Five Things Friday: For Baby #2

IMG_7180.JPG
With our second daughter on the way so soon after our first, we are very lucky to already have everything we need. The bassinet, car capsule, bouncer, play gym, change table, baby bath and clothes are all ready to go. I do however have a few things on my list that I plan to get for bubba #2:

1. Electric Breast Pump

Tilly was exclusively breastfed and I really enjoyed it. The only issue I faced was that she loved it so much, she refused a bottle (both of pumped breast milk or formula) despite our best efforts. This made it very difficult for other people to look after her, and now that I’m going to have two children under 2 I’ll need all the rest I can get! The plan is to invest in a good electric breast pump and get this baby used to having a bottle regularly early on.

I’m still undecided on which brand to go for, so feel free to recommend ones that you have used! I had bought an Avent manual pump previously. I found it to be such a chore, and not worth all the effort for the amount of milk produced. However I’ve heard great things about the electric model.

2. Nursing Bras

Speaking of breastfeeding, I’m still going with Tilly (it’s quite inconsistent, but usually just once a day if that) so I’m well used to nursing bras now. I’ve found it is good to have a mix of comfy cheap ones ($10 from K Mart!) and also ones that are more pricey but good quality and pretty. Hot Milk bras are really popular, and they have a “buy 2 get 1 free” offer going at the moment. Time to get me a couple new ones!

I will probably hold off on buying bras this expensive until after my milk comes in (I might still be breastfeeding but there’s hardly anything in there now!). Everyone told me to buy nursing bras while I was pregnant and go for a couple of sizes bigger; well what a waste of time that was! Yes my boobs got bigger but probably only by 1 cup size not 2. And then, after my body adjusted to producing the right amount of milk, they went back to their original size! Not making that mistake again.

3. Nature Baby Wraps

We used these gorgeous Nature Baby wraps with Tilly and I’m planning to buy a few more. They are made from organic cotton, are really soft, good quality and nice and light; perfect for a summer baby.

4. Sling

Tilly was definitely a baby that liked to be close to me at all times. With that in mind, I’m hesitant to do away with our current stroller and invest in a double pram. I’ve decided to instead go for a good quality baby sling. I’ll be able to keep baby close, have my arms free for Tilly to pop her in the stroller or let her walk around herself, plus I won’t have to lug a double pram around. Those things can be super heavy!

I am lucky however that my bestie now has no need for her double pram and has given it to me, so I can always give it a go when I’m ready.

5. Amber beads

I bought Tilly’s amber beads from Crystal Mountain and I love them, but not because they helped her with her teething. They honestly did nothing at all! She was in pain before she started wearing them, and nothing changed. They were still worth buying though; they’re so cute and will make a great little keepsake for her when she’s older. I’ll be buying some for the new bubba and probably from the same place; they were cheaper than others I’ve come across but still great quality.

I’m 29 weeks along today. Still plenty of time to get organised but this pregnancy is going so quickly!

Courts xox

Colin Craig: The Christian With No Compassion

IMG_7135.PNGThe New Zealand General Election is upon us this week and as we all know, inequality has been a much talked about topic. When we raise issues such as child poverty it is really amazing to see the difference between those who care about the welfare of our most vulnerable, and those who seem truly unable (or unwilling) to look past their own life experiences and see the world through a different point of view.

I came across this gem of an article from 2012 about Colin Craig and his opinions on providing free lunches to children in schools:

‘No free lunches’ for hungry kids, says Colin Craig.

WTF.

It certainly explains why on the recent minor leaders debate when asked about the issue of child poverty, he instead wanted to talk about his right as a parent to smack. Yep, according to him that’s when everything went downhill, when the government took away our god-given smacking rights. Some priorities you have there Colin!

“While free lunches sound appealing, they are actually a way by which the Government enables the continuation of delinquent parenting. Such proposals are an unwitting, well meaning, but destructive response.”

Colin Craig does not care about children going to school hungry. He does not care about the effect on their ability to learn and therefore the wider implications on their future education. He does not care about what difficulties and feelings of shame some of these families must be experiencing. He does not care about what we as a society can do to help. All he cares about is punishing these NAUGHTY NAUGHTY parents for their terrible behaviour because obviously they are immoral human beings. That must be the only possible reason that child poverty exists in our country, because of poor parenting.

How can someone be so ignorant??!! And how can someone who calls himself a follower of Jesus be so lacking in compassion??!!

This article makes me so angry I can hardly bear to read it. I don’t know much about Colin Craig’s upbringing but what’s the bet he’s never had to:

- Pay for rent, food, transport and bills on a shitty minimum wage.
– Had to make a choice between paying rent to keep his family in a home, or putting dinner on the table.
– Continue working through illness because the livelihood of his family depends entirely on making enough money for the week.
– Felt ashamed that despite working long hours, he cannot provide his children enough food for an entire day.
– Felt frustrated that he cannot get into work that will pay him the wage his family so badly needs.
– Had an unexpected bill take up the majority of his week’s shitty wage.
– Suddenly found himself to be a solo parent and wondering how on earth he will provide for his children on his own.

Delinquent parenting?! How dare he make such a generalisation!!

I’m sure there are neglectful parents in our country. But there are neglectful parents in ALL parts of society, regardless of socio-economic background or ethnicity. Poverty is certainly no indication of how hard-working someone is, and it is no measure of how determined someone is to provide a living for their children.

Colin’s conscience is much clearer knowing that children are hungry but we are doing the right thing in allowing it so that their parents will learn their lesson. All while he’s happy and comfortable basking in his little bubble of success and privilege. Maybe if he could personally tell each of these children why letting them starve is for their own good, that would make him feel even better!!

So let’s all argue about whose duty it is to feed these children instead of getting on and doing something about it?!

The question of “why” this is happening certainly needs to be addressed. But the answer does not lie in Colin Craig’s victim-blaming, lack of empathy and a desire to do f*** all.

It baffles me even more that this imbecile has a chance of making it into parliament, according to the polls. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that there are New Zealanders who think like this. People truly have no heart.

I live in the East Coast Bays electorate myself, however I’m on the Māori roll so I vote in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. I seriously hope this community has more sense than to vote for Colin Craig. I’d rather Murray McCully again than Colin Craig.

Colin Craig: The Christian with no compassion. I hope that the rest of us can be decent human beings and not only care about issues that affect us, but also those that perhaps do not.

Courts xox

Image from http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/campbelllive/campbell-lives-lunchbox-day-2012092117

Linden Leaves: Miraculous Facial Oil

IMG_7121.PNGAs a woman (and indeed a normal human being) I always want my skin to look its best. The difference being a mother has made is that firstly; I’m much more interested in using natural products because that’s what I look for in the things I buy for my daughter and secondly; I’m more concerned about how I look without makeup than I used to be since I don’t wear as much anymore.

Linden Leaves

So when I was approached by New Zealand Beauty Brand Linden Leaves to try their skincare products I was very excited to read about their commitment to using quality natural and organic ingredients, creating products that are ideal for sensitive skin, a strict no animal testing policy and saying a big fat NO to using any chemical nasties. In fact they adhere to such strict criteria regarding the ingredients they use, that they have been accredited by NATRUE; an international organisation whose aim is to inform consumers about the natural cosmetics they are using and guarantee that they are of a high standard. Exactly the kind of products I want to be using!

Miraculous Facial Oil

The Miraculous Facial Oil is the first Linden Leaves product that I have tried and I have to say that it made for a fabulous first impression.

IMG_7107.PNGI’d actually never used facial oil before as the concept seemed a bit weird for someone like me with combination skin. Why on earth would it be beneficial to apply an oil to already oily skin? I was very surprised to discover how soft and hydrated my skin felt the morning after using it, and there was no excess oiliness whatsoever.

It’s basically like a little treat for your skin. If you’re looking for something to give you a boost of moisture, to brighten, smooth, firm and repair then this is definitely for you.

The oil is suitable for all skin types and smells beautiful. And no wonder it does with organic ingredients like White Tea, Rosehip Oil and Evening Primrose Oil, which all actively work to protect, heal and minimise signs of ageing, and Tonka Bean to soften and brighten.

The oil can be used alone (as I have been doing in the evening) or mixed in with your daily moisturiser and it comes in a handy opaque glass dropper bottle. At $64.99 NZD it might sound pricey but considering you only need to use such a small amount, it will last a long time.

IMG_7118.PNG

Free Gift with Purchase

Linden Leaves have an awesome offer starting next Friday 19th of September – 19th of October in celebration of their NATRUE Certification, where you will receive the Miraculous Facial Oil for FREE if you spend $65 or more. Yay!! Such a great opportunity to not only get your hands on this little beauty, but to also try their other products. How can you say no to FREE?!

IMG_7108.PNG

I am loving this little mini-facial in a bottle… This one’s a keeper!

Check out the Linden Leaves website here and the link to the Miraculous Facial Oil here.

Courts xox

Note: This product was sent to me for review, however opinions are entirely my own.

Teens and Smartphones… My Thoughts

IMG_7082.JPGFrom the perspective of both a mum and a teacher, it worries me at times how much unsupervised internet access is taking place with our teenagers on their smart phones.

Let’s take a friend of mine as an example, who banned her 14 year old daughter from creating a Facebook account. Well surprise surprise that was never going to last, and it was only until a family member stumbled across this girl’s Facebook page completely by accident that anyone realised she’d gone ahead and made one anyway. And without any adult supervision, guess what it looked like? Inappropriate selfies and not much in the way of privacy settings.

This girl is by no means a naughty kid. But when all your friends have a Facebook page and you have access to your own smartphone, the temptation is just too great. And with no one to keep an eye on what she was doing, she felt free to post whatever she pleased without fear of consequence.

This also raised alarm bells for me considering how much bullying I have seen take place between students online. If another student was to start harassing her on Facebook, how likely would she be to go to her mum for help considering she wasn’t supposed to have an account in the first place?

I don’t believe my friend to be a bad mother and I am by no means under the impression that we could ever fully know the things our kids get up to. I also love my iPhone and believe that it is so important for our youth to be skilled in technology in order to be successful in our society. Therefore as parents, we need to be as clued up about the internet as our kids and make it a priority to be more knowledgeable and involved. It is so much easier to hide what you are doing online when you have your own smartphone, and teens can be very naive when it comes to their own internet use, or indeed very sneaky. We need to be able to guide them in order to keep them safe.

1. I would hold out on buying a smartphone for my kids too early. I’ve seen primary school children with iPhones… Crazy!! Children need to be able to access the internet but this can be better supervised at home with a family computer or other device. I can’t think of a single reason for a 10 year old to HAVE to own a smartphone other than that it’s a cool thing to have. Facebook for example, requires users to be at least 13 years of age. As good an excuse as any to wait.

I know kids will always be able to access the internet somewhere even if they don’t have a smartphone, whether it be at school or a friend’s house. But it’s a start.

2. Rather than not allowing them to have one, be involved with your teen in creating a Facebook account. Make sure they add you and other family members as friends, show them how to ensure their settings are private, and talk to them about being careful as to who they accept as a friend. It’s not about trying to stalk their every move; they will think twice about what they post when they know their family will likely see it.

3. Clue yourself up on other social media sites and apps. It’s very likely that your teenager is on Tinder for example, and whilst they may think this is very funny, it’s important they understand how to be careful when using an app like that.

4. Talk to them about appropriate online behaviour. We’ve had students land themselves in a whole heap of trouble for uploading inappropriate photos or videos of themselves that have quickly spread around the school. They need to understand that once they put something out there, they might not be able to take it back and they can’t necessarily control who is going to see it.

5. Be prepared for the fact that they are probably going to use their smartphone when they aren’t supposed to. Teachers are no longer catching kids texting in class under their desks, they are on Facebook too. At my previous school, the policy was to confiscate their phone until their parents came to collect it.

Don’t make excuses for your kids if they get in trouble for this! If they want the privilege of owning a smartphone (especially if you’re the one paying for it!) then they need to be mature enough to know when to put it away.

6. Talk to them about online bullying. Like with any type of bullying, it can be difficult for a child to tell anybody about what is happening, for fear of embarrassment or making the situation worse. But we still must let them know they can come to us about it, no matter what. It can be easy to become totally lost in a situation like this when you are using the internet all the time, and yet this is the very place where the bullying is happening.

On the flip side, they also need to know that it is not ok for they themselves to participate in that sort of behaviour. Teenagers can have a sense of anonymity online and that the things they say to someone aren’t a big deal. But nasty words hurt, no matter whether online or in person, and they might think they can get away with it which is often not the case.

Hopefully if we can start our kids off on the right track, they will continue to make responsible choices regarding the internet as they get older. Fingers crossed!

Courts xox

Image from: http://tekarticles.com/article/survey-has-proven-that-more-teens-use-their-smartphones-to-surf-the-internet-1811/

Mocka NZ Junior Table and Chairs

IMG_7028.PNGWe have just purchased a blue set of Junior Table and Chairs from New Zealand owned company Mocka and my daughter loves them. She’s just started to become interested in drawing and I thought it was about time to set up a space for her to do so. She feels like such a grown-up girl sitting on her chair!

IMG_7032.PNG
I wanted to get her a plastic set of table and chairs because they are lightweight and so much easier to clean than wood. However I also wanted something durable, good quality and modern. This Mocka product ticks all those boxes for me.

IMG_7029.PNG
These tables and chairs are available in blue or red and buying online was very easy; delivery was fast and shipping was free, which is always a good thing! Mocka has a great range of contemporary toys and furniture for both children and adults, and I’ll definitely be buying from them again in the future!

They also have an Australian website for orders from over the ditch.

Happy shopping!

Courts xox

To My Beautiful Friends Who Are Not Yet Mamas

IMG_6857.PNG

To my beautiful friends who are not yet mamas,

 

Thank you so much for when you offer to make plans that are convenient for me. I still love coming to visit you and going on coffee dates, but I so appreciate it when you tell me you’re more than happy to pop over to my place, do something child-friendly or just hang out. It can feel overwhelming at times being attached to a toddler, and your understanding makes me feel at ease.

Thank you so much for still thinking of me when organising nights out, even when you know there’s a good chance I won’t be able to come. I can’t party every weekend like I used to and I’m so happy our friendship goes beyond that.

I’m so sorry for all the times I don’t reply to your messages or answer your calls. I always used to wonder why my mummy friends were so hopeless in this department, and now I understand. I don’t mean to be so slack! My phone is always on silent now (there’s nothing worse than getting a phone call when you’re trying to put bub down for a nap!) and often out of sight to prevent an “I want your phone” toddler tantrum. By the time I’ve reached the end of the day and it’s a suitable time to ring you back, I’m either exhausted or have totally forgotten! I’m not trying to avoid you and I’m sorry for these times when I seem a bit useless.

I want you to know that I’m still thinking of you, even if it seems like there are long periods between the times you hear from me. When you get in touch, I’m so happy that you do. I may be a busy mum and a bit hard to get a hold of, but I’m always ready for a catch-up and am always here for you when you need me. Our friendship may be different, but I love and appreciate it so much.

 

Courts xox

Image from Pinterest

Five Things Friday

IMG_6816.JPG

1. I’ve been using ecostore baby products for a while now and they’ve been great for my daughter’s sensitive skin. I made the switch after noticing how dry her skin was when using Johnson & Johnson’s baby products, not to mention the rash on her forehead from using their No Tears shampoo. Never again!

2. In my quest to find the perfect nude lippy, I came across this post on Byrdie about what types of nudes suit whom. It confirmed what I knew about myself; my warm-toned skin needs a caramel/beige colour. The last nude I purchased had a pink undertone which I realised didn’t suit me at all. I’ve ended up going with Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Caramel and I love it.

IMG_6832-1.JPG

IMG_6829-1.JPG
3. A post on Cupcakes and Cashmere about the 5 Love Languages was really interesting. It makes sense that as people we differ in the ways we express love, and in turn the ways we feel loved. The post includes a link to the test where you can find out what your love language is. Mine happens to be Words of Affirmation; when I am verbally told that I have done a good job or I am loved, it means much more to me than say a gift or a hug. It would be worthwhile to have your partner or even your children take the test too, to see how it is they express and feel love within your relationship. The two of you could be very different!

4. A list of the 7 Books Oprah Couldn’t Live Without, all because they inspire her in her spiritual journey. I am currently reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer and it’s been a long time since I’ve found a book that has clicked with me so much. I’m about 7 chapters through and have been having an “ah ha!” moment in every one. It has been helping me to understand my very “busy mind”. I’m planning to write a bit about it when I finish.

5. I have just signed up to Bloglovin and it is such a great idea. It allows you to combine all the blogs you love into one place that is easily accessible. There are so many blogs that I enjoy but I’ve always found it a nuisance to go to all the separate websites, and often forget about some of them in the process. Here, you can combine them into one news feed. It’s a great site for us bloggers too who are looking to promote our content; you can ‘claim your blog’ and add a follow button to your site, allowing another way for people to subscribe to your posts. There’s a handy app too. Check it out!

Happy weekend all!

Courts xox