relationships

12 inspirational ideas for Valentine’s Day

From gifts and goodies, to putting a little romance back in your relationship – we have you covered with our inspirational ideas for Valentine’s Day.

Crafts

Our craft expert Sadhbh Devlin shows us how to make 5 easy gifts for loved ones. Get the kids involved and while away an hour or two making your own creations for those someone specials.

sadhbh 4 heart stamp 3

Or how about some clay love hearts? Make them big or small, paint them different colours, write messages on them or turn them in to a pretty garland.

Easy Valentines crafts

Treats

Nothing says love like some tasty treats! So why not serve up some delicious jammy shortbread love heart biscuits.  They’re almost too pretty to eat! (Almost…)

jammy shortbread love hearts

Romance

Read up on the science of love as Dr. Naomi Lavelle explains exactly how the brain is effected by it. Fascinating! Plus it’ll give you something to talk about over dinner!

The science of falling in love

And then see how you can inject a little achievable romance into your relationship. Not a restaurant or bouquet of flowers in sight!

achievable romance

Food

Finally – since most of us will be staying in on Valentine’s night, it’s nice to cook up something special. How about this easy recipe for sole with sage butter?

Connemara-Sole680

Or, you really can’t go wrong with a good steak –  this one is served with whiskey sauce. For vegetarians these spiced lentil and pumpkin pies can be made in individual dishes to make them extra special.

Love it or hate it – Valentine’s Day will soon have come and gone. So do a little something, and whatever you do – have a lovely day!

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

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Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.