Beauty Review: Dove Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo

Fact: Dry shampoo is life.  I’m a fan.  Dove asked for my thoughts on their Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo and here they are internet, just for you! Thanks for making this post possible Dove.


There are very few beauty/haircare/skincare products that I religiously use every, single day because, at this point in my life, every day is very different.  We are still deep in the thick of under 5 parenting, how much sleep I’m going to get on any given night is a lottery and what time Nix (ergo, I) will wake is anyone’s guess.  Even on the days when I’ve planned ahead, worked backward and calculated what time I’ll need to leave the house, picked my outfit in advance, pre-empted the 2nd breakfast Nixon will request…….there’s still going to be a mad rush for the door.

Which means something has to give.

I’m not one of those multi-talented mavens that are able to drive and apply makeup simultaneously.  Heck, I can barely apply makeup while standing in my bathroom!  I simply can’t hide my sleep deprivation on the run, this kind of magic requires my full attention – or at the very least what’s left over after Nixon rightly clamours for most of it lol.

So what slips through the morning cracks on 9/10 days and settles under the cosy confines of a hat is my hair.  

I tell myself my hair’s thriving under the two-child regime which sees it mostly ignored, never washed more than 3 times per week  – if that – and rarely suffering through the indignity of a hot styling tool.  My hair and I have settled into a friendly routine and rotation of hairstyles as we move through the week, getting further away from the last shampoo and limping ever so slowly towards the next.  Which I can hopefully stretch out for ‘just one more day‘.

One of the true marvels of the modern world –  Dove’s Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo, gives me that extra day between washes, as well as all the lols from dry shampoo memes!  I’m such a fan that I actually use it in two different ways, on both clean hair (I know!) and, not so clean hair.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Dry Shampoo Review

Two ways to use Dove’s Refresh + Care Dry ShampooNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Dry Shampoo Review

  • The spray and walk away: Obviously the reason for which it was designed, Dove’s Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo is a greasy-gals saviour.  As indispensable to my morning routine as coffee, my dry shampoo helps me avoid the wet-hair kindy drop-off – the tell-tale sign that something went awry in your house that morning!  It’s such a quick pick-me-up as well; I just spray any questionable areas with Refresh + Care (usually around my hairline and centre part), massage into the roots and I’m done.  Excess oil is absorbed and my hair smells super fresh.
  • Clean hair Va-Va-Voom!  Styling my hair when it’s clean, or in fact, just doing anything as simple as pulling it back into a ponytail is a slippery, frizzy, fly-away nightmare.  It’s also very, very flat.  Creating texture is Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo’s superpower.  I swear once you volumise (not sure if that’s a word lol) your clean hair with dry shampoo, you’ll be a changed woman.  Ok, that might be a stretch, but your you hair will look amazing!  I use it exactly the same way as I do when I’m refreshing unwashed hair except I focus a bit more on the length as well as the roots.  This helps with body and grip if I’m trying something fancy lol.

I legit LOVE life hacks that make one of the busiest times in my day a little bit easier and leave me feeling great – bonus points for being able to grab Dove’s Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo at the supermarket too

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Dry Shampoo Review

Beauty Review – Arbonne Rescue & Renew

Although over 30 years old, US-based Swiss heritage skincare giant Arbonne has only recently become available here in New Zealand.  They got in touch recently and asked if I’d like to review one of their ranges, so,  not one to do things by halves, I willingly went all-in with my first Arbonne New Zealand skincare experience and have been using the Rescue & Renew range exclusively for the past 2 weeks – something I never do.  I’m a bit of a chop ‘n change, mix-it-up girl when it comes to skincare and beauty products so committing to one brand and just one range was quite a novelty!

It totally had its benefits though, particularly with the Rescue & Renew products which have all been formulated with a really holistic ethos in mind. 

Why Rescue & Renew?

Arbonne’s Rescue & Renew range is based on Ayurvedic practices where the focus is traditionally whole body health and wellness, with the goal of achieving a balance between one’s mind, body, and soul. The emphasis and importance of natural ingredients and heroes are evident throughout the Arbonne catalogue but particularly in this range.  Turmeric root, dandelion and ginger root are the botanical mainstays in each Rescue & Renew Detox product, designed to cleanse the skin’s surface of impurities while also protecting our natural moisture barrier. 

This is a skincare range in which the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.  I was trying to put my finger on why this was and came up with three elements that prescribed my experience with the Rescue & Renew Detox products; routine, ritual and therapy, all of which play huge roles in my overall wellbeing.

My Routine

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Arbonne Rescu & Renew Review

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Arbonne Rescu & Renew ReviewI’m definitely a creature of habit.  My routine (where I can find it) is familiar, comforting and welcome as I find working for myself, I don’t generally have any two days the same.  Slotting new, beneficial products in as replacements for existing ‘blah’ products is an easy way to make a positive change in my existing skincare routine.  Using Rescue & Renew Detox Body Lotion and Body Wash daily are perfect examples of how I’ve done this.  Like most women (I imagine), I use a body wash in the shower followed by body lotion each day and have done for years.  The major difference with the Arbonne products is the inclusion of the essential oils – the grapefruit and orange in the Rescue & Renew Body Wash is amazing.  I can have had the worst nights sleep and step out of the shower feeling fully energised and l00% better, I absolutely LOVE this stuff.  Layered with the Detox Lotion which contains orange, lavender, anise and bergamot oil and I’m literally invincible (at least whilst Nix is at kindy lol).  

On a purely functional note, I also love the caps on this range; no flip tops or screw off lids, you simply twist to open and close.  Genius.

Ritual

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Arbonne Rescu & Renew ReviewOnce a week, 99% of the time in the weekend when Dave can be fully ‘on-duty’ for the kids, I generally opt out of whatever family activity is going and simply embrace my inner home-body.  I love being at home, I really, really do.  Taking time to appreciate not having to rush anywhere is such a treat for me that I find it super important to intentionally enjoy the experience – guilt free.  I light a beautiful candle in an effort to banish the smell of sneakers and Lynx that usually permeates every corner of our boy-filled house, and I cleanse my face and follow up with a face mask.  Clay masks are my favourite and always have been.  Arbonne’s Rescue & Renew Detox Mask uses French pink clay that draws out excess oil (very visibly!) as the mask moves from wet to dry.  The first time I used it, I was super tired after the initial, mega-busy first weekend in December and I was legitimately thrilled with the results.  My skin looked and felt hydrated, rested and renewed.

I also love to take a bit more time with after-shower care during the weekend, so the addition of a hydrating oil under my body lotion is a luxe touch that pays dividends when I think about how my skin looks and feels.  The Rescue & Renew Detox oil contains the same essential oils as the lotion so the natural fragrance layers well, plus the key ingredients; Vitamin E, grape seed, sesame and argan oils do such a fab job of providing skin support by firming, moisturising and conditioning.

I LOVE my weekend ritual!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Arbonne Rescu & Renew Review

Therapy

Ok here’s where I’m going to introduce my two FAVE Rescue & Renew products.  New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Arbonne Rescue & Renew ReviewThe whole range definitely has therapeutic benefits, but the essential oils and the straight-up magical Gelée are next level in my opinion.

I’ve been really, really slow to jump onboard with what I considered the essential oil ‘bandwagon’, but the Arbonne oils have changed my mind.  Peppermint and Lemon, how did I even get through the day without you guys?!  Peppermint is my ‘working’ oil.  I’ve been diffusing it whilst writing or tapping a couple of drops onto my temples to help gain/maintain focus.  It’s the most incredible pick-me-up ever, and totally natural for the win.

My friend Lemon.  Such a perfect addition to the Rescue & Renew family; Pure Essential Lemon Oil just makes everything smell clean and fresh plus actually MAKES things clean and fresh!  One of the many ways I’ve been using it is adding around 5 drops to a microwave safe bowl of boiling water, popping it in the microwave for 3 minutes, letting it stand for 2 minutes before wiping clean with a paper towel.  TRY THIS GUYS.  No elbow grease required it’s amazing.

The Rescue & Renew Detox Gelée is such an interesting product, something that’s so awesome you’ll wonder why you’ve never found anything like it before.  I describe it as a mashup between a cooling gel and your fave body lotion.  Heaven on a hot day when typical lotion gets sweaty and slick, Detox Gelée is exactly what you want to apply after a workout or sun exposure, perfect summer skincare. 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Arbonne Rescue & Renew Review

Shop the entire Arbonne range of health, wellness, skincare and beauty products online here, or via an Arbonne consultant.

Parents, this is how you win at the internet – MindLabKids.com

Summer school holidays are almost upon us here in New Zealand and, as far as I can tell, there are two distinct methodologies parents use to tackle the school holidays;

  1. The Organized Planner: Days, playdates, excursions,  picnics are all planned with military precision – only to be completely at the mercy of the sometimes/usually unpredictable January weather (especially if you live in Auckland!)
  2. The She’ll be Right Parent:  No planning necessary – it’s the holidays after all!

Whether you identify as a #1 or a #2 or a happy mix of both, it’s inevitable that weather, exhaustion or, real-life necessity such as parents having to adult and go to work, will result in days spent at home.  If you find this heralds the ‘I’m bored’ chorus we all dread, well, I’m all for letting kids ride out their boredom (if you can stand it!).  Giving kids the space and independence to be bored allows them the creative freedom to ‘un-bore’ themselves in ways adults may never have imagined.

If that doesn’t work, or has run its course, some intentional time online may be just the ticket.  Screentime for the kids; they’re happy, combined with educational, productive activities; Mum and Dad are happy.

Everyone wins!  (So bookmark this website now before you forget >> www.mindlabkids.com

What is MindLabKids.com?

The Mind Lab by Unitec is an award-winning, specialist learning lab dedicated to increasing knowledge and understanding of modern technology via workshops, school visits, holiday programmes and teacher professional development.  Emerging from this cutting-edge combo of education and fresh ways to deliver it, comes MindLabKids.com.

The website itself is an engaging, exciting online destination where kids can discover science and technology at their own pace, through hands-on experiments, challenges, and safe collabs with other kids.  Three new challenges are released each week around kid-magnet topics such as; robotics, 3D design, animation, and stop-motion, movie making and more.

How we use MindLabKids.com

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

First points to note, rego is free, quick and easy.  Ethan was instructed NOT to use his own name as the username, plus, the only contact information requested was a parents email address – which I had to verify before the account was activated.

That was it!  Ethan was off, with Nix observing at elbow height, of course, intrigued by the fact that his big brother was stoked to be using the computer with Mum’s encouragement.

The home feed is a collation of challenges, fun facts, members responses to challenges, surveys, and cute memes – essentially everything kids want or more importantly NEED from an educational site that is kinda a cross-over with an age-appropriate social network.  You can respond to user-created content in a positive way via likes and even ‘favorite’ accounts that are uploading videos you love.

But obviously, the very BEST part, which the boys are loving, is getting their curious neurons firing and getting stuck into the online challenges.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

Nix and E both have a Mind Lab Kids Starter Pack (which got them so pumped to get cracking I gotta say!)  These are definitely not necessary to participate in the challenge responses, but Ethan found after looking at the kit inclusions such as a propeller, 3V motor, battery pack, pager motor, hovercraft plate (stuff we generally don’t have lying about the house), his mind was a little more open to the creative, problem solving process, knowing that he had some extra tools on hand.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

On that note,  seriously great Christmas gift right?!  Create your child’s login, write their username and password on a gift tag, wrap up the Mind Lab Kids Starter Pack and you’ve got the perfect parental gift trifecta; it’s educational, not a toy they don’t need and can be reused over and over again in different ways.

Boom.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

The first challenge the boys tried their hand at was Professor D’s Hovercraft Challenge – obvs Ethan and I helped Nix a lot with his, he was just down to go crazy with the glue gun to be honest, but that’s every 4 year old’s prerogative lol.

Check out our Hovercraft Challenge Response Video here on the MindLabKids.com website.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.comNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

Win a MindLabKids.com Starter Kit!

Get your kids excited about science and technology and they could win their own MindLabKids.com starter kit!

To enter;

  1. Join Mind Lab Kids, if your kids are already a member then they are good to go!
  2. Film and upload a challenge-response video to www.mindlabkids.com before 10am 10 December 2017.
  3. That’s it!

Full terms and conditions can be found here, otherwise, the main point to note is that you must be a NZ resident.

This post was made possible by www.MindLabKids.com.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mindlabkids.com

 

 

Health – 5 Easy Ways to Improve your Sleep

This post was made possible by the world’s number #1 selling mattress protector, Protect-A-Bed, who know a thing or two about helping us get a good night’s sleep!


How many times have you caught yourself complaining about how tired you are, how you could sleep for days, how you need to go to bed earlier………only to repeat your unhealthy nocturnal habits over and over again?  Every.  Single.  Day.   Right?

Of all the health-related science that is becoming increasingly more available to consumers, info around the importance and wide-ranging benefits of adequate sleep is one field of research that provides equal benefit to all of us.  A good nights sleep is crucial to both our mental and physical well-being, often identified as the third pillar of health along with exercise and nutrition. 

If you’re wondering how much sleep is enough;  adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, school-age kids require 9-11 and pre-schoolers need 10-13 hours.  Nix heads to bed at 7 pm and wakes up at 6 am so he’s tracking well, Ethan (13) heads off at between 8.30 and 9 pm to wake at 6 am so he’s falling a bit short, but, it’s Dave and I who really need to hit the hay earlier.  We wake up at 6 am every day so our late night Netflix bingeing has got to stop!  In bed with the lights off by 10 pm at the latest should be what we are aiming for each evening.

Re-training our body clocks and resetting our natural circadian rhythms will no doubt take some time, but there are some tried and true tips for enhancing and encouraging sleep.  I’m working on introducing the 5 ideas below into our night-time wind-down.

Sleep, COME AT ME!

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5 Easy Ways to Improve your Sleep

  1. Routine – The human body LOVES routine.  Giving ourselves the same cues every day that it’s time to wind down and head to bed will set the scene for a great nights sleep.  Here’s my new sleep-prep plan; drink 500mls of water, take my vitamins – including magnesium, wash-up, relax on my Shakti mat and read for 20 minutes, then lights out – by 10pm!  Sounds so virtuous!
  2. Turn off the Tech – Just.  Do.  It.  Ethan is turning 13 next week and Dave and I had been allowing him to use his iPhone as an alarm clock.  Before we made a rod for our own backs later on when we are deep in the teenage years, we purchased him an actual clock and implemented a no-screen policy in his room – much to his disgust.  It’s well documented that the short wavelength blue light emitted by our digital devices disrupts sleep-inducing melatonin production.  Dave and I will be walking the walk and removing our chargers from the bedroom, this should also help with late night Candy Crush zone outs when we should be snoozing!
  3. Invest in your nest – Create a cozy, bedtime space that you crave at the end of a long day.  Think linens you love, a clutter-free environment that promotes a sense of calm as well as the New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mattress Protector Reviewopportunity for healthful sleep and don’t forget to start at the bottom with your mattress protector.  Look for one that is compatible with your needs; for eczema or allergy sufferers or those with sensitive skin, do your research.  The entire range of Protect-A-Bed® products have been approved by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand’s Sensitive Choice Program plus, the TENCEL® range gets the tick with approval from the Eczema Association.  I’m switching all of our beds over to  Protect-A-Bed mattress protectors as the fitted sheet style is an absolute game-changer.  I can’t believe I’ve been struggling to make the beds with those super-annoying, corner-loop style protectors for so many years, it makes me shudder just thinking about them to be honest!
  4. Watch your temperature – I’m one of those annoying people who is cold all the time, so I LOVE being warm and snuggly in bed.  But, our body naturally cools down as bedtime approaches, helping us both to fall and stay asleep.  Evidence also suggests that allowing the body’s temp to drop naturally whilst sleeping has a beneficial effect on metabolism. So, if you haven’t ditched the heavy, winter weight duvet yet this spring, here’s your reminder!
  5. Cut the consumption – Whether it’s nicotine, alcohol, caffeine or eating a large meal before bedtime, what you put in your mouth affects your quality of sleep.  Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, no surprises there and though alcohol may have the perceived effect of helping you drop off to sleep, hours later, after alcohol levels drop, you may find yourself awake, restless and struggling to nod off again.

I popped the Protect-A-Bed® king-size Traditional Cotton mattress protector on our bed last weekend and we have slept like babes this week.  No more crinkly, crunchy, plasticky feel which is awesome, but somehow the genius fabric is still waterproof and breathable – perfect for those nights (4/7 I’d say) when Nix sneaks into our bed.

Shop the full Protect-A-Bed® range here, or find a New Zealand retailer here.

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Win yourself a Stay New Cotton Terry Mattress Protector!

Leave me a comment below with your preferred size and I’ll pick a winner to receive 1 x Protect-a-Bed Stay New Cotton Terry Mattress Protector!

Competition closes 24th Nov 2017.

 

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse……..Recycle!

This Mum Service Announcement (MSA) is sponsored by GLAD.

Life with kids can easily become an all-consuming cycle of coveting, collecting, consuming and then (sneakily lol) culling when the opportunity arises.  Kids are hoarders, I am not, plus, I’m on a bit of a decluttering binge at the moment, so any method of reusing what we have and reducing waste goes straight to the top of my ‘List of Awesome Things’.

Time for a confession; before I began working with GLAD on this post, I had never washed and reused a Snap Lock Bag.

I know, I know, I’m a terrible person……….but, I had simply not considered the idea that the little, do-everything bags that have been staples in my kitchen’s second-draw my entire adult life, were robust enough to live a life more fulfilling than a single trip to school and back.

Now I know better.  Every GLAD Snap Lock Resealable Bag deserved a second, third, fourth chance at life, which is the crux of today’s MSA; no GLAD bag deserves to be discarded after single use.  Heck, find those bad boys a spot in the cupboard, housing a pack of playing cards or a Lego set and let them retire, worry-free without fear of the landfill.

Check out all the ways Dave and I came up with to reuse ONE Snap Lock Bag after it returned from a successful mission to kindy, transporting snacks surplus to lunchbox capacity;

So here’s the thing right, I know what you’re all thinking.  I do.  Ya’ll are thinking, ‘that’s all well and good, rehome the happy Glad Bags, give them another lease on life, but what happens when Nixon rips the side seam right open?  Then, surely, it’s time for the landfill?”

No Lego is safe in a Snap Lock back with a ripped seam, this is a FACT.  What is also a fact is that GLAD Snap Lock bags, ClingWrap, ZipSlide bags and Matchware containers can all be recycled, – this is another thing I had NO idea about!  Terracycle and GLAD have partnered to create a program which is free to join and allows you to ship your (hopefully!) well used and reused GLAD products off for recycling – also for free!  Click here to sign-up and find out how the program works.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

In our house, we love our little GLAD Snap Lock bags even more now that we are reusing and recycling them.  Available in a range of sizes, they keep food fresher for longer – perfect for the pantry plus, they are BPA free which makes them safe to reuse over and over again, even in the freezer and microwave. 

The truth is out guys, knowledge is power and it’s time to put an end to single-use GLAD abuse. Join with me today.  Find a collection in need of safe containment (hint: look for those ‘special rocks’ under your kid’s beds) and send an old sandwich bag back to work, saving a Snap Lock from the landfill.  Together we can make a change.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Reuse Recycle Glad Sandwich Bags

 

 

 

30 Day Spring Cleaning Plan

It’s Spring!  It’s a bit grey, gloomy and coldish, but it is indeed Spring.  

The notion of the ‘Spring Clean’ is not something we focus on quite so much in this modern era of the multitasking homemaker – who may or may not work outside the home, and whose life agenda is so full that simply remembering to start the washing machine each day is reason enough for celebration.  

Just me?!  Gosh.

I’ve joined forces with Dettol to give Spring Cleaning a facelift and have put together a 30 day Spring Cleaning Plan (in an on-trend, monochrome palette no less) that you can print, Pin, screenshot, whatever……The beauty of it is that you’ll, hopefully, clean your house super-thoroughly as you make your way through the 30 days, by only spending a teeny portion of each day actually cleaning.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean TemplateAlways read the label. Use only as directed.

The concept of the Spring Clean (as outdated as it sounds) is grounded in some ancient traditions that make heaps of sense and are increasingly more relevant in today’s hectic, too-busy, too-much-stuff, not-enough-time lifestyle.

Some researchers trace the origin of spring cleaning to the Iranian Nowruz, the Persian new year, which falls on the first day of spring. Iranians continue the practice of “khooneh takouni” which literally means “shaking the house” just before the Persian new year. Everything in the house is thoroughly cleaned, from the drapes to the furniture.  Wikipedia

Other ancient cultures and religions (Judaism, Catholicism) plus North Americans and Northern Europeans also acknowledge the importance of, let’s be frank, cleaning the crap out of the house you’ve ignored and collected dust in alllllll winter.  Plus, if we bring things forward a couple of hundred years, the minimalists and the discarding experts are all totally on board for a good clean out right?! (I didn’t actually ask them as such, but I think it’s a fairly safe assumption lol!).

I’m all about making this concept way more Molehill than Mountain, so this Spring I’m going to take little, cleaning baby-steps each day and fingers crossed my house will be sparkling by the time summer rolls around.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean TemplateAlways read the label. Use only as directed.

We can do this!

I’m not a big fan of hauling a cleaner’s trolley around our house filled with 10 million assorted products, so the equipment needed will be kept to a minimum.  You can probably accomplish most tasks with some Dettol Disinfectant Wipes as these kill 99.99% of germs (E. Coli, Salmonella, S. aureus) and are for bathrooms and kitchens.  Also, just knock these out in whichever order you please, some days you just won’t feel like dusting, and I reaalllllly feel you on that one, so, #youdoyouboo.  

Print my cleaning plan out (click to open up the PDF version), stick it on the fridge and spread the load by getting the whole family on board!  

My household lifesavers, Dettol Disinfectant Wipes now come in three handy sizes: 45, 90 and 120 wipe packs, in three fragrances, Fresh, Lemon and Apple so you can keep the right size pack, on hand, for whenever those messy emergencies strike – keep a pack in the car, trust me on this one!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean Template

Always read the label. Use only as directed. New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean TemplateNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns 30 Day Spring Clean Template

Always read the label. Use only as directed.

That Retail Life – New on Supermarket Shelves this Month

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

 I Love Pies Spiced Chickpea & Spinach Pie RRP $4.99

I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch today, tucking into the latest addition to the I Love Pies Family.  I’m a massive pie fan, rarely passing up the opportunity to enjoy a classic mince ‘n cheese but my appetite for meat isn’t what it once was.  Give me a hearty, tasty vegetarian option and I’m a happy little kiwi.  That’s exactly what I Love Pies have delivered here; a satisfying pie (with that trademark, to-die-for sour cream pastry!), grown-up flavours and a perfect combination of NZ spinach, chickpeas and a sauce to rave about.  Pop these in your freezer for a Meat Free Monday meal in a pinch!

Available in the chiller section of supermarkets and gourmet food stores.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Chickpea Spinach Pie

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Cadbury Spider ChocolateCadbury Marvellous Creations Spider RRP $4.69

I love a good throwback and these two new creations from Cadbury certainly nail the brief!  The Marvellous Creations range is always a little bit different and surprising but in a totally delicious way.  Chocolate lovers won’t be disappointed with the two new varieties.  Choc Raspberry and Choc Orange are now on shelves, reimagined as a mashup with the classic Spider dessert we all loved in the ’80’s.  Don’t be fooled into passing these off as more suited to a younger palette, these are full fruity flavours that definitely satisfy my very ‘adult’ sweet tooth.

In stores now.

Cadbury Favourites – Kiwi Edition RRP $18.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Cadbury Kiwi Favourites

This Christmas I’d bet money that this new Favourites assortment will be winging it’s way all across the globe as New Zealanders send a little taste of home off to their loved ones abroad.  This is actually a genius product, forget about the Turkish Delight vs Cherry Ripe argument once and for all and just give in to the favourites everyone loves.

Think Caramilk, Peppy Chew, Buzz Bar and Perky Nana – every option’s a winner, right?

Available now at supermarkets and dairies across the country.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Meadows Canned MushroomsMeadows Canned Mushrooms 220gm & 425gm RRP $2.19 & $4.69

Mushroom lovers rejoice!  Every day meals, last minute throw-togethers or special occasion triumphs just got a wee bit easier with the launch of Meadows luscious range of canned mushrooms.  More times than I care to remember, I’ve opened the fridge to find my paper mushroom bag crumpled in a corner with the last remaining soldiers a broken mess inside.  As a mushroom lover, this is obviously a travesty but it also throws a bit of a spanner in the works when you were counting on your beloved mushrooms to steal the show at dinner time.

Available in 4 varieties; Whole in Brine, Sliced in Brine, Sliced in Garlic Sauce and Sliced in Sauce, Meadows canned mushrooms have cemented their place in our home as a pantry staple.  They are unarguably delicious but also contain selenium, potassium and B7 vitamins making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

For more Mushroomy goodness from Meadows, check out this incredible mushroom pie recipe or head to www.meadowmushrooms.co.nz

Available at all major supermarkets and produce stores nationwide.

Nutella Morning Mood Jars

Every person in our house loves Nutella.  It’s obviously genetic or it could be that it’s just too yum to deny.  Thick, buttery white toast spread with Nutella’s hazelnut magic is an excellent way to put a smile on any grumpy pre-teen’s face and is a trick I use quite often as needed lol.

Limited edition jars have just arrived in New Zealand, each labelled with a different morning mood – yes grumpy is one of the options, along with cheeky, smiley, legendary and loved.

Nutella 220g RRP $4.19, Nutella 400g RRP $6.81, Nutella 750g RRP $10.49

Available in supermarkets nationwide.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Nutella

New Regal Manuka Salmon Range

Marlborough King Salmon is such a bloody gem, isn’t it?  I could eat it every day and never get sick of it.  Regal have knocked it out of the park with their brand new range of salmon, Regal Manuka, which is just as incredible as it sounds.  Think King Salmon, cured with premium sea salt, smoked over Manuka wood and then sliced – AMAZING.  

Salmon works beautifully in our household as the retail portion sizes are easy to work with and there’s never any waste because it’s insanely delicious.  You’d be hard-pressed to convince me of a more versatile protein source that’s suited to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The new range of Regal Manuka Cold Smoked Salmon is available in 2 x 50g, 2 x 100g convenient twin packs and Regal Double Manuka Wood Roasted Salmon is available in a 200g pack.

Available from supermarkets nationwide.New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Regal Salmon

Speight’s Summit Ultra Low Carb Lager RRP $21.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Speight's Low Carb Beer 

Summer (and touch rugby season!) is almost here and that means it’s time for cold beer/s after a hot day and a great evening game.  Sounds like bliss as I sit huddled under a nana-blanket at my desk lol.  Each season it seems like everyone adopts a few more healthy habits than the one before.  As such Speight’s is making it easy for beer lovers to cut carbs without sacrificing the flavour of a great lager.  Summit Ultra Low Carb beer contains 75% fewer carbs than the average content of leading NZ beer.  That’s a massive reduction – looks like I may have found my summer drop!

Because no one ever said “Get that man a kale smoothie”

Available in 12 packs.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Akarua PInot GrisAkarua Pinot Gris 2016 RRP $29

From the cool climate of Central Otago comes Akaroa’s 2016 Pinot Gris.  A perfect match for lighter summer meals of fish, salads, veges and flavourful BBQ meats, this is a wine I’m really looking forward to enjoying this summer.

Described as having a bouquet of white peach, pear blossom and a hint of ginger with ripe pears, notes of nectarine and orange peel across the palette.  Serve, share and enjoy!

Available at leading restaurants, selected supermarkets, Glengarry and other fine wine retailers nationwide.

Rockburn Stolen Kiss Rosé RRP $29.99New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Foodie Rockburn Stolen Kiss

Speaking of Summer…….Hello Rosé and hello Rockburn’s limited edition Stolen Kiss Rosé!  Released this week as we switched over to daylight saving, the story of grapes stolen from Rockburn’s highly awarded Pint Noir makes a delicious back-story to a wine that’s fast building a cult-like following here in New Zealand.  Winemaker Malcolm Rees-Francis’ tasting notes describe “candy-floss and crème-brûlée aromas, leading into a flirtatious toffee-apple and simmering strawberry palate smeared with cherry lipgloss”.  If that doesn’t wet your whistle for hot days and cold wine then I’m sorry, you’re dead to me!

Available in selected fine wine stores including Glengarry and online via www.rockburn.co.nz

 

The Little Laundry Appliance that Could – Meet my Spindel

My favourite household chore (if I’m going to say that I actually have a favourite chore!) is definitely laundry.  I really don’t mind rinsing out muddy rugby gear, sorting washing, hanging it out, getting it in.  In fact, the only step in the process that I don’t enjoy is putting clean laundry away.  That’s what my floor-drobe is for.

Despite my enthusiasm for washing clothes, it doesn’t seem as if there is a whole lot of innovation and tech to get excited about in the laundry.  There hasn’t really been a game changer since the electric dryer became a consumer fave so it’s definitely time for a shake-up.

Meet Spindel!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-spindel-reviewLaunching in New Zealand this month, Spindel is already a firm fave in South African homes.  I’ve been test driving mine for the past month and I’m totally convinced that kiwis are going to love these specialist laundry dryers that cut fabric drying time significantly.

Here in New Zealand we are a nation that’s pretty committed to our clotheslines and drying racks, generally looking to avoid the expense of using the dryer at all costs.  Winter makes this hard and a wet winter like we are having this year makes it near impossible.  Air drying clothes inside using a drying rack instead of a dryer may save some money on your power bill but it might be a false economy as you switch on your dehumidifier to remove the excess water that’s evaporated from your clothes into the air.  This is where the Spindel comes in.

I’ve been completing my usual wash cycle in our fairly late model Bosch washing machine, then running the finished load through the Spindel before hanging it out to dry.  Here’s where it gets amazing; I’m spinning around 1.25l of water (more than what the website suggests) out of each load after my washing machine has completed its spin cycle!  That’s a lot of water right?!

Spindel uses no heat, just a large amount of centrifugal force to spin excess water out of your washing.  Spinning at 2800rpm (more than twice that of most washing machines), an energy efficient, 3-minute cycle is all it takes to cut down air drying time or the amount of time you need to run your costly electric dryer.

Genius.  Imagine how much water would come out of a load of super-absorbent cloth nappies?  Totally a laundry life-saver.

I really can’t recommend Spindel enough, it’s slotted into my laundry routine beautifully and is so simple to use – pop a bowl under the spout to catch the water and turn the latch.

The 6.5kg Spindel is now available to pre-order for New Zealand delivery!  Head to www.spindel.nz and click on shop or, email directly here

mummy-blog-new-zealand-blogger-mommy-travelblog-family-kids-spindel-review

Sundays are for…………..family.

One Sunday morning at 4am the sun was not up, but into the bed came a very wriggly and very hungry little boy.  He started to look for some food, but Mum and Dad were still sleeping.  Last week they survived; 1 professional exam, 1 swimming lesson, 1 basketball game, 1 basketball practice, 1 committee meeting, 4 rugby practices, 2 GST returns, 1 rugby Club Night, 1 science project,  1 missed meeting with the bank (the bank manager may not have survived this one!), 2 PR events, 1 EMS workout, 4 blog posts, 1 All Blacks test……………and they were still tired.

Needless to say, Mum and Dad were very much looking forward to Sunday.  Until they remembered Ethan had rugby rep trials at 11am ::::::::::sigh::::::::::

Many are beginning to lament the innate ‘busyness’ of modern family life, and to be honest, last week just about broke me but, our family are joiners, participants, volunteers.  We like to get involved, put down roots, contribute and get to know our little community – something that doesn’t happen simply by virtue of being a ‘neighbour’ anymore.

The flip-side of this is that ensuring we have family ‘down-time’ sometimes becomes a mindful miracle of scheduling.

Eating helps.  Eating together nails it.

This Sunday, breakfast became early afternoon tea for Nixon (he woke at 4 remember!) and some combo of breakfast-brunch-lunch for Dave and I and our beautifully bed-headed preteen.  Keep in mind this is intentionally NOT a cereal breakfast ala Monday through Friday.  This is a ‘real food meal’ that takes time to eat so we can spend as much time as possible together, around the table without anyone on a device or rushing off .

The menu varies, it could be waffles, pancakes or crèpes but this week it was freshly made cheese scones, bacon, and omelets to share.  Of course, we have to be a little bit prepared, a mindful meal begins with some mindful shopping, or at the very least making sure there are some flour, milk, and eggs on hand!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Organic Milk

The way modern families shop for food and consider their purchases is as much a dynamic process as our hectic day-to-day lives.  Food innovation now often (ironically) takes the form of simplification.  As parents of a 12.5-year-old, we want to know where he is, what he’s doing and who he’s doing it with.  Similarly, I want to know where my food is coming from and who is producing it, but is it realistic to expect this from supermarket staples?

Surprisingly, the answer is YES.  The milk we used for our Sunday breakfast this week came from a single organic farm located in Manawatu, farmed by the Flipp family.  Four generations live and work on the farm along with their 600 cows and I didn’t have to drive 6.5 hrs to the farm gate to pick it up! 

Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk was in the chiller, at my local New World 5 minutes from my house.

Mindful family routines and meals begin with mindful shopping – grocery or otherwise.  Investing in a product that is the end result of the Flipp Family’s 3-year journey to achieve organic certification is definitely a brand story that I’m happy to have at my table every day.

For this post, I partnered with Kapiti Single Farm Organic Milk which is now available from Supermarkets nationwide.

  • 1.25L Homogenised/non-homogenised RRP $5.49
  • 750ml Homogenised/non-homogenised RRP $3.50

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Organic Milk

 

Life’s Little Accidents, Boo Boos, Owies and Ouchies

I’m inherently clumsy, Dave is a skateboarding, rugby playing off-road runner, Ethan is a 12.5-year-old boy who plays rugby, basketball and is allergic to long pants and Nixon is your very typical, hyper-tornado-like almost four-year-old…….who also plays rugby.

My two boys (and their 40-year-old Dad!) are definitively of the scraped hands, scabby knees variety.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As opposite as chalk and cheese, Ethan and Nix take decidedly different approaches to Injury Management.  When he was younger Ethan would refuse (Mum) medical attention at all costs.  Antiseptic cream, disinfectant, plasters……..all have been rejected time and time again in favour of his ‘leave me alone’ au naturel approach.  Nixon, on the other hand, is all about having his minor, invisible, pretend?? injuries well dressed, often multiple times per day.  The attention he receives along with (preferably) colourful bandages to treat his toddler-wounds are very obviously seen by him as his rewards for being a brave boy and surviving another horrendous attack on his knees by the garden path.

Indeed!

To this end, my first-aid supplies are a crucial component in my never-ending quest to nail this mothering gig.  Don’t ever, ever run out of plasters guys, especially if a young man’s heart is set on a zebra print waterproof strip.  Heaven forbid!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nexcare Bandages

Not all wound-care products are created equal as Nixon can attest.  He reacts horribly to insect bites and after his ankles were eaten alive at his Dad’s rugby game on Saturday he had scratched and scratched until he’d broken the skin. We raided the rugby first aid kit and covered his little sores with the plasters on hand.  Fast forward to his swimming lesson on Monday as he shook his head in disapproval at his sad, white, wrinkled plasters and said, “Miss Irene will NOT be happy if this plaster comes off in the pool!”. Ew!  I definitely wouldn’t want Miss Irene and other pool users to have to endure Nixie’s soggy, scabby old plaster floating around, which is why we whipped it off and replaced it with a Nexcare™ Animal Print Waterproof Bandage (bonus mum points for animal print!).

These bandages are next level.  They remind me of Nixon’s hospital dressings from when he was younger but are way easier to apply, I can even do it with one hand – which is how we mums do most things so we should be good at it by now!  When Nix has had a mozzie or sandfly bite, he often keeps scratching even after applying antihistamine cream and a plaster. Other brands catch under his fingers and end up just getting scratched right off whereas Nexcare Animal Print Waterproof Bandages 360° seal sticks tight, plus, they are so comfy he forgets they’re there until he catches a glimpse of his ‘lizard skin’ and gets stoked all over again!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nexcare Bandages

We’ve put our Nexcare Animal Print Waterproof Bandages through the full Jack Boy experience; they’ve survived swimming lessons, a basketball game, basketball training, netball trials, rugby training, a rugby game and a 12km trail run on Dave’s hairy legs! That’s about as extreme as any product test I can imagine!  Nix doesn’t care about any of this of course, he just thinks they look rad and I’m totally with him on that one!

I want some other parents to experience just how kick-ass these Nexcare Animal Print Waterproof Bandages are so I have some to giveaway!

Four of you will win a 3-pack prize, each prize valued at over $30!

To enter, just leave a comment below and tell me why you’d like to try the Nexcare Animal Print Waterproof Bandages, (RRP $10.95, 20 bandages pp).  Don’t forget to follow Nexcare on Facebook!

Comp closes 23rd July 2017. NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nexcare Bandages New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Nexcare Bandages