Toy Alert – What’s Hot For 2017

We sent our My Nametags’ detectives to London’s annual Toy Fair at Olympia on 24 January to find out what will be the most sought after toys for 2017! Read this and you’ll be seriously ahead of the game for present ideas for the next 11 months…

BEST S.T.E.M. TOY

Toys that promote Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) skills are set to grow in popularity during 2017. We thought that the Science Lab from the Galt Explore and Discover range was fabulous and well-priced. It will be launching later this year at Galt Toys, who deliver to Ireland.

Image of Galt Toys Science LAbScience Lab Product

 

BEST WOODEN TOY

For that big present for age 3+ Hape’s new Mighty Mountain Mine, which is part of its railway collection, ticks all the boxes. Full of interactive features including a lift, tunnels, cranes and bridges. Hape products are available for delivery to Ireland from Amazon.

E3753 Mighty Mountain Mine

BEST CONSTRUCTION TOY

Lego has a fantastic new playset which kids will love to play cops and robbers with. It comes complete with a jail cell and breakout feature, monitoring room with screens, plus police motorbike, crook’s ATV, four mini figures and even a police dog! The LEGO City Police – Mobile Command Centre is available now from Smyths Toys.
Lego city policeBEST PLAYSET

This adorable Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop will keep your little ones entertained for hours. The detail is amazing with 90 pieces, including 11 varieties of cake, a Veronica Cakebread figure and a story book that’s perfect for bedtime reading. Also watch out for the Starry Point Lighthouse and Ballet Theatre which will also be released later this year. Sylvanian Families products are available in Ireland from Smyths Toys.

NEW Sylvanian Families Village Cake Shop[31437]

BEST PRESCHOOL CHARACTER

PAW Patrol is a big hit for most pre-schoolers and this fab Paw Patrol Jungle Terrain Vehicle Rescue Set is sure to become a winner. Use the crane to pull the panther to safety and push the Paw badge to activate lights and sound. It comes with Ryder, Mateo and baby panther figures. It is available for delivery to Ireland from Toys “R” Us.

PAw PAtrol

BEST WHEELED TOY

Micro Scooters won (one of three) best Wheeled toy category at the Toy Fair and you can see why. It’s a great quality-made first bicycle for toddlers and is suitable from 2-5 years. Allows your child to build co-ordination and balancing skills. Micro Chopper Balance Bike is available from Micro-Scooters.

chopper-balance-bike_1

BEST CREATIVE TOY

We just love this fabulous magnetic activity box. It’s bright with lots of pieces to play with to create hundreds of different pictures or scenes. The Magnetic Shape Activity Box will be available from April from Fiesta Crafts, who deliver to Ireland.

Magnetic Box toy

Be a Tasty Cook – win a recipe book!

Image of Tasty cook bookWe are so excited to share a couple of recipes from brand new official cookbook from Buzzfeed’s  popular global food channel TASTY and PROPER TASTY, which shares the best and most loved recipes of 2017, as voted by the public. There are over 80 mouth-watering recipes with staying power and we’ve got one copy to give-away!

Here are a couple of recipes to get you started extracted from Tasty: Latest and Greatest (Ebury Press, c. €16.90) Photography by Lauren Volo.

To win a copy just send an email titled ‘Tasty Competition IE’ to marketing@mynametags.com before 1st Feburary 2018. Full T&Cs below. Check out more of the mouthwatering cooking videos @buzzfeedtasty@buzzfeedpropertasty

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich

(Makes 8 sandwiches)

With a healthy dose of cayenne in both the marinade and  the flour dredge, this sandwich packs the heat along with the crunch. Just the juicy chicken  fillet, piled  onto a lettuce- and tomato-lined bun, would have been enough to amaze, but the dilly, lemony yogurt sauce puts this one over the top.
 Image of a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich
BUTTERMILK  MARINADE
475ml/2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
DILL  DRESSING
350ml/1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons dill, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
20g/¼ cup  grated
Parmesan cheese
 SEASONED  FLOUR
250g/2 cups plain
(all-purpose) flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1½ teaspoons cayenne
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Peanut or vegetable  oil,
for frying
 TO  SERVE
Softened butter  for buns
8 brioche burger buns
Butter lettuce
2 tomatoes, sliced
METHOD
1  In a medium bowl, combine all the buttermilk marinade ingredients.  Toss in the chicken thighs to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge, or overnight.
2  In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients  for the dill dressing. Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge to chill.
3  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients  for the seasoned flour. Dip the marinated chicken in the flour mixture until the chicken is completely  covered.
4  Heat the oil to 180°C  (350°F) in a deep pot. Do not  fill
more than half full with oil. Carefully fry the chicken for 7 minutes, or until cooked through. The internal temperature should reach 75°C (165°F), and the chicken should be golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack.
5  Heat a large frying pan or skillet. Butter the cut sides of the burger buns, then toast on the hot pan until browned and crisp. Build the sandwiches with the toasted buns, lettuce, fried chicken, tomato  slices, and dill dressing.

Giant Cinnamon Roll
(Serves 12)

 If you’ve never made a breakfast pastry, this would  be a great first one  to try. Because if a regular cinnamon roll is awesome, this one beats the world.
Image of a giant cinnamon roll
DOUGH
115g/½ cup unsalted butter, melted, plus  extra for greasing the  pan
475ml/2 cups whole milk,
warm to the  touch
100g/½ cup sugar
1 pack fast-action dried
(active dry) yeast
625g/5 cups plain
(all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
FILLING
175g/¾ cup soft butter
150g/¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
FROSTING
115g/4oz soft cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g/1 cup icing
(powdered)  sugar
METHOD
1  Generously butter  a 25.5cm (10in) cast-iron frying pan, skillet, or cake tin (pan).
2  In a large bowl, whisk together the warm milk, melted butter,  and granulated sugar. The mixture should be
just warm, registering  between 40°C (100 and 110°F). If hotter than that, allow to cool slightly before proceeding. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the warm mixture and let sit for 1 minute. Add  520g/4 cups  of the flour to the milk
mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
3  After 1 hour, the dough should have nearly doubled  in size. Remove the towel and add an additional  100g/
¾ cup  of flour, the baking powder, and  salt. Stir well, then turn  out  onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough lightly, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough just loses its stickiness and does not stick to
the surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 1cm (½in) thick. Fix corners to make sure they are sharp and even.
4  In a small bowl,  combine the filling ingredients and  stir to combine. Spread the filling mixture evenly  over  the rolled-out dough, spreading right to the edges. Using a pizza cutter, make 3 horizontal cuts to divide the dough into 4 long, evenly sized strips. Starting from the bottom, roll the first strip  up right  to left. Take the first roll and place it back on top of the next strip, starting again on the right side and rolling up right to left, building  on the first. Continue with the remaining strips until you have  a giant cinnamon roll.
5  Place the giant cinnamon roll in the prepared pan or cake tin (pan) and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and leave to rise for 30 minutes. The cinnamon roll should expand to the edges of the pan during this time.
6  Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F/gas 3).
7  Uncover the cinnamon roll and bake for 45 minutes. Cover the roll with foil to prevent the outside from burning, and bake for an additional  35 minutes.
8  While the cinnamon roll is baking, prepare the frosting. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, butter,  milk, vanilla, and icing (powdered) sugar until smooth.
9  Remove the cinnamon roll from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. Once cool, remove from the
pan and drizzle the frosting over the roll before serving.
Competition T&Cs:
– The winner shall be chosen at random.
– My Nametags will contact the winner no more than 30 days after the competition closing date.
– The prize is one copy of Tasty: Latest and Greatest.

Help your child to love reading – win a book!

Image of Lost My Name bookChildren who are read to often go on to perform better at school. But how do you try to encourage a love of reading from an early age? We’ve five top tips on how to get the most out of reading to your child.

You could be in with a chance or winning a set of customised My Nametags stickers plus a personalised book for your child from Lost My Name. See below for details.

Let them choose

Let your child choose the book and they will instantly feel more involved. It’s very likely that your child will choose the same book, time after time. But don’t worry as repetition is good. If you’re fed up with always reading the same book them give your child a choice of two books that you would like to read.

Quiet and ComfortableImage of lost my name book

Choose a time of day that suits you and your child. It could be after lunch for preschoolers, bedtime or even bath time! Make sure it’s quiet withouthwhen there are no distractions no distractions e.g. TV, other siblings, mobile phones etc. and a lovely comfortable spot to snuggle up with your child.

Talk about it

Talk about the book and ask questions as you go along to keep your child interested in the story. Get them to guess what will happen next or ask why they think something happened.

Have fun!

Bring stories to life with silly voices and actions. Children love nursery rhymes and songs too. Rhyme and repetition are great for encouraging your child to join in and learn the story. If your child has enjoyed reading a particular book, then find out more about it. Check the internet for fan clubs and the author’s website. Look for games, colouring sheets or competitions.

Read everythingImage of lost my name book

When you’re out and about read everything you see from adverts to shop signs and bus timetables and basic newspaper headlines. This will help reinforce to your child the value and joy of learning to read.

COMPETITION ALERT!

One lucky reader in each country will win a set of My Nametags stickers plus a personalised book from unique children’s publisher Lost My Name. Each book, worth €26.99, will be based on your child’s name making it completely unique to them. All you have to do is follow My Nametags and Lost My Name on Facebook and tell us why you chose your child’s name. We will pick one winner per country (UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands). Find out more about these lovely books on www.lostmy.name.

Healthy Snacks for Kids – tips from mums

We all know that we should be giving our kids healthy snacks to take to school or have after school when they’re ravenous. I know from experience it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and grab a couple of biscuits on the way out to school pick up. So here’s the inside track (from mums at the school gate) on healthy snacks that kids like and will eat.

Get children involved with your quest for “healthier snacks” getting them to add up sugar cubes on the ‘Sugar Smart’ app. It’s simple to use. Just scan the barcode of their favourite food or drink and it pops up with how many sugar cubes it contains. My kids were shocked at how many sugar cubes were in a packet of their favourite biscuits…Image of the Sugar Smart app

Getting the 5-a-day

We all know that you can’t beat fruit or vegetables for a super healthy snack. Make getting their five-a-day fun by serving fruit on cocktail sticks or by adding stickers to a colourful bag full of fruit and veg. My 8-year old loves cucumber, celery and carrot sticks with a small pot of hummus – just perfect for a quick after school snack. And, I even write messages and smiley faces on her banana to take to school! 😉

fruit

Cheese & Eggs

Protein from cheese and eggs will help fill hungry tummies fast. Eat on their own or with oatcakes or crispbreads. A boiled egg is easy and quick to make. Buy ready-wrapped cheddar sticks or cut slices from a block of cheese to take to school.

cheese

A (healthy) Sandwich

Oatcakes, rice or corn cakes are all healthy alternatives to your traditional white bread sandwich. Top with cheese, jam (no-added-sugar of course), banana, hummus, or mashed avocado. Healthy nut butters without added sugar such as almond or cashew are great too. Apples spread with nut butter are a favourite in our house. Avoid taking nuts into school because of allergies.

rice-cakes-620x330

A (healthy) Biscuit

If you enjoy baking then it’s so much better to make your own healthy versions of muffins/flapjacks etc as you “know” exactly what you’ve put in them. say many mums. Alternatively, check for healthy snack bars without added sugar or additives. Some brands mums swear by are Nak’d,  Trek or Bounce Balls.

anzac-biscuits

Unsweetened Yoghurt

Avoid shop-bought yoghurts which are full of sugar and instead add fruit and honey to plain yoghurt to sweeten naturally.

yogurt-and-fruit

Nuts & Seeds

Choose nuts and seeds (outside of school) over crisps. Not only are they full of healthy omega oils, but they’re a filling snack. Look for natural nuts without salt or sugar. Your typical 5 year old should not eat more than 3g of salt (or 1.2g of sodium) a day, according to government guidelines and some bags of crisps will contain a high amount of salt.

Which-is-Healthier-Nuts-or-Seeds

DIY Popcorn

My kids love making popcorn with me. It’s fun to make and quite frankly it tastes so much better than buying a microwave bag or a ready-popped version. We sprinkle on both salt and sugar but you could try honey or dip in good quality chocolate for a special treat.

popcorn

Healthy H2O

If your kids love water then you’re laughing. Many mums swear by adding squeezed fruit to spice up water. My kids love their Kidzinger with built-in citrus press and straw.

Image of a kidzinger water bottle

Know Your AW16 Fashion Trends

It’s almost the end of the summer and autumn beckons. We’ve picked the best of the latest fashion trends for AW16 so you’ll know your wide-legged from your culottes and will be able to spot this season’s take on the modern ruffle from a mile away…

Dark Floral

Blooms on a black or dark background will carry you through many seasons. Wear with chunky boots for an edgier look.

Image of a Dark Floral dress

ASOS Dress

The Wide-Leg Trouser

Ditch the skinnies in favour of the wide-leg trouser this autumn. Very chic…and oh so comfortable…

Image of Anthropologie wide-legged jeans

Anthropologie jeans

Victoriana

Tap into this season’s Victoriana trend with a delicate chiffon high collar top. Pair with denim or a pretty skirt.

Image of karen Millen Victoriana blouse

Karen Millen top

Ruffles

Ruffles have continued into AW16 but are less romantic. Think structured wave. You’ll find ruffles everywhere on dresses and ponchos but we love this versatile tunic.

Image of Mint Velvet ruffle tunic

Mint Velvet tunic

Animal print

Any wild cat print (or snake for that matter!) goes this season – from leopard to cheetah. Keep it simple with just one item – a jacket or a pair of boots but not both!

Image of Zara leopard print jacket

ZARA jacket

Velvet

Velvet, the richest of fabrics will be this season’s darling. Crushed or coloured. Take your pick.

Image of My Theresa velvet dress

My Theresa dress

Military

Jackets and coats in the military style will be back in this autumn. Soften the look by wearing over pretty dresses and skirts.

Image of Military coat River Island

River Island coat

We Surveyed, You Responded!

At My Nametags we are constantly striving to better understand our customers. That’s why in April this year we decided to run a survey investigating Lost & Found items.
Thanks to your impressive feedback we found some pretty startling results, heard many humorous stories and even received the occasional commendation of when My Nametags had proven to be the saving grace for items being returned to their rightful owners!
School books, jumpers and stationery topped the list for the most commonly lost items by children, and if that doesn’t sound strange at all to any parent out there, there was quite a lot of room for surprise among the survey responses. Somebody actually managed to lose “a highchair”, one wonders how that might happen. Other strange items included a “snorkel”, “fairy wings” and an actual “car in a car park!”

DSC_0115

 

lost keys

One partecipant explained how their son’s beloved birthday present, a “Nintendo DS,” was lost while they were staying in a hotel on holiday. What’s more, his favourite game Mario Kart 7 happened to be inside the console! Having phoned the hotel persistently in the weeks that followed their departure, they were beginning to lose hope until one day 7 weeks later they received a call from a linen company revealing that the Nintendo had been discovered in a pile of sheets. She explained how it was a complete surprise and that without the aid of My Nametags labels and the honesty of the person involved the Nintendo would never have been recovered.

We are proud to hear these stories when people’s most treasured possessions go on journeys of their own into the abyss only later to be miraculously returned to their rightful owners thanks to the good nature of human beings. We encourage people to keep this momentum up by remembering to do one simple thing – nametag your most important possessions, whether that be anything from your “glasses,” “phone charger” or “camera” to your “child’s helmet,” “snorkel” or “angel halo.” Probably not your “grandmother’s teeth” though, we think they are just fine without a nametag…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Essentials for Kids

With the holidays almost here (and a mum of four kids myself) I thought it might be helpful to list those key “must have” items kids will need over the summer. Whether you’re toddler or tween is attending holiday clubs or going on holiday it’s always handy to have a backpack with all those essential items in …named of course!

Backpack

Whether it’s just for a day trip or a week’s holiday get your kids to have a go at packing from a young age. You may have to check it over (and possibly remove the 15 cuddly toys they’ve stuck in there!) but at least they will have had a go. I’ve found buying my children a backpack each that they like is half the battle.

Mi Pac Backpack - Blue Galaxy £22.98

Mi Pac Backpack – Blue Galaxy

Toddler Backpacks & Lunchbox – Princess £27.98

Toddler Backpacks & Lunchbox – Princess

 

Water bottle

I’ve often made the mistake of forgetting a water bottle or bringing one between four which doesn’t go down well! My top tip would be to get each child a really nice water bottle and hopefully they’ll remember to fill it and keep hydrated while they’re out and about.

Dino Family £12.99

Dino Family

Bee & Friends £12.99

Bee & Friends

Sunglasses & hats

Sunglasses and hats are a must wherever you go in the summer. Invest in a hat they really like and hopefully it will get worn. I love the ones with the flap are great for younger children and are perfect for swimming in too.

Baby & Children’s Sunglasses £6

Baby & Children’s Sunglasses

Quick Drying Flap Hats £12

Quick Drying Flap Hats

Colouring Books

Colouring books are the perfect entertainment for long journeys and have had somewhat of a revival in recent years. You can find colouring books to suit all ages and tastes (even adults!)

Anti -Boredom Colouring Book £5

Anti -Boredom Colouring Book

Travel Games Pad £5.99

Usborne Travel Games Pad

Headphones

A good pair of headphones is essential for keeping the peace while kids play music or videos. My youngest loves her little pink headphones and they’re the first thing she packs when we travel.

Little Rockerz headphones £14.95

Little Rockerz headphones

Peppa pig headphones

Peppa Pig headphones

Charger

Needing to charge everyone’s devices all at once is part of modern family life. Or forgetting to bring one at all when you go away is also very annoying. We love this charger which is not only high powered and quick, it will allow you to charge up to 6 tablets and smartphones simultaneously.

Avantree Charging Station £19.99

Avantree Charging Station

 

Summer 2016 family camping ideas

Outside is the biggest adventure playground a child could wish for – which is why camping is so exciting for kids of all ages. As a family we’ve had so much fun camping and being together in the great outdoors. Often simplicity is best. Here are our top picks of what to look for in campsite. Whether it’s for just for a couple of nights or a whole week visit http://www.totalcampingireland.ie/ to find your perfect spot.

In the Forest 

There’s simply nothing more enchanting than camping within the peace and quiet of a woodland setting. Kids will love exploring the forest. And parents will love escaping the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Image of children playing in the forest

 

With a play area

Having a play area on site is a great idea if you’re camping with younger children. Some sites have adventure playgrounds, trampolines or even outdoor chess and swimming pools. Perfect for keeping children entertained and also meeting other little campers.

Image of a childrens playground at a campsite

 

Beside the sea

Combine beach and camping by picking a campsite near the coast. Days can be spent on the beach and evenings looking out to sea.

Image of campsite by the sea

 

Next to water

For pure relaxation and exhilaration for those into water sports what better than a campsite that is right next to water; be it a lake, loch or river. Great fun for older children (and adults who love mucking around on boats) for Swallows and Amazon style adventures.

Image of campsite by Loch Lomond

 

Go Glamping!

If you haven’t got a tent or even if you have but want the luxury of not having to load up the car and put a tent up, then try glamping. Real beds, a relaxing sofa and proper cooking facilities are what you’ll get. Plus the great outdoors just on your doorstep…

Image of glamping

 

Cool ways to coverup at the beach

A good beach cover up is worth its weight in gold when it comes to baring your body on the beach. Invest in a couple of pieces to throw on over your bikini or swimsuit and they will see you from the beach to lunch and then on to the bar for a sun downer. We’ve scoured the shops for our top picks of this summer’s beach cover ups from simple sarongs and kaftans to more elaborate dresses and jumpsuits. Happy shopping!

The Sarong

A sarong is such a versatile piece to have in your holiday wardrobe. Wear around your waist to cover up at the beach bar, turn into a simple dress by tying around your neck or even use as a cover up from the sun.

Watercult Pareo Dress - Soft Peach £59

Watercult Pareo Dress – Soft Peach

The Kaftan

A kaftan is the perfect thing for layering over your bikini on the beach. Choose a kaftan that has a generous fit to keep you cool and comfortable when you’re in need of some coverage.

Sha Cha Pom Pom £85

Sha Cha Pom Pom

The Harem Pants

Harem pants are my new best friend! So flattering and easy to wear over your bikini or one-piece or even away travelling. Beautiful print and soft light fabric with flattering tapered legs.

Heidi Klein Hamibia Harem Pants £190

Heidi Klein Namibia Harem Pants

 

The Dress

Every woman needs a lightweight summer dress. This is the perfect white dress to show off your tan – a summer must have.

Rion Dress by PilyQ £159

Rion Dress by PilyQ

The Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses have become a summer wardrobe essential keeping you cool in the heat of the day and will look equally good in the evening.

Melissa Odabash 2

Katarina Dress in River

The Jump suit

A jumpsuit will add a modern touch to your holiday wardrobe and is the perfect way to take your daytime look to evening.

Seafolly Zone Beach Jumpsuit £83.00

Seafolly Zone Beach Jumpsuit