Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs: Hairy Maclary and Friends: Cuddle and Play by Lynley Dodd.

Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs- Hairy Maclary and Friends: Cuddle and Play- A Crinkly Cloth Book. By Lynley Dodd.

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I was sent the soft, cloth book featuring Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd to review. It arrived in a beautiful gift box, so I think this would make an ideal gift for a baby. I really pleased to receive a Hairy Maclary book, we have quite a few of these books by Lynley Dodd.  My daughter is aged 3.5 years old and my son 20 months, so I felt they were too old for this book and for me to really do the review justice. I gave it to one of my friends who has a daughter the same age as mine and a baby daughter who was born at the end of July last year and I just knew the book would be perfect for a young baby.

The book is six pages long and features the lovable Hairy Maclary as well as his friends, Slinky Malinky and Zachary Quack. The pages are crinkly, and can be scrunched or shaken. And since the book is soft it would be the perfect toy for baby to cuddle.

Photo Credit: Little Treasure Magazine

Photo Credit: Little Treasure Magazine

 

I asked my friend Claire some questions about what she thought of the book and she also took some photos for me, what a star Her answers are in italics  

What were your first thoughts of the book?

The packaging is appealing in the branded presentation box, I would definitely be pleased if someone bought me that as a gift.

What do you think your girls thought of the book?

As my 3 year old is already a Hairy Maclary fan she was attracted to it straight away and was keen to show it to her baby sister.

Who is it age appropriate for?

It is definitely age appropriate for a baby with the soft material and one page makes a rustle sound when you scrunch it so appealing for their sensory development. I could happily leave my baby with it AND let my 3 year old play with it near her as no hard edges and nothing sharp.

Would you buy it for someone else? Eg- a baby shower gift or new baby gift?

A great gift for someone who may already have all the ‘useful’ baby stuff or someone with a sibling that is already a Hairy Maclary fan. My only hesitation would be the price, I would probably want a bit more to show for my money – but baby safe toys always seem expensive for what they are when your looking at it from an adult perspective.

What are the illustrations and content like?

Illustrations were lovely as usual from Lynley Dodd but it wasn’t a story as such just a few lines from the main books.

Anything else to add?

Over all it isn’t something I would buy myself but often those are the things that make the best gifts.

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I found this Hairy Maclary website which is well worth a visit and there are links so you can find shops, or websites if you wish to purchase this book or any other Hairy Maclary books.

 

The book was published 3rd December 2015,  and retails for $25.00

 

Many thanks to my lovely friend Claire and her lovely daughters for assisting me with this review.

 

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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.

 

Kiwi Mummy Blogs Review- Sir Mouse to the Rescue

kmb_grey-pinkI was sent two books to review by Kiwi Mummy Blogs. This is the second book I received, ‘Sir Mouse to the Rescue’ by Dirk Nielandt and Marjolein Pottie.

This book is published by Book Island. Book Island is a New Zealand based publishers with a focus on delivering stories for the English and Dutch market. Many of the books have been translated into English.

The author Dirk Nielandt, he is an award winning children’s author from Belgium and Marjolein Pottie is the internationally acclaimed illustrator. Translated by Laura Watkinson.

 

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The story

‘Mouse and Dragon, an unusual friendship’

“Mouse has a sword. She wears a suit of armour. She is a knight. She is bold Sir Mouse.”

Dragon and Mouse are friends, and even though Mouse is a Knight she does not fight dragon. The book discusses their friendship as they work together to rescue a Prince, outsmart a Cat and have a fancy dress party.

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Our thoughts 

My husband was the first of us to read ‘Sir Mouse to the Rescue’, it is quite a bit longer than the books we usually read so he decided to see how it went. The illustrations are lovely, colourful and nice to look at on the pages and really jump out. However, we found this book is a bit too old for our children, as they seemed to find it hard to follow the story. Our daughter is three and our son is 19 months.  I would say this book would be better suited to children aged six and over. This is definitely a book to put away though and bring out as they get older.

I too read this book with my children and I found that they did get distracted, but they did enjoy the pictures. The story is too long for them. I read the book to myself though and I liked it, I think it would be quite good for first readers to read alongside an adult.

I love that the theme running through the book is friendship, I think the message of friendship to young readers is really good.

Retails for $24.99, you can purchase a copy from Book Island

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NB: I was kindly sent this book to review by Kiwi Mummy Blogs all thoughts are my own.

 

 

 

Review for Kiwi Mummy Blogs- Tama the Kiwi

I was sent two books to review by Kiwi Mummy Blogs Yay!!! The first review is Tama the Kiwikmb_grey-pink

 

We love books in our house. Little Miss (aged three), loves story time (as I’m sure most kiddies her age do) and it is cool seeing her pointing to some of the words in books and asking what the word is. My husband and I both enjoy to read, so I’m sure the kids will follow. Mr Happy, (aged 19 months) will often take himself down to the bedroom, sit on the floor with books all around him and look through books for ages. He chats away to himself as he is reading and points at the pictures, its lovely to watch and listen to him enjoying this time to himself and seeing him grow and develop.

We were sent Tama the Kiwi, by Beks Bongiovanni, Illustrations by Laker. This is the first book in a series, the next one is planned to be released mid 2016. I already can’t wait! I was really impressed with how it arrived, I could already tell it was going to be a hit. Just look how lovely it was packaged, I felt like a kid at Christmas opening it!

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Couldn’t resist a photo of the awesome packaging

About Tama the Kiwi

This book features Tama the Kiwi as he goes on a Tiki Tour throughout his homeland of New Zealand. The books have been created to inspire travelling and hopefully have some great adventures within New Zealand. I was looking forward the reading this book to my children, just flicking through the pages it was lovely to see bright and colourful illustrations, quite a few New Zealand towns and landmarks are mentioned, as well as words that jumped out at you and would be easy for my children to read in the future.

Beks Bongiovanni, the author was really struggling to find books for young kiwis whilst living overseas, so she decided to create her own. The illustrator, Laker is her Brother-in-Law and there was also a lot of help from her sister Steph.

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Front Cover

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Back Cover

 

Thoughts

I think this book would appeal to very young children, it would make an ideal baby shower gift as well as being an excellent Christmas and birthday present for preschool and older children. Due to the big, bold printed writing I feel it would make a good book for children starting to learn to read and building their confidence in the world of reading. My three year old and 19 month old have been really impressed by it, I love being able to read and teach them about the country where we live. The illustrations are beautiful, colourful, bold and appealing to all ages. I have read it several times and so has my husband and it gets the thumbs up from both of us.

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Awesome illustrations

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Love this book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where you can find Tama the Kiwi

Website: Tama the Kiwi

On the website there is information about Tama, awesome photos to look at, as well as details on how to purchase the book.

You can purchase a copy $17.95 and this includes FREE postage to throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Facebook: Tama the Kiwi Facebook page

 

What are you waiting for? Order your copy today!!!!

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NB: Photos used with kind permission from Tawa the Kiwi website, I was sent this book to review and thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

 

 

 

Remembering and Reflecting

October can be an up and down month for me. It’s getting closer to Christmas, I’m already planning what to buy and how we will celebrate the day and the weather is starting to get warmer. The clocks have gone forward so summer is officially around the corner. I find the the beginning of the month is pretty busy and an incredibly emotional time, remembering Alex. There are a couple of big events during this month. The 9th-15th is Babyloss awareness week. For me this was the first year I helped to organise the events to symbolise this important time.

As I am now the Secretary of our local Sands group. I realise now as I write this that some people may not know what Sands stands for. It used to be an acronym, Stillbirth and neonatal death support (I think!) but nowadays pregnancy, baby and infant loss support is how New Zealand describe Sands. Geez, I hope this is making sense. Here’s the link for . I have a lot of love for Sands, I truely believe if it hadn’t been for Sands, I’m sure my grief would of taken me down a very, dark path…..

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Love this xxx

Back to Babyloss awareness week……. I volunteered to contact the local paper to ask if we could advertise our events in our area. I got in touch with the paper towards the end of September and received a yes quickly and then waited to hear back from them.

I was contacted on the first Monday of the month, (which is actually the day when we have the Sands monthly meeting in the evening), we arranged to do an interview for the newspaper the following day. Whilst I was at the meeting , I received a phone call from the reporter who was going to be during the story and she asked if there would be someone willing to talk about Stillbirth. I discussed with he group about the phone conversation and I said I could share my story about Alex.

For me four years into my journey, I felt I had the strength to share my story. For the first few years I felt I had to hide the fact my first baby had died and I had a stillbirth. It sounds a bit strange to me now, but I felt I had to protect myself and him. Plus, I also found the tears would come nearly every time I spoke of him. But now, I feel very privileged to share my story, I’m a proud Mum of three. Speaking about him, does take me back to the events of four years ago,  but it’s ok. They are extremely important memories and it’s a pleasure in include him. Read my story here

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Stuff.co.nz Friday 9th October 2015

I had such an overwhelming response to my story being in the newspaper and a massive THANK YOU to those of you who took the time to message me, leave a comment, I even heard from people I don’t talk to much these days, it I was really pleased to with the way the article turned out. The reporter was lovely and as I shed a few tears whist talking about certain parts, it was comforting to not feel awkward about crying in front of someone I hadn’t met before. I now know allowing the tears to flow are good, they are a good and healthy release.

Our balloon release last Sunday the 11th went well and it was featured in the local paper. As much as I am proud to share my story, I am mainly pleased about raising awareness for Sands and hopefully helping others. I would anyone to feel alone in their loss and grief. Link to the Taranaki Daily News article discussing the balloon release Balloons released to remember lost babies

October 15th is when we remember our precious babies by lighting a candle at 7pm, and letting it burn for an hour. This is done all around the world and therefore it is referred to as ‘Wave of Light’. There was a service at the chapel at the hospital, and myself and a few other mums arranged songs and readings. I actually did a reading this year, those who know may know I’m not a public speaker but I felt I wanted to read something. When I thought about what to read, the only thing I thought of was a reading I read at Alex’s funeral. I hadn’t looked at it since I read it out over four years ago, but it seemed the right time to share it. So, I got up and read it, had to read through the lump in my throat in a couple of places, but I did it. When I sat down, I cried. Reading it out loud again took my mind back to his funeral. But I’m glad I read it and I had some lovely comments from people afterwards.

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‘Wave of Light’. Candle lit at 7pm, burned for one hour.

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Individual candles lit to remember our babies

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All set up ready for people to light their own individual candles

 

 

I’m pretty pleased that part of the month is over, it’s emotionally exhausting but worthwhile all at the same time.

This month I was also the feature blogger for AskingMums, check out my blog post if you haven’t already. It has been a real honour to share some of thoughts and ramblings with people. Here is my first submission to AskingMums Mummy Guilt

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I also have a few more things planned, so watch this space!

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An unexpected Hospital stay

I went to bed as usual on Thursday night, feeling fine but tired after a few busy days working.

I woke just after one in the morning with a mild tummy ache, “I’ll just go back to sleep” I thought to myself. I woke again at four, tummy ache still there, but I also needed to use the toilet, “it’s probably just that”. Upon returning back to bed, the pain. was. WORSE! I put up with it for several hours until I told the hubby “I think I might need to go to hospital”. Luckily the in-laws were able to come to our house to stay with the kids.

Upon getting to hospital, I was quickly seen. A kind nurse took pity on me trying to sit comfortably in a waiting room chair. I got my own private room in ED. It was a relief to be able to lie down again. If I kept really still the pain wasn’t as bad.

I had an IV cannula inserted, bloods taken, seen by a couple of doctors that suspected it was Appendicitis, crikey! I had half expected them to tell I had a bad tummy ache and to harden up and go home. Looking back the day went really quickly, I was feeling pretty shell shocked that I was going to need surgery, HOLY CRAP! I had a general anaesthetic when I was 8, was it wasn’t SURGERY!

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The staff at the hospital were great, explaining everything and I had a few of them recognise me from working there, so I definitely felt well looked after. I had a lovely nurse with me before I went to sleep and she was there when I woke up.

I have studied and looked after patients that have had an anaesthetic but nothing really prepares you for having one yourself. The pain from the gas they use to inflate the abdomen is TERRIBLE! Actually hurts more than the incision sites. I experienced quite a bit of pain in my right shoulder the day after the surgery, a heat pack was the best thing for it.

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In total I had two days and two nights in hospital, I chose to stay an extra night as I knew once I got home it would be harder to rest with Little Miss and Mr Happy around. Plus I think it was good for me not to rush home, and I enjoyed catching up on reading my book. My hubby has been brilliant, I’m a lucky lady! The poor guy is stuck doing EVERYTHING at the moment, he never complains though.

I’m home now resting up. And I am being a good patient and doing nothing! I HATE it, not used to sitting around, but of course it does have some advantages! Off work for a few weeks, then back to light duties? Hmmmm, I’m sure my nursing friends are thinking ‘light duties on the ward?’ Good luck with that! I’ll just have to see how I go. I am feeling pretty sore, so, so tired and I hardly have an appetite. When I do want to eat I only want savoury things. My sweet tooth has disappeared. I’m expecting it to make an appearance again when I am 100%.

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Visited by Little Miss x

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Resting up with Mr Happy x

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The Longest Ride

You know that moment when you have just finished a book and you feel happy because you have finished it?

Oh what can I read next? You ask yourself. You can feel the excitement browsing through the library website or your kindle wish list. But I don’t want to read anything else, I was really enjoying that book and now it’s ended 😪😪😪😪

These thoughts did cross my mind when I finished reading The Best of Me, but now I have finished The Longest Ride I am definitely experiencing those thoughts. What am I going to read? I feel totally lost now I am not reading the stories of Ira, Sophia and Luke.

The Longest Ride is another Nicholas Sparks book, his 17th novel. I haven’t read a lot of his books but I think it would have to be my favourite so far. I thought it would take a lot to beat The Notebook, but to me this one does.

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I knew there was a film version coming out so I was keen to read the book first. The book tells the stories of three characters and how their lives are entwined. There is Ira Levinson, a 91 year old widower who is trapped after crashing his car. While he waits to be rescued, he sees his wife Ruth at different stages of their life together and they share the tales of how they met, his time in the war and building their art collection.

Sophia Danko is another character in the book. She is a student at College and meets Luke Collins, a cowboy, bull-rider. Their story is how they meet, how their relationship develops and things they learn about one another. (Of course I don’t want to share too much, in case you want to read it yourself).

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I was a little skeptical about reading a book that featured a cowboy and bull-riding, I was half worried I would find it boring! But I could not be more wrong. Sure the book, discusses life on a ranch and bull-riding but it was all interesting and part of the story. It was a great book to be reading during my recent hospital visit, easy reading and quite a page turner. I even found myself saying  “Just one more chapter and then I’ll have a nap”, that chapter than turned into two!

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie, but after watching the trailer, I can see it is going to be quite different to the book. As most of us know the film version of books can vary. I usually find when I’m prepared for this I usually enjoy watching the big screen adaptation. Scott Eastwood portrays Luke and Britt Robertson plays Sophia. With Jack Huston as young Ira and Alan Alda as older Ira.

 

So, what book am I going to read next? Well a few months ago I started Gone Girl (yes another book made into a film) I wasn’t in the right head space for it then. I have picked it up again and I’m enjoying it so far. I have heard good things about the book and the film.

If anyone has any book suggestions, please share I would love to know what others are reading.

(Plus, if I could I would dance around because I figured out how to post Youtube videos to my post!)

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