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…

 

 

 

 

 

ME TIME – its good for the soul (and sanity).

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. 

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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  

  1. Orange is the New Black
  2. 13 Reasons Why
  3. Fuller House
  4. How to Get Away with Murder
  5. Gilmore Girls
  6. Stranger Things
  7. Pretty Little Liars
  8. House of Cards
  9. Jane the Virgin
  10. Shameless
  11. Grace and Frankie
  12. The Crown

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?

J x

 

Q&A Part 1


Hi all! I’ve seen a few ‘FAQ’ blogs floating around, and I joked on Snapchat that mine would be boring because all I get asked is ‘Where is your hanging planters from?’ and ‘What brand is your vacuum?’ haha! Someone suggested putting it out there as an opportunity for anyone to ask me something they’ve been wanting to know. So here we are! I screenshot a bunch of questions and I’ve answered them below. In no particular order this is part 1, because there is still probably another 20 that I’m yet to get to… you’ll have to wait for part 2 for those. Happy reading…

What do you see yourself doing with your days, once both kids are at school?

I hope to continue doing blog and social media work, and get back into more graphic design. I would ideally love to make a full time income while working at home!

Will you ever go back to work in the future?

Ideally – no. I would be working, but not ‘at work’ out of the house. If social media takes a crashing dive, I always have my Graphic Design background behind me to fall back on and I know I can work from home doing that!

How do you find having your husband away a lot, if you could change the way he works (going away etc) – how would you?

Nare was in the Air Force before we met, so I very much knew what I was signing up for. Howeeeeever… pre-kids he barely ever went away! Just due to the nature of his position at the time. Popped some babes out, got married, and now he buggers off all the time! Hahaha. No not quite, but it looks like that’s the case 😉 I get used to it. I never love having him away, but the kids and I get into our groove and figure out our wee routine. Then he comes home and ruins it 😉 If I could change it, he’d never go away haha!

Anymore kids on the cards?

Honestly? Not sure! We’ve had serious discussions about this! I don’t feel done, like people say you do when you’re ‘done’. But I also don’t really feel like I want any more? Nare is 98% done. He’d probably go as far as saying 100% actually haha! I love where we’re at, what we can do with just the two, where we’re at financially etc. I’m not sure I want to add to that. You know they start getting out of the baby age, and you can do more things as a family? Then you add another baby again. So yeah, not sure on that one! Not anytime soon, if at all.

How do you find being a step Mum?

Jayden works full time now and has left school, so we don’t see him a lot. When he does come to stay he’s amazing! Super helpful and the kids are all over him, which he doesn’t mind – yay! I’m definitely no ‘Mumsy’ step Mum, we’re more at friends level – if that makes sense? I wash his clothes and cook him food, but we chat like friends and I don’t need to boss him around and tell him to tidy his room 😉

Where is your wishbone necklace from?

The pendant is from Pascoes, and my Mum got a more expensive chain put on it so that I knew the kids wouldn’t yank it off my neck! It’s nice and thin but super sturdy, the kids pull at it often but it’s yet to snap!

Where is your daughter’s name from?

I actually found it on a boys name list online somewhere! Spelt ‘Marlowe’. I put it on my boys list, though Nare didn’t like it. When we found out she was a girl I suggested it for her and he was a bit ‘meh’ about it, until I suggested the middle name Kobe (he loves basketball) to go with May (a family middle name). He went for it! I decided I liked the look of it more, with a few letters chopped off, so Marlo Kobe May it was!

Were your kids planned? If so, how long did it take you to conceive them?

I knew Nare was ‘the one’ pretty early on, so I didn’t muck around in putting it out there that I wanted babies soon. It was my dream to be a Mum, and I didn’t see the point in waiting years and years (personal preference!). We tried for around 6 months (felt like 10 years) before finally falling pregnant. I had no clue about my cycles and what not, which is probably why it took what felt like forever. Sadly that pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, but I fell pregnant again straight afterwards (wasn’t trying, didn’t even get a period) with Brooklyn! #2… we planned to try after our wedding in Feb 2015. Me thinking it would take forever, suggested we start trying at New Years instead. Yeah jokes on me – first pop, 6 weeks pregnant at our wedding haha!  

How old is Nare? 

This seems to be the burning question! You guys know Jayden is 18, so the maths is telling you he’s older – but you think we don’t look that different in age. So either thats a lovely compliment for Nare, or you lot think I’m much older. Please tell me is the first option! 😉 He is 36, I’m 26.

What was it like with the age gap? Did you cop any flack when you first started dating?

Honestly, I forget there even is an age gap! Guys are immature, right? 😉 And I’ve always been told I’m mature for my age – so I guess we kind of meet in the middle at 30 haha! I don’t remember copping any flack, I think some of Nare’s friends were a bit sceptical when they found out how old I was – but we soon showed them!

How long have you been a stay at home Mum?

I haven’t been ‘back to work’ since Brooklyn was born! Funny story actually – I told my old job that I would go back when he was 3 months old and work night shifts. Bloody LOL! Obviously I didn’t realise babies don’t actually sleep haha!

How do you stay so tidy and organised?

First of all, I’m not perfect by any means! My house still gets messy… with 2 young kids it’s inevitable. But mostly I set myself a little routine and do my best to stick to it. Daily, when Marlo naps around lunchtime – I do a quick whip around tidying and picking up toys. Then I try to do that again just before Nare gets home, however that is right on dinner time so doesn’t always work out. Every evening Nare does the dishes and once the kids are in bed we tidy up the main living/dining area together, I vacuum (yes, every night) and mop the floors. Two reasons for that. 1. It needs it. Haha. And 2. Getting up in the morning to a clean + tidy house makes the day start off a million times better, in my opinion! On Friday’s I usually tidy and clean upstairs (bedrooms) for the weekend, and again on Monday so that they’re fresh and tidy for the week. Bathroom and toilet get done when I can, and washing daily too. I don’t always stick to this, to the day, but it’s a rough routine of what I try to work towards. Seems to work ok for me! Another key point for staying tidy is decluttering. Toy cull often, get rid of stuff that is unnecessary and that the kids don’t play with… less for you to tidy up!

What is your age gap between Brooklyn and Marlo, and how do you find it?

2 years 9 months in between them, and I absolutely love it! My whole pregnancy, Brooklyn still napped – so most days I would join him! For the first 3 months of Marlo’s life, he wasn’t at preschool yet, so there was no rushing out of the house for drop offs and pick ups, no bringing home of germs and bugs. Now there relationship is too cute. Sure they bicker, like any siblings do. But for the most part they’re pretty precious. Eg. Last night Marlo did a poo on the toilet for the first time, Brooklyn could hear me saying “Good girl Marlo!!” and came running in asking if she did a “real poo on the toilet?!”… I nodded and with a huge grin he says “Oh my goodness! Marlo I’m SO proud of you!!”. Bless!!

How long have you been blogging? How did you get started?

Just after Marlo was born (Sept 2015) I was given a brand rep job for Global Baby, and as part of that I was gifted the most beautiful stroller. I wanted to write a proper review on it, so I started a blog to go along side my Instagram. Instagram and Facebook are still my ‘main’ social media channels, I don’t blog a huge amount – not even weekly, but it’s there for when I have too much to say for a IG caption 😉

How do you disclose when you’re ‘working’ with a brand rather than talking about something you’ve paid for yourself? If it is a sponsored (paid to write the content by a brand) blog, then I will say at the end ‘Thank you *brand name here* for sponsoring this blog’ or something along the lines of that. Instagram or Facebook posts sometimes I will disclose by saying ‘I recieved…’, or ‘I was sent this… by….’ which is my way of saying ‘I was gifted this’. If it’s something I’ve paid for myself I will usually say outright ‘I ordered this…’. On Facebook now there is a feature where I can tag in the business. So if the post says ‘With The Whittakers with *brand here*’ then that’s telling you that I’m working with them somehow. Not necessarily paid content, it might be that they’ve gifted me the product as payment. I’m not really down for the #gifted and #sponsored hashtags, I hope that you guys know me well enough now to know that I will never promote something that I don’t truly believe in. I won’t tell you something is amazing, if I think it’s anything but. I fully back any brand/product that I promote, you have my word on this!

Would you mind sharing more about your budget? Groceries, affording kids clothes etc.

This is a big topic on its own, which I’m about to do a series on – so keep your eyes peeled for that!

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be a teacher! Until I started high school and realised it was NOT something I wanted to pursue. Haha!

You’re a qualified Graphic Designer, where did you study and how long did it take?

I study straight out of high school at Natcoll (National College of Design), now called Yoobee. I did a 1 year Diploma in Computer Graphic Design and loved it! Smashing it out in one year meant less holidays than your typical uni, and more hours per day. But totally worth it to get it all done and dusted in one year!

What did you do when you worked at TV3, how did you get into that job? 

When I first moved back to Auckland and in with Nare, I found a nannying job for a wee baby boy and his two older sisters. The Mum (Mihingarangi Forbes) was a reporter for Campbell Live and the Dad was a camera man for 60 minutes. When the baby was a bit older, they put him into daycare so could only offer me after school hours – and managed to find me a position that was going at TV3. It was for an ‘autocue operator’, basically you sort all of the scripts for the newsreaders before the show, and then you sit in the studio and roll the autocue machine so that they read the right news! I worked on Firstline, 6News and Nightline (at different times) and nannied too.

Do you love Mum life, or sometimes wish you could be back at work and have the kiddies in daycare?

I really do love Mum life. I feel so so lucky to be able to stay home with my kiddies and be able to watch them hit each and every milestone. I know it’s not for everyone, and there are totally some days where I get jealous of Nare going to work and wish we could swap for the day. But I truly feel like this is what I was born to do!

Part 2 coming soon…

J x

 

Just your average one income family on a budget – Home Reno Edition

 

Just like many families out there with young children, we’re a one income family. My husband is the main earner in our household and I’m lucky enough to have been a stay-at-home-Mum for four and a half years now. While I dabble in a bit of blogging, graphic design and social media work, my husband is still the main “provider”.

I’m the first to say being on one income isn’t easy, and I know in some parts of New Zealand (*cough* Auckland *cough*), for some, it is literally impossible to live on one income only. So, I will say first off that I do feel extremely blessed to be able to make it work, and thankful that we live in a place that is much cheaper than other parts of New Zealand.

We bought our first home in September last year, and since then we have slowly been adding things, purchasing new things for the house and fixing broken bits and bobs. I’m sure all new home owners will know what I mean. If you follow me on Snapchat, you will know we have recently been doing some home renovations! The bathroom of our house was the only room that hadn’t been renovated prior to our purchase, and to put it bluntly – it was hideous. I can’t even explain. When our 4-year-old accidentally flooded the bathroom at the end of last year, that kick started us into getting onto it!

Part of the bathroom was covered by the flooding insurance claim, some with some money we had in our savings… but knew that we would need more for the extra things that we wanted – a shower dome, new fixtures and new decor (as ya do!). So, we opened a ‘house’ bank account. A sub-account to our normal joint account, where we could transfer across a certain amount of money each pay. This would also be handy for home maintenance costs – the downside of being your own landlord means you can’t just ring the landlord! Haha! We’ve done the whole bathroom on a rather small budget, and we’re currently at the point of getting tiles and attempting to tile ourselves (to save money)… wish me luck on that one!

Photo 26-06-17, 12 22 37 PM

I’m not going to lie and make out that I’m amazing with money. To be totally honest, up until a few months ago I was terrible! Nare was the bill payer, I was the spender. I never looked at our accounts and I never knew how much our bills came to. Nothing. I don’t know exactly what happened but a switch went off one day and I thought I better give myself a kick up the bum and start adulting… so I did. I sat down and created my own budget, I worked everything out, opened a bunch of sub-accounts and made up some automatic payments. And do you know what? It bloody worked! Nare didn’t have high hopes, he rolled his eyes when I told him I had done a budget – I’ve done it a few times before but only lasted a couple of weeks. Oops! But this time I’m proud to say that a few months down the track, I’m still going strong and we’ve been saving money! Yay!

A couple of weeks ago I had a chat with an advisor from BNZ about being on one income and how it can be a struggle. BNZ has been the principal sponsor of Plunket since 2010, so I knew they’d have a good understanding of the financial challenges when it comes to raising a young family. The advisor pointed me to a section of their website called The BNZ Plunket Hub, which is totally aimed at families and new parents. Who knew?! Wish I had found that a while ago – ironically on this page that’s about ways for new parents to sort out their finances, point number 3 says ‘make a budget, and stick to it’. So, if you don’t already have a budget, I highly recommend!! I keep mine on my phone so that I can look at it anywhere, at any time. I even pay the bills myself now, you guys! 26 years old, mum for 4.5 years… and I’m finally paying the bills! Haha!

For those yet to have a baby, going down to one income can be extremely daunting! And the idea of having ‘extra’ money after all the bills have come out, doesn’t seem like something that will ever happen. But you do get used it, and it does happen! You just learn to be a bit more savvy with things you buy, where you shop, and differentiating between what you really need – and what you want (I’m not amazing at that last one). On the BNZ Plunket Hub there are also a couple of reads from a couple who were pregnant with their first baby who did a ‘one income challenge’ one week to get a taste of what it would be like. You can see how it went here. Quite interesting seeing that once they had nutted out a budget, that they actually were able to save more than they originally thought they would. We found this too, once we had all the numbers in front of us!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about how we save for things like home renovations and other things that may crop up, and how we make it work on one income. Thank you to BNZ for sponsoring this, I’ve been meaning to blog about budgeting and this was the perfect opportunity! I’m going to turn this into a bit of a series – next up is the ‘Groceries Edition’!

J x