The mini break – a family stay in Fota Island Resort

Ah the Irish break, the staycation, expensive and usually comes with lashings of rain right?  Well this time, I’m delighted to say I think we managed to swerve the trend. The weather was hot hot hot ( way to too for me – sorry to be miserable but I’m baked) and the stay overall might have been a bit of a treat, but it was worth it.

After a mad few months, moving house, trying to set up a business and generally being wrecked from a) teething Edie ( bless her) and b) moving and generally living out of boxes, a break was needed, badly.

As this was the first break we’d booked as a family of three and it threw up so many questions for us – how would we make bottles, would we need a house Another consideration for us was that we wanted somewhere fairly near by.

Friends of ours had a nice time in Fota Island Resort recently and Adrian had been there on golf trips a few times and when we spoke about it  the legendary breakfast seemed to swing it for us, as well as ahem, it being child friendly, only an hour away from us.  So we booked it and here’s how we got on.

 

Things to do with smallies

Mini breaks are by default, never long enough if they’re any good and this one certainly left us feeling like we would’ve loved one more night.

For starters there’s a playground that’s set up for toddlers right through to older kids – from baby slides to monkey bars and zip lines, it is certainly one of the best I’ve been in. Beside the playground there’s a tennis court and mini soccer pitch and all of this is in view of the lodges, which is very handy.

For the smaller ones – basically babas right through to toddlers there’s a playroom in the hotel,  and there’s a pool too though with specific kids pool time, although on this trip we we didn’t use it.

One of the main reasons we chose Fota was to visit the Fota Wildlife Park and it didn’t dissapoint. We bought concession tickets from the hotel which meant that the charge into the Park was 24.00 instead of 32.00. The Park itself was really enjoyable – allow two to three hours to make your way around and longer if you plan on eating there or using the onsite playground. The hotel run free drops and collections to the Park throughout the day, check at reception for times.

The Park itself wasn’t too busy and we didn’t need to queue for tickets, although we were there on a Friday just before the school holidays.

The lions, cheetahs and flamingos (!) were a huge hit, but the real jewel in the crown for our time in Fota was the Fairy Trail.  We spent a lovely morning roaming for fairies before we checked out and it was a huge hit with all three of us.   Knocking from door to door hoping that someone might be in,  – the trail was beautiful, although it seemed like it might be new and still unfinished, it really was a lovely walk.

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Food and Drink

The Resort is Five Star and so the food and drink in the Hotel bar is pricey – but, to be fair the food we had was flawless. We had a delicious meal there on the first night and there is a really good selection of healthy options for kids, which made a nice change. Things like roast chicken or fish , broccoli, peas and mash – portion sizes too are good.

We ate most days in the more affordable, but equally as delicious Clubhouse which is part of the resort – the menu is far more relaxed as are the prices, and again there’s a nice selection for the kids. There’s a gorgeous outdoor terrace area – it can be busy if it’s sunny so try to book ahead through the hotel reception.

Overall, we really were very impressed. The staff were friendly, food was very good, it was family friendly and there was absolutely loads to do for little ones.

Yes it wasn’t cheap (although we got an online deal from the hotel’s own site, which we thought was reasonable). The other plus point is that it’s a great base to visit Cork City centre, Leahy’s Open Farm or take a day trip up to Cobh, which is such a gorgeous little town.

Lets just say we’re planning a return to the very soon, and who knows there might be some fairies in this time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Natural skincare focus: Trilogy Age Proof Serum

When I ran out of my usual serum a few months ago, I decided it was time to switch things up a bit. My skin was badly in need of some tender loving care as it had started to look as grey as my roots on the third week of the month ( and that’s grey…)

Scrolling on Cloud10beauty, I really didn’t know what to go for other than knowing that I needed something that would be age appropriate for my skin (magically return the plumpness please) and something brightening to make me look like I’d slept in 2018.

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I’ve always loved natural products and as a fan of Trilogy Rosehip Oil I decided to give their Age Proof Nutrient Plus Firming Serum a try.

For starters I found that it works a dream under  a moisturiser, it’s fluid – very light and dewy.  I was impressed that within a week or it made my skin feel like it had been given some sort of life again – hurray! The price too is good, at 32.95e it’s almost half the price of the last serum that I wasn’t happy with.

Now on my second bottle I’m continuing to feel like the serum really does suit my skin, and I can still see the same brightening and plumping effects.  I’ve also fallen back in love with Trilogy as a natural brand ( did you see that they did a beach clean up at the weekend in Greystones? What a lovely thing for a natural brand to be doing) and I’ve reinvested in more Trilogy products. I’m trialling the new Rosehip Cleansing Oil at the moment and so far I’m really liking it’s gentle, soothing formula.

I’ve also discovered that a whole line of Age Proof products exist, all of which are on my shopping list.  If you honestly want a smoothing, gentle serum that gives quick results on aging skin, this is a great buy.

Trilogy products are available from Cloud10 Beauty and Sam McCauley pharmacies, and other good chemists and health food shops.

 

 

 

Cooling Water Masks from Uriage ticks all the hydration boxes

I’m a simple soul when it comes to beauty – I want value for money products that really work and that are easy for me to pick up.

Lately my skin has been a right mess, we’ve recently moved house and lets just say I’ve been a little bit more lack lustre than usual with my skincare routine.  A pick me up was just what I needed so when I was sent the new Uriage Water Sleeping Mask, I stuck it straight on that night with high hopes of a miracle.

I’m a big fan of this French brand, it appeals to me because it’s mid ranged pricing suits my less than full pockets, it’s readily available in my local chemist but mostly I’m a fan because the products work, and the sleeping mask stays true to form here, I loved it.

Priced at 19e, this silky gel based mask claims to rehydrate even the driest of Winter skin, and it’s not lying. I’ve had it a fortnight, have used it every second or third night and I can visably see a difference in my tired mammy skin.

The other good news here is that a little of this product goes a long way. My beauty budget is small these days but I do like to invest in quality so when this runs out I’ll be buying it, a great little product for tired, dry skin that needs a little tlc.

Uriage Water Sleeping Mask is available from caretobeauty.com, inishpharmacy.com and select pharmacies around the country.  You can read more about my reviews of other Uriage products here.

Letting the light in

So it’s January, a difficult month for most of us.  As I sit down to write this, I’m no different. The Christmas lights came down more than a week ago, and it’s funny but the warmth they added to our home has me missing them terribly.  Suddenly we’re left with cables to hide, cobwebs to clean and pieces of glitter that don’t hoover up.  The corner over by the mantle piece is redundant and devoid of pine needles and the rooms smells all the less for it.  Out came the Christmas box and just like that, the little glow that helps us to feel cosy and content in the darkest of days is gone for another year.

Replacing this warm fuzzy glow with talk of changing everything about ourselves in the quest for perfection, has never made much sense to me.  Glittery lights, and that sweet pine smell with a side of frankincense candles wins every time.  These past few years I’ve always seemed to embrace the end of Winter, maybe not with a sense of gusto but certainly with a positive attitude.

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Late spring last year

But this year is a little different, truthfully as I write this I must admit that I’m feeling a little January pressure – to have big plans, to be a little better at doing more, to take charge and be on top of everything all at once. That’s daunting because let’s be honest,  it’s unlikely that I’ll manage a fraction of these.

But along with this tummy turning sense of newness, January does have its moments too.

The little stretch in the evenings is such a cliche, but it’s something that I love.  At quarter past four yesterday I heard a bird churning out the Spring song they sing.  The Saturday evening light was dimming when I peeped out through my blinds to see her sing, but it seemed less navy, brighter.  I’ll take that.  A friend sent me a message the other day to say she has a daffodil poking up in the garden, reminding me that it won’t be long before the grass starts getting greener in every sense of the word.

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Not quite time to smell the roses yet, but soon!

As I type this, I can see myself in my reflection on the screen.

Again the brightness coming through making beautiful shadows.  Perhaps it is an omen for 2018 and what if letting the light in is the only thing to focus on.  I’ll try that and surely the grass will push through shortly after that.