The MumBlog

The latest news and product updates on MumMade

hurry up and relax

Thursday, 19th November 2015


Last November, I turned 40 on a depressing, rainy Monday. We'd just moved to New Zealand from Japan and were finding our feet, so I didn't do anything to celebrate. My best friend in New York surprised me with a luxury spa treatment at one of the top hotels here in Auckland. She'd organised it with my husband, and I was genuinely surprised.

An actual 3 hour spa treatment at that gorgeous hotel. "I'll hang onto it until the perfect opportunity to book it in." I told myself. But then, life happened. I work from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm and my kids go to school from 9 - 3, so there's no time during the week.

Weekends? I have a teenager, 9 year old and a 5 year old. The older two are heavily involved in sports, meaning we all have to go our separate busy ways most weekends. No dice there, either. 

"Ah, no hurry, I have until October 28th next year to use it." I told myself on November 3rd last year. 

When did I actually use it? October 25th.

Of course, this happened to coincide with the boys' bonding weekend my husband and older son had planned for the first time ever. My daughter had her friend over to ours for a sleepover and I negotiated a deal with them to watch my 5 year old son while I went for my spa in exchange for a day of shopping the following day.

At this point, I was so anxious, I wasn't actually able to look past organising the logistics of it enough to even look forward to it. The thought of being a 20 minute drive away, getting a massage without my phone in my hand should have been enticing, but I was convinced something awful would happen at home base while I was off being selfish. As I sat in the waiting area, I took a photo of the spa's business card and texted them off to my husband and daughter "just in case."

Before I knew it, I found myself lapping up the amazing 45 minute pre-treatment ritual of jacuzzi, snail shower, ice flicks, sauna, back to ice flicks, then to the herbal steam spa. This was just the lead up and I was the most relaxed I'd been in who knows how long. To be honest, I probably would've been perfectly satisfied to have gone home at this point already...until I was called into my private room for the 2 hour treatment. As I lay in dimly lit room, feeling woozy from the heady combination of all that relaxing and the heavenly aroma of coconut and vanilla oils, I had no trouble getting comfy on that massage table. About 15 minutes into it though,  I started having visions of my son falling off a tree and breaking his arm, or him putting his leg through the large front window while playing soccer, my distraught daughter desperately trying to get a hold of me through the hotel operator. I played both roles of devil and angel on my shoulders as I was supposed to be relaxing. 30 minutes of exfoliating later, I was placed in the most beautiful, candlelit tub for 30 minutes of soaking. This was magical...for about 10 minutes. Then I subconsciously started bracing myself for the knock on the door with one of my kids wanting to use the toilet or wanting something to eat. I didn't know what to do, I felt guilty with all that peace and serenity to myself for all that extended period of time. When the masseuse came back and I got back on that table for another hour, I continued my game of dreaming up worst case scenarios and talking myself down. I'd left my phone in the locker - what if there were dozens of urgent texts and missed calls? No, my daughter and husband had the hotel's number, if there was some kind of emergency, I'd know by now and on and on it went. All that worrying actually gave me a headache! How pathetic is that? In midst of this decadent, time for self indulging, I couldn't shut my mind up for longer than 10 minutes. 

After the treatment, I was led to a gorgeous chaise lounge, draped with a canopy. Beside the chaise was a mocktail, a shot of ginger and lemonade, fruit and nuts and a pot of herbal Chinese tea. The masseuse talked me through the final ritual of my experience. I was to just be still and treat myself to these refreshments, to take as much time as I needed. Then, when I felt ready, I was encouraged to go and repeat the whole pre-treatment spas again. I didn't have my phone or watch on, so I had no concept of how much time had passed (I think I might've fallen asleep during the massage, adding to my complete being out of it-ness) so when I glanced at the clock on the wall and saw that it was 10 minutes away from "the latest" time I'd given my daughter of my anticipated return home, I took the refreshments like a series of tequila shots and high-tailed it out of there. 

As I sped home, I couldn't help but laugh. Only I could turn an opportunity to just let go and relax into a session of overthinking and rushing! It wasn't all like that though, there were lovely bits in between where I relished the experience, vowing from this day forward, I would only ever gift fellow mothers with a spa voucher. I told myself that I needed to start being nicer to myself and treat myself once every few months with something like this. 

Even though I'd only been out of the house for a total of 3 and a half hours, I felt like I'd been away for days. "Who needs a holiday? A massage is just as good as a tropical getaway" I was telling myself, as I opened my front door. I was on Cloud 9 - until I was greeted by my eye rolling teenager with a "FINALLY!" handing my hungry son over to me as she stormed off with her BFF. 

Normally, I would've launched into one of my standard speeches about attitude and how we treat people, but not today. Thanks to my spa treatment, I had enough chill to let that slide. 

A whole lotta chill and one hell of a headache. Where's that aspirin?

By Stacey Edgar from Realistic Kidface


SCHOOL'S OUT!! Now what??

Sunday, 27th September 2015

Excitement is rife at Mum Made HQ - these school holidays are my son's first ever “school holidays"! (And mine too). Together, we have come up with some sanity-saving ideas for every day there would otherwise have been school…including our STEAL (FREE or less than $5) or SPLURGE event “wishlist” of something a bit different than what we normally do. 

Bake with the kids, make meals ahead of time for the freezer, and get the kids to help prep ready-to-go snack packs so that you’re not scrambling to organise food during the week when you just want to get out the door!

Let’s get creative and kick off the first day with a how-to video from our favourite MumBlogger – Maria from Happy Mum Happy Child and her SUPER EASY PLAYDOUGH, which you can keep coming back to, all holidays! No-cook, and ready in less than 10 minutes. BOOM.

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: If you love playdough, you'll love this! Squishy Circuits is on today at the Ranui and Massey Libraries starting from 10am. FREE
OR for a different kind of creative activity, check out if your local Westfield is hosting an event. At our local, you can Make Your Own Birdhouse this week! Please note bookings are taken on the day at Centre Court.
SPLURGE: Let the kids go wild at Butterfly Creek's Creative StationThis will be set up in the Boneyard room situated in Dinosaur Kingdom, so normal entry fees apply.

What’s your best school holiday tip?
TELL US and you could WIN yourself a Quickflix voucher!


Always requested at our house, try some delicious fun that’s also educational, here is a how-to video for budding scientists on how to make ice cream in a bag!
All you need is:
1 x large ziplock bag containing 6c ice + 6T salt 
1 x small ziplock bag containing 125ml cream + 1T Hersheys chocolate syrup
Put the small bag inside the big bag and SQUISH around in the salted ice for 5-10 mins. 
Rinse the small bag before opening and enjoy

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: Auckland Art Gallery has FREE interactive learning centre – fun and educational! #win
SPLURGE: In keeping with the educational theme, MOTAT has a Crime Scene theme happening where kids can cast themselves as forensic scientists, gathering and analysing evidence to solve a fictional crime at the Museum. HOW COOL IS THAT? FREE for under 5's, Kids $8, Adults $16, Family pass $40.

If you aren’t already, follow Stacey over on Realistic Kidface and let her entertain you! 
Here is her latest post on crafting with kids, including a how-to on using Mod Podge to create custom mugs!

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: Sea scopes is starting today from 10am down at the Navy Museum in Devonport. Bookings recommended - or call 09 4455186. Cost: $5 per sea scope

SPLURGE: NZ Maritime Museum has the Ted Ashby Family Harbour Cruise on today from 11.30am. Cost for Aucklanders: Kids $7.50, Adults $15, Family pass $30

For the animal lovers, you can download and enter this colouring-in competition from Animates and be in to win a Snoopy and Charlie Brown – The Peanuts Movie “back-to-school” set, a double pass to the movie and $10 Animates voucher!*Conditions apply 
They also have a FREE activity booklet download

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: Check out your local Animates! They’re hosting a FREE event today at 11am (and next Thursday too!). No bookings required but there are limited spots! Children get to learn all about cats and dogs, and also get a certificate to take home.
SPLURGE: Auckland Zoo’s Mission Possible is on during the school holidays. As a "trainee zookeeper" you'll get a Mission Possible pack on arrival and have the opportunity to discover the ways that zookeepers help fight extinction (normal Zoo entry fee applies)

GEOCACHING (my son calls it treasure-hunting). 
IF you haven't discovered this yet, you're really REALLY missing out on a whole hidden world of fun, right under your nose! You can download the Intro app by Groundspeak Inc. for both Apple and Andriod for FREE! Make sure to read up on the etiquette so as to continue alluding muggles...
WARNING: THIS IS SERIOUSLY ADDICTIVE. We are planning our own caches to add to the map!

For those in Auckand...
STEAL: Local parks. FREE
The weather is warming up and the sun is shining more often these days! Slap on some sunscreen and get the bikes/scooters/rollerskates/skateboards out. What’s your favourite park? Our go-to for guaranteed fun is normally Onepoto Domain, with the AMAZING bike tracks and flying fox! And the ice cream truck that always turns up just as you’re leaving (crying child vs melted ice cream through the car on a hot day). 
BUT we have recently re-discovered our local Greville Reserve has been really nicely updated. There’s also Centennial Park (a reserve) across the road if bush-walking is more your thing. Across the other road, there’s also a Dominoes (and bottle store…just saying) and there’s your dinner treat.
SPLURGE: ARBORIA is on at Aotea Square today from 10am. Cost: $12

Night-time fun to change it up a bit! Have you camped out in your own back yard? Tell stories over hot chocolate with marshmallows, or make your own s’mores (For a no-hassle version, we use giant marshmallows sandwiched between cream crackers spread with nutella). And at least if all goes pear-shaped, bed is just a few steps away.

For those in Auckand...
STEAL: Aotea Square has a FREE sound and light installation VS300 playing every 7mins starting from 6.30pm every night.
SPLURGE: At Stardome, you can w
atch the planetarium show Perfect Little Planet or We Are Aliens, colour in the alien landscape wall, make an alien mask to take home and watch a rocket launch (weather permitting). Bookings essential. Cost: Kids $12, Adults $10

Have you been to your local library recently? It’s a treasure trove of low-cost-fees for hire of things such as puzzles and dvds, or of course borrowing of books which is FREE. 

For those in Auckand...
BUZZING BOTS creation (one of many FREE EVENTS hosted by the Auckland Libraries) is on today at Glenfield Library from 11am-noon. Limit 25 so booking is essential. To reserve your place, phone 486-8555 or email Andy Nixon
SPLURGE: A play based on the novel, you could borrow the book from the library then catch The Velveteen Rabbit showing at the Pump House, with tickets starting at $22 

For the budding artists, check out our favourite MumBlogger Maria’s video tutorial on how to make coloured rice. This is a double-whammy, as once you’re done making the rice, you can use it to make your own rice-confetti collage with PVA glue on card – GREAT for homemade Christmas cards (YES Christmas is almost here!).

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: Check out your local shopping malls – Shore city is hosting FREE craft events for all ages. Today, they have a 30min Beadazzle Jewellery Parties starting from 10am (OR there are also LEGO Parties for the boys not interested in Beadazzling). Make sure to book your spot!
SPLURGE: You can book 2-hour to half-day art classes for 5-14 year olds, at the Mairangi Arts Centre starting at $30

Sometimes you just feel like sitting and doing nothing. Throw down a blanket, pack an indoor-picnic lunch and have a movie-thon.

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: Let someone else do the entertaining, and catch STORYTELLING (one of many things on offer at the Auckland Museum) or STORYTIME at your local library. Both FREE
SPLURGE: Movieland at Skytower is on where you can see a Movieland exhibit with props, activity station, a green room, a selfie station and 3 years and older kids can play in the world's highest ball pit. Kids receive a Movieland shaped balloon and popcorn. Cost: Kids under 6 are FREE, Kids 6 to 14 years old $11, Adults $28, Family pass $61

DAY 10
The holidays are almost over! Let’s get active, hopefully burn off some of that endless energy, and maybe then have a relaxing weekend of laundry and grocery shopping and prepping for Term 4…?

For those in Auckland...
STEAL: Pop-Up Minigolf @Silo Park is on today - looks like fun! And only $5
SPLURGE: JUMP!! Located around Auckland and starting from $10 entry for kids under 110cm


I hope this helps you survive! Will let you know how I go LOL

x Jenni


change it up

Wednesday, 16th September 2015

School holidays are almost upon us (again!?)...

Next time you've had it up to here with your kids and you can feel the same script rise to your lips, stop.
Swallow those words.
They've heard it before.
They know how long the speech takes, how long they'll have to stop and pretend to listen, how long to be remorseful for before they revert to their usual behaviour.
What to do?
Time out.
Put yourself in time out.
They won't know what to do with that one, and their bewilderment may just buy you a few hours of good behaviour.

~ Stacey Edgar from Realistic Kidface

Failing that, we have 2 x Quickflix prizes up for grabs, to help you keep them quiet for a few minutes! 
All you have to do is comment your child's favourite movie! 

Click HERE to enter


MumMade - Site of the Day by the CSS Awards