Saturday, 12 December 2015

12 Days of Christmas Collaboration - Blog Post Round up

If you haven't been following the 12 Days of Christmas blog collaboration here is a round up of all the Kiwi Mummy Bloggers that took part and their festive blog posts!

Make sure you go and visit everyone's blogs to get some awesome ideas for the Christmas season - enjoy!

Day 1: Our Merry & Bright Christmas - Teacher by trade, Mother by nature

Day 3: Kiwi Tiramisu Log - Sweet Mama M

Day 4: So, about Christmas - Lisasaurus

Day 5: Christmas Eve Kids Goodies Box - Girl on a Missi0n

Day 6: Elf on the Shelf - Misses Mac

Day 7: Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies - Always Made With Love

Day 8: Gift Wrapping - Dorothy Nada

Day 9: Christmas Tree Rocky Road - Mrs Cake

Day 10: Christmas Book Advent Calendar - Nesting in the Country

Day 11: Great Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy Children Outdoorsy NZ

Grab button for 12-Days-of-Christmas

Friday, 11 December 2015

12 Days of Christmas - Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

For today's blog post I have teamed up with 11 other kiwi bloggers for a blog collaboration. For each of the 12 days, a different blogger will bring you a festive themed blog post whether it be crafty, organisation, baking etc... Below is a full list of bloggers participating in the collaboration.

Today is the very last day of the collaboration and my turn to provide you with a festive blog post!

So, on the 12th day of Christmas "A Kiwi Mumma" gave to you...

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream 

As I spend a lot of my time baking and decorating cakes, I thought it wouldn't be right if I didn't do a Christmassy cake right?

So, here it is! Super easy and delicious Christmas Cupcakes!

You will need:

2/3 C unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C light brown sugar

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

11/4 C self-raising flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Small pinch of grated nutmeg (optional

1-2 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. I used a stand mixer.

Add eggs one at a time until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg with the flour.

Gradually add to the wet ingredients, mixing well after each time.

Add milk, mixing well to make sure all ingredients are mixed together well. I only ended up using 1 T of milk, because the mixture is quite wet.

Distribute evenly to cupcake case - makes 12!

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until risen and when a skewer is inserted into the middle it comes out clean.

Allow to cool and ice with...

Cinnamon Buttercream

You will need:

- 1 C Softened butter
- 2 C Icing Sugar
- 1 T Cinnamon
- 1 t Vanilla Essence
- 2 to 3 T Milk or Cream

In a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add icing sugar, continuing to beat. Add vanilla essence and Cinnamon (to taste, I added a bit more than one tablespoon), continue to mix until well combined. Add milk until desired consistency. More milk for a smoother consistency and less for a stiff consistency. Then decorate as you wish!

Today is the final day of the "12 Days of Christmas" Kiwi Blogger series. If you want go back and see what the other lovely ladies blogged for the first 11 days see the list below . Please go and check out their pages for some great Christmas themed ideas to get you into the festive spirit!

Merry Christmas!

Day 1 (1st December) - Teacher by trade, Mother by nature

Day 2 (2nd December) - Mummy Do It

Day 3 (3rd December) - Sweet Mama M

Day 4 (4th December) - Lisasaurus

Day 5 (5th December) - Girl on a Mission

Day 6 (6th December) - Misses Mac

Day 7 (7th December) - Always Made With Love

Day 8 (8th December) - Dorothy Nada

Day 9 (9th December) - Mrs Cake

Day 10 (10th December) - Nesting in the Country

Day 11 (11th December) - Outdoorsy NZ

You are here ----> Day 12 (12th December) - A Kiwi Mumma

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Ella's First Birthday Party

It's been a week or so now since Ella's First Birthday took place, so I thought I would do a blog post to share all the little details. I may have gone a tad overboard considering Ella really had no idea what was going on but I consider First Birthday's to be very special and there was no way I wasn't going to make an effort for our beautiful first born - besides, I love decorating, styling and planning so why wouldn't I go OTT?

The theme

I decided to go with an understated woodland creatures theme with accents of gold and pink - to girly it up a little. 

The decorations

I purchased a DIY tassel garland from Etsy (seller was Pomtree) in soft pinks, golds and neutrals. I put it together myself - which was fairly straight wall and hung it above each table.

I hired a wooden tree trunk, to put the cake on, a few mossy rocks and some rustic wooden crates from Centerpiece party hire - which I turned upside down and displayed some party food on.

I also bought two metres of hessian printed with a gold leaf from Spotlight (on sale at the time) to use as a table cloth - fitting in with the gold theme.

I found some cute little woodland creatures (they're actually little battery operated lights) a squirrel, an owl and a hedgehog.

I did a bit of DIY on some plain wooden letters - to spell out the "ONE" - and covered them with pretty patterned paper and I also bought some faux green moss from florabunda, which I put around the table to make it look more "earthy".

The food

I didn't want to do a full on lunch, the party was from 2pm - 4.30pm, so I just put on an afternoon tea of sorts.

With the help of my family, we made chocolate mousse in little cups, a fruit platter, a cheese and cracker platter, oreos dipped in chocolate in 100's and 1000's. I made little meringue and hershey kisses "acorns, cupcakes and your standard sausage rolls, cheerio sausages, chips with dip, peanuts. To keep the kids entertained I bought a big tub of ice cream and served it in bowls with different toppings - it was a hit!

For drinks, I had the standard soft drinks on offer as well as filling these cute little drinks dispensers with juice and water (got these from Kmart). All the pink plastic plates, bowls, cups, straws and serviettes were from one of my favourite stores - the Look Sharp Store! For the life of me I can't remember where I purchased the glittery gold deer, but I got them a few Christmas' ago and thought I would utilise them for the party. All the balloons were also purchased from Look Sharp - that place is like a treasure trove!

The Cake!

One of my most favourite things of the decor and my most time consuming! I made the cake to look like a tree stump, using different colours of fondant. The baking of the cake, itself, took the most time - to get the height it took three cake batters, which I baked in five different tins and tinted five different shades of pink. The decorating of the cake didn't actually take all that long, but it was rather difficult trying to contend with buttercream icing and humidity - not a good combination!

I'm so happy how it turned out though - better than I expected - I feel like this is one of my best cakes yet. The figurines, flowers and mushrooms were all made from gumpaste (which holds it's shape better than soft fondant) and I also made the cake bunting myself, using little bunting flags, string and hessian bows from The Warehouse.

Ella seemed to enjoy the cake too! She downed an adult sized piece in one sitting.

The birthday girl!

She looked super cute in the outfit I chose for her! The tutu and shoes were from Cotton on kids and the headband was from an Etsy store - she actually managed to keep it on for the duration of the party!

We had such a great day! It was so nice to be surrounded by our closest friends and family as we celebrated our baby's first year of life. Everything went according to plan - even the weather played up for the day! It was great to catch up with our friends, eat some food and have a few laughs, everyone was so very generous - Ella was so spoilt and we feel very blessed!

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

VENDOR SPOTLIGHT | Kim from Snugbags

Today I am sharing my very first vendor spotlight! I am hoping to make this a regular segment - provided there is enough interest. So, if you would like to share your story or you know someone who might be interested please do not hesitate to contact me

I decided to start this feature to help support Mum’s in business, in hopes of sharing the love and to not only help promote them but to go behind the scenes and take a peek into their everyday lives as Mums, business women and all round superheroes.

I know how hard it is to juggle work with babies and also how difficult it can be to get a business off the ground and promote it. This is why I want to help. I have the resources to help try and spread the word!

In the vendor spotlight today is...

Kim, the owner, of Snugbags and full time Mum to 3.5 year old Neeva Rosa. Snugbags are lovingly made and manufactured in New Zealand using only top quality, Merino, bamboo and cotton materials.

The entire range of Kim's Snugbags are such high quality and not to mention completely gorgeous! When you have a baby or toddler that are so very skilled at removing themselves from their blankets a sleep bag is the perfect way to keep them warm. She also offers a range of zip up swaddles (Snugpods) and some gorgeous Merino pyjamas. What could be better than top quality merino for your little one?

Kim has currently offering 20% off Snugpods at the moment - which means they are now on sale from only $55. Plus, every Snugpod comes with a free Merino beanie!

Here is her story...

1. What is your business’ name and what products do you sell?

Snugbags - Merino for Kids and we specialise in NZ made merino sleeping bags, pyjamas and zip up swaddle wraps.

2. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family? 

 I am originally from The Netherlands but have been in NZ now for over 10 years. We live in the gorgeous little surf community of Piha on the West Coast, just out of Auckland. Our house is sun drenched, a little quirky, has a huge garden and overlooks the ocean. We love it - it’s the perfect spot to raise our little girl Neeva Rose (now 3.5yrs old). My partner and I are passionate surfers and we also love spending time bushwalking and building sandcastles on the beach!

3. What made you decide to go into business or why did you choose your specific products? 

 I was in search for the perfect sleeping bag for Neeva Rose who was 18 months at the time and I came across Snugbags and loved their sleeping bags. So much that I approached the then owner (a French mum) to see if I could sell them in the Netherlands and it turned out she was looking to sell the company so I ended up buying it!! Since then I have added new ranges, styles and colours. I have added the Organic range , the Winter Duvet Deluxe as I felt there was a need for a super cozy and warm sleeping bag that would keep your little one snug when the temperature really drops and I’ve innovated the product where I saw fit. I made all models longer so they are now the longest bags on the market. I like to make sure parents really get good value for money! We have since also designed pyjamas and our new Zip Up Swaddle – the Snugpod!

8. What is a “typical” day in the life of you? Start to finish.

I have my office at home so I check my emails as soon as I wake up and pack orders early in the morning. Then it is off to the beach, playgroup/play centre or the beach with Neeva Rose. Neevie is 3.5 and she is at home with me so during the day I don’t really get that much done. So I end up working most nights! It’s all not as glamorous as it sounds ha! But on the other hand I feel really blessed to be able to work from home and spend time with Neevie. It’s a pretty amazing life style!

9. How do you juggle home life with business?

I try to have a healthy balance, but the reality is I end up working every night and it generally gets quite late haha!

10. What motivates you?

I really love what I do and the products I sell and I am passionate about Merino! I really enjoy what I am doing and even though I am working long days, I wouldn’t change a thing!

11. What do you do in your “down” time?

 I try to go out for a surf most weekends and we generally pop down to the beach for a walk with the dogs every day.

12. Where to next? What are your plans for your business? 

 I’ve just started designing my own fabrics and our new range of sleeping bags will be finished over the next few weeks! I am really excited about it and cannot wait to release the new prints – they are gorgeous and very cute!

13. If you could offer one piece of advice to a Mum looking to start a business, what would it be?

Just do it! The most difficult part is starting. Find your passion and follow your bliss xx

A very big thanks to Kim for sharing her story and for agreeing to be my the very first in my vendor spotlight segment!

If you would like to purchase one of Kim's beautiful Snugbags and Snugpods you can find them over on her website

You can also find Snugbags on Facebook and Instagram.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The day I became a Mother and the year that followed.

I've been feeling reflective over the last couple of days following Ella's first Birthday. It's hard to believe that just over a year ago I was leaving the hospital with my newborn baby and embarking on a lifetime of Motherhood. On the 30th of November at 5.57pm Ella entered the world and changed our lives forever. It's such a surreal feeling. ONE whole year ago I gave birth to a beautiful girl (weighing in at 8lbs3oz and 53cm long) and at the same time I became a Mother.

Looking back on that day, or even those few days when I was in labour, I can still remember it so clearly. I remember my waters breaking and feeling excited with anticipation knowing that very soon I would be meeting my little girl, the one that I had been waiting for, for what felt like the longest nine months of my life. 

I remember the pain of labour, but I also remember welcoming it and encouraging it knowing it was pain with a purpose. I remember the surprise and apprehension when I was told I wouldn't be able to give birth naturally. I remember shaking with a combination of apprehension and the side effects of a cocktail of oxytocin and epidural.

 I remember waiting for the cry of my baby when she was pulled out of my stomach and the relief when I heard it and knew she was ok. I remember the look on my husbands face - a combination of concern, making sure I was ok, and a look of complete awe and love for the little creature that just entered our lives. I remember feeling her cheek next to my cheek and how velvety soft it was and most of all I remember holding her in my arms and marvelling at her perfection.

That day is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. The day I was blessed to become a Mother. It's such a surreal experience because you spend so long waiting for your baby, imagining what they will look like and what it will actually be like when you have one that when that moment actually arrives you're almost surprised that there is a baby. I know it sounds weird but pregnancy is almost a dreamlike state, a dream where you wake up and it's actually happened and you now have a baby.

The first couple of days were one of the most difficult. Recovering from a birth I didn't anticipate and trying to look after a newborn who, understandingly, demands every ounce of your attention. I felt emotional and a bit alone. Tom wasn't able to stay with us because as I'd had an emergency c-section I didn't have a room waiting for me, they were short of beds and I was sharing with another Mother. I was alone and trying to figure out Motherhood whilst battling low blood pressure, a high temperature due to massive blood loss following major surgery and a baby that needed feeding every 30 or 40 mins. By day six I was desperate to go home, back to where I was comfortable and back to my Husband who I knew would be there to take care of us.

The first couple of weeks passed in a blur of nappy changes, cluster feeding and broken sleep but we both felt great and flying high on the buzz of new parents. I felt completely in control and on top of things and I felt like I could handle anything no matter how little sleep I had.

I think it's true what they say they "wake up" when week 4 arrives because all of a sudden little Miss E decided she wasn't keen on being in the big bad world. Definitely, for me, the first 3 months were the hardest with the lack of sleep, the constant cluster feeding and still trying to get to know and understand my baby. It was tough.

When week 10 arrived though, so did the CUTEST little baby smiles. Those very first smiles were such an amazing feeling. Up until that point, when it felt like 99% of the time all she did was cry (probably not true but in the midst of sleep deprivation that's what it felt like) to finally get some communication was so worth all the tough times. No matter how crappy a day you may have been having, a single smile has the power to make you forget everything!

It's was a bit of a shock to me just how difficult having a baby could be. I don't think anyone can tell you what it's going to be like and what to expect. You tend to speculate on how difficult, or not, it will be, but when that moment actually arrives it can be a bit different from what you anticipated - I know that's what it was like for me. 

It was an overwhelming feeling of love, awe, apprehension, guilt and extreme exhaustion. Nothing can prepare you for those emotions. There were times where I was at my wits end and had no idea what she wanted from me, there were also times where I thought, she hated me because nothing I could do would stop her crying, there were times when I'd end up crying along with her because I was so tired and overwhelmed.

What's that old saying? You can't get a rainbow without a little rain. This is so true. With every hard time, there was an amazing, heart melting time that followed - making you forget it all. It does get easier though, then it gets a bit harder, then easier and then harder again. I've learnt Motherhood is a complete rollercoaster ride, full of ups, downs, highs and lows. In all honesty though? I love it. I love being a Mum and I find it so fulfilling. 

Every week that passes, her personality reveals itself a little more. She's such a firecracker. She's sparky, fiery and headstrong. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. I can see this not only throwing a few challenges for us as she enters toddlerhood but I can also see it as being such a desirable trait for the future when she enters adulthood - the sky's the limit. She may be fiery but she's also a bit of an observer, it's not uncommon for her to be sitting quietly, watching, assessing the world and the people around her - you can see her learning and absorbing every little detail.

She's such a happy baby, most of the time, and it's not uncommon to find a big grin plastered on her face. She's quirky and a bit of a clown, she loves people and she loves being centre of attention. She's becoming more cuddly, and will occasionally give me a cuddle, whereas she never used to be affectionate.

I feel so blessed to have such a healthy, happy, little girl that so obviously loves life. Becoming a Mother has to be my greatest achievement - she is my greatest achievement. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us and for her - to see what she will become and achieve, each day is something new and each day I am thankful we were blessed with a daughter like her.

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