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Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

The Christmas toys one month on

Last year I wrote this post which proved really popular. We had a look back 2 months on from Christmas at which toys were the hits and which were the miss! Its funny how sometimes the unexpected toys/ gifts become the most popular.

Starting with the ones still in pretty much daily use one  month on:

Hot Wheels Roto Revolution Track Set

Hot weels track

Hot Wheels Roto Revolution Track Set

Hot wheels are a really big thing amongst my 5 years old’s school pals so I had an inkling this was always going to be popular and I was right. Its probably the first toys himself and his pals gravitate to when they come in the door.  The set comes with 2 hot wheels cars but no batteries included as we found out on Christmas day (it takes the size D ones so not that likely to have them lying around!).  Its almost like a battle where you have to launch cars at the same time strategically into the rotating set.  Queue meg excitement here when they get the timing right as it loops around the set and crashing into your opponent’s cars in no time. The last car on the track wins. The track is compatible with the “track stars” individual cars you can purchase in Tesco, Smyth’s etc. The boys love this, its fast, action packed and generates a lot of noise and excitement.

Only downside I can see (aside for bad mammy forgetting batteries) is it does take up quite a bit of space.  The track set is available in most toys shops and a good purchase in my view. Currently selling for €39.99 in my local Smyth’s.

 

Fisher Price Teach N Tag Movi

kids toy robot

Teach N’Tag Movi

This little guy is utterly adorable and enjoyed equally as much by the 5 and the 3 year old.   He is billed as being super mobile with 360 mobility and that he has.  He is really fun, he encourages kids to get active and follow his directions, not an uncommon sight to see the kids dancing around the kitchen following Movi’s lead! There are 6 different  games to choose from​ where Movi asks the question and encourages the child to think of the answer and interact with the push buttons on  his head.  Movi has great facial expressions!

What the kids love about this is how interactive it is, they like to follow his tasks and love to practice dance moves with him. If only they would listen to me as intently as they listen to him and follow his lead.  He takes size C batteries which I did actually have so Movi has been part of the Mamma Fairy house for a month now and I don’t see him being resigned to the toy press anytime soon. Its priced at €49.99 in my local Smyth’s. It is really durable he has withstood my Mr Destruction which is the ultimate test of a toys durability I think!!!

Original Rubix Cube

It’s a real testament to think a toy first developed in 1974 is still going strong today and that’s despite the fact we live in such a technological age.  We had the junior puzzle so for Christmas we upgraded to the 3×3 version.

He hasn’t solved it yet but its not for the want of trying!! I throw it in my handbag when we are going out as I know it will keep him occupied. Funny thing is we have had lots of comments on it when out and about. I think all us 80s kids feel a sense of nostalgia for this product. At around €10 this money well spent!

Laurence King Make Your Own Spaceships

rainy day activities

Build your own Spaceship

This is quite possibly be the most perfect invention for the non crafty among us. The set includes 14 spaceships that you press out and slot together, zero need for glue or scissors .

The set includes 2 blank aliens to colour in yourself which were great fun. Definitely a great choice for any fellow non crafty mums for those rainy days.

Books, books, books

Our love of books is well documented and some of those which arrived over Christmas which we are still dipping into are:

  • Adventures of Johnny Magory – there are 3 books so far in the series and my oldest man begs me to get more. He really loves them. I think its because he finds them relatable. Like Johnny he is mostly good with a hint of mischief! Johnny plays sports, works in the bog (as my pair do each year), goes on adventures along the canal so they can immerse themselves totally in the story for them its real life.  These books are beautifully illustrated and written, illustrated and printed in Ireland. I love that.  Check them out on their website here for signed copies and additional activities.  And if the author Emma-Jane is reading this my oldest cannot wait for you write more in the series!

And to finish off this years “miss” is…….Gross Science. He wanted this badly, I mean I reckoned if Santa didn’t bring it he would have been devastated.  Unfortunately I think it was just too hyped up in his own head.  While the set comes with a good bit of stuff you needed a lot of extras to complete the experiments. We were away from home for Christmas so we didn’t have a lot of the kind of things needed in the house handy. So as I write Gross Science had joined last years Miss – Soggy Door in the bottom press!!

 

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Mamma Musings

How To Make Your Garden More Secure

flower pots in garden

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Our  garden forms a pivotal part of out family life and as such your garden is one of the main ways you can create a secure fence around your home. Once the boundaries of your property are safe, it can give homeowners peace of mind. Having the right measures in place will successfully put off any potential intruders and actively safeguard your belongings. Having had the misfortune of this happening to us in 2015 it really does leave a lasting impact.

If you have a log cabin, this can be another reason you’ll want to ensure your garden is secure. There are several secure log cabins for sale in the UK that can be a great storage option for the garden.

Some of the best ways you can secure your garden so you can assess the current level of safety and what you may need to do are set out below and this is with the befit of experience and hindsight.

TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR GARDEN MORE SECURE

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Mamma Musings

3 Parenting Milestones And How To Tackle Them

Being a parent can long and difficult journey with a lot of milestones along the way. Those big events that come in every child’s life come as a big challenge for the parents but if you’re prepared for them, it doesn’t have to be that hard. These are some of the biggest milestones that all parents are going to face and how to deal with them.

The First Day Of School

Sending your child off to school for the first time is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. The idea of leaving them all day in the care of some complete strangers is incredibly scary and when you get home, it’s difficult to know what to do with yourself. It’s important that you hold it together because it’s a very stressful time for your child as well and if they pick up on the fact that you’re worried, it’ll make things worse for them. The second thing to remember is to always keep yourself busy. If you just sit around waiting for them to come home the hours will turn into days and it’ll feel like forever before they get back. Just get on with whatever you have to do for the day and they’ll be back before you know it.

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Mamma Musings

First school term done – some thoughts from a newbie mum

school books photo

Pic Credit: Pixabay

My oldest started school this year.   It was a momentous occasion for both me and him. Now that the first term is done and dust what have I learned?  I’ll be honest I was quite apprehensive about how we would all adapt to this new routine but its funny how we worry so unnecessarily. School life has become part of everyday life. As a total newbie into the school system the first couple of months have been a learning experience for this mama too.

 

Parents Perspective

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

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

Teachers perspective

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

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

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

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

 

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Mamma Musings

Pregnancy and Postpartum hair loss – tips & advice

Pregnancy and Post Partum hair loss

**This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine
Pregant bump black and white picture

Pic Credit Pixabay

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

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

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

Running/ Exercise

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

Gaming/ Online/ TV

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

Simple pleasures

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

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

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Note : This is a collaborative post
Cuddle Fairy

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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. Sites such as dealsdaddy.co.uk can be invaluable for shopping the deals.

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.  There are lots of sites that you can bookmark and check into every so often like hotdiscountcode. 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.