Mamma Reviews

Our Current Favourite Mobile Apps

Team Umizoomi App – “zoom into numbers”

teamumizoomiThe big man loves this show. Its a firm Favourite on Netflix therefore I was delighted to see there was fun educational app to go with it.  This App has passed many long cross country car journeys for us.  Its really user friendly and continues the theme of the show – Milly, Gio and Bot use their Math powers to solve games around Umi city. As you solve the games,  new games unlock. The app teaches basic number concepts from addition, subtraction to number ordering.  The blurb states its for ages 5+ however my nearly 4 year old seems to be managing ok. From memory this App cost around €5. Money well spent in my book, it has got lots of use in our house plus its educational value cant be faulted for pre-schoolers.

Aquafresh – Make brushing fun

I received some press information about this one and thought i’d have a look. Its a free to download app.  In our house no matter what I do, the big man thinks brushing his teeth is such a core! I showed him the app, more specifically Captain Aquafresh dancing and he roared laughing.  The song (and the dancing!) is very catchy.

It’s a brilliant idea to get the kids interested in brushing. You can unlock more features the more you use it, this part has my son hooked! Tonight we unlocked a new dance which he was pretty impressed with. In our house its been surprisingly difficult to keep the kids brushing for the recommended two minutes however since Captain Aquafresh has joined the routine this isn’t the case.  They are enjoying the catchy tune and love unlocking the new features. This App gets a big thumbs up from the Mamma Fairy house.

Kidloland

This is a jam packed app, with over 200 songs, over 300 games all including tonnes of interactive features.  kidlolandThis is THE holiday app. You don’t need Wifi or parental controls like you would do with YouTube. From nursery rhymes to puzzles there really is something to entertain your toddler. We have been trialling it for the last number of weeks and we have barely made a dent in the huge variety that comes with it. We were lucky enough to receive a years subscription (approx €30)  and I can tell already this well be one of those “well loved” apps.  Both the 1 year old and the 3 year old have enjoyed playing with different parts of it.  The one year old loves the songs, the great thing is they are also interactive which keeps him interested. The 3 year old loves the games and the colouring. Both are educational, teaching a variety of skills such as fine motor skills and problem solving. Its well worth the yearly subscription in my view.  I understand the App itself will be continuously updated with new content.

 

Note: Of the above Apps I received a subscription to Kidloland, however all opinion are my own or the boys where relevant.

Mamma Musings

Banish Sleepless Nights in Your House with These Tips

Do you feel like your family is awake all the time? If the kids aren’t refusing to go to bed, then you’re lying in bed, unable to sleep. Trouble sleeping or even refusing to go to bed isn’t just for children. Adults can find themselves struggling to sleep or perhaps not wanting to go to bed because they dread getting up the next day. Perhaps you’re not getting enough sleep because you have so much to do and end up staying awake too late. If your house has big sleep problems, it’s never too late to fix it. Try some of these solutions if anyone is having trouble sleeping.

Sleep_woman

In the summer months, it’s often the heat that stops people from sleeping. It can be difficult to relax when you’re hot and flustered. The first thing you should do is ensure that everyone has the right bedding. Cool cotton sheets will help to keep everyone cool, and you don’t need a duvet. However, even when it’s hot, many people like to have something light covering them. Don’t forget to consider pyjamas too. Either light PJs or none at all will be much more comfortable. Opening the windows to let air flow if there is a breeze can help, but air conditioning or fans might be preferable.

Blocking Out Noise

Many people are sensitive to noise when they’re trying to sleep. It can be especially difficult when you move house or perhaps sleep in a hotel. You might be used to the noises you had before, but unfamiliar ones are more noticeable. One of the best ways to block out any sounds is to use a white noise machine. A sleep machine is excellent for both adults and children, including babies. It can be very soothing and help you drop off to sleep. However, other people might not like it and prefer the natural noises around them.

Light Levels

Light can also have an effect on how well you can sleep. Some people like it to be pitch black, while others need a little bit of light. Many children want to have a night light or perhaps some light coming in from the hallway. It can be frightening if it’s too dark but might be hard to sleep if it’s too light. For most people, a little bit of light helps to create the perfect conditions, without keeping them awake.

Bedtime Routine

Bedtime routines can affect sleep for children and adults. Winding down before bed is important for everyone. newborn-220142_960_720Your kids will find it hard to fall asleep if they go straight from running around to getting into bed. You could find the same if you switch quickly between doing your bills to going to sleep. Make sure the whole family gets a chance to relax before it’s time for bed, whether that means a bath and a story or a glass of wine and a romance novel.

Don’t let your house be disturbed by sleepless nights. Whether it’s adults or babies struggling to sleep, you can find a solution.

Mamma Musings

How to Perfect a Home Renovation

 

They key to any successful project lies in the preparation and the planning. So before you get your hands dirty and bring out the hammer and chisel, come up with a plan.

Preparation Is Key

  • What is the goal?

ehardwareTo save yourself and everyone around you stress and headache, try and make all of the decisions before the work begins. Know what you want before you start breaking down walls. This does not only apply to the bigger questions like which rooms will be renovated. Even the smallest of things should be considered beforehand, such as which paint colour, door knobs, and faucets to choose.

  • Have a Plan B

No matter how well you plan ahead, there is always the possibility that something can go wrong. So find out what to expect during the renovation and have a backup plan ready. Good builders and contractors know what kind of problems could possibly come up on the job and how to deal with them without causing delays.

  • What is your budget?

The last thing you want to happen is to end up with no money mid-way through your project and realise you can’t continue with the renovation. So before you start, draw up a budget detailing what kind of costs you can expect.
How expensive are the materials? Find out whether there are more affordable products you can opt for. While a crystal door handle might look the part on the Downton Abbey set, it might be wiser for you to think about cheap door furniture made out of stainless steel or glass instead of crystal.

Professionals vs DIY – Know When

While you might consider yourself a pro, it’s advisable to come to terms with your abilities and your limitations.ehardware2

Chances are, you won’t have the answers to everything. Luckily, there are many ways to inform and educate yourself. Not sure which door furniture and bathroom accessories to go for? Be it YouTube tutorials or online DIY guides – you’re never far away from help. And for those who prefer a more personal touch in the form of customer service, most hardware stores, for instance, also offer free and expert advice on all renovation-related questions.

Once you have established what you have to do and how to do it, don’t try to do it all by yourself. Confidence and ambition are qualities that are commendable. In this instance, however, it might be wiser to pass the torch, or rather the screwdriver, on to someone who knows a bit more about plumbing and electrical jobs than you. So don’t shy away from calling in the professionals to take care of the big stuff.

Work with What You Have

Blowing up our budget is, unsurprisingly, easier said than done, and the simplest way to achieve that is by being unrealistically over-ambitious.

If you are thinking of moving your sink or your toilet, for example, stop. Introducing a new plumbing system into your home will almost always be the number one reason for your budget, your stress level, and your blood pressure to skyrocket. Renovate, don’t rebuild!

Resist the Temptation

There is no doubt that you want your home to look all nice and flashy after a tedious and expensive renovation. After all, you spent so much money on new fixtures, fittings, and furniture, you naturally want the end-result to look the part.  ehardware3
The one way you should not go about achieving this, though, is by going for hip and trendy furniture options. Stay away from impulse purchases and buying the “coolest” items. Rather, opt for fixtures that will stand the test of time. After all, the last thing you want is to wake up in a month or two, look at your house, and feel like Justin Timberlake when he sees his hairstyle choices from his NSYNC days. #SayNoToBuyersRemorse

 

Note: This is a collaberative post, pic credit Pixabay

Mamma Musings

A Definitive Guide To Pregnancy: What To Expect And How To Cope

Pregnancy is a feat of nature. It can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be exhausting, stressful, and scary. One minute, you may bask in the bliss of feeling your baby wriggling around. The next, you may wonder how on earth you’re going to survive another few weeks or put up with any more mood swings, cravings, or morning sickness. If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant, here are some tips to help you prepare for the months ahead.

What to expect: scans and tests

 pregnancyWhen you find out you’re pregnant, you’ll probably have to wait a few weeks to see your baby on the big screen. Most women have their first ultrasound scan at around 12 weeks. At this stage, the technician will be able to show you the body parts and check everything is developing as expected.

At around 20 weeks, you’ll have a more detailed scan, and you can usually find out the gender of the baby. Some couples can’t wait to see if their bundle is a little boy or girl while others prefer to leave it as a surprise. In some cases, it may not be possible to determine the sex. This may happen if the baby is in an awkward position. You could always book another scan if you’re desperate to find out. The sex of the baby comes down to its genetic makeup and whether it has XX or XY chromosomes. You may have tried to work out the gender using a Chinese gender chart. But in reality, much evidence suggests there’s very little you can do to influence the sex of the baby. Many women have no further scans unless there are hiccups along the way. If you do experience bleeding, or you notice that your baby has become less active, seek advice from your midwife. Don’t hesitate to get help if you feel like something’s not right. You know your body, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

Coping with pregnancy symptoms

Pregnancy affects women in different ways. Some enjoy an incredible pregnancy while others have a really tough time. pregnancy2Symptoms vary, but usually include morning sickness, bloating, mood swings during the early stages. As your baby grows, you may find that you experience more physical symptoms. You’ll gain weight, you may retain more fluid than usual, and your back and breasts may feel sore. Hormonal changes can make you more emotional than normal. Try and take things easy and avoid stressful situations. Eat well, try and get enough sleep, and stay active. Exercises like swimming and yoga are relaxing, and they provide benefits for your physical health. At times, pregnancy can be overwhelming. Don’t suffer in silence if you’re struggling. Share your worries or feelings with your partner or a close friend. Ask your midwife if you have any concerns, and look after yourself.

 

Pregnancy is a unique experience. Every woman’s journey is different. Hopefully, this guide will give you an insight into what to expect and some helpful tips to make life easier. Try and stay calm and relaxed, focus on yourself and your baby, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

Mamma Reviews

My Nametags.ie Review

A couple of weeks back the boys were sent some name tag stickers from MyNametags.ie    Kids love to see their name on things.  nametagsboysThe little man is too young and he just wants what his big brother has but the big man…he recognises his own name now so was pretty excited to be able to label everything ( that includes the sitting room window too!!).

 

mynametagsThe order process is really simple and straight forward, you simply pick your type (iron on or sticker) and the quantity. You then simply choose your design and text and away you go.  The process itself is quick as was delivery.  Literally a couple of days later they popped through the letter box.

With summer camp season upon us. I find these really handy.  My oldest loves to go to things (from sports to parties to play centers) but for some reason rarely comes home with everything he went out the door with!

The great thing about these labels for me is their durability. He used them to stick on his hurl and his football, both items spent quite a few nights out the back in the worst rain I have seen for a July and they are still firmly in place.  the MyNametags.ie labels are know for their quality and the clothing label comes with a 10 year guarantee which is really impressive.

I love the fact too they are an Irish company with a focus on customer satisfaction. Definitely getting a thumbs up in the Mamma Fairy House.  Price wise at €16.95 for a set of 56 id have no hesitation in recommending.

 

 

Mamma Reviews

Mamma Fairy Netflix Summer Picks

With Summer holidays finally here, I thought it would be a good time to look at our current favourites and some new to Netflix shows which are here just in time for summer.

I guess the boys are creatures of habit like their mother! Team Umizoomi, Paw Patrol, Lego movies and to a lesser extent Peppa Pig are the recurring favourites. We have had some new entrants in the last few weeks!

Curious George

75_yearsFirst up is Curious George and his buddy “The Man with the Yellow Hat”. Curious George in its current format dates to 2006 however it traces it origins back to the 1940s. Quite hard to believe its longevity, celebrating 75 years old this year! The series chronicles the adventures of the mischievous monkey named George and “The Man with the Yellow Hat” who cares for him. There are no special effects, little dialogue just the central them of the curious monkey exploring which often leads to trouble and with the help of “The Man with the Yellow Hat” all is forgiven. I like this one myself and oddly enough both of my boys enjoy this one. Its probably the only show I can really say that grabs his attention.

Shark Tale

This is a Dreamworks animated film with loads of big named voices – Will Smith, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black to name a few. sharktaleThe story in summary tells the tale of Oscar who falsely claims he killed a mob boss sharks son (!!). Oscar craves a life of luxury and gets up to many schemes to try to do this. For me the highlight of this film is its soundtrack, we bopped around the room to it! Like most of the Dreamworks films, the feel good factor is there. Its easy watching for chill out days! The bigger man really enjoys this one.

New for summer

  • Paw Patrol Season 2 arrives on the 12 July. This is sure to go down well here.
  • New Shrek films will be screened from 15 July. We haven’t watched any of these films yet but will be adding them to the list for summer.
  • New Season 2 Lego Bionicle will be here at the end of July, big Lego fans here.

So lots to keep the kids entertained on Netflix for those (inevitable) rainy Summer days!

 

Note: I am a member of Netflix StreamTeam for which I receive a subscription to Netflix, however all opinions are my own or the kids where relevant.

Features, Mamma Reviews

Babymoov Review – Picnic time #stresslessweaning

As you know, I am a Babymoov blog ambassador, therefore I have been sent various products which will be getting a trial in the Mamma Fairy house. You may have seen my various tweets on our picnic outings – we travel up and down the country very regularly and the highlight for the boys is our picnics en route. Therefore when I was sent Babymoov products which were as I have been calling them “picnic friendly” I was thrilled.

Babymoov bowls

babymoovtubsI love these, genuinely i do. It’s a set of 6 different coloured bowls with lids with 250 ml capacity.  It the size of these that works for me. My 2 boys are such different stages so when we are out and about im bringing a variety of different items for them to eat. I used to find most bowls id bring were either two big or too small, however for these portion size works for us.  As an aside, my older man (almost 4) loves taking a different one to playschool lunch each day. For him its a surprise what colour Mama has put his lunch in.  They are also microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.  They can be a little tricky to close but once you get the hang of its not an issue.

 

Babymoov lunch set

If somebody told me before I have kids that id be writing a post extolling the benefits of a lunch set id say they were mad! But this is just the cutest, most practical lunch set I have used.  babymoovThe plate itself has edges that go quite far up which is perfect for my boys who just can’t sit still! It means a lot less is dropped, (aka mama if fell off the plate by itself!).  I also love the packaging on this. It makes an  ideal practical gift for a new baby or for a child’s birthday.  It’s a full melamine set including a bowl, plate, spoon, fork and a cup.  lunchsetThe cup is perfect for our picnics, it’s a great size and in the words of my 3 year old like a grown up one! There are a couple of different designs, we have the teddy bear one. The range of products make it ideal from weaning right up. It is being used by both of my boys. 

Check out the gorgeous packaging on this lunch set.  Well worth its Stg£29.99 price tag. For more information on the above products see Babymoov. Thanks to Babymoov for letting me be part of ther exciting #stresslessweaning campagin.

 

Note: I was sent the above amongst other products to review however all views/opinions are my own or my boys where relevant.

 

Features

How Children Benefit from Holidays and Travel

Delighted to have Diane Pearce guest posting this month, Diane is an entrepreneur who has been buying and letting holiday cottages for 15 years. She is passionate about providing last-minute getaways to those seeking a retreat. She now owns BimbleBox, a popular holiday cottage rental website that exists to provide beautiful and affordable escapes to remember.

 

The school summer holidays are fast approaching, and parents all over the country are making decisions about what to do and how to keep their children busy. Tempting though it might be to allow our children to sleep in, spend hours on their consoles and while away the days watching the latest YouTube sensations, choosing to instead travel with your children provides a whole host of advantages.

Travels and adventures don’t have to come in the form of trips abroad to see the Great Pyramids, Niagara Falls or the Great Wall of China. There are so many cities, towns and villages to explore that you will be spoiled for choice. Once you make the decision to escape on a family holiday, you can rest easy knowing that you are making a significant and positive impact on your children’s lives in the following ways.


You will increase their appreciation for the world around them

Children are naturally curious, and feeding this healthy curiosity is something we should prioritise where possible. Taking our children to new places and letting them experience new things gives them a fresh perspective on their place in the world. They begin to realise how much more there is to life, which feeds their appetite for excitement and introduces them to new forms of fun and happiness. In this way, it becomes clear that travel really does broaden the mind.


You will get them accustomed to change

suitcaseWhen children never deviate from their daily routine, or have to forfeit control, they become completely unaccustomed to change and as such, don’t learn how to deal with it. Taking children on holidays from an early age allows them to develop coping strategies for change and stress. If their beach holiday gets ruined by rain or they don’t get their own room on their cottage holiday, they begin to learn that sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned, ultimately helping them to become more flexible, patient and easy-going adults.


You’ll help to develop their confidence

When children are continually exposed to new experiences and are encouraged to try new things, they develop a sense of accomplishment while building their independence and self-confidence. Though psychologists debate the realities of whether confidence is a result of nature or nurture, parents can certainly do what they can by providing them with opportunities to grow. Children regularly faced with changes will become confident dealing with diversity and unexpected outcomes. This will prove useful as they grow up into responsible adults, who will need this capacity in their work lives.


You’ll provide opportunities to learn and grow

When we go travelling, our minds aren’t often left unstimulated. We tend to go out, visit museums, art galleries or historic attractions, all of which provide opportunities to learn. These experiences widen children’s horizons and give education a real-world context while making them fun. For example, you could take your children out to a science museum, where they can learn about static electricity by making their hair stand on end, or you could take them to Dinosaur Adventure in Norfolk, where you can learn about dinosaurs while having an amazing time.


You’ll foster closer family bonds

Going on holiday as a family provides dedicated, quality bonding time which in turn provides memories that children carry with them forever. Psychologists have suggested that when family members spend time together and engage in mutual activities, they are building meaningful connections in the form of ‘crescive bonds’. You don’t have to spend much money to foster this bond; it can be forged by a game of football, cards or a play in the park.siblings

This last point is undoubtedly the most important. Research from the Family Holiday Association suggests that family holidays make up most of our happiest memories. 49% of Britons stated that their happiest memory resulted from a family holiday, while 55% of adults agreed that these same family holidays provided comforting memories that would stay with them forever. 24% even went as far as saying that they would recall these family holiday moments in times of stress or difficulty, to help them get through, using them as a ‘happiness anchor’.


Holiday advice for an ideal getaway

If you’re eager to provide a childhood holiday never to be forgotten, try to make it a collaborative experience. We are lucky enough to live in a diverse country, where each town offers something unique and interesting. Consider your child’s opinion; would they prefer a bucket-and-spade beach holiday or would they prefer a countryside retreat where they can go for a family walk through the nearby woods?

 

Many thanks for Diane for the above.

 

 

Mamma Reviews

Mamma Fairy Favourites May/June

Its been a while since I posted any Mamma Fairy favourites and to be quite frank its because there wasnt any products that I loved enough to share with you.  However I have 3 firm favourites that I have been using daily over the last few weeks.mayfavs

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Night pads

Numerous bloggers had reviewed this and I thought its probably a lot of hype however I was wrong.  These are the business.  I had really neglected my skin after my second was born and with back to work looming I felt I better up my game so I bought these in Boots Jervies, they were on sale, €11 I think. Well, well worth the money.  I use them after washing my face to give a deep clean.  They arent drying and work wonders on rough skin and black heads.  Be warned the first few days even a week or two, my skin around my jaw line broke out like I was a teenager again.  However once that had cleared, my skin became really fresh looking.  I use them every night and im now my second tub. Each one contains 60 pads.   They contain 5% glycolic acid which I believe is what aids the exfoliation. If you can get through the breakout few days they are well worth it for deep exfoliation. Particularly like me if you have neglected your skin for a while!

PS Make up fixing spray

This is not something I ever bothered with before but waiting in a long queue in Pennys blanchardstown “made” me buy this on impluse.  I was really surprised at how well it works for €2.50!! It is a really fine mist and definitely does hold my make up in place for a lot longer than it would have in the past.  I work in a stuffy albeit air conditioned office however by 3pm I used to notice my makeup was pratically non exisitent.  This has made quite an improvement to that and it seems to prevent that sort of sliping around my hair line which i used to go.  Its worth the €2.50 to give it a go for sure. Its in daily use with me at the moment.

Bioderma Hydrabio Creme

I have used Bioderma in the past and have had great success especially with their BB creme (see September Favs here ), so when I was sent their new Hydrabio range to try, I was happy to give it a go.  I never had dry skin until my second was born and for the last couple of months I was so dry and dehydrated looking.  This cream has a lovely thick rich feeling texture which is what I  love in a moisturiser.  I only use this a night as it is very rich in texture, it feels like  really treat especially after cleansing with the Nip&Fab pads. It really does deliver on its promise of hydration. When I wake in the morning my skin does feel quite plump and fresh looking. Its a little heavy for me for my rushed morning routine but an essential part of my bedtime skin care routine.  I was sent a tub to review however it does retail at a reasonable €18 (approx).

Have you tried any of the above?  Let me know what you thought.

 

~Mamma F

 

Features

Babymoov brand ambassador #stresslessweaning

You might have noticed the new #stresslessweaning tab on the header, well….I was delighted to become a Babymoov ambassador. blog ambAs a result over the coming months you will see lots of weaning posts and we will be putting some Babymoov products to the test. Babymoov has just also launched its first mobile application specially dedicated to food for baby:  “Cooking Babyfood” can be downloaded on Google Play Store right now and will soon be available on iOS.

I was fortuante enough to be able to chat to the Babymoov Nutritionist Julia, who kindly answered my questions in relation to begining the weaning journey.

Mamma Fairy – I have such a fear of choking at what stage can I leave him bits to chew himself?

Julia – Finger foods can be introduced from around 6-7 months and this can include soft pieces of meat. Offer big pieces that baby can grab and hold easily, then chew off manageable amounts, rather than small cut up bits that would likely be put into the mouth completely and possibly lead to more risk of choking. Many parents are very worried about choking, its perfectly understandable, but delaying lumps and pieces means that babies will be less equipped to deal with them later. Be brave – maybe have a friend or someone there for moral support?

Mamma Fairy – Stream v boil is the difference in nutrient content with one over the other significant?

Julia – Yes, some vitamins (e.g. B & C) are water-soluble so cooking with lots of water means the nutrients can leach out. Use minimal water when cooking veg, that’s why steaming or microwaving are usually recommended over boiling.

Mamma Fairy – Foods to help with constipation and those to avoid more so for my toddler but want to help prevent with baby toddler did suffer bad.

Julia – 2 things are important for preventing and managing constipation: fluid and fibre. Make sure your toddler is drinking enough water – maybe give a little well-diluted orange juice each day. Fruit and veg provide both fluid and fibre so plenty should be offered over the course of the day. Dried fruit like raisins can be useful e.g. in breakfast cereal. Offer some wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals (e.g. Weetabix) to give extra fibre, though please be aware that too much isn’t recommended as it can be bulky and fill up small tummies too much. See GP or specialist if necessary.

We have just opened the box on the Nutri baby so looking forward to trying this out. Lots of updates to follow. nutribaby

 

For more information on the brand and the products themselves please see Babymoov website.