7 Sugar-Free Advent Calendars For Kids This December

That time of year is rolling around again all too quick. The evenings are getting darker, the clocks have gone back, you’re having to put the heating on. And the toy ads, oh the toy ads are INCESSANT. On one hand, it’s great to have the Santa card to pull out when your three year old is having a meltdown about nothing at all. On the other, the pressure of getting it right and making it a lovely Christmas that everyone will remember happily is quite another. Advent calendars are something I remember from childhood as being great for getting into the festive mood (those and the Folens annuals!).

However, in my childhood, they were the chocolate-a-day type, which in our house will not go down well. It’s not that we don’t like chocolate – as my waistline will attest – but more so our lack of wanting to give chocolate to the three year old. He doesn’t react well to the sugar, it makes him crazy, and the festive season is crazy enough. So, for parents like me who wish to dodge the chocolate bullet but want to take part in the Advent Calendar joy, here’s some of the best store-bought sugar free (ie not confectionary) versions for kids I’ve seen.

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December Girl by Nicola Cassidy – Book Review

What if your child was stolen? The tagline of Nicola Cassidy’s debut novel draws the reader in and plays on their emotions immediately. Her book, December Girl, is a historical fiction novel, based in the 1800s in Drogheda. I was lucky enough to receive an advance review copy to take part in the Blog Tour to launch this wonderful book, and have been devouring it over the past few nights. So, what’s the book about, and is it any good?

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14 Spooky Treats On Netflix This Hallowe’en

One of the best parts of Hallowe’en is getting stuck into the scary movies while tucking into some pilfered treats, right? Thankfully, Netflix has lots of content fit for the perfect Halloween movie binge, with stuff for all ages and tastes. What will you be watching this Hallowe’en? Here’s some of the best of what Netflix have got for you to stream.

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Robotic Childbirth: A Space Age Teaching Tool or A Wrong Step For Education?

This week, a news story hit that the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has begun to use a robot for educating their students on the physical elements of childbirth. The news video included some (debatably creepy looking) footage of the robot in practice. Lucina, Ireland’s only “birthing mannequin”, has been purchased for €75,000 to benefit the surgical education of the future doctors taught in RCSI. The reaction to this news story has been mixed, to say the least. Some are horrified at the idea of a robot being used to teach doctors how to work in a childbirth setting. Others find it a genius idea which will likely improve outcomes for future patients as the educational tool will prove beneficial to the doctors in their training. So, what exactly is the reasoning behind the robot, what is it likely to teach that our current system doesn’t have, and is it all a bit of space age nonsense?

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Cork Goes Spooky This Halloween: A Guide To What’s On

Hallowe’en is fast approaching, and there’s plenty going on to celebrate the night when the ghouls come out to play. With the weather as miserable as it has been lately, hopefully this will be a chance to have some spooky fun without getting rained out of it. Over the last few years, the Hallowe’en spirit has definitely increased in Cork, and this year is no different. Whether you’re a little one or a grown up, Cork has plenty in store for you.

So, what’s going on this year?

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My October Reads – What I’ve Been Reading Lately.

Our family holiday wasn’t exactly a lie back on the beach with a good book type of break, but that didn’t stop the reads from accumulating. Long flights will do that for you – the Kindle app on my iPad was definitely kept busy. Here’s a look at my October reads, the books I dove into over the last month, and what I thought of them.

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What You NEED To Know Before Traveling to South Africa With Kids

In late September, the three of us jetted off on our first family holiday as a trio. As it was Eliott’s first time on a plane, we decided to not go too mad – or rather, we decided to throw caution (and everything else) to the wind, and opt for an 18 hour flight each way and headed to sunny South Africa. It was a wonderful trip, one which I will definitely be writing more on, but it was definitely an educational trip in more ways than one. I feel incredibly lucky to not only be able to go on this kind of trip myself, but also to expose my child at the age of three to a whole different world of things – different weather, different cultures, foods, experiences. We stayed in Durban while we were there and found it to be overwhelmingly child friendly. I would thoroughly recommend it for people with kids, as it’s got so much for them to do, and playgrounds at every corner. However, if you’re thinking about traveling to South Africa with kids, there are a few things you need to have with you.

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How The 8th Amendment Affected My Pregnancy

Ahead of the March for Choice next week in Dublin, there was a Repeal Not Replace demonstration in Cork City on Saturday 23rd September. I was asked by the organisers to be one of the speakers at this event. Initially I was hesitant to speak, feeling like my story wasn’t as relevant of that of many of the women who have suffered greatly under the 8th Amendment to our constitution. However, on reflection, I realised that as a woman who has gone through pregnancy in Ireland, I do have my experiences of maternity care under the 8th to speak about. The 8th Amendment is about so much more than abortion and it’s availability in our state, and I hope that I got that across in my speech. Here’s the full text of the speech, I’d love to hear what you think.

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A Dream Big Boy Bedroom For Our New House

We’re in the process of getting ready to buy a house. The bank accounts have been scrutinised, we’ve weighed up the different mortgage offers and gotten the calculators on overdrive. The deposit has been added to regularly and we’re ready to get looking actively for a house to live in of our own. Along with this, inevitably, comes the dreams of what the different rooms will look like. My Pinterest is filled with gorgeous (probably unrealistic) images, but hey, a girl can dream. As Eliott is now no longer a baby, but a proper big-boy toddler who is losing his baby ways faster than I can handle, he needs a room that fits with that. So, what’s on the dream big boy bedroom list? Here’s just a few ideas I’ve had lately.

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Culture Night 2017 in Cork: What’s On For Kids?

Culture Night 2017 is almost upon us. On the 22nd of September, various centres of culture including museums, theatres, churches and many more open their doors and allow in the public for exhibits of the best of what they do. It’s an annual event which I look forward to each year, as there is always something a bit different on that night.  Although there’s lots of events that are for adults only (great date night!), it also provides lots of options for the little ones too. Here’s what’s set to go on in Cork to keep the kids happy for Culture Night 2017.

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