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Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

Hanging Abstract Wall Art and Making It Work in Your Home

Abstract art is a particularly sensitive style of wall art in your home. While there are some brilliant pieces out there from both emerging and established artists, you need to get the right one so that it doesn’t end up looking pretentious or out of place. When it does work though, it can make a room look so much better and different at the same time. In case you have an interest in the abstract, but can’t quite decide how to go about using it in your home for wall decoration, here are a few tips which should help with that.

Matching and Complementing

interiors picture abstract

Pic Credit: Pixabay

There are many ways to go about it, but we will deal with the matching approach first. This is when you are trying to match the wall art with the overall theme of the room; for example, a room designed in the minimalist color palette and theme will benefit from a piece of abstract art that isn’t too heavy on the hues. It can still have some color in it of course, but they should not be too vibrant or the piece will stand out, looking out of place. The key is to remember that we are trying to complement the décor of the room and enhance it with wall art here.

The Focal Point

A colorful room with a dominant hue or bold highlights usually needs at least one focal point and your next wall art could be exactly that. For example, imagine a dining room themed in orange, which has an orange-themed abstract piece hanging on the wall right next to the dining table. Not only will the art be complementing the décor of the room but it will also turn into a focal point for your guests to marvel at during dinner. The best part about using this approach is the fact that you can show off your wall art without looking like you are trying to.

Contrasting Approach

If you are particularly fond of the abstract and would not mind if it stood out like the clear and obvious focal point which you want it to be, then feel free to contrast your room’s general décor with the art on the wall. Vibrant colors in a minimalist, black and white room or an oversized, hypnotic piece covering almost the entire wall of the drawing room are good examples of the contrast approach. The role of the piece is simple here; catch the attention of the onlooker instantly and constantly.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that art has a way of calling to its patrons. It’s an expression of the human soul painted on a canvas, so the appeal is definitely the most important factor here. At websites such as FineArtAmerica.com which is the world’s largest online marketplace for art, you will find an extensive selection of pieces from contemporary artists around the world.

Just by taking a look through the different artists and their works, you will not only find what you are looking for but may even be spoilt for choice.

Note: this is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

8 Ways to Save Money on Grocery Shopping

While there are certain expenses you can skip when you need to save a little extra money in your budget, there’s one thing you’ll never be able to do without – and that’s food. Although cooking at home is less expensive than eating out, you’ll still find yourself spending more and more on groceries as prices continue to skyrocket. This could mean that you have an even harder time sticking to your ideal budget.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet lately, and you need a little extra help, the good news is that you can still cut down the cost of your groceries, without having to compromise on nutrition. Here, we’ll look at eight simple ways you can save on your grocery shopping so that you can keep more cash in your wallet!

Money saving jar

Pic Credit: Pixabay

1 – Make the Most of Loyalty Programs

While not every grocery store has a loyalty program, there are various big-name brands that are happy to reward shoppers that stay with them week-in, week-out. Loyalty cards are a free way to save extra money on many of the items you frequently purchase. What’s more, as an added feature, you’ll be able to enjoy significant discounts on other items like gas too!

2- Always Shop the Deals

If you’re not sure what you should be eating in the week ahead, it might be a good idea to check the offers online or see what’s on sale in your grocery store before you plan your meals. This will help you to make the most of the deals available when you’re looking for a cheaper menu. At the same time, if you know there’s a particular food that you like that’s either non-perishable or freezable on offer, make sure that you stock up in advance

3 -Download a Cashback App

There are plenty of cashback websites and apps today that can help you save some serious money on your grocery shopping. All you need to do to make the most of the experience is find a cashback website that offers deals in your favorite supermarket and sign up for a free membership. The guidelines on what you will need to do to claim your cashback should be included in the terms and conditions on the app or website.

4 – Buy Own-Brand

Grocery shopping

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Most of the time, when you buy expensive big-brand products, what you’re really paying for is the ability to say that you’ve bought something from a specific company. Generally, you’ll be able to get the same flavors and meals for a much lower price if you go the own-brand route instead. Remember, some companies will pay a premium to have their foods displayed at eye-level on the shelves. This means that if you want to get the best deals, you should also check the bottom and top layers in the aisles too.

5 – Make the Most of Coupons

Coupons really can help you save a lot more than you might think. You don’t need to necessarily go extreme with your vouchers and coupon codes to enjoy the benefits. Instead, you should focus on finding coupons for the items that you want, need, and generally buy the most often. If you can afford to, you might also think about using coupons to purchase products you can’t typically afford because of their expense.

6 – Buy Some Things in Bulk

While you might not be able to buy many perishable items and fresh fruits in bulk, that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve great cost savings by bulk-shopping for other alternatives. If you know that you eat a lot of pasta and cereal, then buying it in bulk shouldn’t be a problem. Ultimately, your aim should be to buy products that you’re going to keep using for months into the future. Just don’t buy anything that you think might go to waste.

7  – Make Healthy Choices

In some cases, eating healthier foods could actually save you money. Researchers suggest that when families go on weight-loss diets, they typically reduce their food budgets. Generally, savings can come from reducing portion sizes, but they can also be attributed to spending less money on high-calorie foods at the grocery store. Think about how you can switch to more healthy options.

8 – Frozen, Canned and Dried

Finally, the next time you’re buying ingredients for a meal, try using canned, frozen, or dried foods instead. This can be less expensive than using fresh foods, and equally nutritious too. Most of the time, produce is frozen and dried at the time when it’s most ripe, so you’ll get plenty of nutrients. Additionally, poultry and fish are flash-frozen to reduce freezer damage and give you lots of fresh flavor.

Note: this is a collaborative post 
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
Mamma Musings

Avoiding the Dental Hygiene Mistakes That Most Parents Make

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

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

Educate yourself

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

Baby teeth really do matter

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

 

Set a good example

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

Teach your children about sugar

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

 

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

 

Supervise your child´s teeth cleaning

 

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

 

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

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

 

Mamma Musings

How technology is improving road safety

How is technology improving road safety…

Last weekend while having dinner my oldest asked how many miles is it to Donegal – about 140 miles I answered. My husband then thought out loud wondering how many miles have we have done this summer?! We love travel whether that is within Ireland or overseas.  We think conservatively we have travelled around 5,000 miles this summer!

Car safety

Pic Credit: Pixabay

I am acutely aware of the dangers of being on the road. Its sad to say that very few days go by when we don’t hear of a tragedy on our roads. While we cant control other peoples actions what we can do is control our own.  I am a proponent of rear facing for as long as is practicable, I am obsessive about NCT and road worthiness, checking tyres before setting off, ensuring lights are all working fine. Some people would say I’m a little obsessive, compulsive maybe. However I don’t care – I want to ensure I do all I can to ensure my own safety and that over others in so far as I can. Having first hand experience of the after affects of a un-roadworthy vehicle means I can talk with all too real experience.

Road Safety and Technology

I totally embrace technology and I welcome with open arms anything that makes travelling on our roads safer.  One of the recent additions for us has been a dash cam.  While dash cams don’t make your vehicle any safer per se they can assist after the event and thus potentially help ensure it doesn’t happen again. Only recently have insurers accepted dash cam footage as evidence in compensation claims. A move I welcome, as we have all read recently how insurance premiums have been rocketing.

There are many other technologies out there which can potentially make our roads safer see    I will admit the concept of driverless cars both excites and terrifies me in equal measure!! For further information please guide.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 36/52 Coffee and Chill

The Pod located on the side of the road along the Wild Atlantic Way

The Pod – Killybegs

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Living Arrows 36/52

As the dust settles on the first week of “big” school for my oldest.  For the first time in a long time I have had time to sit down and relax and quite literally have a coffee and chill. This weeks Living Arrows post is inspired by this gorgeous coffee spot in the picturesque Wild Atlantic Way as you drive towards Killybegs.

I have vowed for the coming school year to make time to be present and not be rushing and dashing around the place doing jobs that in reality could wait.

playing on the beach despite the weather

Fun without the sun

We had our final farewell to summer holidays in a typically wet Donegal despite the weather, we ran, we laughed we played but most of all we were present in the moment.  I am a full time working mum and im guilty of checking my mails, picking up messages and texts when in  reality they can wait.

As we sat on the beach and had our picnic and a delicious coffee from The Pod, I thought about the milestone my son had ahead of him – starting school. It really is such a milestone.  For him and for us.  Where did 5 years go?

Well as I sit here chilling with my coffee I can happily report week one was a success. The only tears were my own, he skipped in the door and looked forward to returning the following day.  I’m under no illusion every day will be like the last couple but fingers crossed most days will be like this.   The house feels so quiet, its actually hard to get used to it! Not that im complaining!!

Signing off with a coffee in hand, two feet up and the TV on – coffee and chill it is…….

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

So my oldest is starting school….

I can’t quite believe my oldest, my  first born, my gorgeous blue eyed, blonde haired, gentle boy is about to start school. He is about to enter the world all by himself.  It seems like yesterday he was this teeny tot curled up in his mosses basket while I stared at him for hours on end terrified something would happen to him. How is he almost five?! For almost five amazing years you have made our lives complete, you have shown us what ultimate love is, what its like to love so much your heart hurts, what its like to protect with fierceness that’s unrivalled.  We watch the way you have taken on the big brother role with all your heart. You teach him, you help him, you drive him nuts at times but we know you love him like he loves you unconditionally. Its magical to watch the bond between you to watch the gentleness in the way you assist him when he falls or cant quite reach that toy. I know you are ready to enter the world now by yourself and in my mind starting school is that first step.  You are starting to dip your toes into the vast world that’s out there. I want to protect you every minute of every day but I know I must let you off yourself to start exploring but you know I’m here, I’m always here for you.

Back to school

Back to school

When you go to bed I often lay your school bits on the floor, to touch them, to imagine what it will be like that first morning to see you all dressed up ready for the off. I promise I wont cry, ill be brave like I know you will be.

What we got

I don’t know whether it was excitement, nerves or just because he is my first I’m really organised for September.  I took advantage of the Marks & Spencer’s sale when they had 20% off their uniforms so I stocked up! The non iron shirts had me sold! I got the trousers with the anti stain as I’m pretty sure if its anything like he is now there will be plenty of running and jumping going on in the school yard so hard wearing will be a must.  All that’s left is the school jumper and tracksuit. Next weekends plan hopefully! Actually and shoes but I think ill leave them another few weeks.

The lovely people at Sambro sent us  the Cars school bag and stationary (pictured above) and it was incredibly well received in this house. His bedroom is cars themed so there was great excitement when a Lightening McQueen backpack landed through the letterbox. Its a great bag as the front can be wiped down easily, its just the right size for his two books (so cute) and matching stationary is super cute and adds a fun dimension to it. The straps are adjustable and comfortable too. It also reasonably priced which is a big plus for what can be a very expensive time of year.  I’m all about easy clean and between the uniform and the backpack I think I have this sos’d. With some final words of inspiration from Dr Seuss……. we are starting a new journey, we are nerveous, we are excited but most importantly we are ready to take on new challenges and help my little boy as he takes off on life’s next great adventure.

 

 

Note: We were sent the Sambro bag pack however all opinions and tears shed where my own 🙂
Mamma Musings

#Living Arrows 30/52 – The ordinary moments

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

 

I’m pretty impressed with myself that ive joined the lovely Donna from What the Redhead Said linkie again.  I love the concept and I can’t wait to share my posts each week, its certainly become a key part of my blogging routine. This week for me its all about embracing the ordinary moments. I work full time so sometimes I feel pressure that when I’m with the kids ive to take them to play centres, to activities to all these perceived exciting (and often expensive) activities. But really its not like that. This week we walked to a lovely park near where we lived, we got coffee and treats in the shop and we quite literally sat and watched the world go by. The gentle fall of the Liffey as it cascaded down the weir was just so lovely. The kids enjoyed their picnic and mama enjoyed her coffee. Pure bliss.

The Mamma Fairy Blog

The Mamma Fairy Blog on Instagram

 

Later in the week we stopped by for another picnic this time in the much bigger Phoenix Park in Dublin it was really busy but such a wonderful space to have in the City Centre.  Totally unexpectedly we ended up feeding deer (under the guidance of the park wardens).  It was just magical.  They are such beautiful magical animals, really docile. Almost exactly what I had expected them to be like.   If you asked my kids right now what was their favourite activity to do they will most likely say go for a picnic.  Its simple, its inexpensive and when I’m there I’m totally present and if I’m honest I think that’s its partly why they love it.

Feeding Deer

Feeding Deer

Us parents can feel awful albeit unnecessary pressure to keep the kids entertained with all these high octane activities, that’s not reality, that’s not what life is about. Of course all those things are enjoyable too but sometimes its just nice to find joy in those ordinary moments. I still remember growing up rolling down the hill known to most Dubliners as the Popes cross in the Phoenix Park. I remember picnics at the beach in Donegal with my parents and siblings.  I remember getting soaked having races on the beach in Donegal. I was on lunch one day in a restaurant during work and I saw a quote which I’m reminded of now “Joy comes to us in the ordinary moments, we risk missing out when we get too busy chasing the extraordinary”. I don’t know who said or wrote it but its quite apt for the world we live in today.

 

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 29/52 – Great outdoors

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

I have been a fan of Donna’s Blog for some time and I kept meaning to join the Living Arrows linkie and never got around to it.  So im super excited to join for the first time.  This week in the Mamma Fairy house its all about the great outdoors.

Wild West (and wet) Donegal 

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

We spent a wonderful weekend in an extremely wet Donegal! By 12 o’clock on the Saturday having arrived late Friday, I heard “im bored” more than once as the rain lashed against the window pane.   And I mean lashed,  it looked like the  middle of Winter out. The Dada Fairy suggested we don the rain gear and head our to explore the place where he grew up.  The kids needed no encouragment, I on the other hand wasnt quite as eager!

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

Wild Atlantic Way Donegal

We took some photos on our walk and I look back on them and im reminded of how much history and memories places like this hold. Memories that will soon be long gone as generations depart and move on. This is the Dada Fairys home place and he has such a strong emotional tie to here and its (and his own) past. He loved telling us stories some his own, some he heard over the years.  This was where he played as a child, where he went fishing, exploring, climbing walls, hiding in ditchs and messing no doubt.  He is a total outdoors person and I can see how much the kids are like him and how much they love being outside.

I’m so glad I didnt let the rain get in the way of our day exploring as I was very tempted to say no we must be mad.   We came home hours later, we were soaked through, the kids were exhausted from the walking but most importantly they were happy, happy we were in Donegal, happy we were all together, happy we were having fun and quite literally dancing in the rain. There really is something quite magical about the squeals of your child dancing in the rain.

In the words of the Yeats – “Dance there upon the shore;What need have you to care; For wind or water’s roar?And tumble out your hair”

 

 

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

How to Have a Sizzling Summer Holiday without Leaving Home

Summer holidays can be the highlight of the year for some of us, giving us the chance to escape the stresses of everyday life and relax in our own little paradise. However, not everyone can go on their dream holiday every year, for a wide variety of reasons ranging from family commitments to work schedules. As many of us are trying to tighten our belts in these uncertain economic times, it’s sometimes necessary to skip the expensive summer holiday and make our own fun at home instead. While this might not inspire the same enthusiasm as a tropical island break, it’ll certainly prevent us from worrying as much and might even give us a whole new perspective on what a summer holiday is. Read these tips and have a spectacular summer in the comfort of your own home.

Time Off

Me time

Taking some “me” time is good for the soul

Just because you’re not going away on holiday, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take some time off work to enjoy the summer. If you’re going to be spending time with family, make sure you sync up your holidays so you can make the most out of your holiday time. Book one or two weeks off and make sure you don’t do anything even resembling work during this time! If you or your family are known for working at home when you really shouldn’t be (ahem thats you Dada Fairy), then designate a cupboard for all of your work things to go in during the holidays. Make the cupboard off-limits for as long as you possibly can, and you’ll be surprised at how relaxing your at-home holiday is.

Plan Days In

Fun days in

Days in can be just as fun

While days out can be fun, having special days in at home can be cheaper, more relaxing and just as action packed. If you have children, planning themed days for them in the house can provide the whole family with endless activities to enjoy. You can have a family cooking class, start a band together, become artists or do a spot of gardening. All of these activities are as educational as they are fun, and will keep your family active during the summer. If you don’t have children, you can still take these ideas and enjoy them with your partner or with friends. Time away from the television is definitely quality time, however you choose to spend it!

Get Outdoors

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space, such as a garden, yard or even a park close by, then make sure you take full advantage of this during your summer holiday at home. Spending time outdoors is something we don’t do nearly enough these days, so leave your phones inside and go out for a game of lawn tennis, football or even an obstacle course. For a whole day of outdoor fun, you could plan a family olympics, including as many activities you can think of. You may even wish to invest in a paddling pool or trampoline to really make the summer one to remember, and keep the kids busy for hours at a time!

Brighten Up Your Home

Nothing screams summer like a beautifully bright living space, so why not take some time to restyle your sitting room or kitchen? You can simply rearrange your furniture so that it doesn’t block any of that glorious sunshine, or your could add some summery home accessories that give the space some splashes of colour. For more long-term solutions, try painting your walls a lighter colour, changing dark carpets to light ones, or for something totally wow check out these amazing internal bifolds to your living area. We intalled outdoor ones and they are seriously amazing this time of year a the garden becomes an extenion of the kitchen and we have a huge space for us and the  kids to play.  For us it has really opened up ou home and made what was once a dark space into a bright and airy space.

Summer Foods

Summer foods

Summer foods

Perhaps the easiest way to get in a summer mood is to eat summery food, so get in the kitchen and cook up some treats for your family and friends to enjoy at a summer party. This could be in the garden, if you’re lucky enough to have one, or in your newly decorated living room! Find yourself some brightly coloured summer recipes, enlist the help of your loved ones and enjoy a day of summer cocktails, delicious salads and homemade ice lollies. Even if the sun isn’t shining outside, as long as you have some summer music, tasty treats and good company, you’ll be feeling super summery all day long. 

 

Note – collaborative post