Mamma Reviews

Mamma Fairy Gift Guide – Part 1, Books!

Its no coincidence that first up in my Christmas guide series is all about books. I love reading and it seems that this has transferred to the boys, we love our time in the evening reading before bed. I have picked our favourites below which hopefully might be a useful guide.

pippyThe Adventures of Pippy and Dippy

These are stunningly illustrated books by Cork author Jim Bartley, they chronicle the adventures of two mice named Pippy and Dippy. These book are full of content, a really lovely engaging read for young kids. My oldest is 4 and really enjoys these stories.  What captures the kids imaginations is the sense that the mice go off on adventures while they sleep. For younger readers I think colouful illustrations is so vital to hold attention and these books have it in abundance. Also supporting local business this Christmas another big plus! They are available to buy online here.

Agrikids 4 book set

Sticking with the theme of supporting local, my next recommendation is from Agrikids. Farm safety is something which is of huge importance to us so anything which helps to spread awareness is always good.  There are four books in the series “Tales from Riverside Farm” and priced at €24.99 for all four is great value. Available to buy Here.

Freddy Buttons

Freddy Buttons is a series of book written by Fiona Dillon, its premise is encouraging children to take a more proactive role in good food. The books themselves chronicle the adventures of Freddy who undertakes a number of investigations based around food and where it comes from. The set of six is €25 and available Here.

Personalised booksmiab

Personalised books are always a big hit in this house particularly for the oldest who gets so excited when he sees his name in books. Our two favourites in this house  are easily:

  • Message in a Bottle, another stunningly illustrated book with a beautiful personalised message at the end,  (see full review Here)

 

  • Persoanlised Peppa Pig book from Penwizard (full review Here). For anybody with Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly or Turtles fans its well worth checking out the options from Penswizard. Most of the current character favourites are available and can all be personlised.

 

Lots of options above for any other houses with little book worms.

 

Take Care

~Mamma F

Mamma Reviews

Mamma Fairy Four Favourites – Products im loving!

I haven’t posted a Mamma Fairy favourites in a while so thought id blog the four products im loving at the minute.

I tweeted this picture back in September and they are still in daily use:

favs11. Deep Sleep Pillow Spray

I love my sleep!!! With 2 kids full nights sleep are a thing of the past.  The last few months have been filled with work stress, house renovation and sick kids so I needed something to help me wind down to sleep. Deep Sleep Pillow Spray is by a company called “this works” and I can attest to the fact that it does actually work. Its made of a blend of Lavender, Vetivert and Camomile and you simply spray on your pillow before bed and it really helps you relax.  Its a pricy at €19.50 but im happy to pay for something that does work. My sister is also hooked now!

 

2 The Body Shop Rose Face Mask

The body shop have introduced a fabulous range of face masks over the last few months and having tried a couple of them the Rose one is a firm favourite. The smell is just divine.  It has a lovely texture, a gel infused with rose petals.   It claims to be plumping and it really is. Priced at €25 and available from The Body Shop.

3 Jo Malone body wash

I  wore Jo Malone Wild Bluebell perfume for my wedding day 6 years ago and the smell really invokes happy memories. Love the body wash as the smell lingers all day. This was present from my husband so im not quite sure of cost but its available in Brown Thomas.

4 Nourella Cream and Tablets

A couple of months back I was asked if I wanted to try out this new product comprising of a face cream and 2 daily nourellatablets, with claims that its proven to reverse the signs of ageing and stimulate the Skin Rebuilding Process long-term, how could I say no! Almost 2 months in I am very happy to have accepted.  Bear in mind this isn’t an overnight miracle, I can start now to see subtle results in my forehead. My skins definitely appears plumper and refreshed looking.  I know something is working well when my own mother comments on my skin! I love the texture of the cream and the results it gives. I wear it under my makeup and it helps keep the skin plumped under make up.  The product itself has been clinically tested, drug free and based on natural ingredients.

 

Take Care

~Mamma F

Baba Reviews, Mamma Reviews

Santa Experience at Dunnes Ilac Centre

santaexperienceWe were invited along to the preview of the Santa Experience located upstairs in Dunnes Ilac Centre.  I mentioned to my oldest who just turned four, there wasn’t a moments hesitation and we were off!  He requested could we go on an adventure and go by bus which I reluctantly duly obliged. Two young kids on public transport!! The stress.

Location wise being in the Ilac makes this Santa experience really central and easy to access with lots of parking and bus stops near by.

When we arrived we were greeted by a lovely team of elves who entertained my little men while we waited for the call to see the big man himself.  We weren’t waiting long at all and we were whisked away to Santas Post office.  santa2

This is where the magic begins, my oldest was in awe of the cheery elf who explained where Santa got letters from and how the post get sorted. She plays a great character and draws the kids in quickly, we then went through a cupboard after doing the secret elf knock to see the reindeers. Once we got acquainted with Santa’s key team we went into the Sleigh Room.

This is not to be missed – special mention to the two elves here who had the adults in stitches too. The boys got to sit in Santa sleigh where they travelled across to the next room – it was Santas room!!

I cannot succinctly put into words the sheer delight in the oldest eyes when Santa mentioned his name, his teachers name and knew he wanted Soggy Doggy (!!) for Christmas.  We were in at the same time as another family who had 2 young girls, Santa knew they went to an Irish school and asked them a question in Irish – cue absolute excitement from them.  Santa himself true to form is really good with kids, calm and patient ideal for my little gang who are only 4 and 1.

santaEach of the boys got an age appropriate gift and we got a photo with Santa taken by the professional photographer who was there.

Cost wise this Santa Experience is a very reasonable €10 for kids and €3 for adults. It opened yesterday the 25th and is also in Limerick and Cork. Bookings can be made online Here.

Overall its a big thumbs up from the Mamma Fairy house, biggest plus being value for money, location and the absolute awe in my fours years olds eyes when Santa knew so  much about him.

Note: We were invited to attend a preview of this event, we were not asked nor required to write a review, all opinion are my own and the boys honest views

 

 

Mamma Musings

One year later -our second house move

I have discussed this on the blog before, we took on a mammoth house renovation over a year ago, exaig1tending up, out and total remodelling inside. Well a year later we are getting there and getting ever close to the home I imagined over a year ago when I sometimes doubted I could turn around the time warped 70s house we had just bought. The location and price were perfect, the house itself not so much.  My husband who works in construction had a lot of coaxing to do to help me see his vision for what the house could become.  I can finally report, we are getting there, the house we bought all those months ago I can happily say has turned into a home for our little family.

I was asked to get involved in a campaign with AIG who had produced a really helpful infographic which I have reproduced below.  Buying a house is a major purchase, probably the biggest one we will make in our lives so its important to be well researched and well informed when contemplating such a major purchase.

Having been through this twice, one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to do your homework, ask friends and family for recommendations for solicitors and surveyors.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a comprehensive survey done on the property saves a nasty surprise after the event. Also example, did you know at the time of buying your first home that lenders require you and your partners to not only have life insurance but home insurance too? Research the area, consider schools, catchment area, distance from your work etc.  Its a major purchase so take your time to consider your option.  aig2

Although buying your first home might seem like a complicated process, which can take months or even years to get in shape to apply for one, AIG Irelands this 16 step guide to buying a house in Ireland that takes you through the steps you will have to take to get through the process should give you a good sense of what you need to get the process under control and as smoothly as is possible.

aig3It is no doubt a stressful time but its also the most wonderful feeling the day your pick up those keys.  I will never forget our first night here – we had no working oven and ended up bbq-ing out the back for dinner (in October!!). Im sure the neighbours wondered who this crazy family were moving it!

One year on I can honestly, its all so worth it, the late nights painting, the weekends spent looking at furniture and kitchen and the one or two arguments discussions along the way!!

 

 

Take Care

Mamma F

Note: This is a collaborative post.

 

 

Features

Winter Safety on Two Wheels

With the very quick onset of the bitter cold weather, never a better time to highlight the importance of being aware of the changing road conditions in the winter weather. As a family we love getting out and about.  The Dada Fairy and the oldest man love their Saturday morning cycle.  Great way for the pair of them to spend time together as well as getting out

Jefferies Solicitors have produced a really useful infographic to coincide with road safety week which starts 21 November. See below for some of the key messages, so important to be seen, be visible and ensure your vehicle is road worthy. Sounds like a given but you can never be too careful on the roads.

graphic1                                graphic2

 

In addition to the above, also very important to be aware when out and about walking with kids to use reflective clothing in the evening times, with it being dark so early now, its never been more important to highlight the importance of being seen.

Our local DIY shops sells reflective tape which I use on the buggy also. Its something I highlight to the kids in the hope that I instil its importance creating life long good habits.

Hope this post helps reinforce the importance of road safety particularly for the most vulnerable road users this Winter.

Take care when out and about this Winter – be safe, be seen and lets help save lives.

 

Fairy Travels

Prainha Village, Alvor review

At the beginning of October we took our first family holiday as a family of 4! I was a bit apprehensive to begin wondering was I crazy taking two smallies on holidays abroad, however thankfully I was wrong. We had an amazing time at Prainha Village.

The Resort

Prainha Village is situated just outside the picturesque town of Alvor on the Algarve, about 1 hour drive from Faro. It comprise 35 hectares of grounds with direct access to a stunning private beach and a cliff top salt water pool. The views are incredible.alovr2

Also in the resort is another pool with kids section as well as three restaurants:

  • Canico which is accessed via a left down through the cliff  which has the most breath taking views over the sea
  • Miss Pasta, the kids absolutely loves this place. Tasty pizza, relaxed atmosphere but best of all, brilliant staff who the kids just adored.
  • There is also restaurant in the hotel itself which we didn’t get a chance to sample – there is always next time!

alvor3There is also a small supermarket on site with the essentials (milk and wine!!!) and fresh pastries in the morning. For the kids in addition to the kids pool, there is a playground and tennis courts. We didn’t use the tennis courts but did make use of the playground.

The Villa

We went with our extended family and friends so we took a 4 bed villa with pool. The villas are located close to the main resort which was really handy to pop over for a drink or snack.  There are plenty accommodation options from apartments, 2/3/4 bed villas with gardens with or without pool.  The Villa was spacious and spotlessly clean.  All appliances were high end and worked perfectly, plenty delph, cutlery etc.  Housekeeping came twice during out stay to clean and replenished towels.

There was a beautiful bbq patio out the back where we enjoyed relaxing when the kids went to bed. My only gripe about the villa was there was no option to fence or cover the pool.  My heart was in my mouth when the 18 month old was out the back.

Pros:

  • Caters for all, from young to golden years, with a variety of eating options. Our party ranged from 18 months to 60 and all enjoyed
  • Relaxed atmosphere, helpful staff
  • Clean, spacious and well equipped, what more could you want when travelling with kidsprainha
  • The view from Canico Restaurant, no words can do this justice. Its stunning
  • The staff at Miss Pasta, we enjoyed many lunches and dinners in peace while the staff made my smallies feel like VIPs
  • You actually don’t have to leave the resort during your stay, contains everything you need for a great stay.

Cons:

  • Distance from Alvor – its actually not much over 1km to the town but difficult terrain to navigate with a buggy. Not a big deal and certainly would but me off going again
  • Would love the option to fence or cover the pool – again not a deal breaker rather a nice to have

Insider tips:

  • The supermarket in Alvor is very reasonable, we did a big shop the first day as the shop in the resort is a lot more expensive particularly for drinks
  • Book your dinner in advance at Canico, totally worth it and it can get busy during peak months
  • Eating out in Alvor is also cheaper than the resort.
  • The sunbeds at the Atlantic pool need to be paid for, thrown down a towel inside they wont move you and the kids love the novelty of this.
  • Miss Pasta does take away, ideal after a long day out and about
  • When booking Prainha look at the location map before you book a villa/ apartment consider if sea view or close to hotel facilities are whats most important to your stay, at 35 hectares the resort is vast.
  • Use Yellow Fish taxis! The provided a service to us which went above and beyond

Packing essentials:

  • UV suits for the kids – a must in my view. They were in and out of the pool and it saved me constantly running after them with sun cream.  I bought them in my local Dunnes at their end of summer sale, less than €10 from memory.

 

  • aden + anais sleep suit adenanaisthe  little man loves his gro bag so rather then worry about him being too hot we took this and it was fantastic, muslin type material so its breathable, cosy and avoids the stress of blankets or being too warm. Plus it washes great. High recommend for anybody with babas who love being cosy but not warm! From https://www.adenandanais.co.uk/.

 

  • Sun creams – travelling with young kids with delicate skin, having a sun cream I could trust was a given.  As a blog ambassador for Childs Farm I was delighted to be able use their sun cream and after sun.  Its factor 50+, water resistant and suitable for sensitive skin.  Keeps skin lovely and moisturisered and smells great.

 

  • babymoovBabymoov #stresslessweaning essentials – We are part of the Babymoov #stresslessweaning team so I packed my trusty snack pots and muslin squares which were in daily use.  The Babymoov muslins come in a lovely packaged set of 3 of different sizes. They are super soft and doubled up as a light blanket for when the little man napped out and about.

 

 

Note: This is not a sponsored post, we paid for our trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. We booked via www.privatevillas.ie Brian was fantastic in accommodating my last minute changes and my millions of queries! I have already emailed him about next years trip!!

 

Baba Reviews

Message in a Bottle personalised childrens book

Its no secret we love reading in the Mamma Fairy house, therefore when we were offered the opportunity to be part of the launch team for the personalised children’s book Message in a Bottle, I didn’t hesitate to get involved.

miab

The Story

The basic premise of the book tracks the adventures of Kiki who travels the world to deliver a very special message.  The lovely thing about the book is that your childs name  and home location is mentioned throughout the book, concluding in Kiki delivering a special truly personalised message. This can to mark an occasion such as starting school, the arrival of a sibling or moving house – a lovely keepsake too.

For me, without question the level of detail in the illustrations is a must see, they are bright, colourful and engaging. Both of boys were so intrigued by them. The content itself is both educational and engaging.  It holds the attention of my pair which is no mean feat!

How to order

The ordering process is very simple and easy to follow via the website.  Delivery is free within the EU and the leadtime was very short for us.

This is definitely one to add to the Christmas book list.

 

Note: we have been part of the launch team and receieved a copy of the book for the purpose of the review.  However the views are my own and the boys where appropriate.

Features

3 ways I know im married to a builder

I am married to a builder……….

My husband is honestly one of the hardest working men I know between his work as a stonemason, his farming and being a brilliant dad to the two wee men however……this leads me to a conversation myself and my colleague had recently.  Three reasons you would know im married to a builder…….she concurs by the way!

1 – Tools, tools tools…..

ehardware2They are everywhere and I mean everywhere. From big to small to everything in between. No space is free when he is finished his days work!

 

 

2 – Work wear

At this stage I could sell Hi-viz vests, the kids love trying them on (!!). He owns more wear wear than casual clothes….think this page  from Engelbert Strauss his brand of choice, they are everywhere.  engelTo be fair it makes the present buying easy, the washing not so much! For any other farming mamas out there, they do a great range of kids protective clothes. Something which I am very strict on when they are out on the farm.

3- Our house is never finished

I’m not complaining…. but our house is never finished. We  undertook a mammoth renovation project when we bought our new house 2 years ago and its still on going, extending up and out and all the rest.  He loves to keep working on the house basically because he can. I love his vision and his resolve to give me the house of my dreams. Im currently waiting on a beautiful kitchen from Cherrymore to arrive. Hopefully by Christmas we will be done!

Fairy Travels

Harveys Point Anniversary Trip

We got married in the stunning Harveys Point 5 years ago and make a point of returning each year.  This was the first year we took the kids!! I have such a grá for this hotel, our wedding day was spent here, we celebrated here the weekend I found out I was pregnant with my first little man.  We spent our first weekend without him here too!!

If you have ever visited you will know why – in a word its pure luxury but even more so its its staff.  There aren’t enough words I could use to describe the staff at this hotel. Its a testament to the hotel when my husband muttered to me over dinner that all hotel staff should be sent her to train! I’ll admit I was a tad apprehensive about taking the kids to the hotel, I was so wrong. The staff particularly at dinner and breakfast treated my kids like they were VIP paying guests.  They played with them, treated them and best of all Mamma and Dada had dinner out with 2 kids in tow with no stress! That doesn’t happen much!

The rooms

The rooms here are wow, they are huge! We booked a delux room with 2 doubles and it was huge! More than enough room for the Mamma Fairy family.  Most notably the room was spotless, fresh and so welcoming.  There is also a 2 person jacuzzi!! 😉

The Food

We had dinner and breakfast at the hotel and both are simply amazing (the pancakes!!! Yum – seriously yum).   At dinner time I spotted the owner Deirdre meeting and greeting guests.  Something which the tour group from the US who were seated next to us (and played with my youngest for the entire dinner – thank you for that!) really appreciated. With Harveys Point its the little things that combined make a top class service offering.  The same group were down for breakfast the same time as us (this time a lovely couple who visit twice a year from Galway entertained my youngest! – again thank you!).  The charismatic Noel Cunningham greeted his guests at breakfast who loved his infectious good mood first thing in the morning.

We also met the lovely Sarah who was our wedding planner five years ago at breakfast that morning too, again another staff member who went above and beyond to make us feel like we were valued guests.

This isn’t a free stay or a review – I paid for my stay. I am just a really satisfied customer who will continue to return year after year.  I was thrilled to see Harveys Point win Georgina Campbell Hotel of the Year 2017 – a very well deserved accolade.

For best rates I always book direct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features

#officeyoga – excercising at your desk!

As many of you already know,  I work full time as an accountant which involves 40 plus hours a week at my desk. I read the findings of Lead scientist Professor Ulf Ekelund, from Cambridge University and the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences with interest. His research found that at least  one hour of physical activity per day, for example brisk walking or bike cycling, helps to negate the affects of such a sedantary day.

While preganant with the boys I developed chronic hypertension which went after my first but unfortunately is still lingering a year after my second.  When Furniture @ Work asked me to get involved in a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of movement at work as part of their #officeyoga campaign, I didnt hesitate to get involved. It is something I make a huge effort to do myself. They have produced a range of handy infographics which I have reproduced with permisson below.

Chair Raise Hands    Chair Spinal Twist    Chair Cat Cow Streatch

The above are so simple and easy for us all to try.  Given the amount of time we spend at our desk its important to look after your posture and over the course of the day make an effort to increase the amout of physical activity you do.  Im based on the third floor and  I always take the stairs up and back. Its much easier on the way down than up!

Has anybody any other tips to increase movement at work, do share them, would love to hear.

 

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

Note: This is a collaborative post