Sólás Na Mara | Helbhic Seaweed Baths

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Growing up by the sea in  Co.Kerry on the West Coast of Ireland, I was always aware of the benefits of seaweed, unfortunately it has taken me 32 years and moving back to Ireland,this time the East Coast of Ireland, to fully appreciate it. I can still hear my mum telling us to rub the seaweed over our bodies as we waded into the sea every summer…..ya right! All we (my brother,sister & I) did was try and find a spot in the sea to swim in that was free of the “disgusting weed”.

I used to love when the “Peri-Winkle Man” was around the beach,selling bags of peri-winkles with a needle attached, to pluck the horrid things from their shell.He also sold dry seaweed,which  I loved, but have not had for years. I recently purchased this bread mix which is made locally,among other products using seaweed as a substitute for salt.Genius!

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Last week was I was kindly invited along to Solas na Mara | Helibhic Seaweed Baths,in the beautiful Gaeltact (Irish speaking area) of An Rinn,Co.Waterford. A short drive from Dungarvan,Co.Waterford and Yoghal,Co.Cork.  Sólás Na Mara, Heilbhic a seaweed bathhouse, have a new purpose-built, modern facility designed to ensure a relaxing and invigorating experience. The bathhouse was opened 1 year ago. Operated by two established practitioners Caroline Gordon & Cian Ó Conchúir, the clinic offers a range of treatments including Physical Therapy, Acupuncture and Massage and much more, see here. The clinic also boasts a rehab gym to facilitate and aid a speedy recovery.It is well known that seaweed baths have beneficial effects for a vast range of maladies including rheumatism, arthritis and many skin conditions. This is something they have brought to the East Coast. It is an entirely natural product, making it a desirable treatment for the health conscious.

So what is a Seaweed Bath? As the name suggests it is a bath full of hot sea water with seaweed.Imagine that you are immersed in an enormous bath, luxuriating in expensive bath oils,tinted with an amber colour from the seaweed.The silky oils are those extracted from seaweed by a simple process, nothing is added, nothing is taken away – simply natures best.Seaweed Baths have long been a tradition in Ireland.

The seaweed is collected locally in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. It is then thoroughly cleaned by hand and steam treated to ensure the highest standard of hygiene.

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Entering the bathhouse through the beautiful cafe,overlooking the ocean,with its boats & fishing trawlers docked at the harbour, I felt I was walking into a Spa. Piped music automatically puts you in relax mode, plus I was on my own, no husband,no baby attached or buggy to push!

I was immediately felt welcome when greeted by Kelly, who answered my 101 questions and then brought to my private room, where she explained in detail how to carry out my treatment.Each room is supplied with gently piped music creating a wonderfully relaxing environment. There is also a twin room for couples. Towels and water are provided, so you need not bring anything with you. Wear loose clothing to ensure you remain comfortable following your bath.

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I first started with a full body steam in this “steam box”, like your very own mini steam room, this process opens your pores preparing for the next stage. I found this really relaxing and spent 5 mins in my “steam box”. Excuse the terrible selfie!

Next up, I entered the warm seawater in a cast iron bath.Sea water is piped through straight from the Atlantic Ocean,and yes I tasted to check if both hot and cold water were salty (all for the sake of blogging)! I stayed steeped in the hot bath for 10 mins,this is meant to release the toxins from your skin,having had already opened your pores in the “steam box”. I sat back and relaxed,no crying baby,no knocks on the door,just me and the music (and a sneak peek at my phone). I’m not great at relaxing!

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On to the seaweed next! I tipped in the bucket of green seaweed and the oils almost immediately began to seep out. Kelly, who showed me around,had instructed me to make sure to rub the seaweed all over my body to ensure I get the best benefits from it.Flashback circa 1986, my mum saying the same thing on Banna Strand! So I obeyed, and my moisture starved skin loved it. I sat in my oily bath for a further 30 mins,this time I shut my eyes and really relaxed,topping up the bath with warm water when needed.

 

 

I was left with super soft skin,and completely relaxed, to the point I needed a coffee after, before I drove home as I was feeling sleepy. I sat with my coffee overlooking the harbour of An Rinn. I would highly recommend a visit,whether you are passing or on on holiday, try out a spa like treatment with a difference.I will certainly be back to sample some of their facials and another bath. Many thanks to Kelly & Solas na Mara.

For more information on Solas Na Mara, see here.

 

*Disclaimer:I was offered a chance to sample a Seaweed Bath for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Sólás Na Mara | Helbhic Seaweed Baths

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Growing up by the sea in  Co.Kerry on the West Coast of Ireland, I was always aware of the benefits of seaweed, unfortunately it has taken me 32 years and moving back to Ireland,this time the East Coast of Ireland, to fully appreciate it. I can still hear my mum telling us to rub the seaweed over our bodies as we waded into the sea every summer…..ya right! All we (my brother,sister & I) did was try and find a spot in the sea to swim in that was free of the “disgusting weed”.

I used to love when the “Peri-Winkle Man” was around the beach,selling bags of peri-winkles with a needle attached, to pluck the horrid things from their shell.He also sold dry seaweed,which  I loved, but have not had for years. I recently purchased this bread mix which is made locally,among other products using seaweed as a substitute for salt.Genius!

image

Last week was I was kindly invited along to Solas na Mara | Helibhic Seaweed Baths,in the beautiful Gaeltact (Irish speaking area) of An Rinn,Co.Waterford. A short drive from Dungarvan,Co.Waterford and Yoghal,Co.Cork.  Sólás Na Mara, Heilbhic a seaweed bathhouse, have a new purpose-built, modern facility designed to ensure a relaxing and invigorating experience. The bathhouse was opened 1 year ago. Operated by two established practitioners Caroline Gordon & Cian Ó Conchúir, the clinic offers a range of treatments including Physical Therapy, Acupuncture and Massage and much more, see here. The clinic also boasts a rehab gym to facilitate and aid a speedy recovery.It is well known that seaweed baths have beneficial effects for a vast range of maladies including rheumatism, arthritis and many skin conditions. This is something they have brought to the East Coast. It is an entirely natural product, making it a desirable treatment for the health conscious.

So what is a Seaweed Bath? As the name suggests it is a bath full of hot sea water with seaweed.Imagine that you are immersed in an enormous bath, luxuriating in expensive bath oils,tinted with an amber colour from the seaweed.The silky oils are those extracted from seaweed by a simple process, nothing is added, nothing is taken away – simply natures best.Seaweed Baths have long been a tradition in Ireland.

The seaweed is collected locally in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. It is then thoroughly cleaned by hand and steam treated to ensure the highest standard of hygiene.

image

Entering the bathhouse through the beautiful cafe,overlooking the ocean,with its boats & fishing trawlers docked at the harbour, I felt I was walking into a Spa. Piped music automatically puts you in relax mode, plus I was on my own, no husband,no baby attached or buggy to push!

I was immediately felt welcome when greeted by Kelly, who answered my 101 questions and then brought to my private room, where she explained in detail how to carry out my treatment.Each room is supplied with gently piped music creating a wonderfully relaxing environment. There is also a twin room for couples. Towels and water are provided, so you need not bring anything with you. Wear loose clothing to ensure you remain comfortable following your bath.

image

I first started with a full body steam in this “steam box”, like your very own mini steam room, this process opens your pores preparing for the next stage. I found this really relaxing and spent 5 mins in my “steam box”. Excuse the terrible selfie!

Next up, I entered the warm seawater in a cast iron bath.Sea water is piped through straight from the Atlantic Ocean,and yes I tasted to check if both hot and cold water were salty (all for the sake of blogging)! I stayed steeped in the hot bath for 10 mins,this is meant to release the toxins from your skin,having had already opened your pores in the “steam box”. I sat back and relaxed,no crying baby,no knocks on the door,just me and the music (and a sneak peek at my phone). I’m not great at relaxing!

image

 

On to the seaweed next! I tipped in the bucket of green seaweed and the oils almost immediately began to seep out. Kelly, who showed me around,had instructed me to make sure to rub the seaweed all over my body to ensure I get the best benefits from it.Flashback circa 1986, my mum saying the same thing on Banna Strand! So I obeyed, and my moisture starved skin loved it. I sat in my oily bath for a further 30 mins,this time I shut my eyes and really relaxed,topping up the bath with warm water when needed.

 

 

I was left with super soft skin,and completely relaxed, to the point I needed a coffee after, before I drove home as I was feeling sleepy. I sat with my coffee overlooking the harbour of An Rinn. I would highly recommend a visit,whether you are passing or on on holiday, try out a spa like treatment with a difference.I will certainly be back to sample some of their facials and another bath. Many thanks to Kelly & Solas na Mara.

For more information on Solas Na Mara, see here.

 

*Disclaimer:I was offered a chance to sample a Seaweed Bath for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

The First 1000 Days Recipe Book

  Last week I was kindly sent this recipe  book “The First 1000 Days”. My Irish readers may have seen the adds on television for this recently, promoting healthy eating from Pregnancy to Toddler.     image The First 1,000 Days covers four key stages; pregnancy, breastfeeding, weaning and toddler. Danone Baby Nutrition is seeking to create a movement of support for the First 1,000 Days. It is calling on parents, parent to be and health care professionals to support the movement in order to drive awareness of the importance of nutrition in the First 1,000 Days so that behaviour can be changed for the benefit of future generations. I love this booklet, by now you will know I love cooking,and have an ever growing collection of cookbooks and childrens cookbooks.This book covers everything,as well as the website.There is no need to buy separate Pregnancy,Weaning or Toddler Cookbooks,it is all on the website. I think the only negative thing I would add is that I wish the book was bigger,so that it would include more recipes, however their are plenty more on the website,where you can download the book for free. image Launched by  Danone Baby Nutrition in partnership with the Irish Nutrition and Dietitic Institution they collaborated with nutritionists and celebrity chef Nevin Maguire to create a website full of tools and recipes for Mums and Mums-to-be. It offers tips and advice for during your pregnancy and also the first two years of your child’s life. “Everyone wants to do the best for their child, to maximise their happiness and success in life. Imagine if you had the power to influence their good health, their school performance, their physical stamina and even their musical ability before they even learn to read? Hard to believe? Well in fact, all of this is within your grasp. We know that the right nutrition in the First 1000 Days of your child’s life can positively impact on every aspect of their lives, now and forever.”   Log on today to view and download a copy of the recipe book at www.first1000days.ie You can also check out the blog posts from Nevin and Amelda Maguire, who will be regularly updating the site with seasonal top tips and healthy recipe ideas for busy mums and dads like themselves. I wanted to share a really quick and easy recipe from the book that I made last week for my husband and I. It was a great way to use up the contents of the fridge before we went in holiday.

Meatballs & Spaghetti

Ingredients image

•500g beef

•2 shallots, finely chopped

•1tbsp oregano

•50g cheese

•1 egg, beaten

•1tbsp olive oil

•200g spaghetti

•Pepper to taste

Sauce

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Method

•Mix meat, oregano, cheese and egg in a bowl.

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•Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add in the spaghetti. •Shape into meat balls.

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•Heat oil in pan, fry the meatballs on a low heat until golden brown. •To make the sauce simply mix all the ingredients together and heat on a low heat for 5 minutes.

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•Add the sauce to the meatballs and serve on a bed of spaghetti. •Garnish with chopped parsley.

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Enjoy! T & A xxxxx

St.Patricks Day,Farewell Trafalgar Square.

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This day last year I was sitting in our London flat,4 days overdue,afraid to go too far away from the house,and feeling terribly sorry for myself that I was missing all the Paddys Day craic (fun) in Trafalgar Square. This, was, I suppose the end of our all day drinking,requesting Paddys Day and the next off work.Myself and my husband went to Uni in Edinburgh and then down to London.Edinburgh was just as great fun,and being Irish away from home,we really did milk it.
London on Paddys day, before Amelia,started off with a big fry somewhere in town and then on to Trafaglar Square,meeting with friends,and ending up in some mess in Waxys or some other Irish bar,resulting in very sick heads.Oh how all that has changed.

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Today was Amelia’s first St.Patricks Day,and first parade. It’s the first time I’ve gone to watch a parade since I was about 12. It was far too uncool after that age. Today,there was no sight of beer or dancing around drunk with friends in a square,not caring about the rain or cold. Nope,today we were like any other family with a small child,standing in the rain,worrying about whether she was too cold,was she getting wet,was she tired or hungry,while we watched the local Irish Dancers,Scouts,Pipe Band and so many more groups walk up the Main Street of where we now live.Amelia had not a clue what was going on,and was far more interested in pulling glasses off a strangers face next to us. We stayed for an hour,and are home now drinking tea and coffee. Save last year,this has been my most sober Paddys Day in a long time. Yes, I would give my right arm to be heading up to Waxys right now,and drinking the night away,but not in exchange for Amelia.

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What did you do today for St.Patricks Day?

A Morning on The Farm

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Today we were lucky to be invited along to Ardmore Open Farm,Ardmore,Co.Waterford.The sun was shining and the farm overlooks Ardmore Bay and the Irish Sea. Opened in June 2013,on the site of an old farm,it is a child’s playground.Both educational and entertaining,they have over 60 different species and 100 different animals.

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We had such a lovely morning,we saw some of the usual animals you would see on a farm,Ponies,(they had a beautiful white pony),Donkeys,Pigs,Goats,Sheep and Hens.To the more unusual,such as White Owls, Lammas,Deer,Hampshire Down Sheep and Chipmunks,to name but a few.

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Some parts of the fields were empty,however I was told that some animals are put inside for winter,and in the summer months are outside. Amelia loves birds,so when we stumbled across a big aviary I was thrilled.Her mouth was open the whole time we were in there,staring at the multicoloured birds,we also saw chipmunks, rabbits and guinea pigs.

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There is a playground outside,so Amelia had a go on the swings,soft play area inside for over 4’s and a smaller one for younger children.Here you can host Birthday parties,there is loads of space for kids to run around.At Christmas they have a Christmas Grotto,with Santa Clause,which has been very popular. Highly recommended for school tours.

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After all this,we sat down to give Amelia her lunch.We had some tea and a snack.Two things that have to be mentioned here,very reasonably priced for refreshments and extremely clean. We sat in front of a lovely log stove.Amelia wore her farm animal dress from Mothercare.

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Something that I was delighted to see,and mums & dads,you will understand this!A toilet in the baby changing room,it makes life so much easier.
All in all we had a wonderful time at Ardmore Open Farm,Amelia May have been a bit too young (almost 1), to fully understand it,but we will defiantly be back. We had great fun (crazy parents),singing Old MacDonald as we went around,so that Amelia would recognise the animals. I would recommend ages 2 +, for your child to really enjoy it.If you are passing it near beautiful Ardmore,this is one not to be missed.
Thank you to Bridget Collins and staff for having us,we had a great morning.
http://www.ardmoreopenfarm.ie

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