We all know how much those first few weeks at home are with a newborn. They’re even a blur for me still with a 2 year (add a 5 month old into the mix and I’m a frazzled mess) and some days I just can’t be f*cked with the hassle of going to the supermarket let alone out in public at all.

We were introduced to The Baby Bag a couple of months ago after seeing their content in my Instagram feed and I had to give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.

They’d just made some big changes to their website, including the introduction of some logic to improve their user experience and make the end result that much better. I am all about good design and customer experience so I put it to the test and boy was I impressed. This service is a total game changer for busy parents like me.

You can just shop like normal, or you can add a few basic details about your wee ones so that their website recommends products based on their age/stage (nappies, food, baby care etc). Their site is super easy to use and navigate. What’s better? They stock the very best products.

If you choose to use the smart suggestions, the website pre-populates your bag for you when you log in based on what you’ve ordered in the past and what the system thinks you’ll need next. Confirm your bag and it’ll be on your doorstep within a day, sometimes even the same day dependent on your location!

No more running out of nappies and having to do the dreaded nappy run in your PJ’s.

My fav part about the service? It’s created by Mums, for Mums all here in NZ!

I absolutely love what Jessie and her husband created after starting their own family and realising the lack of infrastructure that existed to support parents like us. Baby supplies are required in such high frequency by all of us who typically have very little flexibility in our daily routine.

Jessie Jarvie, the founder is a Mum, just like us – doing big things.

Armed with the determination to revolutionise parenting as we know it, they launched The Baby Bag and I wanted to ask them some questions about it.

  • What gave you the idea to start The Baby Bag?

Before my youngest boy Franklin arrived, my husband and I were both working full time. The needs of our biggest boy, George, were always changing. From puree to soft lumps to fork mashed; from newborn to infant to crawler to walker. We changed nappy brands a few times. Then there came teething. A gummy eye. Dry skin. Nappy rash. Eczema. Little people are so dynamic. My husband would swing by the supermarket after a long day at work to pick up some more wipes. There were a couple of packaged food brands that I was having to get online. I used to try and keep some good quality frozen meals in the freezer for those days when it would all fall to bits, but they weren’t available at our local supermarket. Then I’d frequent the organic grocer for natural remedies for his eczema. I don’t know how many times in that first year I visited the pharmacy. I don’t know how many times I asked Doctor Google strange questions (have you ever had that sense of relief though, when the text field populates your question for you, before you’ve finished typing? Meaning there must be other parents out there asking weird stuff too!). It was 2013. It felt like there were support services around for everyone and everything – except for busy little families like ours. We were shocked at the lack of infrastructure that existed to help young families in New Zealand to thrive.

When my second little boy arrived, the nature of the problem changed. The idea of going anywhere with a really little baby can be quite scary. Paul is part Chinese and there is a wonderful Chinese practice of home confinement for one month after childbirth. This is literally called “sitting the month,” as new mothers are pretty much expected to just sit around in their pyjamas for a month to recover from bringing new life into the world (and so they should, right?) but oh god they need so many darn nappies. And who knew you could go through an entire box of maternity pads in one day?

After the newborn phase, getting your hands on the stuff your kids need continues to be challenging, equally for stay at home parents as for working parents. One babe is asleep (and none of us want to disturb that!) or the other one decides he’s hungry just as you pull into the carpark. Maybe you’re rushing home from a busy day just to chill out with your partner or get into the bath/dinner/bed routine before a meltdown. Maybe it’s raining and the thought of racing into the supermarket with one on your hip and one in the capsule is a bit overwhelming. We found that as a busy family we had quality groceries at our fingertips – we frequented local weekend markets and we were able to utilize services like My Food Bag or smaller food stores that proved to be quicker and easier. But baby supplies were continually a challenge.

We had learnt that becoming a parent was the most simultaneously wonderful and exhausting experience – an adventure like no other, and we wanted to create some infrastructure to make the road a little less rocky. In May of 2015, we launched The Baby Bag from a tiny little office in Grey Lynn, and since then we’ve been offering quick, reliable and cost effective delivery of the country’s widest range of baby supplies to thousands of New Zealand families.

In May of this year, we released a new website that introduced our Smart Suggestions. These suggestions were always part of the long term version but they were data driven, so we needed a couple of years experience behind us first. Our Smart Suggestions offer parents intuitive recommendations, based on their babe’s age and stage. They’re designed to support parents throughout the journey of a little person’s ever-changing needs, whether it be recommending you moving up to a bigger nappy size before disaster strikes, introducing the right flavours and food textures at the right time, or foreseeing teething habits, sleep regressions and flu seasons before they hit the home front; we do our best to take the guess work out of the equation for new mums and dads. It’s awesome and their potential gets me super excited.

  • What does a typical day for you look like?

My house is a jungle. I don’t think I could be an Instamum! Maybe I should try? My oldest boy George usually comes and wakes me up, typically demanding breakfast. He hops into my bed for a cuddle first, which is the best. My littlest is awake soon after and the whole house comes to life as we prepare for the day ahead, eating breakfast, filling lunch boxes, getting dressed and heading to kindy. It’s particularly jungle like at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. Lucky they’re cute.

The boys are both finish kindy at 2.30pm, which means I have short working days, and most of the time I split shift so that I can spend the arvo with them and then long back on at night to get through any unfinished business. Team baby bag likes to be ‘on call’ for our customers at any time of the day, so it’s not uncommon for me to be speaking to a customer with the boys causing chaos in the background but I’m okay with that, it’s a reality. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to be a parent while helping other parents, too. I feel like that was something missing at the beginning of my own parenting journey, so I’m proud of the service that we provide and it gives me a real kick to be a listening ear.

I have Thursday’s off with the boys and we usually plan one special activity together – scooter riding somewhere new, Uptown Bouncing, the zoo, or visiting Dad at work for an early dinner at the local Japanese place. I try to intentionally plan just one activity for those Thursdays, and no more than that. I’m terrible at overcommitting to everything, but I want my kids to be bored every now and again too, as I know it’s where they find their creativity and their peace. One of my favourite things to do is sit on the couch (usually with a cold cup of tea – what would #mumlife be without cold tea?) and watch them in their playroom together. They fight a lot – but they have a heck of a lot of fun, too! At the end of the day, I suss their dinner and my husband susses our dinner. We’re both exhausted by the time they’re in bed, but then parenting and exhaustion are kind of hand in hand. I’m super grateful for my brood and we’ll be introducing another one come January 🙂

  • How do you maintain a good work/life balance?

I don’t get much of that, but to be completely frank with you – I’m not a big believer in work life balance. I think striving for that mythical concept creates more stress than it’s worth. Us women constantly beat ourselves up because if we’re being a good mum, we can’t possibly be doing a good job at work. If we’re enjoying our work, we mustn’t be seeing enough of our children! The key is to accept that there won’t always be a balance.

I think the most important skill a mum can have (whether she’s working outside of the home or in the home, both equally as tough as the other) is to realise when things become too imbalanced. That’s when she needs to sit down with her support network of people who care about her, and her children, and make changes. When I feel like things are getting on top of me, I break them down into bite sized chunks. My mum always says, ‘eat the elephant one bite at a time’. I’m a big list writer too. I have so many lists!

  • Future plans for TBB?

To continue to rock the socks off New Zealand’s parenting community, one bite at a time.

FOR THE NEXT 5 DAYS, USE THE CODE ‘JESSBOVEY’ AND GET FREE DELIVERY!


This post has been in collaboration with The Baby Bag. All views, opinions and writing is my own and we do not work with anybody we do not know, support and/or love. Please support the brands that support this blog.

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular. There is so much information out there that it can become very confusing, so I thought it best to speak to someone who knows what they are talking about!

Gillian Parkinson is a certified Clinical Aromascience Practitioner (NZQA, IFPA). She uses essential oils for health & wellbeing, she has been in practice for almost 7 years, 2 websites where she makes and ships her products worldwide. She is known for her TINKture Tattoo Aftercare & Le’Esscience products. Gillian is passionate about educating people about the safe and effective use of essential oils.

First question, what is an essential oil?

The essential oil is the volatile liquid that is extracted from a plant. That volatile liquid is full of chemical constituents such as esters, acids, ketones & sesquiterpenes, to name a few, then they are broken down even more chemicals, cineole’s, limonene, linalool & bergaptene – to name a very few!

From these chemical constituents, Dr’s and professionals in the Aromatherapy industry, such as Robert Tisserand, can analyse the essential oil and find the fantastic healing properties each essential oil have. These are and not limited to, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, cell regenerator and so many more. It has been scientifically proven that once applied topically (safely diluted), the chemicals are in the blood stream within 2 minutes and central nervous system within 15 minutes. They have a cumulative effect, the longer you use essential oil blends (if long term is necessary), the better they get!

How would you recommend using essential oils?

The safest ways to use essential oils are by topical application (never neat, must always be diluted in a plant based carrier oil and never, ever ingest, ever!) or various via inhalation methods (vaporisers, drops on a tissue, steam inhalations, inhaling from the bottle).

Unfortunately, there is a growing trend to ingest essential oils via adding drops to water (please do NOT do this, it is NOT safe) and using neat on the skin. These trends have grown just in the last 3 to 4 years, from USA based multi-level marketing companies and their unqualified resellers. Their marketing patter is “our oils are the highest quality in the world, so it’s safe to ingest & use neat”.

This is simply not true, it is in fact, potentially very dangerous. Any qualified practitioner would never recommend these methods as they are so unsafe. Ingesting can cause damage to the mouth, stomach, gut flora, burn mucous membranes, damage the liver and kidneys. Using neat on the skin can cause nasty reactions, rashes, even burn the skin. The safest and most effective way to use essential oils is under the guidance of a qualified (certified through a professional organisation) essential oil practitioner (QEOP).

Why do I need to speak to a qualified practitioner, there is so much information on Google!

That is the problem! There is TOO much information and a lot of it is misinformation or information that has been misunderstood and reported in an incorrect way. For example, there was an article going around that using lavender on boys will cause the growth of breasts – this is NOT true, unless you used a bucket of lavender on the boy every day over a long period of time and obviously that is not going to happen.

Recently there has been posts about not using Eucalyptus on babies & children, certain botanical species yes! Like Eucalyptus Radiata, citriodora, dives & polybractea – some of these Eucalyptus’s are SO strong you can get tar off concrete! They are skin irritants, difficult for the kidneys to eliminate, overdose can cause muscular weakness, nausea & vomiting – this is due to the different levels of chemicals in these species, higher in ketones & other chemicals, so NO, don’t use on children, or even adults! But Eucalyptus Globulus, known as Blue Gum and Eucalyptus Smithii, known as Gully Gum are beautiful, very gentle but very effective. Still only ever use as directed, 1 or 2 drops only for babies (again never neat on the skin, always diluted), 3 or 4 drops only in a vaporiser.

QEOP’s have learned about the different species of plants, the chemical components, the hazardous essential oils, the correct dilution rates for specific conditions, which essential oil is best to blend with other essential oils (using one on its own is effective, blending correctly with others, they become a powerhouse). A QEOP also knows the contraindications of essential oils, what to avoid during pregnancy, if you suffer health conditions, what you can use and what you must avoid using on babies, toddlers & children. They will also make these products up for you so you are not taking any risks, you are not going through a ‘trial & error’ period, you are likely to get better results, faster, when consulting a QEOP. Most QEOP’s products too are cheaper than those sold my MLM resellers, QEOP’s are motivated by helping people (I am deeply passionate & motivated by this) and not the $$. I have so many returning and long term clients due to the effectiveness of my products & the help and advice that I give.

Is using a vaporiser effective enough?

Vaporisers can be very effective for certain ailments, killing airborne bacteria, creating a calm, relaxing atmosphere, helping with sleep, assisting in keeping airways clear with coughs and colds.

Vaporisers should never be used longer than 2-3 hours in babies / toddlers / children’s bedrooms (small rooms) – a build-up of the chemicals from the essential oils can be too much for their little systems (this is the easiest way to explain it).

However, there are other methods that can be just as, if not more effective. Correctly diluted blends applied to the skin can help a multitude of conditions. Anxiety, stress, depression, wound healing, skin conditions, sleep, aches & pains, PMT, PND, generally balancing hormones – used daily (or as directed) can have create a significant improvement in these conditions. You can use combinations of inhalation and applying topically for times of acute conditions.

Wow, there seems so much to essential oils!

Yes, there is – I studied for 2 years, did more than 700 hours doing case studies, sat exams, was mentored to gain my qualification which I’m immensely proud of. The use of essential oils can be so effective (if used as directed) for so many non-life threatening conditions! I have 4 granddaughters and they have all grown up with essential oils, they sleep beautifully and are pretty calm, relaxed kids.

Essential oils that can be safely used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner for babies & children – essential oils that can be used with babies under 3 months old are limited to Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Mandarin and Gully Gum.

The below list are essential oils which are safe for babies 3 months + and children to age 2 (more varieties of essential oils can be added to this list for children over the age of 2).

Cedarwood
Roman Chamomile
German Chamomile
Cypress
Frankincense
Geranium
Ginger
Gully Gum (Eucalyptus Smithii)
Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Globulus 3mnths+)
Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
Marjoram (Sweet)
Rosemary
Rose Otto
Rosewood
Sandalwood
Tea Tree
Fragonia
Thyme (sweet)
Ylang Ylang
Bergamot
Lemon
Mandarin
Orange
Spearmint

If anyone has any concerns or questions, can they contact you? Absolutely, I can be reached by calling 027 6000 289 or emailing gillian@LeEsscience.co.nz

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What do you immediately do to try and calm a crying baby? You “shhhh”.

I am always somewhat hesitant when it comes to any form of ‘sleep aid’ because I’m fearful that my child will form an association to it that and they grow older, they can’t sleep without it. For some people, this isn’t a concern but if you’re like me and worry, you simply turn the volume down a notch each week until it’s completely off.

The Baby Shusher is different, for us anyway. We haven’t so much used it to get them to sleep but to calm them down. As parents, we all know that babies can go 0-100 real quick and once they’re at 100 it’s often hard to bring them back down closer to a comfortable 0. That’s where The Baby Shusher has come in handy for us.

It’s small and portable so you can take it out with you and utilise it throughout those public meltdowns too. It’s suitable for newborns and older. I’ve often been tempted to try it on Reuben too (haha). I love it so much, we have two. One that stays at home and one that travels with us.I find it great in the car when one of the kids is going crazy, I simply whip out The Baby Shusher and within minutes, they’re calm.

The Baby Shusher is a revolutionary new tool for parents using an ancient but doctor-tested technique to help soothe a fussy baby. The Baby Shusher breaks a baby’s crying spell by engaging his or her natural calming reflex. The rhythmic shush reminds the baby of being inside the womb, where there is a constant inundation of loud sounds from blood flow and other in utero noises (up to 95 dBs, or the sound of a very loud vacuum cleaner). These sounds, which may initially seem harsh, are actually very calming to a baby.

There are two timing options – 15 or 30 minutes and you control the volume.

Priced at $55.95, they make a fantastic baby shower gift and can be purchased from Sleepytot, NZ’s official distributors.

You can purchase here – https://sleepytot.co.nz/baby/product/baby-shusher/

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There are so many little lies you’ll be told coming into this whole parenting gig. These little lies turn out to be BIG Little Lies!

So to celebrate the launch of SKY premiering the new HBO drama “Big Little Lies” on SoHo and NEON, they’ve and asked me for my top five Big Little Lies that parents & parents-to-be are told, I said, “what, you only need five?”.

  1. Sleep when you can.

Um OK, so when is that? Never.. between caring for the needs of a newborn (there are a lot), maintaining a household and also caring for other children (+ manchild) you will likely never sleep again. On the upside, it does give you more time to watch good TV. But I am sure it gets better.

  1. They’ll stop eating when they’re full.

Yeah… they don’t. They vomit and have explosive nappies. They’re like animals, they don’t really have a filter and they don’t know their own limits. I am sure it gets better (this is my answer to everything when it comes to parenting if you haven’t already worked it out).

  1. It’s just a phase which will pass.

OK, When? I am 30 and my parents are still wondering when this ‘phase’ will pass. Each phase morphs into the next… so be mindful of that. It gets better…

  1. Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful journeys you’ll ever experience.

If you had an amazing, stress-free and beautiful pregnancy, go you. Most of us don’t. I would almost make up a figure, let’s go with 80% of women don’t enjoy being pregnant. Yes, it is so worthwhile and the end result is one so amazing not even words can express but the pregnancy itself? You’ll feel like absolute rubbish for a large majority. “It gets better in the 2nd trimester”. Yes, it does. Then it goes back to being shit again in the 3rd. You’ll be tired and you’ll be sore and by about 32 weeks, you’ll be well and truly over it. It gets better, haha – see below.

  1. It gets better.

When they’re a full blown adult maybe. Even then, you’ll still be dealing with their shit, as my folks remind me on the daily – haha.

With everything, the good outweighs the bad. Parenting isn’t easy if somebody tells you it is – they’re likely to be lying. Nothing can really prepare you for the whirlwind experience. Let me say, though, you start to experience more good days than bad and the sleepless nights eventually become a distant memory when you’re in a haze of Pinot Noir and the kids have finally tired themselves out enough to fall asleep on the middle of their bedroom floor.

Which is the perfect time to engage in my favourite activity and the one thing that has kept me going – entertaining TV – I thrive off it and it keeps me sane.

So I was excited to hear about the new HBO drama, Big Little Lies, that tells the tale of three mothers of first graders, whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.

Starring Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Shailene Woodley (The Fault In Our Stars), Laura Dern (Enlightened), Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood), Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), James Tupper (Revenge), and Zoë Kravitz (Divergent) form a stellar ensemble cast in this HBO mini-series, written and executive produced by David E. Kelley.

It is based on the novel by best-selling author Liane Moriarty.

Check out Big Little Lies on SoHo on SKY at 8:30pm on Sunday’s. And now available express on NEON – Get started with a 30-day free trial here http://bit.ly/2kYi3IB

#biglittleliesnz #neonnz #collab

Note: This post has been in collaboration with Sky TV. All views, opinions and writing is my own and we do not work with anybody we do not know, support and/or love.

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In one of my recent posts I made a big hoo-hah about the fact it’s a new year but ya’ll are gonna get the same old me and that I wasn’t going to make ridiculous goals that I know I have zero intention of fulfilling.

Instead, I am embracing all the changes coming this year and since turning 30, I can’t hide it anymore, I really am an adult and I am starting to get old. Things that never used to matter to me are now front of mind.

  • My health is more important than ever because I have 1 (soon to be 2) little people fully reliant on me.
  • We’re about to put an offer in on a house so our finances are extremely topical right now and I am learning so many things I never even knew.
  • I have always been a terrible saver. If I have money, I spend it. I am so thankful I joined KiwiSaver early as that helped me a lot when it came to my deposit.
  • I’ve gone through life working my butt off but never doing a lot to actually protect myself should anything happen.

With my 30th birthday been and gone, it’s got me thinking about putting a will in place. Some of these are things I don’t even want to think about but I need to, not only myself, but for my family.

As you would have seen from my last post with Warehouse Money, we’ve been doing a bit of work together and I have to say, sponsored or not, this whole collaboration has taught me a lot about insurance, different types of cover and why it is so important.

My latest learning is about Health Insurance. I have never really put a lot of thought into until becoming a parent. Like my previous post touched on, I’ve always had the attitude “I won’t ever need it” and “I can better spend the money elsewhere”. I’ve always been in generally good health so have luckily never needed it.

I’m pretty careful person, yeah, I am clumsy as heck at the best of times and am yet to break any bones or do any serious damage (touch wood).

Sitting here pondering why we mums need health insurance and I have come up with a few reasons:

  • As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a great saver so coming up with a large sum of money at a moment’s notice can be hard (especially because we are soon to be paying a large Wellington mortgage)
  • When Reuben catches a cold and thinks he’s dying (man flu, boohoo). (Doctors visits and prescription costs add up significantly over the year for a family of three – soon to be four!).
  • Parent accommodation cover – just in case one of the kids needs to go into hospital and we need somewhere to stay (If my child gets sick, I worry like crazy and want to ensure the best care for him – so knowing that I have private health insurance means we can jump the public health care queues
  • Non-surgical hospitalization – for things like asthma or specialist appointments (which can be crazy expensive).
  • Typical kid stuff like grommets and tonsillitis.

Even better? If you purchase before you have your baby, they’re covered for anything that may arise pre/post birth.

Since becoming a Mum to Baxter and with his sister arriving in April I don’t just have myself to worry about anymore. Of course, I still have to worry about myself, for their sake but I also need to ensure that they are covered in the case of accident or illness.

If something happened to me, what would happen to the kids? Reuben stays home with Baxter and I am the one working. Could they manage without me? And then, what if Reuben got sick?

Warehouse Money has partnered with nib to bring you different types of cover to suit your needs. There are three great plans available: Everyday for Everyone cover, Hospital cover, Hospital and Specialist cover.

The thing I love most about the Warehouse Money approach is that is clear and simple with exactly what cover you’re getting. They’re on a mission to make things easy for us Kiwi’s when it comes to offering great value financial products and services.

We’re looking at the Hospital Cover policy, a slightly more premium product that covers a lot for the average kiwi family (like us). From only $2.29 a week per person, that’s less than the average cup of coffee! This cover is great if you require private hospital treatment so you can quickly get back to doing the things you love. What else does it cover? Surgery, Cancer Treatments, Oral Surgery, Specialist Consults and much more. Have a look at what policy is right for you over at www.warehousemoney.co.nz

Obviously, each person has individual needs and can pick the cover that best suits them. I just love that it’s made so transparent and tells me exactly what I am getting, in a simple way that I can understand and make an informed decision from AKA I can do it all online.

So thanks Warehouse Money, for making insurance easy to understand, good value and easily accessible for all New Zealander’s.

I am keen to know what changes you’re making/have made in regards to your life/health since becoming a parent? Did things change dramatically or were you just more organised than me? Do you see insurance as a priority and a must have?

If you’re stuck and are not sure where to start, jump onto www.warehousemoney.co.nz and get a quote.

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