Have you ever discovered a product or service that makes you want to let the whole world know about it? And when you do tell your friends, they say, yes I have been using that for ages! Each month the Mykidstime team recommends 5 things that we love. These are not things we have been paid to promote, but things that we genuinely found useful or got excited about! Read on to see what’s on our minds this month:
Don’t miss the chance to have your say! We’re looking for parents to get involved and give their feedback on all aspects of family life. Find out more here.
We love to share the weird, wonderful, useful and downright essential things we come across – and there’s nothing better than when other people love them too!
From apps, books and saving money to essential household tips and products we just can’t live without, check back regularly to see what else the Mykidstime team loves!
Mykidstime Loves List 2021
1. The White Lotus
I recently binged a new mini series from HBO called The White Lotus. Pitch black, satirical comedy following a number of guests’ week-long stay at a luxury resort in Hawaii.
Excellent writing and even better casting, it makes for hilarious and at times uncomfortable viewing. Definitely worth the watch! – RH.
I have to show some appreciation to Zizzi’s, an Italian restaurant at Liffey Valley, Dublin. It was just myself and my toddler who ate there recently and it left a lasting impression. The staff were super attentive and friendly. The food was spectacular – presentation, taste and texture. I had a Vegan Ragu and my two-year-old demolished a mini bolognese.
I will be back very soon to try out some more of the goodies on the menu with even more of my kiddos. – KK.
3. Books in a Line
I’ve been enjoying the book reviews on the Books in a Line Instagram account. Blogger and mum of 4, Deborah shares her views on the latest books and audio books she has finished, with honest, insightful feedback about the book, giving each one a mark out of 5.
I trust her reviews, which means I can buy books with confidence and also save potential disappointment of reading a book that she has already read and rated. – JH.
4. The Skincare Bible
For a long time I have been very lucky with good skin, but now in my 40s am realising that I need to begin to put a bit of effort into looking after it!
I find the whole thing a little overwhelming and the range and selection of brands and products more than a little intimidating.
I found Caroline Hirons’ book Skincare in my local library and find it great for listing exactly the type of products you need, the products you don’t need and what brands are good (in her opinion). It’s an informative read, nice and clear and not over my head! – CK.
5. Back to the Gym
I’ve enjoyed returning to the gym with my teenage daughter who has joined for the first time. We joined a new gym, Energie Fitness, which is really affordable at €29.99 per month, it’s nice and airy, there’s lots of easy to use equipment, suitable for beginners and its got a really nice mix of people in it.
While I’m an avid gym goer and would train everywhere, what I really liked is that its not an intimidating space for my teen, so she’s embracing the workouts, which is a healthy habit that I hope will stay with her for life. – KB.
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1. Roccabox Beauty Subscription
Last Christmas, I was looking for fun and unusual gifts for my family in the UK, since we wouldn’t be able to visit them from Ireland. I decided to go with a different subscription box for each family member, ranging from gardening bits and books to beauty and PJs. By far, the most impressive was the Roccabox I got for one of my sisters!
Each month was themed (e.g. vegan, Galentine’s Day, etc) and included numerous beauty and skincare bits, with at least one full-size item and a treat in each box. This is definitely a higher end beauty box, with brands like Marc Jacobs, Nip+Fab, Illamasqua, L’Occitane, KVD, and more included. A six-month subscription cost £57 (+P&P), which was AMAZING value as each box was worth at least double that. The only downside? They don’t send their boxes to Ireland, so I couldn’t get one for myself! –E.
2. Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
I really enjoyed Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. It’s the absorbing story of Jean Swinney, a newspaper journalist in post-war England. Jean is 39, unmarried, and lives with and looks after her mother. She ends up investigating the story of another woman’s claim that she had a virgin birth.
The writing is beautiful, the characters are interesting, the whole description of post-war suburbia is so detailed. Part mystery, part love story, I thought it was an excellent read. – J.
3. Foodie Inspiration
A shameless self-plug here, but I started up a foodie Instagram account (@CookingWithoutRegrets) a couple of months ago where I share recipes. Nearly all of them are quick and easy to make and may be of interest to our readers! – R.
4. Ohh By Gum!
I admired a pair of shoes a friend was wearing and had to have a pair for myself (different colour so we won’t be too matching!). She got them from the sustainable shopping website OhhByGum.ie.
The customer service was amazing, shoes arrived quickly and they are so comfortable. They came wrapped like a gift with a hand-written note. Along with the online store, they also have a shop in Clifden, Co. Galway where they sell a range of clothing, accessories, homewares and gifts . I can highly recommend the shoes and will definitely be ordering again, and I’m hoping to take a trip to visit the store too! – M.
5. Thriftify for Kidswear
If you are looking to make more sustainable choices with your purchases, make sure to check out Thriftify.ie which links charity shops to the online consumer.
You can pick up clothing for the whole family now that the new kidswear section has launched with prices from €1 and sizes from newborn onwards. – E.
1. Zero Waste Shopping
I found this zero waste shop near me which I’ve started using a lot to buy cupboard staples. It’s great because you don’t need to bring a load of containers with you. You weigh out what you want and then put it in the paper bags provided, which they tape up for you. You can also go with bottles to refill shampoos, cleaners, oils, etc. Check out the range of sweet things too – chocolate-covered caramelised macadamia nuts are my fave!.
They have a few shops in the UK as well as one in Rathmines in Dublin. – R.
2. Knorr Ham Stock Cubes
I’m a big fan of Knorr ham stock cubes, they are great for a range of soups and casseroles. But be warned, they are not always available, so you have to buy a few packets when you see them.
Currently my daughters’ favourite soup is lentil and ham – made quickly with 1 chopped onion fried gently in some oil, add a packet of bacon bits or lardons to fry off, then add in some lentils (e.g. 1 cup), make up one of the ham stock cubes into 1L of stock, add to pot and season. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1/2 hour until lentils are cooked. Hey presto, you have a super easy, delicious and nutritious soup!
PS – a top tip from my expert at soup-making mother-in-law is to add a sachet of instant tomato soup for a tomato version (or a squeeze of tomato puree if you don’t have that to hand) – J.
3. Mid-Year Planning
I love mid-year diaries and recently ordered my new Busy Life Diary from Busy B from Easons.com.
I like planning and filling up the diary, and I really enjoy doing this in the summer rather than in January – there is enough going on around Christmas & New Year! – C.
A friend has just recommended Signal to me as an alternative to What’s App. It is free, independent and has end-to-end encryption on all calls and messages. We are testing it out on a small group chat we are both involved in, and so far so good. – M.
5. Chris Mooney’s Darby McCormick Series
I picked a book off the shelf recently that I had bought on spec a few years ago and realised that it was actually #5 of a series. So I ordered the first four (any excuse!) and have been flying through them since.
The series follows the main character Darby McCormick, a crime scene investigator in Boston, through various high profile and dramatic cases. Perfect for fans of a good mystery or thriller – not too much procedural detail, but nonetheless good page turners. The Missing is the first in the series, which currently has eight in total. – E.
We have been enjoying the series Shtisel on Netflix. It follows an orthodox Jewish family who live in Jerusalem, and is a fascinating snapshot into daily life there.
It’s a gentle and really absorbing meander through the characters’ lives, the ups and downs they face, their relationships, truths, lies and how they cope. Excellent acting and really top dialogue. – J.
2. Little Moons
I tried these Little Moons recently because some people on my Master’s course were raving about them. There is a soft mochi dough on the outside, and gelato ice cream in the centre. Flavours include coconut, honey roasted pistachio, mango, vanilla, raspberry, strawberries and cream, Himalayan salted caramel, vegan Belgian chocolate and vegan passionfruit and mango.
They’re pretty tasty (if a little pricey for what they are) but a good sized dessert for kids too. – R.
3. Teriyaki Salmon
It is a quick meal to make – ready in about 20 minutes – and you can serve it with a salad, green veg or rice for a winning weeknight dinner! – E.
4. Green Angel Room Spray
I have just discovered the Green Angel room sprays from their Precious Oils collection and I’m loving the Jasmine scent. It’s got a lovely light, summery scent (my home office has never smelt so good!) and is made in Ireland from natural ingredients.
Once autumn comes, I will switch to the divine Neroli scent! – M.
5. Korean Beauty Favourites
I’ve been trying to really up my skincare game in recent months, and came across so many recommendations for Korean beauty products. One in particular that was highly recommended was Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner – an absolute must-have by all accounts!
When I searched for an Irish stockist (support local!), I was excited to find Kskin Cosmeceuticals based in Cabinteely, County Dublin that not only stocked Pyunkang Yul, but also several other really brilliant brands such as Dr Jart+, Cosrx, Bueno, and Dr G.
When I ordered, delivery was very quick via An Post, and included lovely samples and a handwritten note from Nina offering advice and tips on Korean beauty if I had any questions. I will definitely order again! – E.
1. Seasonal Rhubarb
I absolutely LOVE making the most of rhubarb when it’s in season, so had to pull together some amazing rhubarb recipes for us all to try. I always fall back on favourites (crumbles, pies and stewed) so really wanted to branch out. Now I’ve got ice cream, muffins and lunchbox bars on the go and we are decidedly pink with all the rhubarb! So yum! – E.
2. Misneach the Adorable Puppy
We could watch this video all day long!
President Michael D. Higgins’ puppy Misneach, a Bernese Mountain Dog, is using every trick in the book to get some attention in a video that has been shared around the world!
3. Trilogy Everything Balm
I recommend this cream to everyone as it’s one of the products that I just can’t live without. The Trilogy Everything Balm (available from leading retailers, pharmacies and health food stores nationwide) does exactly what it says – everything!
I keep one of these little pots in my bag for dabbing on dry skin or dealing with cracked lips, but it can also be rubbed on nails and cuticles, used as a massage oil or even as a nappy rash cream! – E.
4. TikTok Pesto Eggs
I recently made this TikTok recipe for pesto eggs that went viral, and I was surprised how good it is!
I did mine as follows: rosemary and potato sourdough toast topped with butter, ham, cheese, pesto fried eggs, a drizzle of honey and some red pepper flakes. So yummy! – R.
5. Mia & Ben Baby Food
Trying to raise little veggies, you’ve got to try these out! We recently tried Mia & Ben organic baby food and it has gone down an absolute treat. Developed by a team of researchers, paediatric dieticians and parents, the little squishy pouches are all goodness with no guilt.
Fridge fresh, full of organic goodness the range comes in three different flavours including Apple & Blueberry and Banana, Mango & Pineapple with no added salt, sugar or additives. We’ve been using them in lunchboxes, on the go and as a dip with cucumber and carrot batons and all the kids adore them. – K.
1. The Apology Line Podcast
If you could call a number and say you’re sorry, and no one would know, what would you apologise for? For 15 years, you could call a number in Manhattan and do just that.
This podcast from Wondery (I love their podcasts!) is the story of the line, and the man at the other end who became consumed by his own creation. He was known as “Mr. Apology” and, as thousands of callers flooded the line confessing to everything from shoplifting and infidelity to drug dealing and murder, he realised he couldn’t just listen. He had to do something, even if it meant risking everything.
The Apology Line is just a six-part podcast, but is made even more engaging because it is hosted by Marissa Bridge, the widow of ‘Mr Apology’, who kept all his recordings. – E.
2. Uno Flip
If you are a fan of Uno, this is a great reinvention of the game. The cards are double sided and an option during the game is to play a ‘flip’ card, which means you turn over all your cards and have a completely new hand! Great game for all ages, simple rules and it is super fun! – C.
3. Rituals The Ritual of Mehr Body Scrub
I was lucky enough to be given a gift of The Ritual of Mehr Body Scrub recently and it smells divine. It is perfect coming into summer and leaves my skin feeling soft and healthy after the winter months. The only problem I have is hiding it from my teenage daughters! – M.
4. Way to Go Chocolate
I’m in chocolate love with the Way To Go chocolate bars sold at Lidl! Not only are they FairTrade, complete with cute and quirky packaging, but there are three delicious flavours – dark chocolate, milk chocolate and (my favourite) milk chocolate with caramelised almonds & sea salt.
Each bar sold provides an additional premium that is passed directly on to the cocoa farmers in Ghana. Seriously more-ish chocolate and you’ve paid the producer a fairer price while you’re at it. What’s not too love? – J.
5. LED Star Projector
My 11 year old has been having difficulty getting to sleep for the past year due to a lot of anxiety. We’ve tried lots of great things to help her relax at bedtime, from gorgeous pillow sprays to massage and classical music, but one of our favourites has definitely been this LED star projector light! I bought it on Amazon after a friend recommended the same one, and it was a surprising hit.
It comes with a remote so you can change the colours, speed and brightness of the projection. It also syncs via bluetooth to music, although we haven’t tried that yet. It is incredibly relaxing to lie under it, so much so I’ve since bought another as a gift and I’m considering one for myself! – E.
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1. Uuni Feta Pasta
If you’re on TikTok, you’ll definitely have seen this dinner go viral. With lockdown in full swing and another few weeks before school returns, I roped my 11-year-old in to helping make dinner to see if the hype was indeed justified.
We made a few changes to boost the flavours of the original, but it was a huge success, very versatile and definitely one we’ll do again. Empty bowls all round and on the table in 30 minutes – a definite ‘win’!
You can see our version of uuni feta pasta here. – E.
2. The Searcher by Tana French
Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After 25 years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.
Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.
As always, Tana French books are a great read, and The Searcher definitely doesn’t disappoint! – C.
3. SkinnyDip AirPods Cases
My niece suggested an AirPods case recently when I asked her for gift ideas, as she was always getting hers mixed up with her siblings’ cases, and pointed me to the Skinnydip London ones. They have solids, ombres, glittery and marble effects, as well as a fun Disney collaboration. There are reasonable EU and international delivery charges so I’m tempted to buy this daisy one for myself! – J.
4. Butlers Hot Chocolate
We have really been enjoying a little decadence lately, thanks to Butlers Hot Chocolate. Sold in boxes of 10, you add to milk and heat up for steaming mug of hot chocolate that is just next level from normal ‘at home’ hot chocolates. We like to add mini marshmallows and whipped cream, but it is amazing just on its own! – M.
5. Wicked Kitchen Super Cinnamon Scroll
As a vegan and a giant foodie, I am always on the lookout for new products. One I came across this month was Wicked Kitchen Super Cinnamon Scroll, aka a gorgeously gooey vegan cinnamon bun that would satisfy any sweet tooth or sugar cravings. To my delight (and disappointment!), the non-vegans at home even loved them and they were gone before I could get my hands on another one!
I found them in my local supermarket and usually I would expect a big markup for a vegan product like this, however, I was surprised to find that they came in around €2.30. Launched earlier this year, they’re well worth a try if you can find them. – S.
ChessKid is a brilliant app/site for kids who like to play chess. There are lots of lessons for the kids to learn through and tournaments to play with other players. It’s very safe too – the avatar names are generated within the app and are funny such as ‘FlashyPaleMonkey’ and chat between players is also limited to a few phrases.
My nearly 8 year old loves it, and is hoping that the more he learns from this, the sooner he will be able to beat his Dad! – C.
2. Virtual Escape Rooms on Alexa
My 11 year old received an Echo Dot recently and has been having a brilliant time learning all the fun things she can do on it. One that we have both enjoyed has been the virtual escape rooms. Alexa describes the setting to you (e.g. a jail cell) and you say ‘look left’, ‘look under X’, ‘investigate X further’ and so on to get more clues. Great fun! – E.
3. Honey Extension for Chrome
If you use Chrome on your laptop, it’s worth installing the free Honey extension, owned by PayPal, for when you are shopping online. When you are shopping online it checks for discounts for you and applies them automatically to your checkout basket so you don’t have to go searching for discount codes – plus it also knows which ones are still active so saves you loads of time and hassle AND money!
Now, if I see something when browsing on my phone, I make a note and buy it on the laptop later to make sure to get the extra discount. – J.
4. Spinning at Home
Since it doesn’t look as if the colder weather or restrictions are going anywhere soon, I bought a spin bike to keep up my cardio. It only took me an hour to assemble it thanks to straightforward instructions, and I am pleased to say it is still standing!
It’s a brilliant buy if you’re looking to get in the exercise without braving the elements, plus you can do it in front of the TV. It’s very neat and fits comfortably beside my couch. – S.
5. How to Get Away With Murder
It’s been a while since we watched something binge-worthy, but last month we lost ourselves in the six seasons and couldn’t wait to get the kids to bed!
If you haven’t tried it yet, the American legal thriller is about a powerful criminal defence professor who selects a group of her ambitious law students to help her out at her law firm. They then become involved in a twisted murder plot that changes the course of their lives forever. It’s exhilarating with an immensely talented cast, and it’s worth a watch, I promise you won’t be disappointed. – K.
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1. Bold Bunny Cards and Prints
When I was looking for Christmas cards to give my immediate family members, I came across Bold Bunny. Describing themselves as a small Irish, sustainable and climate-conscious business, they produce a variety of quirky and cute cards, prints, calendars, etc. This will be my go-to place now for birthday cards as well, they’re just gorgeous (and hilarious!).
The cards arrived promptly and I was thrilled to get a nice email from one of the Bold Bunny team thanking me personally for my order. That’s when you feel really good about supporting a small business. – J.
2. Linkilonk Activity Tubes
I’m a big fan of craft subscription services and anything really that inspires the kids to be creative. That’s why I love Linkilonk, a new Irish start-up set up to inspire creativity at home, to encourage your children to use their imagination and enjoy hands-on activities while discovering and learning about Ireland’s landmarks.
Plus, it’s eco friendly too – the activity tube is 100% recyclable and plastic-free, the paper is FSC certified, and the tube is made from recycled board. Win! – K.
3. Sustainable Shopping with Kilogarm
Want to reduce your contribution to fast-fashion? Check out vintage clothes sales. I’ve always wanted to attend an event and rummage through the racks, but the thoughts of dragging a six-year-old into town and spending hours searching for my size completely put me off. However, Kilogarm are now hosting their events online and I shopped from the comfort of my home, with her tucked up in bed!
I bought a fleece and jacket for the impending winter weather. I am thrilled with the quality, look and style of the clothing. It was a fraction of the price, looked exactly like the online pictures, and arrived in less than a week.
My top tips are to know what type of clothes you want before you shop, and the filters are your best friend to find the right sizing and branding quickly to snap up the items before they’re sold out. I’m delighted to give secondhand clothes a new lease of life! – S.
4. Marie Kondo’s Joy at Work
Marie Kondo’s Joy at Work is an essential read as the whole world is working from home these days!
From tidying your workspace to tidying your digital space – there are so many useful and helpful tips that I’m hoping to implement for 2021! – C.
5. Eco Toys
I stumbled across Irish website Jiminy.ie when looking for Christmas presents and stocking fillers. I love the beautiful eco toys and gifts which are all plastic-free and locally produced. – M.
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Have your say! Have you tried any of the Mykidstime Recommends for 2021? What are your favourites? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!