All photographs taken by the talented Wendy of Wendy Strack Photography. You can find her on IG @wendystrackphotography x
All photographs taken by the talented Wendy of Wendy Strack Photography. You can find her on IG @wendystrackphotography x
I thought I would put together a wee blog about the things I’ve been loving this summer!
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.
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!
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.
That’s a wrap! I hope you liked this wee collection of my favourite summer Mama things!
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.
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!
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)
5 cups of water
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!
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!
1 potato or kumara
1 garlic clove
1 tblsp oil
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
Note: This recipe can be adapted to use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand! Get creative!
** WIN WIN WIN **
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!
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:
Behold… my Strawberries & Cream Buddha Bowl!
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!
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!
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.
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!).
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!
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 😉
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
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!
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…
People are always amazed at the fact that my kids are in bed by 6pm. Likewise I am amazed when peoples kids are up till 8-9pm. Each to their own, but heck no is that happening at our house! haha! Mentally I am checked out by 6pm. I’m done. I’ve spent every second of my day with my children, and as much as I love them, 6pm onwards is ME TIME. And while they’re happy going to bed that early, I’m embracing it!
How do I spend my ‘me time’? I always make sure the house is tidy and clean, before blobbing on the couch. I usually put on Orange is the New Black on Netflix and watch/scroll and catch up on social media at the same time… before choosing something to get really engrossed in when I put my phone down. At the moment that is Orphan Black, recommended by my sister-in-law, and I’m so far loving it!
New Netflix data reveals that for mums, sneaking is the new bingeing and we’ll go to great lengths to stream our favourite shows while no one is looking. According to the research – after becoming a mum, we quickly embrace putting our kids first and time for us goes out the window. Hmmm yep, that sounds about right! So, at the end of the day once the rug rats are FINALLY in bed I pretty much sign out mentally before I’ve even get to the bottom of the stairs!
I’m a Netflix binge watcher FOR SURE. I’m not into watching a series an episode a night, heck no! I’ll cram as many as I can into the night and then try and sneak episodes in during the day, until I’ve finished the series! The first that I did this with was 13 Reasons Why, and then Jane the Virgin. I was addicted!
Netflix data showed that three quarters of us mums admit to sneaking in TV “me-time” while multitasking or actually hiding from our kids at least 1-3 times a day. Nowhere is off limits – from spending extra time on the “toilet” to hiding in the pantry or wardrobe , or sitting in the car in the parking lot.
What kind of sneak are you? I’m probably a cleaning sneak… if I’m doing something in the kitchen I’ll pop my phone on the window sill and sneak some time in there. Or I’m just a plain ol give the kid an iPad and watch my episode on TV not-so-sneaky-sneak haha!
‘Me time’ is seriously beneficial though. Being a Mum is physically and mentally draining and sometimes we forget to clock out! A few months back when I went to Melbourne for a Netflix event, the whole weekend was the most ‘me time’ I had had in a LONG TIME! Amazing company, good food, more socialising than I ever do haha! It was the coolest weekend, and it reminded me what it was like to be ME! Jordan! Not ‘Brooklyn and Marlo’s Mum’. Just ME!
If you’re after some new ‘Sneak Shows’ to watch, Netflix put together this list for us!
TOP 12 Mum Sneak Shows
I’d love to know how you get some ‘me time’ into your day/week! If it’s on Netflix, what’s your current binge/sneak?