Think outside the Egg Box!

Guest blog from Deirdre Doyle 


Easter is fast approaching and with it, the never ending dilemma of parents. Easter eggs! Which one to buy, how many to buy and what to do with all that chocolate once Easter is over. A MummyPages survey in 2016 showed that Irish children receive an average of 5 Easter eggs every year with a small percentage getting 10-15 Easter eggs. And parents are not happy about it with 91% of them rationing out the Easter chocolate and 51% of mums wishing to be consulted before family or friends gift an egg.

Easter is another of those events that children celebrate by the over-consumption of cheap chocolate and sweets. Selection boxes at Christmas, jellies and eye balls and chocolate coins and all manners of other awful sweets at Halloween and then Easter eggs. Many children think that Easter is in fact the Easter bunny’s birthday and have no idea of the real meaning of Easter (according to a very unscientific straw poll I did!). I despair when I see Tesco selling 3 Easter eggs for €5, making it very hard for parents and well-meaning friends and family to resist. But what benefit is this to our children in the long run? And don’t get me started on all that packaging …………

Over the years, I have gently reduced the number of Easter eggs my kids receive so that grannies and aunties and friends now know not to buy them eggs. I’m not a complete bah humbug (or should that be a maah humbug for the time of year? Geddit?!) and my children will get 1 or possibly 2 Easter eggs. If you’re visiting with friends and family this Easter why not bring the children an alternative to cheap, overpackaged chocolate. Here are my suggestions of alternative, reasonably priced gifts:

Toys: Toys and Games Ireland has some perfect little gifts in her online shop starting from 2.50. Try the Dinosaur slime eggs which are clear eggs containing slime and a dino skeleton ( or chick hatching eggs ( Other stores with similar options include: www.LittleOnes.Ie

Accessories: Claire’s Accessories has a range of Easter themed gifts from Bunny Erasers for €4.99 to Bella the Bunny Glitter Mini-Pack for €24.99

Books: Check out your local book shop for Easter-themed books such as “We’re going on an Egg Hunt” €8.49 from A book is a great gift and it’s not just for Easter – it can be read all year around, as let’s face it, kids have no idea what time of year it is!! My Higher Shelf and Jackanory also have some fantastic titles to cover all ages.

Crafts: You can get some lovely Easter craft sets and the Art and Hobby Shop are always a great source of inspiration. They have Easter stickers starting at €0.99, sand art decorations for €5.99 and lots more. Not only are crafts sugar-free, they also occupy the kids for hours (if you’re lucky) or minutes (if you’re not so lucky!). and for great craft ideas.

Cooking and Baking: You might have a little extra time with the kids at Easter to do some cooking and baking. has some cute Easter themed cookie cutting sets and you can use up some of the chocolate that the kids get in cakes and buns! Or you can get Kiddies Food Kutters which allow the children to chop food safely. Available at


Plants: Buy a little plant or a pot and some seeds and get the kids planting. Lettuce are easy and quick to grow. Look at for growing kits for kids as well as the cutest welly liners! Starting from €3.59

So there you have it – some suggestions for gifts you can share this Easter with the kids in your life that won’t send them into a sugar spin! Have you anything else to add to the list, tell me in the comments? 

Happy Easter from Deirdre Doyle at The Cool Food School

Discount Code: Deehol for any purchases on


Blowing off steam – Tackling post school frustrations

We all have to blow off steam and we all do it appropriately and inappropriately at times, whether its arguing with our partners as adults or throwing a tantrums as toddlers. We all have different ways of doing it appropriately too; some enjoy a glass of wine, a bath, some chocolate, a book, the gym, yoga. Kids are the very same.

Since Neds started playschool it has become more and more apparent that sometimes after playing by the rules they need to let loose. What do you mean playing by the rules i hear you say, the rules of school, society and community all new and novel to them. Don’t shout, run, talk, eat, drink, toliet now, colour here, stand there, hold hands, read this and so on. So after a few jam packed hours of learming societies expectations of you, you may have a little steam to blow off. As parents we need to facilitate that or they will seek it themselves! Sometimes they’ll seek it and it will be accomplished in an appropriate way and sometimes they wont and we then as parents pay the price trying to manage unwanted behaviour.

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Flapjacks for all sizes; Small, Medium and Large!



Flapjacks were a hit in our house long before babies. I originally got my recipe from one of my closest friends Kathy and its evolved with each baby into this recipe. I even had the ingredients out to make these one Sunday morning in preparation for Ned’s arrival into the world but they never got made because I went into labour with Ned that night a week early. This recipe is a hit with the whole family and covers so much during the week from playschool lunchboxes, snacks, swimming bag, tea break and breakfasts!

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A little giving and receiving. Gift Ideas!

I’m pretty pragmatic generally gifting and love if I know what someone wants in the first place and then get that for them rather than just buying “stuff” for the sake of not being empty-handed.  I’m also a huge voucher fan for young and old. My top fives include gifts I’ve  already bought for this Christmas 2018 and items I love and would love to see the boys getting. Every item comes in under €50 i think. Pair them up together if your on a bigger budget.

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Pastry Pinwheels 4 ways.

These are a firm favourites with baby, toddler and adults in this house. They are easy to make, they hold for a couple of days in the fridge and do freeze although I must admit they are best fresh.

My pastry preference is puff pastry and I particularly like the Aldi one straight from the fridge not the freezer found in the butter section in a green wrapper. Be careful not to accidentally pick up the blue pack of short crust pastry you want the Green Puff pastry.


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