Product Review

Say hello! | Mud Mates + Giveaway

Say hello! | Mud Mates + Giveaway

I am in awe of the many incredible Mum’s out there, doing a fab job of running their own successful businesses whilst simultaneously holding down the fort at home. I’m fortunate enough to have ‘met’ many of these ladies online and can’t wait to introduce you to some new faces and their awesome entrepreneurial endeavours.  If you would like to get involved and have your business featured, please say hello!melissa@thebestnest.co.nz

I kind of get the feeling that in years to come Mud Mates may be one of those companies that becomes a kiwi institution; one of those products that everyone will remember wearing as a child and then go on to purchase for their kids in the future.

Owner Alana, got in touch with me and I jumped at the chance to work with her because, um, NIXON!  Crazy baby is crazy, and he needs to be covered head to toe in plastic at all times.  Some don’t find that acceptable however, so instead, there is Mud Mates.  Thank goodness.

Alana is a Hawkes Bay mum of two, who developed her awesome products out of the frustration (desperation?) that I’m sure every Mum has felt as a result of the constant washing and often ruining of clothes that can result from letting your kids be kids and get dirty.

Mud Mates has been going strong for a couple of years now, continuing their awesome commitment to producing their products at home in New Zealand, Napier to be exact!  Reserach and design has seen the introduction of a new fabric to the range; coveralls, overpants and shoe covers are now made from water-resistant and water-repellent fabric.  This is a breathable, polyester, PVC-free fabric with a polyurethane (PU) coating on the inside and a 3M Scotchguard water-repellent coating on the outside. The fabric is soft and lightweight (yet durable and hard-wearing) which means the garments are comfortable and easy to wear without restricting your littlies movement.

I am a mother of two boys.

Two full on, balls to the wall, dirty, grubby, stained and scuffed boys.  I love it, and them.    An unfortunate side effect of having feral children and failing to rein in their dirt-ambitions is that I have allowed plenty of ‘nice’ clothes to be ruined.  I refuse to tell my kids they aren’t allowed to get dirty.  In fact I don’t think that particular phrase has ever left my mouth!  Needless to say, I had never really considered the need for some coveralls.  Never until I actually tried them out!

I may be down with dirt, but one thing I’m paranoid about is letting my kids get cold.    Easter weekend brought amaze weather, it was so, so hot up in Waipu at Mum’s but the mornings were very shivery and cold with heavy dews.  The end of Daylight Saving also added super early wake-ups to the holiday weekend {arghhh!} so we were up and at ’em before the sun had a chance to warm up the chilly autumn mornings.  Nixon was gifted a pair of Mud Mates Coveralls and lawd I was stoked I remembered to pack them!  They proved themselves as soon as the little guy settled on the water-logged sand-pit as his play location!  He was able to splash around in there, doing his roadworks, burying and excavating tractors and I didn’t worry a bit about him getting wet and cold – ain’t nobody got time for a sick toddler!

One important thing to note here; these are not lined, which I love.  Here’s why; last winter I purchased a pair of lined overalls with shoulder straps.  They were gorgeous and thick and warm, but they were so thick that when popped over clothes Nix could barely move in them.  Working around this meant that I had to strip Nix’s pants off before and after play time which was a little bit chilly at the beach mid-winter!  The shoulder straps fell down constantly and the plastic buckles didn’t hold their position, so again I found a workaround by tying knots in the straps-  again, less than ideal.   When I saw Nix was heading for the water, I busted out a deft intercept, zipped the coveralls over his clothes and he was good-to-go.  They pack down super-small as well so you can always squeeze then in your diaper bag and make the most of those random, muddy, FUN opportunities.  I absolutely love these coveralls! 

Mud Mates coveralls are so low-maintenance I’m thoroughly recommending that all babies and toddlers should wear them 100% of the time FOR EVER.  Just kidding.  Sort of.   Every Mum should be so lucky to have a pair of these in their arsenal, these would be the most useful and appreciated first birthday gift ever!

Mudmates Coveralls NZ Blog review

Mudmates Coveralls NZ Blog review

Mudmates Coveralls NZ Blog review

Mudmates Coveralls NZ Blog review

If you would like to win a pair of the amaze Mud Mates coveralls, head over to our Facebook page and follow the instructions on the competition image.  Competition closes Sunday 26th April 10pm.  If you just can’t wait, purchase a pair here 

Beauty review | Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Beauty review | Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Garnier Micellar Water Beauty Blog Review

Gosh I was excited to review this new beauty product.  Let me tell you, I am the Laziest Lazy Girl there is when it comes to cleansing my face and removing makeup.  More often than not I will collapse into bed way later than I should with zero energy or inclination to put any more obstacles between me and my pillow.  I really, really dislike splashing around in the sink using traditional cleansers before bed, especially when its cold, plus my skin doesn’t cope well with the residue left behind by cleansing wipes, so I was crossing my fingers and toes that I would fall in love with Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.

So, the verdict.

I have been using this miracle in a bottle for about 3 weeks now, and haven’t slept in makeup once over that period!  This is HUGE news people.  It’s one of those products that is really satisfying to use.  The results are instant and visible, in fact, I’m even going to say that my skin looks the cleanest it ever has after a few gentle swipes with Garnier Micellar Water dotted on a cotton ball.  I’ve also been using it after running if I can’t take a shower right away and love how fresh my face feels (even if the rest of me is totes stinky and gross lol).

The science behind Micellar water is impressive, micelles are suspended in the formulation and act as little magnets, easily capturing impurities, makeup and sebum from the skin.  Because nothing is left behind, this 3-in-one cleanser is perfect for all skin types, even sensitive skin!

Basically, I’m calling this a life changing product, it’s shown me how clean my skin can and should be and how easy and NOW inexpensive a micellar water is to use. Previously only available from high-end, luxe brands (think $$$), it’s super exciting that mummy supermarket warriors like me can pick some up from a trusted brand like Garnier for only $12.99 RRP! Expect excellent value for money as one bottle should see you through 200 applications – unless of course Ethan is doing your makeup every day!
Love, love, love it! Add it to the grocery list right now!

Beauty Review | Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum

Beauty Review | Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum


Oh I love, love, love serums.  They are just the best, most magical wee potions ever.  If you’ve never used one expect a light, non-greasy formulation that spreads easily and can be worn underneath make-up.  These are usually super concentrated and pack a power punch of luscious goodness for your skin.

I headed into the city a couple of weeks ago to visit The Manuka Doctor Concept Store for the first time.  Located downtown Auckland, across the street from the Ferry Building, this is definitely a destination for the skincare conscious.  I left with a couple of gifted products to review, and a little more knowledge about the use of bee friendly products in the Manuka Doctor Range.

The ApiRefine Radiance Serum RRP $35.95 (30ml)

Beauty Blogger Manuka Doctor Radiance Serum Review NZFirst impressions – this was so hard to capture but the lovely, refined texture of the serum has the most amaze opalescent hue, totally what you want in a product that claims an “instant illuminating effect”.  It goes on like a charm and a little goes a long way which is what you should expect from these concentrated formulas which can be super expensive per ml.

Beauty Blog New Zealand Manuka Doctor Serum ReviewI have been applying this after moisturising every day.  On days when I’m heading out I pop my L’Oréal BB cream on over the top, or most days, when I could care less, I’ve been sporting the serum with a naked face and maybe just some mascara.  So, back-up.  Did you pay attention there?  A naked face!  This serum delivers.  I have pretty uneven skin tone from years of sun damage and the Radiance Serum worked beautifully to counteract the blotchiness.  There are so many wonder ingredients in this stuff (Organic Cactus Extract, Purified Bee Venom, Manuka Honey are just some)  I don’t know what’s responsible for what, but, my skin feels and looks brighter, hydrated, dewy and younger.  

The serum also provided an excellent non-greasy base for make-up application.  It felt good to know that there was a product actually doing my skin some good underneath the camouflage layer!  Long term I’m definitely planning to continue using this product.  I’ve used bee venom based skincare products for years and I’m totally on board with the statements that it’s clinically proven to refine fine lines and wrinkles.

So, I’m impressed.  ApiRefine Radiance Serum is a keeper, plus I’m pretty excited to try more products from the three Manuka Doctor ranges; apiclear, apinourish and apirefine.

Beauty Blogger Manuka Doctor Radiance Serum Review NZ

The Mascara Showdown | Benefit They’re Real! v Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara

The Mascara Showdown | Benefit They’re Real! v Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara

Welcome to The Mummy Make-up Project!  I’m five years shy of 40 and after 20 years of clueless make-up application, 2015 is the year of turning drab to fab.  I’m going to find the best skincare and make-up products, share them with you and actually learn how to use them.  I would love your advice along the way as well as your support – I’m sure I’m not the only Mummy out there who is completely clueless about make-up!

Best Mascara Benefit or Eye of Horus NZ Beauty Blog

So, a couple of weeks ago I kicked off The Mummy Make-up Project by asking for your opinions on the BEST mascara on my Fb page.  You guys were into it!  Many had strong favourites but even more of you were also looking for advice on a new lash BFF.  The only mascara I have ever used is ye ol’ faithful, Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof mascara.  After 20 years of service it’s time to retire the old girl in search of something a little more ‘new millenium’.

Overwhelmingly you all recommended I try Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara and the Goddess Mascara from cruelty free brand Eye of Horus.  I purchased both of these products with my own husbands hard earned cash, so rest assured this is not a sponsored review.

I ordered both mascaras online, the Benefit from Smith & Caughey’s RRP$45 + $5 shipping and the Eye of Horus from their website RRP$44 +$4.50 shipping.  Both were despatched super quickly and received in excellent condition.  During the trial week I wore the Benefit mascara on my left eye and Eye of Horus on my right – 7 days of faffing around with two different products!  See what I do in the name of science!  You.  Are.  Welcome.

Benefit They're Real Mascara Review Beauty Blog NZ

Benefit They’re real! Mascara

Ok, this mascara has some huge fans out there, ladies love this product so I was expecting BIG things.  I wasn’t disappointed. They’re Real! delivers some long lashes on initial, one swipe application.  The brush is a rubbery, spiky looking thing which is WAY different to the bristly, brushy Great Lash and this, I have come to believe over the past week, makes all the difference.  I had no problem with panda eyes, even after a swimming lesson with Nixon involving huge bombs in my face, I barely had any black under my eye.  I also had no trouble removing this mascara at night with the miracle product that is micellar water.  Though, in all fairness, I doubt there is much that could withstand a few cotton ball swipes of micellar! {review coming soon}.  

One thing which irked was that big clump on the end of the brush – you can see it in the image.  There are bristles right on the end of the brush which serve no purpose to me but to exacerbate clumping.  This was honestly the only negative in an otherwise amazing product.  I particularly loved how quick drying it was so no black marks on your lids from blinking.

Eye of Horus Review Beauty Blogger NZ

Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara

Like the Benefit, Eye of Horus mascara has it’s own cult following.  I’ve heard professional makeup artists swear by it and those cruelty-free gals get quivering knees at the mere mention of EOH!  So what’s all the fuss about?  Again, the brush is brilliant.  Same rubbery, spikey stylus, but…..look at that concave in the middle of the brush!  I have no idea why this makes a difference, but to my very unprofessional hand, it feels easier to apply, like I’m less likely to slip and smear it around my eye.  After more than a week of daily use, almost zero visible product on the brush.  That’s pretty impressive I think.  Overall I had less clumps with the EOH than They’re Real! but, it takes a few seconds longer to dry so I did have to fix a few lash marks on my lids over the week.  It doesn’t go on quite as long with one swipe, however after a couple more strokes there is no difference between the two products.  Again, I survived swimming with no panda eyes and was easily able to remove EOH at night with my Garnier Micellar water.

Overall, both mascara’s are just light years ahead of the Maybelline Great Lash I was using, check out the vintage brush on pinky!  Ugh.  Her only saving grace was her staying power, but these new generation mascaras can definitely hang without the specified ‘waterproof’ formulation.

Maybelline Great Lash REview Beauty Blog NZ

Mascara comaprison and Review Beauty Blogger NZ

So which would I purchase again?  The Mascara Showdown has been won by Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara.  I SO loved this product, the formulation is 10/10 with NO clumping plus that brush has curves in all the right places.  My lashes have never looked better, or longer.  If you were wondering, I am convinced that mascara is definitely one beauty product worth spending a wee bit more on, those brushes don’t lie ladies!




A morning lifesaver | Heart Felt Organic Wool Dryer Balls

Munch Review and Giveaway Mummy Blog NZI’m so pleased to have joined Munch Cooking this year as one of their Munch Mums!   Look out for my reviews and giveaways each month as I introduce you to some awesome {and pretty innovative} products from The Munch Cupboard.


This morning I had a total mummy fail; one of Ethan’s uniforms was dirty and the other was wet on the clothesline!  It was the perfect opportunity to try out Heart Felt’s organic wool dryer balls as I had 15 minutes to get E dressed and off to school.  I hate stressy mornings and E hates being late with a passion so I needed to get that uniform dry quickly!

Before I was sent them, I had never heard of dryer balls, so I headed to the Munch website to find out exactly what the benefits of using them were and what I was supposed to do with them.

Basically, you just pop them into the dryer with your wet clothes, kick back and not stress about the dryer being on forever because they speed up drying time!  YAY!  The densely felted organic wool balls also act as a fabric softener and remove static as they move through the clothes during the cycle resulting in soft, luxe feeling clothes without any additional product in your laundry.

So, what did I notice?  Speedy drying………check.  Ethan’s heavy shorts and shirt were dry in approximately 8 minutes – phew.  The yucky synthetic fabrics in his uniform were also noticeably softer after a cycle with the Heart Felt balls, I have actually NEVER felt them so snuggly before.

Heading in to the wet season when we start to use our dryer more regularly, this awesome New Zealand made product will be a lifesaver.  I’m a bit of a nana and monitor our power useage very carefully so anything that can cut down electricity use without sacrificing the little luxuries {like the dryer!} that make life a bit easier for me is so, so welcomed.

Head on over to FB  for a chance to win a set of Heart Felt Dryer Balls for your own family this winter, or pick some up from Munch RRP $25

 Product Review Mummy Blogger NZ
Squish Delish Reusable Pouches | Product Review & Giveaway

Squish Delish Reusable Pouches | Product Review & Giveaway

Munch Review and Giveaway Mummy Blog NZI’m so pleased to have joined Munch Cooking this year as one of their Munch Mums!   Look out for my reviews and giveaways each month as I introduce you to some awesome {and pretty innovative} products from The Munch Cupboard.

We are big fans of using our frozen dessert maker {a poor-mans Yonanas I found on a daily deals site} to whip up yummy summer treats and I’m also a big fan of anything that makes feeding the babes easier.  I decided to combine the two and put the Squish Delish reusable pouches through their paces by serving Nixon his frozen banana and strawberry treat in one – freaking excellent idea if I do say so myself!  Independence has taken hold of my now 19 month old ‘baby’ boy but the thought of letting him loose with a bowl and a spoon every time we have an ice cream substitute gives me the heebies.  As my day is a never ending cycle of cleaning and wiping as it is, I have no desire to add to the 3 meals a day + snacks mess that we already have rolling.  Needless to say I was crossing my fingers that Nixon would enjoy the independence offered by the Squish Delish…….and manage to keep the ‘delish’ inside the pouch.

Reusable Food Pouch Mum Blog New Zealand

Home boy loved this arrangement!  I found it super easy to fill the pouch and seal it, the double press seals were totally leak-proof plus these pouches are just the perfect size for little hands to grip.  Nix wasn’t giving up his faux-ice cream-banana-and-strawberry-treat until he had sucked the very last drop out, which took him about 10 blissful minutes in which I was able to NOT feed him!  Hooray, everybody wins!

I made all of Nixon’s baby food and have no idea why I didn’t invest in these awesome little pouches.  Washable, reusable, BPA free, freezable, 6 would have been perfect for baby meal-prep. 

If you would like the chance to win 3 Squish Delish pouches for your sweet little babe, head over to our FB page to enter, or if you just can’t wait you can buy your own here.


Getting our craft on with My Fun Box

Getting our craft on with My Fun Box

Subscription boxes of all descriptions are huge right now, am I right?  Whatever you’re into, be it make-up, jewellery, food, organics, kids toys……..you can part with your cash and get a box of ‘happy mail’ landing on your doorstep once a month.  From my experience these boxes of glorious consumerism can be a bit hit and miss.  I know my own family has more than enough tangible possessions as it is, so despite the allure that a monthly box of surprises holds, I won’t be setting up any recurring payments anytime soon.

Rant over.  

E and I were stoked to have been sent The Ready, Steady, Go! box to review, filled not with toys but with activities!  This is where My Fun Box departs from the crowd.  Instead of a box of curated items, each box is packed with everything you need to fully complete three projects.  Essentially, you make your own fun.  Um, did I mention that everything you need is included in the box?  No, well, guess what?  EVERYTHING you need is included in the box!  Even glue!  Even tape!  Scissors were required which is totally do-able, even in my house which is pretty barren of craft supplies.  No subscriptions required either, you can order a one-off box or send one as a gift.

So we sat down on Saturday morning and got to work.  I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t done anything like this with Ethan in way too long, so I was rearing to go.

Together we made 3 exploding chalk rockets, a balloon car and a convertible frisbee.  Each of the three activities called on different skills and levels of assistance from me, though the origami-style folding required for the paper frisbee got even me a bit lost!  Thank goodness there are video tutorials available if you’re a bit of a mung like me and need some extra help lol.  My Fun Box suggests these activities are suitable for ages 3-10, and that’s probably true, however Ethan is 10 and he did require some assistance, so be prepared to help!  Actually, I think that is the beauty of My Fun Box, actually sitting down and completing a project with your child is freaking awesome.  Not going to lie, we had a couple of moments as we always do but it was a lovely hour or so with no electronics!  I can totally see the value in having a box on hand to bust out during winter when cabin fever sets in.  

We did require a bit of extra sticky tape to complete the balloon car and had a bit of a problem with the length of the axles, but we actually turned this into a really cool problem solving task which saw Ethan troubleshoot and figure out what we needed to do to get the little wheels spinning.

Read more about this kiwi company and Mum-preneur Renee here

Kids Subscription Box New Zealand Mummy Blog

Munch: Seasonal Cookbook for Baby & Family + Giveaway!

Munch: Seasonal Cookbook for Baby & Family + Giveaway!

Munch Review and Giveaway Mummy Blog NZI’m so pleased to have joined Munch Cooking this year as one of their Munch Mums!   Look out for my reviews and giveaways each month as I introduce you to some awesome {and pretty innovative} products from The Munch Cupboard.

A cookbook for kids is quite a hard sell for me.  Kids grow so quickly and move through the varying infant nutrition phases with such speed {in hindsight lol} that investing in a book based around baby purees just doesn’t work for me.  That’s the point of difference which sets the Munch: Seasonal Cookbook for Baby & Family apart from the rest.  Author Anna Bordignon has successfully combined the meal requirements of the whole family to produce a comprehensive compendium of fab meal ideas that everyone will love.

Munch Cookbook Mummy Blog NZ

Our family menu is based around classic, nourishing meals.  There is no soaking cashews or avoidance based diets in my kitchen; we like hearty, sustaining meals that are as healthful as possible.  Every recipe in Munch ticks these boxes for me.  Wendyl Nissen sums this up perfectly in the foreword, noting that this is a ‘return to a more simple way of thinking about food.  Eating in season, eating fresh and eating for nutrition as well as taste.  Just like our Nanas used to”.  I love this philosophy!

Recipes are organised based upon seasonal availability which is an awesome way to meal-plan and ensure that your family’s food miles are minimised, you are making the most of seasonal savings on produce and you are receiving the maxed out nutritional and taste benefits that accompany eating in-season fruit and veges.

I wanted to ensure my big boy was totally rested and fuelled up for the first day of school on Monday, so Sunday was spent relaxing at home and unwinding, .  Dave and I enjoyed a few hours in the kitchen baking lunchbox snacks, but a yummy Sunday lunch was definitely required!  Honestly I could have picked any of a multitude of recipes from Munch because they all consist of pantry staples that I pretty much always have on hand.  This is another huge plus when you are perusing a recipe book right?

I settled on the Busytown Pizzas as I knew both the boys would love them.  Omg.  Kumara based dough!!!  Pure genius.  We all agreed these were so delicious and we’re throwing out our traditional pizza dough recipe for good.  I made mini pizzas and froze some extras for quick after school snacks for Ethan or dinners for Nix.

If you would like the chance to win a copy of Munch: Seasonal Cookbook for Baby and Family RRP $28 enter via the widget below, or if you just can’t wait you can buy your own copy here.

Kids Pizzas Mummy Blogger NZGiveaway open to NZ residents only.

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Acquisitions | SAM the Sleep Trainer Clock & Nightlight

Acquisitions | SAM the Sleep Trainer Clock & Nightlight

 Sleep Trainer Sam


SAM the Sleep Trainer has moved into Nixon’s room courtesy of Zazu and I’m quite taken with him to be honest!  He’s cute, functional and does what he’s told at bedtime – listen up kiddos lol.
Nix is definitely too young at 16 months to use SAM to his full potential, but we have started closing his eyes at bedtime and nap time (Nix enjoys helping with this), telling him ‘night night’ and noticing that SAM’s eyes are open/awake when we go in after naps or in the morning.  Programming SAM to work with our sleep schedule was really easy, with a predetermined wake up time – we have chosen 6.30am with no alarm on so we can talk about Sam’s eyes being open when Nix wakes up and gets out of his cot.  During nap time we tell Sam to wake up after 100 minutes, again with no alarm sounding, forever hopeful that Nix will go the full two hours!
When Nixon is old enough to comprehend things like ‘mummy doesn’t drink coffee so you need to stay in bed!’ SAM will help with two different visual cues.  At bed time his screen will turn blue, half an hour before wake up time (when SAM will open his eyes) it will turn green meaning, ‘hold on for a bit longer’.  Exactly how long is shown by 12 stars that disappear one by one over the remaining 30 minutes.
This clock makes so much sense to me now I have used it and watched Nix get quite fond of the process.  I’m pretty certain his familiarity with SAM as a nightlight over the next 6 months or so will help immensely when we get down to the business end of staying in bed untill SAM opens his eyes.

Sleep Trainer SAM runs on battery or AC power and is available from numerous retailers nationwide for $69.99, just Google him!


Acquisitions | Attipas First Step Toddler Shoes

Acquisitions | Attipas First Step Toddler Shoes

Soft Baby Shoes

Nix was recently fortunate enough to be gifted a wee pair of toddler shoes from the range at www.attipas.co.nz.  After struggling to settle on a style from the huge number of options I eventually chose a pair from the Marine range – because I’m a HUGE sucker for anything with stripes on it!  When they arrived a few days later I was quite surprised at how completely different the Attipas were to any other baby shoe I had ever seen.  Which, they should be really.  Baby’s feet are not like those of adults so it doesn’t make much sense to squish and force them into hard, solid soled shoes that do nothing to assist a child’s burgeoning sense of balance and coordination.  My initial reaction was that they were a bit strange, but this was quickly put to rest the second I put them on Nixon. 

Toddler Shoes

Attipas are seriously as light as a feather and as easy to put on as a pair of socks!  Nix’s feet are like little sledgehammers; they are huge and chunky and squeezing them into shoes is a mission so he and I both welcomed the relief of some easy-on shoes.  So, so many things to love here;

  1. These didn’t fall off once either at the beach or charging around the yard at home
  2. Attipas are super-flexible with so much room in the toe, Nix looked so steady on his feet whilst wearing them
  3. They were pretty dirty after playing outdoors all day and cleaning them was as easy as pulling them off and popping them in the washing machine.

These little shoes have been designed with the goal of being as beneficial for developing minds and bodies as walking barefoot, and I’m genuinely happy to recommend them.  Shop online at www.attipas.co.nz

Baby Shoes

Toddler Shoes

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