Friday, July 29, 2016

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

'Goodnight Everyone' - Chris Haughton

Big Bear and the other animals are sleepy and ready for bed, but Little Bear isn't tired yet.  Basically. A simple premise and a very cute little book.  The kind you would read in a really nice slow voice to make everyone feel suitably sleepy.

The illustrations!!  I love Haughton's style and his bright, bold, retro colours.  I also adore the subtle way he catches the vibes of each animal.  I know that Little Bear, with berry bright eyes when everyone else has drooping eyelids.  I have one of those, she's the one sitting up in bed asking for word definitions, when her parents have settled in for the next episode of Mad Men.

I really mean it when I say this is a short and simple story.  Perfect for the littlie whose attention span is still limited.  Perfect too, for those nights when a slow, singsong reading of a short tale is exactly what everyone needs.

This sweet story is available now through Walker Books and all good bookstores.

Many thanks to Walker Books for providing us with a review copy :-)

24 Hours in Auckland

Happy Saturday, y'all!  I'm SO happy to be here, that was one loooong week!  Getting back into the work routine is not easy, so I'm gonna take some time to reminisce about the adventure portion of our recent school break, starting with our speed-dating sesh with Auckland city...

We did things a little differently, this trip.  We were only passing through, so decided to stay in the city centre and do the downtown thing.  I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd wandered Queen St, and realised pretty quickly that I still wasn't missing much... With a few sweet little exceptions.

We were traveling with friends, and really only had two activities in mind.  Taking the kids to the movies, and ice-skating in Aotea Square.  On the way we discovered the very cool City Farmers Market in Britomart, and later stopped in at Sal's for some New York Style pizza.

The iceskating was such a highlight for the kids, and I didn't fall over so that was a huge win! We also had a go on the ice slide which was some freaky action.  Can't say I loved it, personally, but I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie...  I didn't pee my pants, so we can call that another win.  We also spent a little time in the snow dome, which made up for the fact that we weren't heading to the actual snow this year.

Dinner was burgers at Better Burger on our way home.  They were definitely the food highlight of our entire holiday away (that and the pastries at Le Moulin Bakery in Wellington)...  I'm glad I pushed through the pain barrier and hauled my tired, pregnant butt to that little eaterie.

We stayed in Copthorne Auckland, which was tiny but comfortable, fairly cheap and located well.  Def nowhere near my favourite place to stay, but entirely adequate.  I have other accommodation recommendations if you're traveling to Auckland, though if you're on a tighter budget then Copthorne will suit you well.

That's it!  Iceskating and junk food, the perfect entree to our mid-winter holiday adventure :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Holidays is Here!

Holla if you're excited about the school holidays!  #iam.  Okay, so it's maybe a little different.  For me, holidays mean NO work, NO homeschool and plenty of sleepy lazy mornings.  My kids are probs gonna fight and go monster crazy at times, but that's like, normal life.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

'Bee and Me' - Alison Jay

'Bee and Me' - Illustrated by Alison Jay

We may be pretty wary of bee stings around here, but knowing and understanding bee business is really important to our family.  While some activities are off-limits (like watching our bee-keeping mates extract honey, *sniff sniff*), we like to educate our kids about all the important work our honey bees do.

Friday, June 24, 2016

:: Sea ::

Autumn was pretty quiet this year.  There weren't too many adventures, other than the regular two-hour trips we took for Eleanor's Bee Venom Immunotherapy.  #muchfun.  But just as winter started to close in, my morning sickness (!!) eased up and we hit the beach and the forest for some treasure hunting.  A couple of times I even took my camera, yuss!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

How To :: Edible Butterfly Collection

This Little Explorer party (featured in the Spring '15 issue of OHbaby!) was the MOST fun to plan. So many little details that I would've gone crazy over when I was a kid.  It's hard to pick a favourite project, but the edible butterfly collection is right up there.  Maybe one of my favourite projects ever, in fact. My baker buddy Alice originally threw out the idea of hand-painted cookies and as I already had butterfly cutters and it just suddenly became obvious that we had to have a butterfly collection.  It was an intoxicating moment of ideaspiration, I tell you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Book Review - 'The Book of Pearl' by Timothee de Fombelle

'The Book of Pearl' - Timothee de Fombelle

"Joshua Pearl is from a world that our own no longer believes in.  He knows that his great love is waiting for him in that distant place, but he is trapped in our time.  As his memories begin to fade, he discovers strange objects, tiny fragments of a story from a long time ago.  Can Joshua remember the past and believe in his own story before his love is lost forever?"

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fairytale Theme Party

If you picked up the Autumn copy of OHbaby! magazine, you will have seen this little party, and accompanying details.  This was SO much fun to throw!  The fairytale theme has an abundance of references to draw inspiration from.  We had Rapunzel Plaits, Princess & the Pea Puddings, Fairy Godmother Wands and so many other fun details.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Pretty Puhoi

I last visited Puhoi when I was about 12.  We took the Puhoi River kayak trip and stopped in at the village just long enough for a picnic, before heading home.  I barely had memories the town, and felt no pressing desire to stop in again.  When our lovely friends picked Puhoi as their wedding reception spot, we had the opportunity to spend a (very) little time here again, and we were charmed.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Photo Books :: Book Making Tips!

I know everyone has their own preferences for photobook creating.  For instance, I prefer to create photo books based around each season.  For me, it's much less daunting to approach bookmaking with only X amount of photos to include.  An entire years worth would do me in... With fewer images to work with, I feel freer to add extra pages and give full coverage to special events.  I also like the idea of pulling out a bunch of books ahead of a season, to remind us of all the fun activities that season offers...

However you go about making your books, some of these tips may be of use.  I've made a few now, and have developed my perfect recipe...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Camping :: Wenderholm Regional Park

It's not all room service and spa baths, yo.  

After spending most of January in our tent, it really began to feel like our second home.  It has taken several years for me to feel any urge to camp - because #babies.  Last summer we eased into it by staying in my Pa's caravan for a couple of weeks.  This year we went all in, and other than the heat, we loooooved it.  I'm a born again camper...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Oh. So. Good.  Immediately good.  Through and through good.  For one thing, I love me a psychological thriller.  For another, this was so much more than that.  It was tender, raw, bittersweet.  It's kind of a thriller turned up on it's head...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Photo Books :: Print Shop Comparison

One of my big goals for the year is to get our favourite photos (six years worth) printed into these little seasonal photo books.  Four books times six years is... lots.  So I have my work cut out.  I've completed 1.5 years, plus a couple of additional books.  I'm also working on a baby album for Garland, and a couple of other special occasion albums.  In short, I'll be doing this for the rest of my life, I guess...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kid Wears (+ giveaway) :: Funky Giraffe

Get ready for a whole lotta cute!  And I'm not just talking about my adorable nephew (isn't he, though?).

If there's one baby item that's worth it's weight in gold, it's the humble bib.  Many cute outfits have been saved by this handy little accessory, and many more have been ruined in its absence.  They are also the first baby item to need replacing, in my experience.  So if you have a little one and you need a bib supplier hook-up, I have one for you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

'The Hired Girl' - Laura Amy Schlitz

Ah, such a breath of fresh air!  I loved this book, and so needed this kind of read!  'The Hired Girl' is so layered and sweet and sad and often funny.  So many feels!  This is one for the Austen/Alcott/Downton fans...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tane Mahuta - Waipoua Forest

Most people stop in on Tane Mahuta as a matter of course, but it took us 6 years to take our kids in, despite passing through Waipoua Forest several times a year.  That's pretty slack.  We dropped in a few months back and it was such a short and sweet detour I kicked myself for not doing it sooner...