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A wee while ago we got a parcel in the post – a very big parcel – addressed to mama but really for a little Thomas lover.
oh the shiny eyes
oh the big excitement
oh the unwrapping and the ohs and ahs
a very happy little camper.
Bounce spent the rest of the day playing with it and I have had request after request for it to be out. I was rather stoked Daddy was home when it arrived it was so cute to watch them unpack it and ‘man-talk’ while they put it together!! Later in the week when it was my turn to put it together Bounce said to me at one point, ‘It’s okay mama we can wait for Daddy‘ and when I did manage it, ‘Wow mama you did a really good job‘. Gotta love an encouraging kid!! It’s not actually that hard to put together I must say I just have some spatial construction issues (you don’t know what I mean? How strange *wink*)
When Flip got home he was so excited to see it he forgot to take his school bag off before he started playing with it.
The thing I enjoy most about watching Bounce play with it is the inner audible dialogue I get to hear. Little instructions and the oh, whoops, just a minute, this is the way, switch this, hey come here(when he forgets to switch onto the course he wants). With the different places to stop and the track switch and boulder shoot there is a lot to make him feel like he really is in control of the track.
This is one of those toys that everyone has played with when they come over (and I mean the adults too – oh yes, the Daddies that have popped in may have had a more difficult time than the little ones with the distraction factor).
This ‘Thomas Trackmaster’ set reminds me a bit of the ‘death drop’ at primary school. The brave and coordinated used to sit at the top of the bars and flip backwards and then onto the ground (landing of course on their feet – it’s probably banned now). Thomas stops to unload his load (down the chute and into the flying fox thingy (Mama is not a train expert!) and then takes a leap from one track and lands on the rest and speeds home.
Bounce loves Thomas so much – he has always had such a thing for machines and trains and this was the most amazing thing for us to receive in the post. We made a little movie of him doing his thing I kind of like this one because you can see how excited he is hopping along between the bits. It doesn’t show all the ways it works but I just adore his obvious delight watch for the jumping with happiness toward the end.
Actually this little film is also available to watch here. In the same place there are other cuties playing with their Thomas Trackmasters and if you want to you can vote for your fav (read your fav not my film this is not a fishing-for-your-vote post! Unless of course you want to give me your vote, which I will happily receive!). Guess what – your vote also enters your Thomas lover into an a.ma.z.i.n.g prize draw. (Which I am assured is open to New Zealanders.)
You can also make your own film of your wee one doing their own Thomas-thing and enter them into your video competition part as well.
There are weekly prizes of trackmaster product and at the end of the ‘campaign’:
The winner will receive $3000 worth of Thomas product and a family trip to Puffing Billy, with your wee Thomas lover being a conductor on Thomas on the day. (That’s a free trip to Victoria in Australia!! – whoot)
Of course should you all fall in love with my video and vote us in as the winner I will accept with all the humility you have come to expect and love me for – oh wait that is someone else I was thinking of!!
Don’t tell me I never give you the in! ) Okay so I hardly ever have an in but this is cool right?
I’m not really a dairy lover (putting chocolate aside!). I don’t like milk and cheese much and would easily give either or both up. But as a woman I have this niggling thing about the fact that I should be consuming calcium so I don’t end up all bent in half like a paper clip as an older woman.
So I decided I would do the yoghurt thing – I put yoghurt through my cereal and that way I feel like I can give myself a calcium tick. The other day I decided to treat myself and instead of buying a cheap tub of ‘whatever is on special‘ (and is probably full of fake everything) I grabbed a tub of Bliss – Berry Happy gourmet yoghurt. And I was indeed Berry Happy. Oh.so.good – so thick and so creamy (almost like a velvety smooth mousse) and full of a berry ‘compote’.
It literally was so good that I emailed the company to congratulate them (I always ring a company if their product is defective so I try to balance it out with praise if I find something genuinely above and beyond).
Long story short I discovered the yoghurt is made by a proudly Canterbury company!! and they are lovely to deal with. I received a personal reply to my email from the company CEO Jim Small, who himself started Cyclops Yoghurt in 1988. Well impressed. Then last week I made the trip out to their factory in Hornby and came home with all sorts of things to try.
For Christchurch dwellers they run a factory shop on a Wednesday for you to be able to buy yourself some treats at below the RRP. 10am-4pm and worth a trip! If Victoria helps you out tell her I sent you because I’m sure she’ll be thrilled about that!
Just for a bit of background the company produces the following:
Cyclops - these are the original products and all the ingredients are certified organic, the yoghurt is fermented for a minimum of 12 hours in comparison to the 5 hours of most other brands and it contains a much higher concentration of milk solids which gives it an acidity and pro-biotic bacteria levels that are much higher than standard yoghurt’s.
The Bliss range - the one I bought. This is a gourmet brand and has the most wonderful selection of flavours. (even the titles make me happy – Apricot Enthusiasm anyone?). These yoghurts are made in the same factory using the same products and although they contain organic ingredients are not currently certified organic. These yoghurts are more dessert like, to me they remind me of eating the slightly soft ice-cream from around the edges of the tub (you mean you don’t do that?? must just be me!) and certainly satisfy the after-dinner sweet craving. They are higher in fat than some of the others and I find for me that means I eat less and feel more full and satisfied.
(Does this make anyone else think of the Seinfeld episode when they spent the whole time eating frozen yoghurt??)
The company also produces 3 flavours of organic frozen yoghurt - Mango, Strawberry and Coffee(which a lot of my friends swear by). And tubs of sour cream.
I love that they as a company they are ardently committed to being an adult based brand – not that children wouldn’t enjoy them but with flavours like Ginger and Pear (with definite ginger flavours) and Mango and Cardamom and a strong focus on organic and pro-biotic qualities – they are not aiming to be a ‘lolly brand’. Certainly my Flip was more than happy to try the frozen yoghurt and described it as ‘all of that‘ and has been asking for it for dessert every night since.
They are also genuinely committed to doing their best by the environment as well – there are awards like this all over the wall at the factory shop
It makes me really pleased to see artisan products being produced locally in New Zealand that refuse to compromise the standard of their products to take a stake of world domination. I also find it really impressive that for over 20 years (before it was trendy) they have been producing organic products.
As I say, I approached the company (Serra foods) after trying the yoghurt because I found it SO good. They kindly gave me some more products to sample and were very generous when I asked them for some vouchers to give away.
SO… to my September giveaway. If you would like to win a voucher (let’s call it a ticket to yoghurt heaven!) to get your own taste of happiness leave me a comment here.
For further entries be a follower of this blog – please leave another comment
and if you really want one of these vouchers pop over and like their fb page and leave me another comment.
3 chances to win!
** currently Cyclops is available at all your local supermarkets but the Bliss range is not stocked in Countdown supermarkets. If like me you’re a cheap and cheerful PnS shopper or a more refined New World shopper you are in luck for both products. **
Entries close on 20th of September and winners will be posted their vouchers within a week. Sorry to my international readers this is a NZ giveaway only. Please ensure I have a way of contacting you should you be a winner.
A while ago a few of us blogged about our dreams… you know those things we don’t want to talk about because you fear they will never happen, or people will judge you, or you will sound silly.
At the same time I was approached by a New Zealander Jolene Stockman who had written an e-book about this topic. She asked me if I would consider reviewing her book. A big risk for her (this book is her baby) and for me (what if I didn’t like it?)
But I did like it.
Jolene has written this book specifically with teenagers in mind but that does not mean it can’t be appreciated by adults as well. Her book is called ‘Total Blueprint for World Domination’.
It is a book that brims with passion and enthusiasm for making your personal dreams a reality, but it is much more than a ‘you can do it’ motivation guide. The book is also a workbook at the end of each chapter there are places to pause, questions to ask yourself and exercises to do. ““`
And it takes things a step further – it asks you to go to the edges of your dream and work backwards in steps to look at what you can do right now to make those things happen. For me this was the chapter that was most valuable and challenging. It’s all too easy to dream, to talk about what you want to be ‘when I grow up’ but not to actively pursue that by the things I am doing now.
The book is very readable. It isn’t long or arduous but it is a book you can really take time over and let it challenge your behaviour and your thinking if you want to.
Here are two of my favourite quotes from the book:
Feel the incredible deliciousness of being able to do something right now.
You have always made a difference from the time you entered the world to this moment sitting in your skin. You affect people around you. You affect the world. Everything you do, and everything your don’t do…..you make a difference right this second. Whether you mean to or not.
Jolene has been working hard to make her own dreams realities and I think she is a wonderful example in a long line of New Zealanders and women who have chosen to make and be the future they dream of. Jolene has generously decided to donate 2 of her books to readers here as a kindle book or PDF .
Leave me a comment, tell me your dream, tell me about a person that inspires you or just tell me I’m awesome!
2 winners drawn in 2 weeks time May 25th
extra entries if you share through your platforms – blog, tweet, fb… just leave me a another comment
We love lego – it seems to come with the territory of having 3 males in one house….maybe it would be the same if it was all girls – I can’t say I have no expertise in this area.
When the new lego game ‘Battle of Hoth’ arrived in the mailbox poor Flip nearly burst his buttons in excitement and the effort required to wait until we were ready to play before we undid the box.
It was worth the wait a long leisurely morning with Daddy setting up – it took them nearly an hour of enjoyable ‘lego play’. I think even I could follow lego instructions. Certainly Flip loves the easy style of their instruction books, no words needed.
and then the great Battle began. Flip’s entire focus was on getting to the stage where he could roll the dice and attack. In his typical style without
too much, any strategy he creamed Daddy and won the game.
I like that about this game it can be played with strategy (and I’m sure it will be in a few years) or you can just play it.
The Atlas, really liked the ‘childhood memories’ aspect of playing this with Flip. The excitement and ability to participate in the imaginary play part of the game and the arguements over who will be the goodie (he was very mature and let Flip choose).
I personally like the imaginative part of lego’s approach – even though it is a game players can choose to add in new characters (these are provided in the form of Chewbacca and others) and change the style of the game. Even in the rules/instructions there is encouragement to make the game your own. And of course the pieces all work with any other lego you have.
The game is based on the battle of the same name from the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Star Wars movie.
I ended up making a clear plastic case for the pieces with a velcro top because I didn’t think the box would ensure pieces being safe at our house.
I was sent this game to review with my boys and when I get something this awesome I score major points for being cool which I figure buys me less eye-rolling when I am doing my serious work of blogging! Although it’s recommended for 8+ I think it can be accessible for players 5-8 if they play with an adult.
We’d recommend it for those who like games that can be played on a fun or thinking level and for Star Wars lovers, Lego lovers and the geeks who love both.
With all the years I spent working in chemists and pharmacies while I studied you would think I be a convert to expensive product for my skin.
Alas, until November the only foundation I’d ever owned was for my wedding and it dried up in the bottle. I’ve spent my life using cheap body moisturizer from the supermarket on my face. Yes when I look like an old used cow hide I may regret this former lack-of-care for my skin.
I have begun to make a bit more of an effort now that I’ve noticed a few
wrinkles, ahem, fine lines turning up. So when I was asked to do a mystery beauty product review who was I to turn it down?
The first product I was sent was Olay’s 7-signs gentle moisturizer with SPF 15. I was concerned mainly with one sign although I did notice some open pores too, after I read the packaging – or is that the placebo effect????
I like this moisturizer it isn’t fragranced but it smells like a proper moisturizer (yes I am a bit shallow like that) and it goes on thickly but not so much that you feel gluggy. It’s available at the supermarket which is a bonus and I’ll just have to move a few shelves up to choose it. I think it does make a difference to my face although I am sadly still showing my character lines. (and I’m NOT lining up to review Botox!!!!!)
My only let down with this product is the addition of SPF because my new foundation (a body shop one) also has SPF it puts me off using them both together or using it as a night cream. Other than that I think it’s great.
I was also asked to try Pantene Zero Weight Shampoo and Conditioner. Right off the bat I need to confess I have an angry scalp (or manky if that’s a word you’re familiar with) so if my head doesn’t like a shampoo I will know about it.
My hair routine is pretty simple wash every second day (or I start to look like an oil slick that needs salvaging) and nothing else – no product, no hair dryer, no effort!
I’ve been using the Pantene for about 2 weeks now and I’m pleased with the result. My hair doesn’t feel weighed down and my scalp hasn’t been giving me grief. If you’ve been put off by Pantene in the past because of residue build up I’d say they’ve fixed the problem with this one.
As for me and my beauty care regime – I still don’t tone, I sometimes cleanse and I do go to sleep with my make-up on – but The Atlas still loves me!
I’d love you think of me as one of those healthy, exercising, book-reading, fresh air daily types….
But so many of you know me so that’s an illusion I was never going to manage!
However of late I have been enjoying a natural juice and book reading high thanks to just juice and the local library (I got the books out from there the Just Juice came in the post!)
I was asked to try 3 flavours – Strawberry and Kiwifruit, Sunkissed Orange and Farm Style Apple.
We tried the Strawberry and Kiwifruit on Christmas day – the overall impression was pleasant, although some of the samplers wanted a stronger strawberry and kiwifruit punch with the flavour. I loved the colour of this juice and it was fun to try a flavour combo I wouldn’t naturally pick.
I loved the orange juice – thick without being pulpy and really orangey – it didn’t last very long and I think the only people I shared it with were my boys, once!
Apple juice is probably one of my favourite juice flavours and I was pleased with the cloud, not too sweet flavours this one provided. All my boys liked this one too.
Thanks JustJuice and here’s to reading a book, glass in hand, under a tree, in summer (however unlikely it is to actually happen!)
A couple of weeks ago I was sent a copy of the new ‘Wimpy Kid’ DVD – specifically ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2, Roderick Rules’ to review.
The Atlas and I settled in for an evening’s entertainment (yes just the 2 of us we’re not film snobs!). I have to say I laughed a lot – although sibling rivalry is not something I experienced – depending on who you ask my younger sister still maintains I force-fed her the milo before she threw up, I remember it being a request??!! Anyway, the brothers in this film and their relationship, although comedic, feels realistic. The younger yearning for a relationship the older in the throes of trying to differentiate and distinguish himself from the family.
Mostly though I related to the mother, as you might expect. Her character definitely contains the stereotypical ‘let’s all be happy and love each other’ aspect to it but since becoming a mother I totally relate. I can laugh at the mother’s character and her obvious gaffs but I know that longing for ‘us all to get along’ and that desire for my babies to love each other.
In the movie she writes a parenting column for a local paper and inevitably every time she writes about something – trust, friendship between siblings…. the opposite happens in her family. Pretty sure every mother has had that experience. Ever said ‘my baby is sleeping through the night’ , ‘my children eat everything’ , ‘we haven’t experienced the terrible 2s at all’ etc? …nuff said!
And the dance scene at the end with the mother?? I would SO be that mother! Looking forward to all the embarrassment I can cause in the teenage years… I jest!, sort of!
I liked this movie – it doesn’t set about to end the world’s woes or overtly preach a message of family love or saving the world but it has a real feel good factor. It’s wholesome too there is no making out, foul language, or disregard for the true values of family. The journey’s of both the older and middle brother seem believable the kids aren’t ‘grown up before their time’. There’s a little crush here and a bit of eyeliner, bad driving and drum playing there but nothing completely removed from what a ‘typical’ kid might be able to relate to. And it doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard.
Next door we have brothers who are at similar ages to those in the movie so I asked the younger brother to give me his opinion. He said – 8/10 and his favourite was the church scene. I think I’d be about the same.
This movie would probably suit children 8 and above…. I wouldn’t be showing it to my 5-year-old because he wouldn’t ‘get it’.
So the lovely people who asked me to do the review also sent me 2 copies to giveaway – yay! If you would like a chance to win please leave a comment here – a most embarrassing school/childhood moment or your part in sibling rivalry would be interesting, otherwise just say ‘hi’. Extra entries if you Facebook, twitter, email, blog about it just come back and leave me a comment so I know.
Because of DVD zones this is an NZ giveaway only sorry. Closes Monday 24th October 2011.
ps: yes I got the DVD for free, I didn’t get paid to write this review and although I think I have sterling taste and refined artistic palate you may not agree with my opinions – just so we’re all clear! And the photos? These are my kids not the ones in the film – I figure these ones are cuter!
As for embarrassing moments, there was a fantastic one at 14 where I slid down a corridor at high school on a banana skin clutching wildly at my friend’s backpack to keep me balanced….she was not amused.