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Baby name inspiration – some help with the difficult decision

We debated at length when naming the boys – reaching a consensus was no easy task! We all know stories of babies who were nameless for weeks or babies whose name were changed in the weeks following birth.  When we were naming the boys I felt a real weight of responsibility after all they would be stuck with the name for the rest of their lives.

I poured over children’s names book – reading the meaning behind them.  Its funny how as they get old they do wonder why we named them what we did or what does their name mean.  Family tradition was important to us and both boys have middles names in keeping with family traditions.

C&G Baby Club have come up with a pretty genius Baby Name Generator to help. You can pick a gender or choose a unisex name, you can explore names or set parameters such as starting with etc or reflective of a particular season.

I just had a nosey at boys names for Spring with Irish origins and have fallen for a beautiful sounding name of “Aeary” meaning Scholar.  I have never heard of this name nor lots of others on the list. Fantastic way of considering less used names of name of particular origins.   Its really user friendly definitely something to keep in mind when having the baby name debate.

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Need some help choosing an engagement ring? Here are some tips!

My younger brother recently got engaged and chatting to his finance made my think about all the considerations to think of when choosing an engagement ring. Its about 9 years since we got engaged but the I still haven’t forgotten all the things that I researched thoroughly when choosing mine.

Size

The average price of diamonds depends on its size, among others, so you have to be certain on the size you want. See the collection of Certified Diamond Network in Sydney and you’ll be amazed by what you will see. Whether you choose to stay small or you raise the size, it all depends on your own personal preferences. 

Clarity

The clarity of the diamond is also important in choosing the engagement ring. You can opt to have a diamond that is very clear.  You might even settle with a diamond that has a lower clarity without you being able to notice the difference. 

Colour

If colour is more of your thing, you can choose to buy a coloured diamond instead. There are many people who would prefer to get a coloured diamond due to its uniqueness. Because the intensity of colours can differ, they will have something that is truly unique from others.

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Cyber Liability Insurance – an overview

What is Cyber Liability Insurance

cyber crime

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The concept of Cyber Liability Insurance was virtually unheard of until recent years however with the increase in the number hacking’s, viruses and data breaches, it is certainly something that companies are putting an increased focus on.  Or if they aren’t they really should seek appropriate advice to see if it is something they should be concerned about.

So why insure? Its quite simple – companies need to try to mitigate against the costs of these things happening.  The cost involved for example in data recovery after a data breach can be substantial and if not rectified quickly and customer confidence restored it could have a potentiality catastrophic affect on your business.

Around there world more and more of us are shopping online from groceries, to clothes to holidays and with this brings increased opportunities for cyber criminals to cast their net with so much of our personal data out there in the online world.  As a business we need to protect these consumers and while Cyber Liability Insurance can help us in the unfortunate event that it happens, it is important to be proactive from the inside.

Ways of reducing Cyber threats to your business

Rigby Financial have produced a summary of measures as an indication of the types of things companies can do to reduce the potential for Cyber Crime for example:

  • Ensure your staff are trained to spot the latest threats.
  • Use data encryption to protect the data on a hard drive so that it can only be accessed with a decryption key rather than just a simple password.
  • Protect hardware by installing doors that require a swipe pass to access a particular room or computer locks for desks. Sounds simple but you would be surprised how many business forget the most simple of controls.

Other things companies can do include for example:

  • Use of strong passwords.
  • Use common sense when it comes to public wi-fi and links in emails
  • If customers can pay on line ensure that appropriate verification of cards is used
  • Keep software and operating systems up to date

The above is a small selection of some of things you can do to protect your business. Do consult a specialist in this area if you have queries. I have seen companies offering one off cyber audits which would be money well spent. As always insurance is to protect if something happens but you do need to take steps to hope you never have to use it!

Note: This is a collaborative post in conjunction with Rigby Financial

 

 

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Tips on adding some colour to your garden

colourful garden bench

Pic Credit: Sloane & Sons Garden Benches

I love my garden and I especially love it in full bloom, full of a gorgeous array of colours, however the weather this time of  year does not lend itself to that as much. The extent of adding colour for me often leads to the use of props, ornaments etc. My husband is a lot more experienced in this area so I leave all things garden related to him! As crazy as it may sound this time of year is the ideal time to start laying the ground work for your winter garden and hopefully giving you a lovely colourful garden at what often is a cold dreary time of year.

Sloane & Sons Garden benches have produced a really useful guide that list the types of flowers that are the most hard wearing to help your garden bloom in Winter. The guide discusses the ten best flowers to grow for the Winter time.

My own personal favourite is Cyclamen.  There is something so magical about seeing them so colourful in full bloom while little else is flowering. Every year we opt for shades of pink and while they do take a little work and maintenance, really this it is worth it. They are also ideal for flowers beds and even indoors. I really love the garden and think taking the time to make it a relaxing space is so worth it regardless of the time of year. While it may take a little effort and research the pay off is so worth it.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Features

Spring is in the air – can you guess the flowers?!

The last couple of mornings I can really notice the brighter mornings, there is definitely a sense that spring is on the way. I really love Spring time more than Summer actually, its symbolic of new beginning, new growth.

We start to see the first of this seasons flowers.  However much I love to look at flowers I am really terrible at knowing what exactly there names are.  When we plant our garden each year I leave that to my husband who has infinitely more knowledge in this space than I do.  Definitely the green fingered person in our house!

For fun we took this can you guess the flowers? Quiz in association with Rattan Direct. Suffice to say my results were pretty dismal and naturally his were pretty good.  Earned himself some bragging rights right there!!

So how well you do – click on the above link and let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Note: This is a colloboration in association with Rattan Direct.

 

 

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Sleep and fertility – is there a link?

Can you imagine how it is not getting any sleep? It is a terrible thought, right? You probably know how rough it is by getting through the day on less than 7 hours of sleep a night- which is too little, as it is best to have at least 8 hours of sleep a night in order to be functioning and to maintain good health.

It is crucial to have enough sleep because it affects your overall health, quality of life, as well as fertility. Because a good night’s sleep helps restore and refresh your brain, organ systems, and helps regulate hormones- that includes hormones that are fertility related.

The same part of the brain that regulates sleep-wake hormones such as cortisol and melatonin also is responsible for regulating productive hormones such as the luteinizing hormone (LH). That is the hormone that triggers ovulation when it rises, and it is also responsible for keeping your menstrual cycle regular.

How it affects fertility

Therefore, if women are not sleeping enough or having a proper quality of sleep (constantly waking up in the night and feeling poorly rested during the day), the lack of sleep could very well affect the release of LH, which can prevent ovulation from happening, and be the cause of irregular cycles.

It is also important to note that in men, lack of sleep can also affect the maturation of sperm so it certainly has negative effects on both men and women.

Not only does lack of sleep cause hormonal imbalance, but it can affect your fertility in other ways such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions as well as obesity.

When you are sleeping poorly, you are going to be prone to craving simple carbs and trans fats. You will be more likely to grab a candy bar or a bag of chips instead of a healthy snack like fruit or veggies in a dip. You will be craving sugar a lot more and it has to do with high cortisol levels.

While lack of sleep can prevent ovulation from happening, you are prone to falling into poor lifestyles, which also means you will be less likely have the energy to exercise. The lack of sleep is keeping your fertility and overall health quite poor as a result.

Not to mention, you will be more than irritable, drowsy and have problems with concentration and memory if your sleep quality is poor. You may be prone to illnesses such as catching viruses easily.

Causes of sleep disorders

There are many things that can cause problems with sleep. If you are not under a considerable amount of stress (which is notorious for causing poor sleep), then you will want to make an appointment with your doctor to make sure there is no underlying cause. In fact, your doctor may want you to have a sleep study done to rule out any underlying issues such as sleep apnea, insomnia or restless legs syndrome.

How to help your fertility

If you are not having any health issues that are getting in the way of your sleep, then you need to start getting back into a good sleep habit where you can get at least 7 hours a sleep each night because daylight and sleep are integral to our biological clocks.

However, if you genuinely feel well rested on less than 7 hours of sleep, it is possible that you don’t require 7 hours to function. Sleep requirements can vary from person to person, and from season to season.

You will also want to get outdoors for a 10-minute walk each day. If you are in a colder climate or if you have been having a lot of rain, you will want to use a lightbox which is a portable unit that allows you to get light when you are stuck indoors. They are often used for the treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

It is also recommended not to work odd hours if you can help it. If you are working late night, or have graveyard shift hours, that can get in the way of your sleep, and cause irregular cycles and reproductive disturbances. If a pregnancy did happen while working odd hours or if you were sleeping poorly, the pregnancy could be at risk as lack of sleep is not good for the unborn baby.

If you are trying to conceive, doing shift work is not recommended for women, and even for men! Your chances of chances of getting pregnant can be affected.

Also, go to bed at the same time every day, even on weekends because a consistent sleep-wake schedule will help you maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

As it is known that stress is a killer for proper sleep, so, therefore, be sure to pay your bills earlier in the day, don’t read disturbing books, or don’t watch disturbing movies, and stay away from websites that could upset you. That will only cause your mind to race which will cause you to fall asleep much later than you had intended when you end up having to wake up just a few hours later!

It is also a good idea to keep lighting dim late at night so it helps you get tired, as bright lights in the evening can actually shift your body clock.

Also, be sure not to drink any coffee later than 2 pm and limit your caffeine intake especially while trying to get pregnant. However, too much caffeine can keep you wired in the evening. The same goes for chocolate. Don’t eat too much of it especially if it is late in the evening.

Given that you are trying to conceive, you will want to avoid alcohol as alcohol also disturbs your sleep. For me personally,  ovulation kits are your friend,  being informed is crucial and knowing when you ovulate can help with getting the timing right as well as being familiar with the cycles your body is going through.  Thus allowing you to plan more precisely.

Last but not least, as tempting as it may be to take something to help you sleep, stay away from melatonin supplements if you are trying to conceive because there is a risk of suppressing your fertility even further!

So do what you can to make sure you are getting a good night sleep, and as long as you feel rested and you are functioning well even on less than 7 hours of sleep (as sleep can vary which was mentioned earlier), and you are taking care of yourself- you can start trying to conceive.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post. Please note if you have any concerns always consult a medical professional.
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
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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.

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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
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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.

 

 

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