28 November 2013

Things that make me go mmmm

1. Kotsu You go, I go, flamingo.
2. Hello Lovely and you are lovely, necklace. (You need to get together with your creator and make some bracelet babies, 'kay? Thanks).
3. Vanilla Design This clock is all kinds of flavours, but vanilla sure ain't one of them.
4. Courtney Claire (go the 'Naki!). Design available as a placemat and as equally stylish coasters.

Brought to you in association with Hazel Loves Design and the letter M for Mporium. Did I mention everything pictured is not more than $35? Mint.

21 November 2013

Paper Moon loves Hazel Loves Design

You know that feeling when you read a notice on the door of a really popular hang-out and your heart starts pounding when you mentally check off all the criteria and you cry out "That sounds like something I would love to be involved with"? That's exactly how I felt when I read this post on Hazel Loves Design. Then, you send a carefully scripted email playing it cool but you're actually really crossing everything that it even gets read and THEN you get a reply saying "Yes, let's be friends". That was me, a few days ago.

I am very excited to share with you that I am one of 10 bloggers who will partner Hazel Loves Design to showcase the emerging businesses and creative talent that abounds on these shores. I think many of us have felt at times that we are the person with their nose pressed up against the glass looking in at all the coolness happening on the other side of the door. Supporting great New Zealand-made design and the creative brains behind it is something I truly feel passionate about. It is so exciting to be involved, I can't wait to help by using this space to promote New Zealand indie design and new businesses that I love. What this means is that you will likely see some promotions from Hazel Loves Design like the one currently on my sidebar and I'll be helping to spread the word about all of the amazing talent there is in this country of ours. With Hazel's help, I will also be offering wonderful giveaways from time to time.

How does that sound, friends? You don't have to say it, take it from someone who knows.


Her: "It's funny that my friend thinks the 's' word is 'shadow'".

Me: "What is the 's' word?".

Her: "Shut up".

14 November 2013

Don't give me a bug

Bugs are rampant at the moment in our community and we have not been immune to them, unfortunately. Sienna was affected by a viral illness over the past few days and missed almost a week of school. We have been keeping things as quiet for her as possible to aid her recovery so it has meant very little interaction with others, not an easy adjustment for our social butterfly. She doesn't even like being holed up in her bedroom away from us during the day when she is sick; instead she gets rugged up on our couch to be closer to whoever is in the house at the time.

Her sweet friend left a little message to her in our mailbox, which was a real bright spot in her week. Today, she returned to school and was met with a pile of Get Well Soon cards written for her by her entire class.
To be honest, reading these cards probably meant more to me than it did to Sienna. I know the children were instructed to write notes in the cards, but the fact that someone took the time to make the suggestion and prepare the cards shows that she was thought of, that she matters. Each classmate wrote their own message and some included their own drawings. The heartfelt messages from the children who are close to Sienna were easy to spot and some of the other messages put a smile on my face with their unintentional humour.
It was a wonderfully thoughtful and unexpected gesture and it brightened our week. Again, it's the simple things, isn't it?

10 November 2013

Postcard from {Wellington}: Fireworks display

Every year, weather permitting, the Wellington City Council provides a 15 minute fireworks display to mark Guy Fawkes Day. Usually it is set on the actual day itself, but this time, it was held on Saturday night, and it was the perfect evening with barely a whisper of wind. Set on a barge out in the harbour, the fireworks make for some spectacular scenery and because of the topography of this city, there are plenty of hilltops from which to take in the view.
We could walk to our vantage point and joined hundreds of other people along the ridgeline to watch the display. On nights like this, I am reminded of why it is that I love living here. Just look at that view. The girls were so excited to be going out after dark. It's the simple things, isn't it?
* Photos taken by my masterful and multi-talented and handsome husband.

08 November 2013

Raising responsible children

Time to tackle the elephant in the room. If you would rather not read about a topic relating to sexual assault and rape, please do not read any further. You have been warned.

It has been four days since the media broke the story of a group of teenage boys in Auckland belonging to a "gang" who plied girls as young as 13 with alcohol in order to record having sex with them and who then bragged about it online over a period of two years.  I have been expecting this topic to be mentioned somewhere on the blogs I follow, but so far, there has been silence. I wonder why that is? That isn't to say the subject hasn't been discussed and dissected already in the media, but I want to hear thoughts from a parental point of view. As a mother of three girls, I feel so sickened and incensed and would like to have an open and frank discussion even if the subject matter is controversial or whether your viewpoint differs to my own. Because, if we look the other way, this could well be our own children in years to come.

Firstly, most of the anger from the public is, rightly, being directed at the perpetrators of these acts. How could these boys be able to continue their predatory ways for two years before any appropriate action by the authorities was taken? If, as reported, these activities were widely known by the boys' and girls' peers, how could the information not have filtered back to the families or schools? Where were the parents and wider family networks in all of this? Why didn't they notice and call into question the shocking claims being written on the boys' social media page? The police, by their own admission, were monitoring the page, but issued a statement that they were unable to bring charges due to insufficient evidence. It has since been revealed that four girls laid complaints, one formally, with the police in the last two years. It paints a very bad picture for the police when media reports have stated that one of the boys in this "gang" is a police officer's son. Now a formal investigation into how the police handled those initial complaints has been ordered by the Police Minister and there will likely be more fallout in the weeks to come.

Secondly, I found the attitude of the female teenagers who have spoken out in defence of the boys to be very disturbing. That casual group sex is considered a normal activity is astounding. What is going on with our youth for them to believe this kind of conduct is normal? Let's not forget the fact that some of the girls involved were minors. According to a witness statement, the girls were supposedly given alcohol with the aim to intoxicate and incapacitate them while the boys remained sober. This is quite revealing in how calculated the boys' actions and intentions were.

To add to the humiliation of the girls concerned, the boys boasted of their supposed "conquests" online. As if living with memories of traumatic experiences is not bad enough, now, cellphone photos and recordings are uploaded to the internet for the whole world to see. Over and over again. Forever. That these actions will have future wide-reaching ramifications in the lives of everyone concerned does not even seem to register with these teens.

As parents, without doubt, we have a role to play in this. Are we teaching our children what is respectful behaviour and modelling the kind of conduct we expect them to have from a very early age? Is the issue wider than that? Are we giving our children too many social freedoms before they have proven themselves to be responsible enough or is there just not enough monitoring of our children's online habits and interactions with their peers? Are we simply not communicating enough with them? It's a minefield raising children in this internet age and I don't claim to have all of the answers. I genuinely want to know how we can navigate it safely together.

For really really well-researched insight into this subject, feel free to check out Sacraparental's blog.

04 November 2013

Fireworks party

Renee celebrated her sixth birthday with a Guy Fawkes birthday party over the weekend. We had a snap, crackle and pop theme running through the food and games we played.

It was a beautiful day and we strung our outdoor lanterns up in the tree, which is a rare sight in this windy city of ours. My husband was chief sparkler lighter and general entertainer. Renee and her guests enjoyed an open air disco and Katy Perry's "Firework" didn't even feature on the playlist. Sack the DJ. I would have taken photos of the girls with their sparklers, but since it was just me and my husband supervising nine girls, safety came first.
Amongst other things, I served popcorn, a chocolate wafer loaf (snap!) and rice bubble slice (crackle!!), with a very timely recipe borrowed from A Little Bit Country. You were right, Elaina, it took longer to make than it did to eat. This was helped by the fact that the cupcakes looked much better than they tasted and were barely touched. Such a letdown. Substituting eggs with egg replacer doesn't always work very well and the fruit, well, even if it is cut up prettily, it's still fruit and if children don't like it, they won't go near that either. Poor rockmelon, don't get a complex. It's not you, it's them.
We made water fireworks and everyone thought that was a little bit magical. Less magical was the oil and food colouring spillage. Definitely an outside activity, this one.
Renee, the past six years have vanished in a blur of raising three girls born four years apart, kindergarten, school, sport, family and friends and all the activities associated with these communities. Through the busyness that is our family life, we have been able to capture quiet moments, just the two of us. You may not realise how much I cherish them, but I hope, in time, that you will have warm memories of those moments too. I love that you climb in to my bed for morning cuddles and you tell me how much you are looking forward to going to school. I love that we can take a few minutes after reading your book or during bath time to talk about what is happening in your world.
You have already completed a full year of school yet I look at your face and I am glad that I can still see flashes of my smiling, contented baby. My beautiful, sensitive girl, animal-lover and creative soul who has an air of cheekiness too. I watch you apply yourself to everything that you do and persevere when faced with challenges. That trait will stand you in good stead in life. I wonder what you will become when you are older? Whatever it may be, keep being the gentle, beautiful soul that you are. Happy birthday! How blessed we are to have you.