Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Thanks Baby Vintage!

Just prior to Christmas I was lucky enough to win a $50 voucher from Baby Vintage in a Christmas ornament competition that they ran on their facebook page. (I made a little angel Christmas tree decoration, in case you’re interested.)

Baby Vintage is a pre-loved and designer baby boutique with a gorgeous little store in Plimmerton (a seaside suburb just North of Wellington), and a website of course.

I used my voucher to get Isabelle a Green Jean dress (made from recycled jeans) and Oobi sun hat in a recent sale they had. The items arrived while we were away on holiday.

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Cute, huh?

I really love the concept behind Baby Vintage. In the second hand side of the store the items there are really affordable and all in immaculate condition (in fact the first time I visited the store – I thought they were new.)

The designer side is really unique also in that they stock lots of brands that we all know and love (such as Nature Baby, Oobi, Wishbone bikes etc); but they also stock items from lesser known designers (including locals, and cottage industry type crafters.)

While I was pregnant with Isabelle and we were still living in Wellington, my Mum very generously bought some gorgeous things from Baby Vintage’s Plimmerton store, including the crocheted bunny (made by Crochet by Beth  - a local crafter) and the cute little red coat (both pictured below.)

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Make sure you check their store, website, or facebook page.

In other winning news – before Christmas I also won Christmas Craft blog competition that OHbaby ran on their facebook page. (Actually I think I was the only entry.. cough, cough…) For this I received a $100 Spotlight voucher.

And if you are wondering why I didn’t mention these competitions on my blog as I was entering them… well I guess I am acutely aware of how many of you out there in the blogosphere are much more creative and talented than I … and I guess (I’m just greedy) and wanted to give myself the best chance of winning (he he!)

Jen x

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A change and a holiday

They say a change is as good as a holiday … and now, it seems I’ve had both.

Inspired by the holiday we’ve just had and the fact that Picnik is closing down (more on that later.) I have just wiled away an hour or two changing my blog header and layout. (Also,  I’m still kind of on holiday mode and finding a bit hard to get back into the swing of things.)

Summer blog header

Back to the Picnik news – Picnik (in case you don’t already know) is a website where you can edit make collages of photos. I discovered it soon after starting blogging and every now and then use it to make a collage. I normally only use the free features, but they have just recently announced that they are closing in April 2012 (boo hoo!) and until then have offered the ‘premium’ features which normally cost for free (yay!)

Wanting to make the most of it (and obviously not realising that I still had a couple of months to do so) … I went and collaged up a storm.

Picnik collage - Summer

I really love the 1960s photo effect (previously a premium feature) … it give that slightly yellowed, rounded edges look to photos – all that’s missing is a piece of old cello tape here and there…

You can see that the image on the right has this effect (while the one on the left is natural.)

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You can see that I kinda LOVE this photo – she looks so grown up here!

The photos with this effect remind me of a whole lot of old photos of our holiday location, Waimarama that were up on the wall of the local general store. I wanted to take a photo of them, but didn’t want to appear a weirdo – well that and every time we were in the shop I was instead busy stopping Noah picking multiple items off the shelves!

OK – so two blog posts from me in one day and far too much internet time for me today already means that I really should be off…

But can some please tell me of another Picnik type alternative, for me to use come April?

Jen x

Camping with Kids – the verdict

It is 7.34am as I am writing this – I’m still on camp time, where you wake up with the sun. (Or at least my kids still are, so I’m up too.)

In a pre-camping post I did nothing to hide the fact that I had some fears relating to how camping with young kids would go. I needn’t have worried. Despite a terror of a first night, the rest of the time was relatively smooth sailing.

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Here are some things I learnt/ found helpful if you also are about to embark on a first camping with pre-schoolers adventure:

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* If you get a chance go with experienced and helpful family or friends. (Grandparents are awesome!)

We went with my Dad (Poppa) and Step Mother (Granny Lynn) and apart from the fact that they had all the mod cons we didn’t, they were just so helpful with the kids. They both took turns of walking Isabelle (the normally wonderful sleeper, but who had decided her portacot was evil) to sleep each night in her buggy. Lynn helped with a lot of nappy and clothing changes and Dad was up at the crack of dawn with me every morning making my coffee and getting the kids breakfast.

Not to mention how much they played with the kids, enabling me to have a break.

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* Make it as easy for yourself as possible

We did this 3 ways.

1) Took as much help with the kids as offered – as above

2) Camped not too far away from home (about 30-40mins drive), meaning if the weather had turned to custard/ someone got sick we could home in no time.

3) Camped a camping ground with kitchen and washing facilities (and took advantage of Dad and Lynn’s camp fridge etc.)

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* Like anything new, it will likely take a day or two for the kids to fall into routine.

But be patient it will happen. As mentioned before I had a terror first night, but after that the sleeping got much better.

We had two tables and them for different meals, Noah worked this out pretty quickly and was initially quite perturbed the night we broke with routine and ate fish and chips away from the campsite.

Both kids also seemed to work the bounds of ‘our area’ around the camp and generally didn’t wander too far away – Although, Noah being a bit of a social butterfly kept going over to visit the neighbours. (This worked out well though because the guy worked for a fruit company gave us heaps of juicy nectarines and plums!

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eating some of the fruit in the bath (aka dishes bucket)

* Don’t expect it to be like when you camped as a teenager/ or before you had kids, (when your biggest stress was putting up the tent and your main goal was to get an awesome tan.)

So you’ll be busier, but that’s just part of having kids isn’t it? Actually, I found camping with kids really fun (stressful at times – especially when trying to get a runaway toddler out of a super hot tent to dress him); but fun for the most part.

It’s just so neat to see the whole experience through their eyes. It’s also worth remembering that you’re helping create memories. I have so many great memories of my childhood camping holidays.

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* Make sure you pack some rough clothes for the kids – and if you do have some nice ones make sure you pack the sunlight soap (or equivalent stain remover.)

While I didn’t pack the kids best clothes, in retrospect a few more rough ones wouldn’t have gone amiss. A few messy icecreams later and I was feeling very pleased that I’d packed my trusty sunlight soap.

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I’m sure there are many other tips which haven’t occurred to me (and please share yours here too), but for now – I will leave you with the many faces of Noah…

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Monday, 16 January 2012

Some links before I leave …

Here are a few articles/ blog posts and the like that I have found interesting and kinda neat recently:

  • A great little article about how to save money by going back to basics and reusing and recycling etc at the same time.
  • Suggestions on how to declutter a toddler's room – much needed by many of us post Christmas, I’m sure!
  • 'Taste-buds turn to local flavours' : an article about food predictions for 2012 – and how those in the know believe people will be wanting the simplicity of fresh, locally grown ingredients. The garden/ farm to plate idea.
  • An awesome blog post written by a new friend of mine about how easy it is to cultivate an argument in your head (especially with your husband) and how you can instead should try to put things in perspective and see things from the other persons point of view also.
  • The exciting news that Belle and Boo have put out a gorgeous new party range. Does it make me a bit of a hard out/ geek that I can’t wait until November until my little (Isa)Belle has another birthday? (perhaps I need to re-read this amazing blog post (from Dee’s blog) about making memories for our kids now rather than always thinking about the future/ wishing their lives away!)

Can you see why I’m a bit excited though? It’s gorgeous stuff. (Image from the Belle and Boo blog – click the image for the link and to see other lovely things.)

I can just imagine Isabelle with the Belle and Boo party range and a rainbow cake – similar to the one Ros has just posted on her blog.

OK – I think this now amounts to sufficient procrastination – I better go pack the last few things before we head away to camp for the week!

Jen x

Camping!

I’m off (again I know) from tomorrow ‘til the end of the week to camp in the beautiful piece of local paradise that is Waimarama.

image source

We are staying in the local camping ground with my Dad (Poppa) and Step- Mother (Granny Lynn.) It has been ages since I’ve been camping and my first time with kids. It could be interesting. From what I’ve heard it can sometimes not be the most relaxing thing – camping with young kids.

Although if there is ever a time for the words ‘relaxing camping holiday’ and ‘young kids’ to occur in the same sentence, this is it. Dad and Lynn have the super-duper set up… eg: fridge, gazebo, powered site etc etc (these things were not part of my childhood camping experience!) And there is some talk of rigging up a play-pen containment system for the little tykes who will no doubt wake up with sun and then proceed to eat all the food out of the camp fridge and wake me up by building sandcastles on my back.

So, please accept my apologies for ditching the blog for another week, but please be assured that I will return – likely armed with a whole lot more of these kind of pics …

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Saturday, 14 January 2012

Sun, surf and sand eating

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I mentioned last post that I would share some other photos from our time in Otaki.

Not much needs to be said really. The weather was lovely and the pictures basically speak for themselves.

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‘…mmm sand, tasty’

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‘Enough with the Paparazzi Mum!’

We also spent a bit of time at the local park with my youngest sister-in-law (AKA Auntie Lecy)

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Miss you Auntie Lecy (and everyone else of course!  –  Actually it was great, there was always so many friends and family around willing to play with the kids that I managed to have a pretty good break myself.)

Although I think the kids especially miss Lecy’s generously sized ice cream scoops!

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Thanks for some lovely Summer memories

Jen x

Friday, 13 January 2012

A wedding through little eyes

My apologies for the unannounced blog hiatus this past week. We had a lovely time in Otaki at my Brother-in-law’s wedding and then stayed on a bit longer at my in-law’s house and enjoyed spending time with family, relaxing and taking the kids to the park and beach.

(I initially was planning on doing one ginormous blog post with all of this – and now have thought better of it. I hope to post later about our other Otaki adventures.)

The wedding was beautiful ..

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A little someone found the ceremony a tad tiring

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The afternoon tea after the ceremony from Noah’s perspective

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Isabelle enjoyed food from her own special menu at the reception…

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… frocklicked with the other woodland sprites (cousins)

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…and tried to steal the brides gold shoes (which funnily enough matched her own)

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Noah doesn’t feature in many of my reception photos as he slept through most of it!

You might also notice I didn’t really include any photos of the bride and groom here – I generally like to ask people before I post their pictures here (and thought better of troubling them on their honeymoon with such trivial matters!) So you will just believe me when I say there both looked gorgeous!

It really was a lovely wedding.

Jenny Xx

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Homemade jam and “ginger–men”

While uploading the most recent photos from my camera I realised that they are all about food and eating. Well, I guess that’s the festive season for you!

I haven’t been blogging as much because I’ve been eating instead. (But cooking much less since we got the BBQ!)

Although we have made strawberry jam and gingerbread men in the last couple of weeks.

My sister (Auntie Holly) has been up visiting from Wellington, and the other day we all congregated at Mum’s house and make gingerbread men and watched the Lion King.

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To say that we made gingerbread men is slightly inaccurate because really we made an eclectic assortment of gingerbread characters. In any event Noah referred to them all as “ginger men.”

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Noah enjoyed cutting them out and icing them, but much preferred to eat them (or the dough) when ever he got the opportunity.

We ended up with HEAPS to ice and it was hard to think of new creative ways to ice them.

Well that was what I found anyway – but Holly kept me entertained with her never-ending repertoire of hilarious and very clever icing designs.

My favourites were …

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‘Foot face’

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… ‘jandal foot with a manicure’… and… ‘Moon with braces?/ pearly whites?’…

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‘noughts and crosses (tic-tac-toe) bear’ … and … a cute bird

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You can see we made quite a lot!

{ recipe from here }

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I also recently made Strawberry Jam, given the large amount of strawberries left over from our Christmas Eve picking session.

I used this microwave recipe because I was feeling a little lazy and it turned out great!

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Not bad for my first jam making attempt.

There’s nothing quite like making something out of fresh produce you’ve picked yourself. And I like teaching the kids where food comes from.

And for good measure here is a photo of Isabelle eating pancakes…

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She’s getting pretty good with her cutlery!

What food are you enjoying growing/ catching/ making and eating this Summer?

Jenny Xx