An effort to reduce our soft plastic usage

A collaboration with ecostore…

I’m always looking for ways to be more eco-conscious around the house and I often talk about ways we do this, on my social media.  We’re by no means perfect, but we try to do our bit! Up until recently, I had absolutely no idea you could recycle soft plastics! Thinking back, I had seen the bin at our local supermarket… but never actually read what it was for – oops! House recycling is great, but as you know – they don’t collect soft plastics. This is something you will have to take yourself, into your local drop off point (you can find that HERE) as you need. I’m thinking it would hugely reduce our landfill waste too, right? Which we pay to dispose of – so surely this is a positive!

So my plan is: along with our normal rubbish bin, and our recycling bin… we have a spot for our soft plastics ‘rubbish’ to go (somewhere close to the others). We fill it up and each weekend, we make a trip to our drop off point and dispose of it there. It can be a family affair so the kids learn all about it too!

While soft plastics recycling is great, I think it’s also important to not only recycle but REDUCE. And in order to do that, we will likely need some REUSE items. I’ve partnered with ecostore to bring you a few tips that we use at our house to reduce the use of things like glad wrap and plastic ziplock bags…

  1. Beeswax wraps.
    These are quite the rage at the moment, and I’m seeing more and more people using them – which I think is awesome! We’ve only been using them since the beginning of this year, but I’m definitely a fan! In short – they’re fabric which is soaked/covered in beeswax (and other ingredients) which turns the fabric into a cool plyable alternative to glad wrap! We use it to wrap our cheese, to wrap small things in Brooklyn’s lunch box, basically anything other than meat can be wrapped in these. No meat because they can only be washed with cold water, so slight risk of contamination with meats. There’s many different brands, sizes, fabrics… so just give it a google and find some that you like the look of!

  1. Silicone food wraps.
    We have had these for a couple of years now and find them great for covering ceramic/glass bowls and jars. Anything of that nature, instead of reaching for plastic wrap. Perfect for covering leftovers! They’re dishwasher safe, though super easy to give a quick rinse/wipe anyway.

  2. Compartment lunch boxes.
    Yes, these are all the rage these days and no you do not NEED one. But I truly do believe that having a lunchbox for your child that has different compartments and bonus if it comes with containers, IS going to help reduce your soft plastics usage! Having separate compartments means that you can ditch the glad wrap and just take advantage of the different areas to put food in. We have used Goodbyn Hero’s, Yumboxes, and currently use a Planet Box Rover… this isn’t a lunchbox review so I won’t be going into detail, but all 3 are great options.

  3. Reusable food pouches.
    These take the place of ziplock bags and we use them daily for the kids! They’re reusable, dishwasher (or washing machine) safe, come in fun designs… and super easy for kids to use as they have a zip! We love them!

I made a decision to stop buying glad wrap all together last grocery shop – after we survived 2 weeks without it. It’s funny how without it, you just make do – and it makes you realise you don’t need it after all!

Thank you ecostore for partnering with me on this blog post, I hope everyone has got something out of it – even if it’s just made you think about your soft plastics usage!

J x

My Summer Mama Must-haves!

I thought I would put together a wee blog about the things I’ve been loving this summer!

  1. Sunglasses! I mean – who doesn’t love new sunglasses right? I got to pick out some sunglasses by the brand LMNT at the beginning of summer, and I absolutely thrash them! I constantly get compliments on the two pairs I have and asked where they’re from. This brand in particular is super affordable too – bonus! If you head over to IG I’m actually giving away a pair of these!

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  2. A hat! I’ve never been a hat gal, until this summer and I’m in love! Not only have I gone all of summer so far without burning my nose/face – but it looks so effortlessly glam (well I think so anyway!) This one I’m wearing is from Glassons.DSC_0116 2
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  3. Nice swimwear. Not just any swimwear. Swimwear that makes you feel beautiful, and swimwear that fits right in all the right places. This set from Lilly & Lime has been on repeat all summer for me. It fits perfectly and doesn’t slip around – which any of the Mums out there will know thats important because… kids.Photo 29-10-17, 2 54 27 PM.jpg
  4. New lingerie. Summer is the perfect time to buy yourself a few new pieces and throw out some oldies! I recommend going lingerie shopping BEFORE you devour too many treats at Christmas time though. haha! My current faves are by Rose + Thorne – super affordable, comfy and beautiful. This set in particular is semi high-waisted and I thought I would find it weird, but I actually really like the bottoms! Especially under dresses! Again – super affordable!DSC_0382
  5. Skincare. Summer is such a drying time for your poor skin, so you need to look after it! I was lucky enough to be given Farmers vouchers from my brother and my grandparents for Christmas/Birthday so I went and treated myself (for once!) to some new skincare. I went with the brand Goodness after a recommendation from a friend. And I’m really impressed! My skin has never looked and felt so smooth and hydrated! I’ve been foundation-less for almost 3 months now and feel so happy in my own skin. If you’re interested in trying Goodness, they have a cute wee travel pack which is perfect for trialling the products before you buy full size.

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  6. Sandals. Okay so I have a little Lulu Avarcas addiction, but can you blame me?! Past summers I’ve been known to live in jandals, and boy do my poor heels feel it! They get horribly cracked and sore. But alternating between jandals and my lovely leather Lulu’s means my feet get a break. And they’re so comfy it’s basically like wearing jandals anyway!

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  7. A kimono. Another addiction of mine! Perfect for throwing on over any outfit or even over your togs at the beach! They’re such a special statement piece and a perfect addition to any summer wardrobe. My faves are from Love Knot War.

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That’s a wrap! I hope you liked this wee collection of my favourite summer Mama things!

J x

 

 

How to stay sane-ish when travelling with kids this Summer

Travelling with kids *shudder*. I know, it’s definitely not on my list of favourite things to do, but sometimes a needs a must – right? This December we are travelling 14 hours  (that’s not including stops – ARGH) North to Whangarei, where I grew up, to spend Christmas with my family. Stupid? Maybe! But we also can’t justify paying 4 ridiculously priced domestic air fares to fly there and back. Soooo drive it is! 30 min drive to Picton, 3.5 hour ferry and then one loooooong drive to Whangarei. Don’t worry, we’re having an overnight stopover – we’re crazy but not THAT crazy.

We’ve done a few roadies and plenty of flights, but nothing this long! Let’s not even talk about the fact that we have to get home too, the same way! Anyway, enough rambling about how long our trip will be. What I’ve actually come to talk to you about, is a few different things that I highly recommend to make travel as easy as possible.

  1. FOOD.
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    I feel like this is a pretty obvious point – but I’m not just talking about lunch and dinner stops. I’m talking ALL THE SNACKS. Specifically unhealthy snacks that you don’t usually let your kids have (Tiny Teddys etc) that they’ll be super stoked with. Also things that take a while to eat like small dried fruit and nuts. We always take Yumbox’s with us in the car for the kids when going on a long drive, for our drive north I’ll keep a bag in the front seat with all the snacks so I can restock their lunch boxes on each leg of our trip. We will stop for lunch + dinners etc of course. And don’t forget adult snacks too!
  2. NETFLIX.
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    I know what you’re thinking, ummm Jordan does your car have wifi? 😉 No it does not, you don’t need WIFI! Netflix has something called ‘offline downloads’ where you can download a series/movie at home, and then watch it later when you’re not in wifi! So absolutely perfect for car trips and flights with kids! We used this feature when we flew to New Caledonia earlier this year and it was so handy! Pick a few movies + your kids favourite series and you’re sorted! I would also highly recommend headphones for each child if they have their own device, so that you don’t have battle of The Wiggles and Troll Hunters in the backseat. I would also recommend downloading something for yourself, so when a kid dozes off to sleep you can steal their device for a bit 😉
  3. SEAT ORGANISER/KID STUFF STASHER.
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    We’ve had these in our car for a while now and the kids love having somewhere to pop their drink bottles, within reach. They can fit a few books down the bottom each, wipes in the tissue holder bit and other bits and bobs in the other compartments. I bought ours here. Bonus is also that they keep the car seat clean, as the kids put their dirty shoes all over the organiser instead of your seats! Win win!
  4. KIDS MUSIC.
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    I know, I know – cringe. You just want to listen to your own Spotify playlists. But again – needs a must and sometimes a good family sing-a-long will be just what your two year old needs to get them through to the next stop! There’s loads of kids music on Spotify like ‘Mother Goose Club’, and my kids particularly love Anika Moa’s ‘Songs for Bubbas’. So crank it up and get your sing on, actions songs are even better for entertainment purposes 😉
  5. A HOLD-ALL-THE-THINGS BOX.
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    A box of some kind that will fit perfectly in between carseats, or down on the floor under one of the kids feet. This is where they can store all of their stuff. The iPads, the headphones, a box of tissues, their favourite soft toy each (they’ll need these for their car naps!), even one of those tiny plastic rubbish bins would be cute! For a big trip I’d recommend going to The Warehouse or Kmart and getting a bunch of cheap, new toys that can help entertain them. Things like Rubix cubes, plastic animals, any kinds of little puzzles that require some thinking but don’t have a million parts. All of this can go in the box and be stored neatly wherever you please in the car. It will save your car, and your sanity!

I hope you find at least one of these ideas helpful for your next time travelling with kiddies! I will be putting all and more into action for our trip north, you’ll be able to follow the trip on Snapchat (thewhittakers), so make sure you follow us over there!

J x

Recipe – Easy Chicken Noodle Miso Soup

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I’m all for easy, fast recipes that don’t require a million ingredients but are still deliciously tasty! I whipped up this super easy chicken noodle miso soup using MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles and wanted to share it with you!

Ingredients: (serves 3 adults + 2 kids or 2 adults + 2 kids + leftover):

4 chicken thigh cutlets (bone in)

4 packs of MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles

4 sachets of instant miso

Seasoning to taste (I use Pepper & Me Man Grind)

Bok choy

5 cups of water

Method:

  • Simmer on a low heat chicken thigh, water, 2 sachets of miso + seasoning in a pot until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken and pull meat off the bone, then put back into the broth.
  • Add in remaining miso sachets, bok choy and noodles and cook until noodles are cooked and bok choy is soft (this will only take a few mins).
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

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Thank you MAGGI for sponsoring these recipe posts, I’ve enjoyed coming up with new ideas to use your Wholegrain Noodles, which have always been a staple in our pantry!

J x

Recipe – Kids Chicken Korma

 

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I know all too well what it’s like trying to get kids to eat vegetables, so I do my best to hide as many as I can into our meals – no complaining from the little people and a happy ‘Mum conscience’. I’ve put together two recipes showing how we use MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles in some kid friendly meals to achieve a balance of tasty and nutrition. Even better, they are 99% fat free. First up we have Kids Chicken Korma! Yum! This recipe was inspired by a recipe that I saw on @pepperandmenz Snapchat!

Ingredients:

1 zucchini

1 carrot

1 potato or kumara

1 garlic clove

1 onion

1 tomato

1 tblsp oil

1 MAGGI Chicken Korma recipe base

½ can of coconut cream (if your kids are not into any hint of spicy food, you may want to add a whole can!)

1 pack of MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles per person (it doesn’t matter which flavour, as we aren’t using the flavour sachets)

500g chicken thigh

Method:

 

  • Cube zucchini, carrot, potato/kumara and tomato and peel garlic clove. Put into a pot and just cover with water. Add half of the MAGGI Chicken Korma recipe base and simmer until vegetables are soft.
  • While vegetables are cooking, prepare chicken by cutting into pieces (whatever size you prefer) and slicing the onion. Toss in the remaining MAGGI Chicken Korma recipe base and set aside until the vegetables are almost ready.
  • When the vegetables are almost cooked, start frying chicken and onion in oil on a medium heat.
  • Once vegetables are all soft, blend in blender or with a stick blender until it resembles a smooth puree.
  • When onions are soft and chicken is almost cooked through, add the vegetable puree into the pan + coconut cream.
  • Simmer until chicken is cooked and sauce is well combined, season to taste if you think it needs it.
  • Serve over cooked MAGGI 2minute Wholegrain Noodles.

Note: This recipe can be adapted to use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand! Get creative!

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** WIN WIN WIN **

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I have this fun prize pack to giveaway, so that you can recreate this recipe at home! And even better, you can serve it up to your kids in these awesome mushroom bowls from Haakaa AND they can scoff it with their very own Haakaa silicone noodle spoons! Both of which are absolutely thrashed by my kids – these bowls are the only suction items we’ve owned that ACTUALLY stay on the table! Head back to Facebook to enter!

I hope you like this recipe as much as my family did! Keep your eyes peeled for the next one, and thank you to MAGGI for sponsoring this post and encouraging me to get creative in the kitchen with some noodle dishes!

J x

 

Strawberries & Cream Buddha Bowl

I got to team up with Tip Top on a campaign to show you my take on a ‘buddha bowl’… but not of the healthy kind, of the ‘treat’ kind – a special treat for Mama once the kiddies are in bed, that you don’t have to share and can tuck into all on your lonesome. You can share with your other half too, if you’re feeling kind that day 😉

I’m a sucker for pink, so I chose to go with the Strawberries & Cream flavoured ice cream along with the following ingredients:

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  • Cream – whipped
  • Fresh strawberries – sliced
  • Sliced almonds
  • Strawberry bon bons
  • Sprinkles of any variety (I stuck with the colour theme)

Behold… my Strawberries & Cream Buddha Bowl!

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J x

Introducing: Spindel

If you follow me on Snapchat (thewhittakers) then you’ll have seen this pop up on occasion the past few weeks, I’ve talked about it a few times but promised a blog – so here it is!

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Introducing… the Spindel! In short, the Spindel is the domestic gadget that I didn’t think I needed – but now wouldn’t want to live without! I’d seen them before on social media and thought they looked cool, but had never seen one properly in action. When I received an email from the NZ distributor asking if I would be interested in reviewing one – I did some you-tubeing,  saw it properly and got myself super excited to have my very own Spindel!

A Spindel is a specialised laundry dryer. Not a traditional dryer however, it will not completely dry your clothes. However the Spindel uses a spinning power (rather than heat) of 2800 rpm to spin out excess water from your load of washing, which in turn makes the drying process – whether that be on the line, or in the dryer – happen at a fraction of the time. So basically, you wash your clothes as per normal, then you run them through the Spindel. It’s only a short cycle of 3 minutes (not timed so you need to keep an eye on this yourself), then you go and hang your clothes on the line or pop them in the dryer!

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I’ve been getting around 1.5 litres of water out of a full load of washing, AFTER the machine has spun it out! Insane! If I’m doing a big load of washing I will split it into half and run 2 cycles through the Spindel.

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My thoughts?

Time saving: It definitely makes my clothes dry faster after using it! I noticed straight away how much dryer they felt coming out of the Spindel, than when they come straight out of the washing machine – huge difference!

Fabric feel: I’ve noticed a difference in how the clothes feel after coming off the line, after using the Spindel. I love the feel of clothes out of the dryer, they feel much softer. But I use the line most of the time to save power. Having less water in them definitely makes for softer feeling clothes once they’ve completely dried!

Delicates: I don’t put merino in the dryer, or obviously fabrics that say ‘do not tumble dry’… but in winter it’s so hard to get them dry sometimes! Thankfully you can put any fabrics in the Spindel! Even delicates that say ‘hand wash only’!! Woohoo!

Size: It isn’t huge! It’s actually smaller than I assumed it would be! Size specs say 640mm high and 385mm wide. Perfect for people like us that only have a small laundry (as in, we can’t fit our dryer inside!).

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These are new to New Zealand and you can read about them more HERE, where you can also purchase for $299. I’m loving mine and I know a few people that have bought them since mine arrived, and they’re loving theirs too!

J x

Review + Discount Code: Storksak Cabin Carry-On bag

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I was recently gifted this beautiful cabin sized carry on bag from Storksak, and I put it to the test when I went to Auckland a few weeks ago with Erana. It is the perfect bag for a weekend away, or even as a hospital bag! I chose the grey, but it’s totally unisex – a guy could have the grey too! I couldn’t help but buy Nare the matching one in black for Fathers Day, not that we ever go away together but I envision us twinning one day at the airport 😉

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It doesn’t get much more stylish than a bag with tan leather trims. Seriously, all the heart eyes! Both the grey and the black have the tan features – swoon! On the outside of the bag you will find a tan leather luggage tag, which is right next to an external passport pocket. A two way zip along the top and you can have the bag buttoned down, or expanded for extra room if you need it! Buttoned down, it was the perfect size for my small plane Blenheim to Auckland and it slid easily under the seat in front of me. I meant to try it in the overhead locker on the flight home, but there were people behind me and I got nervous haha! A flight attendant did say she thought it would fit fine, but I found it easier to slide it under! On a bigger plane than a small domestic, I’m very confident it would fit in the overheads.

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The wheels and extendable handle is obviously another awesome feature, however my favourite feature of all is the fold-away hanging organiser + packing block insert. The idea of this is that you can pack all of your belongings into the organiser, and then when you arrive at your destination you can pull the whole insert out and hang it up – rather than living out of the bag! It’s so cool and made it quite fun to pack my bag for the weekend! You can see a photo of the insert here.

You can totally use it without the insert if you prefer, the internal fabric is a nice striped fabric and is wipeable so easy to keep clean! It’s got a zip pocket on the inside and also a couple of elasticated pockets. It also comes with a wee mesh bag which would make a perfect toiletries bag!

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I loved travelling with mine and it was the perfect size for the three nights that I was away in Auckland. A few outfits, PJs, sandals, make-up and toiletry bags, diary, hair straightener all fit in there easily!

** GIVEAWAY **
How would you like to own one just like mine? I have another beautiful grey cabin bag here for one lucky winner! All you have to do is pop over to Facebook to enter.

** DISCOUNT CODE ** If you’re impatient (like me) and want one NOW, lucky you – I have a 15% off discount code! Enter code WTW15 at Storksak to receive 15% off anything! Yay! This code is valid until October 23rd. 

Thank you Storksak for giving me the opportunity to review this beauty of a bag! I’m obsessed! And thank you to my sister wife Erana for taking these amazing photos for me! We make a good team, don’t ya think?

You can find Storksak on Instagram and Facebook too.

J x

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Marlo’s 2nd Birthday – Hawaiian Luau Party

Today our baby girl turned 2! We (I) decided to do a “low key” party this year AKA only invite our closest friends, but still go hard out on the decor… Because I love decorating parties, so why not?! Marlo is still too young to pick a theme, and I was super uninspired until I saw a theme on the Pop Roc Parties website titled “Hawaiian Luau”. Done. Sold. This is happening. My parents have come to stay so I wanted to have the party on Marlo’s actual birthday, a week day – which made it even more low key! I chose to go with a time of 10.30am, pre-nap time and meaning we only had to provide morning tea, not a full on spread… see! I’m great at this low key business 😉

I jumped straight on Pop Roc Parties (our go to) and made a list of supplies, and then jumped on Ali Express for some outfits for everyone. I ordered a grass skirt for each of the kids, and adults… and a lei each too. I thought these could double as party favours… but the parents conveniently left them here – good one you guys 😉 We had the skirts and lei set up at a wee dress up station, so everyone could help themselves. Everyone looked super cute!!

We had the usual drinks and cake table set up, with some ALOHA balloons above it and some faux leaves. I’m no cake decorator – I’ve let go of the idea of ‘perfect’, and am very thankful that the rustic ‘semi naked’ iced cakes are “in” haha! I baked this recipe and between each layer I put this delicious cherry fruit compote. YUM!!!! I used the same recipe for cupcakes too, and iced both the cake and cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. It was delicious! My go-to cake decor for both kids are their amazing personalised wooden cake toppers from Love From Seventeen – if you make it to the end of this post there is a discount code for these too!! Woohoo! I also added a few tree toppers (from Pop Roc). The drink was cranberry juice and lemonade.

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For the kids – I wanted to set up somewhere where they could actually sit! Usually we have a food table set up and it results in kids wandering around dropping food everywhere. Not ideal. So this time I used the pallets from Vanessa’s baby shower set up, and made a mini set up for the kids. I decided to do their own individual wee boxes of food for morning tea, to again eliminate walking backwards and forwards from a food table. It worked really well and I think the kids loved it!

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For the adults – on our dining table I set up a mini grazing platter which we could pick away at without little fingers. Who am I kidding, the kids finished their food and wanted some of ours haha. But mostly – it was the adults food!

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I’m super happy with how it all came together! I always doubt myself last minute, wondering if it will turn out how I envision. But Erana reminds me it always works out – and she’s always right, it does! Another party done and dusted! Next up – Brooklyn’s 5th!

Happy 2nd Birthday Marlo Kobe May, you are the sweetest addition to our family. So much sass, but so much sweetness. We love you!

Thank you Julie from Pop Roc Parties for supplying us with all of the amazing party supplies for this! And for the Love From Seventeen discount code: use WTW15 for 15% off plain wood original sized toppers (like Marlo’s). Code is valid until Sunday midnight unless sold out prior.

A few other pics…