September 26, 2017

How do you dress your kids? - Our love affair with Coco & Ginger

 
"It's all about keeping a little girl... a little girl.
Keeping her youthful.  Keeping her spinning and twirling and carefree. 
And most importantly, bringing her happiness"
Denise DeMarchis, MJC Founder.
 
How do you dress your kids?  Do you even think much about it?  Do you micromanage their wardrobes?  Or do you let them make their own clothing choices - whatever they may be?  I've seen extremes on both ends of the spectrum.  Me?  I'm somewhere in the middle.
 
I love fashion.  I adore kids fashion.  I love seeing my girls looking good and feeling confident and comfortable in their clothes.  I have pretty clear ideas on what I do and don't like to see on my children and if it ticks all of these boxes then we know we're on to a winning brand.
 
Coco & Ginger Coco de Mer Lilac Dress in Periwinkle Almond Blossom
 
Firstly... Mama has to like it...
I am a huge fan of "let them be little".  While I want to encourage my girls to grow in to capable young ladies, I am so conscious of not pushing my girls to grow up too fast and this extends to almost every facet of their lives including their wardrobes.  I'm not strict by any means but there are certain fashions which should be for dress ups only and others that will never ever enter our house.  I'm not trying to keep them babies and I just want their clothing to be tastefully age appropriate.

In some ways I feel it's kind of my right of passage as their mother to dress my children however I want to.  I was the youngest of three who had no say in what I thought at the time were some truly terrible 70's and 80's hand-me-downs (which I'd probably kill to have now!) from my older sister AND brother that my mother dressed me in!  But I wouldn't do that to them because...
 
Coco & Ginger Coco de Mer Lilac Dress in Periwinkle Almond Blossom

 
The girls have to like it too...
It's not all about me.  I would hate for someone to make me wear something I was uncomfortable in or and truly hated.  I make sure I take in to consideration their own likes, preferences and personal style.  I know some wee girls have very strong opinions on what they wear.  At 7 and 4 years old my girls know what they like but are still mostly delighted with and trust my choices on their behalf.
While it's mostly smooth sailing I've know it's important to let them have a degree of input or compromise in their outfit choices.  We've had the odd incident where I've forced bribed asked my girls to wear something they really didn't like or one of my girls has insisted on wearing something I couldn't stand and then we start the day off on the wrong foot before we've even left the house.  I'm just hoping that in trying to raise these capable girls of mine I can gently steer them away from the trash to make more tasteful age appropriate choices as they slowly become independent.
 
Coco & Ginger Coco de Mer Lilac Dress in Periwinkle Almond Blossom

 
Lifestyle...
is an equally important factor in the clothes we choose.  As a family we live a very beach orientated lifestyle.  We spend our summers following the surf from beach to beach.  In winter we tend to hibernate a little or when we can we follow the sun to tropical locations.  Plus for as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to anything retro and tropical.  My own summer wardrobe is full of distressed denim cut offs and easy to throw on dresses.  I love white and colour and prints.  You'll rarely (if ever) see me in black.  So it's really no surprise to see my style rubbing off on the girls in their choices.  Don't get me wrong - they still think bright pink sparkles are sssooo pretty but they'd choose a delicate floral print maxi dress or a tropical sun suit over pink sparkles any day because that’s how we roll.

Extended sizing...
A more recent problem I've encountered is that a lot of our favourite brands stop at size 5 (some stretch their ranges to a size 7 but not many) and I'm hunting high and low for new age appropriate brands for my tall and skinny 7 year old.  There are some tween ranges out there for kids aged 8-14 but I find there is a dramatic shift in style, design and cut between the kids and tween ranges, and generally not in a good way.  The tween age ranges cover late primary to early college aged kids and there is a big difference in just about everything between these two age groups.
 
Coco De Mer - September 2017

 
So where do we shop?
I like to mix and match my girls clothes from all different brands.  I love to check out Kmart as much as the next Mama, picking up a couple of fast fashion items for a few dollars.  Who can say no to $7 leggings that are going to get covered in paint at kindy.  It definitely has its place.  I like to invest in good quality basics (Jamie Kay tights and tees are wonderful) that will last the distance for layering through the seasons.  And I love to indulge in special items that the girls have helped pick out that reflect my ideals - my style, their style, extended sizes plus our casual, beach loving lifestyle, and Coco & Ginger ticks all of those boxes.
 
Coco De Mer - September 2017

 
Coco & Ginger is designed by the talented Saffron Pugh and beautifully hand made by a team of talented artisans in Bali.  I first discovered Coco & Ginger when Maddie was a baby and have continued to shop and support them ever since.  2017 marks 15 years of Coco & Ginger and will see the release of two new highly anticipated ranges (which run from newborn right up to size 14!).  The first range in the process of being released is called Coco de Mer which is inspired by the giant coconuts and thick jungles of Africa's Seychelles.
 
Coco De Mer - September 2017

 
"The prints in the Coco de Mer collection feature waterlilies and playful chains of blossoms. Shades are sea glass, eggshell blue, periwinkle and sea-shell pastels; the look is pretty and windswept, light and whimsical."

My girls were lucky to preview the range and even get to take some pieces to Hawaii with us in July.  It's absolutely gorgeous!  I loved it!  They loved it!  You will not be disappointed!  You can view the full range of Coco de Mer plus purchase from the range online at Coco & Ginger New Zealand and select New Zealand retailers from September (click here for stockists).
Coco De Mer - September 2017

August 25, 2017

The Food Show 2017

 
In August I headed back to The Food Show for another year to check out the latest and greatest products for 2017.  I'm wasn't disappointed.  It never ceases to thrill me seeing all the passionate vendors creating exciting and delicious products.  Here are some of my favourite finds from our day spent eating taste testing.  In no particular order...

August 24, 2017

Hawaii - 2017 Update

 
We spent most of July on our annual pilgrimage to the Hawaiian Islands.  I shared some snaps of our travels on Instagram and Facebook while we were away and once again I was inundated with a huge amount of messages from excited people with lots of questions about travelling to Hawaii.  I'm always happy to answer any questions you have so feel free to keep them coming.  I thought I'd do a general update here on what's new, what's changed and generally awesome stuff in and around Oahu which is where we stayed on this trip.  If you're planning your first trip to Hawaii then I would suggest you start back here, here and here before reading on.

August 23, 2017

Matilda the Musical

 
I should have had this review up a couple of hours ago but I've been far too busy downloading soundtracks and watching clips on YouTube, reliving last nights theatrical and musical extravaganza.  We've read the book, we've seen the movie, and last night Madeline and I were lucky enough to go along to see the amazing - Matilda The Musical.

August 16, 2017

Dole Whip Smoothie Bowl

 
That picture of goodness right there is a Dole Whip Smoothie Bowl.  Authentic Dole Whip is a creamy pineapple frozen soft serve treat which is only made and served at two places in the world - Disneyland and the Dole Plantation in Hawaii.  And we've been craving it big time since we got home.  A bit like the 11 secret herbs and spices, no one knows the exact Dole Whip recipe but there are heaps of versions out there.  This is my healthy take on this delicious, iconic treat.

May 3, 2017

Crosley Coupe Turntable Review

 
Everything old is new again!  So so true!  And this retro loving girl right here quite literally squealed with delight when I saw that Crosley Radio were releasing a range of retro style turntables.  I just about died and went to 1950's heaven!

April 5, 2017

Salmon and Zucchini Noodles

 
I've been exploring my KitchenAid Artisan Mixer a lot lately.  Up until now I have only ever used it as a cake mixer (Ssshhh!  I knoooow!  So bad!) but these beautiful machines are actually capable of so so much more than mixing and with a few handy attachments you can do away with loads of your other bulky and cluttered kitchen equipment!  The first attachment that I've added to my stash is the KitchenAid Spiralizer which I used to make this delicious and very easy Salmon and Zucchini Noodle dish.

Easter Basket Fillers

 
Each year our Easter weekend coincides with the start of our school holidays.  As well as a little chocolate treat from the Easter Bunny, I like to give our girls a small basket of goodies to kick off the holidays.  Most of the items are practical things they actually needed anyway given under the guise of "Easter gifts" - winter sleepwear, socks and gumboots, with a couple of inexpensive treats thrown in as well.  Here are some of the cute things I came across which would make great gifts this Easter.