Home Care Tips for the Cleaning-Impaired Mum

When I was born back in the late ‘70’s, the outlook looked good;  healthy baby, good size, lungs worked and I looked enough like my mum to assume there would be some legacy genetics that had been passed down from mother to daughter.

At around age 18, it became increasingly apparent that all was not well.  There were obvious deficiencies in my character that were becoming more and more prominent the older I got.  My shortcomings were not only detrimental to myself, but also to my future self, my future husband, children and home as well as the immediate and pressing concern of driving my mother up the wall.

I am Cleaning-Impaired.

I was not born with the desire to clean my home.  My impairment creates many debilitating situations; dusting causes massive allergy attacks where my eyes will swell closed and I’ll sneeze for 3 days non-stop (this is actually true!).  Reluctantly (HA!), I’ve learnt to make peace with the dust, if it lies still in an even coating on my surfaces we live together in copacetic harmony.  I occasionally feel brave and pop a soft brush on my Dyson and simply vacuum the dust off the tops of our dressers, TV cabinets etc.  It’s a sacrifice I must make to the Perfect-Mummy gods of the world, but one that over the years has brought me great peace, as I fill the cleaning void with ‘Better things to Do’ and ‘Watching Netflix’.

There are ways to live with my debilitating (according to my Mum) condition; beginning with lowering your domestic-diva standards and expectations…..and then lowering them again.  Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying either, I love a clean, tidy house, and I regularly do housework, but it IS ‘work’, and I believe in working smarter not harder.

So, dear readers, I’m sharing with you some tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the years that allow me to keep our home at what I lovingly call, “Whip-Around Status”, ie surprise visitor will be at your door in 15 minutes?  A quick whip-around will have the house looking a million bucks with minimal stress and effort.

Tips for Maintaining Whip-Around Status in Your Home

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family I am Cleaning Impaired

  1. Make the beds first thing every morning.  This is time-consuming and hard to squeeze into a whip around.  Do it early as you can’t hide an unmade bed!
  2. De-centralize cleaning supplies.  Keeping ALL of your cloths and sprays in one place (ie under the laundry sink!) makes what can be a wee spit ‘n shine take a g e s.  Keep a 3-in-1 Chux scourer and Silver Scourer in each bathroom and grout, tiles, shower glass and sinks can look fresh-as with a couple of wipes.
  3. Invest in a cordless vacuum, Whip-Around status is by definition ‘whipping around QUICKLY’, if you have to pull out the Big Vac every day chances are it just won’t happen.
  4. Big surfaces are eye catching – keep these clean and clear of clutter.  I keep an empty storage basket in our hall cupboard ready to sweep off whatever is hiding our dining room table, so I can wipe it down quickly and move on.
    – I like Chux Original Robuste for surfaces such as tables and benchtops.
  5. If you must dust, consider actually removing settled dust rather than just displacing it with a feather-duster – this is much more sensible for those of us with allergies.  Thick, strong cloths work best for this task; I use a damp All-Purpose Absorbent cloth on suitable surfaces – just rinse and move on!
  6. Hide what you don’t have time to clean.  What visitors can’t see won’t hurt them.  Use that dishwasher, washing machine and cupboards for the purpose they were intended – putting stuff in!
  7. Keep entranceways clean and clear, first impressions can set the tone for the rest of a visit.
  8. Glass matters – dirty windows make everything feel dirty.  Try using Chux Robuste with your glass cleaner, simply wash and reuse!
  9. When you’re in a hurry, spot-clean where it matters ie around the toilets.  I keep some Chux Superwipes and disinfectant in the toilet for an every day, there-when-you-need-them clean-up  ::::::::ew boys!::::::
  10. In a worst case, bomb-site-scenario, throw all the laundry, clutter, mess and toys in one room and shut the door.  It takes a very ballsy visitor to question a shut door in someone else’s home!

The best advice I’ve ever been given around overcoming my horrendous shortfalls in the cleaning department is; if a job will take less than 2 minutes, attend to it right away.

Arm yourself with this can-do mentality and the right Chux product for the job and even those of us that are Cleaning-Impaired can make steps towards that magical wonderland free of dust and window streaks of all the mothers that went before us.

Check out my video below and let me know in the comments below which spot in your home needs some Chux love and I’ll hook one of you up with a $50 supermarket voucher to grab some supplies!

Comp closes 6/7/17, NZ residents only.

Beauty Spotlight: June ’17

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

Beat the Microbead

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

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

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

Schwarzkopf Beology Range Launch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Oil

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

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

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

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Beauty Review Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Oil

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

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

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

Tangle Teezer Skinny Dip Compact Styler

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

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

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

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

Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment

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

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

Wait until you try the metal applicator!

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

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

Atzen Renew Eye Lift Serum

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

Ok, I’m awake.

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

Too good right?

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

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

Little Moments Matter + Fruit Tea Gummies Recipe

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

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

This is my life.

My name is Melissa and I am a BUSY addict.

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

Do something special just for you

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

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

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

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

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

Create a Daily Ritual

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

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

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

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

Try Something New

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

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

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

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

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

Fruit Tea Gummies Recipe


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

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

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

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

1 tsp Red Seal Manuka Honey UMF5+

Coconut oil to grease moulds if you are using them.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

WIN >  Make your own Red Seal Fruit Tea Gummies!

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

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

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


Home Tech You’ll Love – Ring Video Doorbell

We had just landed in Melbourne last week and loaded into our taxi when I realised it was my phone that was ringing – a different kind of ring I didn’t immediately identify.  My brain fog cleared, I remembered my new Ring Video Doorbell app and opened it up to reveal one of our dogs caught on camera at our front door – where he was NOT supposed to be, imagine if that was Nixon?!

Heart attack.

After shooting off a text to Dave along the lines of, “Louie is roaming in the yard, trying to ring the doorbell BUT HAS NO THUMBS!  Please let him in”, I showed my girlfriends how our amazing new, Ring Video Doorbell works.

In a nutshell, the Ring Doorbell is a wide-angle HD camera, mounted by our front door that streams live video via your home WI-FI to your smartphone either when someone (or Louie lol) activates the customised motion sensor or presses the unit’s doorbell button.  This triggers a notification on the Ring smartphone app that someone is at the door!  How awesome is that?!

But we’re not done yet.  Once triggered, the HD video camera turns on so you can see who’s at the door and the two-way audio means that Louie and I can discuss the repercussions of small dogs escaping from the backyard – or I can just tell the courier that it’s fine to leave the package.  Either way, it’s amazing!

Install was easy, Dave had to pack out our door frame with some extra wood for mounting and he still had it up and operational within 30 minutes!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell

Aside from the obvious convenience of being able to communicate with someone who’s at your door when you’re not home, I LOVE the security features that are included with Ring.  Night Vision captures motion and activity around the clock, the unit’s design is weather resistant, there’s lifetime purchase protection if your Ring Video Doorbell is stolen plus, video recording is an optional add-on.

This incredible (easy to install, totally sensible) piece of video tech is now available in New Zealand from leading retailers Noel Leeming, Mitre 10 and Harvey Norman, RRP $349, but I have one to giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell

Win a Ring Video Doorbell worth $349!

I love, love, love our Ring and am super excited to have one to share with you guys.

If you would like to experience the awesomeness of a Ring Video Doorbell at your home, leave me a comment below and tell me which feature of Ring you think is seriously amazing > find out more here

Competition closes Sunday 21st May, NZ residents only.

The Ring Video Doorbell was sent to The Best Nest for editorial review.  All opinions are my own.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Travelblog Ring Video Doorbell


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

I’m not exaggerating here, my kids’ dental hygiene is the bane of my LIFE.

The big one just doesn’t care/can’t be bothered/isn’t interested and the little one thoroughly enjoys it but would be only slightly less effective if he was using his toothbrush to scrub the floor instead of scrubbing his entire face – as well as approximately 10% of one tooth.

None of this is made any easier by the times of day that teeth-brushing is permanently scheduled in at; The Early Morning Before School Rush and Bedtime; Peak Procrastination Hour.  Undoubtedly two of the most difficult times of the day by any parental estimation.

Things began to look up late last year when Ethan got a toothy tech upgrade to the Philips Sonicare for Kids (read about that here).  The 2-minute timer has been amazing for improving his brushing routine plus I can hear its beeps and whizzing from afar so it’s much easier to keep an ‘ear’ on how long he’s brushing for lol.  The beeps are the quad pacer on the timer that helps him work out when to move to a different part of his mouth.  Kid-friendly genius!

That just leaves Nixie and now it’s his turn to hit the oral hygiene big league (meaning he’s got an awesome toothbrush too!).

Philips Sonicare for Kids have upped their game again with the launch of their mobile app to further aid kids with establishing awesome brushing habits.

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

Look, I’m an unashamed modern mum and I’m perfectly at peace with exploring ways in which technology can benefit my kids – and by benefit my kids I mean provide my very easily distracted toddler with a visual reference on how to brush, why to brush and for how long to brush because I’ve tried and am failing!  

I can see wheels spinning and Mama’s shaking their heads thinking ‘generations of people before us have taught their kids how to brush their teeth without the help of an app’.

This is true.  But generations before us weren’t raising kids in this digital age we find ourselves in, where our toddlers have favourite YouTube channels!

After he decorated his toothbrush, we worked through the app setup process which is super-cute and really engaging.  Nix got to hatch his ‘Sparkly’ and name him – Truck.  His toothbrushing friend is called Truck lol!!!  This initial meet and greet (?) is very clever, it totally encouraged Nixon to take responsibility for Truck’s teeth and get cracking.  The visual interface shows kids their progress as they are brushing and provides a reference that helped Nixon actually understand, for the first time, why we need to brush our teeth.  Check it out in action in the clip below;

As I said, Ethan’s been using his Sonicare for Kids for 5 months now and the proof of its efficacy (Philips states they are 75% more effective than manual toothbrushes in hard to reach areas) was noted in his latest dental checkup.  A positively huge improvement from his prior visit when he was threatened with a stain to show just how much plaque his lazy brushing was leaving on his teeth.  That’s a HUGE parental win, I was so stoked with that.

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

What you need to know about the Philips Sonicare for Kids

-A rechargeable sonic toothbrush for ages 3 and up

-Built-in Bluetooth wireless technology connects to the app

-Built-in timer

-Kids adopt their own Sparkly and help it brush its teeth so that it can be happy and evolve

RRP $99.95 available from major retailers nationwide.

Win this amazing toothbrush for a little person you know!

I have one Philips Sonicare to giveaway!  Make it yours by leaving me a comment below telling me who you’d gift it to.

Competition closes 18/4/17 NZ residents only.

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

Shop: Your dream sunglasses and where to find them

I’ve noticed over the years that people generally fall into two very distinct camps when it comes to sunglass purchasing.

The first crew use and abuse their glasses, preferring quantity over quality as they just can’t seem to hold on to a pair (or keep them in one piece!) for longer than 2 weeks.

The second camp, totally me, considers sunglasses an essential, non-negotiable part of leaving the house.  My Sunnies are
on every day, throughout every season, and absolutely every single time I get behind the wheel during the day.

As such, I’m happy to invest in a hero-pair each summer as I know they’ll go the distance – and I can trust myself to NOT lose them and NOT break them.

Hopefully lol.

This season, www.smartbuyglasses.co.nz reached out to me and invited me to try their service.  Initially overwhelmed by the unparalleled range (7234 pairs of women’s sunglasses!!!) I began using the seriously good search filter to narrow the results down to the shape, frame type and brands that I love.  It was like a Tinder for sunglasses that actually works lol.

With 319 contenders to choose from, not an easy task when the brands are Prada, Burberry, Kenzo, Tom Ford to name a few, I finally found my perfect sunglass match;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Sunglasses

The Michael Kors Polynesia in Black/Tortoise.  Amazing right?

This colourway has sold out but you can shop the same model in other colours here.

My order arrived within 5 days guys!  Perfect timing for all the travelling we are doing at the moment.  Offering free shipping and 100 day returns plus prescription and contact lens sales, I can’t imagine shopping anywhere else for glasses.

Totally happy to recommend www.smartbuyglasses.co.nz 10/10 service and quality.

We Love: Dough Queen Natural Play Dough

Here in New Zealand, the first school holidays of 2017 are very quickly approaching and if the recent unsettled weather is anything to go by, we better get prepared for some rainy days inside!

Nixon is our hurricane child, whom we often struggle to settle down into focused, prolonged play.  He tires quickly of traditional toys but, give him creative options and he’s good to go and engaged for at least half an hour – that’s amazing for our little guy!

Despite having to be carried out in the football hold under my arm during the show last year (epic, most public meltdown either one of my kids has ever experienced!), Nix LOVES Mister Maker and often asks for time with his ‘Making Box’ full of art supplies.  His other favourite form of creative play is sitting down with some play dough and letting his imagination take over – I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen him play the same way twice when he’s working and squishing with dough.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

Over the past couple of years, it’s pretty apparent that as Kiwi parents, we are changing the way we choose and shop for products for our kids.  When we have the option to purchase great quality, natural products it’s a no-brainer, especially when it’s going to be a guaranteed hit with the kids!

Fellow Kiwi Mum Claire Shannon has taken this movement to market with her Dough Queen range of natural New Zealand made play dough.

Dough Queen’s NZ-made natural non-toxic play dough is produced with food grade ingredients you can find in your own kitchen. That means if someone takes a nibble there’s no need to panic. We like our little customers to have a good amount to play with so each resealable pouch has 500g of dough. DQ dough will last around 5 months, as long as it is returned to its pouch or stored in a sealed container after play time.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

We’ve been playing pretty hard out with Claire’s lovely dough since before Christmas and I’m totally hooked – as is Nixie.  I’ve made my own dough before, and whilst it’s not a particularly difficult thing to do, it is time-consuming and messy.  Let’s face it, the beauty of tactile play with play dough IS that it’s messy and you can smush it into a million little pieces (that get into every fibre of every fibrous thing in your entire house lol), so mess is good.  But avoiding a pre-mess before the Main Mess Event is much more my style.

In short, I’d rather buy natural play dough then make it myself – #LazyMum, maybe.  Time poor?  Definitely.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play dough

Dough Queen Natural Play Dough retails at $9 per single pack, with bundle pricing available as well as lab-tested, gluten free options, making beautiful handmade dough safe and healthy for everyone.

There are two new colours in the Dough Queen range, DQ Colour #10 and DQ Colour #11.  Both come in the super generous 500gm resealable pouch, both are bright, fun colours, they last for ages, and they both need names!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Natural Play doughHelp Dough Queen name the two latest colours!

Come up with the winning name for either #10 (teal) or #11 (purple) or both, and a twin pack containing each of the new colours could be all yours!  There are two prizes to win so comment below with your name suggestions and Dough Queen will choose 2 winners 3/4/17.

NZ residents only.

Book Review – Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes

Published 27/2/17, Random House NZ RRP $35, EBook also available.

I read a lot of books and 99.999% of them are not about me (surprise!) or my life or anything remotely resembling my life.  They serve as the distraction needed at the end of the day, the vehicle with which to escape and be transported far, far away, to meet strangers in foreign lands and solve mysteries, eat exotic foods join the mafia etc.  The books I read generally do exactly what a good book should do – provide escapism and a method in which to calm and quiet my frantic mind.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Emily Writes Rants in the Dark ReviewRants in the Dark does the complete opposite.

Rants in the Dark is the ONE book that is about me, it is about my life.  When Nix woke us at 4.30am this morning I rolled over and saw it on my nightstand and half-smiled at the irony of seeing it there, the words inside like a fist-pump emoji sent via Instagram from one mum to another – ‘you’ve got this, you know how to wake up at 4.30am, you know there are 2 Nespresso capsules left and you can have them BOTH because Dave is awesome like that.  You know it’s Little Kindy day tomorrow so you’ll have 4 hours in the morning to gather yourself and work and not-tidy the house ’cause what’s the point?’

Ahhh.  This book is my people.

Rants in the Dark will find audiences among mothers, obviously, but I think there is a great read in here for anyone who themselves HAS a Mum, or knows a Mum, or is married to a Mum.  Emily gives us short, snappy, witty vignettes that don’t bog you down with the oft-mundane minutiae that is #MumLife, rather, these details are woven into beautiful accounts of how, at the end of the day (or in the early hours of the morning!) we can still love it all, and be ready to repeat these days over and over again.  

For 18 years or so.

Buy it, read it, love it, lend it.  

Rants in the Dark is a modern-mothers voice in a snappy navy cover.  Emily’s my literary hero and it was incredibly awesome to meet her on Monday at her launch event.  Bravo you beautiful woman, Rants in the Dark is everything I hoped it would be and more.

Win your own copy of Rants in the Dark by Emily Writes

I have three copies to give away, one here on the blog – to enter just leave me a comment below.


One on Facebook, enter here

One on Instagram, enter here

I’ll draw the winners on Sunday 5/5/17.  NZ residents only.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Kids Emily Writes Rants in the Dark Review



Homewares – New Season Dining Refresh

Dave and I have recently realised that our home-owners enthusiasm for pfaffing, improvements and once effervescent tszuj-ing has pretty much plateaued into nothingness.

A visit last week from Jade Turner, Lead Designer at The Warehouse, got me totally pumped about homewares again and showed me how little, inexpensive touches can make a big difference.

This season, think matte black, mixing organic elements with harder silhouettes and geometrics.

Enough about that, the pics will do ALL the talking x

Shop the gorgeous and affordable Onyx vs Blanco range below;

Dining/Serveware Autumn Update Shopping List

  1. Living & Co Speckled Dinnerware $2 per piece!
  2. Living & Co Double Old Fashion Glasses Matt Black 4 Pack $15
  3. Living & Co Matte Black 16 Piece Cutlery Set $19
  4. Living & Co Round Cork Placemats $3
  5. Onyx Matte Black Candle  – smells amaze btw! $10
  6. Living & Co Matte Black Pitcher $5
  7. Living & Co Canvas Art Round Blanco Horse $16

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

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares BlackNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family The Warehouse Homewares Black

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

The Toilet and the Three Boy Household

When you’re a Boy-Mum, many habits around the house (need to) change.  You realise that vacuuming anytime before 4.30 pm when the children are home is pointless and only results in ‘why do I even bother’ angst.  You quickly learn to always check pockets before turning the washing machine on.  You discard any expectation that socks will be removed and put in the laundry in any manner other than in balls.  Eau de LYNX and preteen/teen boys go together like peas and corn and you should never, ever forget to check the toilet seat before sitting down.

This is a scientific fact.

As the only female in the house there are 4 risk factors that present themselves every time I enter the bathroom;

  1. A blind entrance with a still-raised toilet seat, means a splash entry no-one wants to make
  2. A rapid descent without checking for puddles on the seat often spells wet thighs and I HATE THIS SO MUCH IT MAKES ME SCREAM EVERY TIME!!!!!
  3. Entering the bathroom at pace if someone’s been spraying can lead to a painful slip ‘n slide that should never happen indoors :::::::ewwwww:::::::
  4. Boy-Mum, Girl-Mum it doesn’t matter.  A stranding is a less than ideal and I’m not sure whether they find it amusing or not but the boys seem to prefer a naked toilet-roll holder over one suitably equipped.  I’m straight up calling that laziness!

I’ve been a Boy-Mum and a wife for 12 years now and I’ve managed to implement many awesome habits amongst the Jack Family menfolk.  Folding towels in half, then thirds to put away in the linen cupboard is still a work in progress, but I’m hopeful in 2017 we will be triumphant in this area.  

Eliminating the three Female Risk Situations described above completely, is also progressing rather slowly.  Baby-steps were evident until an actual baby arrived in the house.  Nixon’s arrival and progression through toilet training has seen standards lowered across the board, and further evidence to support my assertion: toilet domination is a numbers game and a war I’m struggling to win.  Quite frankly I’m outnumbered and undergunned.  Your support and sympathy would be very much welcomed in the comments below ::::::::sobs:::::::

Last week did allow me a toilet-related giggle or two however.  We had a tradie at home doing some building work.  He started early in the morning, as is good practice, but he must have left home before he finished his ‘morning business’.  I popped out to drop Nix at kindy and he took this very small window of opportunity with gusto and acquainted himself with our bathroom.  

First and foremost, I have absolutely no problem with this.  Nature calls of course, what else can you do?  The situation was apparent when I returned home minutes later having forgotten Nixon’s bike and a very, very embarrassed builder rushed past me with cheeks ablaze as I ran smack into a toilet ‘smell’ that literally left me reeling!  I wasn’t going to put the man through any more embarrassment but I totally wanted to slip him a bottle of V.I.Poo and kindly suggest that a smart tradie never leaves home without it lol.

All you need to know is that Airwick V.I.Poo is a genius pre-poo toilet spray that creates a layer trapping odors under the surface before they escape – IT WORKS PEOPLE! And it’s available at your supermarket : )

One less obstacle between me and a state of bathroom bliss……………….that’s never going to happen in my house fyi!

Better living everyone xx

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Boys Bathroom Toilet