Monthly Archives

July 2017

Mamma Musings

So my oldest is starting school….

I can’t quite believe my oldest, my  first born, my gorgeous blue eyed, blonde haired, gentle boy is about to start school. He is about to enter the world all by himself.  It seems like yesterday he was this teeny tot curled up in his mosses basket while I stared at him for hours on end terrified something would happen to him. How is he almost five?! For almost five amazing years you have made our lives complete, you have shown us what ultimate love is, what its like to love so much your heart hurts, what its like to protect with fierceness that’s unrivalled.  We watch the way you have taken on the big brother role with all your heart. You teach him, you help him, you drive him nuts at times but we know you love him like he loves you unconditionally. Its magical to watch the bond between you to watch the gentleness in the way you assist him when he falls or cant quite reach that toy. I know you are ready to enter the world now by yourself and in my mind starting school is that first step.  You are starting to dip your toes into the vast world that’s out there. I want to protect you every minute of every day but I know I must let you off yourself to start exploring but you know I’m here, I’m always here for you.

Back to school

Back to school

When you go to bed I often lay your school bits on the floor, to touch them, to imagine what it will be like that first morning to see you all dressed up ready for the off. I promise I wont cry, ill be brave like I know you will be.

What we got

I don’t know whether it was excitement, nerves or just because he is my first I’m really organised for September.  I took advantage of the Marks & Spencer’s sale when they had 20% off their uniforms so I stocked up! The non iron shirts had me sold! I got the trousers with the anti stain as I’m pretty sure if its anything like he is now there will be plenty of running and jumping going on in the school yard so hard wearing will be a must.  All that’s left is the school jumper and tracksuit. Next weekends plan hopefully! Actually and shoes but I think ill leave them another few weeks.

The lovely people at Sambro sent us  the Cars school bag and stationary (pictured above) and it was incredibly well received in this house. His bedroom is cars themed so there was great excitement when a Lightening McQueen backpack landed through the letterbox. Its a great bag as the front can be wiped down easily, its just the right size for his two books (so cute) and matching stationary is super cute and adds a fun dimension to it. The straps are adjustable and comfortable too. It also reasonably priced which is a big plus for what can be a very expensive time of year.  I’m all about easy clean and between the uniform and the backpack I think I have this sos’d. With some final words of inspiration from Dr Seuss……. we are starting a new journey, we are nerveous, we are excited but most importantly we are ready to take on new challenges and help my little boy as he takes off on life’s next great adventure.

 

 

Note: We were sent the Sambro bag pack however all opinions and tears shed where my own 🙂
Features

Irish Life Health Feature on Marriage

This  week I was delighted to be asked to featured in a article for Irish Life Health talking out my opinion on marriage and whether I thought it still holds the same significance among my peers as it does for my parents or even grandparents. I’m thrilled to be featured amongst some amazing bloggers who I admired long before I began my own blog.  See link to full article here

Irish Life

Source: Irish Life

I think like lots of things in life there isn’t a simple to that question, the concept of marriage has evolved so much in recent years. Marriages now came in so many different forms but it doesn’t make them any less than the traditional view of a marriage.  The article made me think that all other things being equal would our relationship be different if we weren’t married? To be honest I don’t think it would.

 

As I said in this piece, its having kids that had the biggest change on our relationship and when we really did feel like a unit.

Would love to know what your view on marriage are? Do you thinks it still holds the same significance as it once did?

 

 

Mamma Musings

#Living Arrows 30/52 – The ordinary moments

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

 

I’m pretty impressed with myself that ive joined the lovely Donna from What the Redhead Said linkie again.  I love the concept and I can’t wait to share my posts each week, its certainly become a key part of my blogging routine. This week for me its all about embracing the ordinary moments. I work full time so sometimes I feel pressure that when I’m with the kids ive to take them to play centres, to activities to all these perceived exciting (and often expensive) activities. But really its not like that. This week we walked to a lovely park near where we lived, we got coffee and treats in the shop and we quite literally sat and watched the world go by. The gentle fall of the Liffey as it cascaded down the weir was just so lovely. The kids enjoyed their picnic and mama enjoyed her coffee. Pure bliss.

The Mamma Fairy Blog

The Mamma Fairy Blog on Instagram

 

Later in the week we stopped by for another picnic this time in the much bigger Phoenix Park in Dublin it was really busy but such a wonderful space to have in the City Centre.  Totally unexpectedly we ended up feeding deer (under the guidance of the park wardens).  It was just magical.  They are such beautiful magical animals, really docile. Almost exactly what I had expected them to be like.   If you asked my kids right now what was their favourite activity to do they will most likely say go for a picnic.  Its simple, its inexpensive and when I’m there I’m totally present and if I’m honest I think that’s its partly why they love it.

Feeding Deer

Feeding Deer

Us parents can feel awful albeit unnecessary pressure to keep the kids entertained with all these high octane activities, that’s not reality, that’s not what life is about. Of course all those things are enjoyable too but sometimes its just nice to find joy in those ordinary moments. I still remember growing up rolling down the hill known to most Dubliners as the Popes cross in the Phoenix Park. I remember picnics at the beach in Donegal with my parents and siblings.  I remember getting soaked having races on the beach in Donegal. I was on lunch one day in a restaurant during work and I saw a quote which I’m reminded of now “Joy comes to us in the ordinary moments, we risk missing out when we get too busy chasing the extraordinary”. I don’t know who said or wrote it but its quite apt for the world we live in today.

 

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 29/52 – Great outdoors

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

I have been a fan of Donna’s Blog for some time and I kept meaning to join the Living Arrows linkie and never got around to it.  So im super excited to join for the first time.  This week in the Mamma Fairy house its all about the great outdoors.

Wild West (and wet) Donegal 

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

We spent a wonderful weekend in an extremely wet Donegal! By 12 o’clock on the Saturday having arrived late Friday, I heard “im bored” more than once as the rain lashed against the window pane.   And I mean lashed,  it looked like the  middle of Winter out. The Dada Fairy suggested we don the rain gear and head our to explore the place where he grew up.  The kids needed no encouragment, I on the other hand wasnt quite as eager!

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

We took some photos on our walk and I look back on them and im reminded of how much history and memories places like this hold. Memories that will soon be long gone as generations depart and move on. This is the Dada Fairys home place and he has such a strong emotional tie to here and its (and his own) past. He loved telling us stories some his own, some he heard over the years.  This was where he played as a child, where he went fishing, exploring, climbing walls, hiding in ditchs and messing no doubt.  He is a total outdoors person and I can see how much the kids are like him and how much they love being outside.

I’m so glad I didnt let the rain get in the way of our day exploring as I was very tempted to say no we must be mad.   We came home hours later, we were soaked through, the kids were exhausted from the walking but most importantly they were happy, happy we were in Donegal, happy we were all together, happy we were having fun and quite literally dancing in the rain. There really is something quite magical about the squeals of your child dancing in the rain.

In the words of the Yeats – “Dance there upon the shore;What need have you to care; For wind or water’s roar?And tumble out your hair”

 

 

Living Arrows
Baba Reviews

Bellz Magnetic Game Review

Bellz Magnetic Game from SpinMaster

Well……Chicken Pox times two has just left the Mamma Fairy house and I am not sorry to see it go. Only my kids would get Chicken Pox on the hottest days of the year so far.  As you might have seen from previous  posts my pair love being out doors so trying to keep them occupied and engaged indoors is borderline mission impossible.

Bellz Magnetic Game

Bellz Game

We were sent the magnetic balls known as “Bellz” for review earlier in the month so this was duly dispatched to aid the relentless cries of im bored.

 What is Bellz?

Bellz game consists of a magnetic wand and a batch (40) of colourful magnetic bells of different colours and sizes. The object of the game is to collect only your own colour of bells with the wand.  If you pick up another colour it’s somebody else’s turn.  The magnetic wand has one very powerful magnetic and another weaker side to aid picking up the bells. Even though its sounds really simple it isn’t! It takes skill and patience to use the wand to the correct degree to pick up only your own colour.

Bellz Magnetic Game

Bellz Game Storage Pouch

The game comes in a handy pouch which makes packing it up really handy. When the pouch opens up it doubles as the paying board – very handy! (see pic opposite)

 

What we thought?

Did it aid the “im bored” cries? Yes it did for a while anyway!! What we liked w was how portable it is and its definitely appealing for all ages too.  We were able to take it travelling with us big plus in my book as lots of board games aren’t so portable. The downsides for me were that id love if there were two wands supplied as my pair ended up making their own version of the game up and two wands would have saved the odd argument. More of a nice to have. This award winning game from Spinmaster is priced around €15 and would an ideal one for summer holiday.

In summary the Mamma Fairy house gives this one a thumbs up. I have even caught the Dada Fairy giving it a go!!!

Note: We were sent the Bellz Magnetic Game for review however as always all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.
Mamma Musings

How to Have a Sizzling Summer Holiday without Leaving Home

Summer holidays can be the highlight of the year for some of us, giving us the chance to escape the stresses of everyday life and relax in our own little paradise. However, not everyone can go on their dream holiday every year, for a wide variety of reasons ranging from family commitments to work schedules. As many of us are trying to tighten our belts in these uncertain economic times, it’s sometimes necessary to skip the expensive summer holiday and make our own fun at home instead. While this might not inspire the same enthusiasm as a tropical island break, it’ll certainly prevent us from worrying as much and might even give us a whole new perspective on what a summer holiday is. Read these tips and have a spectacular summer in the comfort of your own home.

Time Off

Me time

Taking some “me” time is good for the soul

Just because you’re not going away on holiday, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time off work to enjoy the summer. If you’re going to be spending time with family, make sure you sync up your holidays so you can make the most out of your holiday time. Book one or two weeks off and make sure you don’t do anything even resembling work during this time! If you or your family are known for working at home when you really shouldn’t be (ahem thats you Dada Fairy), then designate a cupboard for all of your work things to go in during the holidays. Make the cupboard off-limits for as long as you possibly can, and you’ll be surprised at how relaxing your at-home holiday is.

Plan Days In

Fun days in

Days in can be just as fun

While days out can be fun, having special days in at home can be cheaper, more relaxing and just as action packed. If you have children, planning themed days for them in the house can provide the whole family with endless activities to enjoy. You can have a family cooking class, start a band together, become artists or do a spot of gardening. All of these activities are as educational as they are fun, and will keep your family active during the summer. If you don’t have children, you can still take these ideas and enjoy them with your partner or with friends. Time away from the television is definitely quality time, however you choose to spend it!

Get Outdoors

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, such as a garden, yard or even a park close by, then make sure you take full advantage of this during your summer holiday at home. Spending time outdoors is something we don’t do nearly enough these days, so leave your phones inside and go out for a game of lawn tennis, football or even an obstacle course. For a whole day of outdoor fun, you could plan a family olympics, including as many activities you can think of. You may even wish to invest in a paddling pool or trampoline to really make the summer one to remember, and keep the kids busy for hours at a time!

Brighten Up Your Home

Nothing screams summer like a beautifully bright living space, so why not take some time to restyle your sitting room or kitchen? You can simply rearrange your furniture so that it doesn’t block any of that glorious sunshine, or your could add some summery home accessories that give the space some splashes of colour. For more long-term solutions, try painting your walls a lighter colour, changing dark carpets to light ones, or for something totally wow check out these amazing internal bifolds to your living area. We intalled outdoor ones and they are seriously amazing this time of year a the garden becomes an extenion of the kitchen and we have a huge space for us and the  kids to play.  For us it has really opened up ou home and made what was once a dark space into a bright and airy space.

Summer Foods

Summer foods

Summer foods

Perhaps the easiest way to get in a summer mood is to eat summery food, so get in the kitchen and cook up some treats for your family and friends to enjoy at a summer party. This could be in the garden, if you’re lucky enough to have one, or in your newly decorated living room! Find yourself some brightly coloured summer recipes, enlist the help of your loved ones and enjoy a day of summer cocktails, delicious salads and homemade ice lollies. Even if the sun isn’t shining outside, as long as you have some summer music, tasty treats and good company, you’ll be feeling super summery all day long. 

 

Note – collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Move over Fidget Spinner here comes Mokuru

Mokuru the latest craze???

Who hasnt heard of the Fidget Spinner??!! Very few I reckon. However I think its reign is about to come to a halt as the Mokuru explodes onto the market.

Mokuru

Mokuru

What is Mokuru

The Mokuru is the latest toy craze which by the looks of things is set to be as big as the Fidget Spinner. Its a desktop toy made out of beechwood thats tests your hand eye coordination as well as skill and patience.

How to Mokuru!!

I am not ashamed to admit when this barrel shaped object appeared in my letter box I didnt know what to do, fear not my 5 year old came to the rescue and quite skillfully showed me how it was done.  Its it so addicitve.  We have been trying to beat each others records of “bouncing” it along the kitchen table. You can also use it two player or aim for Mokuru Master and use up to 5 of them at the one time. See here to see it in action and some commentarty from its creator.

The Verdict 

Mokuru

Mokuru

Sorry kids this one is mine! This is the ideal office desk toy! I always find myself doodling at my desk in work so decided to take the Mokuru in to work and I am slighlty obsessed. It brillant for people like me who love to fidget or doodle while concentrating on something. Its available from Smyths and Amazon and I really think this is the next big thing for kids, like the spinners the market will be flooded with fakes and copies over time but do look for the original.  Priced around €10.

 

 

Note: We were sent the Mokuru for review however all views remain mine or the boys where appropriate
Mamma Musings

Planning a holiday? Here are some money saving tips and tricks I use

Tips and tricks when booking holdiays 

Since I published this post I have been asked lots of times for any money saving tips and tricks I have for taking the family long haul.  I thought I’d set out some of those which helped us  anyway!

  • Source: Pixabay

    The money jar

I know this is old fashioned but what we tend to do when we book a holiday like Toronto is keep a jar of our loose change and convert it the week before we head away.  We had 8 months of saving for Toronto and had a nice sum of coins saved which converted into CAD$225. Along the same vein and I know this sounds a bit crazy myself and my husband put aside €20 each month and covert it that month to the currency of our destination this meant another CAD$470  to add to the pot.

  • Deals, Deals Deals

I am the queen of the deal! I just love a good deal. I scour the internet for good deals in our chosen destination.  Groupon is your friend. For example we had pancakes for lunch one of the days at Krepesz, that was pancakes for 4 and drinks for CAD$50.  While in Niagara Falls I booked the Captain Jacks Fun Zone  tickets which the kids thoroughly enjoyed and I saved 70% off the normal price.  There are so many options in these places so by buying in advance (the kids and the adults) know what included and we have a set amount of tokens each. There are also lots of hotel options on Groupon too with great saving or added extras.  A couple we spoke to at breakfast had got a great deal at the Sheraton on the Falls via Groupon with a Falls view room.

  • Shop around especially for Hotels

There are a myriad of hotel booking options with varying rates of discounts.

Source: Pixabay

One of my personal favourites is booking.com.  Also check out Expedia or hotels.com or as mentioned above Groupon hotel deal. Sign up for alerts for these site to keep up to dates on the latest deals and offerings.  Do shop around as rates can vary considerably.  It can also be a good option to check call the hotel direct as I have found that some will match the rates found elsewhere.

 

  • Flights

Source: Pixabay

This one is bit more tricky and sometime can just be down to the fact that the stars align and sales and timing of your trip work out. But failing that some things you can do include:

  • Settting up Sky Scanner alerts – im a big fan of this. You get emails relating to prices changes for the flight you are considering.
  • Timing – some times of the year are simply cheaper than others so do your research and look for the off peak times in the destinations you plan on visiting
  • Avios, this is currency of a number of airlines and you can collect point by purchasing flights or with the airline or any of its partners. For example you can convert you SuperValu real rewards to Avios points.  I had a quick look and its around 8,000 points for a return European flight. Not too bad!

Has anybody any other good holiday saving tips they have feel free to add them in the comments.

 

Note: Contains #affliate links
Cuddle Fairy