Just Be you

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How do we teach our young kid’s, especially girls that you don’t have to be like everyone else? Be confident in your own skin, just be you!  Everyone is different and that’s okay, no two people are alike because that would be totally boring!

I’m sure even as adults we are still dealing with some demons of always comparing ourself to someone else, or comparing our lives to someone else’s.  Do children learn this from us or is it just a normal human thing that we do and have to get ourselves out of.  This thinking all started due to Pink Shirt day at school today.  I went to Savemart a couple of weeks ago to find some pink t-shirts for the girls.  I chose one for my oldest who was fine with it and stuff then this morning she decided to change her mind (as they do) and wear something else.  She chose a very light soft pink top with jeans, it’s still pink but not in your face pink.  She has accessorised with pink earrings and sunglasses, she even chose fluro pink bands for her braces!  So all cool no dramas.

Then she see’s photos of other kids dressed up in bright pink clothes and fully decked out, pants, tops, hair everything which was so cool.  But instead of looking at it like, “wow they look awesome”, it was more like, ” I am not walking to school, I look horrible, my top is not even bright enough”  You get the picture!  I reminded her that you do have the top that I bought, which you can still wear.  NO!!!  It’s not pink apparently and more purply pink.  I said to her there are lots of shades of pink not just one type.  Anyway she ended up walking to school crying because she didn’t like how she was dressed and how she looked.

All morning I felt like a terrible mother for not being able to choose the right shade of pink or getting lots of pink stuff for her to wear and that she walked to school crying.  When I have gone over the top in the past she didn’t like it so I kept it simple this year, well I was wrong!  How do you win? Can you actually ever win with kids? The lesson here is next time take them shopping and let them choose!

Kid’s seem to ignore all the wonderful attributes that they have all because they want to be like the next person, instead of just rocking who they are.  Right about now I wish I had a Phd in knowing how kids minds work or something.  I’m always conscious of how I speak and alway’s make sure I never compare myself to other people in front of the girls.  I mean let’s be honest every now and again, I do compare myself to someone else in my head off course but not like I want to look like that person or anything, more like if someone is going on holiday, I would think to myself, “Oh how I would love to be on holiday now too” that sort of thing.

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When we start comparing ourselves to others we start to loose our own confidence in ourselves!  The thing is though,  it’s happening with kids from such a young age, how do we fix this?  Imagine how freeing it must feel to just be you, and not give a flying f*ck about anyone or anything else.  Just live and soak up everyday!  Maybe I should print out every type of quote that I can find on the web and wallpaper their walls with them all!  Like I am at a loss because I can tell my girls all the right things and read all the wonderful things there is out there about being yourself but until they start believing it themselves, am I wasting my time?  Am I a nagging mum?

If you have any tips or advice or anything…..throw them my way!

Ronell x

 

 

 

 

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Easter Camping at Russell Top 10 Holiday Park

Another successful camping trip done and dusted! This time we ventured further north to Russell in the Bay of Islands.

We knew it was going to be a long drive and with recent slips in the area the diversions added a little extra time to the journey. The night before we packed most of the trailer so we could make an early start. We were on the road by 8am! We decided to pull the girls out of school on the Thursday before Good Friday to beat the traffic and I’m so glad we did.

The kids were entertained on the way up there with a few movies. I don’t have an iPad/DVD car holder so I kinda made my own with ribbon and it worked great! They had headphones too so it was a nice quiet ride for us.

Our first stop was at Kawakawa for a quick toilet break and I mean if you’re going to stop to use the toilet this would be the place to stop at. The toilets are pretty cool made using lots of glass bottles and mosaic.

Next stop was at Opua to catch the car ferry to Russell. It was a short ride across but really picturesque and the girls loved it.

We arrived at the Russell Top 10 Holiday Park just after lunch. It was time to put up the tent. Now that the girls are a bit older we get them to help out before they run off! Their job is to pull out all the poles and start putting those together.

I found this time round putting up the tent wasn’t the hard bit, it was setting up all the paraphernalia that goes with the tent that was a mission. If you’re like me I can’t relax until it’s all set up and in its place! Shortly our friends joined us too and we all got stuck in setting up. The park was in pristine condition. The showers and kitchen always clean. This is the first campground that I have seen the staff walking around cleaning and checking on everything all day!

That’s our two red tents all set and ready for the week. I even managed to put up some fairy lights around the gazebo which was quite nice at night.

After slogging away in the heat setting everything up there was no way we were going to be cooking on our first night. So a week before our trip I rang and made a reservation for dinner at The Duke of Marlborough . It was worth doing that early as they get pretty busy especially over peak periods. A delicious meal and a cold beer was exactly what we all needed. Best part it’s only a 10 minute walk from the campground to Russell town.

It was beautiful watching the sun set whilst having dinner. This beach is on The Strand at the Russell wharf and the water was so clear!

The next day we set out exploring. There are so many beautiful bays and beaches to swim at. Our favourite was Long Beach which wasn’t far from the camp either about a 5-10 minutes drive.

There is even a coffee van onsite for you to get your daily fix while watching the kids play.

When we go camping we always take our Weber Q with us. This time we purchased the Weber pizza stone set to make pizzas. Well the stone was amazing!!! So glad we took it. I don’t think we will ever use the oven again!

And no I didn’t make the base that was a store bought base! Fair to say dinner was a hit.

There is so much to do in the Bay of Islands we spent a day driving through Keri Keri and checking out the Stone Store which has been opened since 1836. We made a quick stop to check out Haruru Falls. Then ice cream in Paihia before heading back to camp.

We barely saw the kids at the campground they spent most of the time at the playground so the adults had lots of time to kick back with a wine or even a gin and tonic!

If you do head up to Russell there are loads of boat tours that you can do, from dolphin watching to exploring the bays. They are pricey so be prepared. We booked the Discover Otehei Bay tour through Explore and a family pass was $110.

All in all this was a great trip. It was so relaxed, the kids didn’t want to leave.

What I learnt is that no matter how many times you go camping there is always something that needs tweaking or changing around.

I’m already looking at planning our next trip! So here’s to more adventures and experiences.

Ronell x

Nutella Christmas Tree

Last year this Nutella Christmas tree had been doing the rounds on the internet and I always said I wanted to make it. Well a year later I finally made it.

It was super easy and you only need 3 things. You will need:

2 x Edmonds flaky puff pastry sheets

Nutella

1 x egg

Pretty much to start you need to make a Nutella sandwich, so cover one sheet with Nutella (not too close to the edges as it becomes messy when twisting). Then place the other sheet on top.

Measure out the trunk and mark the shape of the tree out.

Once that’s done cut strips along the side to make the branches and then twist each one and top with a cut out star.

Now don’t throw away any of the scraps because you can still bake those p.s you will notice my first attempt of a star amongst the scraps, it’s a shocker.

Egg wash the pastry and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. When it’s cool dust with icing sugar so it looks like snow and I used red and green M&M’s to give a bauble effect.

There you go, the Nutella Christmas tree dessert.

Hope you have a go at making this!

Happy holidays

Ronell x

Perfectionism In Children

Why is it that, we are so quick to say to others, that it’s okay, you don’t have to be a perfect parent, or you don’t have to have the perfect body etc. yet we expect our children to be perfect in all that they do (whether we are doing this intentionally or not)?

This topic came up because a friend and I were talking about our kids and the things that they have to face each day etc. and that as they enter into the next phase of schooling with intermediate and high school, the pressure and stress that comes with it.  Well it got me thinking about my family, especially my older daughter.  She is a perfectionist in everything that she does, and I don’t think this is a good thing.

She hates trying new things and would put it off out of fear of not getting it right the first time.  She get’s frustrated and gives up easily too.  In turn this frustrates me, because I know she can do it, if she just gives it a go (not a great combo – frustrated child + frustrated parent = everyone is having a meltdown).  I always say to her, don’t compare yourself to others, because everyone is different, and each person has different strengths and weaknesses.  Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and if that is in the middle or last it doesn’t matter, because it’s the best you can do and you gave it your all.  I want her to just be a kid and enjoy school and her friends while she can, with no added pressure or stress, because we know that shit piles up when you’re an adult.

This got me looking at ourselves and how we parent, and I started questioning how we do things.  Trust me we don’t always get things right, but that’s okay because we are still learning.  There is never a finish line with parenting, just a few hurdles that come up every now and again.  I thought is there anything we are doing unintentionally that is giving my daughter the message that you have to be perfect.  The biggest culprit I think is ME! I don’t say to her, you have to be perfect, or do things perfectly, however she must be picking things up from observing me.

I myself am a perfectionist, I didn’t really have this issue when I was in school,  but when I think back I was always really tidy, I loved cleaning my room and would usually rearrange everything all the time.  This got worse as I got older and had children I believe.  In regards to my house, I need to have it super tidy all the time (not ideal with children) and when it is messy (or any mess in general) my anxiety starts up really bad, so I just clean all the time. I know it is really unrealistic, but I do it anyway.   Messy play gives me heart palpitations, that’s why I loved daycares.  Growing up my mum let us do all sorts of crazy stuff, even messy things, and we never were told not to do anything because she didn’t like it.  So I am not sure how this came about in me.

I know I need to relax and ease up a bit, however it’s not as easy as it sounds, but foremost I need to help my daughter around not being a perfectionist, and I want to break the cycle and better ourselves as parent’s.   So please don’t judge me!

I am sharing this because I hope that there are people out there that can help me and others with tips or strategies that have worked for you.  If you are in the same boat as me, what are some of the things that you are doing to minimize the effect of perfectionism, in both yourself and your children.  Desperate parent right here, so I will take all the help I can get!

I came across an article from She Knows about Raising excellent, not perfect, children and it was very interesting.

Here is the link:  Raising excellent, not perfect, Children

Another good article is from the Anxiety BC.

Here is the link:  Overcoming Perfectionism

Ronell x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple 

This morning we visited the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple (North Island – NZ) in Flatbush.

Looking at it from the outside you don’t quite grasp the size of it until you enter. The temple occupies an area of 4 hectares. The temple was officially opened in 2007.


The courtyard was designed to look similar to farming fields and the grounds around the temple are just immaculate.


There is also a wishing bell that you can make a wish and say a little prayer then ring the bell.


Along the courtyard are trees where from their branches hang ribbons which you can purchase from the temple and write your wish/prayer on then hang them on the tree.


Also dotted around the zen gardens are these cute Buddha statues.



The Bell and the Drum are important Buddhist instruments. The bell is made of cast iron and weighs 3000kg, the Drum weighs 300kg. Both instruments are used daily to signify the start and the end of each day.



Next we visited the Pagoda.  The Pagoda at Fo Guang Shan is built like a memorial garden. This place is not only a place where loved ones are laid to rest but also a place where you can offer respect and remembrance. There is a big water feature at the entrance of this as water is the source of life.


After this we went and visited the art galleries within the temple. There was a great gallery especially for kids where they get to see how the Buddha grew up. It was really pretty and colourful.


In the photo above you will see little coloured papers pinned to the wall which kids have written their wishes on.

After all of that it was time for something to eat so we headed to the Water Drop Vegetable cafe. The cafe has beautiful rustic wooden furniture. Adam and I ordered the curried roti snack! It was delicious.


There are a few options for kids too. Miss K had some plain hot chips, Miss C had a muffin. There is also an array of tea available.

The temple is free to enter, there are a few donation boxes around the place where you can make a donation.

The only thing I would say is that if you are taking kids they need to be respectful of the temple and what it stands for. I have seen a few kids this morning that were running around and climbing on the statues and being extremely loud. It is not a playground, and there were people praying at the different shrines throughout the day.  So be mindful.

It was a great family outing today and we got a lot out of it.

Hope you visit it soon.

Ronell x

Be Proud Mummies!


I have recently returned to the workforce after being a stay at home mum for a bit.  At first I was a little apprehensive and worried thinking holy shit how am I going to fit everything that I did whilst being at home around work or fit work around everything I did at home.  Usually I had all day to clean up and prep all the dinner stuff (even sneak in a bit of Real Housewives or whatever else was on the planner waiting for me to watch) and then after school, head off to the multitude of activities.

Then I gave myself a pep talk and put on my big girl pants and was ready to head out the door.  The girls were a bit excited seeing mummy dressing up for work.  Well I couldn’t be happier for doing so.  Ever since starting I feel like I have an extra bounce in my step and I’m proud of myself. Even though I contributed to the household before with keeping everything running, now to be able to help financially a little bit too makes me feel great.  The best feeling was buying my husband his birthday gift that I can now say I paid for myself!!

Instead of having all day to do my other stuff I now found my rhythm/routine and can fit it all in.  I’m up at 6am, both girls help me in the morning and the afternoon with simple chores that I give them, even the husband helps too a lot more now.  I had to tweak our dinner’s to meals that don’t take too long to prep, but I’m proud that I can still fit everything in even yoga classes in the evening some days.  Don’t get me wrong at the end of the night once the girls are in bed I am tired but I have a feeling of accomplishment.  I don’t have a cleaner or a nanny to help me, it’s just me. I know that there are lots of other mum’s that are doing the same as me, still keeping the household running and going to work, whether part-time or full-time, and still getting the kids to all the after school activities on time, so to all those mum’s, stand tall and be proud of yourself that hell yeah we are doing it!  Can I just drop a Beyoncé song line here, “Who run the world? GIRLS!”

At work I sit around the meeting table now, with the rest of the team, and it feels great to contribute to things and be heard, prior to this I was always in meetings, with me, myself and I.  I’m lucky enough to work with an amazing team of other women, and I love being at work, and to know I’m making a difference even if it is small is a great feeling.   At work you get thanked for doing a great job and your efforts are recognised.  It makes you feel good about yourself.

I hope people don’t read this and think I’m taking a dig at mum’s who don’t work because in my opinion all mum’s are working mum’s whether it’s a stay at home mum, if you run your own business or if you head out to the office.  This is just how I feel about returning to work!

So I am a proud mamma and you should be to, for all your accomplishments! 

Ronell x

 

 

 

Beauty & The Beast

Last night was family movie night. Initially it was just going to be myself and Kiara who’s 10. I was sitting on the fence about whether Chloe who’s 6 would be too little to watch it.  In the end we thought stuff it we will all go and watch it, much to Chloe’s delight. 


The movie was amazing! We loved all the singing and dancing in it. I think Emma Watson who played Belle was perfect for the role. I also loved Mrs Pots & Chip. Now the Beast well I’m not so sure about that. I think everyone held their breath when the spell was broken and the prince was relieved. 

I think he looked a bit too clean if that makes sense. He should have had a beard or a bit of stubble or something.  I found him more attractive when he was a beast rather than the prince! Is that weird? 

There are a couple of scary bits but not too bad. Our girls were okay with it they just covered their eyes a bit. 

This movie was one of my favourite Disney movies growing up, and I’m so pleased I got to watch this with my girls. 

All in all we loved it! 


Hope you enjoy it as much as us!

Ronell x

Clip n Climb – North Shore

Every parent knows this scenario well! It’s the weekend and is pissing down with rain, the kids are fighting with each other or bored or who knows what! We parents are thinking, “Please god save us!” 

Well we were saved this weekend that has just gone by. Auckland received one of its heaviest downpours, however we braced the weather and took the girls to the new Clip N Climb in Albany, North Shore. 

The set up was pretty amazing. At the entrance you will find a huge picture showing the height of some of the tallest mountains in the world. 


Once we entered the girls were quickly and efficiently harnessed up and were ready to go. But before climbing you are taken through a quick safety briefing which the guys make pretty fun for the kids. 


The girls got to climb for an hour. There were so many different walls for them to try out they loved it. We went to the first session in the morning so it was pretty empty however it does not take long to fill up. It’s also a very popular party destination. 


They did so well it took them a few times before they worked up the courage to go all the way to the top. I bet it isn’t easy either! I’m yet to give it a go myself! 

The girls cooled off afterwards with a well deserved ice cream! It’s fair to say we had a quiet afternoon as they were pretty tired from all the climbing. It’s a win win situation! 

If you would like more information about Clip n Climb check out their website here. 

Clip n Climb North Shore
Happy climbing! 

Ronell x

Epic Auckland Beaches

We have had two cracker Auckland long weekends with brilliant weather, finally!  So it was time to hit the beach, it’s what we Kiwi’s do best!  Pack the chilly bin, grab your beach umbrella and togs, and you’re set.

Orewa Beach

A drive up North led us to Orewa Beach.  This beach is part of the Hibiscus Coast and is only 20km north of the Auckland Harbour bridge.  We headed to the Arundel Reserve end where there is a bit of an inlet into a small river.  This area was perfect for the kids to paddle and even better for much younger children, because of the depth of the water.

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Cheltenham Beach

Cheltenham Beach is a beautiful beach located in Devonport.  It is 1.5km away from the ferry and you can walk to beach soaking in the sites and admiring many of the Victorian Villas.

There are plenty of grassy areas where you can set up your picnic and relax for the day.  At one end of the beach there are stairs which lead up to North Head.  From the top you can take in the spectacular views of the beach and Rangitoto Island.

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Maraetai Beach

This beach is just beautiful.  Situated on what is called the Pohutukawa Coast in East Auckland.  It is a safe swimming beach for kids.  The sand is not as fine, it does have a bit more shell around.  Here you will find plenty of grass areas to set up your picnic under the great pohutukawa trees which provide plenty of shade. Also in the area are great little cafes where you can pick up a coffee or an ice cream, and if you were not keen on packing food,  well then you can dine in them too.

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There are a few beautiful beaches in this area.  Before getting to Maraetai you will pass Omana Regional Park, which you can also swim at.  Also don’t forget to head out to Beachlands there are a few smaller beaches there too.

Back Beach, Castor Bay

Well to access this beach you will need to encounter the famous Kennedy Park Stairs. There is plenty parking at the Kennedy Park Reserve, which is home to some gun emplacements and tunnels from the Second World War.  The tunnels open every second Sunday of each month between 11am – 2pm for guided walks by volunteers.  You will also find a big playground at the reserve which will serve hours of entertainment for the kids.

We decided to head down to the beach, via the stairs of doom.  Boy oh boy what where we thinking!!  My legs felt like lead on the way back up all these stairs.  Loads of people were training by running up and down these stairs.  I was just dying watching them.

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Hope you get to visit some of these epic beaches at some stage, and enjoy them as much as we did, except the stairs I didn’t like it much!

Ronell x

A Trip Down the Puhoi River

Now that the weather is starting to finally feel like summer here in Auckland, it was time for us to make the most of it.  Kayaking down the Puhoi River is something that we have always wanted to do and now that the girls are a bit older we decided it’s the perfect time.

We booked 2 double kayaks and the cost for that was $200, we booked the early morning session for a couple of reasons, mainly with kayaking you have a short window based on tides.  Also our girls are early risers so it made sense booking the first slot.  Travelling up North in the holidays there is always traffic so going first thing means we didn’t get stuck in any traffic and stress about not making our allocated time.


Because both girls have not kayaked before they got a lesson from one of the owners so that was really good.  We all then got fitted with life jackets and then we were shown the route on a map that we will be kayaking along.  The route runs from the Puhoi River all the way down to Wenderholm Regional Park.  You can only go one way, you can’t sort of turn around and go back to the start.  I bet you are wondering well how the heck do you get back? Have no fear, there is a shuttle bus that is waiting at Wenderholm to pick you up and take you back to Puhoi where your car is parked.


The distance of the kayak trip is 8km long and takes two hours to get to the end.  The kayaks we used had rudders in them so we had a bit of help when we needed to steer the kayak.  Now with taking children along the ride, our girls are 10 and almost 6 so they were not too little, however, Chloe who is almost 6 did ask a couple of times how much longer till we get to the end!!!  They did really well and actually did paddle most of the way.  If your child can’t handle sitting in a confined space for that amount of time I would suggest get a babysitter and just the parents give it a go.


Also it’s hard to paddle once you get closer to the end as the estuary is very big and open so the currents and wind makes it a bit more challenging and also makes your muscles scream out just that little bit more.  I honestly thought that the day after I wasn’t going to be able to use my arms, but surprisingly it was my calf muscles that had enough!  Oh the pain, probably from controlling the rudders the whole way.


Make sure you are prepared, plenty of sunblock and water bottles.  You are allowed to take a bag onto the kayak so you can pack some essentials in there.  We didn’t get too wet but having some dry warm clothes in the car wouldn’t hurt.  Don’t forget the snacks, because after kayaking for that long, everyone is hungry!


It’s great fun and at times we just didn’t paddle at all and relaxed and talked for a bit. The water and scenery were beautiful.


So go on and get cruising down that river!

Enjoy!

Ronell x