Things I’ve learned about Saturday Sport

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

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

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

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

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

Things I’ve learnt about Saturday Sports

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

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

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

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

Win with Nestle!

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

Please see full competition Terms & Conditions below.

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

Terms and Conditions of The Best Nest competitions:

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

Milo Giveaway…….. & the winner is!

Just so everything was on the up-and-up I used the webs definitive random number generator that I’m sure you’re all familiar with ……… Psychic Science {or, the first result from Google that was free!},

Free custom random numbers for lotteries, prize draws, gaming, divination, research
I love it when I find a website that helps me with my divination!  So handy.
Anyway, without much further ado, the winner of the VERY awesome Milo Prize Pack pictured below is;
Post number 20!!!!!
Random number generator
Milo Giveaway Winner
Darrenrae!  Congratulations, we LOVE indoor climbing here too.  Please email you delivery details to and we will get your prize sent out!
Thanks so much for all of your fab entries, there were so many awesome ideas submitted that I am going to collate them into a post and printable for everyone to enjoy.

Giveaway {closed} | Milo Play Kit – this is AWESOME!

The wonderful team at Milo have really gotten in behind the concept of play in 2012 and it has been so great to be involved as a Mum Ambassador!

You can catch up on what we’ve all been up to by heading over to the Milo Australia/New Zealand Facebook page and getting involved in the discussions and play ideas, plus keep an eye out for an awesome new play resource coming soon!

In the meantime, I have a seriously kick butt giveaway for you guys; we have one of these kits at home and we have used everything in it in so many different ways!

You will receive; a portable set of soccer nets, soccer ball, rugby league ball, soft squishy fun ball, set of training cones, ball pump and some Milo of course!   All you have to do to enter is ‘Like’ The Best Nest on Facebook and leave a comment below telling us about your favorite holiday boredom buster!

Milo Play Prize Pack


Prize will be drawn at random on July 29th and is open to NZ and Australian residents only.  Please note prizes may differ from image showen.

Good luck! {Don’t forget to enter our other fab giveaway here}

  • I am participating in the Milo Play Movement as a Blogger Ambassador and any compensation received is for advice provided directly to the MILO Play Movement team on the social media engagement plan.
  • All communications I share regarding the MILO Play Movement are my honest opinion.

Play | Risk, kids & the urge to swing higher!

You know that feeling when one second you are walking hand in hand down a gentle slope with your toddler having ‘a moment’,

Playing on the trampit was sunny, birds were singing perhaps, there could be ice creams involved but there is definitely fun and you are definitely present in full Mama capacity.  And then little fingers slip through yours and start charging down the aforementioned gentle slope at breakneck speed.  That slope has transformed and now looks to your eyes as treacherous as a double black diamond.  All you can see is one little foot tripping, next minute the screams start, the blood is flowing and your baby’s face has been grated all over the concrete.  Gives me the heebies just typing that!!!

That is risk taking.  I bet all of your kids have done it too; picking up speed, seeing how fast they can free themselves from the  suffocating grip of mummy’s hand.  They have run, down concrete hills, at speed, and they have not crashed and burned.  Some have, but not all.  Ethan never did, but my paranoia about running at speed down concrete paths lasted at least until he went to school.  He was on his own in the playground there and there was not a damn thing I could do about it.

When Ethan was two he was giving us hell and in desperation we went to a child psychologist.  One of the {few} things that stuck with me from this encounter was that as a mother, I needed to let him run down double black diamond hills.  Really!    He had to learn to fall, he had to learn NOT to fall, to realize what was and was not an acceptable risk to take.  If I held on tight for dear life every second he would not learn to recognize and develop his own boundaries.  This was a magic lesson for our family.  But it’s a lesson that is a hard one to impart.  I recently interviewed Dr Grant Schofield as part of the Milo Play initiative.  He reiterated this point by asking whether it was better to let an 8 year old push his boundaries and find his limits up a tree or behind the wheel of a car at eighteen.  No brainer right?

Some friends of ours purchased a trampoline for their family, no problem the kids were many years into school by this point, what a great present I thought.  Until Ethan went to play and the kids weren’t allowed on the tramp without adult supervision.  I was flabbergasted.  Were Dave and I negligent parents?  Really?  Ethan got his trampoline at age 2 and the nets came off at around 4.  No injuries.  Ever.  I just cant see the merit in treating my son any different to how I raised.  My dad built my trampoline, he welded it himself.  I broke my arms four times as a child but none of those times was from my net-less trampoline.  I was allowed to bounce at will!  It was awesome!

A child’s nature is inherently seeking challenge, growth, lessons and teaching, all of this can be attained through play.  It’s time to back off a little; play time isn’t any more dangerous now than it was 30 years ago unless you’re letting your kids play in the street.  Lets rip the cotton wool off once and for all and let them go balls-out this school holidays.

Mud washes off and scabs heal, but a childhood spent behind a screen and a closed door isn’t really much of a childhood at all is it?

Play | Rugby Barbarians Day

After an amazing game against Helensville on Saturday {Ethan’s team won 120-10!}, he had to don his mouthguard again on Sunday {I had to get up at 6am!!!!} for the Barbarians tournament in Devonport.

I was quite unprepared for the size of the tournament, there were schools from all over Auckland and hundreds of keen-as, rugby mad kids ready to play.  There was a twist….open weight and years 3,4,5 and 6 playing all together.  Against each other.  Big kids vs teeny kids playing tackle.  yikes.

See what I mean?

Barbarians School Fun Day

There are many proud Mum moments that I have filed away over the years but my heart was positively bursting with pride on Sunday.  Tackling a massive year 6 kid at speed who has at least 10kgs on your year 3 self  is BRAVE.  My boy was fearless and played intense rugby.  He never questioned whether he was up to the task, he just tackled like the forward he is and thanked god he didn’t have to wear boots so he felt a little faster than normal.

It was a super fun day.  There were free sausages, bacon butties and Milo for the kids as well as the opportunity to spend time with past Barbarians and meet the Auckland Blues!

Rugby kid

Ethan And Daniel Braid

Milo love's PLAY!

The clip below is from Saturdays game; Ethan’s 2nd try of 3


Must Click | Milo Play-O-Pedia

The awesome gang at Milo have put together a great resource for families – an interactive encyclopedia of play activities!

The Play-O-Pedia is a fun app on the Milo Australia & NZ facebook page; you specify whether you want to play inside or outside, hit the play button and voila!  Give it a spin, you might end up with some childhood flashbacks like I did, Bullrush anyone?

  • I am participating in the Milo Play Movement as a Blogger Ambassador and any compensation received is for advice provided directly to the MILO Play Movement team on the social media engagement plan.
  • All communications I share regarding the MILO Play Movement are my honest opinion.

Milo Play Zone Event – Birkenhead, Auckland

As part of their major Australasian Campaign to get our little ones playing EVERY day, Milo have created a series of free events across Australia and New Zealand with the goal of encouraging and developing active play.  FUN!  Check dates on the official FB page here

Dave and I took the day off work last Wednesday, ‘borrowed’ some neighbourhood kids and headed along to have some fun.

The array of activities, the venue, the number of stoked & enthusiastic Play Facilitators {I made that name up btw!} all contributed to a wicked morning!  Make sure you can get along to one of these events, there are some Play Tour Events in Sydney this weekend, check the Facebook page for details.  If you missed it earlier you can watch my interview with Dr Grant Schofield here

Play | Rolling in – Don’t fear the skatepark

Skaters get a bad rap and skateparks get a bad rap.  I’m married to a skater, skated away a good part of my twenties in the states and find my self frequently watching Dave and E have a blast at skateparks all over Auckland.  Dave does not even have one tattoo!  It’s crazy how un-intimidating my husband is!

Skateparks are an awesome place for kids to play safely on their scooters, skateboards and bikes and they are easily accessible in most cities.

Skateparks are NOT magnets for losers, stoners, drunks, punks or bad kids.  These people are EVERYWHERE, not just at your local park.  Skaters are super nice normal people who will show anyone respect when respect is shown to them.  If a teenager is being a dick, he will be a dick in whatever environment you put him in. It is not mutually exclusive with being in a skatepark.

Rules for having fun at the skatepark;

  1. Wear you helmet {ignore the pics of my husband, old dudes are way too cool to wear helmets apparently!}
  2. Always pay attention and watch where you are going, watch the lines the other skaters are making.  They are creatures of habit and will usually skate the same line over and over until they get it right.  This should help you choose a safe path.
  3. Don’t sit on the edge {the coping} and dangle your legs over.  People use the coping to grind on and you will be in their way.
  4. Likewise, don’t take a break by sitting on a box, rail or ramp.  If you are tired or having a drink move right out of the park area, where you will not be in the way
  5. Wait your turn.  It may look like chaos, but if you watch the older guys, everyone takes their turn.  They DO watch out for little dudes and let everyone take a turn.
  6. If you are unsure about anything, find the oldest guy at the skatepark, use your manners and ask for help.
  7. Have fun!  Dave says that’s the only reason he skates.  It’s not all about landing tricks, rolling around and going fast is super fun on its own.