Tag: mum of four

Malahide Marina Play Centre, Review

As a rule, I’m not a big fan of play centres. My little ones range over a few milestone ages, 10 months, 2 and a half, four and nine. Which in short, means I end up at one end of a play centre with the smallest, trying my very best to watch the rest in a bigger part.

My children though, adore going to a play centre. So, I go reluctantly and pray nobody gets hurt while I am 20 ft away in a different section, or that none of my smallest ones get an unintentional rugby tackle to the floor by an excited and very much bigger child.

Noa turned 4 last month and she decided she wanted her 4th birthday party in a play centre. She wanted a princess party and wanted to invite all her friends. This is where I first came across Malahide Maria Play Centre. It had been recommended to me by some friends, but I had never actually been. Well that was my first mistake.


Malahide Marina play centre is every parent’s dream. I’m going to tell you why-

The Play centre

The playcentre itself is a little smaller than other ones we have been to. In my opinion, this a big thumbs up!! It means everything is in the one place. There is no quick dash back and forth to keep an eye on everyone! The toddler area is actually part of the rest of the play centre but it is separated by a railings and it also has a “gate” to keep the smallies in and safe and the bigger ones out. It also, has a little ball pit which they love. This is one of my favourite bits about the play centre. It makes a massive difference to me as I mentioned, as a mum of three different age groups. It means I can be present with each one of them and sit in the baby area while also having a perfect view of the other two bigger ones.

It is spotless. The café area is spotless. The floor is spotless. The toilets are spotless. Which as we all know is a massive deal. Considering it’s a play centre. Often in play centre there is a smell where the nappy bin is. Not here, in any of the times I’ve been.

The staff members. I just can’t praise the staff members enough. Each and every single one I came across were friendly, helpful and genuinely interested in the kids. It just makes the visit to a play centre, which some mums can find a little overwhelming-a whole lot easier.

What they offer

  • The play centre opens 7 days a week. 10am-6pm
  • Monday-Friday before 12 entry is just 5euro
  • After Mid-day and weekends entry is 8euro, with a discounted 15euro for 2 children and 20euro for 3.

Tuesdays at 11am they have Rainbow Phil (a fav in our house!!)

Wednesdays at 11am they have Storytime

Thursdays at 11am the have Messy Play (also a fav in our house!!)


All at NO extra cost!


The food-

The food!!! The little café is absolutely unbelievable. One thing I can’t stand in most play centres, is their “in house” food only policy when their inhouse food is all unhealthy processed snacks and food. It’s not like that here. In Malahide Marina all the food is home made by their wonderful and so friendly in-house chef. A chef that is also happy to cater for your specific needs if you wanted something for your self or your little one that was not already prepared that day. If she can, she will make it for you.

They have homemade sandwiches, toasties, ciabattas, homemade brown bread, raspberry scones. Along with fruit bowls or loose fruit. Organix snacks and goodies. Water, smoothies, fruit juice. And most importantly, really good strong COFFEE. Because if you don’t order a coffee when you get to a play centre, are you even a parent?

The Party-

The parties are for 1 hour and 45 mins. Noa opted for a princess party which from start to finish was her absolute dream. When we arrived, we had two tables or parents or relatives to sit and watch, with views to every corner of the play centre (A huge pro in my opinion). We were greeted by a beautiful princess-Noa was in awe of her! As were most of the party goers!! The princess basically stayed with Noa for the entire party and was so lovely to Noa and all the other children. Interacting and playing with them in the actual play area and also in the party room.

The children had free play in the play area for the first hour. The princess stayed with Noa most of the time in here. One thing I just can’t stress enough is how lovely the staff are. There was 2/3 staff members in the play area watching and helping all the little ones. A massive thumbs up from me and most of the other parents. It made it feel very safe for me and that feeling it absolutely priceless. At one-point Briar (2) was up quite high climbing over a rope ladder and I did get a little fright when I saw her (she is our fearless one so I am used to her but it can still catch you by surprise every so often!!) but I quickly also saw a staff member right behind her. The staff member wasn’t telling her to ‘be careful’ or to ‘come down’ she was right behind her encouraging her to climb across ‘you can do it’. How amazing is that??

The next part of the party was into a party room at the back of the play centre. Which again was SPOTLESS and set up perfectly for the kids to have their food. They offer pizza, chicken goujans or cocktail sausages and chips. Or, I saw a party after Noa’s having some sandwiches and fresh fruit!

After the food they had the cake. Where Noa was made to feel like a real-life princess. Her cake was put on a table in the middle of the room and all her friends sat opposite and sang happy birthday. She really did feel like the ‘Belle of the ball’.

Next was some party games and face painting. All went down an absolute treat. Again, the staff members were unbelievable here. The princess and their staff member Josh were fantastic. The really got involved with each and every one of the kids. They had them all laughing and dancing.

At the end of the disco the princess gave Noa a birthday gift of a lunch box, a beaker and a tiara and she was smiling from ear to ear. A small little touch that made a huge difference to one little girls day!

They all got their face painted and then had an opportunity to go and play before their parents got there. I might have changed the time slightly if I had one small critique as it was hard to get them out!!!! But, to be honest each and every child had such a good time, no amount of extra time would have been long enough for them.

The following day the girls wanted to go straight back, and I have to say for the first time ever I really wanted to too. It was an absolute joy to have Noa’s birthday party there and I honestly could not recommend them enough.

If you have a birthday party coming up and you are thinking of a play centre, think Malahide Marina Play Centre. They ticked every single box for us and I do not have one negative from our whole entire day. It was a pleasure.

You can find Malahide Marina Play Centre on facebook, instagram or on their website .

**Disclaimer- We received Noa’s party in exchange for an honest review. But, as always, my thoughts and words are 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.