Adam’s Epic Adventure – A close encounter…

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Remember last week when I was getting drenched by a tropical storm outside the Sydney Opera House? Well I’m back and this time a little dryer! I was getting used to wearing my poncho but thankfully I can now be back in my natural cuddly state.

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I went for a walk along this wall. As I stopped to admire the view, a passer-by noticed my nametag shining brightly. As the man approached I could see the concern on his face gradually increase. He picked me up and held me tightly in his hand. He looked around to see if anyone standing nearby might own me. Gazing me up and down he searched for more clues. My heart was beating faster and faster. I didn’t want to be abducted because I was enjoying my holiday so much! He slowly drew me closer to his face. I looked him directly in the eyes, praying he wouldn’t steal me. As he paused for what seemed like eternity I saw a glint of discontent in his eyes. He couldn’t figure out a way to reunite me with my owner and so failing to establish a solution, he popped me back on the wall and slowly walked away, turning his head towards me every so often as he drifted into the distance.  I sighed with relief. “Few! That was a close one…”

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Little did he know my name was in fact Adam, not my owner. I’m not like your average teddy bear you see. I’m on my own journey, exploring every nook and cranny of the globe in an effort to enrich my experiences and feedback some epic stories to you awesome guys. I’m sure one day I’ll reunite myself with my owner, but for now the journey of discovery must go on.

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This park seems like a safe place for me to call home this week. It has my favourite type of trees and comfy green grass. So long as it doesn’t start raining again… Next week I’ll be heading somewhere far far away. Stay tuned to see my progress, I wonder what’s around the next corner?… Until next week folks…

Adam’s epic adventure! And so it begins…

Hi, I’m Adam. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from me in the coming months. The good folks at My Nametags decided to send me off on an epic adventure and you can follow my story on our Facebook where I’ll be posting each week from some pretty awesome places!

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I was so nervous before my first ever flight but what a journey that turned out to be! I watched my favourite movie, Paddington Bear and munched on loads of teddy bear crisps the entire journey.

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After my long journey I was certainly in need of a rest. So I found a nice lake to relax by in the sun.
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After my nap by the lake I did some climbing on some nearby rocks in preparation for my big climb up a mountain the next day.

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I know I’m still smiling in this one but honestly this was only the halfway point up the mountain and I was so tired, but I had to keep pushing on if I ever wanted to be as brave as my friend, Winnie the Pooh.

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Hey Look! I made it to the top and here I am feeling pretty chuffed with myself.

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Another smile for the camera one last time before I head off to my next destination. Stay tuned to see where I end up next…

Top Six 2017 Fitness Trends

The New Year is the time of re-evaluating our lives and fitness is for many people a key area. So if you started in January with the best intentions and are ready to give up, don’t! Or if you’re still keen, finding out about the latest trends will keep your workouts fresh.

We’ve rounded up the top six fitness trends you should look out for. Adding something new to your weekly workout is bound to keep you motivated throughout 2017.

Count Steps!

Short on time? Trying to juggle home, family and work? Log your daily steps with a wearable fitness tracker or smartwatch from brands such as Garmin, Apple or Fitbit. This year’s wearables, not only track distance they will also provide heart rate readings, GPS route tracking, move reminders and more. Top tips: avoid the car, walk up the stairs and you’ll be surprised at how many more steps you can do in a day.

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Virtual boxing

The boxing fitness trend will continue into 2017 but the news is it’s going digital. Online virtual boxing workout programmes are currently available in the UK and should soon spread to Ireland. It’s super easy to do at home. All you need is a pair of 1kg weights and you can stream expert instructors to your PC/TV/Tablet/Mobile whenever you want.

Image of Boxx Method

Water Workouts

Watch out for swimming fitness classes for a full body workout. Fitness clubs across Ireland are starting to offer low-impact, high-intensity water-based group High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes. These classes will offer sprint and long swims as well as resistance activities to give you a well-balanced workout without straining your joints.

Functional Fitness

Functional Fitness is the idea that you strengthen muscles every day to be able to lift a suitcase, carry your toddler etc. It’s a term that has been around for a while. However in 2017 we will see new machines to help you achieve this easily. Watch out for the Assault Bike from Walverson. The idea is has heaps of cardio and calorie-burning workout options plus the resistance increases automatically as you push, pull and pedal.

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Strength Training 

Strength training will be big news especially for women in 2017. The old myth that lifting weights makes you bulk-up is slowly disappearing.  Look out for lifting groups and the rise of one-to-one coaching on weights.strength

Mind & Body

The mindfulness concept has finally reached the gym. The focus will be on taking time out to sweat out your stress instead and trying to get to grips with the deep connection between mind and body. Watch out for beginner courses offered in high street gyms and chill out candlelit classes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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! 😉

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Unsweetened Yoghurt

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

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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.

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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.

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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!”

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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…