Gemma Collins-Sentenced to one day at Litchfield Penitentiary

Better known for her regular appearances on ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ but Gemma Collins is a long way from leafy Brentwood in a promotional trailer for the forthcoming sixth season of ‘Orange Is The New Black’.

The hilarious queen of memes, Gemma Collins dropped into Orange is the New Black’s Litchfield prison for a chat with Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba), Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Cindy (Adrienne C. Moore) & Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) ahead of the launch of season 6 of the hit Netflix series.   From fashion to beauty, “The GC” shared a few top tips with the girls for navigating life on the inside with sass and style.

Orange Is The New Black Season Six

Picking up one week after the emergency response team stormed Litchfield Penitentiary, the ladies of Litch have been torn apart, literally and figuratively, as they enter a new facility in the sixth season of Orange Is The New Black. Now ​newbies, ​they ​must navigate new rules and power dynamics – starting at the bottom and getting hazed by inmates and tortured by guards. Friendships will be tested and new allegiances formed — some by choice and others by circumstance — as the women face a slew of charges from the riot. Will they take plea deals and turn on each other or band together and keep their bonds intact?

Orange is the New Black Season 6 will launch on Netflix on Friday, 27 July.

Gemma said: “I’ve always loved Orange is the New Black and getting to visit the set and hang out with the girls was an absolute blast. Those ladies know how to have a good time and are my sort of people.

“I was a bit nervous thinking I was going into a real-life prison, but it was all good. The sets were so realistic and once you see everyone in their costumes you forget you’re in a giant studio.”

“From the jungle to Big Brother,I’ve experienced my fair share of incarceration – to be honest, this was the most fun! I’ve told the ladies, the next time they’re in the UK, they’re coming to Gemma’s Boutique then off to Sugar Hut for a night on the tiles.”

I don’t know about you but this is a special guest appearance I would love to see!!

For more Orange is the New Black, visit the Netflix Media Centre or the show’s official social pages:
Twitter @OITNB
Facebook /OITNB
Instagram @OITNB

In an emergency would you know what to do? Parenting Institute First Aid Course- Review

Last Wednesday, Neil and I had the pleasure of attending one of Parenting Institutes first aid courses.

Parenting Institute

Parenting Institute offers a range of training courses for parents to help them parent more confidently. They offer training by professionals and experts so you get the support and knowledge you need to support your children as best you can. You can book through Parenting Institute and they hold their classes in different locations, with different experts.

Ali

The expert on our first aid course was Ali. Ali is a Dublin firefighter/paramedic for the last 15 yrs , he deals with all types of emergencies on a daily basis, from the minor bumps and bruises to the life threatening emergencies. As a father of 3, he has dealt with his fair share of incidents , so he decided to get into teaching first aid. Recently focusing on paediatric first aid. From his experience he found parents tend to panic when dealing with their own child, So he started up his own business called Meditrain, to empower and give parents confidence in treating different types of incidents, so they’ll be able to handle emergencies confidently and safely.

The Course

Neil and I have been wanting to do a first aid course since Kyle was little. Yes- for the last 8 years!! We have seen some come up but always put it on the long finger. Things that had put me off were little things like price, that we were too busy to go and also too busy (and tired) to take everything in. I thought there would be alot of theory involved and alot of things to learn at a first aid course.

Well I stand corrected. Not only am I delighted we finally went, we actually had fun. Ali was absolutely fantastic. I think that makes a huge difference. Personally I think you need to be kept engaged to actually stay interested in something. And when its in the evening and most people there are parents of little ones its essential to be kept engaged. (And awake!)

Ali covered CPR, Abdominal Thrusts (previously called the Heimlich maneuver), Burns, Temperatures, Fevers, Cuts, The recovery position, broken bones, first aids kits, slings. How to use a defibrillator What you should have in your first aid kit and what steps you should take first in an emergency.

I would highly recommend Parenting Institutes first aid course to anyone. Before going I thought it was essential for parents but now I feel it is essential for everyone. First aid differs slightly when it comes to babies newborn-1 years old but it doesn’t differ very much to an adult.

If you have been waiting for a sign to book a first aid course this is it! Do it- it could save someones life!

For more information or to book into one of Parenting Institutes courses check out their website or facebook page.

**Neil and I were kindly invited to take part in Parenting Institutes First Aid course. But, as always my opinion is my own

Martinhal Cascais, Portugal. A Family Five Star Hotel – Review

Two weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of attending Martinhal’s Luxury Family Brand Event and stay as a guest in their stunning Cascais Hotel (Total pinch me moment!!). I had heard many amazing things about the hotels before but I had never been lucky enough to experience it myself. But, the great things that I had been told about the hotel didn’t even begin to scratch the surface on how fantastic it really is.

Martinhal is a hotel chain that have luxury family hotels across Portugal. Martinhals motto is “Martinhal is a place where parents get to drink their cappuccino with the foam still on it”
If that isn’t every parents dream I don’t know what is! So, from their supervised play area in the restaurant, to their fantastic kids club, playgrounds, pools, trampolines, astro pitches and basketball courts – Martinhal really has you and your little ones covered.

 

I want to gush all in one go about what a fantastic time I had but instead I will tell you about my experience bit by bit. The childcare, the conference and the hotel.

The Childcare
Milla is six months old and breastfed so she came along too (She really is becoming quite the blogger!). The day care in Martinhal accept babies from six months old so it was perfect. As most mothers, I was a little apprehensive about leaving her especially with strangers and in a different country. We had a dinner the first night where Milla would stay in the hotel with a babysitter and then she would spend the full next day in the baby room of the kids club/day care. She is also fed on demand and in no structured routine so I was a little unsure of how it would all work out. But from the moment we arrived all those fears disappeared.

When we first arrived we were given a tour of the hotel (Which I will get into more detail a little later). We were having a look around the fantastic playground and two of the women who work in the kids club happened to be walking passed and stopped me. “Is this Milla?” She was in my arms and I said “yes” the woman replied and said “I’m Rita, I will be looking after her tonight”. Immediately I sighed with relief. There was a lovely sense of calm about her and the resort and for her to already know Milla’s name before we even arrived and to come and introduce herself was just the icing on the cake for me.
Rita arrived at our room just after I had gotten Milla to sleep in the bed. We co-sleep so this is always the easiest option to ensure she falls asleep easily. I mentioned to Rita that we don’t let Milla cry-it-out or self-soothe and that if she woke up it was fine to just play with her or hold her till I got back. And out I ran. I left my number just in case. Rita text me about an hour later just to let me know that Milla was still fast asleep. Amazing. The relief I felt from that one little text. I was so grateful! When I got back Milla was awake and so happy and content with Rita. Truth be told I think I was happier to see Milla than her with me!

The next morning when I dropped Milla into the baby room I was thrilled to see Rita was there as I was just so happy with how she had looked after Milla the night before. I gave another amazing woman Elsa her rough schedule and my number to text me when she needed a breastfeed. I also mentioned that she wasn’t used to a cot and she probably (most definitely) wouldn’t nap in it for them. I left her buggy and again ran out the door. With genuinely not a worry about a thing! I felt like my baby would be very safe. You cannot pay for that kind of ease. I text every now and again and Rita would reply “text as much as you want, that’s what we are here for” I also received this picture as I was sitting in the conference…

Honestly, can you ask for better than that?! I got a text to breastfeed her a few times, they also made her some homemade puree which she devoured. I popped over twice unannounced too- if we had a coffee break or if i felt my milk come in!! One of the times I popped over she was asleep in one of the girls arms. The girl was rocking her and I was just ecstatic. They really listened to what I had told them about Milla and respected it and I was thrilled.

I genuinely feel like the child care is just outstanding in Martinhal. To say all my child’s needs were met doesn’t half cover it. She was cared for in the exact manner that I as her mum would care for her. Not only is that very rare to come by its also priceless. I have never come across anything like it. This for me sets Martinhal high above the rest.

The conference
I had never been to a conference like this before. I have to say I was so inspired hearing all the speakers. All entrepreneurs and all with a different story to tell. A fantastic way for family brands to network but also a fantastic way to feel inspired!

Olivia Cannon was MC for the conference and is so inspiring in herself. She was fantastic! We heard from Rob Law-owner and founder of the now hugely successful brank Trunki  He told us about how a disastrous Dragons Den pitch ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him and how he has managed to make a hugely success business on the back of that bad press.

We heard from a panel of bloggers which my lovely friend Tracey was a part of. She had us all smiling and also crying laughing. Hugely inspiring again to hear how bloggers have made their own brand and built it through social media amongst other things.

We heard from Andrew Dent who is founder of Family Traveller Magazine. He actually told us how last year he attended the conference and through networking he met a man who helped him break American with Family Traveller Magazine. How amazing is that??

The hotel
As soon as I walked through the door (that had been opened for me by a beautiful member of staff) I noticed the fresh scent. Martinhal have a unique scent in their hotels. How amazingly unique is that? I also noticed how incredibly clean every where is. It was SPOTLESS which is also true for all of the kids toys, playgrounds and the kids club. Which, with four kids at home I was impressed to see!
The hotel is scattered with friendly staff all more than happy to help you with anything or for just a friendly hello. I noticed every staff member I ran into whether it be in the reception, the restaurant, the playground or even in the spa all took the time to say hello to Milla too. Not that a six month old baby would specifically notice, but I did. And it left me with a really lovely feeling.

As Im sure you can gather I loved every second of my stay. My one and only con of the whole experience was not sharing it with my three other little ones and my husband. They would have loved it as much as I did. Maybe one day?

If you have been or are planning to go I would love to hear about it!

**I was invited to stay as a guest in Martinhal. But, as always my opinions and thoughts are mine entirely.

Haaka and Cocoona baby Review

As a mum of four, I’d like to think I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way… That I knew all the must haves and the essentials but evidently I did not. I am suprised to say since having my fourth I have found two must haves that I didn’t have on the others… I don’t know how I survived without them!!!

The haakaa

I’m not a fan of pumping. Never was, never will be. So when I saw all the talk of this new must have I was eager to try. The haakaa breast pump is a handheld, portable milk expression device. It’s small and discreet allowing mum to express without the noise and fuss of an electrical pump. According to the manufacturer, it accommodates different breast sizes and collects up to 4 oz of milk. I’ve only ever got max 3oz when I’ve used it. 
It is a godsend. I have an over supply. Which, most people would kill for. But I also have a A/B cup bra size. So combined together makes for some extremely painful let downs. In the early days the haaka was a godsend for releaving a little bit of pressure from a letdown. 
The haaka works best attached to the opposite breast while breastfeeding. There is a knack to it, you suction your breast into the opening and it suctions on. It catches your let down and it is an amazingly easy way to store some milk in those early days. I am still using my haaka and Milla is now 6 months. As I mentioned though I do have a fantastic supply. Every breastfeeding journey is different but they say it works best up to 3/4 months. It is dishwasher safe and BPA free. It is the only reason i have a freezer full of frozen breast milk. A 10/10 from me. I got mine from Earth Mother and it is on sale at the moment for 24.99euro. For me it is worth every cent hands down. Its is discreet, makes no noise and also above all else does all the hard work effortlessly. All you have to do is try not to spill the liquid gold!!!

Cocoona baby 
The Cocoona baby is also something I never used on my other three babies. It is a sleep aid. A comfortable newborn nest with added health benefits to reduce Plagiocephaly, reflux and colic – but it does come with a large price tag. At 169.99 I was sceptical as to weather my little one would even sleep in it or not. Her favourite spot was stuck to my chest, where she stayed for two weeks straight! 
The Cocoona baby I feel helps newborns transition from the womb to the world very easily. Due to its ergonomic design and its perfect for your little ones physical and emotional well being through the fourth trimester. 
You may have read recent reports about the safety of baby sleep positioners, anti-roll products, baby wedges and baby nests. But Lullaby Trust came out and clarified the issue by saying sleep positioners are different to baby nests/pods. Therefore confirming the Cocoona baby safe to use. 
Milla loved it from the get go. She was so snug and content in it. Its as if when she lay in it she sunk down and it moulded around her. There is also a firm base so i always felt as if she was very safe in it. The wedge is a great extra in it and it allowed her legs to bend in a very natural way. She was as content in it as when i was holding her asleep. Except for the added benefit of me being able to get some rest too. When she would fall asleep if i lay her on a mattress she would wake STRAIGHT away, with the Cocoona baby she would stir a little when I lay her down but she would snuggle straight in. 

The Cocoona baby is not meant for co sleeping. They recommend using it in a cot or the floor for naps and day time sleeping. It is also worth noting they recommend the Cocoona baby to be 20cm lower than the top of the cot you are using. 
We used it for co sleeping. We took into account that this is against the safety regulations that Cocoona baby recommend but we made an educated and informed decision to co sleep with it. I loved this aspect of it. We placed it between our pillows and Milla slept that little bit higher than us both. It meant for me, (who would have been co sleeping anyway) that she was higher than our pillows and also out of reach for duvet to cover anything other than her feet.

It is recomended that you stop using it when baby starts to roll over! Which for my lazy lump was 6 months old!!

Would i pay 169.99 for it?
Yes, I would. Granted I would try get some cash as gifts and use it or if a family member wanted to but it for her. I understand it is expensive but from a busy mum of four can you ever put a price on a good nights sleep?? 

My cocoona baby was also from Earth Mother. A small Irish owned company who I would order all my must haves and baby bots from in a second in a second. Siobhan the owner is so lovely and helpful to deal with. You could contact her with any questions you might have.

The haaka was gifted to me from Earth Mother and Siobhan from Earth Mother kindly lent me the Cocoona Baby. But, as always my opinions of the products and the company is mine entirely. 

Luggwoods Enchanted Forest Easter Train

On Sunday we had the absolute pleasure of visiting Luggwoods again for their Easter Train. If you remember we visited at Christmas and it has been our favourite Christmas day out to date. 

Luggwoods Enchanted Forest is a family run business located just outside of Saggart Village in Co.Dublin about a 30 min drive from the airport! 

Just like their Christmas train there is face painting before hand! Little whiskers and a bunny nose for all the kids (and adults!) and they also sell bunny ears (2 for €5) all while you wait to board. We were just on time, arriving at 4pm (our train was at 4) which is something I really regret. Couldn’t be helped for us but one huge bit of advise I would give is DO NOT be late and better that come 20 mins early. Get the kids face painted buy the bunny ears and give them a chance to get excited as they wait! 

We hoped on board at 4pm and there was music and lots of chat from the fantastically enthusiastic girls on the train. We saw a fairy village and spotted letters all laid out throughout the forest!! Noa is just learning letters at the mo and loved this part! All the letters we found spelt “HAPPY EASTER” We hoped off mid-way for an Easter egg hunt! All the little ones were given a basket and they were to fill them with plastic eggs! 

As soon as the bunting was lifted all the kids made a run for it! My 8 year old was sorted he was first to get some eggs followed a little slower by my 3 year old who still managed to get some then came my 2 year old who by the time she got over the bumps and dips there were barely any eggs left. Her sister give her a few and she was none the wiser! 
But, this is where my only criticism lies! I spoke to one of the owners afterwards and had mentioned maybe giving the kids a little more time with the hunt and also letting the little ones go first or in a seperate area. She totally agreed and said going forward they are going to make two trails from where the hunt begins. One up the left and one on the right. Allowing children under 5 to take route and children over 5 take another. That way they will all be able to collect the eggs. Perfect solution and it will take the experience to a 10/10 from me!

We hoped back onboard and made our way to Big Red Barn. We saw luggwoods breathtaking view of Dublin which suprisingly for me, looks just as beautiful during the day as it did at night!  
We arrived to the barn and met some unbelievable characters! A mad hatter and mad he was! He was FANTASTIC. He told the kids a story when we got there, had a tea party and showed the kids some serious moves! Moves that even had some of the parents up dancing! While each family waited to see the Easter bunny the mad hatter entertained the rest and he also gets a 10/10 from me! Dancing, colouring and making the kids laugh. Noa (3) didn’t want to leave she absolutely loved it! 

We got to meet the Easter bunny next and got the opportunity to get a family picture! A rarity with 4 little ones! One thing I love about luggwoods is that there is absolutely no rush when getting a picture. The girls are so patient and accommodating. Each child got an Easter egg too!

Pictures are available to buy there and then for €10 for 1 or 2 for €15. Refreshments are available at this point too! 

Had we not been invited along, this day out would have cost the 6 of us €53.96 (including booking) under ones go free! This does not include bunny ears or your picture! So remember to bring cash for that! They do accept cards for the pictures! 

Was it worth it? 100%. I was an hour an 25 mins and that was jam packed with things for the kids. The were engaged and enjoying it for every second of that! 

I was sceptical as to how the Easter Train could possibly live up to the Christmas Train we loved so much! I honestly didn’t think it was possible to enjoy it as much as I did the Christmas Train. But I left feeling just as warm inside as I did at Christmas. Totally different experience but still as lovely and warm. Kids loved it just as much! A really fantastic day out with the kids for over the Easter holidays! I highly recommend it! 

We were kindly invited by luggwoods to hop on board the Easter Train free of charge. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Everything Irish on Netflix

Are you staying in this St Patrick’s Weekend? I know I am! With snow showers and freezing cold temperatures forecast , many will stay cosy indoors! If you’re one of them, what better way to spend it than with Netflix and its extensive library of Irish content while some brave souls may venture out to celebrate or attend a parade.

St Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate everything Irish and the great time to catch up on an Irish movies or spend time with your favourite Irish actors – whether it’s Sinead Cusack, Victoria Smurfit, Ruth Kearney, Dominique McElligott, Jamie Dornan, Cillian Murphy, Chris O’Dowd, Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Colin Farrell, Pierce Brosnan or Liam Neeson.

Beannacht  Fhéile Pádraig!

For the Kids
The Smurfs 2

Hoping to harness the magical Smurf-essence, evil wizard Gargamel creates a pair of Smurflike creatures, called Naughties. However, only a real Smurf can give Gargamelwhat he wants, so he kidnaps Smurfette to force her to cast a spell that will transform the Naughties into Smurfs. Papa, Clumsy and the rest of the Smurfs reunite with their human friends Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris), Grace (JaymaMays) and Victor (Brendan Gleeson) to rescue Smurfettefrom the wizard’s clutches. 



For the Adults

Irish Films & Documentaries on Netflix

The Hardy Bucks Movie

Party-loving Irelanders plan a road trip to Poland to take in some soccer and sights. But their journey veers way off course when they hit Amsterdam.


Cardboard Gangsters

Cardboard Gangsters follows the story of a group of young lads in Darndale, led by Jay Connolly (John Connors), who sell drugs to make a living. They set out in a bid to gain more money and power and enter the big leagues of the drug trade.

Sing Street

In 1980s Dublin, a teen whose family is falling apart transfers to a tough school, where he forms a rock band to fit in and win a girl’s attention.  Stars Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton and Jack Reynor 




The Young Offenders

Hugely popular at the moment
Never ones to think things through, two Irish teens steal bicycles and set off to the coast to find a bale of cocaine from a smugglers capsized ship.





Handsome Devil

Self described outsider is sent to a rugby-obsessed boarding school, where is forms an unexpected bond with the star player.   Stars Fionn O’Shea, Nicolas Galitzine, Andrew Scott and Moe Dunford.

The Siege of Jadotville

Winner of four IFTAs, The Siege of Jadotville tells the true story of Irish Soldiers who were besieged by overwhelming enemy forces while on a UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo.  The heroes led by Commandant Pat Quinlan fought for five days and heroically defended their outpost.   A Netflix Original film, based on the book Siege at Jadotville : The Irish Army’s Forgotten Battle by Declan Power.  Stars Jamie Dornan, Jason O’Mara, Mark Strong, Sam Keeley and Fionn O’Shea.

Movies

In Bruges

After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out until things cool down. Ray hates the medieval city they land in, but Ken finds its beauty and peacefulness enchanting. Their experiences become increasingly surreal and possibly life-changing as they encounter tourists, locals, an American dwarf and a potential romance for Ray.



The Irish Mob

This documentary crime series charts the rise of the Irish Mob in America, from urban immigrant poverty to political power and wealth.


Bad Day For The Cut

A mild-mannered , middle-aged Irish farmer embarks on a bloody quest to avenge his mother’s murder. He soon discovers her dark past while wading through the criminal underworld of Belfast.


The Secret Scripture

An Irish film directed by Jim Sheridan, from a screenplay by Sheridan and Johnny Ferguson, which is based on the 2008 novel of the same name. A psychiatrist examines Roseanne McNulty, an elderly Irish woman living in a mental institution, and learns more about her past in the process. Rooney Mara plays McNulty as a young woman, in flashbacks that detail her love triangle with a fighter pilot and a priest.


The Boys and Girls From County Clare

John Joe and his traditional Celtic folk band are ready to defend their championship at County Clare’s annual All-Ireland Traditional Music Competition when his prodigal brother, Jimmy, returns home from Liverpool with his new band. The sibling rivalry is further complicated by embittered piano player Maisie, the mother of Jimmy’s abandoned child, and the burgeoning romance between rival band members, Anne  and Teddy.


Hunger

Focusing on the 1981 hunger strikes by Republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. Bobby Sands is one of a group of prisoners who first “took to the blanket” with a “dirty protest” in pursuit of their claims for recognition as political prisoners. Sands then became the first one of the group to embark on a hunger strike that was to end in his death.


Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope

A darkly comic drama about two young women, as one of them starts to spiral out of control. Aisling is used to getting her own way, while Danielle is never one to hog the spotlight. Reality is about to hit them, and hit them hard.


The Magdalene Sisters

In 1964, three teenage Irish girls are sent to a Magdalene asylum, an archaic home for “fallen women,” though their crimes aren’t criminal. Rose is pregnant out of wedlock, Bernadette has been caught flirting with a boy at school, and Margaret is sentenced for having been raped by a family member. There, the girls perform hard laboursupervised by cruel nuns, led by the sneering Sister Bridget – and dream of escape.


Calvary

An honest and good-hearted priest (Brendan Gleeson) wrestles with a cynical, spiteful community after he receives a death threat from an unknown parishioner.


Evelyn

When the mother of young Evelyn Doyle (Sophie Vavasseur) abandons her family, her devastated father Desmond (Pierce Brosnan), is left to care for Evelyn and her brothers on his own. Because Irish laws forbid children to be raised in a home without two parents, Evelyn and her brothers are removed from Desmond’s care and sent to separate orphanages. Desmond, who is out of work and abusing alcohol, will have to challenge the Irish courts to bring his children home.


Standby

A luckless tourist aid at Dublin airport reconnects with this love of eight years earlier, who is on standby for a flight back to the US.   Stars Jessica Pare, Brian Gleeson and Stanley Townsend.


Gold

A man returns home after a 10 year absence to reconnect with his ex-wife and daughter, but finds them living with his domineering former PE teacher.

Stars James Nesbitt, Kerry Condon, Patrick Gibson and Maisie Williams

Ondine

A fisherman’s (Colin Farrell) life is transformed when he catches a mysterious woman in his nets.  His daughter come to believe that the woman is magical creature.


Hostage to the Devil

Follow the eerie story of Father Malachi Martin, a disenchanted priest whose belief in demonic possession would lead him to conduct several exorcisms


Films & TV Shows Featuring Irish Actors

Cillian Murphy

Peaky Blinders  – Cillian Murphy stars as ambitious gang leader Thomas Shelby who recognises an opportunity to move up in the world thanks to a missing crate of guns. (Seasons 1 – 3 are Available now).    Cillian also stars in Anthropoid which is now available on Netflix .



Chris O’Dowd

The Cloverfield Paradox

In the near future, a group of international astronauts on a space station are working to solve a massive energy crisis on Earth. The experimental technology aboard the station has an unexpected result, leaving the team isolated and fighting for their survival.

Chris O’Dowd also stars in The Incredible Jessica James, The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids, Mascots, Puffin Rock and Calvary on Netflix


Domhnall Gleeson

A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Domhnall Gleeson stars in this exploration of the troubled life and ground-breaking career of “National Lampoon” co-founder Doug Kenney.

Based on the book A Futile and Stupid Gesture: How Doug Kenney and National Lampoon Changed Comedy Forever by Josh Karp, the movie was adapted by Michael Colton and John Aboud and focuses on the troubled life and career of Kenney and how National Lampoon influenced the comedy scene in America in the ’70s and ’80s.

Domhnall Gleeson stars in The Revenant, Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Calvary, Black Mirror and Unbroken.


Brendan Gleeson

In Bruges

After a particularly difficult job, hit men Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) head to Belgium to hide out until things cool down. Ray hates the medieval city they land in, but Ken finds its beauty and peacefulness enchanting. Their experiences become increasingly surreal and possibly life-changing as they encounter tourists, locals, an American dwarf and a potential romance for Ray.

Brendan also stars in Trespass Against Us, Alone InBerlin, Green Zone and Calvary which are available to watch on Netflix.
Colin Farrell also stars in The Way Back and Ondinewhich are available on Netflix

Patrick Gibson

The OA – Young Dubliner Patrick Gibson plays the part of Steve Winchell, a conflicted, antisocial and at times violent teen bully, who strikes up a friendship with Prairie (Brit Marling) in this Netflix Original.    Patrick also stars in Gold.




Dominique McElligott

House of Cards –  Dubliner Dominique McElligott  joinedHouse of cards in Season 4 as Hannah Conway wife of William “Will” Conway, the current Governor of New York and the Republican nominee.  Will is Frank’s chief opponent in the race for the Presidency in 2016.   Hannah and Will have two kids Charlie and Lilly. Their youth and strong values pose a huge threat to Frank who is middle age, having marital problems, and has no kids.  Seasons 1-5 are available to stream on Netflix.



Kerry Condon

Better Call Saul – Tipperary Actress Kerry Condon plays the part of Stacey Ehrmantraut in Better Call Saul.  Stacey was married to Matt, Mike Ehrmantraut’s son and has one Daugther Kayla. Matt was eventually killed after working for two years as a police officer in the State of Philadelphia, Stacey then moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Season 1 – 3 are available on Netflix.



Victoria Smurfit

Victoria Smurfit stars as the woman you love to hate in Once Upon A Time – Cruella De Vil.   Cruella originates from the Disney animated movie “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” and is one of the most evil women on Earth!  New episodes of Once Upon A Time launch every week on Netflix.



Liam Neeson

Love Actually

Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are David (Hugh Grant), the handsome newly elected British prime minister who falls for a young junior staffer (Martine McCutcheon). Harry (Alan Rickman) who is comfortably married to his wife, Karen (Emma Thompson), but is tempted by his attractive new secretary. Daniel (Liam Neeson), who mourns the recent death of his wife Joanna, as he tries to raise his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) alone. Sam has fallen for an American classmate, also named Joanna, and, after discussion with his stepfather, decides to learn the drums so that he can accompany her in the big finale for their school’s Christmas pageant (the same one that David’s nephew and Karen and Harry’s children are in).

Liam Neeson stars in Schindler’s List, Run All Night, Rob Roy and A Prayer For The Dying which are all on Netflix.


Steve Jobs

With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve “Woz” Wozniak get ready to unveil the first Macintosh in 1984. Jobs must also deal with personal issues related to ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan and their young daughter Lisa. Eventually fired, Jobs launches NeXT Inc. and prepares to release a new computer model in 1988. Ten years later, Jobs is back at Apple Inc. and about to revolutionize the industry once again with the iMac.

Michael Fassbender also stars in Trespass Against Us and Hunger.

James Nesbitt

Babylon – The Met’s new director of communications, Liz Garvey, faces a baptism by fire when a sniper goes on a shooting spree during her first day on the job.    James Nesbit also appears in Gold and Match Point which are available on Netflix.


Happy Watching!

Laura x 

Netflix has you covered for Pancake Tuesday!

ARE YOU READY… FOR PANCAKES!?

Netflix has plenty of new kids content coming out this month, from

Luna Petunia

to

The Peanuts Movie… with some titles arriving just in time for Pancake Tuesday (13th February)!  

After you are full to the brim with pancakes this evening settle down for some quality family viewing as you bond over your delicious creations.

Dream works dragons-race to the edge and

fantastic four- the rise of the silver surfer! Pancakes and a family movie… Is there anything better?! 

These new releases are sure to have something for every member of the family! 
Enjoy!!
Laura x

Luggwoods Santa Experience Review

We were kindly invited to Luggwoods on Saturday to their press preview of their Santa Experience. Luggwoods is €19 per child and €13.50 per adult. Children under one go free. Hot chocolate included in all children’s tickets. Family tickets also available! Photos are extra.. €10 for one and €15 for two. 

Firstly… We loved it. I am just gushing to write every single thing about it down and tell you all everything but let me take a moment and start from the beginning. 

Luggwoods is located 5 mins from The Square shopping centre in Tallaght. Very easy to get to. As soon as we turned into Luggwoods from the main road I gasped… I turned to my husband and said “oh wow.. It’s so beautiful” and this is where our experience began. Driving up to the car park there were fairy lights everywhere and immediately I got butterflies. This is the warm feeling I expect from a Santa experience. I had it immediately, and we hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet!! 
The first place we went was a cabin where you wait for the train. Covered in fairy lights and totally Christmassy. A beautiful Christmas tree outside! Inside the cabin is an elf doing face painting (amazing to keep excited little ones occupied while you wait for your train) **Note*** Arrive early.. We had 4 little ones with us and had to wait for a few families that were late! (Annoying for the ones there early!!) 

From the very start the staff were all in character and amazing with the kids!!!! An unbelievable elf and lumber jack came to board us onto our train! This elf was amazing.. So interactive, so animated and just perfect for the little world of Christmas our children had now entered… Even the walk to the train is Christmassy.. Fairy lights cover the little trail to the train! 

The train ride was fantastic.. The elf and lumberjack were really enthusiastic and our kids were totally invested in the story and the whole experience. It was so lovely to see their little faces listening to every word and interacting! The train ride goes through a forest.. Where we got to see a fairy village… The grinch (we even sang his favourite song!) and the most breath taking view of Dublin!! 

We went in the evening time and the view of Dublin literally took my breath away! It’s a must see! This photo doesn’t even do it justice!!

The cabin…
Getting off the train we were greeted by more amazing elves. And by one of my favourites of the day Mrs.Claus… EXACTLY what a Mrs Claus should be. Warm, inviting, exciting and most importantly amazing with the kids. Noa (3) was hanging on her every word. She was absolutely fantastic and a credit to luggwoods. We entered her living room and she told us all about the man himself and even gave him a call. 
The wait before Santa again is cleverly filled with bits to keep the kids occupied. A real life elf on the shelf. A sleigh to have your picture taken on. An area for the elves to help you write your Santa letter or a snack and tea, coffee and hot chocolates!
Santa
One of my other favourites of the day was the most amazing Santa… Now I know that for my little ones they just see Santa’s helpers. Santa is very busy in the North Pole so we see his helpers when we visit and they report back! But if I didn’t know any better I would have thought this was the real Santa. He was picture perfect, real beard, glasses just fantastic! He was so patient with my kids and listened to every word. Noa was crying in our picture and he said to me it was no problem we would try till we got a picture I wanted! (I actually told him it was fine because I secretly love the crying pictures!!) 
Again, after the Santa visit while waiting for everyone else (from your train) sees Santa there is another area with an elf disco, a colouring and chalk board area, a place to print your pictures and a ball pit for the smaller ones! And again another opportunity for a snack or beverage.
Luggwoods have used every single minute of the experience and made it magical. Even parts where there is a little wait (to see Santa or after etc) and made it part of the experience. The kids don’t get one second to be bored. For the full hour and a half the kids were engaged and enjoying literally every minute. 
Is it weird that I am already looking forward to returning next year for our Santa visit??! 
For our family it would have been €78.50, Children under one go free so that’s for two adults and 3 children! Milla is 5 weeks!!
€78.50-was is worth it?
Yes Yes Yes!! Loved every minute! Worth every cent! 
If you visit one Santa Experience this year Luggwoods should be it!
We were kindly invited to a press preview in Luggwoods free of charge. But as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Santa’s Cove at Liffey Valley

Last Friday, the kids and I were kindly invited to check out Santa’s Cove (Pirates Cove) in Liffey Valley shopping centre. Christmas is my favourite time of the year. No question. So I was thrilled to go and excited to take the children to see Santa. Santa’s Cove is €12.50 per adult (adults go free at non peak times) €25 per child, Little ones under 12 months are free. Your Santa photo is included.

As you all know Milla is 5 weeks old. So I was sure to book the earliest slot available before hand 7.15pm! I also spent about 15mins filling out a form with all the kids details, likes and dislikes. Their hobbies, teachers names etc.. I was happy to fill this all out because I knew the kids would absolutely love this personal touch. Two things that ended up being a complete waste of time.
Patting myself on the back (4 kids in tow) I arrived at 6.45pm…. But I was told they were running late and wouldn’t be open until 7.15. Not a big deal I thought as I had my time slot booked already so I wasn’t too bothered. It was their first night so I know there is bound to be a teething problem or two! 
At 7.15 we all went in to pirates cove.. I say pirates cove because there was no difference at this point between pirates cove and Santa’s cove. There was no Christmas decorations anywhere nor was there any Christmas warm feeling. Actually it was the complete opposite- it was freezing, I actually had to put the kids coats back on in there. 
They had a play on the bouncy castles which they loved…. But the music was blaring and it was hard for any of them to hear me which was stressful! 
Then it came time to see Santa and I was more than ready to leave the room and hear myself think again! At this point I realised all the slots were forgotten about and it was a free for all. There was a massive que to go into the experience and there’s me with 3 kids 3 and under including a 5 week old baby, about to wait an hour in a freezing que. I ended up going up to one of the organisers and explaining I had booked the earliest slot and had a newborn with me. She let me skip the que and I was very grateful. To be honest if she hadn’t, I would have just left. 
The experience 
Firstly there is a ball pit and a slide to go through to enter the experience. There was a few male elves at the beginning but none of which encouraged the kids where to go or said a word to them actually. 
Next was a ride on Santa’s sleigh… A very friendly elf helped us on. But Noa (3) had no idea what we were on or why? It would have been nice for there to be a little story from the elf about the sleigh and what they’re about to experience but it was a bit flat. 
Next we went into a room and the kids made reindeer food got Christmas Eve. The kids really enjoyed this part… The elves were great with them and the loved to hear the story. I’ve heard from friends these elves lost their mojo by the end so bear in mind we were first in… The boxes were awful that the food is kept in and noas spilled everywhere! 

Next they got to make decorations which again they loved… This male elf was amazing with the kids… Didn’t rush them at all! 

Next was a stop for hot chocolate and mince pies with a woman I can only assume was Mrs.Claus because she didn’t say much and didn’t interact at all with the kids. She actually looked quite grumpy in my opinion. Bear in mind again, we were one of the first in!! 
The next two bits were the most disappointing bits for me…
The naught or nice machine.
I got this… I like the concept but the machines were extremely loud and way too long. I think the naughty or nice “deliberation” needs to be cut in half. And most disappointing was they all got a “nice certificate” but there names weren’t on it?!! The name part was blank!
Next was the last stop… Santa.. 
Our Santa had a real beard which I think is extremely important. But for me he wasn’t warm or welcoming and the whole form I spent 15 mins filling out the night before was no where to be seen. I had to prompt Santa with everything. The picture was very rushed and to be honest I felt anxious leaving. When the picture was printed it looked like it had been taken on a phone and not one of my kids were near Santa. We hadn’t been helped or given a second to position the kids for a lovely pic. For me the picture is always my highlight!
For me the experience wasn’t very warm. It wasn’t very Christmassy and none of the staff were very enthusiastic. Most of the elves were great but for me the most important is Mrs Claus and Santa. And both were very flat in my opinion.
Is it worth the €125 it would have cost for my family of 6.
No way!
€125 is a lot of money for my family. It is money I want to spend on an experience that will stay in my kids memory’s for years. One that my kids will say “remember we went to…” An experience you leave feel warm and happy and for me this isn’t Santa’s Cove. Unfortunately I left Santa’s cove feeling stressed and cold.
It seems to me the organisers have put in the work and gotten all the big bits… But have forgotten it’s all the little bits that make it magical! 
We were kindly invited to a press preview of Santa’s Cove in Liffey Valley free of charge. But as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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.