Thursday, 14 September 2017

Celebrate your little ones birthday with Netflix

With September being the most popular month for Birthdays around the world, Netflix has introduced a great Birthday hack to help parents throw a special birthday party for their little ones. 

Today, for the first time ever, Netflix released 15 Birthdays On-Demand
where characters from LEGO Ninjago, Luna Petunia, Beat Bugs and more help make birthday celebrations a piece of cake.

With this new hack, parents can simply press play and kids’ favourite characters will sing them a special birthday greeting - made just for them (or so they’ll think). Netflix is taking the celebrations to the next level - no cake baking all-nighter required - by letting kids celebrate with Trollhunters or Pok─Śmon, anytime, anywhere. Launching in the world’s most common birth month of September, Netflix Birthdays On-Demand gives parents an easier way to make their kids birthdays special.

If you’ve been sweating about party planning, you’re not alone. Two-thirds of parents (67%) globally agree that birthday planning is stressful. But I think this is a lovely touch to make your little ones birthday just that little bit more special!

By just searching “birthday songs” on Netflix it will unlock a special performance from kids’ favourite characters, including DreamWorks All Hail King Julien, Barbie, Beat Bugs, DreamWorks Dinotrux, Las Leyendas, LEGO Friends, LEGO Ninjago, Luna Petunia, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug* and Cat Noir, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Pokemon, Project Mc2, Skylanders Academy, DreamWorks Trollhunters and Word Party.

Have a look at the link below... I'm sure my little ones will LOVE it!!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Pre-school Ready

As a mum of 3 (and one on the way) I strive to make things as uncomplicated as possible. Things going to plan and as smoothly as possible is a daily goal in our house! This year preparing our 3 year old for Montessori was our goal! 

Name Tags
Lets face it, kids lose things! Everything! So, my best approach is to be as prepared for the inevitable as possible! Label everything. I found bright, fun and affordable labels from MyNameTag.ie and they make everything so convenient! My daughter’s name is on everything and I also added my number. She loves them as they are her favourite colour and also a character she loves! They do stickers for lunchboxes, bags, water bottles etc. They also do iron on labels for their clothes, slippers and even for comfort toys/blankets if they decide to bring them along too!

Personalised Bag
Another amazing company I came across was JustaThought.ie, a company that do personalised small school bags. They stich your little ones name onto it, making it very special (and convenient) for anyone starting pre school or School!Not to mention all of the patterns are absolutely adorable!


Practice
We spent a lot of time practising opening and closing bags, lunch boxes and water bottles. We also practiced taking on and off coats and shoes. And probably most important we practised her going to the toilet on her own and washing her hands.
All things that seem so simple to a child a little older or to us, but could be very daunting when they start pre school for the very first time!

Role Play
One thing our little one loved to do was Role Play. She would play the teacher and I would be the students or visa versa. It really got her an understanding of what it would be like in pre school and how exactly the dynamic would be!

Night Before Preparation 
Lastly, We got her very involved in preparing everything with us the night before. Her lunch, lunchbox, clothes, shoes, coat and even down to which hair clip she would wear. For her, it made the next morning very exciting, with her really excited to get ready in everything she had prepared herself the night before!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Teddy Bears Picnic at Rathwood Review

We had the pleasure of hopping on board Rathwoods famous woodland train last week. We went for a teddy bears picnic and a search for baby bear. Rathwood started train journeys 10 years ago and since Kyle was small I have been dying to try it out. And it did not disappoint!
All children got name tags which was lovely so all staff could call them by their names! Making our 2 year old Noa feel very special! They got a teddy at the beginning which they got to stuff themselves and carry on board for their train ride, again such a lovely touch in my opinion!
There are lots of interacting with all carriages of the train throughout which I loved. Songs and different things for the kids to see and shout which was lots of fun. 

We picked Mommy, Daddy and baby bear up on the way.. And they even hopped on board! We stopped off an fed the ducks and all children got some bread to do so which was lovely! And then at the end when everyone got off the children got a little picnic which had a drink an apple and a cookie. Both our kids were thrilled with this! They had picnic blankets for everyone to sit on but unfortunately not enough for us..and about 4 other families! The grass we sat on was a little damp which I found a little disappointing, I think it would be worth Rathwoods while to invest in a few more picnic blankets and have enough for every family on board! 

The kids all got a chance to have a picture with the teddy bears which Noa loved.. Kyle 7 was not as keen! I think over all Noa 2 1/2 loved every minute me for Kyle he was just a little old but he really did enjoy his day! 
The kids got vouchers for a free ice cream so we headed to the cafe and the fantastic playground the have right beside it! 

In my opinion the price for the food does not match the quality. All that was available for the kids was frozen/fried options. I would have loved to see some fresh sandwhiches and fruit for the kids.. I thought the food for the adults was a little expensive too so my advice would be to bring a picnic and around the back of rathwood are beautiful walks and lots of picnic areas! It is advertised to be a 60 min experience which even after pics with the bears etc only lasted 50 mins... I would love another lap or a little longer route on the train. For the 1 hour and 30 min drive from Dublin the whole train ride was over very quickly. BUT both my kids really enjoyed the day! What a lovely day to bring grandparents along to too? There is a calm feel about rathwood and I know my MIL and FIL would love it and also a look in Rathwoods stunning garden centre!! 

Tickets are €7 per child and €4 per adult which in my opinion is totally worth it! And we really look forward to going back! For more trains, times and info check out their website.

We received our tickets complimentary in return for an honest review.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Fathers Day Sorted with Lidl

Fathers Day is Sunday 18th of June. But don't panic, Lidl have you covered. If it is a gift you're searching for or a meal you can spoil any man in your life with look no further this year than Lidl!

With the beard trend still in full swing for our men, I am delighted to see lidl stocking this Silver Crest beard trimmer for just €11.99 perfect for Neil! It is also a hair trimmer so perfect for any man in your life! 
My fav item this year is Lidls luxury item a C secure card holder. For just €24.99 it is a perfect little accessory this Father's Day.
Neil will absolutely love this- a secure place to keep all his cards together and safe. 

I always love to add a small fun present from the kids and this year I have emoji gold balls- which he prob won't use for another 3 years!! But for €4.99 it's a fun present. And something the kids will like to give as they are colourful and they love the faces on them! 
Lastly I have a little fragrance for Neil also from Lidl. These impressive fragrances are just €4.99 and if the man in your life goes through aftershave as fast as my husband this is a no brainer!! They come in three different fragrances- one for every taste! 

If gifts are not your thing and your prefer to get to your mans heart through his stomach. Or you have a man in your life that is impossible to buy for why not cook him something amazing this Fathers Day?

Give your dad the gift of a satisfied tummy this Father’s Day by preparing a delicious meal for you and your family to enjoy.  

From tasty loaded nachos to pork burgers, each of these recipes is quick and easy to make and uses fresh and delicious produce, guaranteed to invigorate taste buds!

Ingredients available in Lidl’s 150 stores across Ireland. 

 

Tasty Loaded Nachos with Homemade Guacamole

Serves 4

Ideal for serving while your dad’s favourite team are playing or as a yummy starter, these tasty loaded nachos with homemade guacamole are sure to go down a treat in your household this Father’s Day!

Ingredients:

• 1 tin of Freshona Kidney Beans, drained
• 1 clove of Garlic, peeled & crushed
• ½ tbsp Primadonna Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• 1 bag of Simply Salted Tortilla Chips
• tbsp Kania Cumin Seeds
• 200g Rathdaragh Medium Mature White Cheddar 
• 2 Avocados, peeled & destoned
• Juice of half a Lime
• Half a Red Onion, peeled & thinly sliced
• Large handful of fresh Coriander
• 1 small Red Chilli, sliced
• tbsps Coolree Creamery Sour Cream
• tbsps Snaktastic Hot Salsa
• Pinch of Kania Salt & Black Pepper

 

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the kidney beans. Add one clove of garlic, season, and cook for 5 minutes over a low heat. 

 

2. Tip the tortilla chips into a large casserole dish. Grate the cheese over the tortilla chips and melt under the grill. 

 

3. To make the guacamole, mash the avocados & add the lime juice, onion, chilli & most of the coriander and stir to combine. 

 

4. Top the tortillas with the guacamole, warm kidney beans, sour cream, salsa and more coriander before serving.

 

 

Turkey Burgers with Feta & Rocket Salad

Serves: 4

These fantastic pork burgers would be a deliciously unique choice for your Father’s Day meal – simply serve with either regular or sweet potato fries & tuck in!

Ingredients: 

• pkt of Bally Manor Turkey Breast Mince
• 4 slices of Glensallagh Smoked Back Bacon
• pkt of Eridanous Greek Feta, crumbled
• 1 tsp of chopped Parsley
• 1 tsp of chopped Thyme
• 1 Connell Farm Egg, beaten
• 50g of Connell Bakery Breadcrumbs
• 4 Connell Bakery Burger Buns 
• Juice of half a Lemon
• ½ tbsp. Deluxe Irish Rapeseed Oil
• pkt of Meadow Fresh Rocket
• tbsp Deluxe Irish Country Tomato Relish
• Pinch of Kania Salt & Pepper

 

Method:

1. Preheat your grill or barbecue to its hottest setting. To make the burgers, mix the pork mince with the parsley, thyme, egg and breadcrumbs and season. Using clean hands, mould the mixture into 4 burgers, cover with cling film and place in your fridge for 15 minutes to set.

 

2. Grill the bacon slices until golden and crisp then set aside.

 

3. Grill the burgers for 10 minutes on each side, or until completely cooked through. When cooked add the feta and bacon and grill for one minute.

 

4. Mix the rocket with the lemon juice. Toast the buns and transfer the burgers onto them, adding the salad before serving.

 

Father’s Day Meal Deal:

If cooking isn’t your forte, Lidl are also offering a Father’s Day Meal Deal for just €10 so you can treat your dad to a delicious feast. The Meal Deal includes;

Main:

Sirloin Steak 400g

 

Sides: Take 2 Sides

Butter Roast Potatoes

Stuffed Mushrooms

 

Desserts: Choose 1 item 

Banoffee Pie or Irish Cream Liqueur Cheesecake

 



Sunday, 4 June 2017

3D Gender Scan with Ultrasound Dimensions

Last Saturday Neil and I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Ultrasound Dimensions and having a 3D gender scan on our fourth baby!
I don't know about other mums but for me, fourth time around and I was more nervous than ever before. I think the more pregnancies you have the more information you have also learned. With Google so easily accessible and so much information at our finger tips it can be a nerve wrecking experience getting your first scan. 
Initially when we were invited to ultrasound dimensions for our scan I spoke to Monica on the phone. Immediately I felt her calmness and her experience even just over the phone. So I have to say I felt confident going to Monica to do our scan as I really felt she knew what she was doing and she has years of experience. One thing Monica said to me on the phone when we spoke for the first time was "Eyes only see what the brain already knows" and from that moment on I knew we'd be in very capable and experienced hands with Monica at Ultrasound Dimensions Blackrock. I feel like with all the places that offer private scans all you really want and need is somebody who is fully educated in this field and knows exactly what they are doing, talking about and also looking at when they see you little baby pop up on their screen.

Our apt was for 11 on a Sat and I didn't know how traffic or parking would pan out- already feeling anxious about the scan I didn't need finding a parking spot and being late another issue to worry about. But it is so easy to get to and there is loads of parking right out side on the Main Street where you don't have to pay or down one side street a 30 second walk where I think it was €1.50 for two hours parking. When we got there we were greeted by a very friendly receptionist and a calm and clean waiting area. I filled out my form before going in. Personal details and then if you wanted to also check measurements and weight which I ticked absolutely YES. This is a little extra but in my opinion totally worth it. There is also a priceless option in my opinion which is to also have everything out onto a USB key for you to keep- again this is a little extra but a fabulous touch and something you will have forever. 
In Ireland for many people especially public patients, the first scan isn't until 20/21 weeks pregnant. A nerve wrecking time for any parent to be! I think before baby is moving and before you have really any other reassurance all is well, an early gender scan is a no brainier. For a little over €100 you can have the reassurance of seeing your baby and checking all the major bits are ok. For me, before feeling any big movements it was so nice to see baby rubbing her face and sucking her thumb and little smiles... And yes that's right I did say her... We found out it is another little GIRL.


A major thing Neil found from our experience with ultrasound dimensions was how warm and personal the experience was. Sometimes, in your maternity hospital it can feel very clinical and when doctors are talking facts and doing their checks, although understandably they're doing there job it can still feel very impersonal. With Monica she made us feel so at ease and like she genuinely loved what she was doing and cared about our scan as much as we did. Because let's be real, this scan, this moment (especially for us finding out the sex) is going to change our lives. This new little one is going out family and we will remember it forever. 
Monica really got to know us and even tell us a little about her life and kids.



If you are on the fence about a private scan or a 3D scan or a gender scan I would say GO for it!! I don't think you will ever regret seeing your baby in the womb. Or getting the reassurance that everything is ok in there! But my biggest advice is going to somebody experienced, somebody you will feel at ease with and somebody who you feel in your maternal instinct you can trust- and that is Monica at Ultrasound Dimensions in Blackrock. You will not be disappointed.
For more information or to book your own scan, check out Ultrasound Dimensions they offer so many different types of scans. One to suit any want or need you or your partner may have. Ask for Monica and dont forget to say I sent you :)

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx

If you want to see more of our scan and hear my views in person please watch our YouTube video down below.. 

Disclaimer- we were kindly invited to ultrasound dimensions to review their services but as ALWAYS my opinions are my own. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Brooklodge Macreddin Village Review

Neil and I had the absolute pleasure of staying in Brooklodge earlier this month and our experience was heavenly. It was our third visit to Brooklodge and third time did not disappoint. 
Brooklodge is in Mecreddin Village in Co.Wiclow about 1 hour and a half from Dublin. And a village is exactly what is is like. When you park at the hotel you can say goodbye to your car for your stay. There is a pub, an organic restraunt and an Italian restraunt all on the grounds. There is also a wedding reception building, a church, two swimming pools and a spa! 
Not forgetting the main attraction (for my husband) a stunning hole golf course. 

Brooklodge is GSM free zone and my goodness can you tell. Everything we ate from morning to night was so fresh so flavoursome and just so healthy to taste. The breakfast (my favourite) pulls out all the stops and has an option for everyone.


The vibe when you walk through the door is so homely, the dim lights whisper relaxation and the basket of fresh eggs and freshly home made brown bread scream healthy food. It is heaven.

They have two restraunts on the ground a beautiful and intimate Italian and also an organic stunning restraunt called "The Strawberry Tree" we ate at the Italian and it did not disappoint. I had prawns to start and ravioli for my main. Both gorgeous. 


Does it get any better than this? 
Surprisingly yes it does..... 

The only thing more stunning than the views that surround Brooklodge are the staff. Each one just absolutely outstanding. Any small request made to any of the staff or any questions or queries were not a big deal in the slightest. Tea and toast up to the room for a pregnant women that was peckish at 11pm, not a problem at all. We were made feel like we were the only guests staying there and never made feel like we were putting anybody out with any request or question we had. 

The Spa...
Again I won't pretend I wasn't already converted but the spa is just amazing. Fitting in so perfectly with the overall vibe of the hotel itself. Relaxation being first and foremost. The smells of oils, the music the water available as you sit on a lounger by the pool. I was disappointed this time there was no bowl of fruit available, as there was before. Relaxing is hungry work!

We were there Friday and Saturday and Friday was absolute bliss we had the spa to ourselves and it was heaven on earth. Saturday there were a lot more people down as there was a wedding on the Sunday so there were a group of about 11 groomsmen in the pool when we went down on the Saturday- not my ideal situation as it was loud and a lot less relaxing. So I would love if the spa pool could remain as a quiet spa like feel and perhaps stags and hens could be encouraged to use brooklodges second pool. 

But... I had all the envy for the wedding party. What a STUNNING place for a wedding. They even have a little church on the grounds too. 


All in all I was so impressed. Did I miss my kids? Not one bit. Will I be going back? RUNNING.

Brooklodge you did not disappoint. Can't wait to go back!

Laura x

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Organix "No junk promise" Goodies | Ad

I have three children. 1, 2 and 7. So as you can imagine snack time is a huge part of our day. My 7 year old is constantly hungry and the little ones love a snack. And I love to give them a snack especially when I have to get something done!! #smallwins

As with the rest of their meals, I am very conscious of the snacks I give my children and strive to give them the healthiest options I can. Fresh fruit and veg is something I always go for but that's not always possible every day and also if we are out and about, which most days we are. This is where organix come in. I have long been a fan of organix and my love for the brand just continues to grow. It's the only brand I have found with healthy snacks for my kids that they actually enjoy! When I got the opportunity to work with organix on their "no junk promise" I jumped at the chance. 
Organix is a brand I buy weekly for my kids! It's a brand I am confident in and a brand I trust. It makes things so easy when I am flying around the supermarket to grab and not have to worry about reading labels and comparing ingredients. 

Last week Organix sent us out their Banana puffer corn, gingerbread men, carrot stix, raisins and cocoa and orange crispy bars. 

The banana puffer corn was the only one we have never tried. Unfortunately it didn't go down well with the 7 year old or my 2 1/2 year old. I think they may have been expecting a popcorn taste/feel which is just isn't. Briar, my 1 year old LOVED them. And I felt safe giving them to her as they are soft and squishy. So when the older two are having popcorn I feel at ease giving B Organix puffer corn and not being worried at all that she may not be able to eat them!

The Carrot Stix and Raisins are a staple in this house and in my weekly shopping. My 7 year old and 2 1/2 year old love the raisins in their porridge in the morning. And Briar loves them as a snack during the day.

I also love to put the raisins into a bowl for her and help her to practise her pincer grasp! 

Daddy uses them also on his porridge and me on my granola!! I also find with Organix compared to other brands of raisins I've bought, Organix raisins don't stick to the inside of the box making them so easy to tip out!

The carrot stix all three absolutely adore!! Noa and Briar fight over sharing a bag so the bag has to be split into two bowls or a bag each is a nessasity!! They do make a big mess on Briars face but she adores them and it's nothing a baby wipe can't handle!! 

The Gingerbread Men I tend to give as more of a "treat" which go down so well.. And also work very effectively as bribery!! Briar has gotten 6 teeth in two weeks so I thought the gingerbread men may be a little hard on her gums but actually she sucked them till they were soft and then devoured one!! 

My 7year old and one year old love the crispy bars! Unfortunately Noa my 2 1/2 year old didn't but can't will them all!! For her it was more about the orange flavour she didn't like. I find these perfect for lunch boxes too!

What I love most about Organix is their "no junk promise". Organix pride themselves on no junk in their snacks. No added salt or sugar- something us mums are getting more and more aware of. They have a huge range of snacks for all our fussy little eaters and although they may be a little bit on the higher scale of snacks on the market, I genuinely feel you are paying for quality and for a healthy alternative to all other options on the market at the moment. Organix is a brand that is always on offer which is something I buy in bulk when I spot. Makes it extremely affordable for a brand you can trust. 

This is a paid collaboration with Organix, but as always all opinions are my own. Love, life and little ones supports brands I truely believe in and trust.