Baba Reviews

Big Beard Battle Review

Our review of Brainstom’s Big Beard Battle

Big Beard Battle Game

Big Beard Battle Game

Ready to play Big Beard Battle

Big Beard Battle – Ready to play

As you might have read, we recently went glamping.  A couple of weeks previous we had been sent Big Beard Battle by Brainstorm to review.  I decided to keep the game until our glamping adventure as I knew the kids would enjoy playing a fun game like this in the absence of all things techie! We are already board game fans in this house especially my oldest, he really loves them.

This game can accommodate up to four players but can be played by less players and not impact on the game.  There is a little bit of pre set up work required, simply to attach the velcro dots to the beards but that takes only a couple of  minutes to do.

The game itself is very simple, the aim being to grow the longest beard without it being cut or shaved off. Its so simple but so much fun, made all the funnier by the fact the Dada Fairy has an actual beard!! You start with the youngest player and spin the spinner that comes with it. The spinner determines you task, whether thats growing your own beard or shaving or cutting another players beard. The game is aimed at ages 4 and up however the littlest man (2 and half) got great fun out of it so it is really a game for all the family to take part.

Games like this are ideal for Christmas and at approx €15 not bad value at all, all the parts are very durable and well able to withstand our very own Mr Destruction.

If you too have a board game fan in your house, it a big thumbs up from us.

Note: We were sent the game for the purpose of the review however all opinion are my own or the boys where appropriate.

 

Baba Reviews

Brainstorm Toys Mega Globe Review

Brianstorm Toys Mega Globe Review

Mega Globe Inflatable

Mega Globe – Fintra Beach, Donegal

A couple of weeks back we were sent Brainstorm Toys Mega Globe to review – and it is indeed mega!! When inflated its about 50cm.

Mege Globe on the beach

Mega Globe – Fintra Beach, Donegal

It is packaged really neat so no issues transporting it. We took it with us to our usual holiday destination in Donegal and the kids had tonnes of fun playing on the beach with it. It is a great size and it wont get lost too easy. It is readily available both online and toy stores.

I sat back and watched the kids play and try to pin point their exact location on the map. We are a travel loving family and the kids are lucky to have been on many adventures both around Ireland and overseas.  They had so much fun locating the places they have been and the places we plan on going to next. The Dada Fairy even got involved in the action.  They ran, jumped and hopped after it.  While it comes with some suggested activities the kids just loved making up their own games with it.

One bit of advice is that you do need a pump or you may need to pop into the local petrol station to pump it up!!

It really made me think – they really do have the whole world in their hands to explore, to discover, to investigate.  And I hope they take full advantage of it.  I think im a tad sentimental these days with my oldest starting school 

Note: We were sent the Mega Globe for the purpose of this review, however all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Fairy Travels

Visit Kinnity – Glitraps Glamping Review

Visit Kinnity Giltraps Glamping – our review

When my oldest suggested we go camping for his birthday im sure he could see the look of fear in my face! Some frantic google searches ensued and I stumbled across Giltraps Glamping in Kinnity, Offaly.  Bingo I thought, this looks like the ideal comprise. The first line in their web pages called in luxurious glamping –  no further research needed – done!  I sent them an email and 2 weeks later we were off to Offaly for the night.

We were checked in by Julie, who I had been dealing with over email, she was incredibly helpful and accommodating, allying my fears about the upcoming Storm  Gerturde weather warnings!!

The setting itself is gorgeous 6 log cabins and a Mongalian Yurt.  Also on the site were pigs and chicken whom i don’t doubt will run in fear should my pair ever arrive down again.

The Cabin

The view from the cabin at Giltraps Glamping

Glamping at Giltraps

We stayed in cabin number 2 which had a double and 2 single beds, which was ideal for us.  The cabin was absolutely spotless. Bed linen and were towels supplied.  There was a little area outside with chairs where we sat while the kids happily played   When we arrived at the cabin they had put balloons and birthday banner up for my sons birthday which I thought was a really lovely touch. We opted for the breakfast hamper delivered the next morning – one word – AMAZING.  Around 9.30 the following morning a home cooked breakfast bap arrived at the door with a flask of tea.  We sat outside and ate the breakfast, seriously yum.

The glamping site lit up at night time was magical – (im choosing to ignore the 500 toilet breaks my oldest insisted he needed just to go outside to see it lit up!!) Speaking of which there was a number of shared toilets and showers again- spotlessly clean.  There was also a small kitchen which you could access any time of day or night.

The Area

Kinnity itself is only a small town probably best knows for the famous Kinnity Castle about a kilometre from the glamping site.  We had drinks in Giltraps pub on site.  This was like stepping back in time, it reminded me of my own family holidays as a child visiting my mothers home place in the West of Ireland.  The pub oozes old world charm, we were served by a really nice girl whose name I wish I had got.  She will most likely remember the crazy kids there last Saturday!! I loved the relaxed homely vibe, complimented totally by the staff. There was a coffee shop also on site however we didn’t get to visit this time around but it looked lovely.

All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyed experience and we have vowed to come back next year as the oldest has decided this time he wants to stay in the Yurt! I wont be disagreeing. Service and attention to detail is top notch here and makes the ideal get away being only an hour and a half from Dublin.

Insider Tips

  • The town doesn’t have a bank machine – you can get cash back in the pub though
  • We brought snacks for the kids, this was a good call, options for shops locally are limited enough
  • There is great free playground within walking distance behind the church. Kids had it all to themselves Sunday morning and really enjoyed
  • Pop in to Kinnity Castle for drink – the Dungeon bar is lovely and such a novelty.

We booked direct which was the best value I could find, for further details see website

Note: This is not paid or sponsored, we paid for this ourselves, we are just  happy campers (sorry!!!!)

 

 

ethannevelyn.com

Country Kids

Baba Reviews

Spy Gear Ultimate Night Vision Goggles Review

Spy Gear Night Vision Googles – what we though

My oldest is going through a ninja phase where he is totally convinced he is a fully fledged Ninja! We were sent a pair of night vision goggles to try out and I couldn’t think of a better man for the job!

The package was torn open and away we went. For the first time since he was born he couldn’t wait for night time to try them out the back garden.  He wasn’t content with the curtains closed he wanted “black sky”!

Night vision googles

Spy Gear night vision googles

The googles (pic opposite) were really easy to assemble (bonus points from me for this!). I literally  had to slot the two parts together, insert 3 AAA batteries (not included) and away you go. The product description maintains its capable of  night vision at 30 feet away through the use of infrared LEDs.  We are both really eager to see these in operation.

Spy Gear Night Vision Googles

Spy Gear Night Vision Googles

We hid a number of objects in the back garden and set him off with the task of locating them in the dark! He was truly wowed, he just loved them.  The vision was surprisingly really clear and he had no problem locating the items hid.  The following weekend we headed to Donegal for the weekend and he was hyper waiting to show his grandad his night vision googles and to see them in action in the pitch dark away form city lights as it never really gets totally dark where we live with the street lights.

The Dada Fairy also gave them a go and affirms that he could in fact see around 30 feet away in the dark! I love toys like this – toys that get kids out and about and exploring. Toys that get kids using their imaginations.

The Verdict

He really loved these and I can see him gravitating towards these older toys now. They ticked the boxes for him – in his own works a proper big boy toy.  If I was to be totally critical two points come to mind – we had to go out to buy batteries, no biggy but at approx €30 I would have liked at least a test set to be included. They aren’t cheap but you do pay for the quality product.  The quality is really excellent – they are very durable. Durable enough to survive our two year old, who is affectionately know as Mr Destruction.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these as a gift for any budding spy’s or Ninja’s. I can see these and some of the other Spy Gear products in the range featuring heavily on Christmas lists this year. The night vision googles are made by Spin Master,  see here and here  for some other Spin Master products we loved.  The googles are readily available both online and toy shops.

 

Note: We were sent the Night Vision Googles for the purposes of this review however this in no way influences mine or the boys (where appropriate) views on the product.

 

 

Fairy Travels

Nights in Niagara Falls – Family travel review

Our Niagara Falls Family Trip

Its taken me far too long to write this post in reality because I just didn’t know where to start.  We arrived to Niagara Falls after a few wonderful few days spent in Toronto (trip report here).  There was no snow in Toronto but as we pulled up outside the Sheraton on the Falls a light dusting began to fall gently, there was mega excitement from the kids.  I don’t think they had ever seen snow before other than in films!!

Where we stayed

Sheraton on the Falls

Sheraton on the Falls

We stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls which is as its name suggests quite literally on the falls.  We were allocated a gorgeous room with a Juliette balcony when we opened the door we could feel the spray of the falls.  I am not exaggerating when I say the view was breath-taking and to hear the roar of the falls – magic.  Each evening the falls are lit up and we were able to enjoy the illuminations from the comfort of our room.  The kids were fast asleep and we sat and enjoyed some lovely local wine and watched the falls change into beautiful array of colours. In recent years a huge amount of investment has gone into these illuminations and it certainly shows.

 

The room itself has 2 doubles and a sofa bed.  Starbucks coffee was provided in the room and in keeping with the hotels Green Policy you could receive a $5 gift card in return for not required complete bedding changes each day.

View from our room at the Sheraton on the Falls

View from our room at the Sheraton on the Falls

We were more than happy to avail of this. Thee room isn’t big but then you don’t come to Niagara Falls to spend your time in the room.  The hotel is huge, I mean huge.  Coming from Ireland where we don’t have hotels of this scale its quite overwhelming and you do need to be prepared to queue for everything, check-in/out, concierge and lifts.  We were fortunate enough to have club access which really is great when you are travelling with kids. We ate our breakfast here each morning and popped in each evening for some snacks and drinks.

There are a number of restaurants in the hotel complex, we tried the Rainforest Café one of the evenings and the Hard Rock Café another, mainly because they were kid friendly! The adults could have a few drinks with  dinner and the kids enjoyed the entertainment.  The kids really enjoyed the Rainforest Café however like the hotel it was huge but service was good and the kids enjoyed the display of animals and the thunder storms!

There also is a floor with amusements in the hotel too which if im honest takes away a bit from the hotel, its manic!  There is an indoor waterpark attached to the hotel also however we didn’t avail of it on this visit. Despite the hotel being full  (all 22 story’s!) the staff did their best to move things along, they were efficient but not over friendly which  was fine as they were run off their feet.  The location and view here are unrivalled.

What we did

Aside from seeing the spectacular Falls which for me was a bucket list item ticked off. There is plenty to do in the vicinity.

  • Journey behind the falls – I was really excited about this.
    Journey behind the Falls

    Journey behind the Falls

    Because of the time of year the boat trips weren’t operating therefore this was my only chance to get up close and personal to this wonder of nature. It didn’t disappoint, despite the heavy snow we made our way down which was about 15 minutes walk from the hotel. You get a lift down (150 feet) and suddenly there you are standing in a 130 year old tunnel looking out from behind the falls, yes you do get wet, yes its cold and damp but is it so incredible. The roar!! Its quite remarkable to thing one fifth of the worlds fresh water is cascading in front of your eyes.

  • Niagara Fury – I sent the oldest and his dad to do this one as I  was afraid the youngest would be a little scared with the simulated thunder.  This is 4d, 360 degrees experience which takes you on a journey to experience the creation of the falls and to experience its sheer power.  You get a souvenir poncho  when you arrive and you do need it!!!! Ill say no more! Great fund, oldest really enjoyed and was able to share with me loads of fun facts on his return.
  • Butterfly Conservatory – all these attraction  are located in very close proximity to each other so its an ideal day out with limited travelling especially important with young kids. This is a lovely attraction 180 meters of pathway through a conservatory where you can observe many different species of butterfly.  They are such beautiful gentle creatures.
  • Clifton Hill – no visit would be complete with our doing the “sights” of Clifton Hill. Its typical touristy with slot machines, crazy golf and fast foot eateries. A summary of our highlights:
    • Wizard Golf – kids loved this.  Its all neon golf balls and painted inside. It was a welcome distraction from the cold and snow outside.
    • Guinness World Records Museum – Great fun, small but well worth the visit. Lots of cool facts and fun interactive parts
    • Captain Jacks Amusement – no more words needed, lots of amusements, games and slot machine, why are kids drawn to these places!!!!

 

Top tips:

This is Niagara Falls one of the words top  tourist attractions so be prepared to pay top dollar for everything. It is expensive however some tips from our experience:

  • Niagara Parks Activity Packages: If you are looking to do a number of the key attractions this is your cheapest option especially travelling with children.  There are a range of option depending on how many activities you wish to include. You can save up to 48% when compared to  booking individually.  A no brainer in my book – for FYI a lot of the attractions are free for kids under 5 which was ideal for us! For more information see here
  • Clifton Hill Pass – its going to be hard to avoid Clifton Hill when in Niagara Falls so my  advice is to buy the Fun Pass. It cover  5 attractions including the Sky Wheel (which was closed during our visit for maintenance much to the kids disappointment) which saves you about $25 per person. What I like about these passes are, we know what attractions we are going on, the price is paid in advance and it saves the inevitable arguments about what to go on. See here for more.
  • WeGo – wego is the transport system around Niagara Falls and its really efficient and easy to use. Our hotel provided us with 48 hour passes, so do ask your hotel most hotel do give them out I think. Its saves worrying about taxis and from my experience it arrives on time and no issues. Its state of the art and connects all major attractions.

Similarly accommodation can be very expensive particularly for a Fallsview room, however when you are going all that way I think it’s a must.  We got a great rate via booking.com

However there are a number of free attractions obviously the Falls itself, the fireworks, the illuminations, Niagara Parkway and Botanic Gardens. The above is only a tiny snap shot of what is available there were many other wonderful attractions which we didn’t get to but you never know we may return some day.  I don’t think I will ever get tired of looking at that incredible view.

Note: Massive thanks to Niagara Falls Tourism for all the advice and help with our trip and for providing us with the attraction passes. The help and guidance shown helped ensure we had a wonderful trip particular thanks to Jennifer whose is an absolute credit to Niagara Falls Tourism who truly knows and loves what she does.
Suitcases and Sandcastles
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 🙂
Features

Irish Life Health Feature on Marriage

This  week I was delighted to be asked to featured in a article for Irish Life Health talking out my opinion on marriage and whether I thought it still holds the same significance among my peers as it does for my parents or even grandparents. I’m thrilled to be featured amongst some amazing bloggers who I admired long before I began my own blog.  See link to full article here

Irish Life

Source: Irish Life

I think like lots of things in life there isn’t a simple to that question, the concept of marriage has evolved so much in recent years. Marriages now came in so many different forms but it doesn’t make them any less than the traditional view of a marriage.  The article made me think that all other things being equal would our relationship be different if we weren’t married? To be honest I don’t think it would.

 

As I said in this piece, its having kids that had the biggest change on our relationship and when we really did feel like a unit.

Would love to know what your view on marriage are? Do you thinks it still holds the same significance as it once did?

 

 

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
Baba Reviews

Bellz Magnetic Game Review

Bellz Magnetic Game from SpinMaster

Well……Chicken Pox times two has just left the Mamma Fairy house and I am not sorry to see it go. Only my kids would get Chicken Pox on the hottest days of the year so far.  As you might have seen from previous  posts my pair love being out doors so trying to keep them occupied and engaged indoors is borderline mission impossible.

Bellz Magnetic Game

Bellz Game

We were sent the magnetic balls known as “Bellz” for review earlier in the month so this was duly dispatched to aid the relentless cries of im bored.

 What is Bellz?

Bellz game consists of a magnetic wand and a batch (40) of colourful magnetic bells of different colours and sizes. The object of the game is to collect only your own colour of bells with the wand.  If you pick up another colour it’s somebody else’s turn.  The magnetic wand has one very powerful magnetic and another weaker side to aid picking up the bells. Even though its sounds really simple it isn’t! It takes skill and patience to use the wand to the correct degree to pick up only your own colour.

Bellz Magnetic Game

Bellz Game Storage Pouch

The game comes in a handy pouch which makes packing it up really handy. When the pouch opens up it doubles as the paying board – very handy! (see pic opposite)

 

What we thought?

Did it aid the “im bored” cries? Yes it did for a while anyway!! What we liked w was how portable it is and its definitely appealing for all ages too.  We were able to take it travelling with us big plus in my book as lots of board games aren’t so portable. The downsides for me were that id love if there were two wands supplied as my pair ended up making their own version of the game up and two wands would have saved the odd argument. More of a nice to have. This award winning game from Spinmaster is priced around €15 and would an ideal one for summer holiday.

In summary the Mamma Fairy house gives this one a thumbs up. I have even caught the Dada Fairy giving it a go!!!

Note: We were sent the Bellz Magnetic Game for review however as always all view are my own or the boys where appropriate.