A music festival for kids! (And adults too)

You might remember that in 2016 I took my eldest son Eddie and his bestie to Auckland City Limits. They had the best time and I am so excited that the festival is coming back and is again having a special kids festival as part of it. AND I’M GIVING AWAY TICKETS! (But we will get to that).

Usually festivals are not kid-friendly. And that’s a real shame because who loves music more than kids? And why should kids miss out on art? I love that the organisers of Auckland City Limits have made it not just kid friendly but actually actively welcoming to kids!

Eddie and his bestie

This year Auckland City Limits is on March 3 and Auckland Kiddie Limits their kids festival within the main festival looks awesome.

Children 10 years old and under get in free to to the festival and they are welcome in all corners not just the kids area. Our babes loved it all – there is art, music, the Kiddie Limits area, and a water spray zone. They were both fast asleep on the way home (They were three and four then). Getting to and from the venue at Western Springs was really easy. And they have pass outs for parents so if you’re lucky enough you can take the kids out at 5pm and drop them off and then come back for the rest of the festival.

Activities in Auckland Kiddie Limits 2018 include pirate games, a photo booth, karaoke, face painting, temporary tattoos, and workshops in paper plane making, magic, balloon twisting, and jewellery.

Eddie and his bestie checking out the art at Auckland City Limits

You also have MOTAT right there – we loved having nice toilets and a chill out area and indoor playground to escape to.

Auckland Kiddie Limits opens with the main gates at 11am and will run until 5pm –the festival headliners, who play through to 11pm so if you can drop the kids home with a babysitter you can come back.

Finn, the host of the 95bFM kids show, has once again curated the musical and entertainment lineup. Performers include Christchurch duo Itty Bitty Beats, winners of the 2016 Best Children’s Song and Best Children’s Album, musical comedy pantomime troupe Captain Festus McBoyle’s Travelin’ Variety Show, singer songwriter Chanelle & Friends, magical circus performer Le Cirque De JP, award winning kids folk musician Claudia Robin Gunn and an interactive show from Chris Sam Lam’s Musical Mayhem.

Auckland Kiddie Limits

Eddie loved it last year and I’m looking forward to hopefully going this year. And I’m hoping I can get a babysitter because I’d love to see Grace Jones, Head Like A Hole, and Disasteradio (I know what a mix!) Other festival headliners are Beck, Justice, Future, Phoenix, Peking Duk, Tash Sultana, George Ezra, The Avalanches, The Libertines and more (see here). There’s also comedy and poetry and some really cool art installations. The food was amazing last time. So you’re not slumming it like Big Day Out. It’s a genuinely awesome family day out.

And I have tickets!! So comment below or on my Facebook page (on the link to the post) and you’ll go in the draw for a double pass. Kids under 10 get in free so that’s all you need. I’ll draw the competition on Tuesday 23rd January. Tickets are on sale here. 

What I have learned in 2017

It has been an absolutely enormous year for everyone. For my little whānau – there have been mostly huge ups but a few shitty downs. I am writing this from my bed. We just returned from  Taupō. I have strep throat again. Sleep deprivation ruins your immune system. It sucks. I read an article on how to avoid recurring strep throat last night and it said “Stay away from small children” and I was like yeah OK and it said “if you can’t stay away from children at least stay away from carriers” and just as I read that Ham shoved his little paw into my mouth and his hand was wet. Like I don’t know what was on it. It was about 10pm and I’d only just got him to sleep. He is Patient Zero that kid. I pushed him over toward his father and he rolled straight back to me like a magnet. I pushed him away again and he sat up sleepily, grabbed my arm, and dragged it under his snotty nose then went back to sleep. Disgusting. This is why I am literally a flesh sack of illness 24-7.

Anyway, that’s not what I am here to write about. It’s New Years Eve. It’s the afternoon. I’m in my PJs already. I wanted to share with you a true story to inspire you as you slide into 2018.

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to Dwayne The Rock Johnson.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked Dwayne The Rock Johnson about it.
“My greatest love, I know you’ve been like super busy and I promise I am super grateful for Baywatch I mean I feel like that movie was made for me, and I mean Jumanji – LOVE IT honestly LOVE IT and you know I fully realise you are married and have your own family and I’m in New Zealand and you know whatever I know you’re busy but you have always been there for me, so it like super surprised me when I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I just don’t get why, when I needed you the most, you would straight up just leave me.”

He whispered, “Emily, babe, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, I was even there when you fell into the hummus trying to get a kebab at 2am after the media awards. I have always been there, for your highs and your lows.
When you saw only one set of footprints –
It was then that I carried you.”

True story. So as you head on into 2018 make sure you thank the people who have carried you. The lesson I have learned in 2017 is that I’ve never been alone. I’ve always had someone with me, guiding me on, encouraging me, pushing me, challenging me, and celebrating me. We all need that. We all deserve it.

Personally, I am grateful beyond measure for you – well, maybe not you specifically if you’re having a good old hate read right now – but  you like the nice you who helped me write my book, you who encouraged me to keep going, you who bought my book and you who sat in the front row at readings because you know how scared I am about public speaking. You who sent me lovely and kind messages when things were really bad, you who celebrated with me when I got invited to my first writers festival, you who shared my posts and tagged in your friends to read it. All of you really so nice people  – you’re so special to me. I feel like the luckiest dickhead in the world. I know I have been shot up the butt with a rainbow. I know it’s absurd. I love you for sharing this ludicrous thing with me. Thank you a million times. I never ever thought I’d have a published book – then to not only have one but to have people actually buy it and read it – it’s just too much for me to wrap my head around. Thank you for making it happen. I’m forever in your debt.

May your 2018 be beautiful – just like you are. May your village here and at home care for you, hold you up, and cheer you on.

Arohanui my friends.


Jumanji, The Greatest Showman and Ferdinand

So the weather has been effen terrible in Wellington after we had so many beautiful days in a row. Typical bloody Wellington. So I’ve been seeing heaps of movies. Here are my reviews. I’m writing this while the kids fuck up the lounge because they’ve been inside for three days. My husband has been the best ever and is basically just like – take a nap love, or go see a movie love. Which I’m taking to mean he loves and appreciates me and not that he wants me out of the house.

Whichever one it is – I’m taking it.

Boxing Day I saw two movies. First up was Ferdinand.

Look at that great smile. And that neck. I love a good neck.

If you consider Ferdinand to be a parable of the way toxic masculinity consumes and hurts young boys and men it’s basically the feminist movie of the year. So I mean, that’s how I see it. Throw in John Cena and Kate McKinnon and it’s my favourite kid movie of the summer. Considering I’ve seen some shit – I mean have you seen Lego Ninjago? What a steaming pile of sensory overload and then afterward I kept getting kicked by my child who was convinced he was a ninja. Anyway, back to Ferdinand. It’s adorable. A bull who doesn’t want to fight – who is teased for being soft and weak because he doesn’t want to fight. Can you be a winner if you don’t fit the mould etc – you know the rest. Anywho – it’s adorable and Kate McKinnon is hilarious. She is a “calming goat”. She’s perfect. There are some genuinely laugh out loud funny moments. I was in a packed cinema and the kids were hooting along. I was next to the most delighted little one who was squealing with excitement. It was great. My little one had a lot of questions like “Why did he have a sword to fight the bull – that’s not fair?” Yeah, no it’s not. And “What was the metal house they got taken to” – A slaughterhouse and if my son gives up meat he’s basically going to live on plain white bread rolls so I said “it was a shed”. Yes, I lied. Don’t judge me. John Cena is adorable just like he is in real life. Even as an animated bull I was like I want to [redacted]. He’s got such a great fat neck. He waxes though. Which I guess they have to because of the wrestling but still ugh how weird would it be if you pulled down someone’s daks and they had no pubes. That’s not in Ferdinand by the way – I just know that about John Cena. So don’t worry – there’s nothing dodgy in the movie. I was just thinking about…never mind.


What did we ever do right to deserve Dwayne The Rock Johnson? Has there ever been a man who has brought more delight and wonder to the world? No there has not. Dwayne The Rock Johnson is goodness personified. All he wants for us is happiness and joy. His smile could light up the darkest day. As the bible says, Dwayne The Rock Johnson is patient, Dwayne The Rock Johnson is kind. He does not envy, he does not boast, he is not proud. He does not dishonor others, he is not self-seeking, he is not easily angered (unless someone disrespects women – systemic misogyny infuriates him but he never speaks over or for women but instead creates space to boost their voices). Dwayne The Rock Johnson keeps no record of wrongs. Dwayne The Rock Johnson does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  Dwayne The Rock Johnson always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Dwayne The Rock Johnson loves us and he wants us to be successful and strong women striding forth and changing the world for the better. 650 million stars out of ten.

The Greatest Showman

If you just consider this a work of fiction (which it is) it’s spectacular. It really is. Everyone involved is beautiful and impossibly talented. Rebecca Ferguson is stunning as Jenny Lind. Zendaya is so captivating.

My favourite performance was the “bearded lady” Keala Settle. Zac Efron sings and dances – I mean there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. Personally I like my Hugh Jackman more stacked than he is in this movie. But you know – there was enough in Zac Efron wearing tight pants to keep me happy. The music and dancing was very Baz and was great etc. Like I said, it’s spectacular in the way his movies are – but the “This Is Me” empowerment self love message / PT Barnum is a a saviour to people who are “different” message is a bit on the nose considering what he was really like.

It is of course not in the movie that Barnum was a monstrous person. A horrific racist who bought, sold, abused and exploited people of colour and people with disabilities and children. He literally performed a public autopsy on a disabled woman of colour. And that just scratches the surface. Every part of the film glosses over how nightmarish he was. Like “Tom Thumb” in the Greatest Showman is “hired” and is 22 but in reality he was four years old and he was basically sold by his parents to PT Barnum. There are thousands of horror stories about him. So yeah, Barnum was horrendous. I guess you can only hope that after seeing the movie people look up PT Barnum and read about him. Because this definitely isn’t the PT Barnum story.

Sponsored post: SANTA MY CHICKEN

If you know me, you’ll know I fucking love Christmas. It’s my fave time of year. Christmas music – THE BEST. Decorations – give it to me. I love everything about Christmas and I especially love the magic of Santa.

We changed up the way we do Christmas last year – basically we decided we didn’t want to spend the day travelling so we stay home. We want a relaxing Christmas and running between families is not relaxing. I also stand by the belief that if you want to see children at Christmas you should come to them – unless they expressly want to come to you. Hauling my pregnant ass all over a city I hate is not enjoyable, so I won’t be going to [redacted] for Christmas ever again thank you very much.

I will be having a wine. Eating watermelon. My husband will cook. The kids will splash in the paddling pool. Hopefully we will have some friends over. But probably it will just be our Whānau of four and one of our besties who happens to be in Wellington this year. And that to me – sounds perfect. This year we will probably go up to the old folks home up the road and hand out some Christmas cookies. If it’s nice weather – we will go to the beach in the afternoon. Perfect.

This might not sound that magical – but I reckon it is. In any case – the magic comes before….the magic comes with my bestie Santa. I thought I wouldn’t “do” Santa with my kids but then I saw a Santa at the mall when Eddie was a baby and I fangirled out and was like “EDDIE IT’S SANTA IT’S SANTA LOOK!!” so we are doing Santa.

Now, I tell Santa stories, but because I’m so tired – I need a little help. So,  I am super thrilled that NZ post is once again doing their Write to Santa website. We did it last year and it’s so great!

Last year, when Eddie was collecting for the Children’s Hospital in September, we went to NZ Post for donations and they were so generous. I told them to let me know if they had any Christmas stuff they were doing and needed help spreading the word. They got in touch again this year and I was keen as to see how different my boys’ Santa letters would be a year on.

It’s basically the same as it was last year (because if it ain’t broke) though I’m told mobile usability is better (I found it fine last year). You can get your letter sent in braille which is great.

I sat down with the kids individually to design their postcards – you pick from three Christmas scenes and then “decorate” them. Both kids loved doing this. Though my two-year-old’s efforts were average.

From there you get to the nitty gritty – you actually write to Santa. Eddie was lovely and generous this year – after asking for one thing “a Spiderman” he asked each of us what we would like. My husband said a boat, and Eddie told him that was not realistic. So a decision was made to ask for lollies instead. I said I’d like sleep – but apparently that’s unrealistic too so I settled for flowers. Unhappy with his younger brother’s requests for a penguin – He decided to tell Santa that his brother can’t talk – which is probably a bit unfair because he can say some words.I was smug in my parenting skills that he said thank you to Santa first before asking for shit.

Ham-the-tiny-tyrant asked only for a penguin.

When I tried to get him to expand on his request he just walked away from me. I had to drag him back to ask if he was naughty or nice. He said nice. Then came back and said naughty which made us all laugh. But we decided unanimously that he had been nice.

After you’ve checked the naughty or nice box – you can request different toys from a drop-down box. Luckily there’s only three fields. And you might get lucky and they’ll only ask for two things.

Or maybe you’ll be unlucky and have a child obsessed with chickens and penguins.

Whatever your kid’s random obsessions – you’ll be able to get a personalised letter from the jolly fellow if you fill out a postcard before 3 December. You can still fill it out after that date – but Santa will email you back instead because he’ll be busy finding a Spiderman for Eddie and a penguin for Ham.

I really love that NZ Post have done this. I remember as a kid ringing the Santa hotline and it really made me believe in the magic of it all. I know Eddie and Ham will be so excited to get their Christmas mail. Along with Twitter Secret Santa – NZ Post are really holding it down in their spreading Christmas cheer stakes. Meri Kirihimete!

Thank you NZ Post for sponsoring this blog post and for making such a cool thing for kiddies! Click here to Write to Santa. 

A comprehensive review of Justice League

I feel like I have been waiting a million years for this movie. When my children are grown and have children of their own and they sit on my lap and say “Grandma? What was your happiest day?” I will say: “well my dearest grandies, a long, long time ago I saw a gif. And it was the most beautiful gif I had ever seen. It was the happiest day of my life when I found a video where some kind soul put it on a loop on Youtube. I watched it for 26 hours forgoing food and water. I became severely dehydrated. I was very thirsty. You father learned how to make his own breakfast and to prepare a bottle for his brother on his own”.

I was ready for this movie. I was made to see this movie. Which makes what I am going to say next even more painful.

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Dispatches from the lavender room of zen

My husband has gastro. It was quite the welcome back from Nelson. The Arts Festival was so dreamy – I felt like I was in another world. Then I needed to go back to literal Chunderville.

Luckily my mother-in-law stepped in while I was away and took the boys for the night so my husband could poop forever in peace. I went straight from the airport to her house and we stayed two days while my husband worshipped the porcelain gods at home.

I always stay in the purple room at my mother-in-law’s house. There is dried lavender and it’s zen AF. As soon as I walk in I’m calm. It’s the room equivalent of a lorazepam. The children always sleep better at her house because life is a cosmic joke. They spend their days saying “Thank you Nanna. I love you Nanna. Please can I have Nana”. They are perfect at Nana’s. It’s the Nana-effect. Nanamania.

She says – “time for a bath!” and they hop in the bath. She says “eat up!” and they eat up. It’s magical. She says “time for bed” and I fucking shit you not they just go to bed.

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An update!

I know I haven’t been around these traps for a while. So I thought I’d just give an update.

I’m speaking at a bunch of events across the country over the next few months – you can find all of those dates here. My book is still available at all good bookstores (ask for it if you can’t find it) or order it online here.

We have another Wine Mum Night scheduled for Friday. It’s for The Spinoff Parents’ First Birthday Party – hopefully I’ll be throwing dildos at everyone like some kind of Sex-Crazed Oprah thanks to the generosity of the best sex shop Peaches and Cream. Every cent goes to Evolve Youth Health Services Wellington. They do amazing work helping our young people who are struggling. Buy tickets here.

I am taking a short break from Twitter because it’s a cesspit and it seems to attract horrible assholes and proximity to these festering turds is not good for my mental health. (Edit: I don’t know what has been going on on Twitter over the weekend because I haven’t been on there. So this shouldn’t be seen as agreement with any old white men who have left the platform like Old Man Hoots who you know I can’t stand. I’m just tired of that merry band of losers who subtweet me all the time to goad me into responses because they live for my attention because their lives are empty and sad. I mean why are you reading if you hate me? Why are you reading parenting posts when you hate kids and mothers? Get a hobby! This isn’t healthy!) But you can still find me on Facebook where I think people are often nicer because their friends and family can see their comments (if they have friends and family – maybe they don’t and that’s the problem).

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Tom Hardy’s sad eyes

So reason number 9378 that I’ll never be a professional film reviewer is usually I get my reviews out well after a movie has been and gone. With that in mind…

War For The Planet of the Apes

Somebody said to me “It wasn’t what I was expecting” and I was like I don’t understand it was literally a war for The Planet of the Apes and the movie is called War For The Planet Of The Apes. Like did you think it was going to be *Googles “what is considered best movie of all time”* Citizen Kane? It’s a movie about a war for the Planet of the Apes. Was there a war – yes. Were there apes – yes. I got what I paid for then.

Would you be more scared to find a gorilla, a chimpanzee, or an orangutan in your room in the middle of the night? They say the orangutans are the nice ones but they scare me so much. Remember that story about that woman who breastfed a chimp? That’s messed up.

General score: 9 deadly orangutans out of 15.

Thirst score: Woody Harrelson is shirtless but he reminds me of my uncle so gives me a severe case of the dries. But I do think he would be fun to smoke weed with. No other eye candy unless you are into bestiality and while I’m very much you do you here, I’m not that permissive.

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Dispatches from a car seat wet with an unknown substance

We will get to the dispatches…but first…

I’ve been trying to work out how to say thank you in a way that totally encapsulates the huge and actually quite overwhelming gratitude I feel for you all. When I had to go offline the most beautiful and loving messages started flowing in by email, and then not just by email – by post too.

Beautiful cards, chocolates, and gifts – all from the heart. I have cried a lot in the last few weeks. Really thought – what the fuck am I doing with my life. I’ve missed the community we built together – felt it was unfair to remove that community without warning. Felt guilty. Then felt like I had to do it for my mental health. I’ve gone back and forth about what’s the right thing to do. And I’ve realised there is no right or wrong here.

I’m not sure what to do.

So I’m back on Facebook – in part because I want to have a wine mum night with you. I want to laugh with you. I want to hear the funny things your kids are doing. I want to hold you close when you’re struggling – and for you to do the same for me. I want us to commiserate and celebrate together like we used to. I want us to continue to really hear each other when we talk about how tired we are, how tired feels like walking through sludge, like your eyeballs ache, and you didn’t even know that was a thing. I want us to keep being snarky and hilarious witches who think #WineIsBest and dummies are not tools of Satan. I want us to cackle into the night (but quietly so we don’t wake our babies).

There’s also the not so small matter of – this is how I earn my living, getting you to read The Spinoff Parents (so please like The Spinoff Parents page) and getting you to buy my book.

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Wine Mum Night

So I’ve been thinking…

  • Winter is bleak.
  • My kids have been sick non-stop.
  • I had the best night out recently (so great I wrote about the joy of Wine Mum Nights).

And when I saw all the comments on that post – I thought: We really need a huge Wine Mum Night. Like, we need it bad. Depths of winter Wine Mum Night to warm our spirits and get us feeling jolly.

So that’s what we are doing. Getting away from all the snot for one night!

You know what we need to do. We need to have a Wine Mum Night.

You, me, all the girls. For a good cause.

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