Reviews for Mama & Babas

Zak Storm – Pirate Fun Review

Zak Storm Toy Review

It impossible to keep up with my pair and the cartoons they like.  Zak Storm is the newest dude on their radar.   I thought he was a superhero however I am reliably informed by an almost 6 year old that he most certainly is not! Rather he is a really cool pirate who ended up with sucked into the Berumda Triangle after taking his fathers necklace. From here he captains a ship called “The Chaos” (how very appropriate for my house :-)) and goes on many adventures in an attempt to find his way home.

The are lots of different toys in the collection available however for the purpose of this review we were sent the hover vehicle and figure together with the coins which are available to buy separately.

While I can’t profess to know much about the TV series what I can tell you about is the cool add on feature to this toy. You can download the Zak Storm app for iOS or Android for free. From this you can play the game or if you wish you can buy the coins (4pk) which  feature a unique QR code that you scan via the camera feature on your tablet to reveal digital rewards, including weapons, powers, and health.  This was the biggest selling point for my oldest.  While he still loves playing with toys, the ability to add Tech to the mix and he is sold right away. For hims its almost taking it to the next level.

He had no problem scanning the codes nor playing the game.  I was impressed by the fact the coins aren’t an essential part of the game rather a bonus add on. They are a little pricey at around €5 but do add value to the game.

All in all its a thumbs up from us. My son claims the app feature is seriously cool so I can see this one sticking around our house for a while.

Note: We were sent the hover vehicle and 2 packets of coins for the purpose of this review however all view are mine and/or the boys where appropriate.

 

Fairy Travels

Our 2018 Family Travel Bucket List

Our Family Travel Bucket List

With the news dominated by the so called “Beast from the East” and commentators noting this could be the coldest February in 5 years, my mind is wandering to sunnier climates! So where are the Mamma Fairy crew hoping to head to this year?!  We have a couple of short haul flights lined up but we are still debating out next big adventure.

So where are we thinking?! See below some of the places on our 2018 Family Travel Bucket List.

Phuket – Thailand

We visited Bangkok as part of our honeymoon adventure but unfortunately didn’t get to visit any of the Islands. I have heard so much about Phuket and also how suitable it is for families. Whats not to love with stunning beaches and year round sunshine. From elephant rides to ancient monuments there is plenty to do. And if partying is your thing the famous or perhaps infamous town of Patong is where its all at.  I have visions of us chilling by the beach cocktail in hand in the balmy sunshine…pure bliss. Hopefully this is the year we get to experience everything Phuket has to offer.

plane wings

Pic Credit: Pixabay

New York New York

No discussion needed! Whats not to love about the city that never sleeps. I spent time working there and holidaying there pre baby days however we have yet to return with the kids.  Perhaps this could be the year.  It doesn’t matter how many times I have been I fall in love with this city over and over again.

Singapore

Our honeymoon adventure included a short (too short) 2 night stop over here.  We have vowed to return and spend more time exploring all this eclectic city has to offer.  I arrived with zero expectations other than a city to break up a 24 hour flight.  I was so pleasantly surprised once you adjust to the humidity its just wow so much to see and do.  I’d love to go back with my little men this time.  The zoo is so spectacular and if Disney takes your fancy this is also one in Singapore.

Dubai

Lots of friends and family have emigrated or holidayed in Dubai over the last few years and im insanely curious just to see what the lure of the city really is. Year round sunshine, iconic skylines buildings (worlds tallest!), thrill seeking sports and opulent hotels. Sounds just perfect.  Its also reported to be a very family friendly destination with a wealth of activities on offer from young to old. Hopefully this is the year we get to visit.

Have you been to any of the above? If so we would love to hear from you particularly if you had recommendations for family friendly activities etc.

 

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

 

Mamma Reviews

Smashers – New collectable craze!

Smashers by Zuru

Smashers Toy display

Smashers Toy display

Friday is treat day in our house if the kids are good all week at minders. I like to avoid rewarding them with sweat treats therefore toys like Smashers appeal to me! Reasonably priced yet have plenty of play with them.  We first came across Smashers on a visit to our local Smyths and the kids were intrigued!

Smashers toys

Smashers toys

Hopefully its not just  my pair but they can be so destructive! Smashers seems like the perfect toys for them! As its name suggests you quite literally smash  the ball to reveal a sports character with 100 different ones to collect across themes of Football, Rugby and Basketball.

There are lots of different products in the range from 1 pack, 3 pack up to 8 packs, in different sports themes – Rugby, basketball and football. Like most collectable products there are matching tins to stores your characters in each of the respective sports ball shapes!!

However probably most excitingly for the boys is the “Team bus” which comes in either a football or a basketball theme. It hold up to 50 characters and folds out to either a football pitch or a basketball court. Its a very clever way of making a fun use out of the storage.

I suspect with over a hundred characters to collect the Smashers will be sticking around our house for some time to come! For more on Smashers see here

Note: We were sent some Smashers to try however this in no way influences mine or the boys views
Reviews for Mama & Babas

Rubik’s Revolution – An old school revival

The Rubik’s Cube

The Rubik’s cube is pretty iconic, I suspect there aren’t many people who don’t know what one is.  Originally developed in 1974 and its been gracing homes around the world ever since.  However in a world so engrossed in all thing technology, old school toys such as the Rubik’s have to jostle that bit harder for their place and to grab the kids attention. Quite excitingly that exactly what Rubik’s have done.

Range of products

Rubix cube shaped like a bear

Rubix Junior “Bear”

Rubix cube

Rubix 2×2

I will admit I always though Rubik’s just sold the stand cube we are all familiar with however that could be further from the truth.  They start with Rubik’s Junior which are “cubes” shaped like animals (four different ones to collect).

These are most suitable for ages 3 up wards. My youngest really likes this and it has become my changing bag staple when we are out and about as I prefer during meals out to avoid the phones and tablets if we can.

Admittedly I always thought Rubik’s just came in the well recognised 3×3 version however again there are lots of different combinations from 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 and even 5×5.  Added to this is lots of variants of these from the tower to the void to the twist (for more on these see here).

My oldest thought the 2×2 cube would be easier as there are less cubes however there are still 3,674,160 permutations and only one solution!! His personal favourite is the 3×3 cube.  He hasn’t solved it yet but its only a matter of time according to himself.

Mamma Fair Verdict

We love these and they have become a birthday present staple for the boys friends. From €10 upwards they aren’t expensive and give hours of play. Ideal for us for travelling with the kids as they are very portable. They are readily available online or in toy shops such as Smyths, my local Tesco even stocks them!

Note: We were sent a selection of Rubik’s products to try however this in no way influences mine or the boys views of the product.

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Features

Kids and their favourite tunes!

Music notes

Source: Pixabay

You might have read some of my previous posts on our mega home renovation project. Its been a stressful couple of months (ahem years!) however we are thankfully getting there now. A family friend having done similar said to me her advice would be – install the latest gadgets that your budget can afford as smart living is the future and you don’t want to have to start retro fitting gadgets in years to come.  Armed with this advice and my husbands love for all things techie one of his big requests was for the house to fitted with Panasonic Multi Room Speakers.

I was in two minds about this as I thought it might be a bit excessive. How wrong was I?! I (and the kids) absolutely love listening to music as we potter around the house. They especially love being in the bath with the music blaring! How are the teenager years going to be? I dread to think.  Its funny how even from such a young age they have definite favourite songs. The oldest loves Nathan Carter signing Wagon Wheel while the youngest loves the Gummy Bear song!

This got me thinking and I reached to my fellow bloggers to see what songs their kids liked to listen to.

  • Andrew from Mad Dad Skillz – his daughter loves  Loreley by Blackmore Night. I have never heard of it, I must check it out.
  • Pete from Household Money Saving his five year old loves a song which I totally concur – Once I was Seven Years old. Beautiful song, my own five year also enjoys listening to this one.
  • Georgina from Gee Gardner has a heavy metal fan who falls asleep listening to Slipknot, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden! Brilliant!
  • Jen from Just Average Jen – her son loves classical music. My own kids  love the calm tones of classical music.  I often put it on low when they are going to sleep to help them relax. There is something intrinsically relaxing about classical music.

I read an article about a year ago which mentioned a song called Weightless which reportedly helps to reduce anxiety by up to 65% and helps you sleep better as a result. Interestingly the song was actually constructed especially to do just that with the help of sound therapists.  It is no surprise that is is the top played song in our house. We have it on every evening going to bed for the boys.  I can honestly say hand on heart it really does relax them for bed.

So what are your little ones favourites songs? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Features

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.

Mamma Musings

Shifting the postnatal weight

Gym Equipment

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Having a child is one of the most beautiful and natural things in the world – but with it, a female’s body experiences a great deal of change, and post birth, you can be left with a body shape that doesn’t reflect your pre-baby body at all. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining post-natal classes and are trying to get back into shape after giving birth to their little ones. With a new-born baby in tow, it can be hard to go back to the gym – but where there is a will, there is a way.

The NHS recommend waiting around six weeks post-partum before starting up intensive exercise again. Your six week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered. However, women who exercised regularly before pregnancy, may feel fit and well to begin working out sooner than the six week check – each new mum is different. You’ll know within yourself if you feel fit enough to get back into your regime, don’t push yourself too soon.

But with social media becoming a forum for fitness inspiration, some new mums want to jump straight back on the wagon. Postnatal fitness is on the rise too. The internet has inspired a lot of us to reach our fitness goals, and postnatal goals are no different. In fact, postnatal posts are becoming increasingly popular across the web, with #postnatalfitness associated with 53,003 Instagram posts.

Industry professionals noticed a gap in the market to help women post-birth. As a result of this, fitness professionals have set up their own postnatal classes to provide a solution for new mums who were struggling to get back into shape after having their new born. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their baby’s – an opportunity for new mums to get their pre-baby body back. Classes usually allow mums to bring their little ones along to the class with them.

And it appears that postnatal fitness is helping new mums not just physically, but emotionally too. Many women have also revealed that exercising after having their baby has helped prevent, or ease postnatal depression as exercise has made them ‘happier’. Research would suggest this to be true, as exercise is shown to release endorphins in the body – hormones which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’.

Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is a mum herself and is passionate about helping other mums get the body they strive for. Her Instagram account, with over 39.9k followers, showcases workout and yoga routines that can be done by new mums who have a baby in tow. She has proven that workouts can be done by mums at home with a little one crawling around. Of course, nutrition is just as important as your workout regime. Greene has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.   

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Fairy Travels

Enhancing the experience as a travel photographer

Olympus cameras are a great companion for any travel photographer, allowing them to experiment with different types of photography on their adventures around the world. One common problem faced by globetrotters though is being stopped at airport security due to technical equipment being wrongly packed in your luggage!

Fortunately, we’ve teamed up with Clifton Cameras to bring you this infographic to make all of the problems you might encounter go away when it comes to travelling for photography.

Book your flight and head to the airport, because we’ve also created a list of some of our top destinations that would better the experience for any travel photographer — lights, camera, action!

Check out a selection below and see which ones are on your list. Or if you have been and have photos to share id love to see them.

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Features

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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Fairy Travels

Holiday day dreaming – where to next?

I have always loved to travel and since the boys came along while our travel plans have altered somewhat we still love to travel as a family.  As the Dada Fairy says im always plotting and planning the next trip!  My  sister honeymooned in Mexico recently and made us insanely jealous with her tales and photos of blue skies, crystal clear waters and stunning resorts.

Mexico

Pic – Wikipedia

While we have travelled extensively neither of us have been to Mexico and to be honest rightly or wrongly I had this idea it might not be that child friendly. However I have no problem admitting when im wrong and my sister informed me that it is indeed incredibly child friendly….and with that researching another long haul family trip began.

A blogger pal published a post recently about their family trip to Los Cabos. We were so inspired by her stunning holida photo’s off to google I went.  Wow and more wow! The beaches, the blue seas, the beach side properties with those incredible views just take me there right now……

Los Cabos – Where exactly is it?

Los Cabos is located at the Southern tip of Mexico’s California Peninsula, it encompasses the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabos. I believe this area has only really risen in prominence in recent years as a tourist destination when the Mexican Government actively began to market it as a tourist hot spot. I understand the tourist industry is the biggest one here providing a huge chunk of this areas employment.

I doubt it needs much of a marketing push with the draw of it is clear skies, blue seas and warm sunny temperatures.  I understand that the area receives over 2 million visitors a year!  I had to see what all the fuss is about!

Where to stay?

When travelling with kids for me personally I like to stay in houses/ apartments. Having the option to make our own meals and the space to chill when kids go to be early is a very important decision for us.  Check out these utterly amazing Los Cabos Villas the views!!! I will be day dreaming about these properties for the next while.  These villas cater for larger number so making them the perfect extended family get away.  This is another important consideration for us as my parents often travel with us, thereby making villa or apartment stays the perfect choice.

What do in Los Cabos with kids?

Pre kids – a trip to somewhere like Los Cabos would be total relaxation, cocktail in hand chilling on the beach or by the pool. Unfortunately  my kids don’t share my love of  chilling by the pool and like a little more activity. With this in mind I have picked my top five Los Cabos with kids activities:

  1. Straight in at number one has to be some beach time! Miles (about twenty of them!) of beach and blue waters make this an obvious attraction. Although according to my sister the waters can be quite cold and can have strong currents so do always obey the signs and instruction of life guards.
  2. Whale Watching – you couldn’t go all this way and not look out for these incredible creatures.  Los Cabos is alleged to be one of the best spots in the world to spot whales particularly during the months December – March.
  3. The stunning Arch of Cabo San Luca (pictured above), this is a synonymous site with this area and a must visit. Take a boat around it or even stop off at the beaches there – my idea of bliss!
  4. Take a yellow submarine – I kid you not!  You can take an hour like trip in a yellow submarine that get you up close and personal with the sea life in Los Cabos including a close encounter with the stunning Arch.
  5. Sample the array of eateries, from farm fresh to pizza it’s all catered for here.  I have been reliably informed that no visit is complete without a visit to Flora’s Field Kitchen which is a working farm serving meals from the farms produce. Certainly pricey but you go for the entire experience and if what I have been told is correct this is an experience you will not forget in a hurry.

There are also plenty activities on offer locally from snorkelling to camel rides, to picturesque horse back rides and for perhaps older kids or the more adventurous adults there is also a zip-lines and ocean riders (high speed boats).  Safe to say there is pretty much something for everybody with most ages groups catered for.

Well I think my mind is made up, the whole places sounds idyllic.  I’m off to research flights. If you have been do let me know and leave your tips or attraction recommendations below in  the comments section.

 

Note: This post is in collaboration with Luxury Retreats however I retain full editorial control over the content.