Why I Love My Unstoppable Mum Life

5.40am  Subconsciously doing backflips because at the very least I won’t be waking up in the death hour of any time beginning with 4.

5.41am  Little hands slapping on my face.  “Mummay what’s inside woodlice?”.  

  • Inward groan and realisation that I’m going to have to actually dissect some woodlice so he’ll quit asking me this same question every day.

5.42am  Drift off pondering where one finds woodlice in our neighbourhood.

5.43am  “Mummay I have poops”.  

  • Yes, motherhood gave me spidey-senses, I can smell them, I’m acutely aware of the poops in your diaper Nixie.

Silence.

5.51am  “There’s poops on my fingers and DADDY, where’s my breakfast?”

Repeat 7 days a week except for those days that start at 4.40am, Nixon’s other favourite wake-up time.
Ethan was away on school camp this week so there was one less mouth to feed and lunch to make at 6am, but otherwise it was business as usual; the kindy run, work, housework, washing, life admin (I saved $300 per year on just one vehicle’s insurance today!  BAM!), I ran 5km, had a playdate, spent 3 hours at the rugby club facilitating registrations and I have a deadline tomorrow so am still working.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Winter Boots Ziera

I can’t remember the last time I actually thought to myself “That’s not going to happen, there aren’t enough hours in the day, there isn’t enough coffee, I haven’t had enough sleep, I just can’t do it”.

Can’t isn’t really in my Mummy Lexicon unless we talking about running 10km in which case I’m totally stuck in a 5km rut and I CAN’T run through it lol.  Doing ALL the things (whether we want to or not) is how many of us survive and thrive.  Limitations of what it was possible to achieve in a day flew out the window as soon as Ethan was born, and though, I undoubtedly would like a few more blank spaces on our family calendar, the last 12 years have taught me that everything and anything is possible and I can, in fact put one foot in front of the other (over and over again) and make it all work.

The catch-phrase of the moment, particularly applicable to Mums, is ‘self-care’.  I’m not good at this.  Giving myself a ‘break’ and letting the washing or the dishes pile-up does my head-in and any benefit to be gained from relaxing and not doing chores is instantly negated by mess-induced anxiety.  For people like me, who are active-relaxers, a run or an exercise class is a perfect way to take some time out and practice some of that self-care we hear so much about without the associated guilt of “doing nothing”.  Finding a way to take care of your Unstoppable Mum-Self and recharging your batteries is so important, but we all do this in different ways so if you’re not a zen yoga goddess every Sunday morning don’t sweat it, just find your own mummy-mantra and practice it.  Regularly!

My kids are the ones that drive my Unstoppable Mum Life, they are the sole reason why Dave and I can get out of bed at 4.40am with something resembling a smile and look forward to the day’s routine, domestic schedule.  Each day will undoubtedly be similar to the day before and will recognise tomorrow but it needn’t be mundane or boring.

As I am undoubtedly a YES person, the people I meet through throwing myself into MumLife and Yessing my way through the weeks, are the ones that remove any smidgen of boring-ness from the sometimes  l o n g  days – and equally long nights…..with Nixon!  Getting out and about in your community, doing, volunteering, meeting and helping other parents have a better day will give you more and more positive momentum and help you become the Mum you really want to be.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Winter Boots Ziera

I recently discovered a little message on the sole of a new pair of winter boots from Ziera;

Stand your ground”.  

I love little details like this! I’m picturing myself on a dark, cold night at the rugby club, waiting for Ethan to finish training, dealing with the minutiae of rugby committee life, my mental to-do-list rapidly overflowing as I remember (not to forget!) that it’s bike day at kindy tomorrow and that Ethan needs money for his school bus card so we can’t go straight home after training, that the truck’s RUC’s have run out and I still need to get the tyres balanced……..

Breathe.  Smile.  I am unstoppable.

Do something amazing today!

We’re ALL unstoppable right?  Here’s your chance to recognise a woman that inspires, empowers and motivates you every day……..with a little help from Ziera!

Ziera is searching for unstoppable women to win one of five prizes of $2,500 plus five pairs of shoes to give them a helping hand towards achieving great things. You can nominate as many unstoppable woman as you like. Each time you nominate, you’ll go into the draw to win one of 100 pairs of shoes, one for you and one for the person you nominate. Achieve the extraordinary every day. Be unstoppable.

Submit your nominations here and make a positive change in the life of a deserving woman, just like you!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Winter Boots ZieraWin with The Best Nest & Ziera

Because Ziera are all about YOU and supporting unstoppable women, I have a $250 voucher to spend with Ziera for one of you!  Head over to Ziera, pick your favourite style (mine are the Zorro) and let me know which shoes you’ve fallen in love with in the comments below.

Competition closes Sunday 2/4/17, NZ residents only.

Summer Style – Easy, Chic Mum Fashion

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

Shop the Look > Busy Chic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now you know.

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

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

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

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

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

Head to Toe Spring Shopping – Toddler Lookbook Part 2

Last week I shopped online at The Warehouse* and was able to pull together a super cute spring outfit for Nixon in literally, a matter of minutes (you can check it out here).

This week, for Part 2 of my Head to Toe series, I shopped in-store at The Warehouse as I wanted to take a good look at the whole Spring range and check out the new arrivals in person.

I mixed-and-matched a series of outfits from the boys aged 3-7 range that form a pretty comprehensive Toddler Capsule Wardrobe for the season ahead.  

Spring can be notoriously tricky for styling due to it’s transitory weather, fleeting showers and sudden cold snaps.  Layers are your secret weapon here as you can easily add warmth and long sleeves while doing away with the bulk of winter outerwear.

All of the pieces I’ve picked will do double duty in the Summer months ahead.  The long sleeved shirts and pants are lightweight enough to wear once the sun goes down and the drop-hem tees and denim shorts won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

Shop The Look

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Toddler Style

Jeans $29, Denim Shirt $25, Lumberjack Shirt $20, Wide Stripe Tee $15, Yoke Mesh Tee $15, Hi Canvas Shoes $20, Cap $12, Chino Kanga Pants Pants $29, Yarn Dyed Printed Tee Shirt $15, Zip-Thru Hoody $10, WZ Denim Shorts $20, Velcro Shoes $15.

WIN

If you’d like a $50 Gift Card from The Warehouse to kick-start a Spring Style make-over for you or one of your Little People, just comment below with your favourite item featured above and you’re in the draw to win!

Competition closes 15/9/16. NZ residents only.

*This post was sponsored by The Warehouse.

10 Months of Running | Join Me for the Skechers Women’s 6k and win!

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I know not everyone has aspirations to be a runner, but I always, always have.  I was pretty good at a few sports growing up and fair to middling at the rest.  I gave everything a go and joined every sports team there was on offer at school.  But I was never a runner.  Cross country days hurt me, deep down in my young soul.  God I hated them.

So I cannot really explain what happened last December, 2 days before Christmas, when I put on some sneakers and decided to run.  It really was as simple as that.

I’ve written about it before (here) so I won’t elaborate too much, but over the past 10 months I’ve increased my distance, improved my pace and settled into running in a way I had never imagined I would.  I have gone from struggling to run 1km to where I’m at now, which is comfortably running 5km in under 30 minutes.

I’m proud of that.  It’s no Olympic time, but it’s an excellent Melissa time.

How I learned how to run 5km

So December 2014.  No running.  23rd December 2014, I power walked 4km and ran 1km at the end.

This was honestly the hardest kilometre I’ve ever completed in my life.  And I barely made it to be honest.  I wasn’t prepared for how uncomfortable, wobbly, jiggly and out of breath I would feel.  I was self-conscious and full of negative self-talk.

But I was secretly pretty stoked I did it.

I did this walk/run combo 3 0r 4 more times.  Then I increased the running distance to 1.5 km and followed the same pattern.  Repeating the increased increment 3 or 4 times before adding another half km onto the running distance, always working within the 5km parameter – I think this was a big mental milestone for me!

I took it slowly and after a couple of months, I made it to 5km.  

I COULD RUN 5 FREAKING KILOMETRES!!!!  Huge milestone for me.  To be honest, I haven’t progressed much further distance wise since.  I’ve hit 7km a couple of times when I was pushing hard, but I really love the short sharp burst that a good 5km gives me.

But.  Next month, on the 15th of November, I’m running the Skechers Women’s 6k in Auckland.  My friend Penny from Little Housewife and I had been discussing doing a run or race together and there were heaps of reasons why we decided to choose the Skechers event;

  • Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor6k is a great distance which suits all levels.  Trust me, this is a totally achievable distance for either walkers or runners – and you can do either, it doesn’t matter!
  • The course is flat.  Flat as a pancake.  Along the waterfront in Auckland in lush, pre-summer November, perfectly scheduled for all of our ‘get fit for summer’ resolutions!
  • Everyone gets a goody bag!
  • There are amazing prizes to be won on the day such as a trip to Hawaii for the best dressed trio and a brand new Mazda!

So, what do you think?  Ready to give it a go with us?  Online registrations close 13 November and Penny assures me this is such a fun event – she did it last year!

Plus, Skechers have an amazing prize pack to give away to one lucky reader!  Valued at over $250 it includes a pair of Skechers GOwalk 3 shoes, a Skechers Performance towel, sports-bag and drink bottle, a range of Sculpt product and a shaker, and tickets for you and a friend to attend Skechers 6k – the perfect pack to provide you with everything you need to get up and on your feet!

There are three ways to enter:

  1. Comment below and tell me who you would invite to the event
  2. Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the instructions on the competition image here
  3. Enter via this image on Instagram

Competition closes 30/10/15 @ 5pm.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Top Halloween Decor 

How to wear: Palazzo Pants

Mummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Palazzo PantsIt may have been a rare flash of fashion brilliance, but it was Dave who bought me my first pair of palazzo pants while shopping in India on a business trip last year.  These ’60’s throwbacks are BACK baby and this is one fashion trend that is not just for celebs or eighteen year olds.

I love palazzo pants.  

You should love palazzo pants, we all should LOVE palazzo pants.  Here’s why;

  • They are super flattering.  The high waist and long leg gives the illusion of legs-for-days even if you’re really more of a legs-for-minutes kinda gal
  • They are figure skimming, no tight bits here!
  • They are super comfy, hello, like PAJAMAS!
  • Easy to dress up or down.  Wedges, flatforms, strappy sandals………palazzo pants don’t care, you’ll look amaze however you wear them!
  • Palazzo pants are the perfect trans-seasonal staple to take you from spring to summer and avoid wardrobe bloat
  • Budget friendly.  Yes it’s true, check out the look below I’ve created entirely from The Warehouse’s Spring Fashion Lookbook. 

Are you convinced yet?

Here’s how I’d build an outfit around these super versatile pants;

The key thing to remember is that you need to balance out the flowy, wide leg of the pants with something slimline and fitted on top.  If you want to accentuate your waist opt for a plain crop like the Garage one below, or, for a more tailored look pair the palazzo pants with a simple shirt – tucked in!  I would pick the latter option, it’s styled but relaxed, a perfect Mum outfit without looking over-done.

Boho accessories are a must for this look, add an oversized hobo, layered, luxe necklaces and once the weather heats up finish the look with a floppy straw hat and some pretty sandals.

Voila!  Palazzo perfection xxMummy Blog new Zealand Best Savoury Palazzo Pants



Garage Palazzo Pant $29

Garage Ribbed Crop Top $15

Maya 3/4 Sleeve Textured Shirt $29

Debut Front Zipped Handbag $39

Fashion necklaces – assorted prices

Debut Chynna Sandals $25

Beach Works Women’s Aztec Wide Brimmed Hat $20

 

* This sponsored post was made possible by The Warehouse Spring Fashion.

 

A Girls Guide to Mac’s Cider Pairing

Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

Bucking the trend that has seen sickly sweet ciders flood the market recently (if I never taste another Strawberry Lime Cider it will be too soon!), Mac’s have taken inspiration from their brewing roots and brought to market four stunning wee drops that will easily find favour with palettes of all persuasions.  I love drinks that have a varietal for all occasions, I think this is why many of us gravitate towards wine.  Cider can also produce flavours as varied and complex as other brews and ferments, you may just have to step out of your comfort zone to experience them! Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

Food and beverage pairing is difficult to get right and even more difficult to remember – for me at least!  With their crafted ciders, Mac’s offer four stunning new flavours that won’t be forgotten; Cloudy Apple, Cranberry & Ginger, Blood Orange & Cardamom and Chilli & Lime.  To make things a little easier for those of us who struggle with the complexities of menu planning, I’ve put together some handy infographics to ensure you always get your cider pairing just right!  Take special note of the flavour scale which is now on all Mac’s beers and ciders, a #1 on the scale will offer refreshment and quenching relief while a #7 will leave you wanting to take your time and savour the intense flavour experience on offer. Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

This range brings innovation and a modern twist on classic cider while remaining true to the tart apple base which remains present throughout the range.  Whether you’re a gumboot girl or a city babe there is something for everyone here, but you simply must try the Chilli & Lime.  Get over the seemingly bizarre concept of a chilli cider and prepared to be wowed.  This one’s a keeper for sure!

Enjoy!

Mac's Cider New Zealand blog Mummy Kids

FASHION CHALLENGE AUTUMN 2015 | Trending for Boys

A little chill in the air at night is certainly hinting that Autumn is here, meaning it’s time to think about ditching the sandals, lowering the hemlines and starting to add a couple of layers to our summer wardrobes.  I’m super excited to be taking part in The Warehouse’s Fashion Challenge this season, meaning I will be heading in store as an official blogger to dress our family head to toe in the latest trends for $200 or less!

Autumn Mens clothing The Warehouse Mum Blogger nZ

Autumn Fashion Trends Boys The Warehouse Mummy Blogger NZ

1.  Urban Equip Volley Shorts $20

2.  DC Mens Tee $25 – on sale for $15

3.  Urban Equip Robbie Shoes $30

4.  Active Intent Men’s Zip Thru Sweatshirt $29

So first things first: E does not wear pants.  Ever.  So updating his wardrobe for seasonal temperature fluctuations is essentially an exercise in layering!  Second thing, my delicious 10 year old is a big guy, we shop in the men’s department so sometimes it can be a little tricky finding on-trend and age appropriate outfits that he loves.  But, dude picked this whole outfit himself including the shoes in approximately seven minutes, and he totally nailed it right?  The graphic print shorts are my absolute fave, they are the perfect ‘above-the-knee’ length which is hard to find when you are 10 years old and shopping in the mens department!  The DC t-shirt was on sale for $15!!  I initially thought this combined with the shorts was going to look a bit too blue, but I think the outfit just comes across as very smart and well-styled.  

The super-wide drawstring in the zip hoody is a nice, updated look for this common winter staple.  This sweat will get worn to death so I’m loving it’s neutral base which ties in perfectly with the grey Robbie Shoes that E chose!  What a hip little guy – I think I’ll keep him x

Autumn Mens clothing The Warehouse Mum Blogger nZ Autumn Mens clothing The Warehouse Mum Blogger nZ

 

FASHION CHALLENGE AUTUMN 2015 | Husband Styling 101

A little chill in the air at night is certainly hinting that Autumn is here, meaning it’s time to think about ditching the sandals, lowering the hemlines and starting to add a couple of layers to our summer wardrobes.  I’m super excited to be taking part in The Warehouse’s Fashion Challenge this season, meaning I will be heading in store as an official blogger to dress our family head to toe in the latest trends for $200 or less!

The Warehouse Mens Clothes Mummy Blog NZ

Autumn Mens Trends The Warehouse Mummy Blog NZ

1.  Match Long Sleeve TTC Shirt $20

2.  Match 5 Pocket Jean Green $39

  3.  Urban Equip Wills Shoes $30

My husband is a bit of an odd mix when it comes to styling.  Off the clock he is a skateboarder, always has been always will be.  He likes one brand of skate shoes and one brand only {I can understand this as when you’re flying around a concrete bowl you need to be able to feel and trust your feet}, and his clothing aesthetic hasn’t really changed too much over the 15 years I have known him.  His jeans have gotten a little tighter – thank goodness – but his basic old dude skate attire is pretty simple and doesn’t follow fashion trends.

Work is a different story.  Dave works for a major global corporation, so smart-casual is pretty much always required.  A classic plaid shirt is such a great office staple and does double duty off the clock when wearing it untucked is an option.  We were stoked to find these great 5 pocket pants in a deep olive green, these are totally Dave’s style and would work dressed up for the office or dressed down with a tee for after-hours and weekends.  Not as casual as jeans but the slim cut keeps them on-trend and relevant.  

We were looking for a comfy sneaker-based shoe in a contrasting colour to lighten up Dave’s look for Autumn.  The Wills shoe from Urban Equip was a no-brainer, totally office friendly and crosses-over easily for an after work drink or BBQ. 

So total cost, $89, easily reduced by shopping on sale.  I think Dave looks hot!  Most importantly to both of us he looks like DAVE.  He won’t wear clothes he doesn’t like so I’m feeling good about our shopping trip to The Warehouse and so is he.

The Warehouse Mens Clothes Mummy Blog NZ The Warehouse Mens Shoes Mummy Blog NZ

Fashion Challenge Autumn 2015 | Toddler Trends

A little chill in the air at night is certainly hinting that Autumn is here, meaning it’s time to think about ditching the sandals, lowering the hemlines and starting to add a couple of layers to our summer wardrobes.  I’m super excited to be taking part in The Warehouse’s Fashion Challenge this season, meaning I will be heading in store as an official blogger to dress our family head to toe in the latest trends for $200 or less!

I like to keep things bright and fun when dressing Nixon, he’s a toddler and the whole monochrome trend is a bit lost on me when it comes to both his bedroom decor and his wardrobe.  I base his clothes on both form and function, Nix is one helluva boy, a full-on, dirt loving,  rock throwing, future All Black-type {fingers crossed : P} BOY.  His clothes need to be easy care, but also look great and wear well.  I found some key summer pieces at The Warehouse  – did anyone else pick up those super cute navy drill shorts with the anchor print?  Amaze – so knew I would have no problem dressing Nix for the challenge.

The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ 1.  Bonds Infant Anchor Leggings $18 Size 2

2.  Hippo + Friends Short Sleeve Striped Tee $8 Size 2 1/2

3.  Hippo + Friends Boys Strike Canvas Shoes $8 Size 6

Starting with quality basics is key to creating a versatile and lasting wardrobe that can be mixed and matched easily.  The Bonds Baby range is my favourite, these anchor print leggings are perfection and can easily be styled for both little boys and girls.  With quite a neutral bottom I was looking for a shirt with a bit more colour; classics stripes never go out of fashion and should be a wardrobe staple, plus there are plenty of colorways to choose from in this Hippo + Friends range.

Shoes are trouble for us.  Both of the boys have feet akin to little chubby sledgehammers.  No laces just works for us and so do these uber cute little canvas slip-ons, comfy for Nix and easy to put on for me – everyone’s happy!

So, total cost of this stylin’ little outfit?  $34.  Hello!?  It’s gorgeous, comfy and totally on trend.  Nix thinks he looks like a babe, what do ya reckon?

The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ The Warehouse Autumn Toddler Fashion NZ