Fairy Travels

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo – Our Review

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo

You have to picture the scene for this one….its 2002, your in college and you have met this great guy…you decide on a holiday (from a brochure!! Yes I am old!) you randomly select Denmark, Copenhagen to be precise. The highlight of the trip was our evenings spent in the Tivoli Gardens. Roll forward to 2007, newly qualified as an Accountant I decide that id love a wow holiday, something memorable to mark the milestone. Same great guy is still on the scene off we flew to China and there began my love affair will all things Chinese culture.

Said great guy above became husband and a further couple of years later and we added two little men to our crew. Why the waffle!! Well, the Wild Lights experience at Dublin Zoo was quite simply magical.  It evoked wonderful memories of milestones in my life and made me feel all warm and fuzzy.  I feel I am doing it a disservice calling it an attraction, it is so much more it is an experience. It is the perfect fusion of cultures.

The setting, the twinkly lights, the ambient Chinese music…..I honestly cant convey in words just how magical it is.  Its the kind of attraction that will awe all age groups.  The highlights are billed as the 16-metre high porcelain elephant tower and a 30-metre long Chinese dragon however I can honestly say it is all pretty magical.

Rather then me waffle on here is a selection of pictures from our visit.

          

        

Wild Lights opens until the 7 January, weekend for November and every evening in December.

Honestly do it, you will not be disappointed.

 

Note: We were invited to the preview of Wild Lights, we were not asked to write this review, i just absolutely loved it!

 

The Ordinary Moments
Fairy Travels

Helpful hints if your flight is delayed

When travelling none of us like to see that dreaded seven letter word, usually in blue, nearly always in bold – DELAYED. 

row of seat aircraft

Pic Credit: Pixabay

We travel quite a bit and thankfully have only had a few episodes of problematic delayed flights,  most recent being 3 hours on the runway after leaving Niagara Falls .  I don’t mind it as much on my own while travelling with work but when the kids are with us it can  be a little more tricky. Hopefully this handy guide will help make those delayed flights a little less stressful.

  1. Technology – Sounds simple but use the technology at your disposal. Have all the trip information saved on your phone including the airline helpline numbers.  Most airlines will have email/ text alerts so make sure your details are correct when you book so you can be informed if there is a delay to the flight.  There are multiple apps out there for airline alerts, airport alerts, weather alerts or even apps to help you book on the next available flight. We have access to so  much information at our finger tips so use all available resources to minimise disruption in so far as is possible. 
  2. Insurance – I am big proponent of importance of being insured and knowing what you are insured for in the event of unforeseen events. I think this is especially important when travelling with kids.
  3. Know your rights – As the old adage says – “knowledge is power” and to be honest this can be a minefield as airlines often have different policies for the same scenario. The best advice here is consult the experts for example companies  like Flight Delay Claims 4 U can talk you through your rights and whether or not you might be entitled to some form of compensation. While on Honeymoon in Australia via Bangkok we were delayed for many hours due to a weather situation elsewhere. At the time the airline offered us £75 card each which we happily accepted. However having spoken to a travel agent friend roll forward a couple of months and we received £400 back.  As said in 1 above save this number in your phone too as you never know when you might need it.
  4. Be nice and make some friends 🙂 – There is little point in shouting and screaming at the airline or airport staff, there is little they can do to change what has happened. If the delay is going to take some time you might even make some new friends to explore the local area with!

 

Note: This collaboration is with thanks to Flight Delay Claims 4 U however I retain full editorial control

 

You Baby Me Mummy
Mamma Musings

Hanging Abstract Wall Art and Making It Work in Your Home

Abstract art is a particularly sensitive style of wall art in your home. While there are some brilliant pieces out there from both emerging and established artists, you need to get the right one so that it doesn’t end up looking pretentious or out of place. When it does work though, it can make a room look so much better and different at the same time. In case you have an interest in the abstract, but can’t quite decide how to go about using it in your home for wall decoration, here are a few tips which should help with that.

Matching and Complementing

interiors picture abstract

Pic Credit: Pixabay

There are many ways to go about it, but we will deal with the matching approach first. This is when you are trying to match the wall art with the overall theme of the room; for example, a room designed in the minimalist color palette and theme will benefit from a piece of abstract art that isn’t too heavy on the hues. It can still have some color in it of course, but they should not be too vibrant or the piece will stand out, looking out of place. The key is to remember that we are trying to complement the décor of the room and enhance it with wall art here.

The Focal Point

A colorful room with a dominant hue or bold highlights usually needs at least one focal point and your next wall art could be exactly that. For example, imagine a dining room themed in orange, which has an orange-themed abstract piece hanging on the wall right next to the dining table. Not only will the art be complementing the décor of the room but it will also turn into a focal point for your guests to marvel at during dinner. The best part about using this approach is the fact that you can show off your wall art without looking like you are trying to.

Contrasting Approach

If you are particularly fond of the abstract and would not mind if it stood out like the clear and obvious focal point which you want it to be, then feel free to contrast your room’s general décor with the art on the wall. Vibrant colors in a minimalist, black and white room or an oversized, hypnotic piece covering almost the entire wall of the drawing room are good examples of the contrast approach. The role of the piece is simple here; catch the attention of the onlooker instantly and constantly.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that art has a way of calling to its patrons. It’s an expression of the human soul painted on a canvas, so the appeal is definitely the most important factor here. At websites such as FineArtAmerica.com which is the world’s largest online marketplace for art, you will find an extensive selection of pieces from contemporary artists around the world.

Just by taking a look through the different artists and their works, you will not only find what you are looking for but may even be spoilt for choice.

Note: this is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

8 Ways to Save Money on Grocery Shopping

While there are certain expenses you can skip when you need to save a little extra money in your budget, there’s one thing you’ll never be able to do without – and that’s food. Although cooking at home is less expensive than eating out, you’ll still find yourself spending more and more on groceries as prices continue to skyrocket. This could mean that you have an even harder time sticking to your ideal budget.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet lately, and you need a little extra help, the good news is that you can still cut down the cost of your groceries, without having to compromise on nutrition. Here, we’ll look at eight simple ways you can save on your grocery shopping so that you can keep more cash in your wallet!

Money saving jar

Pic Credit: Pixabay

1 – Make the Most of Loyalty Programs

While not every grocery store has a loyalty program, there are various big-name brands that are happy to reward shoppers that stay with them week-in, week-out. Loyalty cards are a free way to save extra money on many of the items you frequently purchase. What’s more, as an added feature, you’ll be able to enjoy significant discounts on other items like gas too!

2- Always Shop the Deals

If you’re not sure what you should be eating in the week ahead, it might be a good idea to check the offers online or see what’s on sale in your grocery store before you plan your meals. This will help you to make the most of the deals available when you’re looking for a cheaper menu. At the same time, if you know there’s a particular food that you like that’s either non-perishable or freezable on offer, make sure that you stock up in advance

3 -Download a Cashback App

There are plenty of cashback websites and apps today that can help you save some serious money on your grocery shopping. All you need to do to make the most of the experience is find a cashback website that offers deals in your favorite supermarket and sign up for a free membership. The guidelines on what you will need to do to claim your cashback should be included in the terms and conditions on the app or website.

4 – Buy Own-Brand

Grocery shopping

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Most of the time, when you buy expensive big-brand products, what you’re really paying for is the ability to say that you’ve bought something from a specific company. Generally, you’ll be able to get the same flavors and meals for a much lower price if you go the own-brand route instead. Remember, some companies will pay a premium to have their foods displayed at eye-level on the shelves. This means that if you want to get the best deals, you should also check the bottom and top layers in the aisles too.

5 – Make the Most of Coupons

Coupons really can help you save a lot more than you might think. You don’t need to necessarily go extreme with your vouchers and coupon codes to enjoy the benefits. Instead, you should focus on finding coupons for the items that you want, need, and generally buy the most often. If you can afford to, you might also think about using coupons to purchase products you can’t typically afford because of their expense.

6 – Buy Some Things in Bulk

While you might not be able to buy many perishable items and fresh fruits in bulk, that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve great cost savings by bulk-shopping for other alternatives. If you know that you eat a lot of pasta and cereal, then buying it in bulk shouldn’t be a problem. Ultimately, your aim should be to buy products that you’re going to keep using for months into the future. Just don’t buy anything that you think might go to waste.

7  – Make Healthy Choices

In some cases, eating healthier foods could actually save you money. Researchers suggest that when families go on weight-loss diets, they typically reduce their food budgets. Generally, savings can come from reducing portion sizes, but they can also be attributed to spending less money on high-calorie foods at the grocery store. Think about how you can switch to more healthy options.

8 – Frozen, Canned and Dried

Finally, the next time you’re buying ingredients for a meal, try using canned, frozen, or dried foods instead. This can be less expensive than using fresh foods, and equally nutritious too. Most of the time, produce is frozen and dried at the time when it’s most ripe, so you’ll get plenty of nutrients. Additionally, poultry and fish are flash-frozen to reduce freezer damage and give you lots of fresh flavor.

Note: this is a collaborative post 
Features

Surviving Cold and Flus – Some more advice!

Last weeks post on surviving colds and flu’s received a lot of interest and I had lots of lovely messages from readers sharing their own tips and advice. One emails caught my eye and I though it was a really useful infographic that was worth sharing with you.

See below for a wonderful list of Natural things that you can do right from the comfort of home to help your family members make it through a bad cold or flu and ease all their symptoms with this list of Natural Home Remedies.

Source: http://homeremediesforlife.com.

10 Powerful Doctor Approved Flu Remedies To Help Loved Ones

In summary:

  • Hydration: Flu dehydrates us. Doctors suggest that drinking plenty of water and liquids improves the immune system and flushes out the infection.
  • Vitamin D: Sunshine is a great source of natural warmth and vitamin D, sunshine boosts the fighting capacity of the body, drives away the sick feeling and rejuvenates the body.
  • Garlic: Rich in organic sulfur (an antimicrobial), try including garlic in your diet. According to doctors, raw garlic not only alleviates the cold but erases any chances of new infections.
  • Chicken Soup: There is nothing more comforting than a hot chicken broth. To make it tastier and more effective, sprinkle some black pepper, lemon juice and your favorite herbs like thyme and oregano.
  • Ginger: When crushed and mixed with honey, ginger has a soothing effect on the throat. You can also consume it as a tea by dicing some slices into the water along with salt and honey and simmering it for a few minutes.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is more than just a tasty fall season spice. With its warm nature, the spice provides relief in congestion and inflammation of the respiratory system. Sprinkle some on your oatmeal or simply add it to your tea or coffee.
  • Vapour Steam: A really powerful doctor approved home-remedy is to cover your head with a towel and take steam from hot water infused with herbs or your favourite vapour rub.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Natural and effective, ACV works best in flu remedies when a teaspoon is taken with warm water and honey.
  • Yogurt: The probiotics in yogurt kill the bad bacteria causing flu. Including it in your daily diet can do wonders.
  • Salt Water: Simply mix a teaspoon of sea salt to warm water and gargle with it frequently to get immediate relief in throat infection.

 

Above all, remember love is the best medicine! So, love them more when they are sick and need it the most and when it’s your turn enjoy the same kind of pampering. (Let’s Hope anyways)

Mamma Reviews

More2Explore Adventure belt

More2Explore Adventure Belt Review

Before I had kids I used to say id never use any of those reins type product for my kids. Roll forward five years and two kids and I have a different view. My oldest is the epitome of sensible from the day he was born my second man well……he is a whole different ball game! Wild with a capital W. At 2 and a half he is not quite out of the buggy but also not quite ready to grasp that he needs to hold our hands as little Houdini can vanish very quickly. And yes I’m speaking from experience!

adventure belt in use

Adventure belt in action

Back in September we were sent the Adventure belt to review by More2Explore and I though bingo….ideal for our upcoming trip to Alvor.  We were about 1 km from the village and we decided to walk down for breakfast one morning and rather than usual buggy battle followed by “I no need hold your hand” we used the Adventure Belt, well my husband did! He is incredibly safety conscious when it comes to the kids and he thought it was fantastic compared to the traditional style reins.

Mamma Fairy Verdict

I approached this product with an open mind and ended up loving it and that’s both myself and my husband giving it a thumbs up. Littlest man used it with no complaints. Its more discreet with it being the belt type so no backpack or wrist type reins. There is a clever safety clip that little Houdini cant escape from and most of all it give the kids the sense of freedom and the parents the sense of security that they aren’t far away.  For the next few years I see this as being  suitcase staple for us.

 

 

 

 

Mamma Reviews

kiddiewinkles personalised toy basket

Peronalised Toy Basket Review

As I have mentioned previously on the blog we have been renovating the house of the last number of years.  The last big task was the boys play room.  When Kiddiewinkles asked if wanted to review a personalised toy basket, I thought it would be an ideal addition to the boys room and hopefully clear away the toys which never seem to make it back to presses!!

toy basket full of toys

Personalised Toy basket from Kiddiewinkles

We personalised the basket with their surnames which they totally loved. We choose the blue gingham design as it complemented the room colour scheme perfectly. Have a look on their site above, there is a huge selection of fabulous colours and patterns.

 

The personalisation is the big thing for my pair. They adore anything with their names on it!!

What we thought:

  • Quality –  amazing, its durable, hard wearing and survived being used as a boat by my pair!
  • Size – the basket is deceptively large, it holds a huge amount more that a first glance when this neatly folded package landed at my door (see opposite – spot our much used Spider Catcher !!)
  • Value – at £25 plus extra for personalisation this product in my view is excellent value and would make an ideal Christmas present and with the huge number of options of patterns there is definitely something for everybody.

Overall its a thumbs up from my pair who just love seeing their name in lights!

 

Thanks to Kidiewinkles for sending it to us however this in my way influences mine or the boys views.

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

Emerging from Cold and flu season – survival tips!

I actually think I can see the light! Slowly but surely the haze is lifting and I am not chasing after the kids with tissues, the kids are no longer waking every five minutes as their cough is bothering them. We had our first foray into the primary school system this year and as predicated the notes home (and the colds!) just kept coming, from chicken pox to scarlet fever.  I’d open his school bag each day with trepidation wondering what weird and wonderful childhood illness could I expect next!! We got there and fingers crossed the run up to Christmas will be snot and cough free!

Some survival tips:

While I am by no means a medical expert some of the things that worked for us were:

  • Get the right medication – sounds simple but its critical. My oldest has a terrible chesty cough and I was able to get the required diagnosis and recommendation for Benylin without having to leave the house.  Add to that Vicks on thier feet back and chest. I have no idea why the Vicks works on their feet but it really does. I did it myself when struck with colds.
  • Baths and more baths  – while I don”t believe they get rid of the colds, they really helped relax the boys. I used a few drops of tea tree and lavender in bath as well as my current favourite Mustela products.  My pair still love to be massaged and the bath oil is divine, if like me you have kids who hate getting their hair washed check out their foam shampoo makes the hair wash battle so much easier.  My mother swears by he steam from the bath being great for those chesty coughs and she is right, before bed time it works great.

    row-juices

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • Bedroom set up – When they are bunged up with head colds, elevating the pillow a little really helps. My own father suffers with coughs regularly and he insisted we try his Dyson hot and cold air purifier in the boys room for a while.  While I just couldn’t justify the spending on it, it really is fantastic – it removes 99& of allergens and pollutants from the air and keeps the room at a lovely warm consistent temperature. We are just finished building our extension and I was attributing the cough to dust etc so I was keen to use this is in their room as a preventative measure. Not only that I think the gently hum of the fan and the consistent temperature sent them off into a deep sleep!
  • Food – I am a firm believer in food aiding all ills and when any of us grown ups or the kids are struck down with the dreaded cold, my go to recipe for the Vit C laded soup is One Yummy Mummy’s Carrot and Orange soup.  Seriously tasty and good for you too. I am also a firm believer in juicing however it takes a little more coaxing to get the juices into them!   Not forgetting water and ,more water. Thankfully the boys like drinking it so this one isn’t to much hassle.
  • Hygiene – I am a tad freaky about this. I am forever preaching to the boys about hand hygiene – keep those germs contained!!!

 

Note: this is collaborative post

 

You Baby Me Mummy
Fairy Travels

Honeymoon stopover in Bangkok

bangkok-temple

Photo Credit: Baked by Mummy Iris

We spent a wonderful couple of weeks on our honeymoon in Australia however one of the surprise highlights was a 48 hour stop off in Thailand. We booked our trip through an agency and the lovely lady who assisted us asked where did we want to stop over and our reply “surprise us” and that she did. We were off for a whirlwind trip to Bangkok.  I didn’t have any expectations of what to expect, we were on honeymoon so we were totally chilled.

We did book a central five star hotel, we were honeymooners after all! Recently I have seen Destination2 offering similar package breaks with great selections of hotels from 3 stars up.  I like the security of package trips for long haul travel.

 

What we did – Day 1

photo-bangkok-temple

Photo with thanks to the lovely http://www.bakedbymummyiris.com/ for more great travel photos check our her insta @bakedbymummyiris

We arrived mid afternoon and one of the first things we had booked was the Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River.  One word – INCREDIBLE, it really was. It gave us a brilliant chance to get our bearings and have some nice chilled out time, food was good and the local beer was flowing. There was live entertainment on board too.  The atmosphere was great on board, the staff were fantastic and we saw the beautiful  Grand Palace and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) lit up at night amongst many other beautiful illuminated sights.

Bangkok- MBK- Shopping

Bangkoks MBK

Following that we wandered around sampling the local food stalls at the night markets, I can still feel the buzz of it, was late into the night and the place was very much alive. Bangkok lives up to its reputation, it is bustling, vibrant and very much alive day and night.

What we did – Day 2

After some well needed rest, the following morning we headed for the world famous MBK Center. I was like a kid at Christmas with excitement, over 2000 shops all under the one roof!! Whats not to love! We took the Sky train there which was an experience in itself . Its a high speed train that’s elevated over the roads. So efficient and it was spotless!

The second evening we went back to sample the endless options being served up by the street vendors – I can still taste the pork satay! Seriously yum.  We ended up wandering towards Chinatown. This has to been seen to be believed a stunning fusion of the two cultures with food so divine, it would be rude not to sample and we thoroughly enjoyed sampling the variety of foods on offer. We made our way back to our hotel (on a Tuk Tuk!!), the hotel had got wind of our wedding and presented us with 2 cocktails served in Tuk Tuk shaped glasses which they gave us to keep. A lovely end to a memorable few days in an action packed city.

We have vowed to return and I really think we will some day when the kids are a bit older.

Note: This is a collaborative post and special thanks to Iris who writes at www.bakedbymummyiris.com and shares her own travel journeys on her instagram @bakedbymummyiris

 

 

 

Cuddle Fairy
Features

Car seat safety checks

Car Seat Safety

**Note – this is a sponsored post**

There is no more precious cargo that you can transport than your little people.  You only have to look at the latest statistics released by the RSA to see the importance of not only the right car seat but the right car seat fitted correctly.

Quite alarmingly 262 children lost their lives on the roads between 1996 and 2012 and in a third of these cases no restraint or seat was used.  Disappointingly also was the statistic that twice as many children were killed on the roads in 2014 than in 2013. Its so very sad.  I have written a number of times about car safety and it importance and it is something I feel very very passionate about.

car seat safety tip

Image Credit: cars.com

While this by no means purports to be a extensive list some of the things I do include:

  • I do my research using sites such cars.com which provide information on the types of car seats which suit different models of cars.
  • I cant emphasis enough how important choosing the right seat for the model of car you have is. One size does  not fit all – make use of clinics such as those provided by the RSA to check it fits.  Its a free and invaluable service
  • Check with the manufacturer re air bag usage and the seat
  • Follow all legal regulations and never ever travel without the proper restraints.
  • Always check the seat when you get in to make a journey and make sure nothing has come loose, such a the clipped in seat belt. Give it a good jiggle to ensure no movement
  • Be very careful buying second hand seats, you need to be sure they have never been in accidents before
  • In my experience most manufacturers will have helplines if you have any queries at all
  • I am a rear facing proponent but as said above do your research and make the best decision for yourself
  • Given the imminent arrive of winter, best advice is no coat or heavy jackets when in the car seat. The risk here is that there is or could be a significant gap in the distance between the child and the seat belt

Our little people will always be our biggest VIP and ensuring their safety as best we can is paramount.

Note: This is a sponsored post