Sunday, 22 October 2017

Babymoon at Farnham Estate

Fourth baby and first time to have a baby moon. And let me tell you I was seriously missing out! My husband and I had the pleasure of staying in Farnham Estate & Spa last month and I had the pleasure of experiencing the most amazing facial in their gorgeous Spa. Farnham is stunning to stay over night, but I also think if that wasn’t possible it is perfect to go for the day have some afternoon tea, pregnancy treatments, a swim and a gorgeous dinner! Farnham offers so much more than just a night away! It would also be a fantastic venue for a baby shower!





Our Stay..
Only 90 mins from Dublin, Farnham was very handy to get to. Its beautiful grounds immediately add an essence of calm. The grounds are beautiful and although we didn’t get a chance I’m sure to walk around on one of their trails would be really enjoyable. Initially when we drove in I wondered why the hotel was so far from the actual entrance, then it clicked. The views!! The view from the hotel lobby and the room we stayed in was just picturesque. They are stunning! It made me feel so relaxed and it makes the experience feel so private also. We had a gorgeous 3 course meal in the restaurant. If you are booking the restaurant I would highly recommend to book a table beside the huge windows and enjoy your relaxing meal beside a stunning view! There was a variety of options on each course to suit any palate. (Or the unpredictable cravings of an nine month pregnant woman!) The food came quickly, it was hot and really tasty! The deserts were huge!! (Did I mention Im pregnant?!)

Our Room- Neil and I had the pleasure of staying in the Deer Park Suite. When we first walked in we couldn’t believe it. It is fab!! Two huge windows open the room up to those stunning views and in the room is a huge four-poster bed. Arm chairs and a TV and a nespresso machine (fantastic little extra in my opinion) and then the best bit.. a HUGE bathroom. Again, two huge windows letting relaxation flood in. A bath in the middle of the room with a view directly out the window. A double sink and a huge double shower. Such a luxury and so perfect for a very deserving mum to be!!

Pregnancy Espa Facial- On my last three pregnancies I never had the opportunity or the finances for a pregnancy treatment. Or so I thought! I also always thought with not being able to lie directly on my back or front I felt the therapist would be limited in what they could do. Again, wrong!
I was booked in for an hour long facial and head massage with Espa products in the Spa. I arrived a little early to fill out my form, a little about my health and preferences re massage etc. I was then lead to a quiet and calm corridor and lead to the changing rooms. Clean, quiet and a locker provided you need a euro for the locker as members of the gym also use the changing rooms so don’t forget that!! Bernie, my therapist then showed me to my room. As I mentioned, not having a pregnancy treatment before I didn’t know what to expect. Bernie was really amazing she explained everything to me- what she would do, what I should wear and how I should position myself on the bed. She let me try and smell all the products she would be using on my face and let me choose which ones I preferred. For me this was unbelievable, being pregnant some smells are just not very appealing to me so I really appreciated this little extra. Bernie also asked me loads about my skin and I really felt she got a good understanding about what way my skin has been behaving through this pregnancy. It made me feel very relaxed and calm before the facial had even begun! The bed when I lay on it was warm which was perfect and with the soothing music playing in the back round I was already in heaven. The facial and head massage itself was just heaven. So relaxing and my skin reacted so well to all the products Bernie had used. Shows just how much she had really listened when I told her about my skin. I cannot recommend Bernie enough, I had ticked medium pressure on my form and she was perfect. She made me feel so relaxed and so comfortable that I didn’t want it to end! Afterwards she lead me to a small relaxation room and a glass of water. I was floating.

I then met up with Neil for a swim in the beautiful pool. Surrounded by stunning views the pool is incredible. They also have an infinity pool and I have say it is breath taking! I really felt like a pinch me moment relaxing in the infinity pool. It is nothing like I have ever been in before.
 

I had always thought through my previous pregnancies and this one that pregnancy treatments didnt have much to offer. And they weren’t worth the money. I can honestly say I was so wrong. A pregnancy treatment and babymoon is essential for any mum to be. Even if you were to put away a little bit each week from the beginning of your pregnancy and cash it in at the end when you have all the aches and pains and really need it! I would advise any expectant mum to choose Farnaham for your babymoon and if you do, I highly recommend getting a pregnancy treatment from the talented Bernie, you can thank me later!

To discover what it is that you will take away from Farnham Estate, packages begin from €159 per room midweek bed and breakfast.


For further details and to book treatments, consultations and packages in the Health Spa please contact the spa on 049 437 7700 or email healthspa@farnhamestate.com.

Visit www.farnhamestate.com for further information on special offers.



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