a welcome respite for littlies (or parents with weary feet!).  Some easy ideas can be found on my Halloween Craft board but I’m loving the Apple Pumpkin Stamps pictured by Frugal Momeh.

Fun ideas right?  I hope you’re feeling excited and looking forward to a Halloween with a little less sugar this year!  Philips have done a great job inspiring me to get this post out of my head and onto the blog as well as inspiring Ethan to be a little more diligent when it comes to brushing his teeth!

The toothbrush E’s using below is the New Philips Sonicare for kids.  It’s totally removed my urge to monitor how long he spends brushing his teeth as it has a built-in KidTimer that lets him know when it’s time to switch to a new spot and (crucially!) when he has finished brushing his teeth.  He’s also been able to customise it with fun, interchangeable stickers that have got little Nixon seething about his big brother’s new fancy toothbrush!  Suitable for ages 4+ Nix will have his own soon enough.  A bathroom used by two young boys can get super messy, I’m loving the anti-roll feature of the Philips Sonicare which helps keep the bathroom at least a little bit cleaner!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

You can win a Philips Sonicare for Kids toothbrush RRP $99.95 right here!

To enter, comment below with a sugary treat that you’d find hard to give up and I’ll choose a winner at random 17/11/16!  NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Healthy Halloween Ideas

Things I’ve learned about Saturday Sport

Our 5th season as rugby parents has just come to a close, and with that our washing machine, gumboots, weekday evenings and Saturday mornings breathe a collective sigh of relief!

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE rugby, but it’s a big commitment at J1 level – and the commitment is required by the whole family, not just Ethan.

In terms of wins, it wasn’t the greatest season for the team.  In terms of intangible personal growth and the cementing of lifelong friendships for both players and their parents (I hope!) – it was a cracker season.

That’s the beauty of sport.  For boys Ethan’s age, (those navigating the notoriously up-and-down pre-teen Chasm of Angst) having an outlet that is theirs is a must.  They need to be able to forget about who they are ‘supposed’ to be at school or at home, forget about the pressure of growing up while still feeling like a little boy at times and simply focus on a single ball – without the distractions of homework, chores and devices.

Sport can be an amazing respite for both growing minds and parents alike!

Things I’ve learnt about Saturday Sports

  • It doesn’t matter which sport it is, it’s ALL good.  Sports code snobbery exists to some degree, other parents will tell you up and down that soccer/rugby/hockey is the absolute BEST sport for EVERY kid.  Ignore.  The best sport is the one your child enjoys!  Ethan played 2 seasons of soccer before transitioning to rugby and enjoyed every second of it.
  • You can only be *THAT* parent for so long before your loud, bad attitude gets you kicked off the field and your kid is embarrassed by your sideline coaching/bullying.  Just don’t go there guys!
  • Tired kids can’t hang.  It’s so tempting to throw bedtimes out the door on Friday night, but it might pay to reconsider how late you let your little athlete stay up.  Kids enjoy their activities so much more when they are full of energy and can give 100%.
  • You’re going to get cold and wet.  Really wet.  Always keep a large umbrella in your car and expect game time to be colder than you think.
  • Kids playing field sports will get muddier than you can possibly imagine.  Keep a plastic bin in the car for muddy boots and gear and wrap kids up on old towels for the ride home.
  • Just like their mates Tired Kids, Hungry Kids struggle to get up and at ‘em on the sports field.  Make time for breakfast before the game, even if it means cutting your Saturday sleep-in a bit short (I’ve heard sleeping in exists but it’s a total myth in my house lol).  Also be prepared for ravenous kids after the match.  Pack some easily portable, nutritious snacks such as nuts, fruit, vege sticks plus plenty of water.  Pro-Tip: a warm thermos of MILO will do wonders for chilled hands and tummies plus has a 4.5 star health rating!

Choosing wellness for ourselves and our families is something that we all consider (and are reminded of constantly!) but honestly, sometimes it becomes difficult to prioritize and can seem really overwhelming, especially when you’re doing the parenting juggling act!

Implementing one small change at a time can help make lasting differences.  For example, using the points above, focus on earlier bedtimes for the whole family (Mum and Dad included!) one week, try working on better – more relaxed/more nutritious/less stressy breakfasts the following week.

For more inspiration and lots of tips to help you make small, positive changes in your life take the Nestlé Choose Wellness Quiz here.

Win with Nestle!

If you would like to win an amazing Nestlé Prize Pack valued at $150, share a small change you’d like to make in the comments below.  NZ residents only, competition closes 15/10/16.  For a second chance to enter visit click here > Winter Rugby – Our Kiwi Saturday Morning Ritual

Please see full competition Terms & Conditions below.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Saturday Sport

Terms and Conditions of The Best Nest competitions:

  •    By entering the promotion, you agree to these terms and conditions.
  •    Entry is free, no purchase is necessary.
  •    Entry is open to everyone UNLESS otherwise stated within the individual giveaway.
  •    The Best Nest reserves the right to amend or cancel the promotion and/or these terms and conditions at any time.
  •    The Best Nest reserves the right to verify entries and disqualify incomplete, altered, illegal or illegible entries. No responsibility will be accepted for entries lost or delayed.
  •    The Best Nest is not liable for any person’s inability to complete entry, and no responsibility will be taken for technical, telecommunication or website errors – proof of entry is not proof of receipt.
  •    Only one entry per person unless otherwise stated on the giveaway or competition.
  •    Winners of giveaways on Facebook, will be notified on Facebook.  Please check back on the giveaway for the announcement.
  •    The Best Nest’s decision is final in all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.
  •    No prize draws, promotions or competitions are in any way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Instagram.
  •    Unless stated otherwise, all prizes must be claimed within 3 working days or the prize is forfeited and another winner will be chosen.
  • To claim the prize, photo ID may be required