I think I saw a Pukeko – New Zealand Picture Book about birds, words, arguing and not always having to be right

I wrote a book and then I illustrated it and here it is!

This is a fun and funny little story about the words we use to describe things (in this case birds), about how to tell things apart and about fantasy versus reality but it’s also about how to give up when an argument is not really going anywhere…

I published this book with the help of The Copy Press in Nelson, New Zealand. It’s a fully local production – it’s New Zealand made, New Zealand inspired AND it’s about an iconic New Zealand bird, the Pukeko.

Here I am with my daughter reading it via a quick video shot by Reuben from Shoot-Edit-Video in Piha.

I have learned so much going through the publishing process and I am so pleased to share ‘I think I saw a Pukeko’ with you.

You can purchase a copy here and I can ship anywhere in the world.

Thanks for reading and thanks for watching. X

P.S. I would love your comments too, so please feel free to add some words below and/or click ‘follow’ before you go.


So Hot Right Now – Boobs Out For Summer

It’s 30 degrees, the sun is scorching, the deck is burning, the paddling pool (pimped or not) is not big enough, local black sand beaches are burny and I am 36 weeks + I can’t remember how many days pregnant.

It is too hot to work inside.

There are hot-toddler-tantrums happening and mummy is not far from joining in.

Cue Mugatu : [Outie is] so hot right now.


All I want to do is sit in the shade and be fanned with palm leaves – but life doesn’t really work like that sadly.

So this morning I combined business with pleasure and I took my work with me to have a toddler-friendly adventure and to check out a brand new water park in Mt Eden.

Where did we go?

Potter’s Park New Splash Pad, Mt Eden, Auckland.


Who was I meeting?

Helen – pattern maker and fabric guru from Uncommon Thread Kits, her two ‘big’ kids (8,10) plus my toddler (21months).


What were we meeting for?

Discussing the next steps/new directions for the Everything Batwing dresses and kits.

I originally designed the Everything Batwing to wear to nurse my son – but it ended up being my most versatile outfit of all time and Helen helped me to make it into a proper pattern and DIY sewing Kit that would be suitable for beginner sewers.


Why does this have anything to do with boobs out for Summer?

The Outie ‘Everything’ dresses are designed for nursing as well as for maternity and being ‘bumpless’. They are really popular and we want more people to be wearing them, making them and enjoying them this Summer. You can wear them in any season though – it’s just so hot right now that Summer is all that I can think of.

And whilst I have just written ‘Boobs out’ – the best thing about both of these dress designs (the Batwing and the Kerchief) is that they are are a discrete nursing solution so that you can feed your child easily in public without feeling exposed and/or judged (don’t get me started…)

batwing nursing

What was the outcome?

Well the kids had fun and we made some decisions.

The dresses will still be made to order in fabrics selected from what is in stock OR shopped to suit the customer. I am personally looking forward to making some NEON dresses – but I am still hunting for the right fabric… although I am already in love with the brightness of the Fern Brights fabric and the batik that is currently in stock. (I have a love affair with batik that I think has something to do with where I was born…)


The currently made-up Batwing kits will be sold in a pre-Christmas sale – loading soon! (Contact me if you are wanting one now! – sales@outie.co.nz – International Customers welcome).

And the patterns will soon be able to be purchased alone as ‘just a pattern’ without the kit for people to make up themselves in their own fabric/thread choices! (I am pretty excited about this bit!)

So that was the business side of things dealt with.

The fun side of things?

This new park is going to become a family favourite for everyone in Auckland very soon and it was already packed at 9:30am. Every shady spot was dotted with picnicking families, the water play area was full of nudey and be-togged kidlets having loads of fun and the fenced playground directly next to it means you can let your toddler loose without worrying about them running onto the road.

My only ‘negative’ point was that there is no shade for the play areas and I regretted wearing a black singlet and not having a tie-on hat for little Outie. His straw fedora, whilst super cute, is easily removed and his Westie style mullet is not yet thick enough to provide adequate neck protection…  – we are working on this… 😉

Now we are back home and I can fulfil today’s orders. The toddler is happily exhausted from an adventurous romp in the water/on the play ground and I can get some work done feeling a little less hot and bothered.

The Everything Batwing Dresses and Kerchief Dresses are currently on sale – you can buy two (custom made for you) for $110.

Check them out.

They are so hot right now.


Love Outie.

Are you embarrassed by your bitchy mum skills? Here’s ten ways to become an overnight expert.

Bitchy Mum 101

bitch mums 101

1. Wear an aloof and disinterested expression.

2. Do not smile at people who smile at you. Similarly, force out a hello (maximum) to people who say hi to you – but do not say hi first.

3. Firmly believe that you have enough friends and you don’t need to talk to other mums just because you have children the same age who are playing together nicely.

4. Manoeuvre your child towards children you consider to be appropriate play mates or keep your child on your knee to avoid interaction with others.

5. When spoken to by other friendly Mums, reply with a simple answer and do not ask a question in return.

6.  Wear large sunglasses after any play/learning event to avoid the possibility of a ‘smile and wave’ when leaving the car park.

7. Leave quickly after your child’s class to avoid chit chat with non-bitchy mums.

8. Prepare a list of responses to questions beginning with ‘my child…’ Or any other first-person reference. Allow all to believe that you are handling everything perfectly and getting oodles of sleep – showing cracks is a sign of weakness in the bitchy mum aesthetic!

9. If you have friends who introduce you to other friends because they think you will get along, do not ask about them or remember their names to show that you are disinterested.

10. Embrace the bitch within – it is better to appear to be a bitch than to suffer from shyness.

**This little post is (obviously I hope!) written with tongue firmly in cheek. It is inspired by a recent gathering of mummies that proved to be less than social. I was the friendliest of the bunch and was not rewarded with much in return. Those Mums were good at being bitchy mums but none of them knew each other! And it got me thinking… Given that I don’t have a bank of ‘slap down’ lines that I would be comfortable using against bitchy-mum-strangers, perhaps it would be better to just join in?

But if you don’t want to appear to be a bitch – simply do the opposite of all of these ten steps.

I would love to know the experiences of other parents. Does having children automatically give you something worthwhile to have in common with other mums and dads? Is ‘flying solo’ at children’s events just the way of the future?



Turning a Jumper into a Baby Vest and Pilchers

I love up-cycling. It has kind of become a habit that goes well beyond making Splat Mats for Outie…

Here is one of my favourite projects from my scrap book.

Turn an Adult’s Jumper into a


A little up-cycling project



How to use masking tape to recycle knit wear into DIY all-season baby gear.

(Pilchers: Old-school woollen nappy covers otherwise known as ‘fluffy bums’ to help prevent overnight leaks with cloth nappies)


1. Choose a jumper in a colour that you love. Note: Round neck jumpers are best as V-neck jumpers require an extra adjustment in the shoulder seams for a baby/toddler).

2. Lay jumper out flat and put one of your baby/toddler’s tee shirts over the top lining up the neck holes. Fold under the sleeves to make a vest shape.

 3. Use masking tape to ‘draw’ around the shape of the vest. (The masking tape helps the woollen fibres to stay together while you prepare your project for sewing!

4. Use a pen to mark the masking tape at the armpits so that you know how deep to make the arm-holes.

5. Extend masking tape lines vertically to bottom of jumper to mark out shape of pilchers.


6. Cut a piece of masking tape to a 6cm length and stick to the centre of the bottom ribbing. This marks the crotch seam.


 7. Repeat steps 2-6 on the back of the jumper as well so that all fibres will be saved from unravelling when you cut the jumper.

8. Cut along outside edge of masking tape. Cut down centre of waist band tape so that tape is left on both the bottom of the vest AND the top of the pilchers. (Masking tape = No unravelling!)

9. Turn cut shapes inside out and check stitch guides on sewing machine so that you will be sewing exactly along inside edge of masking tape without stitching through the tape.


  1. Open vest out flat so that the neck makes a circle and arm holes are ‘open’ (the vest is one big flat single-layer piece). Stitch along inside of masking tape with a straight stitch on armholes up to your marked lines on the masking tape.
  2. Fold vest back together with right sides together and stitch side seams together along inside of masking tape to meet arm holes.
  3. Remove tape from side seams and zig-zag next to your straight stitched line to neaten. Continue zig-zag stitch around armholes next to straight stitched line.
  4. Trim excess fibres from outside of zig-zagged edge to finish side seams.
  5. Armholes: Turn under armhole edges and use a narrow zig zag to top stitch in place. (Using a narrow zig-zag stitch means that there will be some stretch in the arm-holes still).
  6. Stitch along bottom edge of vest above tape with a straight stitch and remove tape from bottom edge.
  7. Zig zag bottom raw edge and turn under 1cm.  Stitch in place using narrow zig-zag stitch to finish (be careful not to stretch vest while you sew).


Hooray! You have now finished your baby vest!


  1. Turn inside out and with right sides together stitch along inside of masking tape on side seams. Zig-zag and neaten side seams as per steps 12 and 13 of vest.
  2. Use pins to mark your 6cm crotch seam either side of tape on bottom edge and remove tape.
  3. Stitch between pins 1cm inside bottom edge to finish crotch seam.
  4. Stitch along inside of masking tape on top waistband edge and remove tape.
  5. Zig zag top edge of waist band to neaten.
  6. Fold waist band under 2cm to make casing for elastic. Stitch in place leaving a 2cm gap to thread elastic through.
  7. Use a safety pin to guide elastic through casing and stitch ends of elastic together.Image
  8. Top stitch over the 2cm gap on the waistband casing to finish your pilchers.



Dress your baby and admire your handiwork!

If you would like to see more up-cycling tips, please check out the Outie facebook page and the Outie Tips Photo Album.



Love Outie.


Fairy tales before babies


It all starts with a ‘magic bean’…

Fairy tales are popular because they are stories that have withstood the test of time by teaching universal themes to children and adults alike. A side effect is that somewhere in our psyches a part of us wants our lives to be like one.

If you had been wanting  to get married or wanting to have a baby or wanting to own your own house, once ‘it’ arrives in your life, it is often very different to what you had expected.

A lot changes when you are pregnant and a lot more changes when you become a parent. There is no ‘wishing’ things away. There are no fairy god mothers to give you advice. There are no mice to do your house work for you and babysitters do not arrive by flying umbrella.

Whilst there is a lot of mundane ‘stuff’ to get used to the humdrum stuff is balanced with an awful lot of magic. And this kind of magic cannot be expected or predicted on a day-to-day basis because your small person will just ‘deliver it’ in moments you did not see coming.

Here are a few little ‘once upon a time’ starters that take a light-hearted look at some of the ‘Once Upon a Time’ things that change with the arrival of your little prince or princess.

They are in no particular order and they are just a starting point for your own story. The endings are left out because the ‘happily ever after’ is not a realistic expectation.

You can write your own story one day at a time.

Once upon a time there was an entire kingdom that ignored the rooster’s crows and got up when they felt like it.


Once upon a time the world was quiet.


Once upon a time there was a house laden with low-down treasures.


Once upon a time there was a Queen who loved reading in her tower. [alone]


Once upon a time there was a princess who could only sleep on the finest linen.


Once upon a time there was a tower of pancakes that could feel a whole army. [not just one pregnant woman –  tee hee!]


Once upon a time there was a palace which sparkled from floor to ceiling.


Once upon a time there was an ice Queen who did not react emotionally to anything.


Once upon a time there was a King who had never explored his own garden.


Once upon a time there was a magic mirror that showed the Queen her flat stomach every day.


Once upon a time the Royal Bed Chamber was always in use.


Once upon a time the entire Kingdom woke up refreshed every day.


 Once upon a time life was predictable and dreary.


NB: Magic comes in many forms (not just brought about by babies) and this is not to say that having children is really anything like a fairy tale…

If you have a ‘once upon a time’ fairy tale starter to share, please comment below!

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.
J. B. Priestley


The Bump and The Bubble – what to ‘really’ expect with a newborn

The Bump and The Bubble – Ten ‘Normal’ things a new-born brings

Being pregnant is exciting. You feel special, you feel new, you feel different, you feel interesting, you feel important… and then you have your baby and you feel….?

I am freshly back from a visit to a brand new mummy with a new-born and I realise that I forgot how tough the first few weeks can be.

Having a baby and becoming a mummy is still VERY exciting – but there can be a kind of unexpected disappointed that sets in as the ‘new normal’ settles in around you and your new family. (New-Normal  = The-not-so-exciting-just-getting-by-kind-of-normal).

The bump has been a beautiful bubble of idealism that has suddenly popped.

What is the ‘new-born normal’ to expect? Don’t all new mummies fly around on their feet with the new all-consuming love they feel for their new baby? Don’t the hormones that breastfeeding brings make you feel elated? Don’t visitors shower you with gifts and yummy goodies to keep you glowing? Doesn’t the new-mummy-feeling make you feel wonderful?

Pop. There went the bubble.

Nobody wants to tell you how hard it will be when you have your baby because they don’t want to burst your bubble. And if people do tell you how hard it will be, you want to slap them – because it is your pregnancy and your baby will be different. In most cases though (from talking to friends and other new mummies), there is always a little ‘bubble’ that pops.

“I didn’t expect it to be like this” is a common phrase uttered by over-tired new parents.  Of course there are numerous positives that arrive with your new little bundle (hence bundle of ‘joy’) but the ‘new-normal’ of being a new parent can still come as an unwelcome surprise.

New mummies can feel guilty for not feeling elated when instead they feel a little flat – or in keeping with the bubble analogy – deflated. It is important to know that the slightly deflated feeling is part of the new-normal (don’t worry – it will go away!).

But what else is normal in this life-changing time? Here are ten ‘normals’ to add to the list – because you are not alone and they say it takes a village to raise a baby for a good reason. There are only two letters distinguishing deflated from elated.

You will get back there – but you need some downtime, sleep, good meals, support and a period of adjustment first.

Ten ‘normal’ things a newborn brings

  1. It is normal to feel overwhelmed
  2. It is normal to need support to breastfeed
  3. It is normal to feel frustrated
  4. It is normal to miss your personal space
  5. It is normal to find it difficult to let ‘animal’ instincts take over
  6. It is normal to stay in your pyjamas
  7. It is normal to find visitors less than helpful
  8. It is normal to forget to feed yourself
  9. It is normal to be sleep-deprived
  10. It is normal to feel that everything you feel is not normal








Expect change when you are expecting. Accept change when baby arrives (and change the baby regularly).
Enjoy the change and your transformation as a new parent. Love Outie.

30 Things Not To Say To A New Parent (or how to get yourself black-listed off the friends list)

notebook on black v2

Thirty things not to say to parent or ‘how to get yourself black-listed off the friends list’

The following is a list of actual quotes taken from various contexts. Some are first-hand and some are what my friends have reported others saying to them.

  1. Hasn’t he got a funny shaped head
  2. Oh, you still look pregnant.
  3. At least his middle name is not weird.
  4. Doesn’t having a baby ruin your body!
  5. Really, you want ANOTHER one of these?
  6. Finally I can tell you what to do now that you have a child.
  7. Aren’t you a glutton for punishment?
  8. I told you your life would change, look at your house!
  9. That is not the way we did it in my day.
  10. He should be on solids by now.
  11. Babies shouldn’t breastfeed when they have teeth.
  12. Is that a girl or a boy?
  13. He doesn’t look like his father much.
  14. Do you want me to hold the baby so you can do some housework?
  15. Hmph. I have never heard of that name before.
  16. Is that really what you are going to call your child?
  17. I thought breastfeeding helped you to lose weight.
  18. Don’t you believe in contraception?
  19. Oh, you don’t have any friends with babies? I have heaps.
  20. I’d rather have a home-cooked meal than takeaways thanks. (guest at house)
  21. Most home-businesses fail anyway.
  22. You look exhausted.
  23. How is baby? (not how are you)
  24. Oooh that’s a small baby. Are you feeding her?
  25. You are overdressing your baby/You are under-dressing your baby
  26. What, no baking? (with coffee)
  27. Did you get on with the postman well?
  28. PND is pretty common. You should get some medication. (Why not talk first? Offer an ear?)
  29. I really just don’t get why you didn’t come to our party.
  30. That’s a face only a mother could love.

Which quotes by your friends bothered you the most?