Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 37/53 – the simple things

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth – Kahlil Gibran

Probably around this time last year I joined Donna from What the Redhead Said linkie – known as Living Arrows where each week you share a photo from the week which celebrates childhood. I don’t know exactly why but this link up speaks to me! I love what it stands for and love the quote above that gave Donna the inspiration to start this.

I am aiming to link up each week but life sometimes get in the way. I missed last week but im back this week.  My photo this week is of my dad and my youngest son. Im not sure what it is about this photo but something in it touches a nerve and makes my heart swell with pride.

This pair have an unbreakable bond. Its such a beautiful relationship and I feel both are luck to have each other in their lives.  We spent a morning exploring the Botanic Gardens in Dublin.  No devices, no playground, nothing snazzy just simple fun exploring the gardens.  Sometimes we get consumed but having to do “something” visits to playgrounds, play centres, shows etc.

Sometimes paring it all back it just as effective and just as enjoyable. I had the most beautiful relationship with my granda and I love seeing the bond between this pair growing every day.

 

 

 

 

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 35/53 – back to school

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth – Kahlil Gibran

Probably around this time last year I joined Donna from What the Redhead Said linkie – known as Living Arrows where each week you share a photo from the week which celebrates childhood. I don’t know exactly why but this link up speaks to me! I love what it stands for and love the quote above that gave Donna the inspiration to start this. For the week that’s in it this weeks photo is of my oldest as he prepares to return to school this week. I always feel like this week is a bit bitter sweet, yes to getting back to normality and a set routine but no to missing so much time with my pair.

For me this photo sums up a lot about him, while you cant see his face you can see the concentration in his gesture. He is so like me in many ways. He likes to be prepared.  He loves PJ Masks and being surrounded by his favourites is sure to help instil some superpowers of his own in him.

Its such new territory for them and hopefully familiarity and self belief will help them be brave on their new journey just like his favourite superhero CatBoy.  He likes to call me Owlette, which im hoping is become his mamma has her own superpowers to help him in any and every way she can.

Good luck to everybody starting or returning to school this week, in the words of Oprah – “education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom

 

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

Mamma Fairy Summer Loves

I was reading back over some old blog posts and realised I share loads of what the kids like or our travel adventures but very little about what I like or love (kids and travel aside!!). So I thought id share some of the current things im really loving. This isnt a review post it just a random collection of things that I liked or loved of the last few months:

Shoes, shoes and more shoes

  • Hot, hot, Hotter……

I just love shoes, for me they make or break an outfit. I’m on the go constantly either running with kids to school, activities or  to work myself.  I’m always in heels in the office but I badly needed a pair of dressy but comfortable shoes to run between the office, meetings, pick ups etc.  This summer I was introduced to the wonderful collection of Hotter Shoes  they are insanely comfortable and dressy at the same time.  I wanted flat shoes that were stylish but didn’t look too mumsy if you know what I mean. I have Natalia in black and brown and trust me you will not find a comfier dressy work shoe. Coming in a little hefty a price tag but they are so comfortable and durable and for me anyway, well worth the extra spend.

  • Skechers for Style….

Staying with shoes, while shopping for the kids school shoes in Skechers, out of the corner of my eye I caught these bad boys. I honestly didn’t know Skechers do “street style” shoes (their words not mine!).  Just look at these I mean how could you not get them?

Aside from being ultra stylish they are staying true to brand and are uber comfy. The sales assistant in Liffey Valley very helpfully advised me to go down a size and she was of course totally correct. I’m usually a 6 but these fit like a glove in a size 5. I feel so stylish wearing them.  Only issue now is I want them all. Lots of different types to choose from.  Have a nosey on their website so many types to choose from.

 

Blue Jean Girl

I am and probably always will be a jeans girl, love them in all styles, colours, types.  Comfort is king when im running about so im always trying out new brands and really putting them through their paces.  I suppose what I love most about jeans is that you can either dress them up or down so easily.  One of my current favourites are jeans from Esprit they also do some fab office wear if you are in the market for nice cut office dresses and trousers/ blazer coordinates.

Accessories 

While not really an accessories girl, I favour keeping it simple. I love a nice watch and im so in love with my birthday present from The Dada Fairy.  Its a rose gold watch from Adexe London.  How stylish is this?  It really dresses up an outfit. The rose gold trend shows no sign of abating and ive totally jumped on the trend ban wagon between my skechers and my watch!!

Never realised I was a tend follower!!

Lotions and Potions 

My skin care routine is simple! We only have the one so I do try to look after it and I don’t mind spending on products that do work.  For the last 3 months I have been using Clarins extra firming night and day cream. I love love love this. The texture is so lovely and a small bit really does go a long way.   I cleanse with the Clarins gentle foaming cleanser again love the texture of this and its not drying at all. I have combination skin so it can be hard to find products that really work.  I’m still clinging hard to that youthful glow so I really feel I have found products that not only work but suit my skin.

I’m probably 3 or 4 months at this routine while be no means am I that regimented that I don’t miss a night or a day using the products I do try to do it daily and nightly.   The price tag is hefty at around €60 each but do bear in mind a little goes a very long way.  It really works for me.  I would advise if you aren’t sure which products to go for id pop in to one of their counters for a chat. I have been to the one in both Debenhams and Arnotts in Dublin and found staff in both very helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for some sample and go home and try them for a file. At €60 a pop these products are investments and you do want to be sure they work for you.

 

 

 

Home & Interiors, Mamma Musings

Top Tips for renovating your bathroom

You will have seen lots of our renovation ramblings on the blog over the last couple of years. Have finally (almost) come out the far side I though I share so tips on what worked and what didn’t! We ended up doing 2 bathroom projects. A total renovation and a new one.  So here are my top ten tips for renovating your bathroom.  Hopefully this will be useful and do leave comments below if you have any others:

  1. Plan, plan, plan – by this I mean discuss your plans with the relevant trades well in advance and especially before you start buying anything. For example you may want to move a radiator or bath but this may not be possible logistically so talk to the plumber, the electrician etc well before you commence.
  2. Features – bathroom tend to be one of the smallest rooms in the house so use what you have a feature. For example we went for heated a vertical radiator which served a nice and also very useful feature.
  3.  Storage – if like me you have a strange habit of accumulating all sorts of lotions and potions consider your storage needs up front!
  4. Lighting – consider your lighting needs well before you start any tiling and don’t go over board! (im looking at you Dada Fairy!!)
  5. Shower head/ brassware – these parts particularly the shower head maybe used multiple times a day so buy the best you can afford. Its so worth it.
  6. Layout – really consider the flow of the room at the outset particularly given the space may be small.
  7. Tiling – Shop around there can be huge variances in prices and quality so take time to visit plenty showrooms and even take them home to get a sense of how they will look in your own space.
  8. Colours – As tempting as it is to go for the latest fad or popular colour, id suggest keep the sanitary ware neutral and jazz it up with the coloured accessories as they can be changed far more easily and cheaply.
Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control
Reviews for Mama & Babas

Your Smile Direct – an update

Your Smile Direct

You might remember a post from earlier this year where I shared my thoughts of my new smile journey from Your Smile Direct after the first month. I am well over the half way point and thought it was the ideal time to give you a further update.  There will be progress pictures  but ill keep you in suspense a little longer! I have shared lots on Twitter over the last few months so this isn’t going to come as a surprise but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my teeth and the changes that have taken place.

Since my early 20s I have always been so conscious of my teeth, hating photos and never smiling when dragged into one.  Not anymore…..I am not over reacting when I say making time for me and doing something for me has given me a confidence I didn’t know I had.  The biggest benefit of the Your Smile Direct aligners is their ease of use and portability.  Since I began my treatment I have been to Hamburg  and Berlin with zero issues taking and using my aligners.

If you are thinking of taking this journey and like me your constantly on the go I can highly recommend Your Smile Direct. Between work, kids and our love of travel I have really put them to the test.  And they consistently deliver. Watching the progress has been pretty incredible. I remember looking at aligners sets 7,8,9 and thinking no way will my teeth ever look like that. But guess what they do and im so thrilled.

People are complimenting me on my teeth, honestly that would never have happened 4 or 5 months ago.  Rather than keep you in suspense any longer here are some progress pictures from the last 4 months.  ……

Its hard not to be impressed, the difference is so noticeable, add that to the fact I smile so much more.  If you are thinking of a treatment like this a couple of reasons from my personal experience why you should choose Your Smile Direct:

  • Excellent customer service, always available to help and advise
  • The aligners are so easy to use and fit perfectly in when travelling or running around after busy kids!
  • Just look at the difference in such a short space of time – in short they work
  • Very budget friendly
  • If in doubt book a consultation to see if you are suitable and the staff there will take time with you to guide you through the options
  • Us mammies need to look after ourselves and this was my thing.  To say im happy is an understament and lets be honest happy mammy equals happy kids.

 

Im always happy to anwer questions on my new smile journey either comment below, email or on any social media.

 

******update: Your Smile Direct have very kindly offered the following to Mamma Fairy Readers – use the code HSMAMMA50 to get either  50euros off your Home Smile Kit or Smile Clinic visit and their Smile Bright Kit. Please note I don’t receive any monetary benefit by sharing the above*****************

 

 

Home & Interiors

Our loft/attic conversion- some advice

We have discussed our renovation projects at length on the blog.  We are getting there finally.  Last piece of the epic project was the conversion of our attic or loft space. The boys are getting older and  they really wanted a “boys den”. The most logical place to do this was the attic space.  There isnt enough head room to make it a bedroom for adults but there would be plenty room the kids to stand for quite a few more years.

The Stairs

floating stairs

Pic Credit: https://uk.fontanotshop.com

The best piece of advice I can give here is to do you research.  Price and quality really does vary considerably and if like our it is going to be in almost daily use, durability will be critical. Many hour were spent pouring over google, Pintrest and home & interiors magazines. The stairs for us would also be a focal point as they lead on from the current staircase.  I have completely fallen in love with the designs and selections from Fontanot stairs designers.   Within reason I never mind spending money on quality.  These stairs will be in place for sometime to come so as well as being durable they need to be easy on the eye too or else it will drive me crazy every time I look at them!

How utterly amazing are the floating steps staircase.  I mean wow, want want want.  My kids are little too young for us to have these yet but in another couple of years this is the dream.  I love clean lines and that sharp crisp look and they totally tick all the boxes for me.  I have even checked, our wall is load bearing and suitable to accommodate them! Hint hint Dada Fairy!!!

Light – natural and artificial

Pic Credit: Sterling Build

Lighting is important especially for the attic.  I wanted as much natural light as I could without spending a huge amount of money on roof structural alterations. We went with 3 velux windows which bring in tonnes of natural light. They really make this space so workable.  Having shopped around we ended up buying blinds from Sterling Build. We went with three different types of Star Wars blinds  and they worked out so much cheaper than buying direct from Velux. Quality is perfect and they are blackout blinds which make it it ideal if we did decide to use the room as a bedroom for sleep overs etc.  We also added a huge amount of artificial light with integrated spot lights.

I am so thrilled with the outcome its a very usable space.  The kids really do love it and especially enjoy the pals coming over for play dates or movie nights. Has anybody else converted their attic spaces? I’d love to see some pics.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control

 

Features

Alternative Adventure Activities All the Family Can Enjoy This Summer

If you’re seeking some alternative ways to spend time together as a family this summer, why not aim for a little adventure? Adventure-based activities are great for children’s development, they help you to bond as a family and they keep you and the kids active.

So, what type of alternative adventure activities can you take part in? Below, you’ll discover just some activities you’ll want to consider.

Quad skating

 Back before the development of technology, children used to spend hours skating outdoors. While roller blades can be potentially dangerous, quad skates really couldn’t be safer. Why not treat the kids to a new pair of quad skates this summer? You can pick up some pretty cool looking skates these days from stores such as SkateHut.

The great thing about quad skates is that they’re affordable and enjoyable to use. They’re also suitable for most age groups and loved equally by boys and girls. You could even pick up some adult skates and join in. You’ll be surprised how enjoyable skating can be as an adult.

Continue Reading

Features

Top tips for dealing with the warm weather for kids & babies

This week we have been fortuante enough to speak to an expert from LloydsPharmacy who very kindly took the time to share her expert advice and guidance on dealing with these unusually warm tempartures we are having here.  These tip are also excellent to have if you are jetting off this summer too.

1. Sunburn

My pair are blue eyed, blonde and pale so preventing sunburn is very important, Rebecca has set out her top tips to prevent sunburn below:

sports

Pic Credit: Pixabay

We all know that sunburn is a huge risk factor for skin cancer, but did you know that much of the UV damage that leads to skin cancer happens in the early years of life. All children are at risk of UV damage, even those who tan easily.

  • Wear sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher in adults and SPF 30 or higher in kids and reapply every TWO hours.
  • Stick to the shade where you can to limit your exposure to UV rays. Babies under 6 months should be kept in the shade as much as possible. Make sure the shade casts a dark shadow.
  • Cover up as much sun-exposed skin as possible and wear a wide-brimmed hat made of cloth, or other close-woven material to give shade to the face, neck, head and ears.
  • Don’t forget to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, sun exposure over time can lead to cataracts and cancer.
  • These tips apply whether you’re at home or away, UV damage is just as harmful from Irish sun as abroad. We’re getting an unusually hot spell right now but everyone needs to take just as much care on cloudy but bright days – up to 90% of UV rays can pass through cloud.

2.  Dehydration

I am always very aware at getting liquids into the boys during this heat. Some tips from Rebecca include:

  • Water should be given to counteract dehydration in hot or humid weather and should be drunk before you get to the stage of feeling thirsty.
  • Oral rehydration solutions such as Dioralyte replace salts, as well as water, lost through sweating.
  • Kids should be encouraged to drink water or a sports drink before, during and after any exercise in hot weather.
  • Adults should remember that tea, coffee and other caffeine containing drinks are diuretics and can worsen rather than help dehydration. The same goes for another diuretic, alcohol!
  • Children in cars need special attention as temperatures in cars can reach dangerously high levels very quickly. Children should never be left in a parked car.
  • If a child suddenly becomes dizzy, nauseated or weak in hot weather, bring them inside or at least in the shade. Give them lots of water or a sports drink and cool them down with a tepid shower or a sponge bath and fan air over their moist skin. Seek medical attention if their symptoms get worse or last for more than an hour.
  • Also avoid sun in the middle of the day, ideally between 11 and 4pm as sunburn stops your body from cooling itself down properly. Wear loose, light clothing that will allow the sweat to evaporate by allowing air to flow around the skin. Avoid dark clothing as this absorbs more heat than light colours.

Continue Reading

Fairy Travels

relexa Hotel Berlin – Family Travel Review

relexa Hotel Berlin – Our Review

Earlier in 2018 we visited the lovely city of Hamburg so I was very curious to see how similar or not Berlin was going to be.  Berlin was a very last minute decision for us. I unusually hadn’t done my months of research so in a panic booked the relexa Hotel mostly due it location. I like being central when travelling with kids. I peeked into Trip Advisor after booking and there were some mixed review so I was a tad nervous. I decided to go with it and off we went on a very early flight with the Grandparents in tow!

The Hotel

The relexa comprises 208 rooms decked out in a neutral colour scheme. The building itself it located down a quiet side street. There is a restaurant called Boulevard on site which serves a mix of international dishes as well as a bar and outdoor courtyard where you can eat or have a drink. Also on siste is relexa cooking which offers all kinds of cookery related demonstrations, classes and themed events. There is also a spa area with sauna, steam bath as well as a fitness and relaxation room.

The Location.

Brandenberg Gate

Brandenberg Gate Pic Credit: Mamma Fairy Blog

Inside the German Parliament buidling done

Inside the Parliament Building Pic Credit: Mamma Fairy blog

The relexa hotel commends a pretty impressive location in Berlin, and to my mind this is probably its biggest selling point. I can be a tad hard to please when it comes to location as I like central but quiet, walking distance within reason and a safe area. I’d prefer not to be totally reliant on public transport when travelling with kids. From the relexa hotel we could walk to all of the key attractions, it is situated between the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie. You are literally minutes for Potsdamer Platz with its array of eateries and bars and to the far side you have the Berlin Zoo and the German Technical Museum. We walked to all of the attractions we had wanted to do,  Legoland Discovery Centre, the Parliament Building, the Berlin Wall, Aqua Dom and more!

Despite being in the midst of everything it was really quiet and felt very safe. Another huge plus was the Lidl just around the corner. I had forgotten sunscreen and was very handy to pop around for that plus a few goodies for the kids before bed.

The Room

hotel room

Junior Suite Pic Credit: relexa Hotel

We had a Junior Suite which was totally adequate for our needs. They located my parents next door which was great as the kids were in and out to visit Nana and Grandad. I understand the hotel is going through some renovation work. My parent’s room was a lot newer and the décor was really nice.

hot air ballon

VIew from hotel room Pic Creit: Mamma Fairy Blog

Ours while a lot bigger was a little tired looking but spotlessly clean and lovely size for the four of us. The separate sitting room is a big plus when travelling with kids as you can watch some TV and chill while they are in bed. The Junior Suite comes with a small complimentary mini bar too. Very much appreciated.

 

We had a view of the hot air balloon directly infront of us and the Berlin TV tower just off to the right. The kids loved watching that balloon up and down. None of us had the nerve to actually go up on it!

The Facilities

The breakfast was very good and really set us up for the day. While it was busy it was replenished quickly and we always got a table. The selection was great with plenty for adults and the kids to choose from. We escaped one of the nights while the grandparents baby sat and had dinner in the hotel and drinks in the cocktail bar (my mouth is still watering for the Gin Fizz cocktails). The food was amazing. So fresh and tasty. Id go back for the food alone. This was totally unexpected as you really never know  with hotel food.

The outdoor courtyard was a lovely way to have a coffee or beer before retiring to the room in the evening after a busy day sightseeing.

We didn’t get a chance to try the Spa but there is always next time!

The Verdict

As I said above if location is top of your agenda you will have this here. Everything is so close and easily walkable even with the kids. The food was really good with great selection for adults and kids. The hotel is ideal for families and the rooms are a good size for a city hotel. WiFi was free and perfectly adequate for us. The staff were efficient not overly friendly but that fine with me! We have resolved to come back as three days really wants enough to see all this eclectic city has to offer. When we do come back we will be coming back here without a doubt. I usually like to try new places if we return to a city but this property suited us perfectly and lets face it why fit something that not broken!!

Mamma Fairy Insider tips

  • If budget permits go for the Junior Suite – lots of space, complimentary mini bar and bottled water replenished each day
  • Book the breakfast, you will be well feed for the day ahead
  • The parliament building is about 10 minutes walk from the hotel. Its free in but you need to book in advance, its 100% worth it and even the kids loved it.
  • We had a late flight departing Berlin so decided to wile aware a few hours a t the nearby German Technical museum. I can say hand on heart this is quite possible one of the best museums I have every visited. Incredible, really incredible. We were a party of ages 3 to 60+ and everybody enjoyed. The kids didn’t want to leave and that’s after spending 5 hours. Do it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
  • Don’t bother with the paid upgraded wifi – the free one is totally fine.
  • Ask for a renovated room and one facing the city. The view of the TV Tower at night time is lovely

 

For best rates book direct via the hotel website .

 

Note: We received a media rate for our staty but we were not asked or expected to write this review.

 

Mamma Musings

5 Refreshing Team Building Activities Staff WILL Love

If your staff run for the hills as soon as they hear the phrase ‘team building’, then you know its time to change tack. But rather than ditching the idea, maybe its time for some fresh, new team building activities.

1 Team building cookery courses

cake

Pic Credit: Pixabay

In many ways, the idea behind a team building activity is to push boundaries, both personal and as a group, gently ‘forcing’ people to communicate, listen and work out the best way of achieving a goal as a collective group.  When this happens and new skills have been learnt, as well as information about each other, then you can put a big tick in the box that says, ‘successful team building activity’.  Thus, you may think that team building cookery courses are the soft option, where everyone turns up, bakes a scone and leaves.

But consider;

  1. Not everyone can cook and/or bake – so the head of accountants who seems so in control of the books needs guidance on how to boil an egg by the intern in marketing.  
  2. Not all cooker courses are the same – from a competitive restaurant challenge to creating making a dish that no one has ever made before, you will be amazed at just challenging some cookery team building activities can be.

Unlike whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities where you end the day wet, cold and aching, with a cookery course you eat what you cook, together.

 

Continue Reading