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:
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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 recommends.
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These Are Things The Mykidstime Team Recommends
October 2020 Recommendations
#1. Pestle & Mortar Glow Drops
These Pestle & Mortar Glow Drops are going to be amazing for the winter to give you a glow – you’ll get a real lift and boost at the same time! You just mix 1-5 drops with your moisturiser, depending on how dark you want your glow to be, and then apply as normal to your face. They have super fast delivery too. – C.
#2. Homemade Maltesers Ice Cream
Whip together a 397g tin of condensed milk with 600ml double cream until you get soft peaks. Add 150g crushed Maltesers (or your favourite brand of chocolate treat), stir well and decant to a suitable freezer container. Freeze for 4 hours and you have tasty home-made ice cream. – M.
#3. The Belle Brush
My hair got very long during lockdown and every day I struggled to detangle it. When I FINALLY got to my hairdresser, she was using The Belle Brush and she said it has been fab for her daughter’s curly hair too.
The website says: “Softened bristles move with your hair to avoid pulling & tugging, making The Belle Brush perfect for extensions, curly hair and fussy little ones.” So I bought one for myself from Belle Hair and I love it. No more tangles, yay! – J.
#4. Doodle Dazzles
My daughter recently received Doodle Dazzles shimmer markers as a gift and she is loving them. There are 8 different colours, all with a sliver centre. Perfect for arts and crafts or to use on greeting cards. – M.
#5. Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Leave-In Conditioner
Over the past few months, my naturally very curly hair has been very knotty and my regular conditioner just wasn’t cutting it. I came across this leave-in conditioner and LOVE that it has no sulphates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten or dyes – which is amazing for curly hair!
The whole range contains ethically and sustainably sourced Coconut Oil and Tahitian Monoï. These raw, natural ingredients deeply hydrate, repair damage and give hair incredible shine. – E.
September 2020 Recommendations
#1. American Dirt
From the first chapter to the end, I was gripped by American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins. The story of Lydia and her son Luca trying to escape from Mexico after her journalist husband reports about a cartel boss and is killed. Using their story as the focus, it’s also about the dangerous journey that migrants make every day attempting to get into the United States.
It really made me think at the same time as being a compelling read. However, there has been quite a bit of controversy over the book, which is also worth taking time to read. – J.
Fancy growing your own lemongrass, aniseed or samphire? Based in the West of Ireland, Seedaholic is a brilliant source for the beginner or experienced gardener.
Fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and spices are all available. The variety includes all the usual suspects, as well as less common seeds, medicinal and ancient herbs.
We started a beginner’s vegetable garden this year, and found the advice on the site to be really helpful. In particular, the Sowing Calendar that will filter what seeds can be sown by month. – E.
#3. Robinsons Fruit Cordials
I am loving the new range of Robinsons Fruit Cordials! They are perfect to liven up sparkling water or for creating delicious mocktails.
My favourite so far is the crushed mint and lime flavour. And I just spotted that they have some winter flavours too, including a crushed apple and cinnamon version. – M.
#4. Kencko Instant Smoothies
I ordered my first pack of Kencko Instant Smoothies a few weeks ago and started them this week. It is a great way to get a couple of portions of fruits and veggies into you if you are not a big fan or need an extra boost.
You can mix them with milk, water or add them to your morning smoothie or overnight oats! While they don’t taste delicious, I am certainly noticing feeling a little sharper and more on top of things in the mornings now. – C.
#5. Quiche Night
I have been making this cheddar and bacon quiche on a regular basis lately – it is so easy if you make sure you have readymade pastry in the freezer, and you can swap in whatever is in your fridge to use up leftovers.
The best thing is that it is just as good the next day, and makes a great non-sandwich choice for lunchboxes. – E.
August 2020 Recommendations
I’ve been enjoying the series Justified on Amazon Prime. It’s about a stetson-wearing, gun-toting US Marshal Rayland Givens who is sent back to his home town in Kentucky (which he thought he had escaped from).
All the characters are great – there’s standalone stories in different episodes, as well as the back story that fills out about him, his criminal dad and other personal relationships. Lots of humour and a bit of gunslinging too! – J.
#2. Twinings Superblends
If you are looking for a tasty herbal tea, I am just loving Twinings Superblends. These are the first herbal teas I have found that actually taste similar to how they smell!
I am currently loving the Focus, Sleep, and Digest, although I have a few more in my cupboard too.
I particularly like that you get 20 ‘enveloped’ tea bags in the pack, perfect for bringing places with you. – C.
#3. Aldi Fajita Kit
I have just discovered the Aldi Fajita Kit range – yum! Perfect for a quick, tasty dinner that everyone enjoys. Our personal favourite is the mild, smokey kit. – M.
#4. Exfoliating Soap Sponges
I recently discovered exfoliating soap sponges and have been obsessed ever since! It’s basically a sponge with the soap inside it and if you haven’t tried one before, do it!
I purchased them from Soap and Bubbles, a small Irish business located in Galway, and have since fell down a rabbit hole with their site. It has everything from handmade soap bars that look edible to luxurious bath bombs, and I want them all! – K.
#5. Blood Ties Podcast
I love a good podcast, and I recently discovered Blood Ties, which is a six episode “scripted drama” featuring some recognisable voices, including Josh Gad (Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, The Book of Mormon). It is made by Wondery, who also made Dirty John, Dr Death and Over My Dead Body – all of which I really enjoyed.
When Eleonore and Michael Richland lose their parents unexpectedly in a small plane crash, they must choose between two very different paths: honour their father’s legacy as a world-renowned cardiologist and health care magnate — or risk everything for the truth.
Season two just launched in July, with a new episode available each week. – E.
July 2020 Recommendations
#1. Letterbox Flower Delivery
A few months ago, my sister sent me a beautiful flower delivery from Bloom & Wild that very cleverly came in a long, thin box – so clever, that it fits through any normal letterbox! Since then, my husband has taken out a subscription so that I receive a monthly delivery.
I love the booklet that comes with the flowers, explaining what each bloom is and also giving advice on the best way to cut and display them.
Point to note: don’t panic if the blooms look a little sad when you first open them! The enclosed plant food perks them up almost immediately, and the second batch of food for Day 3 helps them last. Highly recommend for a thoughtful gift, or as a treat for yourself! – E.
I’ve been ordering some lovely food from local producers through Neighbourfood, from unusual salad veg and fresh breads to special cheeses and meats.
I love that you can collect from a designated place at a specified pickup time. It’s a great service and a wonderful way to support local businesses. – J.
The MyFitnessPal app is free and a great way of tracking your food intake. You can also scan in barcodes on foods and it will tell you what is in the food, breaking it down into carbs, fats, protein, etc.
I am finding it super handy in post-lockdown! – C.
#4. Revolut Junior
I have been using Revolut for a while now, but I am loving the new Revolut Junior account. My kids are learning to manage their own finances, albeit still funded by the Bank of Mum & Dad! – M.
#5. Instant Heart Rate: Heart Monitor
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June 2020 Recommendations
#1. Mail Order Cocktails
Brown Bag Cocktails from The Twelve Hotel in Galway are a weekend treat I’m really enjoying! The cocktail literally lands in your post box (nationwide delivery) and is in a vacuum-sealed bag which you can shake and pour at your leisure! Such an impressively innovative way to keep a business going at the moment. – C.
#2. Authentic Pizza Dough Recipe
Dough Bros Pizza have shared their recipe for perfect pizza dough and give you a unique method to cook them at home to get that authentic pizza taste, without the need for a wood-fired oven.
And, if you are lucky enough to live in Galway or Mayo, check out their at-home DIY kits which can be ordered online and collected. – M.
#3. Organic Bandana Bibs
Babyboo.ie have teamed up with Fauna Kids to launch an exclusive collection of triple-layered organic bandana bibs with stunning bright and bold prints.
Definitely work a look if you’re in the market for some, or know someone expecting a baby. – K.
#4. Free Rebel Girls Activities and Journal
We are big fans of the Rebel Girls books in our house! The empowering stories of real female heroes, illustrated by female artists from around the world, are great reading for any age.
We were really excited to see the free Rebel Girls activities that had been added to the website – particularly the 90-page journal with all the powerful reminders and awareness exercises it includes for young children, tweens and teens. – E.
#5. Wine Stoppers
For the rare occasion we don’t finish a bottle of wine (!) I’ve just ordered these Zyliss Easy Seal Bottle Stoppers from Amazon. A friend recommended them and says that they are really easy to open and close, while the rubber seal means if you knock the bottle over it doesn’t spill. – J.
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May 2020 Recommendations
#1. Coco on Disney+
We watched Coco again on Disney+ and if you haven’t seen it, you definitely should! I took my daughter to see it when it came out at the cinema in 2017, expecting a humdrum animated effort, and then I was blown away by how good it was. It’s heartwarming, sentimental (but not overly), and there’s lots of humour to it – and the colours and animation are amazing.
If you haven’t signed up for Disney+ yet, you can get a 7-day free trial. – J.
#2. The Witcher
It’s now a show on Netflix starring Henry Cavill which, if you like fantasy/sci-fi, is great. However I am always a great believer in the book being better than the film, and in this case (in my opinion) they are.
Written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and translated into English by David French, they follow Geralt, a witcher with near-superhuman physical and mental abilities, and his adventures. Various other well written characters appear as Geralt travels the Continent in the aftermath of the first major war between the Nilfgaard Empire and the Northern Kingdoms, killing monsters that hunt the lands.
The book series is perfect for getting lost in during these crazy times. Start with The Last Wish and then work your way through these absorbing adventures. – C.
#3. Odlums Brown Soda Bread
If, like me, you are struggling to get different types of flour at the moment, I can highly recommend the Odlums Brown Soda Bread Mix. It just requires milk and produces a tasty loaf that we can’t get enough of! – M.
#4. A Bit of Nostalgia!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been entertaining my 10-year-old by introducing her to my favourite childhood games from kerbs, balls against the wall and playing with my original GameBoy – it”s been very nostalgic.
We also bought skipping elastics from Inside Outside Ireland which has been barrels of fun, but do you remember fancy paper?! Swapums is a new Irish business who supply assorted packs of sweet-smelling fancy paper and we just can’t get enough of it! – K.
#5. Harry Potter At Home
Hogwarts and J.K. Rowling’s magical world of Harry Potter are the ultimate way to escape and enjoy something special. And who couldn’t do with a bit of escapism right about now?
My Harry Potter-mad 10-year-old has really been enjoying a little extra Hogwarts fun over the last few weeks thanks to the recent launch of Harry Potter At Home. This magical hub has creative activities, magic, reassurance and family fun to enjoy at home.
As part of the resources available to enjoy at home, you can also listen to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on Audible for free, with no membership or log in required. We’ve just finished it for the third time, back to back! – E.
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April 2020 Recommendations
#1. TV Picks from The New York Times
I signed up for The New York Times Watching email and I’m really liking it. It’s free to sign up and you get 2-3 emails every week, including a What to Watch This Weekend email on a Friday.
The suggestions are really good with a bit of opinion from the editor who puts it together as well. It’s broken into sections headed, for example, ‘I have half an hour and I’m in the mood for comedy’ so you can see quickly whether you’d be interested in that suggestion based on what you’re in the mood for. They don’t just cover American shows, it’s all sorts on it too which is great. – J.
#2. Antibacterial Miracle Cream
A product we recently introduced into our home is the new Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream, and it’s working wonders for us.
The antibacterial miracle cream helps soothe, restore, protect and repair things like peri-oral irritations (especially for my little one who tends to lick her lips a lot), while also helping calm the nappy sores, localised dryness, post-shaving, waxing and sunburn.
The non-sticky cream provides a bandage-like effect to protect the skin and help speed up healing. It’s brilliant and available in pharmacies for approximately €14. – K.
#3. Brooklyn 99 on Netflix
Series 6 of Brooklyn 99 is now on Netflix – it is great for a giggle, completely mad and the characters are the perfect antidote to all our real-life concerns.
If ever there was a time for some lighthearted entertainment, this is it! – C.
#4. Puffin Activity Packs for Kids
Sign up to the Puffin newsletter from children’s publisher Penguin, and receive a free activity pack bursting with story-inspired fun – featuring favourite characters such as Peter Rabbit, Matilda, and Greg Heffley – and lots of great book recommendations.
When you sign up and get your introductory email, you can choose which activity pack you would like to download based on your child’s age (0-5, 6-8 or 9-12 years). We picked the one for 9-12 year olds and it included 18 pages of crafts, science experiments, word searches, creative writing activities and more. My daughter loved it, particularly as it was themed with some of her favourite Jacqueline Wilson and A Murder Most Unladylike characters. – E.
#5. Flavour-Packed Vegetarian Stock
If you are looking to add some real flavour intensity to soups, risottos, sauces or stews – particularly for vegetarian dishes – we are really rating Kallo Mushroom Stock Cubes or Knorr Mushroom Stock Pots.
They seem to give much more flavour than their regular vegetable counterparts, and taste great! – M.
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March 2020 Recommendations
#1. National Geographic Kids
My 10-year-old daughter got a subscription to the National Geographic Kids magazine for Christmas, and is loving it! It has tons of random facts that she has enjoyed telling everyone, as well as posters, collectible cards, quizzes, etc. Of course the photography is all stunning, as you would expect, and we spent lots of time saying ‘ooh’, ‘aah’ and ‘eww’ over all the cute, weird and gross animals! – E.
#2. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
I’ve just finished Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan and I loved it. Set before and during WWII in New York, it is a family story with a mystery at the heart of it.
The characters are all interesting, particularly the main character Anna Kerrigan, a strong determined woman who overcomes prejudice to become a diver at a shipyard. I found this book unputdownable from start to finish. – J.
#3. Fauna Kids
I’m loving Fauna Kids, previously known as Moobles and Toobles, which is an Irish indie organic cotton baby brand. Everything about this business fills me with joy, from their handprinted organic baby and kids clothing to the unisex colour pallet. While made in India, all employees are paid fair wages and work in safe conditions. – K.
#4. Tesco Mobile
At just €15 per month for unlimited calls, texts and data (well not unlimited, nothing is – but more than I will ever use in a month), I’ve been very impressed with Tesco Mobile. All I keep thinking is, why oh why has it taken me this long to change over! – C.
#5. Homemade Swiss Roll
I have just rediscovered the delight that is a homemade Swiss roll! It’s easy to make and perfect for a family dessert or unexpected visitors, as it is ready in under an hour.
To make your own:
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 3oz caster sugar
- 3oz self raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan and line a Swiss roll tin roughly 9×13 inches.
- Beat the egg whites until firm.
- In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale.
- Fold the flour and egg yolk mix carefully into the egg whites, then pour onto the tin.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes, until firm to the touch. Turn out while warm onto a sheet of baking parchment dusted with caster sugar. Roll tightly in the parchment and leave to cool (this will prevent it cracking).
- Once cooled, unroll and spread with whipped cream and chopped berries, simple jam or a butter icing. Roll back up and serve. – M.
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February 2020 Recommendations
#1. toucanBox Subscription
These creative boxes arrive in the door each month, personalised to each of my kids. They really enjoy them, especially my nearly 7-year-old as he can sit down and do them himself and there is generally everything within the box to complete the craft.
Each subscription box is suited to 3-8 year olds and has two very decent craft activities and a magazine with experiments, puzzles and games in. The toucanBox is €11.90 (plus €2.90 delivery), and there’s no commitment to subscribe for any particular period of time. – C.
#2. Reusable Make Up Remover Pads
I have 2 teenage daughters who love nothing better than trying on the latest make up with their pals. Traditional cotton wool pads were proving a costly choice, not only in terms of money but also on the environment.
I took to the internet and discovered these Bambaw reusable make up remover pads, which come in a handy pack of 16 with 12 soft pads and 4 scrub pads. Once used, they can be washed in the machine along with other laundry and both the girls are delighted with them. – M.
#3. The Missing Cryptoqueen Podcast
I like to listen to podcasts when I’m doing school runs and dog walks, and one I listened to recently that had me gripped is The Missing Cryptoqueen. It’s a true life story involving cryptocurrency but it’s not at all technical. Dr Ruja Ignatova persuaded millions to join her financial revolution. Then she disappeared. Fascinating story! – J.
#4. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
I bought this as part of my sister’s Christmas gift – as a joke! Turns out it was one of the best books she has read in ages, and she finished it in one day.
My Sister, the Serial Killer racks up a long list of nominations and awards – it was longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019, shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019, and winner of the 2019 LA Times Award for Best Crime Thriller, amongst others.
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. – E.
#5. Happify App
How you feel and your happiness matters – and it often gets forgotten with the commitments and stresses of work, family, money, friends and life in general. Happify (available on iOS and Android) helps you improve your happiness and mindfulness with easy games, activities and daily tasks that are all backed by science. This really emphasises how small changes make big differences. – F.
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January 2020 Recommendations
#1. Good Food App
I was getting into our usual family dinner rut – cooking the same recipes over and over (and getting sick of them) so I decided to try the BBC Good Food App. I love it because I can search by recipe name or ingredient then save them into collections. And each recipe is rated as well which helps you choose.
#2. Mia & Ben Organic Baby Food
Trying to raise little veggies, you’ve got to try these out! We recently trialled 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.
#3. Ivy Thyme
This recommendation comes from my Mum and is for all those suffering from colds, flu, congestion and chesty coughs. She swears by it as the best way to clear up a congested chest, nose or head.
Ivy Thyme is an all natural product. It can be used from age 2 years+ and is simply added to water and taken 2 to 3 times daily until symptoms improve. Always consult your GP before trying any new medications. – M.
#4. Trilogy Everything Balm
I’m a bit of a beauty junkie and while I love to try something new, there are always a few products that I just can’t live without. One of them is the Trilogy Everything Balm (available from leading retailers, pharmacies and health food stores nationwide) which 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.
#5. Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook
There’s nothing like starting the new year with a new set of delicious recipes to try. I recommend Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook – it is one of my most-used cookbooks, thanks to loads of easy-to-understand and easy-to-make tasty recipes.
The great thing is the contents are broken up into sections making it easy to find new ideas, e.g. 30 Mins Max, Easy Curries, etc. The whole family has loved all the recipes we have tried. – C.
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Have you tried any of the products, services or tips that the Mykidstime team recommends? What would you add to the list? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!