Family Travel – A getaway that’s #closerthanyouthink

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

Location, location, location. It’s everything when you’re deciding where to escape for a little R&R and even more crucial when you’re holidaying with the kids in tow. We’ve travelled with the kids a wee bit internationally and A LOT around New Zealand and after a few less than ideal accommodation choices, Dave and I both agree, that your home-away-from-home whilst travelling can set the tone for the entire trip.

Initially planning only a two night stay, we headed south last weekend and checked into the Novotel Rotorua a day early to make the most of the stunning weather and squeeze as much out of our stay as possible. Rotorua is the perfect destination for an adventure filled, family getaway. Just over three hours from Auckland, my two crazy boys survived the trip with only 1 quick toilet stop for Nix – the worst part was negotiating Auckland traffic on the way out of town!

While still at home, we had completed online check in, so upon arrival at the Novotel we were able to quickly settle our two very excited boys into our adjoining Family Rooms and THIS amazing view!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

Even Nixon, who rarely sits still, was completely enamoured with the view over Lake Rotorua – a mere 600m from the hotel lobby to absolute lakefront, a great playground, paddle boats, the Rotorua Walkway and the Soundshell Market (which we visited on Sunday).

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

Before we could explore (and then again after we had finished exploring each day), we had to hit the pool.  I’m pretty sure a pool in your hotel (or Holiday House as Nixon called it!) is The Best Thing EVER when you’re a kid, Dave and I get that, so we happily made the twice daily pilgrimage to the indoor pool complex on the ground floor.

It wasn’t exactly a chore mind you! Dave had packed his running gear (oops I totally forgot mine – ha!) so he made good use of the really well appointed gym whilst the kids and I swam in the geothermal mineral pool and hot tubs – totally luxe, plus the perfect routine to get the kids off to sleep peacefully each night. I was able to sneak a couple of saunas in when Dave had finished working out, so I totally got a sweat on too, albeit a more relaxing one.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

5 Things you NEED to do in Rotorua

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

If location is everything, then the Novotel Rotorua is smack bang in the middle of where you want to be. Basing your family here allows you to make the most of every, precious, get-away-day by minimising time in the car and maximising family fun.

Check out these Rotorua Must-Do activities before you plan your next trip;

  • Tutanekai Streat – Eat Streat Food and the constant search for the next meal is always a massive consideration as the mum of two boys. Deciding what and where to eat when on holiday can literally eat up much of our day. Novotel Rotorua is across the road from Eat Streat, home to quality restaurants, cafés and bars as well as the famous Lady Jane’s Ice Cream Parlour. With it’s covered central walkway and thermally heated footpath, Eat Streat (and surrounds) is an awesome, family friendly place to dine. We loved Indian Star and Fat Dog Cafe (just around the corner).
  • Happy Ewe Cycle Tours Located at the Rotorua I-Site, a mere 6 min walk from the Novotel, owner-operator Roger will have you falling in love with Rotorua as he guides you on an 8km FLAT cycle around the geothermal wonders of  Rotorua. Nix was well catered for with a toddler seat and Dave, Ethan and I were riding in style on the comfiest bikes ever.  DO THIS TOUR GUYS!
  • Skyline Rotorua A nine-minute drive from the Novotel, we had a great time on the Skyline Gondola and Luge. Another perfectly family-friendly activity, Nix simply rides tandem with either Dave or I as we have a race to the bottom with Ethan.
  • Redwoods Treewalk We were already enamored with Rotorua’s breathtaking Redwood Forest after a previous visit, but the 6-12m high treewalk is next-level beauty. A quick 12-minute drive from the Novotel, this is another family must-do. No skill required all you do is walk and take it all in!
  • Polynesian Spa Lakefront Rotorua is where you want to be and spending an afternoon at The Polynesian Spa was exactly what our family needed after a busy couple of days.  This was another activity that catered beautifully to both parents and kids alike. We spent some time relaxing at the Lake Spa and finished up in the Family Spa where the boys could splash, swim and slide to their hearts content! Again, super-close to the Novotel, just a 15 minute walk – keep in mind Rotorua is pretty much completely flat!

 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog RotoruaDave’s working on an American project right now which means he has to start work at 2am every day. Our adjoining family rooms (when you stay as a family the second room for children is half price!) made this so much easier as he was able to sneak out and head down to the lobby (where there is a dedicated workspace) without waking the kids –  or me! We were free to laze in our beds and wake at our leisure (6am!) to watch the All Blacks play Ireland on Sunday morning – Sky Sport in our room made me a very happy mama!

An early tip-off that the staff and service were going to be amazing at the Novotel was the personalized welcome we found in our room; a handwritten card, super cute swim towels for the boys, swim diapers for Nixon (I’d forgotten those!), water and mud masks for me! This wasn’t special treatment either, it’s just part of the awesome service you get when you book a Family Room.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

On Saturday night we were just too tired to venture out to Eat Streat but were equally wowed by the buffet and a’la carte menus available in house at the Novotel Rotorua’s award winning Atlas Restaurant. Dave went on a seafood bender, I demolished the most amaze salad bar ever whilst Ethan and Nixon just ate pretty much everything, including fresh SUSHI – they were actually in heaven.  As an Accor Plus member I can receive up to 50% when dining in hotel restaurants plus the kids eat breakfast free! Little perks like this and (free wifi) really make these mini getaways that much more accessible, enjoyable and #closerthanyouthink. Likewise, having amazing kid-friendly amenities and services within the hotel itself makes me want to start planning ahead to our next long weekend!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua

If travelling is your thing, either in our own backyard here in NZ or internationally, then joining Accor Plus (NZD$385 per 12 mths) will not only make you feel like a VIP every time you stay, but also make your getaways #closerthanyouthink. Member benefits include a complimentary nights stay when you join, 10% off best available accommodation, automatic Silver Status which gives you online and priority check in, free internet, a welcome drink and late check out as well as the dining discounts mentioned above.

 

#weloveaccorhotels #accorplus #closerthanyouthink

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Rotorua
AccorHotels graciously made our trip possible and completely exceeded all expectations, thanks guys! All opinions are my own, but to be fair, any hotel that puts THIS much effort into making Christmas magical for their little guests is going to get a BIG thumbs up from me!

 

Summer Style – Easy, Chic Mum Fashion

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Summer mum Fashion

Shop the Look > Busy Chic

Maya Spliced Stripe Skirt RRP $25 (available instore), Maya Chambray Shirt Dress RRP $39 (selling fast!), Garage Anglaise Bardot Top RRP $39, Garage Chambray Shirt RRP$30, Amco Knit Boyfriend Jeans RRP $49 (low stock, 2 sizes left online!), Debut Farae Casual Shoe RRP $20, Debut Cut Out Tote Handbag RRP $29, H&H Essentials Leaf Necklace RRP $15, Beach Works Women’s Round Fashion Sunglasses RRP $20, Fitbit Alta Blue Small RRP $229

You guys went crazy over my summer mood boards (here) so I had to show just how well these separates actually fit, and how awesome they look on…….ME! – I think lol.  I LOVE each of these pieces and can’t wait to mix them into my existing wardrobe.  I’m still totally gobsmacked that I was able to source 4 outfits in one 20 minute shop + fitting room session!  New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Summer mum FashionThat’s the beauty of shopping at The Warehouse, everything you need is in one place.

So, I’ve recreated the four Busy Chic looks as they will all serve me really well as I move between blogger events, Mum activities and the occasional date night.  This look is comfy but put-together and works well with a wedge or heel but can also be dressed down with a flat sandal.

I subbed out the Debut Farae Casual Shoe for the video as I saw the Rilla Sandals while I was shopping and instantly knew how essential an espadrille wedge is for the summer ahead, especially a pair as comfortable and versatile as these are.

I’d love you to check out the video below, I promise you’ll be surprised with how well these clothes translate off the hanger and onto the body of a very normal mum-bod.  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

These styles have been super popular so head in store quickly to see the full range and the new styles that are arriving all the time!

 WIN > I have a $50 gift card from The Warehouse to giveaway so you can update your Summer Style!  To enter, tell me in the comments below what your favourite piece is from the Busy Chic lookbook.  Don’t forget, there’s another chance to enter on the first Summer Fashion blog post here x

Competition closes 30/11/16, NZ residents only.

 

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

 

Step up your Mum Uniform – Summer Style from Ziera + Win a pair for yourself!

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

With each new season comes an opportunity for a bit of a stock-take in both our lives and our wardrobes.  Compared to other areas in my home where I can be ruthlessly brutal during a ‘culling season’, I do tend to hoard a wee bit when it comes to my wardrobe – for good reason though.  I still have my original Levi’s denim jacket from my uni days 20 years ago and because I purchased a classic wash, it still looks great especially now it’s authentically vintage lol.  

This summer I’m getting rid of that which I do not LOVE – à la Marie Kondo, and adding more classic pieces to my wardrobe, styles which will endure and stand the test of time.

A (very exciting) addition to my summer wardrobe is my first pair of shoes from Ziera.

Metallics are a huge trend in footwear for the second summer in a row and this year I’m totally onboard!  The Lido was my first choice due to it’s classic styling and on-point silver finish, plus, a loafer is a versatile trans-seasonal shoe you can wear year round with jeans, trousers, skirts and shorts – that’s pretty much got New Zealand covered for spring and summer right?

3 Reasons to upstyle your Mum Uniform with ZieraNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nivea Sunscreen review

  1. Cost per Wear – There are certain things in particular that I’m happy to spend a little more money on when I’m shopping for myself or the family; sunglasses, purses and shoes.  My reasoning for this is that I wear/use each of these three things every day and quality options will last many seasons, easily bringing down the CPW (cost per wear) for each – (this is important financial terminology to note if you’re lobbying your significant other for a new pair of kicks!)
  2. Flexible Styling – Choosing the right accessories and footwear can also make or break an outfit or breathe new life into one past it’s prime – both great things to have up your sleeve when you’re living on Mum-Time and a family-friendly budget.  
  3. Expand your comfort zone – When you never sit down….. (because #MumLife), good shoes are an investment you’ll never regret.  Here’s a secret though, it is possible to find comfortable shoes that are NOT Chuck Taylors :::::::gasp!::::::  I know this because I have seen it with my own eyes – the comfy, stylish shoes live at Ziera.

Now you know.

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

There you go Mamas!  All the motivation you need to upstyle your Mum Wardrobe and break out of your sneaker safe-place this summer!  

I’m going to help one lucky New Zealand lady on her way to fab footwear by giving her a $250 voucher to Ziera!

To enter leave a comment below telling me what pair of Ziera shoes are your favourite (see here) and cross your fingers!

Competition closes 20/11/16, NZ residents only.  Thanks so much to Ziera for this amaze prize and for sponsoring this post!

That Retail Life – What’s Hot this Week + WIN!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New products

I’m seeing a lot of awesome new products each week so thought it was about time I curated these new releases into a weekly ‘Hot List’ that’s short and snappy, giving you guys the lowdown on the latest and greatest from brands we love.

What’s New  – October #3

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New productsSunRice Brown Rice Chips – Sweet Chili RRP $5.99

Sure to become a summer fave, SunRice have added a new flavour to their existing range of Brown Rice Chips.  Sweet Chili joins Wild Rice, Sea Salt and Parmesan and Sundried Tomato.  These are the perfect gluten free, wholegrain option for entertaining or snacking with no artificial flavours or preservatives.

Available in the healthy food or snack aisles in selected supermarketsNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New products.

Betty Crocker – Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie RRP $5.99

Full of milk and white chocolate chips, I’m soooo looking forward to whipping up this brownie next week!  These are such great ‘lifesavers’ to keep in the pantry for those unexpected afternoon teas or rushed desserts.  Available in supermarkets nationwide.

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-Retail-New-ProductsNice Blocks – Special Edition Watermelon & Lime 

The nice blokes at Nice Blocks are throwing their hats in the ring to help Starship Foundation this year.  They’ve created an amazing Watermelon and Lime Nice Block with 30c from each ice block sold and 50c from each multipack going straight to Starship Foundation!  You can also get involved by purchasing one of this years gorgeous tea towels designed by young cancer survivor Ruby Seeto.  Pick yours up or order online from www.wallacecotton.co.nz.

John Grisham – The Whistler RRP $37.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New products

Fresh off the press!  Released on October 25th, the latest novel from bestseller John Grisham has gone straight to the top of my ‘Read Next’ list.  A young investigator is pitted against the most corrupt judge in American history with only a whistle blower and an indicted lawyer on her side.  How good does that sound?  Straight to the Summer bestseller list I think!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New productsBe Natural Re-launch

Yum guys!  Look out for the new packaging of re-launched plant-power brand Be Natural.  With a delicious range of cereals and snack bars, I’m loving these fab offerings with organic options.  The Protein Nut Bars are my fave as is the Coco-Nutty Granola!

Smashbox Colour Correcting Sticks RRP $45 easmashbox-color-correcting-stick-2016

Colour correcting is a mum essential – at least as far as this tired Mum is concerned!  Use under concealer or foundation, these four shades will help you to put your best face forward every day.  Green counteracts redness to reduce the appearance of blemishes, Lavender brightens yellowness so you look less dull (YES!), Peach works on lighter skin to fix dark circles and call in the heavy duty Orange to work it’s wonders on darker skin, dark circles and hyperpigmentation.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New productsDr. LeWinns Private Formula Day Cream Light SPF 15 

Available at Life and Unichem pharmacies nationwide, this modern light formulation from revolutionary cosmeceutical brand Dr. LeWinns is set to deliver your best skin yet.  Containing SPF 15 protection, the Super Berry Trio of Pepperberry, Riberry and Muntrie, Hydrovition Plus, Argan Oil and Vitamin A to encourage cell renewal and address aging concerns. 

Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil RRP $139 Available November 1st 2016

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New products

The launch for this revolutionary product from Dermalogica was almost as amazing as this little bottle of skin deliciousness.  Phytoactives solve dryness and dehydration while strengthening the skin’s natural barrier, leaving skin with a luminous, dewy finish that’s also protected against free radical damage.  Phyto Replenish Oil is like a complete toolbox for skin in one lovely product.  Don’t be shy about using oil on your skin, some are a bit thick and gluggy feeling, but Dermalogica has produced the lightest formulation here that absorbs super quickly.

Schwarzkopf Sun repair Range RRP $6.39-$11.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail New products

Summer is coming, summer is coming, summer is coming!  Get ahead of the warm weather with Schwarzkopf’s NEW Sun Repair Range.  Including Monoi-Flower Extract and UVA/UVB filters, this is the prescription you need this summer to protect you hair and prevent it from drying out.

Available from all leading department stores, supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.

WIN > I have two sets of the Schwarzkopf Sun repair Range to give away!  Enter via the widget below.

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

That Retail Life – What’s Hot this Week + Win!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail Releases
I’m seeing a lot of awesome new products each week so thought it was about time I curated these new releases into a weekly ‘Hot List’ that’s short and snappy, giving you guys the lowdown on the latest and greatest from brands we love.

What’s New  – October #2

Omega Plus Salmon-based Pet Food

Our three little dogs received a delivery this week that they freaking loved!  Our largest producer of Salmon, New Zealand King Salmon has found a way to utilise previously wasted, fit-for-human grade salmon and produced a range of vet quality pet food at supermarket prices.

The Omega Plus range is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 which is just as beneficial to our furry friends as it is for us!  Available in South Island Pak ‘n Save and New World stores, the range will be rolling out nationwide soon.  

Example price point: Omega Plus Dry Dog Food 2.4kg – King Salmon + Beef RRP$25.99

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Retail Releases

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nadia LimNadia Magazine

We all need MORE Nadia Lim in our lives and now, with the launch of her bi-monthly lifestyle magazine NADIA, we can enjoy more of her Nude Food philosophy – now in print!

October/November issue in store at magazine retailers now $7.99

Red Seal Body Right Teas

Garcinia Cambogia is a definite buzz-ingredient right now in weight management products.  Red Seal have complemented their delicious hot/cold brew range with 3 new ‘functional’ teas designed to support a weight management programme of a balanced diet and regular exercise.  Available in Pomegranate, Kiwi and Lime and Peach and Pineapple flavours, you can find these in all major supermarkets, RRP $3.99.

WIN > I have 2 packs of Red Seal Body Right Teas to giveaway, each containing all three yummy flavours!  To enter just leave the comment ‘RED SEAL’ below this blog post.  Comp closes 27/10/15, NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Red Seal Body RIght

Jacob’s Creek Pip & Seed Cider & Winepip-seed

Oh. My. Gosh.  This is the most genius (and delicious!) alcoholic beverage I’ve ever pulled out of my fridge!  A perfect blend of crisp cider and some of my favourite white wines, Pip & Seed has made it’s debut here in New Zealand just in time to totally dominate summer 2016.  Forget the sickly sweet ciders of summers past,  these three varietals will have you reaching for a Pip & Seed every time!

Available in Fruity, Crisp and Sweet blends, you can’t go wrong to be honest they are all amazing! 

500ml RRP $5.99

pack-leave-in-recreate-pro-fiberL’Oréal Professionnel Pro Fiber Re-Create

This delivery came at the perfect time for me.  I’ve been a shower martyr, suffering along with a shampoo and conditioner I really don’t like, Mama didn’t raise a quitter after all!  This new extension of the Pro Fiber range is designed to address thinning hair, often caused or exacerbated by external stressors such as colouring and heating.  Absolutely perfect for my treated, heated blonde hair!  

There are four Pro Fiber ranges, each specifically formulated to treat progressive levels of damage.  Pro Fiber Re-Create treats Stage 3 hair damage and is available from L’Oréal Professionnel salons from October 1st.

Manuka Doctor Cashmere Touch SerumNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Manuka Doctor Cashmere touch Serum

I loooove serum and I sure love Manuka Doctor!

More gel than serum (I think!), Cashmere Touch is the second product from the Drops of Crystal range and contains botanically derived firming actives that instantly make my skin feel like I haven’t been burning the candle at both ends over the past 2 weeks!

I just popped this on after cleansing and my skin feels firm and plump and now looks like I’ve had more than 5 hours sleep!    Powerful botanical ingredients include; Purified Bee Venom, Cassia Augusifolia Seeds, Crystal tears – oil from the sap of the pistacia Lentiscus tree and Tomato Stem Cells.  RRP $49.95 30ml

ESALARE Luxury Sleepwear

It’s (past) time to ditch the flannels ladies, www.esalare.co.nz launched on Monday, bringing some luxurious WOW back into the neglected sleepwear category.

This carefully curated collection of brands from around the world covers liquid silks, cashmere, merino, wool linen and the softest cottons you’ll ever feel.  I LOVE the Papinelle brand which is perfect for hot New Zealand summer nights.  Christmas wish-list stuff right here ladies!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Esalare Pappinelle
Beautiful, soft cotton separates from Pappinelle

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-8-07-20-pmDermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex

Released earlier this month, I’ve been using the Age Reversal complex every day, it’s a Mummy essential!  

Using a 0.1% concentration of Retinol (pure Vitamin A) to accelerate cell turnover and renewal, Antioxidant Vitamin B3 to control inflammation and reduce dark under eye circles plus the AGE Reversal Firming Complex (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 strengthens collagen and firms tissue, Hyaluronic Acid hydrates tissues and softens appearance of wrinkles, Dunaliella Salina Extract, an algae extract that stimulates epidermal cell renewal, Panthenol/Provitamin B5 stimulates cell regeneration), Age Reversal Eye Complex is a super-hero product in a super strength little tube.  RRP$ 115 15ml.

WIN > I have 1 Dermalogica Age Reversal Complex to giveaway here and one on my Facebook page! To enter just leave the comment ‘DERMALOGICA’ below this blog post.  To enter on Facebook follow the directions on THIS post.  Comp closes 27/10/15, NZ residents only.

 

 

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:

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