Fairy Travels

4 items I wouldnt fly long haul with kids without!

We are not long back from the trip of a lifetime to Canada.  We spent time in both Toronto and Niagara Falls and it was incredible.  Niagara Falls had been on my bucket list and it did not disappoint.  The kids absolutely loved it.  To be honest I wasn’t sure how the long haul flight would be with kids ages 4 and 1 (almost 2). I shouldn’t have spent so many sleepless nights over it.  It was totally fine.  However there are a number of things that without a doubt made the trip a lot (an awful lot!!) more manageable with my busy boys.

1 Keep Em Quiet Packs

Such a simple concept but oh so effective.  We received two boys long haul pack to try out for the trip.  I didnt let the boys see them until were were 30+ thousand feet in the air. About 2 hours into the flight when the novelty of being on an aeroplane had worn off Mamma produced these.  There was great excitment about the cool bag which was used for the entire trip actually.  We received a pack for the relevant age groups for each of the boys.  They were really well received by the boys and contained a lovely selection of age appropriate items.  The big hits were the little tubs of play doh and for the oldest was a kit with which you could make cardboard models which he thoroughly enjoyed.  The littlest loved the Peppa stickers.  Im sure Aer Lingus are still peeling them off the seats! (sorry!!).

Check out Keep Em Quiet for more information.  Boys thoroughly enjoyed and the packs contained a selection of items which were age appropriate and also appropriate for the confined space on the aircraft.  Im always running around at the last minute so these are ideal, the work is done and you are ready to go and all for a very reaonable price.

2 Jet Kids Bed Box 

I bought this literally days before the flight praying that it would arrive on time and it did thankfully. I had seen it on Twitter and loved the concept.  Its a ride on suitcase that opens out on the flight to transform the seat into a bed. Its really easy to use and very comfortable according to the 4 year old.  We got most use out of the ride on ability of it as my 4 year old (can be lazy) isnt so keen on walking!!! Despite the fact it contains the matress it holds quite a bit of stuff or in my little mans case, his teddy, his collection of transformers and his treats.  It is a little pricey at €159 however given how much we like travel and with the pair of them I really think I will get my moneys worth on this one.  For more information see Jetkids.

(Image Credit Jet Kids)

3 Netflix

The Dada Fairy and I were frantically searching to see what films were listed on Aer Lingus for transatlantic to see if they would keep our pair suitably entertained for 7.5 hours.  It was then the revelation came!!! I recalled an email about downloadable Netflix, queue frantic searching and yes….it was not a dream you can infact download Netflix. 15 mins later and we were fully equiped with Team Umizoomi, Peppa Pig, Horrid Henry and The Smurfs.  When it comes to travel I am in the school of thought whatever works and makes the joruney easier for the kids, and me and the other 200 odd passengers. If 7 hours of Peppa Pig was going to be the thing well then I wasnt going to object! See 1 and 4 it thankfully didnt happen!

4 Food/ Snacks

Back to when boys were teeny, everywhere we went I was armed with packets of raisins, ligas etc.  The flight was no different.  I was laden down with snacks of every description from the healthy to the not so healthy.  There were no kids meals available on the flight and the boys had zero interest in a mushy looking mushroom and rice meal so the snacks were invaluable.  Also very handy when waiting around before and after the flight.  I always take lollipops for take off and landing to help the ears. They seem to work as we have had no complaints from the little men about sore ears, ears popping etc.

 

Next up we will be sharing our trip report.  Spoiler – we loved it and really hope to return some day.

 

Mamma Musings

Fixing Up the Family Home: Never-Ending Headache or a Fantastic Opportunity?

How far should you go when fixing up your home? Should you just get the basics done and leave it at that? Or should you take a more long-term approach and try to add as much value to your home as possible? These are questions most homeowners ask themselves, and there are arguments to be made for each of the options open to you.

If you let your home improvement plans drag on for too long, it can become a never-ending headache. But it can also be seen as a big opportunity, so you need to weigh up your options carefully. Let the information below help you out as you decide how to approach your home improvement plans.

 

There is Always Room for Improvement

The fact of the matter is, there’s always room for improvement. No matter how great your home is, there will always be things that you can or even will want to improve. This can be a good thing and a bad thing, though. On the one hand, it means that there will always be new ways in which you can add value to your home and make it more appealing to future buyers. On the other hand, it might mean that you keep doing more and more, and the task eventually overwhelms you. You don’t want to spend all your time and money on home upgrades.

Your Home Should be Unique to You

On a basic level, you want your home to be unique to you. No one wants to live in a dull drab home that they don’t feel suits them and their personal preferences. And that’s the main reason why people spend money on improving their home. If this is the mentality that you’re bringing to the table, you will probably not be thinking about the value that can be added to the home or what future buyers might want. This applies to the vast majority of people who fix up their homes and make changes.

 

However, a Unique Style Might Put Off Future Buyers

On the other hand, making your home unique to you can be risky. When you create a home design that is specific to your own preferences, you could put off other people. You might be wondering why this matters. You don’t want to sell your home, so why does it matter what other people think of it? Well, you might not want to sell your home now, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t want to at some point in the future. When that time comes, you don’t want people to be put off by design choices that are a little out of the box.

It’s Going to Cost You Money

If you want to make changes to your home, you’re going to have to spend money on it. This is just the way it is, and you should try to make sure that you improve your home in an affordable way. Remember, if you can make positive changes, the value of the home will rise. But that will be less useful if you spend so much money on upgrades that end up taking out high risk personal loans or dipping into your savings a lot. Just try to do it in a sustainable way, and a way that works for you.

But Your Investment Might Pay Off

The investment you make in your home might pay off if you make the right decisions and do the right things. This will help you to get the most from your home when it comes to selling because you will have made the most of your asset. You should definitely try to make sure that the upgrades you make to the home are all things that add overall value to your property. Not all changes you can make allow that, but many do. Think about what matters to real estate agents and buyers.

Some Homes Have More Room for Value Growth Than Others

It’s also important to point out that all homes are different, and that means that the room for growth differs depending on your property. If your property is currently valued lower than the market average for similar properties in your area, that suggests that there is plenty of potential for value growth. So, if you then decided to make big changes to your home and improve it in a variety of ways, you could find that the value of the home increases quite dramatically. But if your home is already one the most expensive around, even big changes might not push the value up by much.

 

Baba Reviews

YippieYo Cross buggy review

We spend so much of our time as a family being outdoors. By splitting our time between Dublin and Donegal means the incredible Wild Atlantic Way is quite literally on our doorstop. We grab every chance to spend time exploring it. The boys are kind of at that awkard age where they want to want walk but  still get tired (lazy) after a while.

I received an email a number of months back wondering if we would be interested in giving the YippieYo a go.  I had just given our Phil & Teds to my sister in law so it was perfect timing!

There was great excitment when the postman delivered a massive box to the front door.  Following a very easy assembly we were good to go.  My husband (and rightly so) is a total safety obssesive.  The YippieYo got a thorough going over and once it passed his inpection out we went.

The YippieYo isnt a stroller or double buggy like id ever come across before. It fits two children side by side with 5 point safety harness that my little houdini can’t even escpae from! I understand the YippieY0 complies with all safety and quality standards in accordance with the European Standard for Pushchairs and Prams (EN 1888) and is GS certified in Germany. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

So what did the Mamma Fairy house think:

Pros

  • See above – how safe it is, safety when it comes to my kids safety is paramount so this for me is a key consideration
  • It is so easy to use and pull along.  Both my husband and I are in total agreement about this.
  • The brake – we tested it (minus kids) on the steep hill outside our house and it didnt budge!
  • It comes in a range of colour options and accessories, speaking of accessories you can get clip on LED lights which I think ever buggy should have.
  • No issues with the rough terrain in Donegal! And zero complaints from the kids when out about about in it.

Cons

 

  • This is Ireland! Id love some kind of clip on rain hood.  Not a deal breaker but a definite nice to have for me
  • It is big for transporting, not an issue for us but might be it you had a smaller car

 

Mamma Fairy Verdict:

Overall the YippieYo gets a big thumbs up from the Mamma Fairy house, it delivers exactly what it promises, its safe, its comfortable and suitable for all terrains. We received this before Christmas and it gets very regular use in this house.

 

Note: We were sent the YippieYo for review however the views expressed by myself and the boys are in no way influenced by this.

 

Mamma Musings

Make Your Home Safer and Healthy For the Tiny Humans In Your Home

One thing that you learn when becoming a parent is just how much your home is a potential accident waiting to happen. Things you wouldn’t have even thought of before having children can now be the biggest thing ever and can be a real problem when raising some tiny humans. The reality of them being able to pull something over on themselves or fall off things can be very real. Especially as they grow and can suddenly reach things that they couldn’t before. So what are some things to look out for to make sure that your home is a safe and healthy place for them to be? Here are a few of my thoughts.

Door Locks and Latches

There are so many things that you wouldn’t have thought were a problem around the home pre-children. A lock on the fridge might have just been something that you joked about to keep you from snacking. But with kids, it can be a reality. They could get their fingers trapped if they manage to open it, and worse, could get themselves stuck in there if you have a large American style fridge-freezer. The same goes for securing away cleaning products. Things like laundry tabs or dishwasher tablets can look like sweets to a toddler, so they need to be kept out of reach (and out of sight).

Keep Pests Under Control

They say that we are never too far away from a mouse or a rat, especially if you live in a city. So we need to think about this kind of thing with children too. If pests around the home aren’t kept under control, then it can be bad for our children’s health. They test out a lot of things with their mouth, so if there are droppings around the house, then it can be quite dangerous. So looking into something like Terminix and keeping the house cleaned regularly are the best ideas. Then you can have some peace of mind that your home is more safe and healthy, at least.

 

Wires and Cords

If you have things like window blinds, then before children, you might have just left the cord for them dangling down. But this can be rather dangerous for children. If you haven’t already, then get some ties for them, to wind them up when they are pulled down to their longest length. Babies, and toddlers especially, can get themselves into all sorts of spaces when they are on the move, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Secure Furniture

There was a video going around on social media not too long ago about twins in a room, and they were climbing up a bookshelf that then fell on one of them. This can easily be a reality in the home. You can’t just get rid of all of your furniture. But you can make it safer by securing it to the wall, for example. It takes a couple of minutes but can mean a much safer environment for your little ones to be on, especially if it is in their room.

 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Renovations roll on……its all about the kitchen

Don’t get my wrong im not complaining (much) but for the last two years we have been undertaking a mega renovation job on an old house that we purchased while on maternity leave with my second little man.  The Dada Fairy is doing most of the work which is combined with his full time job is taking time! This weekend was spent picking the finishing touches to the kitchen.  As this is the room which I will be spending quite a bit of time I am taking my time in choosing the various finishes.

Due to how dark our space is we have decided on a cream kitchen to help the light into the room.  The wall tiles are also a cream colour therefore we wanted to introduce a pop of colour which is how we came across coloured acrylic splasbacks  see here here from Simply Plastics for example.  I think they are a brillant idea, durable, easy to wipe clean and most of all very reasonably priced.

I understand too that they are very easy to assemble and can be delivered ready to fix to the wall with the cut outs done for the plug sockets, switch etc.  I love the one picutered opposite (Pic credit Pinterest).

However for the braver there a huge range of funky colours to choose from see left (pic credit Simplyplastics). The great thing about splashback v tiles is that as they are reasonably priced you change it up every so often.

I think im hooked! This time next month should see the space liveable.  Cannot wait.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post.
Baba Reviews

Interplay UK – Bug Safari Review

I am (irrationally!!) terrified of all sorts of creepy crawlies, therefore the Dada Fairy was dispatched to try out Inter Play UK Bug Safari with the kids.

The set itself contains:

  • Field lens (magnifying lens)
  • Bug tongs
  • Magnifying Pot
  • Tweezers
  • Paint brush (kids assumed this was to paint pictures of their findings – apparently not its for sweeping the bugs in the pot rather than touching them!)
  • Handy little guide about the tools and bugs that you might find on your hunt.

The kids took their Bug Safari kit off to the local park to for their bug hunt! I sent them off with the warning that they weren’t to take any bugs home!! I had a quiet couple of hours while the boys hunted! I can happily report that I didn’t see any of the finding of the bug hunt as all were returned to their environment following investigation by my little explorers.

The Verdict

The boys would spend every waking minute outdoors so I had a feeling this would be a hit and it was.  They loved the magnifying pot which stored their loot for closer inspection. The bug tongs was apparently very handy for getting them into the pot!  I think this is a great product, contains all the tools you would need including the useful little book that comes with it.  Particular thumbs up from the Mamma Fairy house for the magnifying pot.

I can foresee this getting lots of play in our house especially over the Summer months. However do return the creepies back to their homes after inspection!

Note: We were sent the Bug Safari to review however this in no way influenced mine (or the kids in this case) review of the product.
Features

Those tricky subjects!!!

Who doesnt remember those cringe worthy episodes where the nude scene comes on the TV and your parents in the room! Yep we have all been there and those couple of minutes felt like an eterntiy while you tried not to look inteterested in the TV in front of the parents.

Which? Wills has commissioned new research that reveals the ‘unmentionable’ topics in life that we often feel uncomfortable discussing with family and friends.

The survey and infographic reveals the trickiest subject matters are sex, finances, death and relationships.  I can agree with all except perhaps the finances one. I suppose being an Accountant means that talking about finances for me can’t really be taboo!

Not surprisingly our perception of taboo subjects depends largely on our relationship with the person we talk to. For example, conversations with kids will differ to those with parents; siblings; grandparents or friends. I still remember being totally morto telling my parents I was pregnant and im the wrong side of 30!!

While the top three opposite we can in reality escape ever having to talk about them, however the topic of creating a Will really shouldnt be taboo. Whats is wrong with future proofing and protecting those around us when we are gone?

I am mid (coughs**) 30 and I have mine done.  Not because I think im heading 6 feet under anytime soon but because when the time comes, I dont want stress, drama or arguments about what I do or don’t have.

Which? Wills has simplified the process of learning how to make a will with its easy to use online tool to create a will in 30 minutes. It really is well worth taking the time to at least think about it.

With my Accountant hat on, its also a very useful tool to consider the tax planning nature of same however that is a whole other days conversation.

As the quote opposite says and never a truer word spoken…….therefore its no harm planning in as best we can for both.

 

 

 

 

 

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

 

Mamma Reviews

What to look for in a good after-school club

After-school clubs were once few and far between. They were primarily somewhere for a child to stay for a couple of hours until a parent could pick them up after finishing their working day. Now, a whole range of schools, both community and private schools, provide after-school clubs with a whole lot to offer.
 
So what should you look for in an after-school club to know it will be good for your child? These tips and suggestions aim to help.
 

Where is the club?

 This isn’t just for your convenience, such as the club being a good distance from your work, but to benefit your child too. For instance, if it’s local, the club will probably be attended by some of their friends from school or other children they know. A club out of town, on the other hand, might have access to fields, rivers and forests, where they can enjoy some exciting activities – see below.
 
After-school clubs, both near and far from your home, bring different benefits. Deciding what’s best depends on your child and what kind of experience you want to give them. For instance, a club close to home might be best if your child is shy, while one further afield could be the right choice if they’re confident and like the outdoors.
 

What activities will your child be doing?

 After-school clubs are commonly known as places for children to play games and have fun. While having fun is important, it’s wise to check that they will be learning too. You should look for activities that will allow your child to learn new skills, as well as build up their social skills and confidence, and help them stay active.
 
Activities can include things like arts and crafts, sports, cookery, and learning about nature. Clubs should have a plan of different activities they’ll cover from season to season. So it’s a good idea to find out what your child will be doing, not just day-to-day, but throughout the year too.

What is the quality of facilities?

 It’s important that the club provides facilities of a high standard in a clean and safe environment. All indoor and outdoor facilities and equipment should be well maintained, child-friendly and safe to use.
 
It’s also worth checking to see that there are a range of club facilities, which will allow your child to do different things, in addition to the group activities on offer. This could include a sizeable play area and a quiet space for them to draw, read a book, or do their school homework.
 
There can be a lot to take into consideration when finding a good after-school club. So it’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about a club, attend an open day, or try and arrange a visit, before making a decision. But, with these suggestions and tips in mind, you should be able to find a club that brings out the very best in your child.
Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

International Woman’s Day 2017

So yes we have our own day. A day to celebrate woman rights. But we shouldn’t have to have a day.

Gender equality and inclusion should be a given, not something we need to fight for.  As some of you already know, as well as being a mother and blogger, I work full time as an accountant.  The issue of gender equality is a hot topic around boardroom tables.  I have seen a marked improvement in efforts made by corporates to close the gender gap, however I am under no illusion……. there is still a long way and in some case a very very long way to go.

There have been lots of studies conducted in this area. One very recent one was by Content marketing agency Axonn Media who surveyed 108 parents on their working life and found that being a mum still presents greater professional challenges than being a Dad, even in 2017.

Research from its Gender in Marketing 2017 report reveals that 62% of Mums said that parenthood hampered their career, compared to just to 24% of Dads.

However, despite the obstacles working mums face, parents on both sides of the gender divide have challenges to overcome.

The top 3 complicating work factors for working parents are traveling and meetings (55%), working hours (48%) and lack of flexibility (34%) from their employer. I can see the lack of flexibility issues as being a key topic for discussion these days.  With significant technology advances working from home is so much easier, logging on from home, dialing into calls, emails at your fingertips.  Your precise working location is being much less significant. In fact I know of some companies who actually promote a day a week at home due to office space constraints.

It does seem however that companies are failing to capitalise on flexibility despite parents valuing it more than ever before when it comes to approaching their work. For me in any work contract negotiations it would be one of the items top of the agenda.

Another interesting finding of the study is the differences between men and women when asked “Which aspects of working life are the most important”. What I thought interesting was the breakdown of why  men and women said they work! Salary topped the list for men while doing something they love topped the list for women. See top 5 opposite. For me personally id agree with findings, for me enjoying what I do is key, getting paid well is a bonus. Lets face it if you leave your kids behind for 8-9 hours a day you want to me doing something you love.  I’d find it very hard to leave them all week and hate the job also.

 

So as we celebrate International Womans Day I am grateful for the advances made in closing the gender gap, I am optimistic for the future that this will continue albeit slowly.

I am humbled and proud of the hundreds of thousands of women who marched in Dublin today to #strike4repeal.

As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water”.

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

 

 

 

Baba Reviews

2 months on where are the Christmas toys?!

  1. Now that the dust has quite literally settled on the  Christmas toys,  two months on im always curious has the must requested item been cast aside or is it as much loved and wanted as it was when it featured on the infamous list. First up are those that are still very much played with.

1 – Irish Fairy Door Worry Plaque

Once the oldest saw this on the Late Late Toy show it was a done deal, Santa HAD to bring him one. Santa being the great man that he is duly obliged. Oldest is a real worrier about everything. The worry plaque for anybody who doesnt know is a genuis idea by the Irish Fairy Door Company. You put your hand on the plaque and it turns from red to green meaning your worry has gone.  Simple but very effective.  Our resident fairy JoJo (cuddly teddy by the Irish Fairy Door Company) brought the worry plaque and he sits a the end of the oldests bed to look out for him.  The magic and wonder is so beautiful. I am a firm believer in letting kids be kids and the magic that the Irish Fairy Door products brings is just magical.  Our worry plaque is ably guarded by Batman and Robin!!! The worry plaque is available from Irish Fairy Door Company and in my opinion well worth it.

 

2 – Melissa and Doug Horse trailer

This was a last minute addition as I dashed around TK Maxx on Christmas eve. The youngest absolutley loves this toy.  The trailer carts Peppa, Ryder and all sorts of wierd and wonderful characters around.  It cost €9.00 and it was so worth it.  I have seen it in a couple of places since albeit slighlty more expensive. Melissa and Doug toys in my experience are really well made and last the test of time.

3 – Furry Friends Watch

Despite the fact that he can’t tell the time he insists on wearing his watch everytime he leaves the house! We were sent these before Christmas and I kept one as a stocking filler which turned out to be a great idea! Big hit here, they are well made and an ideal size for my 4 year old. They come in a range of colours and a reasonable price tag of £12. Available here

So what didn’t  make the 2 month test!

Soggy Doggy

The main item on the Christmas list was the board game Soggy Doggy.  It was played with for approximately 10 mintues and that was it nothing….. it barely made out of the box after that.  There is nothing wrong with the game I think he just expected more from it.  Board games can be a bit hit and miss anyway unfortunately this one was a miss for us.