Baba Reviews

The kids current Netflix picks

We have finally escaped from a never ending cycle of Peppa Pig and Team Umizoomi! The boys have found some new Netflix favourites! Finally!!!

Tayo

Tayo is a popular pre school cartoon which follows a playful blue bus on its adventures around the city with his pals. I believe it originated in South Korea and has now become popular all over the world. We used to watch it on You Tube however it must be a recent addition to Netflix and a popular one at that in this house anyway!

Lego

The boys love their Lego and have recently become interested in the Lego programmes on Netflix. They are ideal for kids in that they are short and colourful and hold the boys attention. Favourites are the Lego Superheroes and Lego City.

Monster v Aliens

The four year old has taken a shine to this one! Its a Dreamworks offerings about a woman who is struck by a meteorite on her wedding day and subsequenlty becomes part of a team of monsters sent to defeat an alien mastermind trying to take over the planet.  He has been on the hunt for meteorites since!!! It contains the names of lots of big named voices. I hadnt heard of it the film before this but its actully not bad at all.

 

Note: We are part of Netflix Streamteam, for which we receive a montly subscrption to Netflix. However all views are the boys (or mine) as lets face it they dont really care who pays the montly subscription!!
Mamma Musings

Uniforms – do you love or loath them?

My friends give me a hard time about this, I most definitely have a uniform.  I spend 37.5 hours a week (and sometimes more!) in an large corporate office for my work as an accountant so day to day I usually wear some combination of suit, smart trousers top or skirt/ top/ jacket combo. This has spilled into my personal life and I more often than not find myself reaching for the work trousers or work tops when going places. I am drawn to these types of clothes spending so much of my time in an office no doubt has done this!

Interestingly I went to both primary and secondary school in uniform wearing schools and I am sending the boys to a uniform wearing school.  I know not everybody does but I like uniforms in school. I like the way the kids are dressed the same, there is no pressure on kids to be in branded gear, there is no pressure to be in different clothes every day, it promotes a more equal social environment in my view anyway.

The Research

I was sent an info graphic by 4imprint which contains some interesting statistics on wearing a uniform see opposite for more information and findings.

I did have a little chuckle about red colour in uniforms reducing performance.  My secondary school uniform had an all red tracksuit for P.E but blue school jerseys for hockey and soccer, obviously this was the main contributing factor to my less than brilliant PE performance over the years!!

Having been a uniform wearer I would definitely subscribe to the claim that it helps contribute to a sense of community and shared values, in some ways it reinforces why we were all there – while we all may have wanted different things at the end, we shared a journey to get to our own goals.

Quite interestingly is the very last part of the inforgraphic which shows how the colour of uniforms affects perceptions. In reality what this shows to me is how social norms have developed over time as they were the colours historically used by certain professions. For example if the police arrived at the scene of a crime a pale pink uniform it would create quite the stir. We expect them in blue, same as we expect the consultant in white coat. Some interesting findings above and it reinforces my own positive view on the use of uniforms in schools.  Our kids wear what their school tells them. In time, a few of us will have jobs that require certain clothes while some wear printed t-shirts as a uniform.

Do you have a subconscious uniform like me? Do you favour the schools with uniforms or are you the total opposite like the individuality the non uniform displays?

Would love to hear your thought.

Take Care

~Mamma F

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

 

Fairy Travels

Donegal 3 nights – 3 hotels – Our thoughts

As I have shared previously on the blog having family in Donegal means we travel up that part of the world quite a bit for family events etc. Over the last 3 months we stayed a night in three different hotels in Donegal. As the stay was quite short I though the easiest thing to do would be some short snippet reviews of our key thoughts as really one night isn’t enough to write a comprehensive review therefore below you will find our initial thoughts and observations. Two of the below trips we had the kids, the third it was the grown ups only.

 

Clanree Hotel – Letterkenny

First up is the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny, we stayed here the October bank holiday as the Dada Fairy was attending an event in Letterkenny. We arrived quite late thanks to bank holiday traffic and we were greeted so warmly by the incredibly friendly staff.

Pros:

  • Staff were excellent couldn’t do enough to help
  • Child friendly
  • Great breakfast
  • Great food in the pub on site and very welcoming for kids
  • Rooms were spotlessly clean
  • Lots of parking on site

Cons:

  • It is a little out of the town, you could walk but it’s a bit far if like me you have kids in tow!

We booked last minute via booking.com see here for hotel website.

 

Mill Park Hotel – Donegal Town

I have stayed many times in the Mill Park Hotel and it never disappoints. This time we were here for a family function. We arrived midday on a Friday and were able to avail of early check in.

Pros:

  • Location – easy walk to the town
  • Rooms were fab – the one we had was newly renovated and had the most amazing shower
  • Great breakfast
  • Lots of parking
  • Apparently a great pool and leisure centre on site however we didn’t get a chance to use it

Cons:

  • No food available at the bar when we arrived only sandwiches which was only minor inconvenience being so close to the town

 

We booked quite a bit in advance  via  booking.com see here for hotel website.

 

Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa – Ballyliffin

We wrapped up 2016 with a stay (minus the kids) in Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa, its only when we drove up did we realise the vastness of the county of Donegal, the drive up with so beautiful, the scenery along the way really must be seen.  We arrived on a cold Saturday afternoon to a really warm welcome.  The hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas.

Pros:

  • Lovely room
  • Spotlessly clean
  • Breakfast was amazing – best pancakes I have ever tasted!
  • Lovely setting
  • Very friendly and helpful staff

Cons:

  • Our room must have been over the wedding room which meant you could hear hum of the music, the hotel do supply earplug not that we needed them. Not a problem for us however if you were travelling with you kids we went to bed early might be worth considering if you are staying the night of a wedding.

We booked this stay direct with the hotel on their website.

 

Note: This isn’t a sponsored post all trips were paid for by ourselves
Mamma Reviews

Crafty Post! – Kitty in Boots Snow Globe

I have to say at the outset im hopeless at crafts, I don’t think that side of my brain works! I’m an accountant – im a numbers girl!  However I did accept a challenge of creating a Kitty in Boots snow globe!

The Tale of Kitty in Boots is a book written by well known author Beatrix Potter and illustrated by equally well known illustrator Quentin  Blake. The book chronicles the tales of a well behaved young black cat who leads a double life defeating the evil villains.

See link here for super simple easy to follow instructions including a handy video tutorial.

 

In summary you need:

  • A jam jar
  • Some fake snow or glitter
  • A little Christmas tree decoration
  • Glycerine
  • Water resistant glue or a glue gun
  • The cutout image of Kitty
  • Cardboard
  • A laminator with laminating pouches, or clear packing tape as an alternative
  • Scissors

Tips from somebody who is totally non crafty!

  • We used glitter but the snow would make it much more festive
  • We didn’t have a laminator so used some waterproof clear tape my husband had in the shed (!)
  • Its honestly super simple so give it a go and I would love to see some pics if you do try it, you never know I might even pop a copy of the book in the post for the best ones!!!

The Tale of Kitty in Boots is available from Ladybird Books

Note: This is a collaborative post
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!!