Fairy Travels

Royal Canal Greenway opens

Royal Canal Greenway

The Royal Canal Greenway, is a scenic 130km walking and cycling amenity stretching alongside the historic 225-year-old canal, officially launched on 24 March 2021.  The €12 million project co-ordinated by Waterways Ireland is the country’s longest Greenway, traversing through Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford. Those wishing to experience the Royal Canal Greenway are advised to adhere to Government guidelines on movement and social distancing. We fortunate to live close to its starting point so looking forward to the easing of restrictions to be able to explore more of this new amenity.

Maynooth Harbour

Pic Credit: Royal Canal Greenway

The Greenway is a former towpath for barges featuring 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts. Greenway users can choose to complete the entire 130km flat, off-road trail in one visit or explore the shorter designated routes — ranging from 6km to 15km — between the 14 connecting access points and towns.

Attractions

High-profile attractions linking onto the Royal Canal Greenway are trails to Carton House in Maynooth; Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre — one of the largest prehistoric roads in Europe — in Longford; and Center Parcs. The 165km self-guided National Famine Way also travels largely along the Greenway, following the footsteps of 1,490 emigrants who walked from Roscommon to Dublin at the peak of the famine in 1847.

The Greenway has been completed in partnership with Waterways Ireland; the four local authorities of Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath County Councils; the Department of Transport, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

The Royal Canal Greenway also forms part of EuroVelo 2, a 5,000km “Capitals Route” that passes through Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus and Russia.

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Fairy Travels

Dream Holiday Destinations To Book

Do you sit and think about your dream holiday and imagine all the fun places that you can go to? Better yet, what if you were able to take the steps to start booking a dream vacation and preparing for your next trip? When it comes to taking the first step in planning, you’ll need to put a focus and emphasis on an area of the world that you’re excited and ready to travel to.

Dream Holiday Destinations To Book

While travel may be off the agenda in the short term however it does not stop us dreaming and planning our next adventures. This begs the question…Where in the world do you really want to go? Ill start! Top of my bucket-list for a very long time was Lapland closely followed by Iceland. Having been fortunate enough to have visited both pre Covid. I have spent the last few weeks dreaming of where next and top for our family list is Barbados and Jordan, vastly different but intriguing countries and some might say not an immediate first choice for family travel.

Barbados

barbados

Pic Credit: Pixabay

If you’re looking for a place that offers sunshine, beauty, and stunning landscapes and views that go on for miles, your attention should turn to discover the beauty of Barbados.

The clear waters, the green hills, the trails, and forests that you can walk on and through for miles…there really are very few places in the world that can take your breath away in the way that Barbados can.

And if you’re still having trouble picturing your toes in the sand on the beaches of Barbados, imagine sitting on the shore and taking in the sunsets and sunrises as well. The beauty that awaits you in Barbados is worth you diving in and researching more because it’s unlike any other place in the world.

Barbados wasn’t on my radar until recently when I happened upon a blog post about a new Aer Lingus route via Manchester direct to Barbados from July 2021. I get so excited when I read about new routes so had to have a nosey. My key thing always is, how family friendly a place might be, so off I went to find out just how family friendly it might be.  The Visit Barbados website has a wealth of information on its family friendly activities from submarines to safaris!

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Mamma Musings

Tips for Breastfeeding after Birth

Breastfeeding comes with plenty of benefits for both the mother and her newborn child. Breast milk contains antibodies and nutrients that aid in protecting the baby against infections, stomach problems, viruses, and even obesity. Mothers too can benefit from breastfeeding, as the process has been clinically proven to lower risks of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and hypertension. According to breastfeeding and lactation specialists, you should breastfeed your newborn as soon as you can after delivery. However, breastfeeding after birth is easy said than done for most mothers. So, how do you ensure that your breastfeeding gets off to a good start? This post highlights tips for breastfeeding after birth.

Pic Credit: Unsplash

Breastfeed within the First Hour of Birth

Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby immediately after delivery. Within the first hour of giving birth, a healthy baby should be alert to latch a breast. The baby is also likely to spontaneously seek the breast within the first hour of birth, especially when in skin-to-skin contact with the mother. Breastfeeding immediately after birth, particularly within the one-hour window, enhances the immediate mother-to-child bond. The baby is also able to enjoy the immunological benefits of colostrum.

Maintain a Skin-to-Skin Contact When Breastfeeding

 Skin-to-skin contact between a mother and child has been scientifically proven to offer wide-ranging benefits when done correctly. Such benefits include improved brain development, strengthened bonding, and enhanced sleep. In the case of breastfeeding after birth, skin-to-skin contact goes a long way in facilitating more successful breastfeeding. This is because such close contacts make it easy for babies to cue for breastfeeding regularly, enhancing what is known as responsive feeding. This is a practice where you breastfeed every time the baby demands until they get satisfied. Again, it is easier for your baby to get a good latch when in close contact with your skin.

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Mamma Reviews

One time Before Book Review

Last month we were very kindly offered a copy of “One Time Before” to review with the boys.  My pair love reading and we have shared our favourite books over the years on the blog.  Reading before bed is one of my favourite times of the day. The boys love it too, it gives us all time to unwind and chat.

One Time Before

One Time Before is a personalised children’s book which takes you back in time to when you were little.  It’s so easy to do, input names, select characters with likeness to those you wish to include and select the time period where you were the age your child is now ie 80s, 90s etc.

The books itself is really beautifully illustrated throughout with little details and throwback nostalgia moments. What we really love about this is how it prompts conversation and thought. I suppose for my five your old he never really thought mammy was once young but now we love chatting about the cars they had in the 80/90s, the types of foods I loved and what school was like for me.  We spent a Saturday morning on youtube looking up the cartoons I used to watch as a child. I’m not sure he was overly enthusiastic about the graphics in the 80s show but Duck Tales, Inspector Gadget and the Chipmunks got thumbs up!!!

One other thing about this book is the option to add a personalisation. I really think by doing this it really becomes a keepsake for him and me if im honest.

I’m a sentimental soul and this kind of book is right up my street.

I asked my five year old what he liked most and he said the lovely drawings. I have to agree it is beautifully illustrated and some really nice attention detail throughout especially in the throwback pages where the story transports back to mammy’s time as a kid.

Genuine thumbs up from us both, do check them out at One Time Before   as it would make a lovely Christmas gift. Do keep an eye out for posting dates though.

Note: We were kindly gifted a copy of this book. We were not asked nor expected to write a review however we loved the product and more than happy to support an Irish business. All views mine or the kids where appropriate.

 

 

Features

How to Take Control of Family Finances

If your finances have taken a bit of a battering over recent months, you’re certainly not alone. Belt tightening has almost become a national pastime. One we hope won’t go on for too much longer.

On the positive side, it’s first class motivation for finally sitting down and sorting out your money: where’s it coming from, where’s it going, and how you can keep hold of it a bit longer, after all your family are your most important asset and taking good care of your finances should rank high on your list. 

No Complicated Tech Needed

It doesn’t come much simpler than a pen and notebook. Armed with a recent bank statement (one for each of your accounts if you have more than one bank account) you can start right now getting to grips with spending and saving. Unless you’re a whizz at mental arithmetic, a calculator might come in handy too.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you firing up the computer and opening a spreadsheet if that’s how you like getting things done. But, if you use a small notebook you can carry it around with you and jot down purchases as you make them.

Whichever method you choose, you’ll need five columns with these headers for the information they’ll contain:

  1. Date: The date the transaction took place. It might be a cash or debit card purchase or a direct debit or standing order. If you run a credit card, make a separate sheet for this, then note down the repayments to that card on this main sheet that’s tallying your main bank account.

    laptop

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  2. Item: What you bought, be it grocery shopping or coffee and cake with friends.
  3. Income: Record where income came from. Salary, for example.
  4. Cost: How much was it?
  5. Balance: At the very top of this column, write your current bank balance from your up-to-date bank statement. Now each time you make a purchase, subtract the amount from the current balance and write the new balance in the column. When you’re recording income, add it to the balance.

You can have a new page every week or create a fresh page at the start of every month. Write your bank balance from the previous month or week at the top of your balance column to get started. Don’t forget to add direct debits or it’s easy to think your running balance is bigger than it is.

 

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Fairy Travels

Finland travel restrictions update

reindeer in Finland

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

We have been to Lapland (Rovaniemi- Finland) twice and are still cautiously optimistic about our trip at the end of January 2021. My post on diy Lapland still gets huge traffic as does my dressing for Lapland post. I get a lot of DMs and emails asking whether I think we will be able to travel this Winter season and the truth is none of us really know. It’s a constantly evolving situation and can be difficult to keep on top of the changing situation. As it stands (end September 2020) I have set out what the current situation is looking like. I will do my best to keep it updated as time goes on but please always rely on the official advice. I will set out the key websites below.

Finland Travel restrictions 

Post November 23rd

  • If your home country has less than 25 cases per 100,000 you can travel with no restrictions.
  • Greater than 25 cases the following are the key parameters:
    • If your visit is less than 72 hours you can travel with proof of negative test which itself is no older than 72 hours.
    • If your visit it more than 72 hours the above applies plus you will need a second test locally after 72 hours and self quarantine until you get the results.  The logistics around this are still being firmed up but this is the indicative guideline at the moment.

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Fairy Travels

A weekend in the Volkswagen California Camper

On a Friday at the end of August, just prior to the schools returning, I earned the best accolade!! Officially declared the best mammy ever! Why you might wonder…….

Well, I announced that we had been kindly offered the use of a Volkswagen California for a weekend. I am sure the squeals of excitement could be heard for miles! I mean what is not to love, the freedom of being able to hit the road and stay pretty much where we wanted. It didn’t take too long to formulate the plan of where to go. The kids wanted to show their cousins so it was decided pretty quickly we would head for quite possibly our favourite place….Donegal.

As luck we have it, we happened on possibly the only weekend where the weather was akin to a mini heatwave.  We packed up Friday after the oldest had finished soccer camp and we were off down the N3 with everything but the kitchen sink, and some very happy kids and adults.

The Volkswagen California 6.1

The model we had the use of was the California 6.1 – 2020 so brand-new version with the very eye-catching two-tone paint work.  That copper bronze is really fab! It has a 2-litre diesel engine with automatic transmission. I am informed that the annual road tax is a very reasonable €102.

Some initial thoughts on the spec

  • The way the space is designed is impressive, a very clever use of space. There is a decent size fridge (42l), 2 ring gas hob, sink, cutlery drawer and an abundance of storage. The front seats swivel around, and the table is pulled up to make it the perfect dining/ chill out space. I could ramble on about this for ever, it’s the little details.  The outdoor table is stored in the sliding door frame, the chairs literally in the boot door. No space is wasted. It’s so ergonomically designed and its ease of use I feel is a big selling point.
  • Its deceptively spacious, from just looking at the outside I didn’t expect to have so much space inside.
  • The kids went wild for the sleep set up. The roof rises (push button electric) and there is a decent size double up there and the two back seats lie flat to form the other double.  Plenty space for 2 adults and 2 kids. The base of the bed can also be pushed up into the roof to allow standing room too. Each window has blinds including very cleverly designed front windscreen blinds.

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Mamma Reviews

Smoothie Recipes we love

My kids aren’t always great for eating sufficient fruit and veg however one thing I can get them to eat/ drink with no complaints are smoothies. With Winter not far away and the added pressure of Covid I have been making a huge effort to up their fruit and veg nutrient content.  For me anyway I find smoothies a huge help to get the little people in our house to eat vegetables.  Surprisingly one of the big hits is a beetroot smoothie.

Beetroot-berry-kale-and-banana-smoothieI’m not particular about the quantities so roughly to make two children’s portions of the Mamma Fairy beetroot smoothie I use:

  • 2 cooked beets
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 3 small celery stalk
  • cup of water to give it a lighter consistency
  • some ice

There are so many variants of this smoothie based around beetroots for example substitute the apple and carrot for banana and kale. For us that’s half the fun trying out what works.

 

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Fairy Travels

Lapland in the summer time – Midnight Sun

reindeer

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

Its no secret we totally fell in love with Lapland, the people, the culture, the scenery, its just spectacular.

We have been in 2018 and 2019 and depending on how Covid pans out of the coming months we are planning to return in 2021. I think we leave a bit of our hearts there each time. The kids are lucky enough to have seen a lot of the world but Lapland (Rovaniemi) is the only place we have returned to a second and hopefully a third time. That’s saying something.

For some tips on Lapland on a budget – I have written this post and I also have this post on our 2019 trip. Both posts are packed with details on getting to and enjoying all the best that Rovaniemi has to offer.

However, one thing that we have been toying with is to see Lapland in the summer time – to see the Midnight sun. The concept fascinates me.  I saw an email from last week which contained a youtube clip on a 3 day Lapland trip and if this doesnt inspire you to visit and see it for yourself im not sure what will!! There is tonnes on Visit Rovaniemi who have a dedicated page on Summer 2020 if you do need any more information.

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Fairy Travels

Rediscover the beauty of Ireland with Google Maps

As we journey into Phase 3, people are ready to escape their back gardens and are looking for a holiday. As Government advice continues to advise against all non-essential foreign travel now is the time to plan a staycation and rediscover everything Ireland has to offer.  Whether you’re planning a staycation at home with day trips to local sights or  going further afield for a longer trip, Google Maps is on hand to help staycationers rediscover the best of Ireland.

From isolated beaches to breathtaking mountains Ireland has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and our cities, towns and villages are filled with museums and attractions that can keep all the family occupied for days. Google Maps has everything you need to plan the ultimate road trip at your fingertips, with Local Guides advice on hand along the way to help find the best route, best view and best place to have dinner and drink after a long day of sightseeing. Google Maps is the ultimate travel companion whether you’re driving across world famous routes like The Ring of Kerry, discovering the soaring Cliffs of Moher, braving the Wild Atlantic Way, uncovering the history of Newgrange or spending a day delving into Irish history through the many museums in the Capital.

 

These Google Maps features will help people have a staycation to remember this summer:

  • Create lists so you can keep track of your favorite places and share them with friends.
  • Find hidden gems: Use the Explore tab find the best restaurants, sights and events happening in the area.
  • Find things to do and places to eat based on your unique interests and preferences.
  • Go Handsfree Keep your focus on the road by using voice commands on Google Maps. Just say “OK Google, find petrol stations” or “ Show alternate routes” to get the information you need, hands free.
  • Offline maps: No data? No problem.
    iphone

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

    You can still find your way even if you have spotty reception or an expensive data plans. You don’t need data on a road trip, you can download a map of an area so you can see directions and use turn by turn navigation even when you can’t get online.

  • Plan activities as a group: With group lists in Google Maps, planning travel with others is simple and efficient, giving you the ability to create an itinerary together by adding places to go and things to do as a group.
  • Plan ahead: Look for restaurants doing takeaway, dine-in or delivery. COVID-19 has forced many restaurants to change their operating models or even temporarily close, which makes planning ahead even more important. With Google Maps you can look for local restaurants around you that are open, offering takeaway, delivery, or no-contact delivery.

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