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Mamma Fairy

Features

Surviving Cold and Flus – Some more advice!

Last weeks post on surviving colds and flu’s received a lot of interest and I had lots of lovely messages from readers sharing their own tips and advice. One emails caught my eye and I though it was a really useful infographic that was worth sharing with you.

See below for a wonderful list of Natural things that you can do right from the comfort of home to help your family members make it through a bad cold or flu and ease all their symptoms with this list of Natural Home Remedies.

Source: http://homeremediesforlife.com.

10 Powerful Doctor Approved Flu Remedies To Help Loved Ones

In summary:

  • Hydration: Flu dehydrates us. Doctors suggest that drinking plenty of water and liquids improves the immune system and flushes out the infection.
  • Vitamin D: Sunshine is a great source of natural warmth and vitamin D, sunshine boosts the fighting capacity of the body, drives away the sick feeling and rejuvenates the body.
  • Garlic: Rich in organic sulfur (an antimicrobial), try including garlic in your diet. According to doctors, raw garlic not only alleviates the cold but erases any chances of new infections.
  • Chicken Soup: There is nothing more comforting than a hot chicken broth. To make it tastier and more effective, sprinkle some black pepper, lemon juice and your favorite herbs like thyme and oregano.
  • Ginger: When crushed and mixed with honey, ginger has a soothing effect on the throat. You can also consume it as a tea by dicing some slices into the water along with salt and honey and simmering it for a few minutes.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is more than just a tasty fall season spice. With its warm nature, the spice provides relief in congestion and inflammation of the respiratory system. Sprinkle some on your oatmeal or simply add it to your tea or coffee.
  • Vapour Steam: A really powerful doctor approved home-remedy is to cover your head with a towel and take steam from hot water infused with herbs or your favourite vapour rub.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Natural and effective, ACV works best in flu remedies when a teaspoon is taken with warm water and honey.
  • Yogurt: The probiotics in yogurt kill the bad bacteria causing flu. Including it in your daily diet can do wonders.
  • Salt Water: Simply mix a teaspoon of sea salt to warm water and gargle with it frequently to get immediate relief in throat infection.

 

Above all, remember love is the best medicine! So, love them more when they are sick and need it the most and when it’s your turn enjoy the same kind of pampering. (Let’s Hope anyways)

Mamma Reviews

More2Explore Adventure belt

More2Explore Adventure Belt Review

Before I had kids I used to say id never use any of those reins type product for my kids. Roll forward five years and two kids and I have a different view. My oldest is the epitome of sensible from the day he was born my second man well……he is a whole different ball game! Wild with a capital W. At 2 and a half he is not quite out of the buggy but also not quite ready to grasp that he needs to hold our hands as little Houdini can vanish very quickly. And yes I’m speaking from experience!

adventure belt in use

Adventure belt in action

Back in September we were sent the Adventure belt to review by More2Explore and I though bingo….ideal for our upcoming trip to Alvor.  We were about 1 km from the village and we decided to walk down for breakfast one morning and rather than usual buggy battle followed by “I no need hold your hand” we used the Adventure Belt, well my husband did! He is incredibly safety conscious when it comes to the kids and he thought it was fantastic compared to the traditional style reins.

Mamma Fairy Verdict

I approached this product with an open mind and ended up loving it and that’s both myself and my husband giving it a thumbs up. Littlest man used it with no complaints. Its more discreet with it being the belt type so no backpack or wrist type reins. There is a clever safety clip that little Houdini cant escape from and most of all it give the kids the sense of freedom and the parents the sense of security that they aren’t far away.  For the next few years I see this as being  suitcase staple for us.

 

 

 

 

Mamma Reviews

kiddiewinkles personalised toy basket

Peronalised Toy Basket Review

As I have mentioned previously on the blog we have been renovating the house of the last number of years.  The last big task was the boys play room.  When Kiddiewinkles asked if wanted to review a personalised toy basket, I thought it would be an ideal addition to the boys room and hopefully clear away the toys which never seem to make it back to presses!!

toy basket full of toys

Personalised Toy basket from Kiddiewinkles

We personalised the basket with their surnames which they totally loved. We choose the blue gingham design as it complemented the room colour scheme perfectly. Have a look on their site above, there is a huge selection of fabulous colours and patterns.

 

The personalisation is the big thing for my pair. They adore anything with their names on it!!

What we thought:

  • Quality –  amazing, its durable, hard wearing and survived being used as a boat by my pair!
  • Size – the basket is deceptively large, it holds a huge amount more that a first glance when this neatly folded package landed at my door (see opposite – spot our much used Spider Catcher !!)
  • Value – at £25 plus extra for personalisation this product in my view is excellent value and would make an ideal Christmas present and with the huge number of options of patterns there is definitely something for everybody.

Overall its a thumbs up from my pair who just love seeing their name in lights!

 

Thanks to Kidiewinkles for sending it to us however this in my way influences mine or the boys views.

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

Emerging from Cold and flu season – survival tips!

I actually think I can see the light! Slowly but surely the haze is lifting and I am not chasing after the kids with tissues, the kids are no longer waking every five minutes as their cough is bothering them. We had our first foray into the primary school system this year and as predicated the notes home (and the colds!) just kept coming, from chicken pox to scarlet fever.  I’d open his school bag each day with trepidation wondering what weird and wonderful childhood illness could I expect next!! We got there and fingers crossed the run up to Christmas will be snot and cough free!

Some survival tips:

While I am by no means a medical expert some of the things that worked for us were:

  • Get the right medication – sounds simple but its critical. My oldest has a terrible chesty cough and I was able to get the required diagnosis and recommendation for Benylin without having to leave the house.  Add to that Vicks on thier feet back and chest. I have no idea why the Vicks works on their feet but it really does. I did it myself when struck with colds.
  • Baths and more baths  – while I don”t believe they get rid of the colds, they really helped relax the boys. I used a few drops of tea tree and lavender in bath as well as my current favourite Mustela products.  My pair still love to be massaged and the bath oil is divine, if like me you have kids who hate getting their hair washed check out their foam shampoo makes the hair wash battle so much easier.  My mother swears by he steam from the bath being great for those chesty coughs and she is right, before bed time it works great.

    row-juices

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • Bedroom set up – When they are bunged up with head colds, elevating the pillow a little really helps. My own father suffers with coughs regularly and he insisted we try his Dyson hot and cold air purifier in the boys room for a while.  While I just couldn’t justify the spending on it, it really is fantastic – it removes 99& of allergens and pollutants from the air and keeps the room at a lovely warm consistent temperature. We are just finished building our extension and I was attributing the cough to dust etc so I was keen to use this is in their room as a preventative measure. Not only that I think the gently hum of the fan and the consistent temperature sent them off into a deep sleep!
  • Food – I am a firm believer in food aiding all ills and when any of us grown ups or the kids are struck down with the dreaded cold, my go to recipe for the Vit C laded soup is One Yummy Mummy’s Carrot and Orange soup.  Seriously tasty and good for you too. I am also a firm believer in juicing however it takes a little more coaxing to get the juices into them!   Not forgetting water and ,more water. Thankfully the boys like drinking it so this one isn’t to much hassle.
  • Hygiene – I am a tad freaky about this. I am forever preaching to the boys about hand hygiene – keep those germs contained!!!

 

Note: this is collaborative post

 

You Baby Me Mummy
Fairy Travels

Honeymoon stopover in Bangkok

bangkok-temple

Photo Credit: Baked by Mummy Iris

We spent a wonderful couple of weeks on our honeymoon in Australia however one of the surprise highlights was a 48 hour stop off in Thailand. We booked our trip through an agency and the lovely lady who assisted us asked where did we want to stop over and our reply “surprise us” and that she did. We were off for a whirlwind trip to Bangkok.  I didn’t have any expectations of what to expect, we were on honeymoon so we were totally chilled.

We did book a central five star hotel, we were honeymooners after all! Recently I have seen Destination2 offering similar package breaks with great selections of hotels from 3 stars up.  I like the security of package trips for long haul travel.

 

What we did – Day 1

photo-bangkok-temple

Photo with thanks to the lovely http://www.bakedbymummyiris.com/ for more great travel photos check our her insta @bakedbymummyiris

We arrived mid afternoon and one of the first things we had booked was the Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya River.  One word – INCREDIBLE, it really was. It gave us a brilliant chance to get our bearings and have some nice chilled out time, food was good and the local beer was flowing. There was live entertainment on board too.  The atmosphere was great on board, the staff were fantastic and we saw the beautiful  Grand Palace and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) lit up at night amongst many other beautiful illuminated sights.

Bangkok- MBK- Shopping

Bangkoks MBK

Following that we wandered around sampling the local food stalls at the night markets, I can still feel the buzz of it, was late into the night and the place was very much alive. Bangkok lives up to its reputation, it is bustling, vibrant and very much alive day and night.

What we did – Day 2

After some well needed rest, the following morning we headed for the world famous MBK Center. I was like a kid at Christmas with excitement, over 2000 shops all under the one roof!! Whats not to love! We took the Sky train there which was an experience in itself . Its a high speed train that’s elevated over the roads. So efficient and it was spotless!

The second evening we went back to sample the endless options being served up by the street vendors – I can still taste the pork satay! Seriously yum.  We ended up wandering towards Chinatown. This has to been seen to be believed a stunning fusion of the two cultures with food so divine, it would be rude not to sample and we thoroughly enjoyed sampling the variety of foods on offer. We made our way back to our hotel (on a Tuk Tuk!!), the hotel had got wind of our wedding and presented us with 2 cocktails served in Tuk Tuk shaped glasses which they gave us to keep. A lovely end to a memorable few days in an action packed city.

We have vowed to return and I really think we will some day when the kids are a bit older.

Note: This is a collaborative post and special thanks to Iris who writes at www.bakedbymummyiris.com and shares her own travel journeys on her instagram @bakedbymummyiris

 

 

 

Cuddle Fairy
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