Beauty Spotlight: June ’17

Need-to-know news / Beauty Reviews from New Zealand’s most loved Health & Beauty Brands


Beat the Microbead

Trilogy put their money where their mouth is this month as they launched limited edition packaging to support the global Beat the Microbead campaign.  Celebrating World Oceans Day which was June 8th, Trilogy is championing the “Look for Zero’ initiative and urging consumers to make informed shopping decisions when purchasing beauty products.  Plastic microbeads commonly found in scrubs and exfoliants are so small that they bypass filtration systems and head straight for our oceans.

Look for Trilogy’s Love the Ocean packaging for the remainder of the month as $2 from the sale of each product worldwide will be donated to the NZ Whale & Dolphin Trust.

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Schwarzkopf Beology Range Launch

This new range has been all over the internet this month, a big launch for Schwarzkopf and one that’s garnered a lot of attention.

Beology is a therapeutic range, addressing dry, damaged and ageing hair concerns combining science and natural actives across 8 products.  Deep Sea Extract, Sea Algae, fruit juices, seed oils and herb and flower extracts care for the scalp and hair fibres while 3 types of Keratins and Proteins strengthen and repair.

Available in Beology Repair for damaged hair and Beology Aqua for normal to dry hair.

RRP $16.00 in all leading department stores, supermarkets and pharmacies.

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New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review Paw Paw OintmentSukin Paw Paw Ointment

A brand with mass appeal due to it’s ethical, affordable and effective beauty products, Sukin launched it’s Paw Paw Ointment this month, dubbed “The Quintessential All-Rounder”.

I’d have to agree!  I took it with us to Queenstown earlier this month and was so glad I did.  The dry air and constant indoor heating quickly gave us all chapped lips and Paw Paw Ointment was a great remedy to have on-hand.  Ethan suffers from painful peeling around his finger-nails and is quite fussy about what he treats it with so I was happy that Sukin’s new Ointment provides an effective barrier and treatment, without rubbing off instantly and losing efficacy.

Cruelty-free, vegan, paraben free, sulphate free.  RRP $9.99 at Farmers, pharmacies and health stores.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil

Another product I used religiously in Queenstown and is now always in my pockets and bags is Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil in Misted Plum.  This is my first lip oil product and I’m definitely a fan.  Think awesome, moisturising gloss without the stickiness and gorgeous sheer colour.  I have no idea what Meadowfoam Seed is but its oil in combination with Coconut oils is a perfect base for adding subtle shine and colour to your lips.

Just as you’d want in a lip product, Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil is 100% natural.  

Available in 6 shades, RRP $20 from selected pharmacies, department stores and health stores.

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Good Health Immuno-Biotic Pre+Pro Biotic in OneNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review

Knowledge of the role the gut plays in our general health is becoming more and more evident and topical, especially as we are smack bang in the middle of winter!  Probiotics increase the number of friendly bacteria in the digestive system, restoring gut flora balance and promoting optimal digestive and immune health.  The super-cool thing about Immuno-Biotic from Good Health is that the addition of a PREbiotic acts as food for the PRObiotic and other beneficial bacteria to feed on!  Yay for increased efficacy!

RRP $29.90 30 capsules, from selected pharmacies and health stores as well as online.

Tangle Teezer Skinny Dip Compact Styler

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I’ve been using Tangle Teezer’s exclusively on my hair as well as the boys for a couple of years now.  We all have big, tangly hair with a LOT of curl going on and these are the only brushes that cut through our knots without sending E running for the hills and bringing Nix to tears.

An added bonus is that they’re super-cute and the compact styler is the perfect size to slip in your purse, gym bag or toilet bag when travelling.

RRP $34 from selected pharmacies, salons and department stores.

Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment

Dermalogica is one of my all time faves so any new release from them has me ripping into the courier package as soon as it arrives.  It’s pretty rare these days to try something completely different and new.  At least for me, Nightly Lip Treatment is the first product of its kind to land on my desk.  

Formulated to address ageing concerns in the perioral (mouth) region such as; vertical lines in the upper lip, sagging around the mouth, skin fragility and wrinkles and folds, Nightly Lip Treatment is my new bed-side bff.

Wait until you try the metal applicator!

RRP $95, available from authorised Dermalogica skin centres and counters nationwide and online at www.dermalogica.co.nz.

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Atzen Renew Eye Lift Serum

Another brand fave right here.  Eyes are kinda my obsession right now, I’ve realised how much I unconsciously pull that fragile (read: thinning, more-papery-every-day) looking skin around as I rub my eyes and try and squeeze in another hour of work in front of my computer zzzzzzz.

Ok, I’m awake.

There’s some major science in Atzen’s range including bio-available DNA from a natural marine origin that holds 10,000 times its weight in water = mega hydration for your skin, a lifting film that remains at ultimate levels for over four hours and peptides that mimic the neuromuscular action of viper venom, acting as a safe alternative to Botulin Toxin.

Too good right?

RRP $145, available online at www.atzen.nz, or at selected beauty therapists and health stores.

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“You are NEVER ready” – Get Financially Dialled in for Baby

Thanks to BNZ for partnering to help make this post possible.

It’s true, “you are never ready” is more often than not my response when friends and I discuss the age-old question of now, or, later, especially when it comes to having a baby.

My feeling is that you can plan the heck out of the process – make all the lists, read all the books, take all the classes, listen to all the experts (actually, this is probably unrealistic as every person you meet is an expert on raising other people’s children!) but nothing will ever, ever prepare you for the life-changing, maniacal experience of welcoming a baby into the world.

That being said, prospective parents DO have nine months to at least attempt to get their ducks in a row.  I feel like I’ve said this 1000 times but, when Dave and I found out we were expecting Ethan, we had NOTHING.  Like actually, nothing.  I’d been drifting around America for 3 years, surfing and having fun, and Dave had been drifting around for 28 years in a similar state.

We didn’t even have a car and no family in the state of California to lean on.  Shit got real, really fast. So, we simply knuckled down and implemented our own simplistic but totally doable envelope based budgeting plan.

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Baby Ethan, California

As Dave and I were both being paid in cash, it made sense to save in ‘cash’ too.  I fully credit the tactile tangibility of the simple envelope system with keeping us on the path to financial responsibility and helping us save for our imminent life on a single income.  How does it work?  Easy.  Work out your monthly budget and create an envelope for each outgoing expense; rent, power, food, petrol, insurance, internet, phone etc. as well as one for saving and one for FUN.  On the front of each envelope, make a note of the total monthly amount due, as well as the amount you need to save per week for that expense.  Divide your income up weekly between envelopes and voila – complete financial control is yours.

Of course, digital technology and the way we use the internet has changed a lot in the past decade.  You can probably ditch the envelopes and use online tools to get your finances whipped into a family-friendly state.  

Check out the Baby Calculator, an awesome collab between BNZ, Plunket and Massey University that’s based upon the spending of NZ parents.  Since 2010, BNZ has been Plunket’s principal sponsor. As this special relationship builds each year, so does BNZ’s understanding about what families will experience with newborn and young children. If you want an idea of the expenses that will be coming at you – along with sleepless nights, stinky diapers, adoring baby gazes and the best snuggles you’ve ever had in your life – then spend some time online with this invaluable tool.

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(GIANT) Baby Nixon, Auckland

12.5 years later, Dave and I have two wonderful boys and to be honest, the way we view our finances hasn’t changed a whole lot. We are very debt adverse, we have savings plans in place, we watch our spending and we make a lot of cool stuff happen for our family on the cheap. When we began discussing baby #2 we were in a completely different place both physically (New Zealand vs USA) and financially. We had just purchased our first home and had (somehow) managed to negotiate the crazy-speak of fixed/variable/table/reducing/blah blah mortgage speak. Negotiating buying a house and its subsequent reno was the third-most grown-up thing I’ve ever done (the first was birthing a baby and the second was purchasing a BRAND NEW BED! That’s some adulting right there).
We didn’t use our envelope system to pay for our house, though it definitely helped us on our way. Make sure you take advantage of every helping hand that’s available to you, starting with your bank. Buying a house is a really big deal. Historical loyalties to a bank you’ve been with since you were 5 should go out the window if they’re not prepared to take care of you when the time comes to borrow a LOT of money from them.

Pro-Tip: Look for deals and packages specially designed for people like YOU. A comprehensive option is the Baby Bundle from BNZ which offers a range of advantages;
• Fixed home loans – 0.25% discount on the advertised fixed home loan interest rate for the length of your fixed term.
• Variable home loans – 0.25% discount off standard home loan variate rate, including Rapid Repay
• Legal / valuation costs – Receive up to $1,000 towards legal/valuation costs when buying a new home or refinancing with BNZ.
• Credit cards – $0 account fee for the first 12 months on new credit cards.
• Transaction account – $0 account fee for the first 12 months when you open a YouMoney transaction account.
• Personal loan – $0 loan facility fee and discounted rate on a personal loan.

I started this piece by saying that you can never be truly ready for the impact a baby is going to have on your life. This is fact.
But, you can be smart, you can be prepared and you can be informed.

Visit www.bnz.co.nz/plunket for more information

Save your money and love those babies people!

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Bali 2017

Kids Health Insurance – Why I pay for it

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

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

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

Shit.  Literally lol.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanks to Accuro for sponsoring this post!

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Family Travel – Four Days in Napier

After a pretty manic end to 2016, Dave and I had absolutely no inclination to plan an extended, extravagant summer holiday with the kids.  There was to be nothing involving chilly-bins or tents, no road trips, no car/boat combo packed to the hilt…..

Some years that stuff seems easy, is easy, this year we just couldn’t manage it.

What we could do (and did lol), was plan a mini-vacay with minimal fuss, minimal rushing from here to there i.e a minimal, or even better, NO itinerary and minimal expense to be honest.  

Napier was our choice of destination as it ticked all of those boxes plus even more.

In Napier City there are;

  • Flights leaving from Auckland daily – we flew with our travel partner Jetstar
  • Plenty of accommodation options right in town
  • ‘Town’ happens to be a $25 dollar taxi ride from the airport, no rental car needed.
  • ‘Town’ is right across the road from the beach, the pools, the fountain – which kids are welcome to play in!
  • ‘Town’ is the Art Deco capital of New Zealand!  Everywhere you look Napier is freaking stunning!
  • Plenty of awesome family friendly activities you can do, again, without having to rent a car.

We loved it!

So what DID we do?

We arrived at 9.30am after our quick and easy 1-hour flight, jumped in a taxi that was waiting right outside the terminal and headed to our hotel to offload our bags.  We always fly as early as we can for two reasons;

  1. The kids are better when they are well rested and fed.  After breakfast is the perfect time to confine my boys to a small public space where they must remain seated lol.
  2. Arriving early means you’re not travelling during one of your allocated ‘holiday’ days!  We always have our whole arrival day to explore and get cracking with making the most of our vacay time.  Also, if you arrive prior to check-in, your hotel won’t mind storing your bags for you whilst you get your tourist on.

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We stayed at the stunning Scenic Hotel Te Pania which boasts an unbeatable location right across from both the beach and the pools and a single block walk to the main hub of beachside Napier.  We would absolutely stay here again, outstanding beds, great service and a lovely bar in which to sip a Hawkes Bar wine whilst working – as I had to throughout the trip lol.

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On Friday we explored!  We hit the shops, the stunning pier, had a swim, enjoyed cocktail hour and finished our day off with takeaway pizza in our hotel room!  Kids were stoked lol.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

On Saturday, Dave and I both had to work a little, so I took the kids across the street to the amazing beachside pool complex that is Ocean Spa Napier.  With multiple pools and depths, there is something for everyone here and the boys begged to come back each day during our stay.  It was also great value, a Family Pass cost us $30 and I was able to leave, pop into Subway for some lunch and bring it back to the boys and Dave.  We spent most of the day here before heading out and about for another stroll, enjoying the Art Deco sights which are everywhere!

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Sunday was one of the most fun family days we have ever had I’d day!  The weather wasn’t amazing and we had to change plans a little but everything just fell into place.

We walked across the road to the beachside market in the morning for breakfast and were a tad overwhelmed by the choices on offer!  Nixon enjoyed waffles-on-a-stick, Dave and I treated ourselves to humongous bacon and egg sandwiches and Ethan combined both into a bacon and egg waffle!  We also picked up some fresh fruit as snacks for the remaining two days.

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After filling our tanks, we rented bikes from Napier City Bike Hire and Tours on Marine Parade, who had the best prices and incredibly helpful and accommodating staff.  Nix was well catered for with a super-comfy toddler seat on the back of my bike and so we headed north along Marine Parade.  Our destination was Pandora Splash and Play, an easy, flat 5km cycle along the waterfront.  We knew Ethan and Nix would have a lot of fun at the inflatable water playground however super high winds meant it was closed for safety reasons.  Not really a big deal as we all enjoyed the ride anyway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

With some time on our hands, we pedalled south to the National Aquarium of New Zealand, locked up the bikes and spent a couple of blissful hours exploring hands-down, the BEST aquarium we’ve been to.  Once again this was such great value for money, $54 for a family pass was definitely money well spent and money I’d spend again in a heartbeat.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

Because we’re cheap lol and the children were too tired to risk eating out we had dinner in our room again, this time a roast chicken, salad and buns from Pak ‘n Save.  Easy and delicious.  When travelling,  we often will visit a little cafe or restaurant later afternoon for a glass of wine, a beer for Dave and a couple of appetisers to share.  This keeps the boys fed and happy and gives Mum and Dad a little respite and a chance to enjoy local offerings.

On our final day in sunny Napier, all we had on the agenda was relaxing, swimming and soaking up some of the sunshine that had been in such short supply in Auckland!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

Dave headed off to get a skate in at the newly opened concrete skatepark, just south of the Sunken Gardens on Marine Parade whilst the boys and I headed back to the beach for more swimming.  Of course, a trip to Napier with a small child wouldn’t be complete without a dip in the Tom Parker Fountain.  Who am I kidding, BOTH of the boys swam in this fountain every day, playing with local kids and tourists alike.

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped in at the Hog’s Breath Cafe for a fruity ‘umbrella’ drink and an ice-cream sundae for the boys to share – a perfect ending to an absolutely awesome long-weekend – and we didn’t even make it to any vineyards!

Visit Napier, do it with the kids, you’ll have an amazing time.

Thanks so much to our travel partner Jetstar, we love flying with you guys!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Napier
Sunset over Marine Parade. View from Te Pania Scenic Hotel

 

 

Vlog – New Season Updates your Wardrobe will LOVE

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!

My New Season Shopping List

Garage Lace Up Back Jumper $25.00 (Awesome stuff sells fast and this is moving quickly!  Still available online though)

Garage Lace-Trim Cami $15.00

Amco Women’s Curvy Skinny Jeans $29.00

Garage Lace Trim Midi Dress $25.00

Maya 3/4 Sleeve Check Shirt $25.00

Maya Lace Up Back Jumper $29.00  (This is another super popular style selling out!  Still available online though)

Basics Brand Women’s Wide Strap Singlet $7.00

Maya Sleeveless Longline Shirt $25.00

Maya Mesh Panel Tunic $20.00

WIN with The Warehouse and The Best Nest!

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!

Entries close 19/3/17, NZ residents only.

New Season Updates your Wardrobe will LOVE

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.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Garage Lace Up Back Jumper $25.00, Garage Satin Bomber Jacket $25.00

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Garage Lace Trim Cami $15.00, Garage Tassel Hem Tee $15.00 – Hurry, selling fast!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Maya Drape Front Maxi Skirt $20.00 – Hurry, selling fast!, Maya Hi Low Hem Skirt $25.00, Garage Jersey Harem Pants $20.00 – Hurry, selling fast!, Amco Women’s Curvy Skinny Jeans $25.00

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Garage Lace Trim Midi Dress $25.00, Garage Lace Up Festival Dress $25.00

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Fashion The Warehouse

Basics Brand Women’s Freya Casual Shoes $15.00, Debut Women’s Korey Anklet Boots $25.00

WIN with The Warehouse and The Best Nest!

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

Entries close 21/3/17, NZ residents only.

 

 

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.

Shop Local – Undercover Sleeping Bags

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-sleeping Bags

Coming up with super-stylish, innovative products is something kiwi women do amazingly well so it was no surprise to me to find out that the uber-cute range of Undercover Sleeping Bags for kids are designed, manufactured, and distributed right here in New Zealand by Marlborough resident, Kate Guthrie.

It’s almost our prime camping and glamping Summer season here in New Zealand and I can’t think of anything worse than trying to nod off to sleep in a sticky, hot sleeping bag made from entirely synthetic fabrics.  I actually wouldn’t be able to get Nixon to sleep in this way – the fuss would be unbearable.  And sweaty lol.

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-sleeping BagsLittle peeps will LOVE curling up in their Undercover creations due to a few genius features that make these dreamy sleeping bags a kid-must-have that will be used and loved, year round;

  • 100% cotton outer and warm thermal padding – YAY, no more summer stickiness!
  • A pillow compartment!!!!  Soooo many time when camping I’ve been woken up because Ethan had lost his pillow in the night – usually because it’s slid off his slippery sleeping bag lol.  Once unrolled, you can pop a pillow into the all-in-one design.
  • No separate storage bag (to lose).  YAY, again lol.  The sleeping bag rolls up and is stowed into the pillow compartment.

I know many of you love to try and think outside the box when it comes to buying for your kids.  Shopping local, shopping small and supporting New Zealand creatives is an awesome endeavour and can make Christmas Shopping  SO much more fun when you can cut out the trips to the mall – and cut out the plastic fantastic toys that will be old news in a month anyway!  Undercover sleeping bags will be loved and used all year, for years, as they suit ages 2-12 ish – depending upon how quickly your pre-teen is growing of course.

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-sleeping Bags

Shop the Undercover Range Now!

Available in 8 super stylish designs at $199 each, there’s an Undercover Sleeping bag to suit every little camper – or every little person having their first sleep-over at Nana’s –  How cute are these fabrics?

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-sleeping Bags