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August 2015

Mamma Musings

MAMMA MUSINGS – TRAVELING WITH TODDLERS – MY TOP TIPS

Traveling with toddlers – my top tips

As a Dub married to a country man we spend a lot of time traveling up and down the country visiting family, the journey time without children is about 4 hours with them well…….that’s a whole other story!

My 3 month old is still relatively easy to transport, I just need to make sure I have the essentials with me – feeding, nappies and change of clothes. My 3 years old is a whole other ball game. However I have learned a few things over the last 3 years and have made the journey as painless as possible for us all.

1 – Preparation
Since becoming a mother I have developed a serious obsession with ziplock bags (ok I know!!!!). I get the Ikeas ones, my personal favourite!! I have them organised into snacks, changes of clothes in case of toilet accidents or travel sickness and little toys – my son absolutely adores little toys which he role plays with. They are handy for traveling as they are very portable.
Plan in advance the stops, I like to give the 3 month old a good stretch out after 1.5 hours so I time this to coincide with lunch with the bigger man. We go to the same place all the time as we know there are changing facilities, plenty space for kids and a decent lunch.

2- Distraction
A toddlers attention span is short, well mine is anyway! So I take plenty of suitable toys which I give to him over the journey, not all at once. What I try to do is give him toys he hasn’t played with for a week or so before hand, I get at least an hour out of the novelty factor! I store his toys in a roll up toiletries bag ( I got this in Dunnes but they are readily available) which I used while in the Coombe having the boys for my own toiletries! It’s so handy, it rolls up neatly and its clear pockets mean I can pick out toys handy for him. Another personal favourite of my big man is sticker books so sometimes on longer journeys I will let him pick one in the petrol station which he just loves. I on the other do not love scrapping Peppa Pig or Fireman Sam stickers off the car seats! However, it does really help pass some time. The key is to take the toys, within reason which will get you some quiet time.
More recently we have been playing games like I spy – but with colours or what has become known in Mamma Fairys house “Storytime” where we each have to make up a story based some details given by somebody else – my toddler loves this game, he loves to hear his name mentioned in stories.

3- Prevention
Travel sickness is really common and unfortunately my toddler seems to have developed this in recent times. What has worked for us lately has been:
· Very light breakfast before we go – no bread!
· Water only to drink – no milk and no juice
· No chocolate under any circumstances!
· Caldekids lolly – these have been great, I let my toddler chill with one while I am getting ready. Never in the car and always supervised.
Hopefully you find these tips useful and if you have any other tips please do tweet or facebook them to me.

Currently writing this from a very wet and windy Donegal…..post coming up about the beautiful South West Donegal for families.

Take care

~ Mamma F

Mamma Reviews

SKINCARE – MAMMA TREATS – DRY SKIN WOES

A couple of weeks ago after my second was born my skin became so dry. I have never had dry skin, in fact I moaned about my oily skin (I take it back now!). I reached out on social media for some help and tried and tested a couple of different products. Thankfully I found three that made such a difference.

1 – Bioderma Micellar Water

Ok! Before the make up buffs give out to me, since having my first, my taking off makeup routine consisted of walking bleary eyed up the stairs wiping my make up off with a baby wipe! Yes, I know its not great so when I was kindly sent some Bioderma products to try I decided to give it a go. I had heard lots and seen lots of different brands of micellar water in shops and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I must say I was pleasantly surprised it really does remove all traces of make up off including stubborn mascara. Its also super quick, I use on a bit of cotton wool (what new mum doesn’t have plenty cotton wool!!!) and make up is off in a flash.

Its not drying or oily which I expected it to be. I can safely say I have ditched the baby wipes to wash off my makeup for good. On the rare moments I get some time to myself, I do like to give my skin a good deep cleanse but for the tired-no-time-mummy days, its all about the micellar water for me.

It is only new to the Irish market but available from most chemists.

2 – Bia Beauty Skin Superfood

I purchased this product on-line from a company in Cork called Bia Beauty (actually love that name!). They produce a range of natural skin care products at great prices. I ordered the 50 ml of this product and it was out of stock and was sent the 100ml for the same price, that is good customer service.

I used this product after taking my makeup off every evening. I actually applied it quite liberally and let soak in overnight. The texture is lovely and there is little of no scent from it. The listed ingredients include the traditional soothing herbs of comfrey, calendula and mallow. It took about 4 or 5 nights of using it to really start to see the difference. I was delighted to see it left my skin very smooth and really moisturised the dry patches particularly around my jaw line where they were worst.

Once my skin was re hydrated I went back to using a normal moisturiser but I do go back to this product when my skin gets dry, which seems to be around the time of the month for me since having babies. Its great to find a product that works and at such a good price and Irish which is also a bonus for me.

3 – Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturiser
Stretch marks!!! Need I say anymore about them. I didn’t get any on my first but suffered badly on my second. After having the section my tummy area was so tender and I couldn’t bear to rub cream on it so it was great to get a product which was moisturising but in a spray.

I used (and still do) this after ever shower (but not on the scar itself) and it really does moisturise the skin on my tummy area. I am certainly not under the illusion that this was going to cure them or even get rid of the crinkled skin ( im sure there is a better technical term for this!). It did however much improve the effect of the crinkled part around my belly button.

I’m all about speed! After all with having kids every second counts, so this is so quick to use, it sprays evening literally in a matter of second and dries almost instantly, smells divine too.

I threw this in on impluse during my weekly shopping and im glad I did, ill keep using it for sure. It is available in most supermarkets and chemists.

~ Mamma F

Mamma Musings

MAMA MUSINGS – EXPANDING THE BROOD FROM 1 TO 2 – TOP 5 PRODUCTS

Everybody kept telling me that going from 1 to 2 is no extra work and you might as well be looking after 2 as 1. Well…..I am reserving judgement on that for the time being, either that I just have particularly busy kids! This has prompted me to write a blog post about my top 5 products which have made my life easier. In some cases I would even say these were necessities (lagging behind food, clothes and shelter obviously).

1. Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine.

I bought this on impulse in the Amazon Black Friday sale for Stg£50. Well, I can honestly say it has been one of the best Stg£50’s I have ever spent!! The machine itself makes a fresh each bottle each time. HSE guidelines differed between my first two pregnancies and current guidelines I believe recommend making bottles fresh each time. This machine does that for you with little fuss. It releases an oz of boiling water first to sterilise the powder then once you add the powder it fills it to the required level. Many of the reviews on line complained about the loud beeping noise before it dispatches the water, I can honestly say it have never bothered me or the baby.

I can’t stress enough how brilliant this machine is, if you have ever tried making up bottles each feed at a time you will know exactly what I mean. Imagine a screaming hungry child while you wait the required 30 minutes for the kettle to cool. This machine takes away that wait altogether with a fresh bottle ready in a matter of minutes.

If you do purchase one, give yourself time for the initial preparation as that probably takes an hour or so between the initial cleaning of it and running the first batch of water through it. Also the smallest size bottle it makes is 4oz which isn’t ideal in the early weeks if like us you have a baby drinking a lot less.

This product is available on Amazon and most baby shops, have even seen it in my local Tesco.

2. A monitor

My oldest is crazy about his new little brother however sometimes a little too crazy about him in that he wants to kiss, cuddle and hold him all the time! While it is endearing and lovely to see the bond grow between them, I literally cannot take my eyes of them. For night time a monitor was essential as otherwise I couldn’t tell what was going on when the pair of them were upstairs asleep and us downstairs. They are in separate rooms but the oldest can be a little bit of a nocturnal wanderer.

We have a basic BT brand monitor which we received as a very welcome gift which is ideal but there are a huge number of them on the market with multiple features from temperature, video display to music.

Prices also vary considerably so my advice is to decide the features you want and shop around for the best deal.

3. Stair gates

This sounds incredibly basic but I have really seen the benefit of these since coming home with the newest man. I have one on the bottom and one at top of the stairs. The top is to prevent our nocturnal wanderer from injuring himself falling down the stairs and the bottom one allows me to escape up to the bathroom in peace for 5 minutes while the bigger man stays playing with his toys!

I received both from my neighbour whose kids are now teenagers and she hadn’t parted with them! One is Lindam brand and one is Hauck. There is no contest for me, if buying a stair gate go for the Lindam one. The Lindam one is far more user friendly with a baby in one arm and a toddler acting like spiderman hanging off your leg. I can easily open it with one hand. The Hauck one I cant and need to free myself from the grasp of one of the two of them to be able to do so. Being able to open with one hand is a deal breaker for me.

These gates are available in supermarkets and baby shops and prices don’t seem to vary too much.

4. Buggy Board

The oldest was 2 and 8 months when little man arrived so his buggy days were coming to an end but at the same time he still got tired walking longer distances. I decided to invest in a buggy board and I am certainly glad I did. He walks for the most part however it if does get tired he pops on for a bit until he recharges and off he goes again. I got a lascal buggy board for my icandy peach but there are other types on the market.

I liked the lascal as it clipped up when not in use which was handy as we weren’t using it consistently.

Again they are very readily available and you often see them second hand. Worthwhile rather than shelling out for a double buggy if your kids are of similar age gap to mine.

5. A distraction!

You might think I am mad but its true, in the early days of arriving home with the newbie, it is tough on the other child therefore a distraction or something they like is crucial. Well it was for us anyway. When I was caught up feeding the little man, the bigger man was allowed to watch his new Toy Story DVD. His brother brought him a Buzz Lightyear toy which went down very well. It meant until we established a pattern and both boys got used to each other the oldest man wasn’t upset and pulling out of mammy.

Thankfully 8 weeks in this is no longer as important as it was, he understands when need to feed his little brother or change him and ill be back to look after whatever he needs then.

Hopefully the above is of some help to parents expecting their second child.

~Mamma F

Reviews for Mama & Babas

BABA TREATS – EWAN THE DREAM SHEEP REVIEW

Complications with second pregnancy meant I spent more time in the Coombe Hospital than I care to remember, as a result I read a huge amount to pass the time. Mr Ewan the Dream Sheep appeared in lots of articles and blogs and I think I developed some kind of weird obsession with him!

My first barely slept until he was 2, a stretch of 2-3 hours was a good night. Therefore anything the promised to help sleep, I was hooked! With that in mind I headed off to Boots like a woman possessed two days before my planned section (for medical reasons – but that a whole other post) and purchased this. My husband thought I had completely lost it such was my insistence to get it before the baby arrived.

Fast forward to the arrival of my little man. I enthusiastically took Ewan from its box the first night we got home secretly hoping for a full 8 hours sleep!!! Needless to say that didn’t happen.

The sheep itself, glows a red/pink colour which is supposed to soothing for the baby, however you can turn this feature off. It makes a number of different sounds such as a heartbeat, rainfall, hoover and what they call a womb sound which apparently mimic the sound the baby hears in utro. The sound itself plays for a decent length of time to allow baby to (hopefully) drift off to sleep. It comes with a strap that you can attach to the cot or car seat which is really handy.

Well, how did I get on with it……there is nothing wrong with the product per se, my newbie just didn’t like it, he fussed and fussed when I had it on and settled better with it off. Tried it a couple of nights but no joy. With a heavy heart I dispatched poor Ewan to the wardrobe. About three weeks later, my almost 3 year old saw him and decided he wanted him, ( he went through a week or so of a phase where he just had to have everything newbie had, from teddies, to soother to bottles – thankfully we are passed that phase now!) so for the sake of peace I said he could have him.

Now…..here is where things get interesting. He took him to bed that night and had a great nights sleep, a full 12 hours in his own bed. He just loves the soft red/pink glow. Up until this point we still had a few nocturnal visits a week at around 5 in the morning. Since Ewan appeared in his bed, we now have hardly any visits, coincidence or not??? I just don’t know but I do know one thing, I am not going to take Ewan away just in case!! The benefit for an older child is he knows how to turn on and off the light and the sounds.

In the end all was not lost. I purchased Ewan in Boots however it is available in many baby stores and online through sites such as Amazon.

Mamma Musings

SKINCARE – MUMMY TREATS…..GREEN ANGEL EYE GEL

As most of you know by know – I am a mother to an almost 3 year old and 6 week old. The last couple of weeks have passed in a daze of sheer exhaustion between the return to night feeds and a toddler who seems to subscribe to the adage the “sleep is for the weak”. He is like a Duracell bunny, he honestly could go with no sleep for days.

Poor mammy on the other hand well….she is exhausted. Add to the mix a husband with the unique capability of sleeping through well….sleeping through practically anything!

In an attempt to pull myself to get, I have purchased a number of skin care products in the vain attempt to make me look somewhat human again and shed a number of years to hopefully make me like like a 30 something again!

First up is the Green Angel Eye Gel. Up to this point my eyes looked like a woman twice my age. The weekly shopping could find a home under them coupled with the dark circles, lets just say I was no oil painting.

3 weeks ago, I started with this product. I actually store it in the fridge which feels amazing and cooling first thing in the morning. I didn’t notice much difference for the first 2 weeks and then this week I can really see the difference. The dark circles have really diminished and the fine lines are much less noticeable.

I am honestly thrilled with this product. I love the consistency and the texture of the gel. I have, over the years tried many lotions and potions in the vain attempt to look like I stepped off the cover of Vogue but this one is a keeper. The jar is a great size and like most eye products a little does go a long way.

Another mega plus for me is that its Irish.I am a firm believer in supporting Irish where I can at all. This ticks all the boxes for me and I am hoping in another few weeks to see more improvement around my eye area. See pic below. I purchased mine in a pharmacy in Dublin City Centre, however it can be purchased on-line via http://www.greenangel.com/

Next product up for review is the Botanics Radiance Balm…..keep following for more updates on products for mothers and for babies, in addition to mummy life blog posts.

For now I am off to try and scrape about 30 fireman Sam stickers off the wooden floor in the sitting room!!.

Fairy Travels

4 Tips For Finding The Best Booking Site

mobile phone and laptop

Image by Willian Iven via Unsplash

It’s pretty common at one point or another to get the urge to book a ticket around the world and say goodbye to daily routine. We all fall into a slump at some point and ache for adventure.

Luckily, if you’re an Aussie adventurer, there are plenty of great, trustworthy accommodation booking sites and other sites to help you plan your trip.

How to Pick the Best Booking Site for Your Adventure

If you’re ready to book your adventures but just aren’t about which site to visit first, here are some top tips for choosing a booking site to fit your requirements.

  • Know what you want

Do you want to go on a massive adventure and plan your entire trip in one go? The bigger travel sites such as Travelocity and Expedia are the perfect one-stop shops where you can book your airline tickets, rental car and hotel accommodation quickly and effortlessly. These are good sites to start at and get a feel for the kinds of airfare and accommodation available. But, they may not always offer the cheapest rates. If it’s a bargain you’re after, head to sites like Kayak where you can search different booking sites at the same time. Or, if you just want rental cars, airfare or accommodation, you may save money by booking through a specialty site.

  • Ease of Use

The best types of travel booking sites are the ones that are easy to navigate and understand. When you click on the link, it should take you exactly to where it promises and not anywhere else. Also, the website should save your information as you’re searching, so that you don’t have to keep entering your travel dates each time. Some sites will even go one step further by saving your favourite places and preferred itinerary.

  • Watch Out for Hidden Fees

There are some booking sites out there that add an extra fee fee when you make a booking, or they might not include taxes in the original quote. That means you may not quite get the deal you had hoped for. Be sure to read the terms carefully before you book to see if there are any additional charges you may have to pay for.  Thanks to recent economic hardships, travel sites such as Travelocity, Expedia and Orbitz have reduced their airline booking fees, whereas sites such as Kayak claim not to charge any booking fees whatsoever.

  • Check out the customer service

Finally, make sure the booking site stands behind its services. Read up on what they will do if you come across a cheaper rate somewhere else. There are some sites that do have price guarantees that pay back the difference should you find cheaper rates elsewhere. What will the site do if you need to cancel or change your booking? A reliable site will have its customer service contact details and cancellation policies clearly posted.

Use these four tips to find the best site for your next adventure.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post