Mum Cool: A Pilot’s view

We live in a pretty special part of the world and often take our scenery for granted (I know I do!). Watch this video over Queenstown by a NZ Pilot and you can’t help but feel proud of Aotearoa.

Makes Mums Smile: Rejection letters

bonoIt happens to all of us at some stage – the big “thanks, but no thanks ” letter / email / phone call where you’re left wondering what was wrong with you. Friends and family rally round and say “something else will come up”, “they don’t know what they are missing out on” etc.

Take heart in this post where we can see some of the most successful stars have received rejection letters of their own at some point in their careers, before going on to find success.

This one back to the legendary band U2 is proof that we should all keep trying!


Win: Mr Vintage

The team at Mums on Top loves Mr Vintage for many reasons. Not only do they offer the most stunning selection of Kiwiana cool products, they are also a bunch of really nice, down-to-earth, talented individuals doing their fantastic work for us to enjoy and for the community as a whole.

We are super excited to be able to be able to offer you the chance to win some exceptional goodies from Mr Vintage:Mr Vintage Tote Bag - Giveaway

  • A selection of Mr Vintage’s new range of candles which includes: Hokey Pokey Ice Cream, Backyard Feijoa, School Fair Toffee Apple, and 5c Cola Bottle – good enough to eat…almost.
  • An uber-cool ‘Keep New Zealand Beautiful’ retro tote-bag. Look awesome and do your bit for the environment.

If you would like to go into the draw to win the above stunners from Mr Vintage then all you need to do is the following:

Entries close midday Tuesday April 22nd.

Mr Vintage Candles - Giveaway


Win: Funky Elephant Trunk

Funky Elephant - Looking in BoxYou might have recently seen our review of the very cool Funky Elephant trunk.  Now it’s your turn for your kids to enjoy a trunk full of fun delivered straight to your door.  Just think, something exciting to tuck away for those looming school holidays.

The Funky Elephant trunk is a box full of children’s activities tailor-made for three to seven year-olds.  Your kids can get creative and learn through interesting, themed projects which include art, craft, activities, imaginative play and other fun projects.

Some of the fabulous features of Funky Elephant trunks are:

Funky Elephant - pirate trunk

  • All materials and instructions are included
  • No stress for busy or non-creative parents
  • Quality time for you and your kids (separately or together)
  • Cleverly camouflaged learning hidden inside fun and enjoyable activities

If you would like to go into the draw to win a Funky Elephant trunk for your child(ren) all you need to do is the following:

This competition is now closed.  Thanks for taking the time to enter.





Mum Cool: Action Movie Kid

Daniel Hashimoto is one cool dad & has  just trumped every single other dad who thinks they’re doing a pretty good job.  How? He’s an After Effects artist for DreamWorks studios, and he’s taken to adding animations to clips of his toddler son playing at home. As a result, little James sets fire to shelves with his light sabre in toy shops, falls through puddles on the street, jumps over hot lava bouncing from sofa to sofa in his living room and he shoots things left, right and centre. He even has his very own dedicated YouTube Channel, The Action Movie Kid.

Now that is one cool dad & one very lucky wee man.

A Mum Did This: Bam |+| Boo

Bam & Boo - A Mum Did This (The Market)The Mums on Top team loves to indulge in some quality online shopping so you can imagine our excitement when we were introduced to The Market.  Simulating a traditional market experience, The Market gives you the opportunity to virtually meet creators and find out what makes them worth supporting before ever handing over your credit card. Read their stories, peek into their creative space, learn about the processes, tools and people behind their products and ask them questions – without stepping foot outside your front door.

We’re excited to introduce you to the team behind Bam |+| Boo -  talented MoTpreneurs MJ and Toni who are offering you 10% off their full range on The Market with the discount code ‘bamboo10′ – all you need to do is simply enter this code during the checkout process. (This code is valid until April 30).

MoT loves all Mums – what flavour are you?

MJ: Second-time mum, can sometimes be “over it mum around” feeding time at the zoo.

Toni: Wannabe a fun mum! Ha ha, Loopy Mum, Mummy Mum, Organised Mum, and agree, “over it mum” at dinner/bed time!

Which Mum badges are you qualified to wear? 

MJ: Can basically operate with 3 hours total sleep-badge, wear pumpkin and kumara stains all-day without noticing-badge, Pre-school negotiating skills-badge and the 3-2-1 counting down badge.

Toni: Ha ha MJ, love your badges! Sleep-deprivation is a torture badge, I lost count how many times I got up in one night badge, toddler pee’s in inappropriate places while toilet training badge. Negotiating a Tantrum in public badge! Getting two children under 3y to a function on time badge! Every day deserves a badge in my books!

List the 3 biggest challenges you face juggling Motherhood with running a business. 

MJ:  1. Time- . Wearing so many hats  (wife, mum, cleaner, driver, cook, mumprenuer etc) you juggle everything as much as you can. I am always astounded how much more I can accomplish now as a mum running a business than the days when I just went to work.i.e. packing orders late at night to ensure our customers get it asap.  You don’t really have time to waste time as mum. You’re always on “duty”. When friends with no kids complain about “how busy they are” I just chuckle as I used to say the same thing.

2.  Huge learning curve- as a business owner, there are lots of areas that you need to know and be good at. It helps to have someone as a business partner that compliments your skill-set though.

3.  Haircuts- gone are the days of a 3 hour cut and colour and maybe a leisurely lunch.  its now a quick stop in at the local “just cuts” for this mumma.

Toni: 1. Tiredness – as with MJ, packing customers’ orders late into the night and still trying to be the best mum you can the next day can be hard.

2. Giving everything 100% – this is really hard, as sometimes things fall between the cracks as you are juggling so many balls. Thanks goodness I have an amazing husband that picks up my shortfalls!

3. Running at full speed for so long you forget about looking after yourself, making time for yourself is the hardest thing to do I find.

How does The Market NZ make the juggle easier for you?

MJ: Market NZ is a great channel for mums starting their own business. Their knowledge and support make the huge learning curve of starting a business seem less daunting.  Also, the team is fantastic, as some of them are Mums too. 

Toni: The Market is fabulous as you do not have to worry about maintaining a website. If you do not have your own website, the Market is where you need to be!! It is a very user friendly process from Product entry to sale with great systems in place to launch your products.

What are your words of wisdom for fellow MoTs on jiggling the juggle?

MJ: Have a fabulous business partner that is in the same boat as you.  It makes it so much easier. Half the battle of starting a business as a mum is being a mum. When things go pear shape. not sleeping, or sick, -we understand what that means and support each other as much as we can.  Our ‘weekly business meetings are always a hoot- wrangling toddlers and feeding bubs. You won’t see that in a regular boardroom.

Toni: MJ has hit the nail on the head, we are so lucky to have become friends and then business partners, utilise each other’s strengths and support each other’s weaknesses. Keep everything out in the open and you will go from strength to strength. (not just your business, but personally also). Don’t be afraid to ask for help, family and friends are amazing, keep them in the loop. Before you start an idea, research, research and more research! 

What three words would your friends use to describe you?


Toni: Fun, Princess, Organised, (oh and LOUD too!) ;)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

MJ: I wanted to be an archaeologist so bad.  I watched Indiana Jones about ten million times. Later on I realised it was my desire to wear khaki shorts and a floppy hat.

Toni: See this is why I love my business partner, she makes me laugh – we genuinely do laugh A LOT ☺Hmmm I wanted to be a fashion designer and a primary school teacher.

What is your favourite thing to do on Sunday? 

Toni: Do something with my three boys (being my husband and our two sons 11months and 3 ½ years) its normally exploring at the beach, flying kites, riding bikes or seeing the boys grandparents or aunties.

What embarrassing incident have you never gotten over?

MJ: When I congratulated a NOT pregnant mumma about her pregnancy at my kid’s swimming class. It was a very uncomfortable 20 mins. Suffice to say I moved swimming lesson days. ☺

Toni: When my then toddler weed not once, but twice on my girlfriends electric fancy pants treadmill and carpet… gah!

10. Life is good when….

MJ: When everyone is asleep. 

Toni: Everyone is happy ☺


Makes Mums Smile: Funky Elephant

owlpaint photoOpening the pack photoMiss 7 had been sent a Funky Elephant box –  a box full of children’s activities for 3 to 7 year olds and there were squeals of delight when she saw what her activities were.

The bits and pieces for this month’s art activity were wrapped in gorgeous orange paper which I must admit looked so lovely I was reluctant to let my daughter at it!

Inside she found 2 instruction cards, along with everything she would need to build her masterpiece – paint, glue, a very handy messy mat, jar, stickers, paper bag, glitter and other exciting bits and pieces.

After much deliberation she decided to make the owl first (which was proudly presented to her teacher the next day). I sat back and watched the whole thing happen & only had to step in when there was a wee accident with the glitter (I’m still vacuuming the silver sparkles out of the carpet!). Next up was a treasure box – painted and decorated to her own high standards, and finally a nature jar complete with lady birds on the top.

When I asked my daughter for her verdict I got the big thumbs up – she loved each of the activities, and was occupied for a good couple of hours. I was very happy not to have to rush out and grab the “extras” that so often are not included (glue, felts etc) and am now lucky enough to have my very own treasure box on my dressing table.

Some info about the Funky Trunk:

What is it?

The Funky Elephant trunk is a box full of children’s activities tailor-made for 3 to 7 year olds. This trunk is sent to your home based on the subscription you choose. Therefore, if you choose a 6 month subscription, your child will receive a Funky Elephant trunk every month, for six months in total.

What’s in the trunk?

A burst of excitement just waiting to get out! Most kids tear away the wrapping to get a quick peek. Each month there is a different theme and the trunk comes with fun and interesting projects, along with materials, detailed instructions and motivational ideas. It provides the perfect stimulant for a young mind to learn, explore and grow. Another hidden benefit is that it gives us parents a little breathing space!

Mum Genius-ness: Cardboard Box Office

titanic1Leon and Lily the coolest parents in the world. The Wellington couple were were stuck inside with a one-year-old baby Orsen after moving to Sydney. With the cardboard boxes from their move across the Tasman, they built a movie scene and posted it on Facebook.

Since then, their weekly blog, Carboard Box Office has been hugely successful – they been featured on the Today show as well as The Graham Norton Show.  Awesome work team!


Put this on your to do list: Projecteo

http://www.getprojecteo.comIn another life I was an Art History Teacher.  One of the coolest bits of being an art history teacher (pre-internet and digital projectors) is that you got to have a classroom with a slide projector and hundreds and hundreds of slides.

Even for a generation who have only distant memories of slide shows from parents (or more likely grandparents) slide projectors are a hugely nostalgic thing.

But instagram isn’t – instagram is everywhere.  We have it, we use it, we share it and there seem to be a million ways to turn our instagrams into magnets, books, calendars, posters, framed artworks, stickers and movies. Projecteo combines the nostalgia of the slide projector with the access and availability of instagram.

Pick nine instagram images and Projecteo will develop them on to a single frame of 35mm slide film which is inserted into a small black wheel. They then send you the wheel and a teeny tiny miniature projector.

It is awesome AND it is miniature – that is all.


Put this on your to do list: Create a habit

Habit List They say it takes 30 days to form a habit. Ahem, maybe that’s why my “every other day, when I remember” exercise regime is not working for me.

I think I may just give this app a try – it includes everything you need to reach your goals, all on your phone. According to their web page it motivates you, helps you stay focused, and keeps you on track. Yes please – I will take any help I can get.

Watch this space.

Real Live Mum: Jaquie Brown

Real Live Mum - Jaquie BrownWhat makes you a Mum? The fact that it’s taken me 11 days to read this email and have time to myself to sit down and reply. Oh and also that I grew two humans in my belly and now they live in my house.

Describe where you are right now.  Right now I’m on the couch with the laptop on my….lap and the E! channel playing in the background – it’s where I get all my current affairs and breaking news stories. I have just put both kids to bed. Read it, BOTH (Leo 3 and Ivy Belle 10 weeks)  on my own because my man lover (aka husband) is working late. First time this has happened, was terrified I’d not be able to manage it, managed it, feel invincible. 

Describe the last dream you remember having.  Honestly they have been nightmares. Nothing funny to report just pure awful nightmares about things happening to my kids. Not sure why my subconscious is churning out such gut wrenching horror when I’m trying to get my beauty sleep but there you have it. 

Use five words to describe your family.  Messy, amazing, loud, precious, adorable.

What is one thing nobody knows about you?  Nobody knows how much I love High School Musical 3. Except you. And anyone reading this. Damnit.

What is your most treasured item?  We have a chair and table set from the 70’s and of course any family photos or photos of me where I don’t have a double chin. (Quite rare).

When was the last time you broke a rule?  I often eat things past their best before date, I’m quite rebellious.

What is your best piece of advice? Everything is better with butter. It’s so profound and true, it really speaks to me on so many levels.

When was the last time you forgot something important?  Went to Waiheke Island for a day trip with Ivy and forgot nappies. Ug.

What’s your #1 go-to “I’m shattered and I have to feed people” meal solution? Chuck an entire chicken in the croc pot and ignore it all day. Steam cauliflower and puree with butter and salt and add veges. Boom. 

Five minutes ago I wasBecause this has taken me days to complete, I’m no longer on the couch, I was having a much needed nap.  Five minutes from now I will be…collecting Leo from daycare.



Words for Mums: Well behaved women…

The nice thing about this great print by Words I Give By is that it is available on etsy. Enjoy.

Mum Cool: Kids Were Here. favourite single dad of ours has 50:50 custody of his two kids.  Each Sunday they return to their Mum’s he returns home form dropping them off but can’t bear to tidy up the little tableaux each child makes. This project made us think of him…

At Mums on Top we love a good photography project and especially one that has family as a central theme. The ‘Kids Were Here’ Project is a collaboration of 30 photographers and described perfectly by one of the members Stephanie Beaty

“These still life images serve as a daily reminder that my days are awash in chaos, whimsy, laughter and laundry (sometimes all at once). They capture toys and spills and puddles and piles. Sentimental, solitary moments of childhood ephemera. A gentle prodding to live in the now and stop looking toward the ‘then.’ And though sometimes I pray for clean and quiet and still, I know all too well it will come. And I will yearn for tiny shrieks of laughter in my bedroom. For toys and loveys strewn about. For signs of a daily life well lived. For traces of my babies who once were. For reminders that Kids Were Here–and they were life and light and love.”

As Mums we all know that moment of coming across a scene where kids have recently departed – sometimes it is the perfect description of the inner working of a child’s mind, sometimes it is a piece of writing that breaks your heart.  This project is a summary of those moments – charming, funny and at times heart-breaking.

A Mum Did This: Paper Dresses at a whole new level off – I need to be honest – I’m not sure if this freaks me out or if I am just in awe.  We’ve all been to one of those kid’s parties where the party game is to make the dress out of newspaper/toilet paper and a roll of sticky tape right?  If you’re anything like me then if you’re involved then there is going to be some type of skirt and  bodice and then I’m pretty much out.

Ok maybe a paper flower brooch thingy. But then I am really really out.

Well this mum takes that party game to a whooooole new level. The story goes…

“It became clear Angie’s daughter (she calls her “Mayhem”) was more interested in fashion than the average 4-year-old. Mayhem shunned her store-bought princess dresses and started wrapping herself with scarves and sheets creating her own styles.

Then one day Angie got tired of finding her clothes in Mayhem’s toy box and suggested they make a dress out of paper. Mayhem loved the idea and they haven’t stopped creating paper dresses since.”

The results are both horrific and awe inspiring – you must check out the celebrity award outfits – read the article and you’ll see where I’m coming from.

Put this on your to do list: The reluctant father. Reluctant Father serves as a letter, a journal, a diary, an acknowledgement of one dad’s somewhat reluctant journey into fatherhood.  The project is best outlined in an excerpt below…

To future fathers: When you’re asked how you like being a new dad, follow this script to the letter.

Q: So, how do you like being a father? Do you love it?


I’m amazed at the miracle of life. She’s so precious! I could look at her all day!’

I resented the enormous cultural pressure that demanded only one response from me.

When I told people I didn’t like it very much, their faces would wrinkle like a walnut. They’d look at me as though I’d taken off all my clothes, and the results were slightly unpleasant.

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel responsible for loulou. I was there. To change diapers. To get up in the middle of the night, to do whatever needed to be done. But I felt no emotional connection.

It was like trying to have a relationship with a sea-sponge, or a single-cell protozoa.

She didn’t DO anything. Or at least, nothing I could understand.

From there the journey continues and the reluctant father ultimately metmorphises into the most doting of fathers.  What is most astonishing is, on reflection, the way the photos change as he goes from reluctant to besotted.

Worth a look.