Toddler + Baby Room Sharing

I’ve had more than a few questions, asking how the room sharing is going with the kids, so thought I’d do a post about it explaining what we do at bedtime and how it’s working out.

We decided to put them in together after we went away for Christmas and had to share a room then, it worked pretty well so we thought we’d give it a crack at home. I always loved the idea of having a playroom so this would mean we could have one! Yay!

Week 1: I would put Marlo down first, let her get to sleep, then sneak Brooklyn in once I knew she was asleep. He was really good the first few nights, didn’t come out at all and just went to sleep. The next few nights he would come out for random things *cue every excuse he could think of*… “I need another kiss and another cuddle”, cute. “I need a drink”, alright, I guess we can’t say no to that. “I need you to take me back to bed”, well shit kid if you didn’t get OUT of bed, I wouldn’t NEED to put you back in there!! A few nights of mischief and he was back on track. Night feeds he either didn’t wake up, wakes up and sits on his bed until I come in and then goes back to sleep, or comes and stands in our doorway saying “Mumma, the bebe is awake”. Not even kidding. Not ‘baby’, not ‘Marlo’… ‘Bebe’. It’s pretty funny!

Week 2: Nare went away. Brooklyn always turns into Mr Sensitive when Nare is away so I knew this would mess with things majorly. Bed time went fine the first night, but by 10pm he was in my bed. I’m also a bit of a sucker when Nare goes away and adopt the ‘do what you gotta do to get through’ attitude. So I gave in pretty easily when Brooklyn informed me that he needed to cuddle me in my bed. Okaaaaay. I pretty much didn’t even bother making him go to bed in his room that week. For night feeds he would either not hear her through the monitor in our room, or he would come with me and go back to sleep on his bed and then when I was finished he would walk back to our room with me and go back to sleep. He reckoned he was scared of Poppy (the cat) coming in while I was gone… Hah!

Week 3: Back into your bed you go Mr! Dad is home and it’s time to vacate our bed. Big bloody HA HA… night 1 he was back in our bed by 10pm! Night 2 was 3am and it’s pretty much been around 3/4am since then. That’s when Marlo wakes for a feed and he must be sleeping too lightly around that time to sleep through it. Boooo. However, this week I started putting them both down at the same time and it’s working great! I sit on Brooklyn’s bed to feed Marlo anyway, so he joins us and lays beside me and mucks around with his bunny and Cuski’s… then I pop Marlo into bed, turn on the Baby Shusher, kiss her, kiss him and get the heck out of there! Okay there are a few more OCD things that Brooklyn needs me to do, like once I get to the door I have to blow him a kiss, wait for him to blow one back, ‘catch it’, then give him a thumbs up. Yes, he’s weird. Marlo yacks away to herself and her bunny and eventually falls asleep, Brooklyn comes out once or twice for annoying things and then eventually goes to sleep too.

That’s a bit of a sum up for ya! We have a 3 year old rugrat in our bed from 3/4am most mornings at the moment, but it’s a small price to pay for having no toys in the lounge and a playroom! They go to bed at 6pm, Brooklyn wakes up around 6.45/7am and Marlo 7.30/8am.

J x

Review – Haakaa Silicone Breastpump

When I saw Global Baby post a photo of this product, my first thought was ‘Wow! Only $27!!’. Closely followed by ‘Surely this is too good to be true…’. Soon after I saw them, they’d sold out! Still thinking they’re too good to be true… a few days later a big box from Global Baby turned up on my door step full of lots of Haakaa goodies, including the breast pump! Yay!

I grabbed it out of the box and went and hid in the playroom so I could test it out. Like literally, straight away 😉

Now, I’ll try to explain exactly how it works, but my explaining skills aren’t very wonderful so please bear with me! What you see in the picture above is literally all there is to it. No cords, no bottle. That’s it. Basically – you suction it on to your boob (or should I say ‘breast’? Is ‘boob’ not PC? Meh, boob it is!), and squeeze. That’s it! I got it suctioned on (to my boob 😉 ) and gave it a few squeezes until the milk started dripping out and then just left it to do it’s thing. Occasionally I had to reposition it or give it another couple of squeezes to get things moving again. I assumed I would have to sit there squeezing it the whole time in rhythmic timing to mimic an electric pump (or a baby I suppose), but that wasn’t the case. There really wasn’t much to it! I got about 50mls in less than 5 mins. Brooklyn kept coming in and out (how dare you come into your playroom, child!) so I was too distracted and couldn’t get a let down. So I thought I’d give it a go when I fed Marlo next, and do it at the same time so that I was guaranteed a let down. I did, and this time got 70mls. Bearing in mind this is in the middle of the day so not the most ideal time for expressing, but hey – 70mls is still pretty good!

Fast forward to the next morning…  I tried it again. This time Marlo was still asleep but I managed to get 120mls and got a letdown with it! Yay! I probably could have kept going to be honest, but that was the collection part of the pump full so I stopped.

I’m pretty impressed with it! The ease of use, the portability, the simplicity and of course the affordability is a huge one! I also own a Medela Mini which is SO loud I feel like I’m at a milking shed, and it gets no more milk out than the Haakaa pump. No spending hundred/s of dollars on pumps that have a million parts to clean either! It’s also dishwasher safe! Heck yeah! Currently my dishwasher is my husband, but I’m still stoked with that feature.

For occasional expressing I think this is perfect! I would still be inclined to use an electric pump of some kind if you were expressing full time or a situation similar. But for anything else I think this is a definite winner! A friend also pointed out that it could be great to use if you have an electric pump, to manually express from the other side at the same time. Great idea!

Now I’ve probably talked some of you into wanting one, and they’re sold out. Sorry! Buuuut they’re due back in really soon, you can pre-order HERE, or if you want me to let you know when Global Baby has them back in stock (due late Feb/early March), comment on my IG post about this and I will tag you when they’re back. I’m also happy to answer any questions over there (or here) too!

J x

Oh hey – Love From Seventeen

If you follow me on Instagram, then you will have seen products from Love from Seventeen pop up in photos of the kid’s bedroom/s a lot. I first ‘met’ Kylie (we’ve never met in person, I mean online haha) way back at the beginning of Love from Seventeen when she approached me to help share her new wee business in the social media world (May last year actually!). Of course I said yes, I mean come on – her products are adorable! Kylie designs and produces gorgeous laser cut bamboo creations – banners, buntings, clothing hangers, key rings… and the list goes on.

She has also just recently released a bunch of pregnancy and baby milestone products too. Damn it Kylie, a year ago would have been perfect thank you very much 😉 And another fave product of mine – the personalized Christmas baubles that went cray cray and every second person on Instagram had some! I’m not at all surprised though, they’re flippin’ cute!

I had a chat with Kylie recently and she answered some questions for me so that you guys can get to know her a little more…

Where did the name ‘Love from Seventeen’ come from?
I was trying to think outside the box a little and was thinking about the girls; they’re both born on the 17th, and every product I make is made with love so that was that, Love from Seventeen!

What made you decide to start your own business?
I just wanted something else, just for me, rather than being chief cook and cleaner and “muuuuuuuuum!”, a creative outlet really. Little did I know this ‘hobby’ would be a full blown business 6 months later!

You’ve told us about your awesome family support network when you have lots of orders to crank out… Who would be your biggest cheerleader?
I seriously can’t pin point one person! My gorgeous Mum Karen is amazing; she was pulling the all nighters with me when the craziness of the baubles hit at Christmas time! My hubby Quintin has been the foundations of it all too, keeping the house running and the kids sorted while I’m elbow deep in orders. My Dad’s the business-head of the family so his advice now that things have gotten really busy has been invaluable too. And a handful of friends who drop everything to come and help work nights and weekends with me too! What do they say? It takes a village… Haha

What would be one bit of advice you would give to someone that’s thinking of starting up their own business?
Do your research, and stay true to yourself, your ideas, your designs and never, ever loose that passion that made you want to start in the first place. It won’t be easy and not all smooth sailing but when you’re enjoying yourself 99% of the time – so worth it! If you believe in your business and your product, there is no reason why others won’t love it too! X

How do you stay positive when things get tough in the business world?
All the wine! To be honest I usually have a big cry, get it out and get over it because I’m the only who can decide which way it’s going to go when the going gets tough! For every bit of ugly that comes out of the woodwork from time to time – ESPECIALLY in a business that is built purely on social media – there is about a million more positive. You take that and you run with it.

Who is your ‘business crush’?
Oh gosh this is so hard! Candiandco was an ‘instabusiness’ that I loved right from the beginning, and still love all their products. Jaime (My Mini Loves), Claire (Little Whimsy), Kim (Willow Boutique) and I all launched at the same time and their advice and tips was invaluable! And those beautiful instaMums that I approached in the early days for a helping hand getting my wee venture off the ground who didn’t hesitate to jump on board and help me out (Jordy May Design case in point haha!) when sadly a lot didn’t even have the courtesy to reply to my email.

What is your main personal goal for 2016?
Learn how to file a GST return, keep up my running (I workout so I can drink ) and just be the best Mum I can be for my girls; finding a good balance I reckon. Oh, and finish the gardens lol.

If you have no work to do, kids are in bed… What will we find you snacking on? (Yes I am assuming everyone snacks once the kids are in bed… you all do, right?) 
A green tea, and chances are I’ll be snacking on a block of cheese or a dry Cruskit because I can’t/won’t buy biscuits or chips or anything remotely delicious because they’ll be inhaled in one sitting #noselfcontrol

Thanks for chatting with us, Kylie!

* GIVEAWAY* Kylie is kind enough to do a giveaway with us for a custom 14x16cm Love From Seventeen banner! Head over to our Instagram for the details on how to enter.

J x




Review + giveaway: baby shusher

I was a huge white noise fan when Brooklyn was a baby, in fact I was that much of a fan that he still had it cranking each night until he was 2. Until he would get out of bed and go and turn the iPod dock off so I took that as ‘okay lady, I’m sick of sleeping with this constant rain noise now’ 😉 We’ve always lived on Air Force bases, so it’s been rather noisy with planes and helicopters. Add a light sleeper into that equation and I NEEDED something to mask it. I didn’t know about the whole white noise thing until he was about 3 months old though…

Along comes Marlo and before her birth I’d already decided that I’d use white noise of some kind from the get go this time. I umm-ed and uhh-ed about getting a Baby Shusher my whole pregnancy. I thought it was a bit of a gimmick and also thought it was too expensive, I was too busy spending all of our money on cute baby girl outfits 😉 The Saturday before I had Marlo (on the Monday) I thought ‘ah stuff it! I need to try that gimmick!’, sent a desperate e-mail to the lovely Fiona from Sleepytot NZ (NZ stockist of Baby Shusher) and she got one on the first courier she should. Thanks Fiona! You’re a legend!

We have used it from the day Marlo came home from hospital and I totally ate my words. I’m sorry Baby Shusher, you ain’t no gimmick! You my friend, are a lifesaver. Totally worth that $50, in fact I’d have paid $100 if I knew what you were capable of! Even the husband is a huge fan 🙂

I fed Brooklyn to sleep until he was 6 months old and I wasn’t overly keen on doing that again, and with a noisy 3 year old it’s not that easy to feed to sleep during the day anyway. I understand all babies are different, so maybe Marlo is just a polar opposite to Brooklyn. But seriously, I’m totally bowing down to the almighty Shusher for Marlo’s self settling skills. I literally pop her down awake (90% of the time), turn the Shusher on and she dozes off all by her cute wee self. Amazing! She hasn’t been swaddled in months and doesn’t have a dummy either.

I usually put it on the 30min setting for day sleeps and when she goes to bed in the evening, but just the 15 min setting after night feeds. I almost have it on full blast during the day, but turn it right down for after night feeds.

I’m sure you get the gist, I love the thing. I remember so many nights from Brooklyn’s newborn/infant days where I would be pacing the room, rocking and “sshhhhhh”ing until I felt light headed. Then laying him down only to have him wake up and then start the cycle again. Yaaaawn! I haven’t done this once with Marlo, not once. Okay I lie… I did “shhh” her to sleep on our flight home last week. But that was because I didn’t have the Shusher on me (I think they need to invent a key-ring sized Shusher for these situations! haha!). And yes, the Shusher totally came away on holiday with us!

If you’re pregnant or a new Mummy, I HIGHLY recommend investing in one. Honestly, you won’t regret it. Click HERE to go straight to where you can buy one, easy peasy!

We also have a Baby Shusher to giveaway to one lucky person! Head to my Instagram for details on how to enter: @withthewhittakers.

J x


Brooklyn’s 3rd Birthday party – minion theme

When you ask an almost 3 year old what theme they want for their birthday party, it’s always a bit worrying 😂 But I did it… He asked for a Minion party. Hmmmm, so my mission was then to figure out how I could do it in the least eye-sore way possible. That’s where Julie from Pop Roc Parties came in, I asked her for some ideas on a ‘minimalistic minion party’ (hehe). She sent me a photo that she’d seen on Meri Meri’s Instagram and it was perfect. I ordered some supplies from her website from the Meri Meri range in yellows and golds which were in the photo she showed me.

We decided to have a pretty low-key party this year. We knew we would be in Whangarei for his Birthday so planned to just have a few family and a couple of close friends. We had it at lunch time and served pulled pork, buns and salads. Granny (my Mum) made a delicious punch (FYI: do not put frozen berries in a drink dispenser! They will get stuck hehe) and for dessert we had lemon cupcakes with tangy lemon buttercream icing and chocolate cake with chocolate ganache (and more chocolate on top as you will see in the photo).

I’ll be honest, I had a fail with the cake… I used a cake tin that was too small for the recipe so it overflowed and then sunk down on one side. Argh! That’s when I decided to go for a ‘chocolate overload’ type look and poured ganache all over it and then went ahead and piled up loads of Kit Kat, Rolos and Maltesers 🙊 

Enough of the chit chat, here’s some photos of Brooklyn’s day…









Hope you all had a lovely Christmas! 

J x