Review for Little Leaf Eco

Wow, its been a while since I did a review and even wrote a post. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be approached by Maileen of Little Leaf Eco, to review a couple of her items amd I took her up on the opportunity.

I was sent a Stinky Bag for Little Miss and a Kid’s Backpack for Mr Happy. I am always on the look out for new and different things for my children and the chance to review both items has been well received in our household.

A Little About Little Leaf Eco

They are a New Zealand family owned company, with a focus on creating items to minimise waste, help the environment whilst maintaining a high standard.

The creater is a Mum of two boys and finding she was getting tired of lunchboxes breaking halfway through the school year, as well as trying to find the right shape and not always knowing what chemicals were used to create the lunchboxes, her first product the Lunch Tote was born.

Other products by Little Leaf Eco

On the website you can find the Lunch Tote, Stinky Bag, Kid’s Backpack’s and a selection of Wooden Toys.

 

On to the Stinky Bag

The Stinky Bag is designed to be used for sports, swimming gear, gym kits, toys, sleepover items and anything else you can think of. Little Miss is starting school in a matter of months and has weekly swimming lessons so I thought this bag would be perfect for her to try.

We were sent the pink ‘Princess in Training’ bag. When I first showed Little Miss her instantly had a huge smile on her face. She was keen to have a look at the different compartments and started discussing what she could use the bag for.

What interested me most about the Stinky Bag is the bottom zippered section that has been designed to store wet, dirty or used gear separately, ie the Stinky stuff! Plus, the bag has been made so you can put the wet/dirty clothes straight into the washing machine within having to touch them. Tip the opened part of the bag straight into the machine. And the bag is also washing machine friendly (note: I haven’t washed mine yet!).

We have used the bag for swimming lessons and it is perfect! No more having to take a plastic bag to put her wet togs, hat and towel in. The first time we used it, Little Miss had to put her wet things in the ‘wet’ section by herself!

Perfect size to fit everything

There a few pockets to the Stinky Bag also, an outside zip pocket and another one with a velcro seal. Inside the main compartment of the bag, there is a pocket to hold a few small items as well as a label for your child to name their bag.

Separate zip to get into the ‘stinky’ compartment, velcro pocket at the front


Plenty of room inside the bag, two small pockets and a label to name the bag

At the top there is the zip as well as a magnetic button, so you can fold over the top of the bag if you don’t need to fill the bag.

At $59.95 the Stinky Bag can be on the expensive side for bags, but for the size of bag it is worth it. I feel Little Miss will get a lot of use from this when she starts school and because of the design and style of it, I think it will be a favourite bag of hers for a few years to come.

The Stinky Bag comes in three different designs. The two other designs are Super Hero Stinky Bag and Hands Off Stinky Bag

 

Kid’s Backpack

The Kid’s Backpack’s are animal themed and perfect for toddlers and preschool children. They are made with 100% recycled cotton canvas, so lightweight for little people and they have adjustable shoulder straps and I would say they are washable.

There are five designs to choose from, I was given the Blue Dog backpack for Mr Happy. The other designs available are Green Cat, Orange Monkey, Pink Bunny and Red Dog.

Blue Dog Kid’s Backpack $49.95

What I love about it is that it is just his size, easy for him to put on and it can hold his lunchbox, and several changes of clothes for Preschool. It doesn’t have waterproof lining, but its easy for him to open and close.

It also has a handle on the top of the bag, good for hanging up and great for storing the bag at home. Inside of the bag has colourful lining, appealing to young children and has two pockets built inside, always handy to have extra compartments, Mr Happy just loves it. He turns three next month, but I would say that this bag would be ideal from age one upwards, as Little Leaf Eco suggests.

Colourful lining, two small pockets.

So there you have it, my review of two really great Mum-made and of course New Zealand and Eco-friendly products. Little Miss and Mr Happy are proud as punch with their new bags.

Happy Kids with their Stinky Bag and Backpack


Mr Happy ‘modelling’ without realising

Links for Little Leaf Eco

Instagram

Facebook

Pinterest

NB: I was sent the ‘Stinky bag’ and Kid’s Backpack to review and all views and photos are my own. Some information has been adapted from the Little Leaf Eco website.

June

The month of June, I look forward to it but I also dread it. I love it but I also dislike it.

June marks the half way point of the year, and dare I say it, only another six months until Christmas, eek! June is also the beginning of summer in England and the beginning of winter in New Zealand. Living in New Zealand now for just over 12 years I am well adjusted to the seasons here, but June will always be a summer month to me.
I celebrate and remember some pretty special people during this month. The first week of June, it is one of my younger brothers birthday and Little Misses birthday. (I still remember the same brother saying to me shortly before I had Little Miss that I wasn’t too have her on his birthday, as it was his day). Brothers huh?

June 2nd 2011 was the day my beloved Grandpa passed away, he lived for 97 years, pretty good innings huh? And the 3rd June 2011 was the day I delivered our beloved, firstborn baby boy Alex.

This year marked five years since we met him and said goodbye to him. Wow, five years, it’s quite a milestone huh? The build up to the day was harder that the actual day itself, it always is. I had the day planned, I knew how we would celebrate his day and we did.

It is a day to remember him, but of course it is also a day to celebrate. I miss him everyday, and often find my mind wandering at different times of the day, what would he look like, what would he enjoy? What would he have liked for his fifth birthday?

A few days leading up to his birthday I explained to Little Miss that we would be having a family day for Alex’s birthday. Mummy and Daddy would not be going to work and the four of us would have a day of fun. Little Miss decided Chipmunks would be a great idea (indoor soft play venue), followed by cupcakes for afternoon tea and a trip to the cemetery with Nana and Grandad (my Husband’s parents) to do our balloon release.

When I was having this conversation with Little Miss, one evening after dinner, she looked at me and said “But Mummy, Alex is supposed to go to school this year”. With these words I burst into tears. Just hearing these words from my daughter made the event seem more real. I hadn’t felt like crying prior to my chat with her, so the tears caught myself as well as her off guard. I guess with the lead up to the actual day, the tears were a form of release. Little Miss and I shared a hug and I explained to her that Alex couldn’t go to school because he lives with the stars, but he would be watching over her when it will be her and Mr Happy’s turn to venture off to school.

To us Alex is our shining star, we look to the sky at night and we can always see him. Little Miss will always point to one of the brightest stars and says it is Alex. For me and our family I feel it is really important to have a symbol we can look for and see and be able to think of our boy and big brother.

We had a lovely day remembering Alex and celebrating his fifth year. To me as hard as it is, his birthday is a celebration. He existed, he was and still is my first born baby. I think of him everyday, and these days I smile. It wasn’t always easy to smile but know I feel that I can.

Here are some of the photos from our day.

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Mr Happy

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Slide Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Five Yummy Cupcakes

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Beautiful Flowers 3 vases xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Balloon release

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xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Me and Mrs C

A little while ago I shared a blog called Dear Mrs C this post was about me using antidepressants to treat my Post Natal Depression (PND). Shortly after I wrote and shared the post, I made an appointment to see my GP to renew my prescription and to discuss reducing my current dose.

I had been thinking for a while about reducing the dose, I felt the time was right. I had been in a good place for several months and I know when I have my low moments that everything will be ok. I was also worried about any withdrawals I could possibly experience due to the decrease in dosage and I wanted to limit them as much as I could.

I still get overwhelmed at times, with parenting, work, being a wife but who doesn’t? I do however feel I am in a much better frame of mind these days, but I still have my ‘bad’ days. You can do it, Stacey I told myself.

When I saw my GP, I explained how I had been feeling and other things I was doing to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I told him how I like to go to work and feel like ‘Stacey’ and not just a ‘Mummy’. And I really enjoy my time with my children,  also I no longer have the overwhelming feelings of wanting to leave my husband and children. Anyone who has experienced this feeling or is feeling like this, it well and truly SUCKS! Feeling like a failure, and wanting to turn your back on your family you are a part of is very lonely, I never want to feel like that again. At the time I never realised how low I got, I think I hid it quite well at times.

My GP was really good and we both agreed that it was a good time to reduce my dose, by half a tablet. I now take 30mg, one and a half tablets once a day in the morning. My GP explained he would like me to continue on this reduced dose for six months before decreasing any further. I thought this was a really good plan, it would prevent any withdrawals and hopefully help me to remain in a good place.

I started writing this blog post at the end of March and now here I am almost at the end of May. I am due another trip to the doctors for a repeat prescription, it has almost been three months since I reduced my antidepressant and I can say it has been going really well. Phew!

It is so good to write about being in a good place, happy, calm (well relatively calm, my hubby tells me I worry too much!) and to feel like I enjoy my life. I love being a Mum and Wife and I hope I am a better friend and person to those people who know me.

I look back on last year and even the year before and I know now that I wasn’t always in the best frame of mind and I wasn’t really living, but existing.

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Me and Mr Happy April 2016

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Enjoying my children, something that had previously seemed so, so hard

 

It is so healing for me to look at these photos of myself with my children and know the smile is ‘real’ and not forced. Although like I said, there are some days when the smile is harder to achieve,but the good days are by far outweighing the bad days.

When I saw this ‘Winning’ tank avaliable through TheHood I just knew ut would be perfect for me. I love their collection of T Shirts and Sweaters which sum up Mum Life.

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Aus$ 34.99

'Winning'

‘Winning’

Thanks for reading and letting me share, take care xxx

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NB: I purchased the ‘Winning’ tank for myself and my opinion is all my own, I love it!

 

 

 

Easter Time with Lulu n Cat

Yay it’s almost that time again, Easter!!!! When I was a kid, apart from Christmas and my birthday, Easter was another holiday I looked forward too.

It meant two weeks off school and lots of chocolate! I grew up with two younger brothers and we all did pretty well for Easter.  We were brought up to wait patiently until Easter Sunday before we could open one of our chocolately treats! (My husband tells me as a child, he was allowed to have his chocolate eggs on Good Friday, to me this doesn’t seem right and I insist our kids have to wait until Sunday).

This year Little Miss is three (going on 13), she will be four in June and Mr Happy is two next month. And this will be the first year I will attempt to do an Easter egg hunt for them. I say attempt, cause I can see it being a tad chaotic. I am really conscious about how much chocolate they should eat/be given at their age, so I have been putting some thought into what they can ‘hunt’ for. I found these cool Playdoh Easter eggs, $12 for 10 eggs which I thought was prety good. The kids, are HUGE Playdoh fans so I think these eggs filled with Playdoh will be a big hit.

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I also have two of Lulu n Cat Easter Bunny Jars one in lime green and the other in blush pink. I think the kids will really like these to collect their mini chocolate eggs and Easter stickers in. Plus after the chocolate is gone and the stickers have been stuck everywhere (usually everywhere but paper!) they will get to keep the jar! They will be a great keepsake, plus they can be used each Easter.

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Emma of Lulu n Cat also lives in New Plymouth, last year I did a review of her cool creations.

I would love to know of any Easter traditions anyone would like to share.

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Dear Mrs C

Antidepressants, oh no she said that word! Yep that’s right, I said it, Antidepressants, (in case you didn’t catch it the first time). I take one daily, well actually I take two, (yep two!) in the morning with my breakfast. If my 3.5 year old asks me what I am taking I just reply ‘Mummy’s happy pills’. I don’t feel a girl of her age needs to be told antidepressant, to me they are my happy pills, they have made me genuinely happier. When my daughter is old enough I will explain to her a little more about them.

I thought I would write a letter to give others a little insight into what it has been like for me, over a year ago that I began taking anitdepressants for PND. I’m a big believer in removing the stigma around PND, I am not ashamed, I am proud to share my story.

 

Dear Mrs C

We had a love/hate relationship at the beginning, but now I write this letter to you, as a thank you.

I wasn’t very keen to introduce myself to you, I thought I could get better without you. But you have proven to me that I did indeed make the right decision.

At the beginning it was dreadful, I felt worse before I felt better. Was it worth it feeling the way I did? A few of the side effects I felt were nausea, increased anxiety, feeling disconnected to people around me and wanting to hide away from the world. Slowly but surely, over a month I felt better. I wanted to get out of bed in the morning, I wanted to see people and most importantly I wanted to be a mother to my kids and a wife to my husband again. Finally, we were getting along, you were helping me be me.

Yes our first month together was incredibly tough and I nearly told you to kindly F*** off as you weren’t working, but like most things that are tough and haven’t been done before, it will often seem worse before it gets better.

I knew the way I had been secretly feeling for months and months, no one else really knew, even I didn’t know as most days I put on my brave, happy smiley face, BUT anything had to be better than the way I was feeling. Thanks to you Mrs C, you helped me see through the fog that was distorting my vision and weighing down on my shoulders. Your support has given me the much needed clarity to see through that pesky fog and begin to bulid my life again.

We have been in an relationship for just over a year now, I’d hoped to have ended my relationship with you by now, but I’m not quite ready. And you know what, I think that is ok. I will ease out of my relationship with you when I feel ready, I will not be hasty, after all it was not an easy decision to make in the beginning.

So thanks Mrs C, you are pretty awesome!

Xxxxxx

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Little Miss

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Mr Happy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just my opinion on taking antidpressants. I feel my PND is currently managed and I am in control of it. Along with taking an antidepressant I have also sought help from a counsellor, friends and my parents as well as my incredibly patient and loving husband, and my beautiful children.

I have still had some bumps in the road, antidepressants are not a quick fix and not for everyone. I just wanted to share my own personal experience of taking one.

If you or someone you know is struggling please help them to seek help. Having PND or any form of depression is not shameful, please speak up there os plenty of help and support out there.

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Hubby and I

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I’m a #nofiltermum thanks to TheHood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs: Karla Goodwin ‘Bluebells Cakery, Sweet & Savoury’

I was so excited to receive a cookbook to review from Kiwi Mummy Blogs, I love food, I love baking and I love eating, win win!

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This book is by Karla Goodwin and it is her second book. Her first book Bluebells Cakery Volume 1 focused on cakes, sweets and savouries, her new book Bluebells Cakery – Sweet & Savoury still has lots of mouth watering sweet treats to try along with savoury items which are perfect as snacks, finger foods and lunches.

The book was published on November 1st 2015, (wow that’s last year now!). To be honest, I hadn’t actually heard of Karla before, so it has been great to receive a book by someone I wasn’t familiar with. I like the fact that she has a couple of cafe’s,  I would definitely be looking them up next time I head up to Auckland. I have been checking out the Karla Goodwin website and doing my own research.

(The following information was provided with the book and can be found on the Random House website).

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Karla Goodwin is a talented baker behind the boutique Auckland café shop Bluebells Cakery. Karla learned her craft while living in London where she worked in one of the UK’s most prestigious cupcake bakeries, Primrose Bakery.

When she returned to New Zealand in 2011, Karla started selling at La Cigale, Auckland’s French market, but soon opened her own café (in Hillsborough) which quickly grew from opening just two days a week to a seven-day a week business. Due to Bluebell’s growing popularity Karla has recently opened her second store in Eden Terrace, Auckland.

I really enjoy baking and I like recipes that are easy to follow and ones where I can enlist the help of my 3.5 ear old Little Miss. I usually stick to straight forward butter cream icing to decorate birthday cakes and making ganache hasn’t been too challenging. However, this book  has pages with explanations, baking tips and advice, for any budding baker. At the beginning of the ‘Cakes’ chapter there are several ‘How to’ pages, which I really like. The instructions and photos are clear and don’t make fancy cake decorating seem too daunting. In fact, Little Miss has already chosen her next birthday cake several times from the book. There is also a chapter of ‘Condiments’ at the end of the book.

As I looked through the book, I fell in love with the photography, by Tam West. I just wanted to make everything and make it now! In the end I settled for Mini Savoury Scones and the Apple Pies.

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I made the Mini Savoury Scones first and boy were they a hit! They were super easy to make, and the recipe is really easy to follow. The ingredients are mainly things that we usually have in our fridge or in the pantry. The recipe said to include, bacon, and parmesan but there was an option to omit these and add sundried tomato and feta. I decided to add sundried tomato and feta, but I will definitely try the bacon version next time. Since they are mini, you can easily eat a couple, I enjoyed mine with some butter. But you could add some tasty relish or whatever you like really. I also couldn’t wait to sample one so I ate one straight from the oven! I ate one when they had cooled down too and it was just as good.

My parents are currently visiting from England so I had a few more taste testers in the house. My Mum loves them so much she wants to take a copy of the recipe home with her. Even my Dad really enjoyed them, and he is the biggest critic I know. Mr Happy is a fan of these savour scones and he quickly demolished several, and my hubby said he said they were really tasty. I’m thinking these scones will become a go-to snack in our house.

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I love apple pie, especially the homemade variety. The photo in the book looked edible and I thought making mini versions would be a change from making a standard sized pie. Again, the recipe was relatively straight forward and I already had the ingredients at home. I made the sweet short crust pasty myself, easy if you have a food processor! But, if you don’t I’m sure the ready made pastry will be just as good. Whilst I was cooking the apple filling it smelt amazing!!!! Mmmm cinnamon and sugar…… The end result of the mini apple pies looked great, much better than I had anticipated and they tasted delish! I made them earlier in the afternoon so by the time we ate them they had cooled down. Served with some whipped cream, it made a great dessert. The recipe suggested eating them straight from the oven, so at least we know we won’t be disappointed when they have cooled down.

They also proved to be a big hit with my parents, hubby and Mr Happy and Little Miss. I did find however that making the mini pies was quite time consuming and I think you could probably adapt the recipe to make a standard pie, since I had quite a bit of the apple mixture left over. I have put it in the freezer and it wont be there for long as I’ll be making more pies again soon.

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Other treats I want to make soon……

Savoury Muffins, Doughnut Rings, Lemon and Blueberry Scones, White Chocolate and Strawberry Cake and Sprinkle Cake (Little Miss’s current request for her next birthday)

Like the sound of this book???? It retails for $50.00 and you can purchase a copy direct from the website here

You can find Bluebells Cakery on Facebook and Instagram

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NB: I was sent a copy of Bluebells Cakery Sweet & Savoury to review, and all opinions and photos taken are my own.

 

It’s Christmas!!!!!!!

I’ve been MIA with my blog posts lately, in fact I don’t think I have written anything for the month of December. And now it’s just two days until Christmas!!!!

Life has been pretty hectic in our household, as it is in most households at this time of year (and people who have young kids, that’s actually a big chunk of the population huh?). I’m pretty excited about Christmas, I’ve tried to make our home as Christmassy as possible. I’m a big, big fan of Christmas, always have been. And of course now I have my own children to celebrate with, I’ve definitely become a kid again.

Christmas can be an extremely difficult time of year for people, financially and emotionally. This is our fifth Christmas without Alex and it has gotten easier. I’m always aware when it comes to significant events that he is missing but having Little Miss and Mr Happy makes this holiday time a little brighter.

The first Christmas without Alex, SUCKED big time. I was fortunate to be 16 weeks pregnant with Little Miss at the time, but I still struggled at Christmas, as it would of been his first Christmas. My hubby and I were in England with my family for Christmas 2011, which helped a great deal. I was on ‘holiday’ and it eased my broken heart to be around my family. We had a Christmas with some of my husbands family when we returned to NZ, bonus two Christmases and both different.

I have lived in NZ since 2004, so I have had my share of Christmases here, but  Christmas in the summer?! It still doesn’t feel the same. Give me some cold days, dark evenings, mulled wine and a Christmas jumper to rug up in and it’s Christmas! I think because my childhood Christmases were in England and during the winter, this will always feel like Christmas to me. To me Christmas is also a time about family, a time to catch up. I know this isn’t the case for some people and they would rather avoid a family together. My family are often celebrating Christmas in England and I spend Christmas with my husbands family, but this year I get both! We will have Christmas Day with some of my husbands family and two days later on the 27th December my parents arrive from England!!!!!!

Although I’m looking forward to Christmas this year, I think I could possibly be more excited for my parents arrival. I haven’t seen my Dad in 14 months and my Mum for 10 months, it’ll be great to have some quality time with them. I have a pretty good relationship with my parents, I think the distance has helped our relationship in some ways, or could be it be me as I have gotten older? I feel very fortunate to have the relationship I have with parents as I know some people are not as lucky.

I had intended to start some Christmas traditions in our house this year, but I haven’t managed to achieve it. At first I was so annoyed with myself, but I also tell myself Little Miss is only three and Mr Happy has just turned 20 months, I can start next year. Do any of you have Christmas traditions? I would love to hear about them. Here is a list of the ones I would like to implement and have tried to start this year.

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Little Miss (2012) 6 months

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Mr Happy (2014) 8 months

 

The Elf on the Shelf

I have seen some great photos of Elves in people’s homes getting up to all kinds of mischief via social media. I decided against one this year, mainly due to cost and I thought my kids wouldn’t really be aware. I have decided I am DEFINETLY getting one for next year. I just know I will have lots of fun with the Elf leading up to Christmas.

Santa Letters

This is a tradition I started last year and again I ordered letters from Santa. I let the kids see them earlier last year but this year I’m waiting till either Christmas Eve Eve (the 23rd) or Chrustmas Eve. I will be posting our letters via social media when the kids receive them.

Christmas Eve 

I have seem some friends adapt Christmas Eve as a day to give some pre Christmas treats, and to mark it as a tradition. I have a new Christmas book for my kiddies to open on Christmas Eve.

Advent Calendars

This year was the first year I didn’t have an advent calendar! My Mum has always sent me one (yes I know I’m not a kid!) but I can never resist a bit of chocolate each day. But this year I told my Mum, no calendar for me and send one each for the kiddies. Plus it’s a good bribe to get Little Miss to eat her dinner, no dinner no chocolate from her calendar!

I know some people use an advent calendar as another way to countdown to Christmas without the chocolate treats. I love that you can give the kids a Christmas themed task or treat each dat.

Photo with Santa 

Little Miss had a photo with Santa when she was six months old, she was pretty content to sit with the man in red and have her photo taken, result! The following year (2013) she was 18 months and I was 5 months pregnant with Mr Happy. She did not want to go near the man in red! So I am in the photo with her! Last year I decided to flag the Santa photo, I wasn’t in the right head space and I figured it wouldn’t matter? So this year….. no Santa photo, I intended too but it hasn’t happened. Oh well, there is always next year right?

Little Miss (2012)

Little Miss (2012)

Me and Little Miss (2013)

Me and Little Miss (2013)

Christmas Books

You cant beat a Christmas book at Christmas time, right? We have collected a few in our house. I took them out of the book collection for the kids at the beginning of the year and put them away with our Christmas things with a good intention. My intention was to wrap the books and give them a ‘new’ book every so often in the lead up to Christmas. I also wanted to get a couple of new Christmas stories to add to the collection. Has this happened, I admit with disappointment that it hasn’t! I have the books wrapped, but it is now the 23rd December and I haven’t given them any Christmas stories, geez I feel crap now I write this!

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Christmas 2014

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Christmas 2014

 

Geez now I finish listing all the Christmas traditions that are around, no wonder I feel overwhelmed! I really do put a lot of pressure on myself at times. I have been feeling rather guilty about not seeing through certain traditions but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter! My kids are happy and loved and Santa will be paying them a visit on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas everyone

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