Goodbye Bliss & Baby Brain!


Hello beautiful people!

This will be my last post to this website! But in exciting news, I have finally moved to a self-hosted site, and have done a bit of a rebrand!

This is where you will now find me! My first post on the new site explains a bit about the new name and what it means to me as a blogger and mama.

If you subscribe to this site by email, you should still receive emails when I post as I have switched my subscribers over. If you have not yet subscribed, you can do so on the new site, and you can also follow what I’m up to on Facebook.

I will always have a soft spot for Bliss & Baby Brain and I’m a little sad to let it go, but it was definitely time!

Thank you so much for following and I hope to see you over on the new site!

Lots of love,

Courts xox

Finding Myself & Why I Hate the Term ‘Plastic Māori’



The term ‘plastic Māori’ makes me SO ANGRY. It’s an insult directed towards a Māori person who isn’t ‘Māori’ enough. It’s a term that is used to make somebody feel inferior about themselves as a person, that they aren’t good enough for their own culture. Whether that be because of their lack of knowledge of te reo / tikanga / whakapapa, their upbringing, their behaviour or their lifestyle, they are criticised for not being a ‘real Māori’. In our efforts to revive our language and culture some of us have resorted to bringing each other down.

Our culture has had a rough ride. New Zealand is a pretty young country in comparison to many other parts of the world in terms of colonisation, and it wasn’t too long ago that measures were in place to ensure Māori assimilated into European culture as much as possible. My grandfather was beaten at school by his teacher for not speaking English. It is no wonder many in that generation felt that for their children to succeed in a white man’s world, they were going to have to embrace the white man way, whether they liked it or not.

The 1970’s / 1980’s saw a huge revival of people reasserting their identity as Māori, and the importance of our language and culture. But the legacy of all those years where our culture was devalued lives on. People felt too afraid to pass on their knowledge. People moved away from their marae and into the cities to find work. For some families, the damage has been done. There are people who don’t have a clue about who they are and where they’re from, but would never know where to start looking or whether they even should. It is not their fault!!! It is the result of a Pākehā world that told us we were irrelevant in a modern society. So what on earth could possibly be achieved by making people feel embarrassed about it??? Terms like ‘plastic Māori’ cause shame that does no good for anybody.

On Sunday night there was a bit of craziness on Twitter (isn’t there always?) when a young woman made a joke about South Aucklanders which backfired BIG TIME when the recipient of the joke didn’t find it funny. And quite rightly so. The joke was basically making a mockery of South Aucklanders and the way they speak, implying that they are uneducated. In the girl’s defence, one person said, “But she’s Māori, she’s not being racist.” But the point is (as my bloggy friend Leah pointed out here) if we reinforce our own stereotypes by making it ok to tell racist jokes, then we are opening the gates for people who really ARE racist to say the same things. Even South Aucklanders themselves reckon they are uneducated, I knew I was right for saying so too! I think the same logic applies here.

It is difficult enough trying to get other people to value Māori culture without us bringing down each other too!!

By telling people there is such a thing as a ‘plastic Māori’ we are not only discouraging our own people from seeking out their identity for fear that they won’t be accepted, we are also unintentionally helping to reinforce the idea that anything Māori is pointless because well, “there are hardly any real Māori anyway”.

Why bother teaching Māori language in schools? Why bother keeping the Māori seats in parliament? Why bother recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi as an official document? Why bother sending our kids to Kohanga Reo? Why bother when even Māori people reckon there aren’t many ‘real’ Māori people?! There aren’t any full-blooded Māori left anyway!! What a waste of time!!

Insulting labels like these do not strengthen our people. Asserting how much better you are as a Māori in comparison to another also does not strengthen our people. It weakens us and creates division.

And I’ll tell you what, Pākehā people who haven’t had much to do with Māori culture aren’t exempt from hearing about terms like ‘plastic Māori’, and they start believing the same ideas too. Negative ideas spread very easily. I know this because I went to a pre-dominantly Pākehā high school. I had never been made to question my identity as a Māori until I went there. People had a certain stereotype in their head about the way a Māori person is supposed to speak, dress and behave. I didn’t fit this stereotype and for some, this was confusing. Add into this my white father and what many would call quite a Pākehā upbringing, and my whole identity was being brought into question. Could Courtney even really consider herself to be Māori at all?

I struggled with this. I struggled trying to figure out who I was supposed to be. I don’t act Pākehā enough to be Pākehā, I don’t act Māori enough to be Māori. Who am I???

It wasn’t until I left school, developed new friendships, attended university and took up Māori studies that I realised what bullshit all of that was. Nobody cared about all that superficial crap; how I acted, how I spoke, how much Māori blood I had. Nobody cared about how much I knew or didn’t know. I was accepted for me exactly as I was, and that acceptance made me enjoy learning more about my people and my history. It’s a shame not everyone you come across shares the same attitude.

This is in part why I wouldn’t send my girls to the same high school that I went to. Don’t get me wrong; it was a good school, I did really well there and I made some great friends along the way. But in terms of cultural diversity, there wasn’t much. Perhaps it has changed since I was there but I want my kids to be at a school where they can meet, learn about and find value in people of ALL cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. And I certainly don’t want them being told they aren’t Māori, Pākehā or Rarotongan enough (not that I’ve ever heard or come across that attitude within Cook Island culture, would be interested in someone’s perspective on that).

E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea. I will never be lost, I am a seed sown from Rangiātea. This is a whakataukī I have tattooed on my body to remind me: It doesn’t matter what ignorant attitudes I may encounter, I am Māori, I am in charge of identifying myself, and nobody can take that away from me. If anyone asks how I identify myself, I say I am BOTH. I have a Māori mother and a Pākehā father; why should I have to identify as one thing when I am not?? People tried to fit me into a box and I thought that was how it was supposed to be. I know now how wrong that was.

So if you use the irritating term ‘plastic Māori’, please stop. We face enough crap from people who see no value in our culture at all without discouraging our own for not being good enough too. Nobody will want to be a part of something in which they feel they won’t be accepted. There is no strength for our people in that.

Note: Bliss & Baby Brain is no longer active. You can now find me at my new site Raising Queens and I’d love to connect with you on Facebook! Xx

The Second Sibling: Being Your Own Person



I’m the eldest of three siblings and I’ve always loved to joke about how special that must make me considering I was loved by our parents ‘first’. I reckon I was probably quite a tough act to follow (haha) but I wonder how often my siblings were talked about in comparison to me, because that is what’s happening with Kimora. Everyone around us (myself included) constantly relates everything about her; her looks, her behaviour, her personality, her future self; back to her sister.

“She is so much darker than Tilly!”
“I wonder if she’ll start walking as early as Tilly did.”
“She’s a much calmer baby than Tilly was.”
“Her hair isn’t curly like Tilly’s.”
“She has such a strong neck, just like Tilly did!”
“Her cry sounds exactly like Tilly!”
“I think she’s going to be much quieter than Tilly.”

I’m sure you get the picture.

When you’re pregnant with your first child, it’s a guessing game. You cannot even comprehend what a baby of your own could possibly look or be like, and there’s excitement in the unknown. When they finally enter the world, it feels completely surreal. You can’t stop staring at them in wonder and amazement, totally dumbfounded as to how you managed to create such a perfect little human being. When Kimora was born, I felt the same overwhelming feelings of love, but instead of seeing a person who was completely new to me, I kept seeing glimpses of my eldest child. My girls are much more alike than people realise. Yes Kimora is darker, yes she is calmer, but I often see Tilly in her beautiful little face.

Part of me feels guilty about this. I don’t want Kimora to grow up in the shadow of her sister. She is her own person, not a person in relation to someone else.

As it is, Kimora doesn’t get the same amount of attention that Tilly did. When Tilly was born, there were no other babies for people to fuss over, and now, it’s easy for Kimora to be overlooked when there’s an energetic toddler attracting everyone’s attention. Kimora has to share the limelight at a time when Tilly had it all to herself.

Of course this is not Tilly’s fault, and I’m not angry at her for it. I love both of my girls and I want them to both feel special and loved for the individuals that they are. I just don’t want Kimora to miss out or feel any less valued because she is younger or quieter than her sister.

On the other hand, I’m glad that they will be growing up understanding that although they are both loved beyond comprehension, the world is about more than just themselves. Life is meant to be enjoyed with others, and what a shame it would be to have that limelight all to yourself because you have no one to share it with. They are such a gift for each other.

As I said, I don’t know what it’s like to have an older sibling. All I know is that my girls are absolute perfection, my heart soars every time I look at them, and I’m gonna make sure they always know it.

Note: Bliss & Baby Brain is no longer active. You can now find me at my new site Raising Queens and I’d love to connect with you on Facebook! Xx

Sticking Up for the #Selfie



With close to 229 MILLION photographs on Instagram currently hash-tagged as a #selfie, selfies seem to be both loved and loathed in equal measure. The desire to take photographs of ourselves and share them online has been explained by some as an example of a generation that has become self-obsessed, and yet incredibly insecure and desperate for validation; validation that we can find in the number of ‘likes’ we receive for posting a carefully chosen selfie. Apparently, even science has found some sort of link between selfies, psychopathy and mental illness. Wowzers.

I get that beauty doesn’t need to be flaunted, that posting your photos means you’re seeking validation from others, that the world needs less selfish behaviour blablabla. And I get that people who post a constant stream of selfies for no reason at all can be irritating. I get it. I can only speak for myself when I say that when I post a selfie now and then, well dammit it’s because I’m feeling good about myself and you don’t need to engage with my photo if you don’t like it. Scroll on by!

Between a 19 month old and a 2 month old I hardly have time to shower let alone turn on my GHD, think for longer than 10 seconds about my outfit and put on a few coats of mascara. I rejoice on days when I get to wash my hair. I savour every stroke of my razor blade when shaving happens to my legs. I celebrate reaching the end of the day and not smelling like off breast milk. So when I feel good about myself (makeup or no makeup) I’m going to SELFIE. Yes I am.

Furthermore, do you know how many photos I’d have of myself with my children if it was not for my iPhone and its forward-facing camera? Significantly less. I’m always the one BEHIND the camera taking photos of the girls, or the girls with family and friends. I have to make a conscious effort to remember to ask people if they could please take a photo of me with my babies. People never think to offer for you! Selfies I’ve taken with myself and my kids are special purely because we are in them together; something other mums could surely understand.

I understand the argument that selfie culture reinforces the belief that our sense of worth lies in what others think about us. I understand that it reinforces the belief that beauty is an important quality to have. Obviously, nobody wants to be told they look like shit in a selfie. But that goes for any photo; selfie or not, I’d prefer positive over negative feedback, if one is compelled to offer feedback at all. So what? I don’t NEED validation from social media to feel good about myself, but nobody could deny that they don’t enjoy being complimented once in a while.

Yeah I suppose posting a selfie is basically saying LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME. And, yeah!! Look at me!! I’m a mum but I’m still me!! I don’t look very different to my pre-motherhood self but I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have been, despite edging ever so closely to the big 30 and having brand new stretch marks to boot. I’m well aware posting a selfie screams vanity rather than pride, but anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a vain person, and I don’t believe any of my loved ones are vain for posting selfies either.

I read an article recently entitled “Selfies Aren’t Empowering. They’re a Cry for Help.” Well, yikes. What an incredibly broad generalisation! I’m sure that’s the case for some people who already struggle with self-esteem issues. Selfies with hundreds of likes won’t fix poor self-esteem. Obviously. But people of all ages and from all walks of life take selfies. They aren’t all boobs and duck faces. They aren’t restricted to a younger generation that seems to get bashed left right and centre for being self absorbed and disconnected from reality. I always smile when a selfie taken by an old(er) person pops up on my Facebook feed. Good on them I say!

Having said that, it is clear that women are usually the ones who are most likely to take a selfie. Is it a coincidence that something female-dominated is the subject of so much ridicule and mockery? How dare a woman be so vain as to take a photo of herself?! I like confident women but oh my god don’t make it so obvious! Doesn’t she have better things to do? I mean, where are her kids? She must be a shitty mother. What does her boyfriend think about this? What an attention seeking slut! Is there nothing else going on in that brain of hers? Doesn’t she realise no one is interested in her dumb selfies? Well sorrrrryyyy.

As I said, I can only speak for myself when I say that taking and sharing a selfie really doesn’t warrant an in-depth analysis into my mental wellbeing. I am not “crying out for help” thank you very much. I have a feeling the selfie is here to stay so we might as well embrace it.

And on that note…



Damn You Yoga Pants For Being So Sexy


Dear Veronica Partridge,

I read your original post on why you have chosen to no longer wear yoga pants or leggings in public, and I have since read your response to this original post. And wow, your clarifications certainly helped.

“Sexual responsibility is for both men and women for the benefit of our community.”

You know what, you are so right. I’ll make sure I keep in mind that if I wear my leggings in public, and a man can’t help but look at my ass, causing him to sexually assault me, well then I’m partially to blame. I should never have worn something that would cause that man to lack so much self control. What an excellent message to pass on to my daughters! I look forward to the conversation when they’re old enough.

My darlings, if you wear something skimpy, don’t come crying to me when a guy forces himself on you! It doesn’t matter that you told him no, honey! Don’t you get it!? It’s biological k?! He had no choice!

“Jeans are different than leggings. Just like a shirt without a bra is different than a shirt with a bra.”

Oh, thank goodness you clarified that before I chucked my jeans out! Phew! Cos I reckon my ass looks pretty good in those. But you’re so right; you can’t see the outline of my vagina when I have my jeans on! A very safe option.

“In my opinion, this is also one of the reasons why leggings have become so popular. Women have naturally noticed more male eyes in their direction when wearing form-fitting leggings. This has reinforced their choice to wear them more often.”

Oh my gosh, I thought I wore mine for comfort!! Whoopsie!! And ohhhhh shit. I just found my maternity leggings. MATERNITY LEGGINGS!!! How could I have been so stupid??!! Just because I had a big pregnant belly, that didn’t exempt me from the tight pants rule!!! Some men get off on that sort of thing you know, pregnant bodies. I’ll remember that if we have another baby in future.

“The same logic might go for a bathing suit. While a bathing suit may be appropriate for you in the pool or at the beach, it may not be appropriate at the office.”

I was wondering about my bikinis. Different clothes suit different occasions. I totally get that. I’m glad you say you will now be covering up at the beach. Otherwise there’d be boners left right and centre!! Maybe we just shouldn’t go to the beach at all. What a shame to not be able to fully enjoy a part of nature that God created for us but, if no one else is going to follow our example then we better not expose our men and children to such obscenities.

I’m a bit confused though, and perhaps you could clarify for me in another post… What about other things that make us look beautiful? Surely we should be making every effort to be as unattractive as possible? God made you to be absolutely stunning, I wonder why? Hmm. Oh well enough pondering on that. Let’s start with the hair. I have long brown hair too. Let’s chop that all off! We can’t have men lusting over our luscious locks. I won’t even go to the salon aye? I’ll just grab some scissors and do it right here in the lounge.

My makeup drawer!! Holy moly look at how many lipsticks I have in here!!! LIPSTICKS!!! Do you know I heard that lipstick was invented by the Ancient Egyptians who thought it would remind men of our vaginas when we wore it. OUR VAGINAS??!! Bin!!! Bin them!!! They have got to go. I notice you’re wearing makeup and looking very beautiful in your photos so I think perhaps you should remove them, just in case some poor soul struggling with sex addiction swings by your site.

Ok, I think I’ve got it now Veronica. Thank you so much for your wisdom. I mean, your God-given wisdom. It did confuse me that our God would be so adamant that we as women need to bear the weight of our misogynistic society on our shoulders by restricting our own lives and happiness. How else are we to promote change in men if us saucy ladies don’t realise our own behaviour is the problem? But now I know. Phew!

Courts xox

Iggy Azalea & the Hip Hop Genre


The issue of cultural appropriation (the adoption of elements from another culture, usually a minority / oppressed culture) is one that seems to be popping up now and again in the media. There have been some fairly obvious examples recently, and one that springs to mind is the Trelise Cooper fashion show last year in which the models wore Native American feathered headdresses. I couldn’t help feeling somewhat amused at the scores of women, NON Native American women, across New Zealand who argued that the decision for those models to don the headdresses was not offensive. Well of course you weren’t offended, you aren’t Native American! Durr! I hardly think anybody can dictate whether a culture other than their own should or should not feel offended by something. Especially a culture they likely do not know anything about. 

The issue of hip hop music and culture seems a bit more complex. I’m not African American, and I live halfway across the world, but I do live in a country that adores rap music and I wanted to look into the discussion surrounding this topic a bit more. Lately it seems to be Australian rapper Iggy Azalea that has come under fire and I wanted to understand why this was. 

For me, it all seems to boil down to this: If you are going to make a career, and a heck of a lot of money, out of something that originated from and is a treasured part of African American culture, you have a responsibility to acknowledge and respect that culture, and to care about the people and the issues they face; something that Iggy has dismissed as irrelevant to her career. 

This post isn’t intended as being an ‘I hate Iggy’ speel although it might seem that way. I don’t know the inner workings of her mind or everything that she has said. I’m not really a fan of her music but I’m sure she’s a nice girl despite making some offensive comments. I think she just hasn’t thought very deeply about the issues at hand and seems genuinely confused as to what the fuss is about. But if you truly respect rap as an art form, you would understand the history that comes with it. It isn’t that people have a problem with a white rapper, it’s that people have a problem with a white rapper who says ignorant things that cause offence to the culture she has adopted. A lyric calling herself a ‘slave master’ didn’t go down too well for example. Obviously. 

The second thing that seems to be problematic, and this is the fault of mainstream society itself rather than Iggy or any other rap artist, is that white artists can adopt rap music as their own, be incredibly average, and yet be considerably more successful than other more talented black counterparts. How many black rap artists have flown under the radar because the messages in their songs or the image they portray does not appeal to a white / mainstream audience, even though they have incredible skill in their art? Iggy is a beautiful girl and her songs are catchy, but it is really quite astounding that she was not only nominated for but WON best rap / hip hop album and best rap artist at the 2014 American Music Awards. With Eminem and Drake in the running for the award, she was definitely not the most talented nominee. 

Eminem: now there is a white rapper who has earned an incredible amount of respect within the hip hop community. Yeah his lyrics can be less than tasteful at the best of times, but his skill is undeniable. I really don’t think you can say the same about Iggy. 

People might say that other rap artists like Azealia Banks who have come out firing against Iggy are just jealous of her success. And maybe they are. But whatever jealousy there may be comes from a much deeper place. Rap began as a form of expression for an oppressed people living in the ghettoes of New York. And now, a mediocre white artist like Iggy is hailed as being at the top of the game. And by who? Who determines the winners of awards like the AMAs? Society. Nominees and winners are based on public polling, video views, social media, sales and airplay. 

Society loves hip hop music and culture. They love the fashion, they love the dancing, they love the language. People want to learn how to twerk but have zero interest in the young unarmed black boy who was gunned down by a white policeman. It’s like society loves black culture but not black people. What a slap in the face that must be. 

It isn’t Iggy’s fault that society prefers her over black artists with considerably more talent than her. Hey, even T.I knows he’s making an absolute killing off her pretty face. And there is no shame in saying that you enjoy her music, because that is the wonderful thing about hip hop; it has become global and loved by people from all walks of life. What a great thing! But society needs to remember where it came from, and that for black people, the things they have endured can never be ignored. Slavery, the civil rights movement; those things will always be a part of their history that will still cause hurt and anger. And if anybody wants to embrace their culture, you must also embrace the people, the history and the issues (past and present) that come with it. Iggy cannot be dismissive of these things if she wants to be respected as a rap artist. 

These issues are what sparked a Twitter debate between Iggy and Azealia Banks, and whilst Banks probably said some hurtful things to which Iggy understandably retaliated, it was clear Iggy missed the bigger issue. Iggy felt that Banks was wrong for talking about race and politics in regards to hip hop, but she wasn’t. And on a more positive note, I absolutely loved reading the tweets by rapper Q-Tip when he weighed in on the argument and addressed Iggy specifically. He was nothing but compassionate. He told her that as a hip hop artist she has every right to express herself how she wishes and enjoy her success. But he urged her to remember that hip hop will always be a socio-political movement, and that if she is to move under the banner of hip hop then she needs to make an effort to be more aware of what that means. 

And that is exactly why I wanted to read up on this topic. Ignorance doesn’t do anybody any favours, and that is something we can all keep in mind, no matter the issue. 

Forgotten Baby Syndrome

IMG_0795-0I almost didn’t write this post because it’s hard not to feel upset just thinking about what happened. Tragedies involving children always hit home so much more when you become a mother.

Forgotten Baby Syndrome. I didn’t even realise it was a thing. And after what happened recently in Whanganui with a 16 month old boy dying in a hot car after his mother went to work and forgot that he was there (you can read the Stuff article here), my initial reaction was, “How could this happen? How could she possibly forget her child?” I’d like to think that I could never make the same mistake that this woman did, but I don’t really know that do I? And neither do the hundreds of “perfect” people crucifying this mother on social media with their nasty and vulgar comments.

This was not a neglectful or abusive mother. This was a busy mother on her way to work, out of her usual routine, who had a memory lapse. A memory lapse that has led to the loss of her child. Can we HONESTLY say we have not been forgetful in regards to our children in one way or another? Parents are busy people. Stressed, sleep-deprived, busy people. Whether it be forgetting our children are in the car, walking off without the stroller, taking our eyes off them for a split second, falling asleep while they are in our arms, tragedies occur every day and they can happen to anybody. ANYBODY. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. It doesn’t take much for something awful to happen where kids are concerned, and I can completely understand how a mother could be so busy that she might genuinely forget her baby was in the car.

Yes, of course we feel anger and sadness at the thought of this poor boy being left alone and how he must have suffered. But absolutely NOBODY could be feeling as much anger and despair as the mother herself. What a tragic, tragic mistake. It is the sort of mistake that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. It is a ‘I don’t think I can live with this’ sort of mistake. I feel sick to my stomach at the thought. It is a burden I honestly do not think I could bear if it was me.

To have the weight of society upon her is awful enough. I can only hope that those around her: the child’s father, his family, her family and everyone else who loves that boy, is surrounding her and giving their love and support. To lose a child, and to know that you were responsible, is grief that I cannot begin to imagine. She will need her loved ones more than ever right now. I hope that they can forgive her, and that one day she will forgive herself. It is easier said than done, but that is what I hope for them.

At the end of the day, these judgemental keyboard warriors are leaving their comments and returning to their own lives. What happened doesn’t actually affect them whatsoever. It is the mother and the families who are hurting most of all. Those assholes and their opinions don’t matter.

If anything can come out of this awful situation, it is that Forgotten Baby Syndrome has been brought to the public’s attention. Now, we as parents are aware of the dangers and can take steps to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen to us. The Stuff article I linked to above has some great ideas.

God bless you mama. Kia kaha. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Image from

Note: Bliss & Baby Brain is no longer active. You can now find me at my new site Raising Queens and I’d love to connect with you on Facebook! Xx