Monthly Archives

October 2017

Features

Car seat safety checks

Car Seat Safety

**Note – this is a sponsored post**

There is no more precious cargo that you can transport than your little people.  You only have to look at the latest statistics released by the RSA to see the importance of not only the right car seat but the right car seat fitted correctly.

Quite alarmingly 262 children lost their lives on the roads between 1996 and 2012 and in a third of these cases no restraint or seat was used.  Disappointingly also was the statistic that twice as many children were killed on the roads in 2014 than in 2013. Its so very sad.  I have written a number of times about car safety and it importance and it is something I feel very very passionate about.

car seat safety tip

Image Credit: cars.com

While this by no means purports to be a extensive list some of the things I do include:

  • I do my research using sites such cars.com which provide information on the types of car seats which suit different models of cars.
  • I cant emphasis enough how important choosing the right seat for the model of car you have is. One size does  not fit all – make use of clinics such as those provided by the RSA to check it fits.  Its a free and invaluable service
  • Check with the manufacturer re air bag usage and the seat
  • Follow all legal regulations and never ever travel without the proper restraints.
  • Always check the seat when you get in to make a journey and make sure nothing has come loose, such a the clipped in seat belt. Give it a good jiggle to ensure no movement
  • Be very careful buying second hand seats, you need to be sure they have never been in accidents before
  • In my experience most manufacturers will have helplines if you have any queries at all
  • I am a rear facing proponent but as said above do your research and make the best decision for yourself
  • Given the imminent arrive of winter, best advice is no coat or heavy jackets when in the car seat. The risk here is that there is or could be a significant gap in the distance between the child and the seat belt

Our little people will always be our biggest VIP and ensuring their safety as best we can is paramount.

Note: This is a sponsored post

 

Features

Spooky Risotto

Spooky Risotto Receipe

My kids absoultely love this time of year and somehow I seemed to have got roped into hosting 15 kids from 8 months to 6 years old. It can be really hard to cater for such a variety of ages therefore im delighted to work with Organix to bring you this super delicious recipe which will hopefully be a huge hit with the kids young and old.

Suitable for 7+ months
10 – 30 minutes to prepare
60+ minutes to cook
Serves 2 adults and a baby

Ingredients

1 butternut squash
A little olive oil for drizzling
1 onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
180g  rice
300ml boiling water / stock (ideally homemade with no added salt, or a low salt alternative)
30g cream cheese / soft goats’ cheese
30g tasty grated cheese / Parmesan

Halloween decorations:
1 green pepper
Large handful of pitted black olives

How to make

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas 6.

Step 2: Cut the butternut squash in half to separate the straight ‘neck’ from the round base. Peel and dice the straight neck and cut into 1cm cubes Cut the round base down the middle from top to bottom, to create two halves and scoop out the seeds. Place all the butternut squash onto a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until nicely roasted. Scoop the soft squash out of the round butternut halves and mash or blend to create a puree. Reserve the roasted cubes of squash till later.

Step 3: Whilst the butternut squash is roasting, peel and finely chop the onion, then sauté in olive oil in a 10-30 minutes saucepan over a low heat for about 5 -10 minutes. Once softened, crush the garlic cloves and add for another minute.

Step 4: Add the dry rice and stir through, frying for approx. 2 minutes. Then add a splash of boiling water/stock so that the risotto sizzles. Stir thoroughly.

Step 5: Gradually add a little (approx. 100ml at a time) of the water/stock stirring all the time. With each addition, wait until the rice has absorbed all the water before adding any more.

Step 6: Add the pureed butternut squash about half way through cooking, when the rice is beginning to plump up. Stir in to create a beautiful orange risotto. Continue to add the water/stock slowly, stirring often.

Step 7: Once the rice is soft and has absorbed all the water, stir through the remaining roasted butternut cubes and continue to heat for another couple of minutes, until the butternut squash cubes are warmed through. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir through the cream cheese / soft goats’ cheese and grated Parmesan to give a silky texture.

Step 8: Mash or whizz in a blender to suit your little one’s texture requirements – if you need the rice to be runnier just add some milk. For older children and adults the roasted butternut squash cubes add a delicious contrast in texture. This risotto is delicious at anytime of year, but makes a fun centre piece at a Halloween party with the simple addition of a few black olives and some green pepper, to create a spooky pumpkin face! See our serving suggestions.

Top tips

This risotto can either be served hot in a giant serving bowl with a big pumpkin lantern face on the top. Or the same can be created on a smaller scale in individual serving bowls. Alternatively, you can create a rather fun ghoul-faced army of risotto balls, by adding a little extra cheese, quickly cooling the risotto, then forming to bite-size balls, perfect for little fingers. Decorate each ball with a Halloween pumpkin face, using green pepper and black olives, then put into the fridge to firm up. These are best served cold. For food safety always ensure you cool the risotto very quickly, by spreading out on a large surface, use clean hands to make it into balls and refrigerate as soon as possible. The recipe will make approx. 25 mini risotto balls.

 

Let me know if you try it would love to see your  pics – for more recipe ideas see Organix

Baba Reviews

PJ Masks Deluxe 16 piece set review

PJ Masks Deluxe set review

You might recall how I mentioned the utter hyper reaction to the arrival of the Sea Patroller well this was pretty much repeated with the arrival of the this fabulous set of PJ Mask figures. PJ Masks really is the programme of the moment for kids my boys ages. They both love it.  In fact I am not longer Mamma they refer to me as “Owelette” my oldest is “Catboy” and the youngest is “Gekko”.

I am a huge believer in imaginative play and sets like these do wonders to foster it. I see how the kids can be consumed with TV and tablets so I try do encourage this type of play.  The fact they love the show is a massive help in this task.

The set 

The set is made up of 16 parts that’s 14 figures and 2 accessories:

  • The core crew of Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko
  • The bad guys as im reliably informed of Romeo, Luna Girl, Night Ninja and the Ninjalinos (these guys are stackable and pretty adorable!)
  • Pet figures for each of the core crew ie – Catboy’s Cat, Owlette’s bird, and Gekko’s lizard
  • The accessories included are Squashatron, Luna Girl’s Luna Orb, and Night Ninja’s Sticky Splat

The verdict

Toys like this I really feel are almost guaranteed to be a hit such is the popularity of the underlying shows.  Personally what I liked was the size of the figures, often sets like this come with small figures which get lost easily and result in poor mama spending hours searching for them. By way of illustration see pic of opposite of Gekko in my five year old’s hands. At the pricely sum of €36 this set isn’t cheap but having given it a through road test by the five year old and a trial with my almost 3 year old aka Mr Destruction the set is pretty robust. I think this is a great option as a gift for little people ages 3+ the popularity of the show and the comprehensive nature of the set will make it a sure fire hit.

 

Note: We were sent the set to review however all views are mine or the boys where appropriate.
Features

How to choose the right sofa

How to choose the right sofa

Think about it for a second. A sofa is one of the most important, and expensive purchases we make for our home. So it’s obvious, we need to give our sofa purchase some serious consideration. Especially, as your sofa is going to be part of your home for many years to come. It needs to be practical, fit the ambience of the room, and be durable. But let’s be honest, it’s the ambience that matters because if the sofa is hideous, we’re not going to buy, no matter how comfortable or durable it is.

 

I can’t offer any advice as to the style of the sofa because it depends on your personal preference, budget and style of the rest of the room. But what I can do is get some advice to help you with your decision with thanks to Dandelion Interiors. 

1 – Choosing the right colour of sofa: Where to start

For your living space, the sofa is a focal point. So it’s logical. If you’re starting from scratch, and completely redecorating the entire room, start with the sofa first. Pick it’s style, colour and location, then decorate around it. When your sofa is a focal point of the room, we often go with vibrant colour, if we can, a luxury fabric. Or perhaps a colourful print.

If, on the other hand, your room is already decorated and you’re adding or changing your sofa, or you’d prefer your sofa to be part of the “supporting cast” rather than take centre stage, then choosing the colour becomes more complex and more important.

When choosing the colour of a sofa to fit into the style of a room, the first decision you have to make is whether you want to the sofa to be neutral to the existing colour palette or whether it will take an accented role.

Some designers, make a clear and easy choice. They prefer the sofa to match the colour on the walls of the room. They feel it unifies the room and gives a sense of space, making the room feel larger. This works well but can get a little complicated when it comes time change the colour of the walls, especially if you’re using a vivid colour rather than a variation of off-white. It’s probably why neutral sofas are the most popular colour.

2 – Going to the dark or the light side

Cow print sofa

How fab is this from Dandelion Interiors?

Once the decision has been made on whether you’re going to pick a neutral colour or an accented colour, then the next big decision is whether to go for a light or dark coloured sofa. This decision is going to be influenced by your flooring. Is it going to be floating on a sea of dark wood, or is it going to be nestled into a thick, coloured carpet?

Sofas are large and upholstered, and in most cases, the upholstery will absorb the light which can have the effect of darkening a room considerably. One trick, used by designers, when looking at which sofa to purchase, is to find a piece of material, a sheet or blanket perhaps, that is the same colour of the potentially new sofa, put it over the existing sofa and you can see how it works with the room. Does it absorb the light and darken the room? Give it a couple of days, and you’ll get a real sense of what to expect if you purchased the sofa.

The general rule of thumb. If you’re putting a dark sofa on a dark floor, wooden or carpeted, the sofar is going to disappear into the room. If that’s your preference, then try looking for a sofa with metal or wooden legs. They’ll help to visualise the space between the sofa and the floor, stopping it disappearing.  I see a lot of designers using a light coloured rug in front of the legs of the sofa, again to bring out the colour of the sofa instead of losing it.  Finally, if they’re not ideas that stirs your imagination, try a light wood or metal coffee table that will help to define the sofa and help the eye differentiate it from the floor.

If you’re a considering a light colour sofa, you’re going to have different challenges. The obvious ones are keeping it clean and tidy. Light sofas show wear and tear easily, and stains are very difficult to hide. There are a lot of visual advantages to a light coloured sofa, it helps to make the room feel spacious and light, but you need to think functionally first. For example, unless your dog is well trained, a light coloured sofa and a dog who sees it as a big doggie bed, is a recipe for disaster.

 

3 – What you need to know when picking colours.

You’ve done most of the hard work. You’ve made your choice between dark and light, about neutral or accented, you’re ready to pick an actual colour. If you’re not making your sofa a centrepiece for the room, then you’re likely to be picking a more neutral colour choice. It’s a good decision because they’re easy to decorate around and easy to redesign as the style of your room changes. After all, you don’t want to be married to just one style, trends and fashions change.

Using the right neutrals can be quietly stylish and attractive, and complement your room. These include beige, grey, taupe, and cream. No sofa is an island. A matte beige sofa is often dull but textured beige, on the other hand, with some monochromatic colour can be interesting and add something to the room. Don’t be afraid of the right tones of grey. It’s a colour that offers you a lot. It can be sophisticated, comfortable, cool or crisp, depending on the rest of the room.

You can incorporate the colour into your room regardless of its colour. It’s about the details. If you add accessories, prints, different materials around the room, little pops of colour, it will balance out the room nicely and make the sofa feel integrated. And these days, there are plenty of options to accessorise your sofa, regardless of your budget.

 

Note: Thanks to Dandelion Interiors for their fab advice this week.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

You Baby Me Mummy
Features

Sitting behind a desk all day?? – I give you the Ultimate 20 minute workout!

The ultimate 20 minute office workout!

It is no surprise to anybody that knows me that I lead a sedentary lifestyle. I sit behind a desk for a minimum of 40 hours a week. I use public transport to work – more sitting. I know I need to move more, I am acutely aware I need to move more having had chronic blood pressure issues on both pregnancies which thankfully resolved itself after the boys were born however this does put me in a higher risk category for the future.

As most of us already know sitting at a desk for long periods can lead to a myriad of health issues from fatigue to back/ neck pain to obesity. I read an article many years ago which referred to today’s society as the “Chair Born Society”. I am not sure who coined this phrase but I can see how apt it is.

With the above in mind I am delighted to work with Fitbit and Curry’s/PC World to highlight the important of getting moving during the day.  Curry’s/ PC World together with Fitbit and London Fitness Guy have teamed up to create the ultimate 20-minute office workout with five high-intensity exercises, to help you feel more energised during your working day. See here for full details of the five exercises which can be undertaken at your desk in work. My 3 personal favourites are below with pic credit to Curry’s PC World.

Why not rope in some colleagues. We can all benefit from moving more.

                                                                              

 

Fitbit Challenge

Office excercises

Fitbit Challenge

I was sent a Fitbit Alta HR for this challenge and gladly through myself feet first into it. I needed this push to get moving and this was perfect. I am a competitive person by nature and love a good challenge.  So over the last number of weeks I have been undertaking my own personal challenge which was to undertake the above exercises a minimum of 3 days a week in work together with my Fitbit challenge of:

 

 

 

 

  • 11,000 steps a day
  • 60 minutes high intensity exercises
  • 7 hours sleep

A tall order you might say? Never one to shy away from a challenge I am thrilled to have meet or exceeded the above almost every day averaging around 15,000 steps a day coupled with between 3-4 hours of intensive exercise a week! Impressive even if i do say so myself.  The only item which im less consistent with is sleep however I have 2 young kids which aren’t the best sleepers!

What I thought

  •  Noticeable improvement in my fitness levels – my office is on the second floor. I used to get the lift. Now I always take the stairs up and back. The first time I did, I honestly thought id faint. However 3 weeks later I can walk up 2 flights of stairs and I am not breathless.
  • Quality of sleep – While number of hours I sleep could still be improved the quality of my sleep is much better. I wake up refreshed not sluggish like before.
  • More conscious choices – Rather than eating lunch at my desk. I take a walk or walk to somewhere to sit in and have it.  Its gets me out of the office in the fresh air. Good for your mind too.
  • Efficient – Not 100% sure my employee will totally agree however I really feel better/ sharper / more efficient since incorporating more exercise into my daily life.

Why don’t you give it a go? Do let me know how you get on. For me – ” I may not be there yet but I am closer than I was yesterday“. Start with small changes and before you know it small changes will have made a big difference…..do it!

 

Thanks for Curry’s PC World and Fitbit for letting us be part of this campaign. Absolutely love my Fitbit. More importantly thank you for helping me take control of my own fitness.

 

Cuddle Fairy
Mamma Musings

Avoiding the Dental Hygiene Mistakes That Most Parents Make

A good photo of your kids or grandchildren when they are laughing or smiling is always nice. You only have to look at it to lift your spirits and end up smiling yourself.

The problem is that these days more and more kids are too self-conscious to actually smile properly. Usually, this is because they are missing teeth. Unfortunately, childhood tooth decay is a growing problem. Instead of the number of fillings and extractions falling, they are on the increase. As a result, parents need to make teaching their children good dental hygiene a priority.

Educate yourself

The first step is to visit blogs that are actually written by actual dentists to learn about proper dental hygiene. The one at Docklands Dental (Dublin 4) is a good starting point. There you can quickly learn about common dental problems, the latest hygiene techniques and how to help your children to look after their teeth.

Baby teeth really do matter

An awful lot of parents make the mistake of thinking that baby teeth do not matter much because they soon fall out. Whilst this is understandable thinking like that is a big mistake that can have a very negative impact on a child´s long-term dental health. For example, a full set of healthy baby teeth is essential for setting the mouth up for the emergence of their adult teeth. If there are baby teeth missing there is a good chance that they will need braces and other dental treatments to straighten their adult teeth out.

 

Set a good example

By far the best way to teach your children the importance of dental hygiene is setting a good example. If you brush and floss at least twice a day your kids are far more likely to do so as well.

Teach your children about sugar

After you or your child has eaten something sugary get into the habit of cleaning your teeth. You will be really surprised at how doing this reduces your child´s thirst for things like sugary drinks. They are far more likely to opt to drink water instead of pop, especially if they are busy playing a game. The last thing they want is to have to get up, stop what they are doing, and go to wash their teeth. Naturally, they are more likely to ask for water rather than a sugary drink.

 

This is good for their general health as well as reducing the chances of them suffering from tooth decay. You can find out more about the connection between a child´s sugar consumption levels and the chances of them having problems with their teeth, by reading this article.

 

Supervise your child´s teeth cleaning

 

When your children are young, you bath them, dress them and, naturally, clean their teeth. Pretty soon their dexterity improves to the point where they are able to start taking care of those tasks themselves. Or, so you think. In reality, even children who are perfectly capable of dressing themselves will not actually clean their teeth properly. Even if they know how to do, and are physically capable of doing it, the chances are that a lot of the time they will not spend enough time actually brushing in the correct way.

 

You really should supervise your child´s teeth cleaning routine until you are 100% sure they are doing it properly and really understand the importance of doing so. Occasionally using disclosing tablets is a good way to check what they are doing and show them what areas they are missing.

Using the above information will help you to avoid the most common childhood dental hygiene mistakes. This should result in your child having fewer problems with their teeth and being able to avoid having to have extractions or fillings.

 

Fairy Travels

Treating the Nana Fairy – Winter Sun in Benidorm here we come!

Winter Sun in Benidorm

My mum now known as the Nana Fairy – its one incredible lady. She does a huge amount for us so every year I treat her to a  trip (sans kids!) just the two of us for some well deserved r&r. We have done New York (times two), Prague and this year it will be a winter break in Benidorm.

Sunset in Bendidorm _ Winter Sun

Sunset in Benidorm – Pic Credit Wikipedia

Why Benidorm? Well, I asked her what was her preference this year in terms of holidays and her response, sun, nice beaches and good nightlife. A family friend is just back from a ten day break there so we decided why not. Getting a personal recommendation really pushes a place higher up my list. I had been myself many (many!) years ago. I still remember the stunning beaches and the nightlife!

Where?!

Its probably safe to say most people have heard of Benidorm, equally famous for its sandy beaches as it is its nightlife. Benidorm itself is in the Spanish province of Alicante along the tourist hotspot of the Costa Blanca. Its a really popular destination and I can really see its appeal.

 

Most looking forward to…

……………..Chilling on those stunning beaches.

While most people will have heard of and seen the images of Levante Beach, golden sands framed by high rise hotels and apartments, on our previous trip we spent more time on Poniente Beach, which was certainly quieter back then. While Benidorm these days is high rise, populous and busy, the romantic image of old town Spain is still alive in Benidorms old town. It is picturesque and romantic with its little cobbled streets and blue domes. A real must. Also while you dont go to Benidorm for the food for some traditional tapas my recommendation is to head to the old town.

Will be sure to do a full trip report – cannot wait!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Mamma Reviews

Brainstorm Spider Catcher Review

Spider Catcher

Pic Credit: BrainStorm Toys

I’m going to be straight up here…I am absolutely terrified of spiders. There is a now infamous story in my family about how I made (!) my dad drive 20 miles to my house to get rid of massive spider!! Such was my utterly hysterical state the poor man hoovered my apartment from top to bottom to ensure the offending creature was well and truly gone. I know its totally irrational but I cant help it. Roll forward about 15 years and I now have two amazing little men who think its wonderful to show mama every weird and wonderful creature they can find in the garden.

With our camping trip in the back of my mind when we were asked to review the BrainStorm Toys Spider Catcher I thought why not! Maybe just maybe id be brave enough to capture one (yeah right!!). The boys absolutely love this and love even more showing Mama the lovely (!) creatures they have captured.  Its actually a great item, as you can remove the offending creatures without harming them and returning them back outside.  The long arm on it means they quick literally stay arms length away.  Its really clever item.  Look  – i really despise the little things but I don’t want to harm them.  This is perfect to dispose of them out the back without having to actually touch them!

Spider Catcher in action

Spider Catcher in action

The Spider Catcher comes with a plastic spider.  My oldest man has had tonnes of fun tricking people about the spider in the house and showing them how to dispose of it! While its an incredibly practical item, my kids have had hours of fun with this one and for around €12 you cannot go wrong – fun and functional what more could you ask for!!

 

Note: We were sent the Spider Catcher for review however all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.