aLiving at the bottom of the world means we get some pretty chilly winters and wrapping up in a snuggly knit is one of my favourite ways to dress in these colder months. For me investing in some seriously luxurious but timeless pieces is high on my priority list, but I also like to grab some on-trend pieces that are a little easier on the wallet to experiment. Either way, wools are a tad tricky to wash and especially with those lux items you want to take the bestcare of them. I’ve teamed up with Persil to show you some of my winter picks and the best way to care for them.Read More
Online "shop-a-holic"- a phrase often used by my husband in regards to my spending habits. I hate to admit it (I never do to him, I’m not crazy!) but I have to tell you, my lovely readers, the truth, I’m very much guilty. Now not to lay the blame on anyone…but my dad is a pilot who regularly flies to LA, meaning he has been my online shopping mule for stores that don’t deliver to NZ, but can be sent direct to his hotel reception. So basically, the ease of having access to those items I didn’t otherwise have, has spurred on my addiction. Dad, it’s all your fault!
The amount of clothing, nappies, homewares and bits and bobs he has brought home for me over the years has been epic. Since the arrival of the Nuggets it has been even handier. We have had hundreds of nappies, wipes, my beloved Baby Brezza formula machine and oh so many cute outfits! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE New Zealand labels and supporting NZ owned businesses. Take one look at mine or the boys’ Instagram and you will see we/they are often dressed in clothing from NZ brands and a lot of them are small businesses run by stay-at home mamas. So don’t come at me for not supporting what we have here in NZ!
I often get asked where I get the boys clothing from and when it’s from brands overseas that don’t ship here, I am often met with disappointment. Which is exactly what I am facing come November; you see once you turn 65, pilots are no long allowed to fly into UK and USA airspace as a Captain! Which means, shock horror, my dad will be changing his plane so he no longer flies to the UK and US. I have been dreading this for years! #firstworldproblems
Lucky for me I have a backup plan…I had heard about YouShop from NZ Post but hadn’t checked it out or taken much notice of it since I had my own personal international courier. A recent gap in dads roster meant there was a good 2-months break between his trips to LA and I had some items waiting in my Zara cart that I wanted to push go on. Since I needed to figure out how I could still keep shopping from my favourite online stores who shun us Kiwis by not delivering here, this was the perfect time to trial YouShop.
I thought it would all be a bit complicated, but it wasn’t. YouShop sign up was super easy! You input all your details and it gives you your own “US address”. Easy as that! You use this address for your shipping address when you input your details during checkout. I bought a leather jacket for myself and two parkas for the boys. I had been looking for some cool army green parkas for a while but hadn’t had any luck here. So when I spied these I had to have them! They have a little badge on the arm and the interior has removable lining. So they are nice and warm for winter but as it gets warmer I can remove the lining so it is just a shell. Perfect!
I knew this package was going to be a bit bulky with three jackets, so I was a bit wary of what the YouShop shipping costs were going to be. I tracked my Zara package and it showed it delivered fine to my “US address”, I then got an email a day later saying it had arrived at the warehouse and had been re packed to make posting more economical along with a link to pay for shipping; all up mine was $30, which included the repackaging fee. I think $30 was a fair price, especially since Zara shipping was free inside the US. Previously when I have shopped from international stores that ship to NZ the price is often around the $40-$50 mark, so $30 was a much better deal. I did note you can work out your shipping fee before you purchase something too, so if you have any heavier or larger items I recommend doing that before you buy it so you know what you are up for. After I had paid I got alerts from all the following stages; item has left warehouse, left US, landed in NZ, cleared customs and finally, item has been delivered! Shipping took 7 days from when I first got the alert it had arrived at the warehouse. So, while it’s not the fastest it isn’t too long to wait for your goodies.
The boys are always super excited when parcels arrive; they know to go get a knife from the drawer to open them. A sign far too many parcels arrive at this house…that and the fact our couriers know us very well by now! The package had tape on it saying it had been repacked; they had kept all necessary things from the original packaging such as receipts and even a few flyers Zara had sent. The clothing was still in its plastic packaging and had been wrapped again with tissue paper. It was nice to see they had taken good care of the items, as I would have been disappointed if it had been just chucked in a box before being sent off again.
My verdict, this is definitely going to be my go to once my private courier stops visiting LA. I will have to be more particular in what I am buying, as now I have to pay shipping costs too, but it’s definitely still worth it for those items you just can’t get here! It’s nice to have access to items that are a little bit different to what you can buy here.
Now where do I shop? There are heaps of stores, but the one I visit the most for the boys and myself, is Zara. They have great on trend pieces, that are good quality and not too harsh on the wallet. Especially when our Kiwi dollar is strong against the greenback! I buy all of the boys footed PJs from Carters, they are made from such nice cotton, have non slip soles and footed PJs up to a size 7! If you have kids like mine that like to wriggle out from under their blankets, having footed PJs is always reassuring knowing they won’t be getting cold. But have you tried finding footed PJs in over a size 2? Mission! Bonds do a size 3 but I have never found any bigger than that! So thanks, Carters! A few other places to check out: GAP (this is where we got our cute yellow rain jackets the boys have been sporting on Instagram), Old Navy have great clothes at GREAT prices! I buy a lot from here in the opposite season in the boys next size up (American stores are always in opposite season to us), Ralph Lauren have epic sales which make the clothes surprisingly affordable - sounds weird but the best socks I have bought for the boys are their ankle socks from here, they stay on, was well and have non slip bottoms their t-shirts are also greta staples, Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, Forever21, J Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Foot Locker. A few of these companies do ship to NZ; Carters, Gap and Old Navy for example, but YouShop's shipping is actually cheaper than their international shipping. So I would go with them to save yourself a few extra bucks.
Try out YouShop before July 31st and use my discount code ANNA10 to receive 10% off your shippings costs.
Happy shopping everyone!
SPONSORED BY NZ POST
Travelling is something Jay and I loved to do before we were parents and that hasn't changed. We did a few trips when the boys were babies, LA to visit my grandma and brother, Queenstown for Jays work and then around the country for a few weddings. But it was definitely a bit more difficult to travel with the Nuggs between 10m-2 years! Finally it seems we have hit the sweet spot, it's not a breeze...but it's much easier to keep them entertained because they can talk now and understand you, which means you can reason with them a bit more. As much as you can reason with a grumpy 2 year old!
This last weekend we took our third trip down to our friends beautiful home, Dome Hills, in central Otago. It really is a slice of heaven, every time I visit I can't get over how beautiful the scenery is. No wonder Dougie managed to steal away my city slicker bestie away to the South Island, this is not the country life you turn down!
The first time we visited Oscar and Hunter were on the tail end of a NASTY gastro bug. I'm talking they pooed all through their car seat on the way to Dome, then leaked through again when we arrived. We let them run around the lawn naked, to help heal their raw butts, then they climbed up on their outdoor furniture whilst still naked. I yelled to Jay they should have a nappy on, two seconds later giant waterfalls of shit explode all over their outdoor seats! The weekend was full of a lot of poo and even a few giant projectile vomits over the carpet. Surprised they ever wanted us back!
This time though, was perfect! The boys are such a great age at the moment. They LOVE animals and bikes so were in heaven driving around the farm on the quad bikes, checking out the horses, pigs, cows, sheep and dogs. I have to say, as much as I am a born and breed, city slicker Aucklander, I could totally see myself living somewhere like Dome. What an amazing place to live, not to mention how incredible it must be for children to grow up with all that space, animals and learning opportunities. My only thing I would be worrying about is feeling disconnected from day-to-day life and being lonely. Which is something I imagine my friend Sarah felt.
Sarah and her friend Bex created a Facebook page called Young Rural Ladies to create a community where woman leading this unique lifestyle could connect. It has taken off and they have their own website, you can check it out here. I love it, it has amazing content that's relevant to young women even if they aren't living rurally. So make sure you check it out! Sarah designed the site herself and has such an eye for design (well she is an interior designer after all) so there are plenty of collections of swoon worthy images to lust after.
One of our favourite merino companies is Little Flock of Horrors, they make great quality and super cool merino for little and not so little kids. The nuggets wore so much of it last winter that we both decided that we needed to make a collab happen and this was our creation. If you have followed me on Instagram for a while then you would have heard about this before; we took pre orders for people to get their Nugg collection before it hit stores this winter. Well if you missed out then today is your lucky day, it's now available again at Little Flock Of Horrors as well as in kids stores around the country. I'm a massive fan of monotone colours so of course the whole collection is black and grey! They may also have been our colours of choice since the nuggets love to get messy whenever and wherever possible!Read More
Let's keep this short and sweet. These are the shoes I want to adorn my feet this winter, because...well, because they are hot! I'm a big shoe fan, I always say I would rather spend money on shoes over clothes, so it makes sense that shoes are at the top of my winter wish lists.
The Cailin from Mi Piaci $360
These boots are seriously the sexiest things you ever did see. The point is so perfect and the heel really makes the boot stand out. I know they are a plain black boot, but they are the perfect black boot! I also love that these babies are tailored through the ankle. I have big feet (size 10) so boots usually get bigger around the ankle/leg the bigger the size, making my slim ankles look much bigger than they are. I usually favour boots that cut off below the ankle for this reason but these are just so flattering.
Montauk Moccasin by La Tribe, $289.90
I love a good moccasin and these suede number are so comfy and easy to throw on with anything. La Tribe is a new kiwi brand and I LIVED in their slides over summer and it seems I will be living in these this winter.
Nakita from Tony Bianco $222.96
My friend sent me a link to these boots to get my opinion; she described them as sassy and that was the perfect description! I love the patent leather look and this ice grey is a really beautiful colour. I wear a lot of black and white in winter so a light boot is nice to lift a darker outfit and fits into my monochrome wardrobe perfectly.
Major Leather Sneaker from Mi Piaci $200
Every mum has to have a epic pair or two of sneakers to fit into their "mum wardrobe" and I fell in love with these the moment I saw them. They are the perfect dusty pink, have snake sin detailing and gold hardware! Im a sucker for gold hardware. The kicker, that zip actually works. So no tying up shoe laces, just slip on and off! I'm pretty lazy so anything that makes life easier for me is a win!
The Fur Slide, Fenty by Rihanna. Available at Good As Gold, Loaded and Puma $120
Rihanna is doing some really cool things with Puma! These slides have converted me, I haven't really bought into the sport slide trend yet but these have done it. Well played Rihanna! Furry, soft, comfy goodness, get on my feet now please. Along with the black they come in white and pink.
Metal Trim Block Boot from Glassons $79.99
I love the silver trim detailing on the block heel of these boots. Simple but not boring! Sometimes you just need something classic with a twist and this pair is just that.
Fleming Boot from Miss Wilson $329
Easy to throw on with any outfit, with just the right amount of gold detailing to make them a little bit special. I'm a sucker for gold chains and the gold star adds a nice femminine touch to the more masculine shape of the boot.
Ally Over The Knee Boot from Seed $399.90
I love a thigh high boot, warm and can really make an outfit pop. These are actually practical to wear during the day as the heel isn't too high, comfort is very high on my priority list with day time foot wear!
The nuggets are exactly like me, every turn of season they get colds! Then throughout winter they flip flop between being fine and having a green snotty nose, not exactly ideal! Not even the Nuggets can look cute on Instagram with green snot ooozing from thier handsome little faces. Jokes aside, I want two healthy and happy little men all winter as opposed to two sick clingy nuggets, it's the pits! I find that if the boys have a sniffle I can usually bring it to a standstill if I attack early enough with some serious doses of Vitamin C. Of course I don't always win this war but its better to win some battles than none at all right?!
Today I was walking down the aisle at my local Countdown and all the kids vitamins caught my attention. It was time for a top up so I checked out all the options. I have a massive habit (not a bad habit to have at all) of reading ingredient lists on the back of items. You obviously want to choose the best option and I find all the pretty packaging can be so distracting, as well as price points. What is it with parents and buying items like this that makes us instantly think "the most expensive item must be the better"? Sure sometimes they are but not all price points and products are created equal! There really is a HUGE difference to what makes up each option. I snap chatted (user name: annareeve1986) a few options and had so many screen shots that I thought this must be a topic you mums are interested in.
Before I start I'll let you know that the RDI (recommended daily intake) of Vit C for children aged 1-8 is 35mg, if you are like me numbers mean nothing to you so here it is in layman's terms. An Orange has about 70mg, a cup of Kale has 80mg and there is 65mg in a Kiwifruit (thanks Julia for giving me this info). Of course its best to get all our vitamins and minerals from food but in winter we need to up the intake so we can stop those bloody runny noses in their tracks! So here goes, a bit more info on what I found and what I decided to buy for the nuggets.
The Nuggs love the gummy type vitamins versus the chewable tablet. This is also is a win win for me as these gummy vitamins are known to them as treats/lollies/sweets, so easy to fool 2 year olds! They have no idea what they actually are and they have been great bribing tools as of late! I mean seriously what more could you want for in a vitamin, other than a miracle cure of course?
There were only two gummy options, Bioglan and Blackmores. Bioglan was around the $18 mark and came with 60 gummies, but you need to take two a day. My photos are a little shitty but there is 30mg of Vit C and 2.5mg of Zinc. This one is what I was naturally drawn to, all those pretty colours and eye level placement works a charm!
Second option was Blackmores, this was hiding all the way down on the bottom shelf and I almost missed it. 36 gummies for $14.99 and you only need ONE of these a day - bloody bargain! The photo on this one is a little better so you can see all the ingredients below. These has much more Vit C, Zinc plus Vit A & D, which are all really good for our immune system. Winner! These bad boys came home with me and the Nuggets gobbled them up for an after dinner "treat"! I could be telling you all what you already know, but with things like this check the back. It's amazing the difference there are amongst these suckers.
Other things to think about - some of these gummies do have lots sugar in them, so if you are a completely sugar-free household then this isn't going to be for you. We are reasonably sugar free here, the Nuggs go crazy on the stuff and I just can't handle two crazy toddlers! But I obviously don't mind a little bit here and there and this is something that I definitely let it slide on. It's a shame that unlike food products they don't have to list the amounts of sugar on the packaging on these things. On the Bioglan packet it states that it contains sugar but not how much. On the other hand Blackmores states it doesn't have any added artificial sweeteners. I feel "No added artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners" is a buzz sentence you see on a lot of products these day...would be interesting to know if that meant they had no actual sugar in them too? But I think sugar doesn't fall under the artifical sweetener umbrella?!
The above is just what's available in your supermarkets, but if you go to the chemist or health store there is a whole other realm of Vit C supplements. it literally blows my mind how big that industry is! Ideally I would love the boys to take Vit C in powder or liquid form in a drink or smoothie, but half the time the little buggers wont finish their drink/pour it on the floor/feed it to the cat...so I'm not actually sure how much they are getting. I'm a bit of a freak and I like the fact that I know if they eat one of the gummies that they have taken X amount and are keeping those snotty noses away!
What supplements if any do you give to your kids? Is it something you put value in doing? I could write a whole other blog post on other things I use for the Nuggets, but I think I will save that for another time if that's something you lovely lot would like to know more about?
Blackmores saw my post and replied about the sugar content on my Instagram