5 reasons to bring the kids to Auckland Kiddie Limits (+ Giveaway!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Mommy Blogger Blog Kids Auckland City Limits

Lord have mercy!  Someone’s doing something super amazing and COOL for the kids this summer – and parents, totally, super cool for parents.  Trust me on that one because Dave and I are freeeakkkking about this festival inside a festival yo!

Auckland Kiddie Limits is doing what no event has done before; providing a world class kids festival in the centre of Auckland City and providing entertainment for the oldies if they need a little time out from the amazing-ness to be found inside the coolest kids mini-festival there ever was!

On Saturday, March 19th there’s this wee event happening at Western Springs called Auckland City Limits. Thinking outside the square, some very cool people decided that enough is enough!  Kids everywhere are sick of missing out on all the best bands and performers simply because of some niggly age limit.  The genius idea to allow kids under 10 FREE entry (with a ticketed adult) to Auckland City Limits was born, and let me tell you, the Kindy Grapevine is buzzing with anticipation!

Dave and I had previously decided that 2016 would be the year of Ethan’s first concert, so what better way to introduce him to the unforgettable, life-changing magic of live music than with his whole family – including Hurricane Nixon!  Festival/parental bliss I tell you!

“We want to see the next generation of music lovers getting a free taste of what an amazing festival this is” says promoter Campbell Smith.  “We’re catering to that with free entry and Auckland Kiddie Limits – their very own mini-festival within a festival.”

Bfm Kids Show legend Finn is handling the nitty-gritty, curating a fab lineup of events, performers, activities and spaces just for under 10’s and their adults to enjoy together – all within the confines of Auckland Kiddie Limits (AKL).  No-one’s going to get lost (aside from Dad trying to remember where he parked the car lol), all of the little peeps will be registered upon entering the AKL, situated in the Village Green in MOTAT but only accessible from the Auckland City Limits festival.

Sounding good so far?  I think so – I can’t actually wait!  I’ve nailed down my favourite reasons for bringing the kids to Auckland Kiddie Limits, check ’em!

Bring the kids to Auckland City Limits because;

  1. The kids lineup features musicians Kath Bee, APRA 2015 Children’s Music prize winner Levity Beet, Mr Roberelli and a session of mad live storytelling of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by Flaxworks. Plus a performance by up and coming band Sparrow from Auckland’s School of Rock.
  2. Kiddie Limits activities include music instrument making, hip-hop workshops with Serato, kids karaoke, punk rock hairdos, temporary tattoos by Inkalittle, a giant art wall and much, much more.
  3. It opens with the main gates at 11am and runs until 5pm – at which time rock’n’roll mums and dads can use pass-outs to get the kids home to grandma before coming back for the festival headliners, who play through to 11pm (THIS IS ME!!!  Can’t wait, much excite!  Modest Mouse, The National, Houndmouth I’M COMING!)
  4. Kiddie Limits will have its own specialized food vendors, including coffee for the parents, and a quiet space and changing facility for the smallest punters.
  5. Auckland Libraries are setting up a beanie bros reading area and a kid’s tech maker zone for some sound exploration fun.

If you’re keen to join Dave, Ethan, Nixon and I at Auckland Kiddie Limits then you’re in luck as I have a double pass (don’t forget kids under 10 are free!) to Auckland City Limits to giveaway valued at $359!!!  Enter via the widget below.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Book Review | The Beginners guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson


Let me preface this by saying, this is a special kind of book for a special kind of kiwi kid.  One that hates to be laced into shoes and stuffed into cars to hustle from here to there, a kid that doesn’t blink at dirty hands and can fashion a fishing line out of anything.  A kid that wears shorts year round, can catch a skink before you’ve even noticed it and is happiest at the beach when the watches are off and he can swim for hours.

Luckily for me I have such a kid and luckily for him The Beginners Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson is a finalist in the 2014 NZ Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.

From an adult perspective, this is a beautiful book.  The dust cover is perfection, the layout and design is so far beyond what is usually delivered in a kids book, the amount of white space is perfect for little readers and the photography is a stunning mix of historical and modern imagery.  I LOVE the way this book looks and feels.  But the content is just as good.  Safety first – the introduction and first section focus on firearm safety and hunter responsibility in just the right tone and verbosity for a young reader.

The sections to follow cover everything from whitebaiting to bushcraft, target shooting and goat hunting.  A complete glossary of outdoorsy excellence in our own backyard.


From a kids perspective this book is just excitement.  A manual that will end up dog-eared and well referenced and read over and over again.  There are so many cool graphics, checklists, recipes, facts and interesting diagrams that Ethan was actually unable to read the book straight through for quite a while, it was just too tempting to turn the page and see what was next.  My 9 year old son truly loves this book and will treasure it for years to come.

This book was provided to me for my editorial consideration but all opinions expressed are my own.


Paul Adamson – author of The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing (Random House NZ)

1. As an author, you must have a lot of ideas floating around. How did you decide to write this book?
I’ve had the idea for the book for over 15 years but due to heavy teaching then Principal-ship commitments it never seemed to get off the ground. Until that is a lovely young man by the name of Alex Hedley fom Random House came into my school one day and we both believed that there was a gap in the market. It literally blossomed from there.

2. Tell us a bit about the journey from manuscript to published work. What was the biggest challenge you faced in publishing this book?
Writing each draft chapter on separate forms of hunting or fishing was a breeze! Rewriting to keep to the brief of just informing and being instructive instead of diving into actual experiences and anecdotal stories that would have been ‘Boys Own’ stuff had to be cut. That was tough. Getting the balance between clear understandable and age-relevant terminology without dumbing down the importance of key points coupled with illustrations required a lot of emailing to and fro.

3. Did you tailor this book to a particular audience – or did you find it found its own audience as it was written?
This was written initially soley for 8- 16 year olds but very soon we realised it was as much an instructional book for even adult beginners….hence the title.

4. Can you recommend any books that you love, that inspired or informed your book in any way?
Philip Holden’s books on hunting in New Zealand; particularly his later ones where photos added tothe impact of the text.

Definitely Matthew Syed’s book Bounce. The balance of talent and practice overcoming doubts in your ability to do something special….provided a lot of self belief.

5. Tell us about a time you’ve enjoyed relaxing and reading a book – at the bach, on holiday, what was the book?
Papillon, by Henry Charrie’re. The clarity of writing had you experiencing everything from sounds to smells to high emotion….amazing.

6. What is your favourite thing to do, when you aren’t reading or writing, and why?
Getting out there and enjoying the Outdoors. I’m mentoring two young lads at the moment as both my sons are off at Uni. One of these boys is through the ‘Big Brother Big Sister’ organisation, a sort of informal adoption, but our interaction (fun time once a week) could last for a lifetime. Seeing those smiles after personal achievements is fantastic.

Lowering my golf handicap back to the 2 handicap I was on, prior to open heart surgery, would be great.


RIP Charlotte Dawson, A Letter to the Editor – From my Brother

I wish my bro was a mummy-blogger.  He has the rare ability to translate his IRL personality exactly into the written word.  He can be totally caustic and make you want to punch him in the face, but he also speaks truthfully and from the heart and as such, I couldn’t agree more with his response to Deborah Hill Cone’s repulsive soliloquy on Charlotte Dawson’s death;

So, it’s about time for my annual strongly worded letter.

‘Hi everyone, I’m Hadyn Godfrey, you might remember be from such facebook rants as “Novopay….No Way!” and “Michael Laws isn’t misunderstood, he’s just a douchebag”‘

I didn’t like the article below very much so I wrote the following to the editor.

Dear Editors,

I’m truly glad that you’ve dropped the charade, took the plunge and are finally living up to your new legacy as a tabloid paper. No longer are you simply tabloid-formatted, your content now matches your look.

It’s a similar angle to the one Deborah Hill Cone presented in her creative piece entitled, ‘It wasn’t just depression that claimed Charlotte’; The forgotten, struggling newspaper just can’t keep up its gleaming facade any longer. The image The Herald presented to the world just wasn’t who you really are was it?. But now? You’ve done it now Jim, you’ve finally plucked up the courage to show the world the real you.

Good on you mate, it takes cojones to just lay it all out for all to see.

The clues have always been there, you’ve had David Farrar and Sir Bob Jones on your payroll long enough for those of us with cynical minds to start to suspect they were there for more than just a hat-tip to balance. They weren’t just mad jesters, there for our collective entertainment either, were they?

If the women of this world who are approaching their fifties can hold themselves back long enough from the apparently insatiable desire to just end it all rather than struggle on as undesirable, penniless old hags, I hope they take the time to remind you, The New Zealand Tabloid, that mental illness is a real issue that affects real human beings.

Publishing utter drivel from some pseudo-psychologist-‘journalist’, so transparently pushing her own demented view of the world on us in the most sadly opportunistic way, does so much harm to the hard work that so many have done to raise awareness and understanding of illnesses such as depression.

As a sufferer of depression myself, I know it’s exactly articles like this that prevent people from asking for help. It’s the opinion-piece version of someone telling a sufferer to ‘just get over it, you’re just sad’. Apparently depression is so insignificant that it just isn’t enough to have taken Charlotte Dawson’s life on its own. ‘You’re not depressed Charlotte, you’re just getting old, and you’re too lazy to stick around and figure out how to deal with it’, waffles Hill Cone.

Deborah Hill Cone is as entitled to her opinion as anyone in our land of free speech, but as for you NZ herald, please show some decency and common sense. For one minute can you at least pretend to not be so obviously driven by this primal need to drum up readers and make the big bucks for the suits upstairs, and act like there are real human beings EDITING your paper.

Real human beings show compassion for each other. Real human beings don’t kick someone when they’re DEAD. Real human beings don’t belittle an illness that untold numbers of us have to live with everyday.

If there are any real human beings listening in your ivory towers, start asking yourselves why you really come to work everyday. If it really is to stir up controversy to make profit at all costs, then well done, you’re doing a great job. If however you look deep inside and have any shred of true journalistic integrity left, perhaps you might use better judgement before publishing an article like this one.

Real human beings read your paper and know that Charlotte Dawson was a real human being too.

Yours sincerely
Hadyn Godfrey

*Steps off soapbox*

*Drops microphone*


New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards | Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull

New Zealand Post Children's Book AwardsThe New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards celebrates annually the depth and range of talent our home-grown authors can offer kiwi readers.

Ethan devours books at a rate that is hard to keep up with, so we were so happy to receive a package containing novels for review from two of the finalists in the Junior Fiction section.

First on the reading list was Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby {with the most beautiful dust jacket I have ever seen on a paperback btw!}.

Ethan and I (and of late Dave has joined in) have been taking turns to read chapters from the book, each one a hilarious, stand-alone vignette detailing rural life in 1930’s New Zealand. The characters are rich in personality and gorgeously attractive to young readers. Ethan adores the wild story telling of Uncle Trev and the plucky precociousness of his neighbour Gotta Henry – we all know a character like this, a friend, relly or acquaintance that is forever asking if you’ve “gotta hammer mate?”. I think the familiarity of the tales and the characters they expand are what makes this book so endearing, Uncle Trev and his menagerie of animals, friends, family and others in the wider community could happily exist in any town, in any corner of New Zealand.

Ethan {8.5yrs} has been kept guessing and questioning as he is not sure of the credibility of Uncle Trev, some of his tales seemed to be a little tall – but they are so convincing! Who wouldn’t believe in a man-eating Kauri when it comes from such an esteemed story teller!
Our family has loved reading this book together, there are moments of pure hilarity told in a beautifully ‘kiwi’ way that is warm, recognisable and endearing to readers of all ages.


Image(s) via Booksellers NZ.

Things I’m Loving | Christchurch, you are Amazing

Not many words this week, aside from that I LOVE Christchurch.  It’s people and it’s resilience in the face of unimaginable natural adversity and a bureacratic nightmare are astounding.

I simply cannot imagine a more wonderful city to host the first ever Around the Table Bloggers Conference.  Thank you so much, you know who you are x

Christchurch Cathedral



Christchurch Earthquake Damage

Christchurch Victims Memorial

Saving the Christchurch Facades

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral

Christchurch Earthquake Damage

Christchurch Containers holding up Facade

Old Christchurch Council Building


C1 Cafe Christchurch

C1 Cafe Breakfast Burritto

Billet Gift

Ohhh, Treena Marie.  I was staying at her house, with her family and she leaves me a welcome gift.  Too much xx

The Never-Ending Summer


I looked outside yesterday and couldn’t help but appreciate the sight of two loads of whites drying on the line, yes the water truck came {FOR THE 5TH TIME} and so we washed.

I hate to begrudge people a long, amazing summer, seeing as how the season of sun is sometimes so fickle here in New Zealand; but enough is enough!  I’m in danger of losing a small dog down the cracks in our front yard, paspalum stalks are the only grass form still alive and growing and our bank balances have had enough of water cartage costs.  I can’t even imagine how much stress this draught is bringing to farmers.  It’s time for a rain dance people, and prayers and all of the fingers crossed that we get rain soon {the sight of 11,000 litres of water pouring into our tank yesterday was just about enough to make me dive in – it looked that amazing, I stood there and watched every drop of it come out of the pipe}.

Until then, may you all enjoy the satisfaction of line-dryed laundry as much as I do x

I knew I was right about this | NZ’s Failing Maths Curriculum

Let me preface this by saying that I have a smart kid. A really smart kid.

Last year at the end of term 3, E was discussing his maths group, after some questions I established three things;

  1. He had been sliding down through the maths groups the entire year
  2. He had landed with an inconspicuous SILENT thud in the lowest maths groups with the duds. That may sound harsh, but when your kid is in the same small school year after year with the same kids you very quickly get a grasp of where the intellectual dice have fallen – or not been thrown at all as the case me be.
  3. I had no indication from either E’s teacher or his report that there was a problem.

I took quick remedial action, had a meeting with the teacher (who asked for two weeks to get him up to speed, I figured she’d had 3 terms and hadn’t really accomplished much), I then enrolled him at Number Works ‘n Words. This was the most expensive best decision we have made to date in regards to Ethan’s education. The change was almost instant. Ethan had become so demoralised at his lack of progression in maths that he had zero confidence in his maths ability – both at home and in the classroom. The tutors quickly identified his weaknesses (he had missed comprehension of a couple of key strategies – I hate that word – and simply couldn’t progress because the dots weren’t there to join so-to-speak. With rapid success at Number Works, his confidence and progress quickly returned to acceptable levels and by the end of the fourth term he was performing where he should have been all along if not higher.

Fast forward to Saturday morning when the first story on the NZ Herald app read: Govt Eyes Back to Basics in Maths. Really? Please take the time to read this article if you have school age children, particularly primary aged. When E was struggling and it was identified that he wasn’t grasping the all important strategies I was perplexed; since when did you need a strategy for learning basic multiplication? I didn’t understand the way he was being taught basic maths skills so what hope does a seven year old have?

I know how my son learns best and at this age it’s NOT by approaching relatively simple sums and complicating them with formula based learning. Hand that boy an old school times table square and introduce The Family of Facts and the problems experienced last year would not have occurred at all. It appears other people are beginning to notice.

New Zealand 9-year-olds finished last-equal in maths among peers in developed countries, in a survey published in December.

That’s ridiculous, scary and downright embarrassing for New Zealand as a nation. I think it’s time to take note parents, in our situation where attending a good high school is going to require out-of-zone enrolment, there is no time to sit on the fence and hope that it all comes out in the wash, that somehow this strategy based learning will work for every child because clearly it doesn’t and it’s now apparent on the world stage.



Chinese New Year | How to enjoy the Auckland Lantern Festival

You haven’t missed out the festival ends Sunday the 24th February!  For more info visit the organisers website http://www.aucklandnz.com/lantern/programme/sunday

Attending this event has been on my to-do list for years and yesterday, late afternoon we headed over to town and got amongst the wonderful crowd.  We were blown away by the HUGE masses of people.  It was mind boggling.  Princes St was home to most of the vendors and the food stalls, and the foot-traffic gridlock.  Once you moved past being overwhelmed at the throng, it was definitely doable, with short fast-moving queues for food.

The food was amaze.  SO cheap!  I could have eaten my weight in dumplings, noodles, rice, pork buns……….and then there were the specialty foods, bbq squid seemed to be hugely popular as people everywhere had cups and kebab sticks brimming with whole squid dripping bbq sauce – we should have but didn’t.

It was the most pleasant festival I have ever been to, definitely a reflection of the quiet, respectful culture that was being celebrated.  I haven’t even touched on the lanterns because they were so amazing and pretty that only really the photos can attempt to do them justice.

Tips for surviving the Auckland Lantern Festival

  • Plan your parking well.  Don’t even attempt to cross Queen St to park.  It appeared that 90% of attendees thought trying to get in to the Victoria St carpark was a good idea.  Don’t bother.  The only agro bad-behaviour we witnessed were drivers honking and yelling because they had been stuck in bumper-to-bumper gridlock for ever trying to get into this carpark.  Park further away and walk or hop on a link bus to get you to the festival.  Sky City parking would be my pick, luckily we were able to park at Dave’s work just past Sky City and that area was congestion free.
  • Don’t take you dog.  really, there were dogs being dragged through insane crowds it was horrible
  • If you can possibly avoid it don’t take your stroller.  Access to Albert Park from the Queen St side is by narrow stairs and steep paths, people were finding it hard to negotiate with their strollers.  If you do have to take your stroller it may be best to split up and leave the buggy/child combo in the park with an adult while someone else gets dinner from the vendors.  The park is manageable, Princes St is chaos!
  • Come hungry, food is super cheap i.e. 10 dumplings for $5, 10 med pork buns $5, the lines move quickly and everything is delish.
  • Take cash, everything is quicker with the dollars.
  • Take water, it’s freaking hot.
  • Don’t try and get on the southern, north western motorways via Hobson St after the event – more gridlock.  Use alternative routes through the city, they are there!
  • Enjoy, come with patience and soak up the atmosphere!
















Giveaway {closed } | Peaceful Baby Sleep Book Review

Peaceful Baby SleepLast month I received a gorgeous wee book in the mail to read and review.  I was excited.  I love books and LOVED this book in particular as it gave me a chance to go back to those precious long days {and short years} of Ethan’s early life.

This would make a perfect baby shower gift for an expecting mama – it’s brimming with positivity and chock full of lovely, feel good personal experience.

Reading through the experiences I immediately flashed back to the awful (and only) evening when I attempted to let Ethan self-settle before he was one.  I knew it was going to be rough.  He had been feeding to sleep at every nap and every bedtime, it worked for us and I saw no need to change our routine until someone chastised me for it, and my self-doubt set in.  Obviously it was time to sleep train the baby!

I scoured the web, I had everything I needed to do written down, I had a stop watch to time the intervals between going in to see him, I had my best friend laying on the floor crying with me outside Ethan’s room {Dave was at work}……It was one of the most hideous experiences ever.

I had treated bedtime like a science experiment and I knew I would never do it again.

Charlotte visits this issue in her book, as well as many other facets of parenting through the baby stages.  This book is NOT, however, a how-to guide and I don’t think it pretends to be.  Peaceful Baby Sleep is a collation of data collected from Kiwi Mums, describing their experiences and sharing their own natural instincts and the value placed on these maternal cue cards.

This book would be a wonderful reassurance for a new parent who is doubting themselves at every step and milestone.  It emphasizes that there is no one recipe for success that can be applied to every baby and every family; the stories shared are aimed at empowering parents to believe in what they know to be right for their baby.

The only {minor} complaint I have is that it appeared approximately 95% of Weston’s respondents seem to advocate co-sleeping, which I don’t think needs to be portrayed as mutually exclusive with any style of attachment parenting, again take from it what you will, different things work for different folks.

You can visit the Peaceful Baby Sleep Facebook page here and purchase online here.

Win your own copy of Peaceful Baby Sleep! Congratulations Michelle West!

Just leave a comment below telling me how you used to get your little ones to sleep, if you entered on the previous Peaceful Baby Sleep Post you are already in the draw!  Random winner drawn Sunday 22nd July, 2012.

Beauty and the Blogger.

I was reading the New Zealand Herald online today {as I do most every day}, when the absolute bullshit articles in the Life & Style section led me to a wondrous ‘AHA’ moment.  Don’t worry peeps, you don’t have to subject yourself to the torment of actually reading said articles, I took one for the team and will fill you in.

Lets peruse the headlines shall we?

  1. Twenty ways to live a little glamorously.  Cool, I thought, it’s awesome when you can have a wee splurge or treat yourself to a manicure or get your eyebrows done.  These things make me feel quite glam!  Yeah no.  If you want to live a little more glamorously the Herald suggests you pick up some silk PJ’s $299 EACH PIECE.  Or, get a 24 carat Gold Leaf Facial next time you’re in town, or why not get your next Louis Vuitton purchase monogrammed?  Shall we move on?
  2. Next on this little list of winners, was today’s ever-so-informative guide on ‘Turning yourself into a VIP‘.  Yus.  I have no idea how to be a VIP!  Turns out, the author has given us plebs some tips from her own home to follow;  Take notes, all we have to do is add some Rose Bath Oil $185 to your nightly soak and definitely spend no less than $55 a piece on any make-up item  Got that?
  3. The Trifecta of High-brow posts concludes with a directive titled “Luxury is how you feel, not how much you spend”.  Oh of course, you just went over that in the last two posts when you spent the GDP of a small African nation on your bath oil and candle combo {Despite the title of this article the author points us to a candle costing $840!!!}.

Reading this rubbish made me realize how completely out of touch with New Zealand women this newspaper really is.  Do you even know anyone who owns genuine Louis Vuitton?  Does it matter?  No.

This is why we read blogs.  Our lives are no longer represented by our own national newspaper.  Our previously endearing women’s magazines are now glossy celeb look-books with a few token ‘Real Life’ stories in the nether region.  The relevance of blogs and their authors are what keeps us reading.  Viva and the likes have lost the plot and suffice to cater to the women in a scarce handful of the lofty Auckland suburbs.

Are we all supposed to aspire to want $599 Garden dresses?  Is that what modern kiwi society expects?  Of course not, you would get laughed right out of kindy if you rocked up looking like that.  Let’s not mention the looks at the Rugby club.  We have almost been seduced completely by the Kardashians, the It Girls, the fake nails and spray tans of the reality shows, we are perilously close to the edge of our unique Kiwi femme-identity.  I think it’s time we reclaim it and celebrate how awesome being ‘Down to Earth’ really is {you LOVE my Swanndri don’t you?!}.

Real Kiwi Women wear Swanndris