ECOSA GENEROUSLY SENT ME ONE OF THEIR MATTRESSES TO TRY… THIS IS MY HONEST REVIEW.
When we moved into our new home in Auckland, our bedrooms were the first rooms that we wanted to work on putting together. Moving into our house happened rather suddenly and with just a week to prepare for our actual move-in date, I frantically realized that we were going to have nowhere to sleep! When we left California, we decided not to bring along our mattresses as we figured they would unnecessarily take up a lot of space in the container and would be something that we would be able to easily replace when we arrived here.
However, shopping for mattresses with kids is not the most ideal shopping experience (I could just imagine the scenario: Holden jumping on the mattresses with his shoes on and Gray hiding under the beds and laughing hysterically), not to mention the sheer selection of mattresses is actually quite overwhelming! So when Ecosa offered to send us a few of their mattresses to try, we couldn’t say no. The mattress arrived in a tiny vacuum-sealed box and within minutes of cutting through the plastic wrapping, it had unfolded and expanded perfectly into place. The boys pitched in to help open them, making the entire mattress shopping experience (from ordering to delivery to unpacking) a seamless, simple, and fun one for all of us!
As a pregnant woman (in my third trimester mind you), I take my sleep (or the little bit that I am getting at this moment) very seriously and I was a little hesitant at how comfortable a vacuum-sealed mattress would be. I’ve been sleeping on it for about 3 weeks now and I can honestly say it’s one of the most comfortable mattresses I have ever owned. The boys seem to love theirs too seeing they are both sleeping through the night on them without so much as a peep.
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored, but I was generously gifted an Ecosa mattress to try. All opinions are my own.
Our homes in the past have always been infused with color, bold print and patterns, and lots of artwork (you can see our previous home tours here, here, and here), but this time around I’m finding myself wanting to create a completely different type of space. Maybe it’s being right on the ocean or how this house of ours is conducive to indoor-outdoor living, but I’m currently drawn to rooms that have bright white walls, warm and neutral materials, and a mixture of wood and woven textures.
Picking neutral pieces means I won’t tire of them quickly, allowing me to invest more in staple pieces and easily change up the look by switching out simple accents such as throw pillows and blankets, art, and decor pieces. We have a large open floor plan where our kitchen, dining, and living room are all combined into one great room and I am currently working to pull this space together, starting with the dining area. I’ve included my inspiration for the space below (I’m going with a neutral bohemian dining room) and how you can recreate the look yourself!
As we head into the end of December, we are prepping for our first expat Christmas here in New Zealand! After searching and finally finding a home (I will be sharing some “before” sneak peeks of our space next week), spending the past two weeks attempting to settle in and furnish this house of ours, and preparing for the arrival of our baby in less than a month, Christmas has honestly been the last thing on my mind. That is until I realized that Christmas was basically a week away and we still had yet to buy a tree, put up lights, or buy a single present! After completely missing Halloween, Holden’s favorite holiday, because of traveling at the time, I knew that we couldn’t do the same for Christmas (nor would I want to!). I’ve found a Kiwi Christmas to be quite different from Christmas as we know it from the States and thought I’d share a few differences between an American Christmas and a New Zealand Christmas…
Just the fact that it’s the middle of summer here in New Zealand means it just doesn’t feel like Christmas. Although we lived in Southern California where it’s a steady 75 degrees (24 degree celsius) year-round and we don’t experience a cold, snowy Christmas, there is something in the air that makes it feel like the winter season. So it feels quite odd to be heading into summer and the Christmas season at the same time. Christmas in New Zealand means bbq-ing at the beach or spending the day in the backyard with friends and family, not the “typical” American Christmas day.
Christmas is truly everywhere in the States from the end of October (I remember seeing Christmas decor in the shops before Halloween last year) leading right up until Christmas. People have Christmas lights on their homes, Christmas trees in the windows, Christmas music playing on all of the radio stations, and you are inundated with Christmas decor in almost every, single shop that you step into. It is now a week away from Christmas and I have only seen one house in our neighborhood that has lights on it, I have only spotted a house or two with a Christmas tree in the window, I have yet to find a radio station that plays Christmas music, and I could only find one aisle of Christmas decor in our local shop and it was completely sold out. It seems there isn’t the same sort of consumerism around Christmas that we as Americans experience during the holiday seasons and it’s honestly been quite refreshing.
With our move, we were incredibly late to the game in getting our Christmas tree so imagine our surprise when we went to the Christmas tree lot to cut down our tree and found an entire field of trees that had been pre-sold in October and were still waiting for their owners to come and claim them with only a week and a half left before Christmas. When I questioned the owner of the tree farm, he didn’t seem phased in the least and just replied that it wasn’t that late.
Driving around to see Christmas lights is harder to do here as it’s light until 9 PM at night. The boys are generally in bed before it is dark (remember, summertime!) so taking them to see the lights in the city has proven to be an adventure that we haven’t undertaken yet.
I honestly wasn’t expecting the holiday season to feel different than what we are used to, but with the laidback, less is more approach that New Zealanders seem to take towards Christmas, I find that I am focusing less on the whole consumer aspect of Christmas and more on what this holiday season is truly about.
***Thank you Hanna Andersson for partnering on this post.
I’m going to share something that I am a tad embarrassed to admit…that for some time, even with just two kids, the laundry situation in our household was severely out of control. It seemed that the pile of dirty laundry would grow until it was overflowing out of hampers. The washing, then drying, the folding, the putting away – it was my most dreaded household chore. When I did get around to putting a load on, the clean laundry rarely got folded which meant it ended up in a gigantic pile on the bed (and then pushed onto the floor) and we would just get dressed from the pile of clean clothes on the floor. And when I did take the time to fold and organize the laundry, the clothes rarely made it back into their proper drawers and closets and instead we just had a overwhelming amount of folded clothes sitting on the floor that would end up becoming a mess when the boys decided it was a mountain they had to climb or decided to toss pieces all over the room and all of the clean clothes would eventually just get mixed with the dirty clothes. Please tell me I am not the only one that has lived like this?!?! Well, I finally decided to get our laundry situation under control and these are a few habits that have helped us create an efficient laundry routine. And guess what, since implementing these tips, I don’t hate laundry anymore!
Do a load every day. By doing one load every single day, you avoid the massive pile up that can easily accumulate over a few days. This way you won’t get behind and end up feeling overwhelmed.
Fold immediately. I’m usually taking a load out of the dryer to exchange it as I am running out the door for an adventure with the boys and before, I would just toss them into the laundry basket and promise myself that I would fold them when the boys went to sleep that night. Well, that night-time folding party rarely happened because I would much rather relax, catch up on emails, or spend time with the husband. Tackling the folding right away only takes a few extra moments and made staying on top of the laundry so much easier.
Put a load in before bed every night. Putting a load of laundry in the washer before going to bed every night has become a ritual that helps me stay on track for a load a day. When I wake up, I switch it to the dryer and then after breakfast and before we head out for the day, I fold the laundry and put it away. This has been working really well for us because doing laundry after the boys go to bed is really the last thing I want to do at the end of the day.
Get the kids involved. My boys LOVE helping with laundry. There’s something about pouring in the detergent and throwing in the dryer balls that is just so exciting for little ones. Both the boys also love helping me move the wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer…Holden likes to pretend it’s a contest to see how strong he is (since the wet clothes can get so heavy). It has become something fun to do together!
Use the right products.Both the boys have really sensitive skin and we have always been really careful about what we use to wash and dry their clothing. There really is nothing worse than washing clothes in something that doesn’t work or results in rashes or feels stiff or doesn’t smell good and having to redo multiple loads of laundry. We use and love the Babyganics Fragrance Free Laundry Detergent and the Babyganics’ 100% natural wool dryer balls. We just recently added the Babyganics dryer balls to our laundry regime which eliminate the need for conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets, resulting in less static and softer clothes naturally, and we love them! They are non-toxic, non-allergenic, biodegradable, compostable, and free of chemicals, PVC, fragrances, and dyes. Growing up my mom always used dryer sheets, but I’ve avoided them because of the boys sensitive skin and so we were always battling a lot of static in their clothing. These dryer balls have solved all of our static issues and make the boys’ clothing so soft! The dryer balls also reduce drying time up to 25% and last for up to 1000 loads of laundry!
And to make things even better, they are now sold at Babies R Us!! They also just launched a diaper subscription on Amazon to make life even easier on us busy mamas.
I can hardly believe that my third trimester is upon me and that my due date is less than 12 weeks away! It seems like it was just yesterday that we were wrapping our heads around the fact that we were having another baby and now suddenly here we are moving into the final stretch of this pregnancy. With this belly of mine seemingly growing inches by the day, I have started planning out some of the details for my maternity photoshoot and I couldn’t help but look back on these photos taken at the end of my first trimester for my pregnancy announcement/pregnancy reveal that were shared over on 100 Layer Cakelet and my instagram feed(but somehow never made it here which I’ll just blame on pregnancy brain).
It’s crazy to me how much younger the boys look in these photos that were taken just a few months back. We had embarked on this crazy travel adventure up the coast of California at the time and I suddenly decided that I needed a beautiful and unique way to announce my pregnancy. I explored instagram and reached out to several amazing vendors in the San Louis Opisbo area (where we were staying at the time) and threw this pregnancy reveal photoshoot together in two days time. Of course it was a whirlwind of emails and phone calls and driving all over town to pick up pieces for the shoot, but I couldn’t be happier with these photos. Mr.B thinks it’s quite silly the extent I go to for our family photos at times, but I am so grateful to have these moments in our life documented forever because man does time move fast when you’re chasing after two boys.