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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Home & Interiors

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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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Reviews for Mama & Babas

Good Quality durable kids clothings – check out Tunetoo!

A couple of weeks back we were asked to give Tunetoo clothing a try out on my little men.  Anybody who reads our adventures will know we love getting out and about exploring whatever the weather. Always ready for a task we said why not and off we went on line to the Tunetoo website to pick our designs.

About the Brand

By way of background Tunetoo are based in France having launched in 2013.  The produce a range of personalised clothing for kids and adults such as hoodies for kids or kids tshirts (and for the grown ups too!). Not only clothing they also produce accessories (hats, bags, towels) and gift items such as personalised mugs and mouse pads.

Our picks

pic of hoodie

Pic Credit: TuneToo

So I let the wee men loose to pick exactly what they wanted.  It was an easy decision both wanted hoodies.  In order to get some inspiration we decided to look at the Art Shop section which is the pre printed designs.  Both fell in love with the dancing sheep design in aqua blue (pic opposite).

I am not exaggerating when I say the variety of options and colour combinations is endless from animals to automobile and everything inbetween.  I could spend hours browsing the designs.

All designs are also available in male/female and kids…….family hoodies anyone?

Mamma Fairy Verdict

Durability is a mega plus here. They have been worn many times resulting in being thrown in the washing machine many times and they have maintained there shape, colour and the  graphic totally intact. This is a huge bug bear for me when you buy printed good and the graphic fades but this really wasnt the case here.

So if you are often a fab personalised or customised product thats hard wearing and reasonable do check out the fab selection from TuneToo.

 

Note: We were sent the hoodies to review but we were not asked to write this I (and the boys) genuinely love them.

 

 

Features

Sleep and fertility – is there a link?

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

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

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

How it affects fertility

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

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

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

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

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

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

Causes of sleep disorders

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

How to help your fertility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Netflix New years countdowns for Kids

Netflix, Kids and New Year Countdowns

Netflix image

New Years Countdowns from Netflix

Back in 2014 Netflix came up with the genius idea of an on-demand New Years Eve count down for kids. Last year was the first year my five year old declared he was staying up for the New Year!! However mama was not ready to deal with the fall out of a very late night given he isn’t the worlds best sleeper to begin with!

Cue the genius that is the on demand count downs incorporating your kids favourite programs  …….  this year Netflix have nine new on-demand countdown which are available from Tuesday, 26 December.    The new ones are:

  • DreamWorks All Hail King Julien,
  • Beat Bugs,
  • Larva,
  • Pororo,
  • Puffin Rock,
  • Skylanders Academy,
  • True and the Rainbow Kingdom,
  • DreamWorks Trollhunters
  • Word Party.

All New Year’s Eve countdowns can be found by searching “countdowns” on Netflix or simply visiting netflix.com/countdown.

 

Note: We are a member of the Netflix StreamTeam for which we receive a years subscription however we were paid member before going the StreamTeam
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.

 

 

 

Home & Interiors

Enhance the Beauty of a Conservatory with Stylish Furniture

conservatory window

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The conservatory has come of age. With beautiful detailing that enhances the beauty as well as bringing increased energy efficiency to the space, a conservatory is a means of adding extra space to your home.

But no matter how you choose to use the space, you want it to have a stylish, yet functional interior. So how do you create a space that is effortlessly chic?

Creating the Perfect Conservatory Interior

  • Play with styles but make sure there are common elements that keep it connected to the interior design décor of your home
  • With so much natural light, colours take on a completely different tone and feel, experiment to see which colours really work
  • Accessories are key detailing features that can transform the space into something extraordinary, don’t underestimate their use in the conservatory
  • Consider materials and fabrics carefully as the light and heat can be problematic for some
  • Rattan is the perfect choice because it has all the right properties to withstand heat and light of the conservatory, as well as being available in classic, traditional and modern styled pieces

A Stylish Conservatory…

… is the end product you will have after reading this Guide to Stylish Conservatory Furniture. With handy hints and tips, it has everything you need to know about styling the space in your conservatory.