Summer Bedroom Refresh

Oh my lord it’s HOT!  Seriously, these temps in December are crazy, but crazy good for sure.  Being able to throw open the bedroom windows and freshen things up is so therapeutic for me.  Both of the boy’s rooms have had a big spring clean that included purchasing fresh, new linen for their beds.  Over the weekend, I finally had the time to do the same in our master bedroom.

You know those dumping grounds that ‘some’ of us have throughout the house?  I have two; one is our dining room table and the other is our bedroom.  It’s so odd that I despise clutter and mess yet the very place that should be somewhat of a peaceful sanctuary for Dave and I, has become the epicenter of chaos in our home.

Organising and decluttering our bedroom is a work in progress, so I’ll update you on that as I get to it in the future, but, as focusing on both the quality and quantity of hours spent asleep is a big priority for me heading into 2018 (thanks Fitbit lol), I decided to begin with a bed linen makeover.

Our prior duvet set was cozy, grey cotton jersey.  Lovely and snuggly and perfect for winter but it didn’t invoke any ‘light and bright” summery feelings whatsoever.  Despite my reservations (those reservations being a very sticky four-year-old and two dogs that love to sneak on the bed!) I knew I wouldn’t be happy with anything but 100% crisp white < insert sighing husband here.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bed lInen

I flipped the bed’s colour palette inside out, opting for grey linen sheets this season and that fresh, white goodness for the duvet cover.  Texture was also a consideration, and I’m loving how our new bed linen provides lots of depth and variation, considering the very neutral colours I chose to work with.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bed lInen

What do you guys think?  I’m loving how it came together.  The muted trio of white, natural and charcoal is exactly what I was looking for to draw the eye out of the room via our large windows, to the garden beyond – which is super lush and green right now.

That’s the fun part over, now to declutter, cull and organize!

Shop this look from Logan & Mason here;

Duvet Covers and European PillowcasesLangley Linen Knitted Throw $159.95, Solaris White Square Cushion $69.95, Cove Natural Square Cushion $89.95

The items above were all sourced from the extensive linen range at Logan & Mason with whom I collaborated on this post.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Bed lInen

 

 

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!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mattress Protector Review

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.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family yarns Kiwi Kids Mattress Protector Review

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

 

 

 

Beauty Spotlight: Skincare

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


 

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser 150ml, RRP $38

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser ReviewHere it is – my FAVOURITE stand-alone cleanser of all time, and I’ve sampled many.

Prior to this I had only ever used one Kiehl’s product before, Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm.  Fab product, but not something I use every day, I always take it snowboarding though as it’s a perfect barrier moisturiser.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser $38, is a gentle, liquid gel cleanser that somehow holds it’s form (I can’t think of any other way to describe it lol) so that while massaging it on, you can feel the gel gliding between your fingertips and your face.  It’s such a luxe daily ritual that I really look forward to and it works beautifully on removing a full face of makeup as well as fresh morning skin.

LOVE LOVE LOVE and a great price point for a full-size product (150ml)  from a premium brand.

Garnier Pure Active Range

An excellent coup for those with sensitive skin, Garnier has just launched a 3 step cleansing and care routine designed for sensitive acne-prone skin.  

Garnier Pure Active Sensitive comprises 3 products; a soap-free Pure Active Sensitive Cleanser, a clarifying Pure Active Sensitive Toner and Pure Active Sensitive Moisturiser.  The combination of natural ingredients such as zinc to purify and boost skin immunity and witch hazel to soothe irritated skin results in a hypoallergenic and ph-neutral range, perfect for calming and caring for sensitive skin.

Point of difference to note; a gel toner!!!  I’ve never seen nor tried one before!

Garnier Pure Active Sensitive range RRP $13.99ea, available from select supermarkets, pharmacies and Farmers.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Garnier Pure Active Sensitive Review

Clinique Pep-Start™ HydroBlur Moisturiser, 50ml RRp $58Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Review

This little blue pot of matte-moisturising perfection has been my daily go-to for the past 2 months.  I took it with me to Surfers Paradise anticipating needing some help controlling shine in the warmer conditions and it exceeded my expectations.  It’s like a combination moisturiser/primer, which is awesome as it’s one less step when you’re getting ready.  I’ve found many ‘blur’ products end up sitting on top of my skin leaving a residue that seems to rub off when applying foundation or BB cream over the top – which kind of defeats the purpose really!  This stays on during makeup application and looks great on a bare-faced day as well as one where I’m sporting a full face of makeup.  Zero shine plus great looking and feeling skin.

I was gifted this but would absolutely purchase as it’s now a daily essential.  Shop it here

To discover your custom fit perfect moisturiser, take the Clinique Hydration Quiz here – that’s how I discovered Pep-Start!

L’Occitane Shea Butter Skincare Additions

I’m a huge fan of this range so am always excited to tet out new additions.  The Shea Butter skincare line from L’Occitane not only smells incredible but is pretty much the most effective hydrating collection I’ve used.

It’s got a lovely back-story too, with L’Occitane only purchasing fair trade shea butter from the women producing it sustainably in Burkina Faso.

L'Occitane Shea Solidarity Soap reviewOne of the new arrivals is the limited edition Shea Solidarity Soap, 50g RRP $8.  Do yourself and a charitable cause a favour and pick one of these up next time you’re at the mall or shopping online at nz.loccitane.com.  The subtle fragrance of the shea range is totally addictive and works beautifully in this solid soap bar which cleans without L'Occitane She Butter Foaming Cleanser Reviewstripping skin.  Plus, 100% of the profits are redistributed to fight avoidable blindness.  Ask in store if you can’t find this variety as it may have sold out!

I’ve also been enjoying another line addition, the Shea Butter Foaming Cleanser, 125ml RRP $45.  With 5% shea oil, this is an excellent in-between cleanser if you’re not a fan of liquid/gel cleansers but aren’t ready to commit to an oil cleansing regime.  I’d recommend this for normal to dry skin types, the end result is beautifully clean, but also really soft and hydrated skin.

Other new products in the Shea Butter Skincare Line are; Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm 150ml, RRP $53, Whipped Body Cream Shea Rose 125ml, RRP $38, Whipped Hand Cream Shea Rose 30ml, RRP $18.

Miri Skincare Kiwifruit Seed Oil & Manuka Honey Balm, 25ml, RRP $12.99

Miri Skincare Kiwifruit Seed oil and Manuka Honey Balm ReviewYou may have seen me try this on my IG stories last week, in which you’ll remember how surprised I was at the formulation and how easily and quickly it was absorbed.  I find most all-purpose balms to be super sticky, which makes them far too annoying to keep on for any duration.  Miri’s new offering is different.  Made in New Zealand from natural ingredients, Miri’s Kiwifruit Seed Oil & Manuka Honey Balm was created with the intent to combine NZ and South Pacific ingredients into an all natural balm to soothe chapped lips or irritated skin.  Suggested uses are; moisturising lips, chapped lips, dry or cracked skin, burns, scrapes, nourishing cuticles, insect bites, prevention of nappy rash, general massage and shaving rashes.
There’s no nasty fillers, preservatives, petroleum, BHA, BHT, DEA-regulated ingredients, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, parabens, PEG compounds, siloxanes, SLS or triclosan.

And it’s STILL lovely and effective.

Available from leading pharmacies nationwide.

Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm 90ml, RRP $75

Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm Review

Described as Step Zero in your cleansing routine, this is a breakthrough product that takes Dermalogica’s double-cleanse regime to the next level.  I’m a huge fan of their PreCleanse Oil, it’s in my shower for everyday use, to be honest, but the pump bottle does make it more difficult to travel with.  

Enter the innovative PreCleanase Balm that activates on contact with water, transforming from balm to oil.  LOVE.  There is no cleanse like a Dermalogica double-cleanse, that is a fact.  The retail pack comes complete with a double-sided, ergonomically-designed mitt that is heaven on skin (really), and leaves skin “soft, nourished and ready to receive the benefits of your regular skin care regimen”, Caroline Parker, Head of Education for Dermalogica New Zealand.

Available from authorised Dermalogica® skin centres, selected department stores, Life Pharmacies and online at dermalogica.co.nz

Eco Tan Invisible Tan® – Express Self-tanning Crème 150ml RRP $39.95

Eco Tan Invisible Tan reviewConfession time; I’ve never, ever self-tanned.  Ever.  but I’m going to.

After two revelatory spray tans, one before our family holiday on the Gold Coast and one before my trip to Melbourne last month, I realised that fake tan has come a long way since I was in high school.  You very rarely see an orange tan-victim these days, in fact, I can only think of one and his name starts with T and ends with Rump.  So, I’m going to do it.  My dad died from melanoma as many of you know, so my passion for laying out is pretty much zero these days, plus the bikini bod isn’t doing what it should either.  In the words of my very wise nail tech, “tanned fat looks a whole lot better than pasty fat’.

So that’s my new motto.

Eco Tan is a cruelty-free brand that uses natural cacao, herbs flower extract, fruit extract and chamomile to create a natural looking glow that is certified organic.  To support the Eco Tan range of tanning projects, creator Sonya Driver has also brought a beautiful range of natural body care products to market.  These are all vegan, toxic free, synthetic free, cruelty-free and licensed by PETA.

Eco Tan and Eco by Sonya Driver are available at Unichem and Life Pharmacies, Health 2000 and Commonsense Organics, leading health and organic retailers and online at www.naturalthings.co.nz

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

 

Female Hereditary Hair Loss – What you Need to Know

As a New Zealand women, I’ve grown up with the notion that much of my sense of self (and sometimes even self-worth!), is intrinsically associated with my appearance and how others, or more importantly, how I feel about my appearance at any given point in my life.

As normalised/wrong/gender biased as this may seem to some, for me, it’s simply a fact. I am a 37-year-old product of my environment and my physical characteristics and how I choose to present myself to the world do play a strong role in how I identify with my heritage, my family, my friends as well as strangers.

The body positive movement is forcing many of us to ask some hard questions about this very topic, about why the size or shape of our thighs should have any impact on how kick-ass we deem our femme-selves to be. But, our physical self is made up of much more than thighs, bums, mum-tums and bingo-wings (what remains of my triceps!). We love – or should try to love – our skin, our noses, our teeth, our big foreheads we inherited from our dads and, we probably do love our hair, at least on that one day each month we have time to wash and blow dry it!

Much is out of our control. We can go to the gym, exhibit full, disciplined control over what we eat and drink but we can’t control when our hair will begin to grey or if we will be the 1-in-3 women who will experience hair thinning or hair loss after age 30. Many women identify strongly with their hair, it can ground us and remind us of our heritage, styling it – or not styling it – can make us feel empowered, or simply……..beautiful. Our hair as females can make a statement, we can use it as a symbol of our beliefs and what we stand for, or in protest against what others feel we should believe in and stand for.

As such, female hereditary hair loss can be a devastating experience for many women. I was researching this piece whilst travelling, and amongst the crowds in airports and in close quarters on planes, I began to notice just how common it was among women.

Hereditary Hair Loss Facts
  • Most people lose between 50-100 hairs a day, which is considered normal hair loss; a consistent loss of 150 hairs a day is considered significant hair loss.
  • Can resemble an Evergreen tree pattern with the most extensive hair loss occurring on the top of the head and along the part.
  • If untreated, hair thinning can worsen over time.
Treating Hereditary Hair Loss

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Women's Regaine Female Hereditary Hair Loss

Don’t despair, ladies, there is help available and it’s an easy, quick addition to your daily beauty routine and doesn’t require expensive specialist appointments.

Women’s REGAINE® Foam is the first and only once daily foam clinically proven to regrow hair in women.

Once daily. At home. Available in pharmacies without a prescription.

Sounds amazing right? But how does it work?

Launched in 2016, Women’s Regaine works to reactivate hair follicles and stimulate hair growth with the added bonus that new hairs can be up to 48% thicker than before. Active ingredient Minoxidil 5% works to increase the supply of blood and nutrients to hair follicles, resulting in strengthening existing hairs and encouraging them to grow.

Clinical studies show results in as little as 12 weeks but if you can’t wait that long, the amaze stylists and hair professionals at Frenchie & Co have shared some of their go-to methods for styling thinning hair;

How to Style Thinning HairNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Women's Regaine

  • Create volume by backcombing around the crown of the head and part where female hereditary hair loss is most apparent.
  • Use your straightener to lock that volume in by clamping hair at the root with your straightener set on low heat – try 150°
  • Use products such as powder grip, dry shampoo and hair spray to maintain lift throughout the day.
  • Lighter colour hairy creates the illusion of more volume
  • Avoid a centre part
  • Lobs, bobs and side fringes work well

How to Care for Thinning Hair

  • Avoid tight, pulled back styles
  • Give your hair a break! Try a ‘gentle hair day’ once a week
  • Use sulphate free shampoos that don’t open the hair follicle
  • Avoid over-processing hair
  • Comb when wet, not dry

Women’s REGAINE® Foam is available from pharmacies nationwide RRP $85.99 for a 2-month supply, $129.99 for a 4-month supply.

This post was sponsored by Women’s REGAINE® Foam, all opinions expressed are my own.  

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.

How I learned to Love my Hair in 45min

I’m addicted to my hair dryer.

And my hair straightener.

And not looking just like “I woke up like this’.

I don’t know exactly what my hair would look like if I didn’t see my hairdresser every 8 weeks to colour it.

My hair, quite simply isn’t ‘me’.

Age has taught me how to appreciate some wrinkles – I think of them as my happy lines, it has taught me how to say ‘No, I really can’t do that right now, I need to stay home with my kids’, and be entirely comfortable with that statement.  I rarely experience fomo or jealousy, I understand the importance of always being sincerely nice, even when I don’t want to be and as a (mostly!) fully-functioning adult, I can cook, work, spend and save in some semblance of responsible order.

I really should be able to leave the house with my hair in its natural state.

I scrolled through my Instagram profile and as I suspected there are no shots of me without straightened hair.  Not.  One.  On a sub-par hair day I simply wear a cap, even in winter.  I’m 37 years old and don’t know how to wear my hair so I look like myself.

That’s kinda sad right?

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Love your Hair Shampoo Review

My hair today is all cowlicks and volume, there’s lots of it and not one strand is straight.  My waves go in all directions, without rhyme or reason, which is why I have always struggled to style it in a way I’m comfortable with.  I’ve thought about this a lot; how it is that, despite seeing more hairdressers than I can count and spending more money than I care to remember on my frizzy tresses,  I’ve never left a salon loving my hair.  I mean, sure, I walk out the door loving how the stylists have made my hair look……………….but that’s an entirely different thing.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Love your Hair Shampoo Review

Last week as part of the Dove Love Your Hair campaign, I met with a new hair stylist for the first time.  She had no preconceptions about my hair or about how I usually wear it.  She looked at it, she washed it and she naturally styled it, following its own (unruly) direction.

And I LOVED how it looked.

How it felt.

How it made me feel.

It was the fastest, but most meaningful hair appointment I’d ever had in my life.  Without projecting all of my standard, hair-hate onto yet another stylist (“it’s too frizzy, boofy, messy, unpolished”), I had allowed her the opportunity to respect my natural waves and run with it.  Something I’d never attempted to do before.

Ironically, wearing my hair naturally would cut styling time, reduce damage and require less product than my regular dry and iron routine – which I can’t be bothered doing most days anyway, hence the hat.

How do I feel now?

Liberated.  Seriously.

It may seem a little melodramatic, after all, we are only talking about HAIR, but, over the years I’d constructed a little ‘curated’ template of how my hair should look and feel ie straight, shiny, and contained!  What I learnt was how to style my hair in a way that’s quick, totally doable at home and which celebrates my quirky waves in a way which makes me feel amazing.  I’m finally ready, after 37 years, to wear my hair naturally, with confidence and love my hair.

Tips for Styling Wavy Hair

  • Brush hair before washing
  • Wash gently, not vigorously.  I’m using Dove Nourishing Oil Care shampoo and conditioner.
  • Use a mitt diffuser rather than a rigid model.  This dries hair while maintaining curl without frizz
  • Twist curls to give shape and prevent fly-aways

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Love your Hair Shampoo Review

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Love your Hair Shampoo Review

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Dove Love your Hair Shampoo Review

This awesome opportunity was made possible for me thanks to Dove and their fab #LoveYourHair campaign.

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.

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