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

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My 11yr Old has a Smartphone!!!

As our eldest daughter is starting intermediate this year, we thought it was a good time to get her a phone.  I think a lot of other parents thought the same thing as the shop was filled with very excited and eager tweens and teens getting new phones, and parents re-directing their kids to the not so expensive phones.  It’s not a decision we took lightly, it seems kid’s are getting phones much younger these days and our rule was always that we would look at it when the girls start intermediate.  I mean I got my first phone when I was 19 and it was a Nokia 3210, however I don’t think waiting til that age now would go down well.

After much research and looking around and talking to the sales guy in the store we decided on a Samsung Galaxy J3 Pro.

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Having a phone now teaches her to be responsible for something, it gives her a bit of independence and freedom as well.  I am glad that I can now contact her or vice versa when she is out walking to school and home, at her after school activities etc.  But before we handed over the phone we had to go over some ground rules, and I wanted her to have some sort of contract between herself and us.  So trusty Google came up with the goods.  I downloaded a cell phone contract and a social media contract.  She isn’t on social media but has asked if she can get Instagram, which I am still considering. My husband and I were chatting the other day and we both agreed that technology is not the enemy, it’s when people abuse and misuse it, that’s when it becomes a problem.  Technology is moving forward and our kids are bang smack in the middle so instead of holding her back and sheltering her from it all, it’s better that she learns about it.

Now I know some people might think having a contract is a bit over the top, and that’s fine, but for us, since kids are getting phones younger now, we wanted to educate her and make her aware of cyber bullying, the many weirdo’s that are out there, what is and isn’t appropriate use of the phone and social media.  Even photographs, what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Here are the links to the contracts that I have downloaded and used, the social media contract is from iMom and Cell Phone contract is from 30 Hand Made Days.  They are pretty good.

Social Media Contract

Cell Phone Contract

Ronell x

Living a Minimalist Lifestyle

Last year in October I came across a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism by The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus).  They have a website as well so you can check them out here.  I also listen to their podcasts which are fab!  My husband and I both watched it and it was one of those light bulb moments.  For so many years I have been caught up in always wanting more and now looking back I think to myself, why the hell did I want more???  I got caught up in the whirlwind of social media, it is full of advertising and influencers whose job is to make us feel like we need everything they are promoting and they do a pretty good job because many of us fall into that trap.  Also you get a snapshot of people’s lives and what they have in their homes etc and you start to think that you need those things too when in fact you don’t.

So we began our journey of living a more minimalist lifestyle and keeping things simple.  First step was we needed to declutter our home, you know the saying, “Cluttered house, cluttered mind”.  You’re probably thinking there is no way you can declutter with kids, well we have so it can be done.  We tackled their rooms and either threw out a lot of junk that didn’t add any value and we donated a lot of stuff too.  As for the toys, we sorted through them all and they kept their really special ones and the ones they use on a daily basis, because at the end of the day they are still kids and it’s okay for them to have some toys to play with. We then donated the rest to kids that are less fortunate.

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We went through every box that we had in storage, and reduced the number of boxes we have by only keeping things that we use like our camping gear, suitcases, etc.   I had a massive storage box that was filled with books for the last 10 or more years, just sitting there collecting dust.  Boxes and boxes of dvd and cd collections, toys, clothes, etc  For 5-6 weeks straight every weekend I was dropping off boot loads of stuff to the charity shops, and every time I looked at the stuff I was donating I was shocked at the amount of money I spent on things I didn’t really need.

Decluttering is not easy, it’s not a process that happens quickly and may take some time. The problem is people have a lot of things that are handed down to them or they collected over the years, however no item comes with sentimental value, its human nature that we attach feelings to everything, which in turn makes it very hard to then let go of things.  At the end of the day it is just stuff, and in actual fact it is the memory that’s attached to that item which is important.  So if we give away those items, we still have the memories and that’s what stays with us forever.

I do a room at a time or a cupboard at a time, and slowly the process begins.  I had a linen cupboard filled with about 50 towels, who the hell uses that many towels, NO ONE!!!!  I found 3 towels from when my 6-year-old was a baby and never used it since she was 1 but they just sat there in the cupboard taking up space.  I can now say that the linen cupboard is no longer cluttered! The kitchen is another place that things just get stored or thrown into cupboards that we never use.  But because kitchens are usually big, I do a cupboard at a time rather than the whole kitchen because I am certainly not insane to tackle that whole space in one go!

I then moved onto other aspects in my life that I could declutter like emails for one! Over the years I have signed up to so many different newsletters and all they did was clutter up my inbox!  I installed an app called Unroll.me which helped sort through my emails etc, and now I have unsubscribed from 236 mailing lists.  This is a good thing for the wallet too because I am no longer tempted by the numerous sales or specials.  Now with smartphones we have all sorts of apps that we can get on our phones, I went through these and deleted all those that I don’t use.  If you’re like me and are part of many chat groups, for example What’s app, Messenger etc then it may be time to review those.  I have removed myself from a few groups not because I don’t want to talk to people but my phone was just blowing up with messages non stop and all I hear is ding, ding, ding and half the time I barely read them! I would now rather message them directly or actually pick up the phone and speak to them.  Facebook – how many friends do you really need and how many of those friends do you actually engage with?  Do people just follow others these days to be nosy or what?  If they are genuine friends then by all means keep them if not you know what to do!

I even looked at my relationships with people, and found that it’s time for me to also let go of some friendships.  There are friends who over the years I have learnt to be fake and are only nice to me at face value, friends that only need me when they want me to do something for them, and also friends who we have just grown apart over the years.  I now have just a handful of friends that I know are my true friends, I don’t need hundreds of friends, because it just becomes too complicated.  Also I find having too many different groups of friends is hard work and there has been lots of research that show’s physically our brains can only cope with a certain number.

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I can honestly talk forever about this topic I am so passionate about it, for me now I am going to focus more time on myself, reading more books (on my kindle or borrowing from the library),  going for walks etc  I am going to focus on showing my girls that living a simple life is the richest and happiest life you can live and that we don’t need all the mod cons and extravagant things that the world tells us we need.  We will give them more experiences over material things.  I will no longer spend money on buying stuff I don’t need or doesn’t fulfill a purpose or add value I have already wasted too much money on that.  I think that life is pretty simple we just over complicated it.

Ronell x

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Social Media Detox

I have been meaning to do this post for a while now and I’m not sure what has held me back but I am doing it now.  The whole thing might sound like I am just having a big rant and maybe I am.  I signed up to Facebook many years ago whilst living in Australia, and for me it was a great way to stay connected to my family and friends back home in South Africa.  However, over the years how we use social media has completely changed and I’m at the point where I am kinda getting over it.  To me it seems like now you have to disconnect to actually connect with people.  Make real connections.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, you name it, it all just seems to have become a bit competitive.  At one stage I too was a social media addict and posted photos of everything and anything, like seriously who cares what I eat for dinner not many people to be honest.  I eat food just like everyone else.

People just seem so superficial now and that’s just my opinion, you can choose to agree or disagree that’s your choice.  When people post stuff now,  I don’t even know if it’s real, or is it just there so everyone else can think that their lives are just so amazing and awesome, compared to everyone else’s normal lives.  I think it has become a platform for people to show off a bit, look at my kids dressed in “Country Road” clothes or whatever designer wear, seriously I dress my kids in Warehouse, Kmart or Cotton on and even hand me downs, really whats the point dressing them up in expensive stuff when they grow so fast!

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If you look at your “friends” on Facebook, how many of them are truly your friends, and when was the last time you actually spoke to any of them?  I know there are some that I have not spoken to in years!  Every so often I go and do a clean out of who I actually share things with and now I am going to do an even bigger clean out, please don’t be offended if I remove you, it’s nothing personal, but if we haven’t engaged in a long time then it makes sense.

Here’s a great little video that you should watch!  Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

I think there is definitely a place for Facebook, it can be very good for community pages, businesses, support groups, school groups.  Those are exceptionally useful.

Instagram holy moly, I mean there were days that I spent ages trying to bloody do a flat lay photo, or raid the house for black and white stuff so I could do a monochrome photo. It all has just become far to time consuming.  Again, these little tiles of square can sometimes get you feeling a bit down, because you look at other people’s feed’s and think wow look at the stuff they have or the places they go (admit it you feel that way too, it’s called being human), but then reality slaps you in the face, and reminds you once again, it’s all styled and edited.  We cannot go through life with everything being styled or in the perfect light, and don’t get me started about Instagram stories and Snapchat…for fucks sake, like seriously, how long do some of these people spend recording themselves talk???

Imagine, if people actually didn’t spend hours looking at themselves talk all day about what they are doing, and how they wish their hair was straighter or had more body, or about them getting their eyebrows feathered.  They will be astounded at the amount of spare time they have up their sleeves, try it people you might be surprised.

The worst one is when people are out walking/exercising and they are videoing themselves talking for such a long time and I think to myself, have they ever thought what they look like to onlookers, here they are walking holding a phone out in front of them talking!  It’s fucking hilarious and ridiculous.  I am so sick of seeing people constantly going on about all the packages that are arriving at their doorsteps, I got a few things given to me to promote by brands, but I am so glad I don’t get a shit load of stuff, because quite frankly I can’t be arsed. There are some people who spend all day running from one PR event to another, it’s just crazy to me, but hey they love it and so that’s their thing.

It sort of all came to me when I was at Adele’s concert and I was standing there in the rain and spending so much time taking videos of her singing, and I am watching her through my phone screen.  I thought to myself like seriously what the hell is wrong with me, I didn’t pay $150 to watch Adele through my phone screen.  I put my phone away and was completely present, and I sang and danced with my daughter for the rest of the time.

I have slowly stopped posting much on Instagram and yes I might have lost some followers but I am at the point now where I don’t really care, I don’t post much on my private Facebook account now either, because I want my life to be mine, and not for everyone else to have a look in on.

Instead now I spend more time reading, listening to music, and dancing it out with my girls!

Happy detoxing!

Ronell x

 

 

 

I’m A Tidy Person & Make No Apologies For It!

Mmmm….I’ve been thinking about this for a few days after hearing something on social media.  Another mum made a comment saying, that people who have clean immaculate houses are just not real people and that it could just be a persona for social media, compared to her house which she claimed to be a tip!  It was a general comment not made to anyone specifically.

Well this rubbed me the wrong way because I am a very tidy person, I clean my house every single day, and you can drop in any time and it will always look the same, tidy! I never have stuff lying around on every surface of my house, everything has a place, and you know what I am real! This is who I am this is what I do.  I’m not doing it to show off or impress anyone else, I’m doing it for me.  I am an organised person and my house is the same.  Having a tidy house gives me a sense of calmness and I find I’m not so stressed.

I’m just so sick of the word “real” being thrown around for every single thing.  If someone chooses to have a clean house then good on them, if it’s not a priority for other’s then that’s okay too.  The hashtag #Mumlife doesn’t necessarily mean a messy house, grubby kids and baked beans on toast for dinner. Why do we always glorify the not so pretty side and for those that make an effort with their home and food etc why isn’t that “mumlife?”.  There are night’s when we have baked beans on toast but it’s not every night. Everyone lives by different standards, which should be accepted and not put down.

I have two girls and for me it’s important that one of the many things I teach them is how to keep a house clean and tidy, how to cook etc, so one day when they venture off, they will have been taught how to look after themselves and the places they live in.  It’s something that I choose to teach them, it doesn’t mean everyone has to teach their kids the same thing I’m doing. Life isn’t one size fits all. 

I have anxiety issues, and if things in my life aren’t in order or tidy it effects me, so I always plan everything meticulously and I clean the house a lot, but as crazy as it sounds I actually enjoy cleaning.

I’m not a stepford wife, I do have day’s where I really can’t be bothered with cleaning or cooking and if the house is somewhat clean then that will do. There are days where I will sit down and watch a movie or catch up on some of my shows (that seem to take up all the space on the planner as I never get a chance to watch it).

So please don’t judge or label other mum’s no matter how they choose to live their lives.  I will never apologise for having a tidy house!

Ronell x

 

Let Kids Get Bored

School’s out which means we are probably going to hear, “Muuuummmm, I’m bored!” a lot. Well, we are day 3 into the holidays and it is fair to say I have heard it a few times today already.

I am all for going on trips and being out and about from time to time.  But the thing is, it is bloody exhausting and can be expensive too if you choose activities that you have to pay for.  I have said to my girls I am not employed by them as their school holiday project planner, where each day there needs to be an activity planned.  There are a few parents out there that feel their kids need to be entertained every day in some shape or form.  Not me!

I make sure we have a few days every week where we are at home with nothing planned, yes the girls moan like it’s the end of the world, but boredom in children sparks creativity and imagination.  I also take away any devices. If we are always creating scenarios/activities for them, then their brains are just not getting exercised at all!

Growing up, we never did much activities where my mum had to drive us somewhere in the school holidays.  The neighbourhood kids all got together and played, whether it was baseball in the back fields or riding bikes.  My brother and I used to set up these obstacle courses in our yard and race each other, the amount of games we used to come up with where endless with whatever we could find in the house or yard.

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You might think to yourself, “oh I’m such a lazy/bad parent”, especially when you see other families doing so much stuff with their kids, but, YOU ARE NOT because you are giving your children something priceless, the opportunity to be creative and learn with play.

Don’t get me wrong going out and doing things is great fun, but it doesn’t need to be everyday or all the time that your children become dependant on it.

So go forth parents and let them be bored!

Ronell x

The Evolution of Makeup

The makeup industry is ever evolving, there are new trends out all the time, it’s hard to keep up sometimes.  I have recently taken a bit more interest in makeup and how I wear it. I’ve always loved makeup but I was one of those girls that never really had a massive collection of loads of different shades of eyeshadow and lipsticks etc, I just had a handful of neutral colours that worked with my skin colour.  Even to this day it’s not a big collection, purely because I went with what I know and stayed safe I didn’t want to experiment too much, but hence I’m starting to explore this a bit more. As you can see below that’s the extent of my makeup!

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I have ordered a new eyeshadow pallet which I am really happy with from Mellow Cosmetics and I cant wait to start using it.

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I alway’s thought I knew a lot about makeup, but after watching a few tutorials online, I realise just how little I know.  It’s not as simple as slapping on some foundation, loose powder, mascara and lippy!  Oh no, it’s all about contouring and highlighting now, plus there are so many different products that offer different looks and even the type of brushes we use are endless.  It’s a lot to take in especially if you are unfamiliar with it all, I mean where do you start?  I guess it’s all trial and error.

So with my realisation of how little I know I was curious about makeup and how it has evolved over so many decades.  I started to dig a little on the internet to see what I can find I looked through all the decades and read all about it and thought I would share a snapshot of each one with you and show you how far we have come with makeup.

1910’s

1910

During the 1910 era World War 1 was near so women wearing makeup at this time was taboo.  The makeup trend was limited to pink cheeks, small amounts of lipstick and vaseline on your eyelids were all that you could wear.

1920’s

1920

In this decade things really changed, it was the flapper era!  Foundation that was worn was a very pale shade.  The lipsticks where a deep red shade with a distinct bow-shaped application. Kohl eyeliner was used, and they didn’t hold back either (I think they were making up for the decade before) it was applied really heavily.  Lots of rouge (blush) was applied only on the apples of your cheeks in a circle.  Shorter hair especially the finger wave style was in too.

1930’s

1930

In the 1930’s foundations were more of an ivory hue and applied heavily.  Eyebrows were very thin and had high arches.  The cat’s eye effect with eyeliner had started out.  Lipstick colours were deep reds, maroons, browns & raspberry.

1940’s

1940

During 1940 World War 2 took place, which meant a lot of the women were expected to put their best face on and head to the workplace. But because of the war makeup was rationed and there was not a lot of options.  Fuller eyebrows were back, makeup was lighter giving a more natural look.  Mascara and eyeliner were used but very sparingly and red lips made a comeback.

1950’s

1950

The war was over which meant makeup was back in full force and there were no shortages. This era’s makeup was inspired by so many great Hollywood leading ladies, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner!  Foundations were applied thicker smoothing out the skin and covering up imperfections.  Thick dramatic layers of eyeliner and mascara was used.  The cat eye effect was back.  Lipsticks were bright reds or cherry.

1960’s

1960

Well this decade was flipped on its head!  Famous model at the time Twiggy, set off a few trends.  Red lips were out, it was more nude lipsticks during this time.  Foundation was lighter and blending of different shades of eyeshadow became popular.  Vivid eyes were in and applying mascara thickly on both your top and bottom lashes was created.

1970’s

1970

The 70’s era brought a whole lot of stuff to the table.  The big thing was tanning as well as lot’s and lot’s of bronzer!  SPF products were introduced in the 70’s and more women started to work on their skin care routines. In the 70’s the approach was less is more in terms of makeup and women opted for more natural and nude colours.  Long feathered hairstyles were also huge, you can thank Farrah Fawcett for that one!

1980’s

1980

This decade everything about it was big! Big hair and bold colours.  In regards to makeup so much was around at the time I think it was more like lets put it all on and see what happens!  The 80’s were influenced a lot by music especially with the likes of Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Boy George.  Concealer was used to hide imperfections with foundation on top.  Bright eyeshadow were applied and sometimes even clashing colours. Blush was huge giving people crazy cheekbones and bright shades of lipsticks were used.

1990’s

1990

 

When this decade came around I think, everyone took a step back and thought, “whoa time to tone it down a bit!”  This decade was influenced by the catwalk, when the Supermodels graced the covers of most magazines and TV commercials.  The 90’s was an all over very natural and nude look.  Eyebrows were shaped and defined.  Eyeshadow was blended but more to the natural tones and mascara and eyeliner were used sparingly. Blush was used but again to more natural toned down colour.  Don’t forget the 90’s also saw the Gothic look with dramatic eyes and pale foundation, but not many opted for that trend.

2000’s

2000

Everything about this decade was all about shine!  From shimmer eyeshadow to lip gloss.  Lipgloss in every colour was all the rage.  Botox was also in and spray tans!  This decade saw the rise of trout pout everyone was getting their lips plumped or if you couldn’t afford that then just pout when you’re getting your photo taken.  Foundations were a little heavier and browner to give you a sun kissed look.

2010’s

2010

Since we are still in the current decade I’m not sure where the trends will go.  Now there is contouring to give your face shape and highlighting to give you that dewy look.  You could either go for a heavy matte foundation look as well.  Fuller eyebrows are definitely in and bold eyes.  False eyelashes are all the rage now, but I have never tried them myself.  Matte lipsticks and lip paints are also in.  I think makeup in this decade is more adaptable, you could go either way heavy and dramatic or light with a dewy look.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking through all the different makeup trends through the decades and I hope you enjoy it too.

Do you have a favourite decade?  Which is it?

Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of our very talented New Zealand make up artists who are going to shed some light on makeup with a little Q&A.   So stay tuned!

Ronell x

Soaking up some Sunshine

On Friday Auckland really turned the weather on, it was a perfect summers day. I got on my exercise gear and instead of doing my usual neighbourhood walk I headed to Milford Beach. I’ve always wanted to do the Milford Beach to Takapuna Beach walk so here I am. 


The walk runs along the shore line and over lots of rocks and narrow pathways. Some of the rocks can be slippery as well so good walking shoes is required. Also make sure you walk this when it’s low tide and definitely not when it’s hide tide or during storms (obviously). 


There are moments when I found myself getting a little wet but not too bad! There are lots of dogs around at both beaches before 10am and after 6pm during daylight savings. They are leash free as well. So I power walked whenever I was near any wet dogs!!! Except one very big dog decided to run up to me, to which I almost jumped into the water for an ocean swim!! Luckily he was called away. 


As I mentioned there are bits that are very narrow so you need good footing. This walk is definitely not suited for young children, prams etc I had my headphones on but never actually listened to my music, it was so good just taking in the sights. 


During parts of the walk you do go over private property so you need to be a bit mindful and respectful of this. I think it’s great that the owners allow it. The houses along the coast line were amazing. 


There were a few clouds threatening rain but they held off thank goodness. I found myself looking at my watch a couple of times and thinking about everything I had to do at home. But then I just said to myself screw it, it can all wait. It’s so important during this crazy holiday season that we don’t get caught up in the mad rush and instead take time out to destress and just do something that’s good for the soul. 


I walked all the way to Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store, grabbed a coffee and sat down for a little bit before heading back to Milford Beach. 


Definitely put this on your list of walks to do and make the most of this amazing weather. 

Enjoy

Ronell x

Are our kids too busy?

Okay so the school holidays are almost over here in New Zealand, and you know what starts with school being back, all the bloody running around that we do after school taking our kids to their activities!  I swear 3pm hits, and it is like mum’s taxi service starts up.  I feel like we parents are running around like headless chooks sometimes.

So here are my girls schedule and their activities:

Daughter 1 (10yrs old)

  • Netball training 8am on a Tuesday morning (during term 2 & 3)
  • Guitar practice Wednesday after school
  • Netball games Wednesday afternoon (during term 2 & 3)
  • Thursday Jazz lessons after school (plus extra lessons around exam times and end of year show)

Daughter 2 (5yrs old)

  • Swimming lessons Monday after school
  • Jazz lessons Tuesday afternoon

Most of the time we only get home at dinner time, so then it’s the witching hour everyone is hungry and tired.  So from Monday to Thursday we have an activity everyday and one child usually tags along if they don’t have anything on, and they whine because they have to sit through the others lesson!

Netball, even though it is during winter (which I think is crazy) rain or shine they keep playing their games and they hardly ever cancel!  Some games are at like 6:30pm at night!

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That is my daughter Kiara and her team playing in the pouring rain whilst we parents stand under umbrellas freezing our arses off!  I mean these girls are troopers though playing in these conditions.

I often ask my husband, “why are we doing this, putting them in all these activities?”  I always get the same reply back, “because it’s good for them”.  I know that we are all lucky that we are in positions to be able to give our children these opportunities to learn how to play a musical instrument, dance, play sport etc but when is it too much?  I feel kids are just getting busier and busier and they must be exhausted, (because I know I sure as hell am) and should we allow them sometimes to just be kids!

Sometimes we get asked from the girls, “can we do this activity, because my friend is doing it too?” Ummm….no!!  You’re doing enough already and it all cost’s money, it aint for free.  I think sometimes it kinda gets competitive too, amongst the parents!  Some push their children so hard even though they know sometimes their kids probably don’t actually enjoy it, come on guys ease off a bit, they are only kids, once in their life.

I’m all for keeping kids active and doing things that they have a passion for, but at the same time I want them to just be kids.

Do you have a limit in your house with how many activities your kids can do?

So may the force be with us all as we go through the last term of school for this year!

Ronell x

 

Camping for Families

For me I think camping is in my blood.  It’s something that we did growing up in South Africa every year from the time I was a baby, with all of our extended family.  It’s the one holiday that we absolutely looked forward to and I have so many wonderful memories.  It’s a tradition that I knew I wanted to start once I had my own little family.  My husband was a novice at camping, so it was very exciting introducing it to him and I am so glad that he now too has the camping bug. However I get that camping is not for everyone, but it is such a great thing to do with kids.

When we were living in Sydney, we went to the camping expo and bought our first tent and a few essentials to get us going.  Kiara was only 2 year’s old when we went on our first camping trip to Forster, we stayed at the Hallidays Point campground.

At the time we bought a 4 person tent, and boy was it tight!  The thing I soon realised is that if you really want to test your relationship, definitely try putting up a tent with your partner!  Here are some photos from our trip!  All we had was the tent,  a table/cooking hub and a couple of chairs.  We stored all of our food etc in plastic bins and we had air mattress es to sleep on.

As you can see our tent was slightly lopsided!!! After doing a quick walk around the campground, Adam realised he did the guy ropes wrong! We just had a little two burner gas stove.

Camping in the Sydney heat is quite something compared to that of New Zealand, but the good old paper plate served as a makeshift fan!

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Fair to say we survived our first family camping trip.  We learnt a lot from this trip and were armed for our next one.  We moved back to New Zealand when we were expecting baby number 2.  I knew that we would be doing more camping and what better way to explore this beautiful country. We started setting up our camping gear, we couldn’t bring over our tent (thank goodness).  First thing was getting a tent, that was big enough to last the distance and our family as we grew.  So we ended up buying the Retreat 360 tent from Kathmandu, or as my husband call’s it, the beast!  It sleeps up to 8 and is 7m x 7m.

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As you can tell it’s pretty big, but fits us all in, plus all our cupboards etc.

Now just to put it out there, even though I love camping, I am not that keen on going to the Doc sites where there are only cold showers and long drop toilets!!  That to me is on another level, not sure I’m ready for that just yet, maybe one day.  I prefer hot showers and toilets that I can flush.  I also take a few comfort items from home, we take a little 129L fridge and we have that in our tent as we book powered sites so we plug it in.  We have a couple of double cupboards in the front room which we use for pantry stuff, and two other single cupboards in the back room which we use for our clothes.  I also take my clothes horse for our washing.  A good checklist that we use is from Kiwi Camping and it has everything on it.  You may not necessarily use everything on the list, but it’s handy to just have a look through, you can find that here.  When we started camping we used air mattresses, however, every time for some reason they always end up with a hole and by the time we wake up in the morning we are on the ground as the air has all gone!!!  We now use stretcher beds which has a foam mattress on it as well.

The great thing about camping is there is such a good community feel in the campgrounds, the kids all end up playing together and they make new friends, there is no technology (even though we pack these as back up for bad weather) and once you have the tent up and everything set up then it’s all relaxing.

So keep an eye out as I feature each week a campground that we have stayed at here in New Zealand and I will go through the pro’s and con’s of each one.  So hopefully you will find one that you will like to camp at.

Happy camping!

Ronell x