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December 2017

Features

Netflix New years countdowns for Kids

Netflix, Kids and New Year Countdowns

Netflix image

New Years Countdowns from Netflix

Back in 2014 Netflix came up with the genius idea of an on-demand New Years Eve count down for kids. Last year was the first year my five year old declared he was staying up for the New Year!! However mama was not ready to deal with the fall out of a very late night given he isn’t the worlds best sleeper to begin with!

Cue the genius that is the on demand count downs incorporating your kids favourite programs  …….  this year Netflix have nine new on-demand countdown which are available from Tuesday, 26 December.    The new ones are:

  • DreamWorks All Hail King Julien,
  • Beat Bugs,
  • Larva,
  • Pororo,
  • Puffin Rock,
  • Skylanders Academy,
  • True and the Rainbow Kingdom,
  • DreamWorks Trollhunters
  • Word Party.

All New Year’s Eve countdowns can be found by searching “countdowns” on Netflix or simply visiting netflix.com/countdown.

 

Note: We are a member of the Netflix StreamTeam for which we receive a years subscription however we were paid member before going the StreamTeam
Mamma Musings

First school term done – some thoughts from a newbie mum

school books photo

Pic Credit: Pixabay

My oldest started school this year.   It was a momentous occasion for both me and him. Now that the first term is done and dust what have I learned?  I’ll be honest I was quite apprehensive about how we would all adapt to this new routine but its funny how we worry so unnecessarily. School life has become part of everyday life. As a total newbie into the school system the first couple of months have been a learning experience for this mama too.  And for those at the far end of this school system don’t forget for those a use the resources at your disposal such as UCAS phone number if you do have any queries on college or university admissions.

 

Parents Perspective

Perhaps the biggest  learning point for me was  to become super organised.  That’s having the clothes out the night before, lunches made and bags packed. Jennie from Rice Cakes and Raisins had the same advice, keep the shoes all lined up at the front door to avoid the inevitable morning panic searching the house for them or for the match! I reached out to my fellow first time school parents to see what they thought after completing the first term their top tips are:

  • Jemma from Have Kids will Travel UK found of the great learning to be dealing with the new ups and downs of school friendships and not being there for them every minute. It can be so hard when your child comes home and says they were on their own or had nobody to play  with it, it just breaks my heart.
  • In a similar vein Michelle from What Mummy Thinks notes not to believe everything your child says. Very true in our case! They don’t mean any harm but they can be a little generous with the truth. My advice would be if in doubt speak to the teacher. They are well used to hearing stories of what kids said at home and can straighten out the record very quickly.
  • Never mind the kid and playground politics, it can be seen with the adults too.  Ill admit I was totally oblivious that such politics do exist however I have had first hand experience of it myself.  Natalie from Crummy Mummy also has had similar experience. However in the interest of balance Helena from Babyfoote assures us that this doesn’t exist in every school and that real friendships can be made at the school gate.

Teachers perspective

We have heard some view points for new parents. Now lets here from the other side. My sister is a teacher and kindly offered some insights:

  • Keep communication with the teacher/ school open don’t be afraid to seek clarification if your child says something or if you have a concern. Teachers are more than happy to ally any fears you might have.
  • Always check the school bag/ lunch box for notes. Kids have a habit of forgetting!
  • We are human too if the uniform isn’t perfectly pressed stained etc it doesn’t matter these things happen, none of us are perfect.
  • Use the resources that are available. If extra assistance is needed there are lots of resources available to assist and don’t be afraid to ask or utilise additional resources such as for example dyslexia support for teachers and parents.
  • Encourage your child all the way, praise the good, listen to the stories and show interest in their homework. Regardless of what you may have thought of school or homework yourself do try not to project that view on to your child.

If you have any other words of wisdom please do share them with us.

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mamma Musings

Pregnancy and Postpartum hair loss – tips & advice

Pregnancy and Post Partum hair loss

Pregant bump black and white picture

Pic Credit Pixabay

I have had two kids but by no means do I profess to be an expert! However what I can do is go through some of the things that worked for me.  I have naturally very thick (unruly!) hair which I regularly give out about.  However I was totally unprepared for the hair loss that came following the birth of each of my boys.  No joke the shower plug hole was literally full of hair every time I washed it. Not only that I was finding hair everywhere!

I was so concerned I would be bald within a week.  This added more stress to already stressful time with a newborn.  I have set out below a couple of things that I wouldn’t have minded knowing back then!

  1. First up and probably most importantly, its perfectly normal (however ill caveat this by saying if you are very concerned do see a GP or your health nurse for peace of mind). It is reported that as many as 90% of women experience hair loss in the first six months of pregnancy.
  2. There is no one size fits all solution to what product will work for you so experiment with a couple of different  good quality ones.  I  previously wrote about my experience with Viviscal which I found worked really well. I avoided rich conditioners and stuck with light serums. I found mild light shampoos worked well.
  3. Maybe a tad extreme for some but many of my close friends have used this time to get a good hair chop or a new low maintenance style.
  4. My best pal had quite extreme hair loss known as postpartum alopecia.  It began to really affect her mindset and confidence and she decided in the short term to opt for a wig. There are a huge selection of different types available from synthetic to real hair. In addition the colours and styles are endless, from curly to straight to bob to long.  You could look at it as an opportunity to experiment with that hair style you have always wanted to try out.  For many years wigs and similar hair products were incredibly expensive but not so anymore, they have become so much more reasonable in price.
  5. Lots of protein rich foods. Nutritionists often recommend a protein rich diet to help rebuild the hair fibers.
  6. My own mother used a home made castor oil treatment to treat her own pregnancy hair loss.  Simply massaging the scalp with a mix of castor oil and almond oil combined with luke warm water.
  7. Crucially also is don’t over brush, especially with a harsh rough brush or comb, instead use a wide tooth comb gently and not excessively.

Hopefully the above is of some help. Do bear in mind the rate of hair loss should slow down and if you do have concerns do seek professional advice as hair loss can be a symptom  of other underlying conditions.

 

 

 

Home & Interiors

Enhance the Beauty of a Conservatory with Stylish Furniture

conservatory window

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The conservatory has come of age. With beautiful detailing that enhances the beauty as well as bringing increased energy efficiency to the space, a conservatory is a means of adding extra space to your home.

But no matter how you choose to use the space, you want it to have a stylish, yet functional interior. So how do you create a space that is effortlessly chic?

Creating the Perfect Conservatory Interior

  • Play with styles but make sure there are common elements that keep it connected to the interior design décor of your home
  • With so much natural light, colours take on a completely different tone and feel, experiment to see which colours really work
  • Accessories are key detailing features that can transform the space into something extraordinary, don’t underestimate their use in the conservatory
  • Consider materials and fabrics carefully as the light and heat can be problematic for some
  • Rattan is the perfect choice because it has all the right properties to withstand heat and light of the conservatory, as well as being available in classic, traditional and modern styled pieces

A Stylish Conservatory…

… is the end product you will have after reading this Guide to Stylish Conservatory Furniture. With handy hints and tips, it has everything you need to know about styling the space in your conservatory.

Features

7 ways to make the most of the Christmas downtime for the year ahead

Christmas is supposed to be a time when we finally get a break from work and get the chance to see family and friends that maybe we haven’t seen all year. However, for many it will be the most stressful time of year, with lots of rushing around whilst trying to find the perfect presents for their loved ones. So is it even possible to have a relaxed Christmas, allowing us to recharge before a new year starts?

To help you make the most of your Christmas downtime, here are seven ways you can take care of your wellbeing this festive season and get a much-needed break before 2018 rolls around.

Schedule in your relaxation time

Our Christmas schedules can be extremely hectic, with rushing around shops to find presents, to running back and forth from family homes on endless visits. It can be easy to get carried away and before you know it, your Christmas holiday is over!

If you are one of those who feel like the festive season passes you by, this year, make sure you schedule in your relaxation time. Simply writing in an hour or two every other day to rest and do something you love, can make a huge difference to how you feel.

Gift yourself some ‘you’ time

No matter how busy you are, make sure you gift yourself some alone time this Christmas. Whether it’s a nice spa day or just a solo walk around the local park. Get some time to yourself, away from the craziness that is Christmas.

Make sure you are looking after health

Health and diet in particular, can take a turn for the worst over the Christmas period. We’ll have chocolate for breakfast and stuff ourselves with buffet foods and soon our energy levels will take a hit. Not to mention the late nights and Christmas party drinks draining us of much needed sleep.

Make sure you keep your health in mind when choosing what to eat, and if you need a nap during the day to make up some essential sleep, then feel free! Taking multivitamins and supplements, such as those from Vitabiotics, can help you to get all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body balanced this season.

Have a duvet day

It’s something that many of us are deprived of day-to-day, so take this opportunity to have a full duvet day. Put on your favourite Christmas films and snuggle down with loved ones. Enjoy the peace and calm that comes with allowing yourself to do absolutely nothing!

Give your home a clear out

On Christmas morning, you’ll have a pile of new objects to fit into your home, whether it’s toys, clothes or a new Xbox. Use this time to adopt the mindset of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ and declutter your home of unused or unwanted items.   Not only will you feel refreshed, but you’ll also be able to make room for all of your new gifts!

Get out of the house with family or friends

walking quiet country road

My Christmas Day walking route – so peaceful

It may be cold outside but that’s no excuse to not get out and about throughout December!  A brisk stroll through the park on Christmas Day can be the perfect thing to break up the day and get you prepared for the Christmas feast.   The great outdoors can work wonders for your mental health, with the fresh air filling your lungs, waking you up and clearing your head.

Reconnect with old friends

Christmas is often the time when old friends return home to see family, so make sure to get in touch with those that you may have lost touch with over the year. Making the most of the Christmas period all comes down to making sure you take a breather and schedule your time effectively. Be smarter with your free time, ensure you take good care of yourself and you’ll notice a huge difference in both your mindset and your motivation when it’s time to get back into the office in the new year.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Interior Design Trends whats going to be hot in 2018

Top Trends for 2018

We have just about entered the Christmas season and already im scouring Pinterest to make my wish list for our home renovations for 2018. We have been undergoing some major renovations throughout 2017 and this will continue with hopefully the final touches just left to do in 2018.  Often its the final interior design finishes that are the hardest to agree on. With this in mind im delighted to work with Sloane & Sons  to look at what is predicted to the big interior design trends in 2018.

interior design inspiration

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Over the last few years we have all been moving towards high tech homes where everything is interconnected, wifi enabled etc. However I am delighted to see one of the top trends for 2018 is the move back towards balance and simplicity. Enjoying views, chill out corners, or spaces to relax, unplug and unwind. I love it!

While I whole-heatedly embrace technology I also love the idea of the breather, the time out away from being so accessible.

Other predictions im loving for 2018 are dark wood flooring, tonal reds and simple furniture shapes – clean lines and curves. Now these are trends I can really get behind.  I love simplicity and elegance in interior design.

For more information on the above trends and details on how to incorporate them into your home see here

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

The Mamma Fairy
Features

The toys we loved in 2017 – some gift ideas

Gift Idea’s

Not really a gift guide in the regular sense rather this post looks at the most played or loved toys in the Mamma Fairy house throughout 2017. Some of the toys we bought, some were hand me downs other we were gifted via the blog.  In no particular order….but first up we have….

  1. Arckit  – This is a personal favourite of my own. It is made and developed in Ireland by an Irish Architect. Its basically a free form modelling system that allows you to build model towns and landscapes.
    Arckit set

    ArckitPlay

    I have heard it being called a real life Minecraft and that’s exactly what my older man thinks it is! Its really good and gets tonnes of play in our house. The possibilities of what to build are vast. This is toy with a huge educational element which is always a big advantage for me. The Dada Fairy is involved in the construction industry and when the pair of them get together to build their town it gets very serious!!  We have Arckit Play Cityscape and hand on hears its a brilliant, the set is a good size and contains lots of pieces for the money. For more see – Arckit

  2. Hexbug Battle Ground Tarantula – My oldest loves this! Ill say at the outset having two greatly adds to the fun as they “battle” so when he catches up with his best buddy they have serious battles! The hexbug’s battle with fire using high-tech infrared technology against each other and the impact sensor measures each strike and damage. They make lots of noise and effects and actually creep along like real life spiders!! I can really see the appeal of these for when friends get together.  They are also surprisingly durable. Available for most toys shops including Smyths.
  3. Mi-Mic Microphone – This for me is the surprise of 2017! We were sent this and I really didn’t know what the boys would think. However countless headaches (mine not theirs) later and this is a much played with toy in our house.  In summary its contains a Bluetooth karaoke speaker which allows you to play any song direct from your phone. You can even ad
    My First Scalextric

    My First Scalextric

    d pretty cool extra’s to your voice.  What the boys also love is  the 7 colour beat matching LED lights. The Mi-Mic’s arrival coincided with start of this years X-Factor so most evenings we had our own version complete with judges panel. Great fun! Again readily available in most toy shops.

  4.   My First Scalextric Set – I have a sneaky suspicion that the Dada Fairy wanted this one for himself! However I will give him the benefit of the doubt as the kids love this set. It’s the toddler version of the old classic. The power controllers are the ideal size for little hands. Its durable and all round good fun. Kids love this and it does become very competitive! It really is an ideal starter set for the younger car fanatic and has become a firm playdate favoruite here.

    Rubik's Junior

    Rubik’s Junior

  5. Rubik’s – while speaking of new takes on old classics, the Rubiks cube has come out with junior version of the classic cube but this time shaped like animals. These are suitable from age 3 upwards and what I like about this is they are a great shape and size for little hands without too many combinations which means it is doable for younger kids.  This would make an ideal stocking filler. 
  6. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller – my youngest is utterly obsessed with this! I have a full post on this from earlier in the year but suffice to say this is a mega hit in this house! A little on the pricey side for what it is but it is has got tonnes and tonnes of play in this house.

Aside from the above toys other items that we loved during the past year include

  • books, books and more books – see here for some inspiration from our great reads of 2017. Since this post we have added another couple to our nightly stash:
    • Manny Man Does Revolutionary Ireland – the oldest loves this book, the illustrations are really engaging and the text sucks them in.  This book is a great introduction to history for younger kids.

      front cover of Dot in the Snow

      Published by: OUP

    • Dot in the Snow – My littlest man loves this book, its so adorable and beautifully illustrated. Its a really lovely Winter tale.
    • The Turkey that voted for Christmas – A funny Christmas tale and again another beautifully illustrated book. I love when 1 December begins that we can introduce some Christmas books to our evening story time.
    • One third Stories – This is a subscription box which comes out monthly in either Spanish or French which contains an original story, activities and an audio book. The story begins in English and finishes in either Spanish or French. This is a really clever concept and metholodogy and to be honest the type of gift that keeps them interested with the new story box arriving monthly. The world is so much more multi cultural and multi lingual and languages will always be at the forefront of this.
  • Don’t forget the ultimate stocking filler of Christmas sweets my pair love to see candy canes and gold coins in their stockings.

Hopefully the above has been some food for thought. Id love to know if you have any ideas we should be considering.

 

 

Real Mum Reviews
Tammymum
Mamma Musings

Minding Mum – What is “me time” to you part 2

I recently wrote this post which discussed what “me time” means and with the help of some lovely fellow bloggers, it become clear “me time” can mean a vast array of things to different people.  Which in itself celebrate the diversity the is among us.  In this instalment I look it it from the point of view of activities as in what kind of activities make up “me time”.  Again im thrilled to have input here from lots of fellow bloggers.  First up – for myself, its an easy one – me time is getting out and going for a long run or a pilates class.  I love the sense of escapism both of these activities provide.

Running/ Exercise

I’m not alone in pounding the payment for some “me time”  Natalie from Plutonium Sox Leyla from Motherhood Diaries and Lucy from Momma Mack also love it as their “me time”.

Gaming/ Online/ TV

I’m guilty myself of getting lost in social media while supposed to be taking time out! However for Sarah Mummy Cat Notes  and Pete from Household Money Saving its gaming such as on the playstation that works for them for others its online gaming such as bingo. In addition taking time to watch that rom com of soap can often give me that much needed switch off time. I do try not to look at social media in bed however im not always dedicated enough to put that phone or tablet away! 

Simple pleasures

Sometimes we can take the simply things in life for granted and it can often be five minutes spent doing an every day task in peace that makes the ideal “me time” for example reading a book, watching TV interrupted or even cooking! For some of my fellow blogger – the blog itself can be a form of espcapeism doing what they enjoy.

Across both posts is abundantly clear that me time can mean so many different things but I think the most important thing is to know what your own “me time” is.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Minding Mum – What is me “me time” to you Part 1

In a hectic world of kids, full time job and blogging, sometimes it can be hard to come off that conveyor belt and take some time for me.  I suffered with blood pressure on both of the boys and while I should have known how important that breather, that five minutes to yourself was, I didn’t and for want of a better explanation I let myself go. The weight piled on, my skin looked awful same goes for my hair, so began a vicious circle where I didn’t want to leave the house. Some gentle intervention from my family and I can happily say im in much better place.

What I realised was that self care was important and self care can mean many different things to different people. I reached out to some of my fellow bloggers for their thoughts on this also.  Such was the reaction to this post that I have split it into two and in this one I focus on beauty.  Ill go first! For me it started with caring for my skin and taking those 10  minutes a day to do just that. I suffered from bad skin in my teens which rectified itself as I hit my twenties, now in the tail end  of my thirties I was back to square on. Some top tips:

  • A good base is crucial, products like  Facial Enhancer are great for deep cleansing and improving texture.
  • Find the moisturiser that works for you, that’s not saying it has to be mega expensive. These days I am loving Ziaja skincare products they are reasonably priced and readily available.
  • As above find an everyday make up brand. I used to begrudge wearing my beloved high end foundation for the school run! Instead I found a good alternative which has turned out to be Elf Cosmetics   incredibly reasonable in price and last the distance too.

So what does “Me Time” mean to others – The Beauty Ed

 

 

Note : This is a collaborative post
Cuddle Fairy

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com