Fairy Travels

Tips for visiting New York with kids

Tips for visiting New York with kids 

New York skyline

Pic Credit: Pixabay

New York is one of those cities I will never tire of visiting, I am lucky to have visited over 10 times and even more lucky to have spent time living and working there. However despite many requests from the kids who are 10 and 7 now we have never taken them. 2023 will be the year we change that. We are considering combining it with a return trip to Canada.

With that in mind, I have spent the last few weeks doing some research on tips for visiting New York with kids so I thought I would share the learnings as it might help other families thinking of doing the same trip.

1- Attraction Passes 

I don’t think this even needs telling but there is a myriad of things to do in New York from thrill seeking type attractions, to walking tours, to dizzying heights type tours to leisurely strolls around art galleries.  New York really is the city that never sleeps.  We always left wanting more there is simply so much to do and with that the cost does creep up and especially if travelling as a family. My top tip here is to consider getting the New York City Tourist Pass it covers over 90 attractions and you can get a pass from 1 to up to 10 days. Another good option is the New York Explorer Pass which is a smart card that you can purchase in order to gain discounted cash-free entry into 3, 5, 7, or 10 of New York’s top attractions. In many ways a “make your own NYC tourist pass” option, the New York Explorer pass is a flexible way to see some of New York’s greatest sights over a long or short period of time at a discounted price. You actually don’t need to determine the exact sights that you plan to visit ahead of time, you need only decide upon how many you want to see.

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Mamma Reviews

Gift ideas for women

Sometimes it can be tough to pick gifts for the woman in your life, so I thought why not compile a list of honest recommendations of what women really want, from the practical to the luxurious we have compiled some recommendations below.

Lingerie

Pic Credit: Identitylingerie.com

I know you are thinking this is a high risk option!! Trust me on this, I found found the perfect offering with sizing that makes the decision a whole lot easier.   I bring you Identity Lingerie. These are a small family run company making beautiful yet practical nightwear and underwear.  The products are ethically made and environmentally friendly another mega plus in my book. In terms of sizing the products come in size s – xxl, by way of example 32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, 34AA, 34A, 34B represents a small so a lot easier to choose sizes.

I love good nightwear, it really is my treat to myself and I was lucky enough to be sent some of the nightwear product so I can hand on heart attest to the quality of the fabric and workmanship.  They are super comfy. I have the Japanese Silk in Navy and I adore them. The fit is excellent as is the quality and they have been washed multiple times are still perfect. I see they are 40% off at the moment making them £59.90 which in my mind is excellent value for what you get. Pic opposite from the webpage as im pretty sure nobody wants to see me in my pjs!

I really think its hard to go wrong with some good quality nightwear. Its a splurge item many of us put to the bottom of our list but something that’s luxurious that we would all really appreciate. I think anyway. Do check out Identity Lingerie, speaking from experience and being fortunate enough to have some of their beautiful products you wont be disappointed.

If buying lingerie or PJ’s isn’t your thing what about a beautiful robe from Irish brand Zzzana the robes are super luxurious  and made from eco friendly organic bamboo.

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Mamma Musings

Ways To Teach Kids About Money – And Why It Matters

Pic Credit: Pixabay

One of the best ways to teach kids about money, it’s value and relevance in everyday life, is to include them in daily money activities, starting as early as possible.

Children often have a hard time understanding money, including the concept of earning it and paying for things. Our modern, cashless society makes money even more abstract. 

Make it Fun

Playing games with or about money makes learning lots of fun, and few kids dislike games. You could go for familiar board games such as Monopoly or introduce them to online games with money as the theme.

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Fairy Travels

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Review

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Review 

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

I always knew I wanted to spend my significant birthday somewhere special, however I had long wish list…seaview, warm weather, nice food and good wines, luxurious but with activities for the kids and a bonus would be a new country for us on our 100 country quest.  A very tall order or so I thought!!

While researching I came across Sun Gardens Dubrovnik, it ticked all boxed for us so that was our mind made up.

We flew out with Aer Lingus on a 7am flight which actually wasn’t as bad as I feared after hearing all the media coverage about long queues. We flew home with Ryanair  on the late flight and I  have to say Dubrovnik airport was dream – so efficient.

We were at the hotel by 1 o’clock which was lovely and early giving us plenty time to get our bearings and familiarise ourselves with the resort. We used the hotels transfer service both ways (Korkyra) which was excellent, the vehicle was spotless, luxurious and air conditioned which was very welcomed as we landed to a fabulous 30 degrees. The driver both times was courteous and professional – definitely recommend.

The hotel were fantastic and facilitated us with an early check in which we really did appreciate. We were taken to our two bed residence in a golf buggy which the kids found super exciting.

The Resort

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik review

How stunning is this view – Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

Sun Gardens Dubrovnik is located in Orašac, which 11 km from Dubrovnik city centre and approximately 30 minutes drive from the airport. The resort commands a prime location on the sea front with an unobstructed view over the sea and the ideal vantage point to capture that world famous Dubrovnik sunset. The resort has its own marina and direct access to the sea.

Getting to the UNESCO walled town of Dubrovnik is easy via boat from the hotel, the hotels bus transfer or by Uber.

  • Restaurants

You will be completely spoiled for choice in terms of eating and drinking at Sun Gardens Dubrovnik and for us 3 nights was simply not enough to experience all this wonderful resort has to offer, the perfect excuse to return!

La Pasta 

The first night we arrived we ate at La Pasta and it was a thumbs up for us all. The boys had pizza and both adults had the seafood  risotto. The menu is varied and this is probably the most reasonably priced restaurant on site.

We loved the relaxed atmosphere, the view and the staff were great with kids.

The Market

The setting of this restaurant is magical, we did book in advance and got the best table at the edge looking over the Adriatic. It really was the stuff of dreams sitting out on the terrace here. The kids menu was good and both adults had seafood dishes.

The Market specialises in seafood cuisine.

The staff here were also excellent with the kids and special mention to the lovely waiter who went out of his way to get an Italian coffee for us at a different establishment on site. Super service and a super setting!  The view here really is the highlight, it was bright when we arrived so we stayed to watch the sunset, a memory I will treasure forever.

 

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Fairy Travels

Best Snorkelling Spots in the Canary Islands

Best Snorkelling Spots in the Canary Islands

Looking for the best snorkelling spots in the Canary Islands?? The Chinijo Archipelago offers incredible opportunities for both experienced and novice divers and snorkelers. The archipelago, north of Lanzarote, is formed by the island of La Graciosa, and the islets of Alegranza, Montaña Clara, Roque del Este, and Roque del Oeste, and is the largest marine reserve in Europe. La Graciosa is the arrival port for the Chinijo Archipelago.

Protected area

Best Snorkelling Spots in the Canary Islands

La Cocina LaGrociosa

The rocky sea beds in this part of the Canary Islands are ideal for divers. There are caves, crevices, arches, labyrinths, and tunnels. The flora and fauna on show is incredible. If diving seems a step too far, because of the enormous quantities of fish much can be seen a few metres away from the beach simply with a snorkel and mask.

More than 700 species

The Marine Reserve is home to an abundance of flora and fauna with some rare species present. Divers can see great swathes of marine plants and numerous types of colorful algae. There is incredible wildlife with Canarian lobster, comb groupers, dusky groupers, barracudas, moray eels, amberjacks, and shoals of grunts amongst the range of species on show.

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Fairy Travels

Madeira with kids – Enotel Lido Review

Madeira with kids

ryanair aircraft landing in madeira

Airport with a view

Is Madeira with kids on your wish list? Madeira came on my radar following an email from Ryanair which was advertising the commencement of a new direct route from Dublin.  With offer prices at €25 each way it was very hard to pass up on that so, on a whim booked the flights and set off researching Madeira.

Madeira is an autonomous region made up of an archipelago of islands north-west of Africa. With its warm climate and dramatic landscapes it looked like the perfect holiday destination for my outdoor loving gang.

Where we stayed 

When researching accommodation we had a couple of things on our wish list in no particular order 1) close to the town, 2) good facilities on site, 3) good food on site 4) family friendly.  After hours of pouring over reviews and hotel websites we decided on Enotel Lido Madeira. This is a 5 star all inclusive newly renovated hotel on the outskirts of the town of Funchal. It commands incredible views over the sea. It is located just 30 mins from the airport. We booked a transfer in advance which was handy and very efficient.

Enotel Lido Maderia

The recent renovations to the hotel have transformed this hotel into a super elegant luxurious space. We were allocated a family room consisting of 2 double beds and a balcony with a seriously wow view over the pool and the ocean in the background.   We arrived after 9pm and knowing the food in the main restaurant was finishing soon they checked us in quickly and guided us to the restaurant so the kids could get a bite to eat. We were part of the all inclusive package for the duration of our stay.

The Food

The hotel has a number of restaurants and bars on different floors and we never once found any of them crowded.  They are comfy and spacious and ideal for families.   The all inclusive food was really good, and this is truly all inclusive, all meals, all drinks included.  My own favourite was the Italian themed full service sit down 4 course meal. It was so good and some of the freshest seafood I have ever tasted.  Do go early as its full sit down it gets booked up quickly.

  • Breakfast and the evening buffet were served at the Atlântico Restaurant which was really spacious with inside and outside seating. We found the service here always really good always inclusive and making sure the kids were happy
  • Lunch and snacks were served all day near the pool on the 1st floor at Vela Di Canale. The kids gave the lunch time pizzas here a big thumbs up.

There are 4 bars on site, some with evening entertainment and a sports bar with a pool table which my pair really enjoyed in the evenings after the day spent in the pool. We didn’t get to sample the evening entertainment as the kids were so tired after their days spent in the pool. However when we were there, there was dancing show and live music each evening.

The facilities 

child at pool

The outdoor pool at Enotel Lido

We spent 5 days here which quite honestly was not enough, there is so much to do not only in the hotel but the surrounding areas. The biggest hit for my kids were the pools, conveniently both located on the 1st floor.  The indoor pool is heated and the outdoor one isn’t. There was no issues getting at lounger at the side of the pool. Between the two pools is a little play space for kids and close by is the Sports Bar and the snacks bar. Also on this floor was the gym, the Spa centre and also kids clubs which weren’t open when we were there.  There were fitness classes on each day and my kids joined the pool yoga one of the days!

You really don’t have to leave this hotel, it has everything from the five star facilities to the high quality food offerings. The location of the hotel is convenient if you do fancy a wander to the town of Funchal. The walk to the town is downhill so uphill on the way back so do keep that in mind. However taxis are plentiful and really cheap.

The room

We were allocated a family room consisting of 2 double beds, kids were delighted no fold out bed!! Our room had a balcony over looking the pool area and the sea. It was so relaxing to wake up to that view and relax in the evening with some local wines when watching the sun set.  The room also had plenty storage and a great sized bathroom. Where there are lots of rooms in this hotel, there was never a wait during our time there for lifts and from the rooms to the communal areas this place was spotless and I mean really spotless and so well kept.

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Mamma Musings

Is it safe to breastfeed when you have silicone breast implants

breast feeding mother

Pic Credit: Pixabay

With cosmetic surgery procedures becoming more popular, and more easily attainable for the average woman, the question about breastfeeding has emerged. Breast augmentation procedures are particularly popular amongst new mum’s. It’s a great way to turn back the clock and regain that pre-pregnancy size and fullness.  But what about those women who have already had breast implants, and now face the choice between breast and bottle?  It’s natural that these women might anticipate some complications or difficulties due to the surgery.  But what is the truth when it comes to breast feeding with silicone implants

Breast feeding alone can be a contentious issue amongst mum’s. Deciding what suits your lifestyle and what is best for you and your baby are choices that only you can make.  Mum shaming and internet trolling aside, you will get advice and tips that you never asked for, and are of little use.  Everyone, it seems, is an expert and they all want to give you their opinion, regardless of whether you want to hear it or not. Add breast implants to the mix and you could well send some of these ‘experts’ into a seismic spin. Keep in mind that the decision is yours to make.  Choosing to breastfeed is just that – a choice. Only you should decide what is best for you.  You are the expert in this case, and you know what suits your lifestyle better than anyone else. 

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Mamma Reviews

Paj Finder Portal 4G Review

I have spoken about this during our renovation works, my husband has worked in the construction industry for many years. A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to test out the Paj Power Finder 4G I didn’t hesitate as I knew we would really be able to put this device through its paces.

The Paj Power Finder is part of a new generation of GPS tracker that utilise the 4G network. There are many different types of trackers in the Paj range. The device comes with a built in sim card and when combined with the monthly subscription can be used in over 100 countries world wide.  For the more tech amongst us I have set out a screen shot of the tech specifications opposite.

Some of the key features include:

  • multi use device, can be fixed to many types  of vehicles such as cars, mobile homes, trailers, machinery
  • 60-90 days stand by battery
  • magnetic attachment
  • SIM card already in finder
  • USB charging
  • operating manual available online.
  • monthly subscription
  • motion/ shake alarm
  • Drop alarm
  • Radius alarm
  • speed alarm
  • low battery alarm
  • User friendly app with real time alerts

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Home & Interiors

Winter Warmer: How to make your house cheaper to run

A typical home could save around €300 a year by being more energy efficient. Many of these measures are ‘low or no’ cost or simply about changing how you do things around the house – and the good news is these measures will continue to keep saving you money year after year. Before considering how you can take action to ensure your home is energy efficient, you can check that you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to by contacting Citizens Information . This can be a big help when you are beginning to upgrade and adjust your home. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) also provide a wide range of grants to help you upgrade your home, making it warmer, cosier and more energy efficient

You should also make sure that you have the best energy deal. If you haven’t switched in over a year it’s likely you are paying more than you should be. to. Using an online comparison tool is the quickest, easiest way to find out if you could be paying less on your bills.

If you have already checked your deal and what benefits you’re entitled to, you can now look at practical ways to help you house run cheaper:


Encourage short showers over baths


Having a bath is a costly affair. No matter how long you soak, you will have used up a lot of energy for the experience. A shower is much more efficient, and we can control the costs by the time we spend showering. If you reduce the average shower from 8 minutes to 4 minutes, you can save a healthy amount of money on your bills. You also use less water, which is good for the environment.

Wash clothes on a lower temperature


We tend to wash our clothes too often, and they are hardly dirty. Running a hot wash is a significant waste of energy, considering the same results could be achieved on a colder cycle. Most washing powders are now designed to be effective at 30 degrees, and this could result in a significant saving on your utility bill each month.

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Fairy Travels

Tromso with kids review

Tromso had been on my bucket list for some time, most likely driven by its claim to be one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in the world! However the pandemic had other plans for us and the trip was postponed a number of times and finally happened in November.  We had been to Lapland, Iceland and Sweden so I was keen to add Norway to my Nordic travel list.

Flights

In terms of flights from Dublin the two main airlines are Scandinavian or Norwegian and price wise for us they were coming in pretty similar. We ended up going with Scandinavian as it gave us the best flight times going out. Flights home with both airlines are super early.  There are no direct flights so we transited via Oslo. Flights were straightforward, not too busy and our bags were checked through. Each flight was 2 hours long. Planet Buddies had kindly sent the kids some wireless headphone which we put to good use on the flights and the airport wait. Highly recommend as they come volume limited so safe for little growing ears.

It terms of flight cost for the four of us this came to around €800 for all the flights including a bag.  Scandinavian still give out free teas and coffees on board which was very welcome! Staff were great on all the flights and my kids even got to see the cockpit. A very special memory they will cherish forever.

Where we stayed 

scandic hotel Tromso

Scandic Ishavshotel Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

Tromso itself is a small and very walkable city.  I had done lots of research on hotels and kept being drawn back to one. I would be lying if I said the Tripadvisor reviews commenting on seeing the Northern Lights from the rooms didn’t sway me! We choose the Scandic Ishavshotel which has a prime location on the pier overlooking the city. Tromso is often called the “Paris of the North” due to the spectacular views.   When we told our taxi driver where we were staying the first thing he said was “oh you know they have the best breakfast in Tromso”.  The city itself is only 6km from the airport and that view when you leave the airport is really something.

We arrived around 7pm and headed straight to check in, it was snowing lightly and the kids were so excited. Check in was smooth, free

view

View from the bed at the Scandic

tea and coffee all day at reception too so grabbed a coffee and headed to our room on the 7th floor.  Once we opened the door….oh my god….that view. We were allocated a Master Suite with a wrap around balcony looking over the sea and Tromso.  To say we were speechless is an understatement. A wow moment for sure.  There was a separate living out which had a sofa bed for the kids but just check out the view from our bed….I could have wiled away hours just looking out at it.

I suspect our taxi driver was not wrong in his assessment, breakfast was in the spacious lobby with gorgeous views. There was a huge selection of hot and cold items. It wasn’t busy any morning we were there so we enjoyed long leisurely breakfast looking out at Tromso.  Breakfast is included in the room rate and it is probably one of the best hotel breakfast we have had on our travels.

The location of the hotel is perfect. You can walk to a selection of restaurants, bars and attractions.  And the absolute icing on the cake, it is 100% true that you can see the Northern Lights from your window, 3 nights out of 4 on our trip the Northern lights danced over Tromso when we sat out on the balcony. An experience I will truly never forget.

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