Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Starting School Top Tips

I thought I would share some tips for kids starting school, whether its preschool or primary or just going back to school, I have found these helpful over the years and I hope you do too.
  • Let them wear their uniform (if they have one) a few times in the days leading up to it, don't make a fuss just let them get a feel for it and make sure they go to the toilet while wearing it to practise with any buttons or zips that they might find fiddly. The same should go for their footwear, laces are best avoided while they are still small, keep it simple with Velcro straps.
  • Start a multivitamin now to boost their immune as there will be all sorts of bugs going around by the end of September, don't be surprised if they end up with what I like to call "constant runny nose syndrome", a packet of tissues in their bag and another one in their coat pocket is always helpful.
  • Start (attempt) getting them to bed early and up in the mornings early a few days before to kick start the routine.
  • Let them have lunch out of their lunch boxes at home to make sure they are able to open and close their lunch boxes and bottles themselves. If you plan on giving them bananas or little oranges make sure they can peel them by themselves first. Don't give them something new straight away, keep it familiar, ham and cheese sambos are perfectly acceptable especially if you know that's what they will eat. Be mindful of the schools lunch rules, certain foods (mostly nuts and sometimes eggs) are not allowed due to other children having allergies, so no peanut butter or nutella either.
  • Water is best for a drink, if milk spills in their bag or is left near a radiator it will stink. A little trick I use with my girls who aren't mad on water everyday is to let them see me put a drop (literally a drop) of dilute into their water bottle, after that they have no problem drinking it.
  • Get ahead of the game when it comes to head lice prevention. A shampoo with tea tree oil is a good defence, I would recommend Vosene shampoo for kids and you can get a conditioning spray too which can be left in, these are available in Tesco and Boots. If they have long hair tie it up, plaits and clips are your friends.
  • Don't hype up the school talk too much, play it cool, it can make some children anxious to constantly be talking about it.
  • Don't worry if they cry on the first day, this is a big change for them but they will be fine. Don't be surprised if you cry too, it happens!
  • If you worry that your child might not make it to the toilet on time pack a spare set of underwear, socks/tights, pants/skirt and give it to the teacher, ask if they get a chance to give a gentle reminder to your child to go to the toilet. Sometimes they forget to go, sometimes they don't want to ask and sometimes they just don't make it on time.
  • Try to get into a routine in the first week it will really help (even though it all goes out the window after the Halloween midterm), get yourself up first and get washed and dressed then get the kids up. Have breakfast with them, you need fuel for the day too! Get them washed and dressed after breakfast to avoid spilling food and tooth paste on a clean uniform. Try to give yourself and extra 10 minutes to get out the door. Don't worry if it doesn't go to plan some days you will be late and that's just how it goes.
  • Once home from school I find getting them straight out of their uniform and into something comfortable helps. Some food straight away (for the early finishers I do a snack, by the time the older one gets in I try to have dinner ready. Homework straight after that so it's out of the way, dinner is out of the way and you have the evening to chill a bit.
  • Don't be surprised when you ask about their day if they tell you they cant remember or they don't know, talk about your day and they will open up eventually.
  • Lastly don't worry they will be fine xx

Friday, 21 August 2015

10 Things About Me Times 3

I was tagged by 3 lovely bloggers to take part in the 10 Things About Me post where I answer 10 questions given to me by them. I decided to combine them all into the one post as I didn't want to leave anyone out and each of them have some different questions.

First I was tagged by Chasing Ruby Chat :

1) What does your perfect night in look like?
  • Movie, take away, fluffy socks
2) Where do you see yourself in five years time?
  • Well my kids will be a bit older then so hopefully I will be working outside of the house by then.
3) What's the number one thing on your wishlist?
  • Depends on the list, are we talking life goals or material things?
4) If you won the lotto how would you spend it?
  • House, holidays, clothes, makeup and stationery lol
5) What's your favourite thing about blogging?
  • The friendships that have come from meeting people through it
6) What's your least favourite thing about blogging?
  • Finding the time to get it all done, always playing catchup with myself
7) Do you prefer winter or summer, why?
  • Summer is nice for a few days but ultimitley I like the winter, fluffy socks and new pjs
8) What is your favourite quote?
  • "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
9) What inspires you in life?
  • My kids, family and friends
10) What is your favourite makeup brand?
  • Ouch that's a hard one their are so many nice ones!
Next I was tagged by Chirps From A Little Red Hen :

1) What's your favourite room in your home?
  • My bedroom because it has my bed in it lol and its where I do most of my blogging
2) What makes a perfect sandwich?
  • Rashers (bacon), lettuce and mayo
3) What is your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?
  • Curl up with the kids under a cuddly blanket and watch Harry Potter or lie on my bed and listen to the rain if it is heavy while reading a book
4) If you were only allowed to wear one item of makeup what would it be?
  • Probably mascara to make me look more awake
5) Camping/Glamping/Selfcatering/Hotel, what would your choice be on holiday?
  • I wouldn't mind trying Glamping, have already done the others, but I do like hotels for comfort
6) What are your favourite flowers?
  • Pink Lillies and large daisies, I love daffodils in the spring too
7) If you won a lotto of 1 million what would be the first thing you would do?
  • Take my family shopping and spoil them
8) What's your favourite thing to do in summer?
  • Take the girls out for adventures
9) What's your favourite thing to do to relax?
  • Read, write or a netflix marathon
10) Your perfect breakfast?
  • At the moment I am really enjoying warm granola with fresh fruit on top
And lastly I was tagged by SquidgyMoments :

1) Why did you start blogging?
  • I really needed a hobby and a creative outlet
2) What's your favourite thing about blogging?
  • Making new friends and trying new things
3) If you could click your fingers and go anywhere in the world where would you go?
  • I really want to go to London, but also Paris, Rome and Harry Potter World
4) If you could relive one memory what would it be and why?
  • I have to cheat and say 2 but the moment my girls were placed in my arms, its not a feeling that I can explain and it was different each time but its the most amazing feeling in the world ever
5) What's your favourite store?
  • Penneys obviously lol
6) What's your favourite makeup brand?
  • There are too many I love them all... give me all the makeup!
7) Which do you prefer - Cadbury's or Galaxy?
  • Cadbury's
8) What do you love most about blogging?
  • Being able to create and connect with others
9) What is your dream career?
  • I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up
10) If you won the lotto tomorrow what would you spend it on?
  • See above

Thank you ladies for all your questions, I think by now everyone has been tagged in this so I am going to throw in some fun questions and everyone is free to answer them just tag me in it so I see them.
  1. Sweets or chocolate?
  2. Popcorn or crisps?
  3. Pepsi or coke?
  4. McDonalds or Burger King?
  5. Blogger or Wordpress?
  6. Twitter or Facebook?
  7. Snapchat or Instagram?
  8. Starbucks or Costa?
  9. Books or ereaders?
  10. Daddy or chips?
I hope you like my quick fun questions let me know if you answer them.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Quinola Mothergrain Express

One of the great things about blogging is getting the opportunity to try new things. Something new we have been trying is Quinoa from Quinola Mothergrain. These express pouches only take 30 seconds to heat up and make a great addition to any meal instead of rice or pasta.

So what is Quinoa? It is a nutritious supergrain, it is organic, healthy, easy to cook and versatile, it can be served hot or cold and will carry flavours well. The express quinoa is very convenient but I like that Quinola also have it where you can boil it yourself, I think it would be fun to try out some new dishes with it.

We tried the Split Peas first from the Ambient Ready Meals and it was quite nice, we all liked the flavour of this one as it wasn't strong and I added it as a side along with some chops and small potatoes. Everyone ate it which was great considering I have two girls who can be very fussy about their food sometimes so I was surprised that they even tried it.

I introduced more flavours then from the kids range, Ella liked the Thai flavour and Abigail preferred the Mediterranean. Again I was just so happy to see them trying something new, it's always a good thing to try and expand their taste buds and not stick to the same things constantly.

I found it very handy that they could be heated in 30 seconds, its a very convenient way of adding an extra healthy side to your meals. Quinola has slow release carbohydrates and is packed full of nutrients so no complaints here and I will definitely be trying Quinoa again now.

The ready meals come in a range of flavours :
  • Black Quinoa - the crunchier mix
  • Red Quinoa - the nuttier mix
  • Spicy Mexican - a meal in its own right
  • Split Peas - the veg is included
And from the kids range which is aimed at kids aged 3+ :
  • Tex Mex Quinoa with kidney beans, sweetcorn & tomato
  • Mediterranean Quinoa with tomato, courgette & carrot
  • Thai Quinoa with peas, carrots & coconut milk
I have spotted these for sale in my local Supervalu but you can find a full list of stockists and more about the brand on their website

(Disclosure : We received these products to taste and try out for the purpose of a review, all opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Netflix Party - To the Edge and Beyond

To help celebrate the release of the all new Netflix original series Dragons : Race to the Edge, Netflix kindly sent us a Treasure Chest full of items for our very own screening party, there was popcorn, colouring books, colouring pencils, dragon tattoos, face paints and more. There was also a dragon inspired menu for our feast and a list of games and crafts to do.

While I prepared the feast the girls, now covered in tattoos, got stuck into their colouring books.

I served up Dragons Legs (chicken drumsticks) and Viking Hot Dog Boats (using yummy Superquinn sausages) and some chips with Dragon Lava Flow (tropical juice) to wash it down.

Once that was all demolished we had some popcorn and treats, Toothless even joined in diving right into the popcorn bowl.

If you would like to have your own Dragon party here are some ideas for you to join in :
  • Make you own swords and shields from left over cardboard boxes, you can get creative with paint or even use tinfoil to make them look real.
  • Get your war paint on to look like your favourite characters for Dragons : Race to the Edge
  • Create a Viking Feast, some suggestions :
    • Viking hot dog boats
    • Dragons Legs
    • Dragon Scale Pizza (Pepperoni pizza)
    • Pancakes shaped like dragons, topped with fruit
    • Berries in a handkerchief
    • Dragons Eyeballs (Lychees stuffed with a blueberry)
    • Pineapple Swords (Pineapple chunks on plastic swords)
    • Dragons Blood Punch (Blackcurrant syrup, blackberry puree, water)
    • Dragon Lava Flow (Tropical juice, orange juice & pineapple juice)
We had a great time with our home screening party, it was the perfect way to spend a rainy day. I would love to hear from you if you have your own party you can post some pics to my Facebook page and I will be happy to share them.

(Disclosure : We received these goodies as I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.)

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Hopster - App Review

Hopster is a great app for children to safely explore, watch child friendly TV shows, play mini games and the newest feature allows them to colour and create. They can draw their own pictures or trace their favourite characters and their pictures are then displayed on a line hanging from the Hopster tree on the main screen.

The app is updated regularly and features a lot of shows that my girls enjoy like Ben & Holly, SuperWhy, Madeline, Angelina Ballerina, Postman Pat, Bob the Builder and a whole host of other great shows. Surprisingly they are most mesmerised by Nursery Rhymes TV which they love to sing along to.

We have been trying out this app for a good while now and Ella (5) in particular is really taken with it. I downloaded it onto my iPad and the girls have been getting great use of it especially as the weather hasn't been the best.

One of my favourite things is the offline feature, where you can download (while online) a number of shows that can then be watched offline. This has been fantastic for different train and car journeys we had this summer, it especially made driving to and from Galway more entertaining for the girls.

The app is available on the App Store and is free to download and offers 1-5 episodes and games free. To unlock all episodes, get regular new episodes and use the "watch offline" mode, you can sign up to start a 7 day free trial and subscribe afterwards if you and your little one enjoy it. You can cancel at anytime with no penalty if they don't.

It is €4.99 a month and I have to say for us it has been worth it. We were very grateful to receive the first 30 days free with the option to cancel straight after but when I saw how much the girls enjoyed it and the new features that were added I was happy to keep up my subscription.

It is a super safe app and has a grown ups area that can only be accessed by answering a maths question. In there you can find out when your subscription will next renew and manage your account.

I really am delighted with this app, I have had no issues with it and the set up was very straight forward. In the UK it is available on the Apple TV and I hope it will eventually be made available here too.

Find out more at
Check out their Facebook and Twitter

(Disclosure : I received a 30 day free trial for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.)