My view on 13 Reason’s Why! 

There has been a lot of hype around this new show on Netflix and there’s probably a 100 articles and views on it so I’m gonna pile mine on too.

We binge watched the whole season in a few days luckily the kids were away so we literally watched it for an entire day!!! As a parent it grips you even more.

It is quite confronting with the incidents that happen in the show like rape, drugs, alcohol and suicide.

It just goes to show how one small lie or rumour at the beginning starts a whole ripple effect in the main characters life who is Hannah. The whole time watching the show the thing I was thinking about the most is how oblivious the parents where to what was going on in each of their kids lives.

Some of the kids had great relationships with their parents but even so the parents didn’t pick up on the deep issues that their kids faced. I know kids especially teenagers are pretty clever when it comes to hiding things and putting on a show that everything’s fine, so if they do that and still have good relationships with their parents, how do we as parents find out if anything more serious is going on?

Off course you can’t interrogate them which will just make things worse. I suppose it just comes down to being open with them, being present when they do actually talk to you and try to pick up on any cues they may give you that something is wrong.

It was also interesting to see how the kids involved responded to everything once they found out how their behaviour added to the situation. Almost everyone one of them deflected the blame, only a couple actually stood up to the other kids and accepted how their actions together with everyone else’s contributed to Hannah taking her life.

Now the show got a lot of backlash from people everywhere, going on about it being to graphic, it shouldn’t be on TV and it’s so full on, the usual PC bullshit in my eyes.  The thing is we don’t live in the dark ages, we know that this sort of thing happens and we should be talking about it and helping people rather than pretending it doesn’t happen. I watched an interview on TV with the main characters and they said, that their main purpose of this show is to get people talking about mental illness and I think they have achieved it, because everyone is talking about it and is more aware of it.

Unfortunately, bullying these days in school start’s much earlier than high school.  Last year personally for our family we went through a tough year with our oldest daughter at school having the worst year and she was only 10.  Kids can be very mean and I have seen it and experienced it.  So for me watching this show I learnt a few more things.  Since our experiences last year, we have all become more open with each other and I am glad that my daughter knows she can come to me about anything, because she knows that we will always help her no matter what.

Selena Gomez who is one of the executive producer’s of the show has confirmed that the show will be returning for season 2 next year!  It will pick up in the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s death and the start of the characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery.

No parent or child should go through this, so yes I would encourage, especially parents to watch this show, whether you want to watch it with your teenagers that’s your call, but definitely watch it.

Ronell x

 

I’ve Travelled The World Through Books

I have not physically travelled to a lot of places around the world, but I was transported globally through the many books I have read.  From Dublin, Ireland, to New York, out to the country in Texas, and down under in Australia (disclaimer: I did actually live in Oz for a few years!) and off course Europe.  I can name a few places, and through these books I could smell, taste and get a glimpse of being there and experiencing everything it has to offer.

My love for reading began at a very early age.  One memory that stands out to me is when I was around 11 or 12 and still in primary school.  It’s not a good memory but it always has stuck with me for some reason.  We were given a book to read and it was time for our group to come to the front of the class, and we all had to sit down with the teacher.  Anyway, my teacher had asked me, “When you read the book Ronell, did you see what you were reading in your mind, like watching a movie?”  Off course I saw every word that I read come to life, however I thought that wasn’t meant to happen when you read and that I was loosing my mind, so I said to the teacher, “no I didn’t see anything when I read”.  Well I got in a bit of trouble with the teacher and I was told off for being stupid and not being able to read properly.  I was by this stage to embarrassed to tell him the truth, so I just went with him thinking I couldn’t read properly.

I soon learnt that I was not loosing my mind and that’s exactly what is meant to happen when you read, so I read all the time like a crazy person, because for me it was like watching a movie.  When I was in high school, I used to be in my room for hours reading, and my mum used to scold me for being stuck in my room, because she thought I was checking out the boys walking by our house, but I was really reading.  I couldn’t afford to buy any books so I borrowed loads from the library and used to read my mum’s old books and my sister’s books that I could find.  I do remember reading a Danielle Steel book in high school (possibly not a good choice of book at that age).

When I started working I was ecstatic because I could finally buy books, and I read pretty fast so I was churning through the books.  I remember being swept away with Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (I even bought the DVD’s based on the book and the sequel),  and then going back even further in time with Ken Follett.  Oh my gosh I could go on with all the different types of books that I have read.  A lot of people read to fall asleep, but when I read it’s the opposite, I get so absorbed into the book that I forget about time.  Once I got married, the love affair with reading continued (I actually don’t think this affair will ever end), except now we were running out of space to store these books, and they were not cheap either, so my husband bought me a kindle.  I love my kindle, but I miss real books especially the smell and feel of them, you know you love it too!

Now that I have kids of my own, I want to pass on that love of books to them, and I think I may have given them the book bug.  I buy them books over sweet treats and toys any day.  Every occasion that we celebrate there is always a book included in their gifts.

I would like to share with you the two most recent books I bought for the girls which are:

1.  Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli & Franesca Cavallo

I love this book!!!  I have bought one for each girl to have with them always.  This book reinvent’s fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 heroic women.  These are real life stories.  I want my girls to know, that you don’t need to be a damsel in distress or wait for Prince Charming to always save you.  I want them to read this and know they can be strong, independent women when they grow up, and that no dream is unattainable. That whatever their passion is in life, to go for it and don’t let anyone tell them they can’t do it. The book has been illustrated by 60 women artists from every corner of the globe as well.  RRP $39.99

2.  Wonder by R.J Palacio

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This book has got some rave reviews, some of which are:

‘Has the power to move hearts and change minds’ – Guardian

It wreaks emotional havoc’ – Independent

‘Tremendously uplifting and a novel of all-too-rare power’ – Sunday Express

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? (insert from goodreads)

So that’s just a snippet of what the book is about and I liked it because it was different to your usual kids stories. RRP $22.99

I hope I didn’t bore you with my ramblings about reading, but like me I know that there are lots of other book lovers out there who share the same passion.  I currently have 3 books that I’m reading on the go!

Right I better stop now because I can go on forever about reading!  I would love to hear about how your love for reading began, if your’e a bookworm like me.

Happy reading!

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

 

 

 

It’s a Moana Party! 

This weekend we celebrated my daughter’s 6th birthday and she wanted a Moana themed party after watching the movie. 

I still wanted to keep it all low key and not a huge affair by going overboard with decorations etc. 

I ordered her invite through Etsy which was perfect. It was a Moana themed design which I chose from quite a few. So there is plenty of options. Also you are paying for one high resolution digital file which cost me $8 and once designed, it got emailed to me and I printed them out. I love using Etsy for these. 


The table setting was fairly simple as well all the decorations were purchased from Look Sharp. The sand and shells were from our local beach! 


Loot bags are something that I swore I would never do but hence I have done them! Well I couldn’t not do them after I saw these little bags. I bought a flower head band from Look sharp and removed the Frangipani’s and stuck them into the bag. 


Now the cake!! I didn’t want to make something too complicated. I knew I wanted to use toy figurines from the movie on the cake and Chloe can have those afterwards as part of her gifts. I ordered a playset of Farmers and was offcourse sent a different set to what I had ordered. OMG…I was in panic mode as the whole cake was designed around this set. The other set that I was given had most of the characters I needed except Maui! 
I went to 3 different stores to see if I could exchange it and nothing! Every store was sold out of that set. I couldn’t even get it online. I even had a friend in Australia who went to about 3 stores herself in search of Maui. Seriously I thought he was going to be the death of me. So I put a call out on Facebook in search of a Maui figurine. 

Thank goodness a friend had received the figurines with a storybook a while back and had Maui! Holy shitballs I was so relieved. 

The cake itself was two 8″ chocolate cakes. I baked those in a few days in advance and froze them. Putting it together was fairly simple. I made the sand by blitzing up some Krispies coconut biscuits. I sandwiched the two cakes together with a layer of buttercream icing inbetween. Then coloured icing some blue and green. I bought the chocolate wafer logs from the Asian grocer which formed the fence around the cake. Then it was time to ice it all. The hydrangea flowers were sugar flowers which I purchased from Cake Boss, I didn’t have moulds to make flowers like this and took the easy option and bought them. The grass was made using a piping nozzle specifically for that. 

The things we parents have to do! Anyway here is the finished cake. 



The food was pretty simple as well we served fresh fruit, popcorn, cocktail sausages, water as the drink and offcourse cake!

It was an amazing day, we were all singing to the Moana soundtrack and the kids had a blast. 

So if you are planning a Moana birthday party I hope you can find some inspiration from this post. 

Enjoy!

Ronell x

No Cook Playdough

I have been using this playdough recipe for years!  I can’t remember where I got it from but it’s super easy to make considering there is no cooking!

It truly is fail proof, every time I make it, it turns out perfect.  It is super soft and doesn’t dry out easily.  We store the playdough in zip lock bags once the girls are finished playing with them. I usually double the recipe as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp of oil (any type will do)
  • 1 1/2 cup boiling water

Method

  • Add all the ingredients in a bowl according to the order above.
  • Mix with a fork as it will be very hot.
  • Once you are able to touch it a bit, knead it for a bit in the bowl then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it some more until you get a nice soft and smooth dough.
  • Then add food colouring to make your colours.

Enjoy!

Ronell x

I’m No Mathematician

Since when did math’s homework in primary school become so hard!!!  It’s my daughters last year in primary school which is called Year 6 here in New Zealand.

At the start of this year I have bought both girls a Math’s workbook each for us to do together during the year.  Just one page a day, to help them keep on top of maths so that they don’t fall behind.  I know maths is a subject that many kids dislike therefore, I want them to have the knowledge and confidence in it so from the get go it’s not a subject they end up hating.

But I tell you what, some of the things they learn at school now at primary school level, I’m sure we never learnt that, it just seems so much more complicated.  My daughter works on a online maths program where the kids get given tasks that they have to complete, and from time to time, she will ask us for a bit of help, this is when I run to my room very quickly and google the answer and then come back and explain it all, off course not giving away my source.

What happened to the good old fashion way that we used to do it (as per the photo example) ?

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Now day’s holy shit they break the number up into so many parts and make it this long ended way of calculating it, confusing the hell out of everyone, no wonder the kids feel helpless, because I sure as hell do!

So if my kids ever end up getting a maths tutor I too will be taking lessons!!!

Ronell x