Baba Reviews

AlflorexChildren’s Probiotic Review

As today is World Digestive Health Day I though it quite apt to post my review of Alforex Childrens Straws.  alflorexchilldrenAs a blogger I get sent lots of press releases, some grab my attention some don’t.  However this one did.  For the reason being my 3 almost 4 year old has suffered on an off with digestive problems – sore tummy and constipation. I found giving him a probiotic has really helped this.  However he is a very typical toddler and incredibly stubborn.  I have tried probiotic sweets – limited success. Probiotic drops – he didnt like the taste! Therefore when I saw the straw I thought bingo, this willl work and  it did!

In the mornings he will remind me that I have’nt given him his “cool blue straw”. The great thing is it you only need 3-4 sips from the straw for the product to work.  Now for the science bit….

Alforex contains the unique  35624™ culture, developed as a precision strain which goes to work only where it is needed.   The  35624™ culture has been isolated, extensively characterised and clinically studied by Scientists and Gastroenterologists.  Alflorex straws have been designed to contain a small oil droplet with a daily dose of 35624™ bacteria.

They are genius, they really are.  They are a tad on the pricey side at €32.95 however I give them to my son at particular times in four week blocks (ie a packs worth)  such as after illness or after trips away.  While pricey I do believe they are worth it as I know he is actually getting the product.

While we were sent a box for the purpose of this review, I have since purchases a further box and also the adult verison for myself and my husband.  Please not im not a doctor so please do consult your doctor if you do have queries or concerns on your digestive health.

 

 

Mamma Musings

Unique birthday gift ideas

With the big mans 4th birthday fast approaching it has lead  me to think about some unique gift ideas for him.  birthdaygirlIt can be a hard decision when choosing something to buy your child for their birthday.  The boys are so lucky they receive so many toys and clothes so I like to purchase something for them which is unique. Searching the internet the last few nights has turned up some fab unique birthday gifts for kids, which has prompted me to devote an entire post to it!

 

A teddy

The boys receive lots of “plastic” toys as gifts and from us to be fair so I like to give them something traditional that I know they will love. You cant go wrong with a teddy, a teddy is something they can keep and treasure forever. They are unlikely to throw it out like they will do with their other toys when they grow out of them. teddycuddleI stumbled across this article which reveals, a lot of people still sleep with their teddies as an adult! I still have mine, Lulu has pride of place in the boys bedroom.  My own dad is almost 60 and he still has his.  My own boys are fascinated by the “really really old” teddy!! I have seen lots of places where you can customise the teddy, with the childs name or  you could add a voice clip to the inside the teddy. It’s a great gift idea from babies to toddlers and right up to older kids. There really is something lovely about a teddy that you can treasure for life.

A set of books

You cant go wrong wit books, our love of books is well known.  A set of books is also  a wonderful gift idea for your kids. They are something they can keep forever too. I love our time reading together in the evenings before bed, in time im sure he will be reading to himself and I know ill miss that lovely time together.  Some classic timeless book sets such as the Narnia books, or even the Harry Potter set are great options. 

 

Something customised

Who doesnt love something customised.  For something unique, you cant go wrong with a customised gift It could be a picture of them with a favourite doll/car/toy or perhaps a toy box with their name on. For something fun, I found these custom bobbleheads probably for a littler older kids, but great idea. You can even get the bobblehead dressed in their favorite football team or character costume to make it more fun.

Traditional board game

family-game-588908_960_720The big man loves, and I mean really loves board games.  Current favourite is Operation, which Santa brought last year.  In a world of electronics i love to see him interested in some “old school” board games.  They don’t get old (my son doesnt believe I had Operation game as a child!!) and the biggest thing i think is they encourage all the family to get invloved, not really a feature of the electornic side of things. There are so many you could get that your child will love; here is a good selction for kids!

A present from your past

Another unique present idea your child will love is a present from your past. Perhaps you have something you had when you were little that you want to pass on to your kid.  For example a teddy or a piece of jewellery.  I received a bracelet from my nannie for my 16th birthday that was hers. She has passed away since and that bracelet has become priceless to me.

 

Once I finally have the present sorted its time to think about organising a little party. He loves the idea of blowing out canldles on a cake! And sure who doesnt love a party!! 

party
Note: This is a collaberative post 

Features

Some useful tips including ebook – living and sleeping with arthritis

I was asked recently to contribute to an ebook in collaboration with Adjustable Beds.   I had previously written a review of a product which my mother and my husband had reviewed with regard to their own arthritis symptoms (see here) . Arthritis is a condition they both suffer with to varying degrees therefore I am acutely aware of the challenges both day to day and in particular sleeping that this condition can create.

I was delighted to be able to use the experience of my mother and husband in the hope that it would help somebody else in that position. Below is the quote I submitted having spoken to my family re their top tip.

“A warm shower and some gentle exercise first thing helps loosen the joints and move more freely during the day

 

Link to  arthritis-ebook

Hopefully this tips featured in the book will be of some help.

 

Take care

~Mamma F

 

Note: This is a collaberative post

Mamma Musings

3 Fun Activities To Help Encourage A Sibling Bond

I have written about the bond between my boys before, I love watching them interact, I love watching the bond grow and develop over the months.  A strong sibling bond can last a lifetime. But the same reasons that siblings bond can be the reasons that they fight too! They are constantly by each other’s side and often know exactly what makes the other one tick. This means that they can help, reassure and support each other. But it can also mean they know what buttons to push. At any age, a sibling bond can be encouraged to develop and improve. A strong sibling bond doesn’t necessarily mean that all arguments and disagreements will become a thing of the past. But it does mean that at the heart of it all they are good friends and will always try to be there for each other. If you’re trying to encourage the sibling bond in subtle but effective ways, try a few of these fun activities.child-childrens-baby-children-s-large

A Joint Project

Encouraging siblings to start a project together can be a great way to help them become close. It might be a building task such as a new toy or even a sandcastle. Perhaps it could be a creative project like a painting or a jigsaw. Baking something together under supervision can also be fun. Presenting cookies or a cake to a loved one will be the result of their teamwork. This can create a sense of pride and accomplishment, meaning they will have good associations with working with their sibling. Many siblings can struggle to share toys or activities and can quickly become territorial. If they learn that working and playing together can be more fun and rewarding, sharing will start to come naturally to them. If one sibling has more experience than the other, they can become the “teacher” in the pair. This also helps to generate a bond of trust and collaboration between them.

A Sleepover

siblingbondA home sleepover can be a fun activity that is often overlooked. But building a cosy fort with snacks and story books, a night light and some games can be a great way to bond. One sibling could invite the other to their room, or perhaps both siblings could camp in the garden for part of the evening. With blankets and outdoor lights this can feel like a real adventure and bond the two together. Indoors, even if siblings share a room, a sleepover can be made exciting. Extra cushions, blankets and bunk beds are all fun for children.  My oldest is obsessed with bunk beds, he doesnt have them yet but we are hoping to get some this summer for them both.  There is tonnes of choice on line but probably the coolest triple bunk beds ever are top of the list at the moment so his best pal and little cousin can stay over with them. Stacked bunk beds are not only fun to climb but they also save on space in a bedroom because they are high rather than broad. That leaves far more floor space and a larger area for play!

A Team Game

Board games or quizzes can be made into a fun team activity and siblings can be paired up. Even if they are only playing against parents or a few friends, this can encourage them to stick together. A fun sense of rivalry against others for the game will stay playful. But it will also help encourage them to support each other. This can stay with them long into later life.

I’m sure I have said this a thousand times but it warms my heart everyday when I see my boys interact with each other. I truly do hope they will be life long friends.

 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Baba Reviews

April – What we have been reading

It’s only when I took the picture did I realise the very obvious theme!! My boys are minded by the granny during the week when I work and I am blessed with the incredible bond that is between them. We love reading in our house and the bedtime story is an integral and much loved part of our day.  Its 2 stories a night! That’s the 3 years olds request!  For the past few weeks its been these two.

  • Peppa Pig – My Granny
  • How to Babysit a Grandma

 

bookspeppaPeppa Pig – My Granny

This is a lovely personalised hardback book with both kid’s names in it. The story is the interaction of the kids and Peppa discussing their grannies. My 3 year old loves Peppa and the idea of being in a book with Peppa was very exciting. It doesn’t matter how many times I have read it, he still enjoys especially when it comes to his own name! The quality of the book is lovely and well able to stand up the amount of use (think more like abuse!!) they get in our house.  You can personalise the hair and eye colour of the characters in the book too.

The book is produced by Penwizard (https://www.penwizard.com/)  who kindly sent me a copy for the boys, they also very kindly sent a code for 20% off books until 31 May 2016 – (please note its not valid in conjunction with any other offers) simply input BLOGGER20 at the checkout.  They also do similar books for Ben & Holly, In the Night Garden, Frozen and many others – including a personalised potty training one.

Price wise they are Stg£14.99 and available from their website. Delivery was really quick and they would make a great gift.

 How to Babysit a Grandma

This is a beautifully illustrated book written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish, who were also creators of the well know New York Times bestseller “How to Babysit a Granda”.  It’s a lovely simple but very effective story.  We have read this many times.  My heart swelled with pride 2 nights ago when the 3 years old quoted almost the entire book word perfect, he obviously can’t read but was able to recall so much of it. The story is almost a role reversal where a little girl goes to babysit her granny and the fun things they get up to.

I bought this from Dubray Books on Grafton Street for €9.99.

I love that my boys love reading as much as I do.  It’s something that was instilled in me as a child by my parents and I am delighted to pass on my love of books to the boys.

 Get Crafty

Last month we were sent a copy of Get Crafty by Ali Coghlan to review.  Ali is a fellow Irish blogger and I was delighted to receive a copy to review.  Get-CraftyThe quality of the book in particular the photography is the first thing that really stands out.  In the photographs are Ali and her kids and they are really beautifully captured.  The book itself has over 40 different craft ideas set out in different themes.

The crafts are set out in step by step guides which even the totally non crafty (i.e me) can follow. The boys have their cousins coming down next weekend so the Driftwood sail boats are on the agenda.  This really is a fantastic book if like me, arts and crafts are not your thing, if I can follow it anybody can!

Wishing Ali the very best of luck with this beautiful, easy to follow book.  The book retails at €14.99 and is available in most book shops. A great purchase with the school holidays only a few weeks away!!

 

Have you read any of the above in your house?

Take Care

~Mamma F

 

Note: We received 2 of the above books for review purposes however all opinions are my own and/or my kids.

Fairy Travels

Fairy Travels – Airfield Estate Dundrum

airfield3Last Sunday we were visited Airfield Estate in Dundrum.  We received a complimentary family pass which we were only delighted to accept.  As it happened for the bank holiday weekend there was a sheep festival creatively called Woolapalooza.  I’m sure I mentioned it before, I am married to a sheep farmer and my 3 year old is very interested in farming spending many days with his dad out with the sheep. I won’t lie – expectations were high!

 The Estate

Airfield Estate, comprising of 38 acres of farmland is Dublin’s only working farm which is open to the public. The farm itself is a charitable trust, a legacy of its owners the Overend Family.  The farm itself keeps a number of types of animal from hens, to cows, to sheep, to goats. The farm  supplies the restaurant with everything from meat to milk to eggs. The ultimate in fresh, “farm to fork”.

The original house is still there and open to the public and also quite remarkably the vintage cars owned by the family which are immaculate. The 1920s Rolls Royce is just wow!

Our Experience

We arrived around 11 and it was busy enough even though it hadn’t been open long, we headed straight for the sheep dog trials (The Dada Fairys request) however we were distracted along the way be the lovely little kids maze and the toddler play area which is located in one of the sheds. The Mamma Fairy had a lovely coffee while the big man played.

The sheep dog trials were a big hit all around with the crowds gathering for each display.  They were performed by Denis Birchall, who has represented Ireland many times.  airfield From there we headed towards the “green barn” for the barn dance or in the words of the 3 years “the disco”! The barn was decked out with straw couches and three young lads played some traditional tunes.  Very entertaining, there was also a small craft fair at the back where I fell in love with a sheep wool duvet!!

Next stop was the milking, the boys really enjoyed this, the highlight for them being able to taste the milk (its pasteurised on site). The three year old got up close to the new calves and was so excited.  airfield2Just beside this was the sheep shearing demonstration.  This was very popular with a large crowd looking on.

After another coffee pit stop we headed to the field near the house itself for the farm games. We loved the old school farm games – sack races, egg and spoon race, toss the wellies, wheelbarrow race.

Overall

We spent a thoroughly enjoyable 3 hours here. I know there were extra activities on with Woolapalooza however irrespective of this we would have still enjoyed as much.  Some huge positives for me – it’s really well laid out, immaculately kept, lots of well-kept toilets spread out amongst the estate, including baby changing facilities! (essential with a potty trained toddler and a baby!), plenty coffee stations (yep im a total addict!) and tonnes of parking.

See  www.airfield.ie for information on family ticket prices and directions.

 

Note: We received a complimentary family pass, however all opinions are mine and/or the kids!
Features, Mamma Musings

Preparing for a return to the corporate world!

 

annoyin

This one is a little light hearted, a little tongue in cheek, its my last post while on maternity leave!

The corporate world beckons from Monday morning. Its bitter sweet, I am looking forward to going back – child free toilet breaks, hot coffee, adult conversation but I will undoubtedly miss my wee men. I have been home with the pair of them for best part of a year and I will really miss them.  On the bright side they are in very safe hands with the legend that is The Nanna Fairy.

I was sent this info graphic and did laugh at how spot on it actually is! The info graphic (see opposite) was produced by www.gotomeeting.co.uk and depicts the  50 “most annoying” or most used corporate phrases used. Having a look through it a lot of these are creeping into everyday parlance also.

There are a couple from that list that drive me to the brink!!

My personal pet hates –

  • “ducks in a row” aaarrrggghhhhh – ducks where are the ducks??! Seriously no ducks, no more mentions of ducks, whats wrong with – “get organised”??

 

  • “bite the bullet – ok, nobody here is biting bullets! You are perhaps making a tough decision, your in business, its an important decision, its expected. Lets talk “tough decisions” instead.

 

  • “Going forward” – no just no, I have never and I will never use this phrase.

 

There are a couple from the list I haven’t heard of. Perhaps I should go back to the office to start “opening the kimono” or “looking across the piece”!

Anybody else have pet hates from this list??

Would love to hear them.

For now im about to take this off line while I get my ducks in row, to ensure I hit the ground running while thinking outside the box!!!

Take care

~Mamma F

 

Note: This is a collaborative post, thanks to www.gotomeeting.co.uk for the graphic
Baba Reviews, Mamma Reviews

Netflix – What we have been watching, April

April saw the much anticipated arrival of the film Frozen, im sure there aren’t many of us with kids that don’t know at least some of the words to “Let it go”!

Frozen

I am not joking when I say I have watched the chronicles of Anna, Elsa and co at least 20 times since the start of the month.  frozenMy 3 year old really enjoys this film and thats regardless of how many times he has seen it! For those who dont know the plot yet, in summary its typical Disney from the catchy music to the heart warming princess tale. Anna one of the main characters is on a mission to save her kingdom from perpetual winter! Along the way we meet her buddies and her sister Elsa.  The kids love it and I think it will remain a Netlix favourite for some time to come.

Others

Other popular picks on Netflix this month for the 3 year old are:

  • Team Umizoomi (see here)
  • Paw Patrol – no explanation needed – the pups led by the ever capable Ryder, save the town from all sorts of dramas!

The grown up this month have been watching:

The True Cost

I urge you to give this documentary a watch.  It really opened my eyes. This documentary focuses on what has become known as “fast fashion“, as in those goods sold by the high street shops. It looks at where these goods are made, delving into the socia-economic impacts on the communities, the pollution, the working conditions, oppression, monopolies and farmer suicides.  truecostIt contains a mix of interviews from factory workers to factory owners.  It touches on the tragic case of the building collapse in Bangladesh killing thousands of factory workers. It looks of price monopolies for cotton and the rise in GMO cotton.  Its fascinating and appalling in equal measure.  Do watch it, its compelling viewing.

 

Have you watched any of the above? Would love to know you thoughts.

Take care

~Mamma F

 

Note:  I have received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV in return for writing blog posts on what we have been watching.  All programme choices, comments, opinions and views are my own (or my sons where appropriate!!) 

Baba Reviews

COGNIKIDS – Grip, baby bottle gripper review

The lovely team at COGNIKIDS sent the wee man one of their new baby bottle grippers to try out.  We were already fans of their gripper crawl suits so was looking forward to seeing the latest product in their range.

The Product

The product itself is very soft and flexible fits over any bottle.  The unique soft texture, helps with developing fine motor kills and hand eye coordination.  cognikidss

In addition it helps to promote self feeding.  They come in a range of colours and retails at a reasonable €14.99 direct from COGNIKIDS

Make sure to check out the new series of Dragons Den starting on April 17th where the product will be featured.

 

What we thought

The wee man was instantly curious and picked up the bottle no problem at all, it fit over his regular Avent bottle easily and securely. cognikids2We were at breakfast at a hotel in Lettekenny over Easter and the Grip got a lot  of attention when they saw him drinking away at his bottle by himself. Price wise it is definitely reasonable for the quality and fit. I have recommended to others without hesitation.

For further information check out COGNIKIDS

 

Note: We were sent the Grip to review – however as always all opinions are my own.

 

 

Mamma Musings

A busy maternity leave! Extension – conversation – garden upgrade

As my extended maternity leave draws to a close, been thinking back over the last few days of how manic the last 11 months have been.  Two boys under 3, a husband and a dog! Busy, busy, busy!!

Add to the mix the mad cap idea we had to begin our house renovations while on leave! As if I didn’t have enough to do! We bought a house in need of total renovation so this was always on the cards however the scale of which grew as our family grew.  We are currently in the midst of a roof conversion, this will be a playroom/ study.  Outside we are doing a single story 32m2 extension and a revamped garden which will be both practical and fun for the boys as they grow up.

The biggest issue we are facing is natural light, it is quite dark and sheltered where we are so getting as much light as possible into our house was always going to be a challenging issues.  We debated at length and considered the cost trade off and in the end went with Velux, 4 in the roof conversion and 6 in the back extension.  We had considered a long narrow roof light for the back extension however when we discussed with our architect his expert opinion was the Velux would give a deeper light and penetrate more in the older part which as a result of the extension was going to get even less light.    See here for some further information and some inspiration. We are probably about 40% through our project so check back over the coming months for updates and pictures of the finished project.

extensionmammafairy

 (Source: http://www.buildinginspiration.co.uk/)

My three year old has really taken an interest in the building particularly his new play space.  He asked the Dada Fairy to build him a tree house, not sure about this myself!!

We have trawled the internet many times over the last few weeks and finally agreed on this.  I actually think the addition of a firemans pole sealed the deal for my Fireman Sam fanatic! On a serious note an all weather playhouse will be a great addition to the revamped garden so hopefully the by the time we get to finalising the garden the budget will have some left for this.

 

Note: this is a collaborative post however all views and opinions are my own as always.