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Mamma Fairy

Features

How to celebrate a child’s birthday

No matter how jaded you might be about your own birthdays, there’s something very special about the anniversary of your child’s birth. Not only is it a time for you to take stock, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. There are a number of ways that you can make your child’s birthday extra special, and they don’t all need you to spend what remains of your bank account. If you have a son or daughter who is about to have a birthday, here are three clever ways to ensure that they have a day to remember, and all without spending thousands of pounds.

Take a day trip

It will depend on the kind of hobbies and interests that your child has, but taking them out for the day is always a good idea when it comes to creating a memorable birthday. There are also a vast number of options to choose from, so you’re really only limited by imagination and budget. You could go the low-cost option with some activities like bowling or ice skating (along with a few of their school friends of course). Or, if budget is less of an issue, then you might prefer to take them somewhere more unique, with trips to Harry Potter World UK always being a popular choice, and special offers available for family tickets. Consider what your son or daughter will enjoy, and tailor their birthday around their interests, and you won’t go far wrong.

Go camping

There’s something very unique about a family camping trip. Being out in the fresh air, surrounded by nature, it’s an ideal way to bond together as a family while soaking up the sights and sounds of the natural world. Working together to prepare a meal without the aid of a kitchen is great fun, and having a stroll through the woods or across the beach as the sun starts to set, is something that will never be forgotten. If you’re looking for ways to create experiences that will last forever, then family camping is the ideal solution, and you can even invite other families along as well. For the bravest, there’s also the option of a camping birthday party, however, just remember to invite the adults along as well!

Have a party

Every child loves a birthday party. After all, an event dedicated to them where they are the centre of attention? What could be better? Throw in some presents and being surrounded by friends, and it’s no surprise that birthday parties are the most popular way to celebrate a young birthday. There are quite a few ways to keep the budget down, and there are also some great ways to make the party more unique. The best way is to give the party a theme, so look for the best in boys and girls party themes to make their day all the more special. Making the party about something they’re interested in is a great way to minimise the risk of any frustrations or tantrums on the day itself.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to a child’s birthday party is that you should talk to them about it. Finding out what they want to do is the best way to get the most out of the day. It may take some compromise, and you may not be able to get the unicorn or superhero that they want, but creating the best birthday memories is not the challenge or the expense that most parents seem to believe. Memories are about experiences, not budget.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Fairy Travels

4 Top Ideas For A Family Getaway

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Pic Credit: Pixabay

When planning a family getaway, it’s important to keep everybody happy so consider your options and ask each and every member before going ahead and cementing plans. Since this will be a family holiday, it’ll likely be taking place during a holiday season of some sort – over the summer, during Easter, or over the festive period for example. So, some of your choices are already decided for you somewhat, as summer usually means heading to the beach for summer activity fun while the winter dictates staying cosy, warm, and getting into the Christmas spirit. Whenever your getaway may be, try to strike a healthy mix between fun and excitement (for the kids) and relaxation and chill time (for you).  

City Centre Fun

City holidays always appeal to me and next on our city bucket list is London.  Recently we have been to Berlin and Hamburg. London is brimming with activities to keep you and your family entertained, so begin concocting an itinerary and booking tickets and making reservations as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. London musical tickets should be purchased in plenty of time as many West End shows sell out extremely quickly during peak holiday times when kids have broken up from school. Some of the most popular musicals for kids include The Lion King, Aladdin, and Wicked – telling the untold tale of The Witches of Oz. As long as you book in advance, you should be able to come by some great accommodation deals, so browse through sites such as Airbnb, Trivago,  or my favourite booking.com, and even Hostelworld to find a basic but private room.

To The Beach

fun on beach

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Beach days can be nostalgic for you, filled with an abundance of sun, sea, and ice cream, and thoroughly good fun for your kids. So, where’s the catch? Well, providing you know how to be safe around the sun, then there isn’t one but you must be sure to pack up waterproof sun cream, bottled water, a windbreak, and a large parasol so to keep the sun off your skin during the hottest part of the day (between 12 – 3pm). 

Camping

Camping is traditionally good fun for all the family, and what’s more, you needn’t leave your pooch at home. You have a multitude of options when you come to shape your travel plans as you can pack up your car with your tent and cooking equipment, and then drive to your destination, hire a campervan for the duration of your trip, or leave home with backpacks filled with all the items you need and a sturdy pair of walking boots on foot. The last option is the least child-friendly as it requires walking over a long distance, so the former options might be the most appropriate, especially if you’re children are under the age of about 12.

Theme Parks

Theme parks and adventure parks never seem to disappoint, but before booking your accommodation to stay onsite, ensure that you’ve visited a funfair or similar recently so that you know your kids won’t be too scared to aboard the variety of roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and log flumes found there. Consider crossing the channel to visit Disneyland Paris and spending time meeting the likes of Goofy, Pluto, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Tigger, Winnie-the-Pooh, and the Seven Dwarfs.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Spruce up Your Outdoor Spaces to Add Value to Your Home

Every time you make a home improvement it is worth thinking about how to do it in a way that adds value. Provided you do that, when the kids have left and you want to downsize you will improve your chances of making a big profit on your house sale. There are lots of ways to add value to a family home. One of them is to upgrade your outdoor spaces. A nicely landscaped garden can enable you to sell your house for up to 20% more. It also greatly improves the curb appeal of your property, which will tempt more potential buyers to view it.

Plant a tree

Perhaps the fastest way to add value to your property is to buy a tree from somewhere like The Tree Center and plant it. You just need to choose one that will grow well in your climate. When deciding which tree you will plant take the time to find out how big it will grow. This will help you to work out how far away from your home it should be planted. You should also find out how far the root system will spread. The roots of plants can do a lot of damage, especially if they reach your drains, or worse, the foundations of your house.

Maintain your guttering

Keeping your gutters clear of debris is an important task. Usually, you will only need to do it once a year.

Failing to do so, can lead to your property being badly damaged. If water does not drain away properly, it can easily get into the fabric of your building. Once it is in the roof or walls it will spread and can cause a huge amount of damage. When that happens, the value of your home will fall drastically.

Create more private space

People like to spend time outside, but, when they do so they do not like to be overlooked. As a result, planting a hedge or installing a fence can make a house more appealing to potential buyers.

Build an outdoor dining area

Creating somewhere for the family to eat outdoors is also a good idea. If you have the budget, consider building an outdoor kitchen. This article will help you to work out if it is worth doing so in your case.

Install patio or French doors

Connecting your garden to the rest of your home using full-length glass doors will improve your house in several ways. It will let more light into the room, and ensure that the view of your garden can be enjoyed.

As you can see, improving the curb appeal of your property is not hard to do. You do not need to invest a lot of money to make your outdoor spaces more appealing. This is means that you can get a great level of return on your investment. Plus, your family will be able to enjoy spending more time outdoors in a pleasant environment. So, it is hard to think of a reason not to invest a little time and money in improving your outdoor spaces.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

5 Cleaning Solutions to Stay on Trend

It is not easy going to work, taking care of your family, having a social life and keeping the house spotless. Cleaning up is a mammoth task, but thanks to technology, life has become so much easier.

You no longer need to spend hours vacuuming the floor or take turns to do the bathroom because the latest on-trend cleaning gadgets, such as a vacuflo vacuum, robotic window cleaners, and sanitizing wands will do the job just right.

From carpets and window sills to microwaves and refrigerators, these trendy cleaning gadgets are not just low on effort, but also very effective. So, brace yourselves and get ready to come back home to a neat, clean, and tidy space with these 5 cleaning solutions that will do the magic and save you time.

Window Cleaning Robots

Yes, you heard that right—window cleaning robots exist and are here to make window cleaning a breeze. We all agree that cleaning windows can get quite painful. Whatever you do, there will always be some pesky residue left and after all that effort, that can be quite a disappointing sight.  So, how does one get that sparkling, professional finish?

Turn to your personal window cleaning robot and trust it to clean every little corner irrespective of the size of the window. These robots run on battery and once latched on the window, begin the cleaning process.

If you wish to have control over it, you can opt for a remote-enabled cleaning robot, otherwise an automated one works just fine. You will need to change the spare parts of the window cleaning robots from time to time, hence ensure you choose the one whose spare parts are readily available.

Vacuflo Vacuum

Have you ever wondered if the portable vacuums you’ve been relying on are effective enough? Well, there is a better solution. With the centralized vacuflo vacuum you can get your entire house cleaned swiftly and with better results than ever before. This powerful system provides superior cleaning solutions, keeping your home healthy and pollutant-free.  Confused where to begin? We suggest you turn to Gary’s Vacuflo Central Vacuum Systems to choose the perfect fit suited to your home’s needs and size.  Consisting of true cyclonic, filtered cyclonic and a replaceable filter bag, Gary’s Vacuflo promises to eliminate 100% of vacuumed dust and allergens from your home through in-wall tubing. Not just that, unlike other central vacuum systems that depend on permanent cloth filters to do the job, its performance is unaffected by the accumulation of dirt.

Thanks to this centralized vacuum system, you do not need to drag a bulky vacuum cleaner around anymore. All you need to do is move the lightweight hose from the strategically located inlets in your home. And, the central power and dust collector can be placed in the basement or a garage. Then simply empty the system of dust and debri about once every three months as needed.  

Central vacuum systems come with multiple benefits such as circulation of healthier air, lesser noise pollution, greater convenience, and they also help in increasing the resale value of your home. Now this is a cleaning solution we can get behind!

Sonic Scrubber

Hate to do the dishes, but have no other option? Make sonic scrubbers your new best friend. Resembling a toothbrush, this scrubber can be used to clean dishes, sinks, bathrooms, countertops, refrigerators, and even your car.   The best part is that you can get rid of germs and dirt on surfaces without having to even touch them!

This multi-purpose scrubber comes with different types of detachable cleaning heads that can be accordingly used based on the kind of surface they are meant to clean. Known to be over 25 times faster than manual scrubbing, the brush heads oscillate more than 10,000 times per minute leading to quicker and effective cleaning.

Not only is it lightweight and portable, but it is also very versatile. A must-have cleaning gadget, this one scrubs away the most stubborn stains and reduces cleaning time and effort. A treat for all those who hate cleaning, isn’t it?

Automatic Toilet Cleaner

Cleaning the toilet bowl is often a chore that causes a visible cringe and no one wants this task. Even though this is a supremely essential exercise, it is definitely not a pleasant one.  Toilet cleaners are required to remove harmful bacteria and leave a pleasant scent. But, if you thought the only way to do this was to manually clean, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that automatic toilet cleaners do a great job too.    You can say goodbye to scrubbing and bleaching because automatic toilet cleaners remove stains, keep your bathrooms fresh, and prevent the formation of mineral stains one flush at a time. 

Sanitizing Wands

Imagine moving a wand over a contaminated area and have it instantly go from dirty to clean. This is now reality.  Sanitizing wands are basically magic wands in the world of cleaning. They were earlier only used in hospitals, but are now also used for domestic cleaning purpose.  Sanitizing wands make use of ultraviolet light to destroy germs. While they are easy to use, ensure you follow the directions and hold the wand in the right position for the appropriate amount of time to get the best results.

This portable, handheld sanitizer runs on batteries and disinfects surfaces in seconds. What’s more, you can also use it to clean awkward places that are rather difficult cleanse, but is likely carrying germs such as remote controls, under kitchen appliances, and all those corners that are difficult to access. If you are wary of disinfectant sprays or often suffer from allergies, sanitizing wands will do wonders for you.  While cleaning is a chore, these trendy solutions sure do take the stress, time, and effort away, allowing you to devote your time to things you enjoy most like spending time with the kids and getting outside in nature.

So, go ahead and give these cleaning solutions a shot. Make life easier for yourself without compromising on the quality of home.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

How much is your Silver worth

silver candle sticks

Image by LR Annie Spratt via Flickr

A lot of people will inherit antiques and old furniture from family and loved ones when they pass away. We often do not have a lot of room for other people’s possessions in our home, so one alternative is to sell these unwanted items. You can get some excellent advice on the value of old things on the Forbes website, and below you can read more about valuing your silver that you want to sell. Knowing the value of silver antiques is also helpful when you’re purchasing such antique pieces online or from your local antique dealer. The price of an item will not only be dictated by the current market price of silver, but also of the rarity of the object itself, and there are a few considerations that you need to consider.

Silver Plated Objects

If you have any silver that you want to know the value of, the first thing that you will need to do is find out if it is silver plated or not. Silver plating is when a base metal is used which is of a lower value, and then a layer of silver is added creating the illusion that the object is solid silver. You can often tell by picking up an item if it is solid silver or not, as silver-plated objects are usually lighter than solid silver ones. If you are in any doubt, you will be able to take the object to a local jeweller or pawn shop, and they will be able to confirm whether it is silver plated or not.

Sterling Silver

If you have sterling silver items, then these will be solid silver and should also have a hallmark confirming as such. Solid silver pieces will usually either be pure silver or made up of 0.925 parts silver, with 0.075 parts copper. You may see any of the following marks on the silver to confirm its purity;

  • Sterling
  • 925/1000
  • 0.925

If you have solid silver objects such as antique silver, then the value is going to be a lot more than if the item was plated.

The Current Price Of Silver

The next thing that you will need to do is to work out the weight of the silver you have and look at the current prices of silver. You can get the latest market prices on the Bloomberg website, which is regularly updated as the market price changes. When you know the weight of the silver and the current price, you will be able to work out a rough value.

Additional Factors To Consider

There are other factors that you need to consider when trying to value silver. If you are going to sell your silver to someone like a precious metal dealer or a pawn shop, they will often charge you a smelting fee to melt the silver down and recycle it. Another consideration is the aesthetic value of the piece, as you could have silver jewellery that is worth more than the scrap value as it is rare, exquisite, or just beautiful. You could find that someone is willing to pay a little more for the item as they have fallen in love with it. As such, if you do look to sell your silver, you may wish to try selling it privately to a collector before using the services of a pawn shop, depending on how quickly you need the cash.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Reviews for Mama & Babas

Your Smile Direct – an update

Your Smile Direct

You might remember a post from earlier this year where I shared my thoughts of my new smile journey from Your Smile Direct after the first month. I am well over the half way point and thought it was the ideal time to give you a further update.  There will be progress pictures  but ill keep you in suspense a little longer! I have shared lots on Twitter over the last few months so this isn’t going to come as a surprise but I LOVE LOVE LOVE my teeth and the changes that have taken place.

Since my early 20s I have always been so conscious of my teeth, hating photos and never smiling when dragged into one.  Not anymore…..I am not over reacting when I say making time for me and doing something for me has given me a confidence I didn’t know I had.  The biggest benefit of the Your Smile Direct aligners is their ease of use and portability.  Since I began my treatment I have been to Hamburg  and Berlin with zero issues taking and using my aligners.

If you are thinking of taking this journey and like me your constantly on the go I can highly recommend Your Smile Direct. Between work, kids and our love of travel I have really put them to the test.  And they consistently deliver. Watching the progress has been pretty incredible. I remember looking at aligners sets 7,8,9 and thinking no way will my teeth ever look like that. But guess what they do and im so thrilled.

People are complimenting me on my teeth, honestly that would never have happened 4 or 5 months ago.  Rather than keep you in suspense any longer here are some progress pictures from the last 4 months.  ……

Its hard not to be impressed, the difference is so noticeable, add that to the fact I smile so much more.  If you are thinking of a treatment like this a couple of reasons from my personal experience why you should choose Your Smile Direct:

  • Excellent customer service, always available to help and advise
  • The aligners are so easy to use and fit perfectly in when travelling or running around after busy kids!
  • Just look at the difference in such a short space of time – in short they work
  • Very budget friendly
  • If in doubt book a consultation to see if you are suitable and the staff there will take time with you to guide you through the options
  • Us mammies need to look after ourselves and this was my thing.  To say im happy is an understament and lets be honest happy mammy equals happy kids.

 

Im always happy to anwer questions on my new smile journey either comment below, email or on any social media.

 

 

Fairy Travels

How to Explore Europe

Europe is a unique destination with a variety of cities and cultures. You may have recently realised that you live in or near Europe and that you haven’t yet explored all of the beautiful places that it has to offer. If this is the case, now is the perfect time to explore some of its sandy beaches, unique and historic structures, and diverse food. When you realise that Europe is filled with so many countries, you may be thinking about the best approach to take when starting your explorations. To help you out, this article is going to tell you how you can explore Europe so that you get the most out of your excursions.

aeroplane wings

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Choose Your Destinations

Seeing as there are so many destinations to choose from, that should be one of the first things you do when exploring Europe. Research the many places that there are to go and see which ones tickle your fancy the most. You can start by exploring some of the VacationRenter guides and seeing which destinations and activities are most appealing to you. You should also be open to the idea of visiting multiple destinations in one trip that may be neighboring or close enough to explore. The idea should be to get as much out of your trip as you can.

Look for Packages

When exploring Europe, you should look for packages, especially if you’re going with family. The goal should be to pay as little as possible and scout for discounts. You should be thinking about features which include activities, transportation, and accommodation. There is also the choice of choosing to create a package on your own, however, that could prove to be time-consuming. In addition, when looking for affordable packages, try going to the most affordable countries in Europe first such as Palma Majorca, Berlin, Rome, Italy, France, Malta, and Croatia to name a few.

Travel During Low Peak

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Pic Credit: Pixbay

Another way to explore Europe is by travelling during unpopular periods. This may not be ideal if you have kids that are still in school, but doing so could mean you save a lot of money and are able to cover more grounds. Apparently, from March to June and September to October are the best times to explore Europe. Depending on the country you‘re going to, it’s best to go when there aren’t major holidays like summer vacation, Christmas, Easter and New Year’s. It’s also best to book a month or two before travelling and also explore the possibility of doing short weekend trips as well if you live in Europe.

Do Your Research

When looking to explore Europe, it’s always a good idea to do your research ahead of time. Find out what activities and landmarks you want to see beforehand so that you’re able to plan your trip in the best way possible. Some of the best places to explore in Europe include Prague, Germany, Austria, London, Venice, Paris, and Rome.

Exploring Europe should be an enjoyable experience as there’s so much to see and learn. You’re bound to gain a fresh perspective on life with each destination you visit and it’s also something that family can experience alongside you. On that note, next time you’re visiting Europe, don’t forget to be open-minded, flexible and plan ahead.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

A glimpse at the main man in the Mamma Fairy house

So who is the Dada Fairy, the man who much prefers to stay in the background? Everybody knows I like to write, to blog, to ramble, to talk…..but what does the Dada Fairy do with his spare time??

car racing

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Well, to put it mildly he is car mad! Whether that’s racing, cleaning, looking at them, he doesn’t discriminate he loves it all equally!  Myself on the other hand can just about drive a car! However years of living with a car fanatic have taught me a few things. Roll back 10 years and I wouldn’t have had a clue what a slipstream was. Now I can talk somewhat confidentially about slipstreaming or in layman’s terms when a vehicle takes advantage of the space behind another vehicle where there are decreased air and wind resistance.

While I am nor will I ever be any kind of expert on motor sports. My knowledge does extend to having a vague knowledge of preparing for racing or track days to those more in the know. To be honest some of the tips here can be extended to everyday driving life, whether that’s proper servicing, safety features in the car such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits and critically proper tyres. The emphasis of this  cannot be stressed enough.

While I may not be into racing in the way that the Dada Fairy is id love so much to be driven in a racing car or maybe something a little gentler on the nerves like a driving experience in an Aston Martin or Ferrari. Now that is the kind of motor sport I can really get behind!!

I think its funny how in relationship while we are very much independent we do tend to gravitate to having a tangential interest in what the other person is doing. While he wouldn’t be into blogging he will happily chat to me about it even suggesting topics or new things to try on the blog. I suppose that’s how relationships work, its the give and take, the compromise and taking an interest in what the other is doing.

Anybody else with a car fanatic other half?? Do tell me more……..

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

 

Reviews for Mama & Babas

Hedbanz Game – Our Review

headbanz game

Pic Credit: Spinmaster

We love board games in the Mamma Fairy house. We have reviewed many different ones in the past. In a world so engrossed in all things techy I love being able to drag my pair away and have some good old fashioned fun.

Hedbanz arrived in perfect time for our road trip to Lough Erne Resort.   Hedbanz is the ideal travel game no batteries needed and you can quite easily adapt it to play it on the road.  You simply have  to guess  ‘What am I?’  based on the card on the headband on your head. Very easy game for 2-6 players and equally as much fun whether you have 2 or 6 players.

I love the sheer simplicity of this game. The fact it forces you to engage your brain and think what exactly you could be either an animal, food or an object. The game comes with s 68 clue cards, 6 question cards, 6 headbands, timer & 24 chips. The suggested age is 7 upward however I can safely say ages 6 to 60+ enjoyed this one.

I think this game is a really great and reasonably priced option for birthday gifts or dare I say the C word. Santa has a tradition of bringing a board game to this house, more specifically one for all the family to enjoy when the turkey and roses are long devoured. If you are thinking of something like this. You wont be disappointed. So much fun  and most importantly can be enjoyed from 6 to 60+ as it was in our house.

 

Note: We were sent this game to review however all view are mine or the boys where appropriate.

 

 

Mamma Reviews

Parenting 101: New Ways to Unwind After A Long Day

Parenting is a job that is around the clock and as a result, can be pretty demanding. Your days usually consist of high-energy kids, tidying up, meal planning, and trying to minimise the chaos. As a result, you may often find that you’re extremely tired on some days and desperately looking for a pause button. The reality that there is no visible pause button as a parent, so you have to create one of your own.  You may be reading this because you’re in dire need of some relaxation and need a few ideas on how to get it. If so, you’re in the right place as you’re going to find three ways that you can unwind after a long day below.

Bubble Bath

When looking for ways to unwind after a long day, one of the first things to consider is a bubble bath. This is a great way to unwind physically as parenting and working can be somewhat draining. In addition to this, a warm and soothing bubble bath can also give you the opportunity to clear your head and arrange your thoughts. There are so many bath products out there and all of them serve different purposes in terms of how they make you feel. Some bath products to consider trying include the Laura Mercier Crème Brulee Honey Bath, Molton Brown Delicious Rhubarb & Rose Bath & Shower Gel, Origins Ginger Bubble Bath, and Floris Rose Geranium Bath Essence. If you drink wine, you could also consider having a glass with accompanying music.

Nature Walk

For all nature loving parents out there, another idea to consider is taking a walk in nature after a long day. The good thing about this is that there are several places locally that you’re likely to find glorious park or woodlands to explore, so you don’t have to go far to do this. You could decide to sit in your garden if you have one, take a walk in the park or walk around your neighborhood.

Try New Hobbies

Finding a new hobby can be exactly what the doctor ordered. You could try meditating, yoga or even gardening. If you enjoy vaping, then you could even head to redjuice.co.uk and view the abundance of flavours which include refreshing apple, tangy citrus or e-liquids that resemble a custard tart. Either try something new, or if you have a hobby you already love, make more time for it.

Relaxing Exercises

Sometimes, the best way to unwind is by engaging yourself in relaxing exercises. There are several types that have the ability to help you relax your body as well as reduce stress levels. For starters, you could try breathing exercises for stress which you can do before exercise or before bed. To do this, make yourself comfortable and let your breath flow deep down into your belly through your nose and then slowly breath out through your mouth. Aside from breathing exercises, you can also try yoga and stretching as they can also be quite relaxing as well.

Parenting is a job that takes you through a whirlwind of emotions. It teaches you how to multitask, manage, and balance, but while learning these things, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and burnt out. However, by taking time out to unwind every day, you should find that you have time to regather yourself and start afresh.

Note: This is a collaborative post