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. 


Sunday, 5 February 2017

My skin journey with Renaissance Clinic and Image Skin care

I have had acne for the last 4 years. About 5 years ago I got psoriasis (inherited from my nana) and I think the two are linked. My skin on my face began to act up not too long after on my second pregnancy, with my first daughter Noa. 
I always presumed it was pregnancy related and hormonal. Now I'm not so convinced. I think everything together plays a big part in my skin.Psoriasis, hormones, pregnancy, breastfeeding and stress. And now I am left with damaged skin that needs some help. I've blogged about trying different things from homemade recipes to every over the counter brand out there!! Nothing ever worked. 

Skin is very specific and for me I knew I needed a pharmacutical grade skin care regime. 
I visited two salons for a skin consultation one was Monica Tolans in malahide. The other the Renaisance Clinic in Howth. Both deal with pharmacutical brands that can't be bought over the counter. I was very disappointed with Monica Tolans, you can read why here. And completely at ease with the Renaissance clinic. They made me feel calm, hopeful and like I am in very safe hands. Sarah recommends 6 peels for my skin problems and 3 micro-needling sessions. 
What I loved about Image Skin care is with each session you get a prescription with what products you should use morning and evening to help your skin and also to prepare it for the next peel which will be a higher strength. I won't post what I am using because as I said, skin is specific and everyone's will be different. But I will say I am seeing some big difference!! 
My first peel was a non chemical peel. It was the peel and a gentle way to start my treatment. My skin looked amazing after just two weeks of using there products and one peel. 


My skin hasn't reacted to the products what so ever. My skin is thriving. And although the redness and problem areas are still there it's all under the skin and my skin is so soft I can't explain it. 

The illuma serum that is a big part of my daily routine has completely helped to take the redness out of my skin. It hasn't looked this calm in about 4 years. 
Sarah told me after my first peel I may break out. And a couple of days after I took these pics I did break out. 

The first thing I noticed about this breakout which was different to all my breakouts in the past, was that this one came all at once and didn't last very long.  Before my month was just a continued cycle of breakouts no end and beginning. This time they all came together and within 3 days were almost gone. My skin over all is very healthy and I think means it can easily deal with breakouts. Because let's be honest I will still get breakouts. We all do. But I think the biggest thing we can do to help ourselves is make sure our skin is in the best health it can be and our breakouts will be here and gone in the blink of an eye. 
My peels are scheduled about every two weeks so I will check back in after my next one.
Laura 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Perfect Gift this Christmas!

The more I blog the more I realise I have never really ventured much out of my comfort zone regarding beauty products and brands. And I'm getting pleasantly surprised every single day.. 

Next on my pleasantly surprised list of brands I should have tried years ago is Vichy... 

Vichy have six bespoke gift sets this Christmas.. 

I have been trying out the Idealia range for about a month now and I am so impressed. I have really sensitive and problematic skin so I was a little apprehensive and praying I didn't get a reaction from the brand but I am really happy with how I got on.. 
I have also been trying out their foundation and powder and to say I am impressed is an understatement. I am blown away. I absolutely love their foundation and equally their loose powder. All of the products have been so soft and so gentle on my skin I just can't believe I have never tried them before. 


The idealia range is specifically formulated to improve skin quality and combat the signs of behavioural ageing- pollution, stress, fatigue and UV exposure. I for sure need help with all of the above!!! Specially designed for women concerned with the first signs of ageing. Idealia promises to re awaken the skin and give an even complexion. 
The gift set includes cleansing micellar water 200ml, day care cream 50ml,skin sleep 15ml and spa water 50ml.
Idealia Cleanser... I loved this cleanser it is gentle and lighted on the skin and removed eye make up very efficiently. It didn't give me and stinging or redness like other brands that I have tried and I am very impressed.
Idealia Day Cream... The day cream was extremely hydrating and I absolute loved that. My only thing was it left a little bit of product on the face and I felt i had to wipe off before I put my make up on. I tend to wear make up most days so this didnt really suit me. But maybe my skin just didn't absorb all the face cream had to offer. For the days I was make up free it was perfect.
Idealia Night Cream... This I can't fault! Immediate hydration with this night cream!!!! As soon as I put it on one part of my face it is super hydrated compared to the rest! And the next morning- no remainder of cream on my face and soft and radiant looking skin!


RRP €35

I also tried their dermablend foundation and loose powder!








As soon as I put this foundation on I just couldn't believe it. The consistency is absolutely amazing and it's got a great amount of coverage but still really light on the face and very soft.. I am totally converted and can't believe I've only just found it now... RRP €21.99

The powder I feel just the same about. Couldn't have loved it more! It's light, soft and very easily blendable. And totally set my make up for the whole day! RRP €19.99


Another thing that I noticed was how soft my skin was every morning when I woke up. I'm not sure this was down to one specific product or a combination of all the Vichy products but my skin has never felt softer and I am so grateful!

With four other womans gift sets and one men's Vichy is your go to range for any gift you need this Christmas. 

Check out their website here for more information!

I received these products for the purpose of this review. As always, my opinion is my own.