Your Smile Direct – one month Review

Your Smile Direct Review 

I think we all have that one thing that bothers us about ourselves or something we would perhaps like to change.  For me since I was in my late teens it was my teeth. They didn’t warrant braces as a teen but as I got older and wisdom teeth appeared it changed them a little.  I rarely, if ever smiled in a photo. I became very conscious of them. A number of times I made enquiries about doing something but life got in the way or large outlay house car etc took precedence.

Roll forward another couple of years, add a husband and two kids to an already busy life style and fixing my teeth fell lower down the list of proprieties. One night the kids were in bed perhaps there was some wine consumed! I mentioned it again to my husband, he said do it – go and make enquiries so that is exactly what happened.

I had some criteria in my head, I needed something that didn’t require a massive time commitment as any busy parent will know, time is a precious commodity. I feel silly saying this, I was also quite self conscious of being the wrong side of 30 and having braces so I was naturally drawn to the clear aligners being quite discreet.


Why Your Smile Direct

Your Smile Direct ticked all the boxes for me. My initial dealings with them were informative without being pushy. I like that!  A sure way to loose my custom is the hard sell!

The first box to arrive contained little tubs and a tray to make the moulds of your teeth to send back together with some photos from different angles of your teeth.  My top tip here would be to do as many moulds as you can with the putty substance supplied to ensure you have at least one good top and bottom set.

So I did the moulds at home, posted them back and a couple of weeks later a box of aligners arrived in the post.  I received an email in advance with the treatment plan. I needed to change aligners every 2 weeks for 20 weeks.  The process so far was so smooth and I was kept informed at all times. The advice is to wear your aligners all the time except for eating and drinking. Another top tip here is straws become your friend if you need to sip (water only) during the day.

The Verdict so far

I am currently on my 3rd set of aligners and hand on heart im so so happy to date. I never anticipated that I would notice a difference after one month.  The progression in such a short time has filled me with so much excitement for the final reveal. A couple of things to bear in  mind. There certainly is some discomfort for a day or two when you change to your new set but this is to be expected for the required change to occur. It does take a little getting used to, another unintended benefit for me is no snacking! I only take them out for my main meals which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in my nibbling during the day. I used to be cooking for the kids and be eating along with it!

The beauty of Your Smile Direct is the process has just slotted into daily life as a busy working mother to two young kids. All dealings with the team have been professional, helpful and courteous answering any questions in a timely manner. Price wise is it very reasonable and costs a lot less that I expected.

Sometimes mammies need to put themselves first too, having been guilty of saying I don’t have time to do things for myself for many years I am thrilled to be in the middle of this process.  My confidence has increased and my close family have even commented on my teeth.

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Fairy Travels

Heikotel Am Stadtpark Hamburg Review

Heikotel Am Stadtpark Review

Its not often I devote an entire post to a hotel itself often favouring to include them as part of trip reports however I feel this hotel deserves a post to itself for a couple of reasons set out below. The Heikotel was our home for three nights while in Hamburg.  It calls itself a premier three star hotel however to be totally honest this label does it a disservice.


The hotel is located about 20 minutes from the central hub of Hamburg. Admittedly at first I was a little apprehensive staying out the centre of the city as travelling with kids can be often mean trips back to hotel for changes of clothes, forgotten teddy etc. However the hotel is less than 5 minutes from an U-bahn station which leaves you in the city in 20 mins.  The U-bahn is so efficient we rarely waited more than two minutes for a train to arrive. I was worried having no German I might find the transport system difficult to navigate – not at all. Is is so easy to follow the signs inside the station and the trains clearly announce each stops location well in advance.

The street itself which the hotel is located is a quiet residential area, which felt very safe.  Just minutes from the hotel were coffee shops, restaurants and a supermarket.  To the far side was the Stadtpark a huge park (over 350 acres) known as the green heart of the city. An ideal spot for the kids to burn off some energy before bed. Everything you needed pretty much on your doorstep when you returned after a days sightseeing.

The Hotel  

The hotel has 46 rooms, a small lobby, workout room, breakfast room and access to the bar in the sister hotel opposite Heikotel Stadtpark Residenz.

The first thing that strikes you when you walk in the door is the impeccable cleanliness. Its the fist thing I notice when I check in somewhere.  The reception is manned 24 hours.  Speaking of receptions, the staff on reception during our stay were very accommodating and helpful.  Upon check in we had an initial wobble with the room allocation which was dealt with swiftly and competently by a lovely girl named Jessica.  I think it says a lot about a place about how any issues are dealt with.  The reception staff were great offering suggestions for food places nearby or local attractions for the kids.  Kids loves the mice sweets at reception!

Our Room

Our Room

The Rooms

The rooms have a lovely calm vibe with warm neutral tones.  We had floor to ceiling windows which gave tonnes of natural light. Our room faced the front and we heard very little noise. The wifi was free and really good. The TV had sky (a plus for the kids!) there was a mini bar and coffee machine and the bathroom had underfloor heating.

The bed itself was so comfortable and adults and kids alike all slept really well.  The bathroom was a good size too, no bath in our room but a great shower with plenty hot water.




I had read a number of review of this hotel prior to arriving so I knew the breakfast had a great reputation.  I can safely say I was not disappointed.  The selection was great, the coffee tasty and both kids and adults ate their fill each morning.  The hotel was busy during our stay with a conference on yet the staff at breakfast were efficient in looking after guests so it didn’t pose any problems at all.  One lovely touch at breakfast was the lady who remembered each morning which coffee we wanted and brought it straight over. For me its little subtle touches like these that add that bit extra to a hotel stay.

Try the scrambled eggs! Honestly my mouth waters every time I think about them – seriously tasty. If you are considering staying here, just trust me on this, book the breakfast, worth every penny. Its €12 for adults and €6 for kids which when you consider the selection and quality in my mind this is really good value and a great way to set yourself up for the day.


Bar across the road

The hotel has  a small fitness studio, conference facilities and the use of ipads at reception. We visited the bar across the road in the sister hotel early in the evenings. Its not big but has a good selection of drinks. I understand from staff it gets busy during soccer matches and after 9 in the evening. We were there with kids so we were back in the room long before then! The hotel had no issue calling us a taxi or keeping our luggage while we had a last minute wander while waiting for our flight home.


Mamma Fairy Insider tips:

  • Book breakfast – so worth it
  • The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant however if you come out of the hotel and go left there are lots of options of places to eat.  We really liked Tieg Fabrik a pizza place so much so we went back 2 nights in a row!
  • Ask the helpful staff for recommendations, they were so helpful to us especially Jessica
  • The free WIFi is perfectly adequate I think you an purchase high speed but not necessary unless you are perhaps working on laptops remotely
  • Dont fear the U-bahn! I know I did, it was a dream to use. We had the Hamburg Card which gave us unlimited travel and with the stations being barrier free this made the process very simple especially with no German and 2 kids.
  • If you have a buggy/pram or need assistance walking be mindful the local U-bahn doesn’t seem to have any lift or escalator access.  This would make accessing the platform difficult as there are probably 20 or so stops up to it.
  • Taxi from the airport isnt expensive if you didnt fancy braving the Ubahn with luggage. However do bear in mind if you have 2 kids you might need to consider bringing one car seat. A lot of taxis had one seat so thankfully we had one with us for the oldest.


Bookings can be made directly with the hotel for the best value including pre booking breakfast and early check ins.  Prices start at €79 upward for s double room excluding breakfast which is very good value for a hotel of this calibre.

For additional reviews of this hotel check out Diary of Jewellery Lover who also stayed here recently.

For a sneak peak into what else we did on our trip to Hamburg we have a short clip below.


Note: We were provided with complimentary accommodation as part of this trip as part of our participation in the Come to Hamburg Project. We retain full editorial control and all view are mine of my family where appropriate.

Wanderlust Kids

Reviews for Mama & Babas

Zak Storm – Pirate Fun Review

Zak Storm Toy Review

It impossible to keep up with my pair and the cartoons they like.  Zak Storm is the newest dude on their radar.   I thought he was a superhero however I am reliably informed by an almost 6 year old that he most certainly is not! Rather he is a really cool pirate who ended up with sucked into the Berumda Triangle after taking his fathers necklace. From here he captains a ship called “The Chaos” (how very appropriate for my house :-)) and goes on many adventures in an attempt to find his way home.

The are lots of different toys in the collection available however for the purpose of this review we were sent the hover vehicle and figure together with the coins which are available to buy separately.

While I can’t profess to know much about the TV series what I can tell you about is the cool add on feature to this toy. You can download the Zak Storm app for iOS or Android for free. From this you can play the game or if you wish you can buy the coins (4pk) which  feature a unique QR code that you scan via the camera feature on your tablet to reveal digital rewards, including weapons, powers, and health.  This was the biggest selling point for my oldest.  While he still loves playing with toys, the ability to add Tech to the mix and he is sold right away. For hims its almost taking it to the next level.

He had no problem scanning the codes nor playing the game.  I was impressed by the fact the coins aren’t an essential part of the game rather a bonus add on. They are a little pricey at around €5 but do add value to the game.

All in all its a thumbs up from us. My son claims the app feature is seriously cool so I can see this one sticking around our house for a while.

Note: We were sent the hover vehicle and 2 packets of coins for the purpose of this review however all view are mine and/or the boys where appropriate.


Fairy Travels

Our 2018 Family Travel Bucket List

Our Family Travel Bucket List

With the news dominated by the so called “Beast from the East” and commentators noting this could be the coldest February in 5 years, my mind is wandering to sunnier climates! So where are the Mamma Fairy crew hoping to head to this year?!  We have a couple of short haul flights lined up but we are still debating out next big adventure.

So where are we thinking?! See below some of the places on our 2018 Family Travel Bucket List.

Phuket – Thailand

We visited Bangkok as part of our honeymoon adventure but unfortunately didn’t get to visit any of the Islands. I have heard so much about Phuket and also how suitable it is for families. Whats not to love with stunning beaches and year round sunshine. From elephant rides to ancient monuments there is plenty to do. And if partying is your thing the famous or perhaps infamous town of Patong is where its all at.  I have visions of us chilling by the beach cocktail in hand in the balmy sunshine…pure bliss. Hopefully this is the year we get to experience everything Phuket has to offer.

plane wings

Pic Credit: Pixabay

New York New York

No discussion needed! Whats not to love about the city that never sleeps. I spent time working there and holidaying there pre baby days however we have yet to return with the kids.  Perhaps this could be the year.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have been I fall in love with this city over and over again.


Our honeymoon adventure included a short (too short) 2 night stop over here.  We have vowed to return and spend more time exploring all this eclectic city has to offer.  I arrived with zero expectations other than a city to break up a 24 hour flight.  I was so pleasantly surprised once you adjust to the humidity its just wow so much to see and do.  I’d love to go back with my little men this time.  The zoo is so spectacular and if Disney takes your fancy this is also one in Singapore.


Lots of friends and family have emigrated or holidayed in Dubai over the last few years and im insanely curious just to see what the lure of the city really is. Year round sunshine, iconic skylines buildings (worlds tallest!), thrill seeking sports and opulent hotels. Sounds just perfect.  Its also reported to be a very family friendly destination with a wealth of activities on offer from young to old. Hopefully this is the year we get to visit.

Have you been to any of the above? If so we would love to hear from you particularly if you had recommendations for family friendly activities etc.


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


Mamma Reviews

Smashers – New collectable craze!

Smashers by Zuru

Smashers Toy display

Smashers Toy display

Friday is treat day in our house if the kids are good all week at minders. I like to avoid rewarding them with sweat treats therefore toys like Smashers appeal to me! Reasonably priced yet have plenty of play with them.  We first came across Smashers on a visit to our local Smyths and the kids were intrigued!

Smashers toys

Smashers toys

Hopefully its not just  my pair but they can be so destructive! Smashers seems like the perfect toys for them! As its name suggests you quite literally smash  the ball to reveal a sports character with 100 different ones to collect across themes of Football, Rugby and Basketball.

There are lots of different products in the range from 1 pack, 3 pack up to 8 packs, in different sports themes – Rugby, basketball and football. Like most collectable products there are matching tins to stores your characters in each of the respective sports ball shapes!!

However probably most excitingly for the boys is the “Team bus” which comes in either a football or a basketball theme. It hold up to 50 characters and folds out to either a football pitch or a basketball court. Its a very clever way of making a fun use out of the storage.

I suspect with over a hundred characters to collect the Smashers will be sticking around our house for some time to come! For more on Smashers see here

Note: We were sent some Smashers to try however this in no way influences mine or the boys views
Reviews for Mama & Babas

Rubix Revolution – An old school revival

The Rubix Cube

The Rubix cube is pretty iconic, I suspect there aren’t many people who don’t know what one is.  Originally developed in 1974 and its been gracing homes around the world ever since.  However in a world so engrossed in all thing technology, old school toys such as the Rubix have to jostle that bit harder for their place and to grab the kids attention. Quite excitingly that exactly what Rubix have done.

Range of products

Rubix cube shaped like a bear

Rubix Junior “Bear”

Rubix cube

Rubix 2×2

I will admit I always though Rubix just sold the stand cube we are all familiar with however that could be further from the truth.  They start with Rubix Junior which are “cubes” shaped like animals (four different ones to collect).

These are most suitable for ages 3 up wards. My youngest really likes this and it has become my changing bag staple when we are out and about as I prefer during meals out to avoid the phones and tablets if we can.

Admittedly I always thought Rubix just came in the well recognised 3×3 version however again there are lots of different combinations from 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 and even 5×5.  Added to this is lots of variants of these from the tower to the void to the twist (for more on these see here).

My oldest thought the 2×2 cube would be easier as there are less cubes however there are still 3,674,160 permutations and only one solution!! His personal favourite is the 3×3 cube.  He hasn’t solved it yet but its only a matter of time according to himself.

Mamma Fair Verdict

We love these and they have become a birthday present staple for the boys friends. From €10 upwards they aren’t expensive and give hours of play. Ideal for us for travelling with the kids as they are very portable. They are readily available online or in toy shops such as Smyths, my local Tesco even stocks them!

Note: We were sent a selection of Rubix products to try however this in no way influences mine or the boys views of the product.


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Reviews for Mama & Babas

Kids and their favourite tunes!

Music notes

Source: Pixabay

You might have read some of my previous posts on our mega home renovation project. Its been a stressful couple of months (ahem years!) however we are thankfully getting there now. A family friend having done similar said to me her advice would be – install the latest gadgets that your budget can afford as smart living is the future and you don’t want to have to start retro fitting gadgets in years to come.  Armed with this advice and my husbands love for all things techie one of his big requests was for the house to fitted with Panasonic Multi Room Speakers.

I was in two minds about this as I thought it might be a bit excessive. How wrong was I?! I (and the kids) absolutely love listening to music as we potter around the house. They especially love being in the bath with the music blaring! How are the teenager years going to be? I dread to think.  Its funny how even from such a young age they have definite favourite songs. The oldest loves Nathan Carter signing Wagon Wheel while the youngest loves the Gummy Bear song!

This got me thinking and I reached to my fellow bloggers to see what songs their kids liked to listen to.

  • Andrew from Mad Dad Skillz – his daughter loves  Loreley by Blackmore Night. I have never heard of it, I must check it out.
  • Pete from Household Money Saving his five year old loves a song which I totally concur – Once I was Seven Years old. Beautiful song, my own five year also enjoys listening to this one.
  • Georgina from Gee Gardner has a heavy metal fan who falls asleep listening to Slipknot, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden! Brilliant!
  • Jen from Just Average Jen – her son loves classical music. My own kids  love the calm tones of classical music.  I often put it on low when they are going to sleep to help them relax. There is something intrinsically relaxing about classical music.

I read an article about a year ago which mentioned a song called Weightless which reportedly helps to reduce anxiety by up to 65% and helps you sleep better as a result. Interestingly the song was actually constructed especially to do just that with the help of sound therapists.  It is no surprise that is is the top played song in our house. We have it on every evening going to bed for the boys.  I can honestly say hand on heart it really does relax them for bed.

So what are your little ones favourites songs? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


Note: This is a collaborative post



Baby name inspiration – some help with the difficult decision

We debated at length when naming the boys – reaching a consensus was no easy task! We all know stories of babies who were nameless for weeks or babies whose name were changed in the weeks following birth.  When we were naming the boys I felt a real weight of responsibility after all they would be stuck with the name for the rest of their lives.

I poured over children’s names book – reading the meaning behind them.  Its funny how as they get old they do wonder why we named them what we did or what does their name mean.  Family tradition was important to us and both boys have middles names in keeping with family traditions.

C&G Baby Club have come up with a pretty genius Baby Name Generator to help. You can pick a gender or choose a unisex name, you can explore names or set parameters such as starting with etc or reflective of a particular season.

I just had a nosey at boys names for Spring with Irish origins and have fallen for a beautiful sounding name of “Aeary” meaning Scholar.  I have never heard of this name nor lots of others on the list. Fantastic way of considering less used names of name of particular origins.   Its really user friendly definitely something to keep in mind when having the baby name debate.

Mamma Musings

Shifting the postnatal weight

Gym Equipment

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Having a child is one of the most beautiful and natural things in the world – but with it, a female’s body experiences a great deal of change, and post birth, you can be left with a body shape that doesn’t reflect your pre-baby body at all. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining post-natal classes and are trying to get back into shape after giving birth to their little ones. With a new-born baby in tow, it can be hard to go back to the gym – but where there is a will, there is a way.

The NHS recommend waiting around six weeks post-partum before starting up intensive exercise again. Your six week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered. However, women who exercised regularly before pregnancy, may feel fit and well to begin working out sooner than the six week check – each new mum is different. You’ll know within yourself if you feel fit enough to get back into your regime, don’t push yourself too soon.

But with social media becoming a forum for fitness inspiration, some new mums want to jump straight back on the wagon. Postnatal fitness is on the rise too. The internet has inspired a lot of us to reach our fitness goals, and postnatal goals are no different. In fact, postnatal posts are becoming increasingly popular across the web, with #postnatalfitness associated with 53,003 Instagram posts.

Industry professionals noticed a gap in the market to help women post-birth. As a result of this, fitness professionals have set up their own postnatal classes to provide a solution for new mums who were struggling to get back into shape after having their new born. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their baby’s – an opportunity for new mums to get their pre-baby body back. Classes usually allow mums to bring their little ones along to the class with them.

And it appears that postnatal fitness is helping new mums not just physically, but emotionally too. Many women have also revealed that exercising after having their baby has helped prevent, or ease postnatal depression as exercise has made them ‘happier’. Research would suggest this to be true, as exercise is shown to release endorphins in the body – hormones which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’.

Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is a mum herself and is passionate about helping other mums get the body they strive for. Her Instagram account, with over 39.9k followers, showcases workout and yoga routines that can be done by new mums who have a baby in tow. She has proven that workouts can be done by mums at home with a little one crawling around. Of course, nutrition is just as important as your workout regime. Greene has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.   

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Fairy Travels

Enhancing the experience as a travel photographer

Olympus cameras are a great companion for any travel photographer, allowing them to experiment with different types of photography on their adventures around the world. One common problem faced by globetrotters though is being stopped at airport security due to technical equipment being wrongly packed in your luggage!

Fortunately, we’ve teamed up with Clifton Cameras to bring you this infographic to make all of the problems you might encounter go away when it comes to travelling for photography.

Book your flight and head to the airport, because we’ve also created a list of some of our top destinations that would better the experience for any travel photographer — lights, camera, action!

Check out a selection below and see which ones are on your list. Or if you have been and have photos to share id love to see them.

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