Tuesday, 13 December 2016

There's more important things in life than nails, but they're a good place to start.

Everyone who knows me, knows I am nail #obsessed and have been since I was a child. I used to always have them painted beautiful colours.

Then I had kids, and they fell right to the bottom of my list of priorities. But any chance I got, I'd have a Shillac manicure and hope it would last 6 weeks, until I could find the time/money to have them done again, 6 weeks would turn into 3 months, and you get the picture. Finding time with kids is hard.

So I bit the bullet and started painting them myself again. About two months ago, on Instagram I swore blind I was never going to bother doing my own nails again, after they chipped only a few hours later. Well today I am eating my words!!

Depend Very Berry & Jamberry Granada and TikiHut

I've found two amazing new brands that I have a feeling will be featuring in a lot of my IG posts in the future.

Depend and Jamberry

I skeptically bought a starter pack and some colours of Depend 7 Day. Half expecting to use it once, it not to work, and for it to be banished to my nail box, never to be used again. I was wrong.

That same week, I was also sent some samples of Jamberry Nail Wraps to try. Again I was skeptical. I had never used wraps before, and always felt like they were a bit cheep and childish. Again, I was wrong!

Both brands insist on correct nail prep for best results, this is the step I always manage myself at home; cleanse, scrub, buff, cuticles, etc. etc.but I never manage to get any further. So I had to make a conscious effort this time to not open the bottle of wine and to do my nails instead. 

I figured the best way to see which was best was to pin them against each other, and see which lasted longest. I was seriously impressed. Even with my dishwasher breaking and having to actually wash dishes (how very 1950's) as well as the usual, bathing kids, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms etc. etc. neither budged for 10 days. At which stage I was bored and wanted to change colours anyway.

Depend 7Day
Healing Trees & Nature's Lullaby

Depend has basic 4 steps, Cleanse, Base, Colour and Top. Fairly straightforward. The bristles
 of the brushes are very cleverly designed to spread and cover your nail in one neat sweep, so even doing my wrong hand was easy. Each layer only took 2/3 minutes to dry and the final look was flawless.

Jamberry is a little bit more complicated. You cut the wrap roughly to size, peel it back with an orange stick, heat with a hairdryer/ heater for a few seconds then apply it to your nail and file down. It sounds complicated, but after the first application I got the hang of it. The upside of the wraps is you get beautifully delicate designs, so even if you're completely anti-ambidextrous like my self, both hands still look fab.

I've also tried Jamberry on my toes, and my god they LAST!! You'll have to take my word for it as I may be banned from the internet if I shared pictures of my feet,

Both will set you back about £30/€30 to get yourself started, but (and sorry about this) I challenge anyone to stop there. The colours and pattern combinations are endless. It has become a Monday night ritual of mine, I get the kids to sleep and sit down for some me time. I may not have slept in 3 years, or had my hair done in 2, but when I have my nails done, I feel like I have my shit together.

Jamberry are available here
Depend 7Day is available here

S x

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

My Christmas Canvases. All the paintings in the house, are
replaced by festive ones for December

Christmas happened in our house last week. Gone are the days of a beautifully decorated tree, with immaculately wrapped presents (I have been know to add sleigh bells and bows) stacked up underneath, with candles and flowers perched on every surface. Now I've found a corner, used only decorations that wont fit in Daithi's mouth, and packed all breakables away, 'till next year at least.

Yes, that is Henry the Hover under the tree.
He doesn't fit anywhere else.
I first met Shane in July 2012, by that Christmas we were living together in a tiny, dreary, one bed, basement flat in Rathmines. This is where our first annual 'Real v Artificial Christmas Tree' argument took place. I informed him, that he is never, ever going to win this particular argument so should just save our time and his energy and give up. 

Our First Christmas in England
(not pregnant!)
You'd think, as we approach our 8th Christmas together he'd have learned. But no,  two different countries, four different houses and eight different arguments. We had our Christmas tree fight early this year. And I won. As I do every year. So last week we got this years, a real one, in a pot, ready to be plated in the garden next to the last 3 we've had since buying this house. 

The first Christmas in our little house I was very, VERY pregnant on Fionn. So much so I ate, what I could of my dinner, while balancing on a birth ball. Our house is tiny, so the glorious 9ft tree I wanted was never going to happen. So we agreed (Shane never agreed) compromised, on a cute little 4ft tree, still in pot, perched on an IKEA Lack table. We planted it in the garden the day Fionn was due, and so a new family tradition was born. We planted a tree on Fionn's first Christmas, and another while I was very pregnant on Daithí. I make a horrible habit of that. And we'll do the same this year. 

The Grinch and I may not have a traditional Christmas dinner. We have fajitas with all the trimmings. But I still insist on going a bit OTT with decorations, and I'll be dammed if I ever give up fighting for a real tree.

I'd love to hear other families quirky Christmas traditions. S x

Christmas 2015
Home-Made, Potty Training, IKEA
Advent Calendar

Monday, 14 November 2016

Dressing my Boys and Supporting Small Businesses

Ever since I found out Fionn was a boy, I was disappointed every time I walked into a clothes shop.

Not least because I worked in Monsoon Accessorize at the time, and they have the most adorable clothes for little girls, but are quite limited and repetitive for Boys. The same goes for Next and Asda and Tesco. Even H&M and Zara.

But I wasn't going to let that stop me. My friend introduced me to a lovely little online boutique, ran by Jas, a Momtrepreneur with three little people, and excellent taste in boys (and girls and unisex) clothes.

I can't wait till I can get Daithí
into these French BullDogs.
They remain one of my
favorite pieces to date.
At the time SewKuddley was relatively small with only a few hundred followers, but even in the time I've been shopping there it's grown massively. As has my obsession.

It started with a pair of leggings for Fionn. 'Won' on one of the market nights on Facebook. They're fun, and encourage me to spend WAY more money that I should/ Shane knows.

Then more leggings, and shorts, and jumpers were added to my collection. All packed safely away ready to be passed down when they got too small. It didn't even matter too much if I had a girl, quite a lot of SK stuff is unisex, and trends differently depending on how they're worn.

Once I found out I was pregnant again, I got to shop matching fabrics. Anchors, Feathers, and Fionn's favorite Panda Leggings. He will pull his and Daithí's from the laundry pile and insist they both wear them. Obviously I oblige, because they're so freaking cute!!

I may have got slightly carried away when Jas introduced Matching Mummy Leggings! I just couldn't resist. This time it was Candy Skulls for the three of us, I'm just raging I didn't get a matching head band for me too.

I regret NOTHING!!

As a mother working somewhat from home, I also enjoy supporting other small businesses. I've decided I'm going to get as many as my Christmas presents as possible, supporting small and local traders. 

Excuse me while I go place my next order.

P.S. enter 'OHBOY' at the checkout for a 10% Discount! x

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

My First Weigh In

I'm Sharon, 26 year old mother of 2
I'm 5 foot 10 inches tall and weigh 231 lbs
My BMI is 33
I am obese 

It's been 7 days since I joined Slimming World, on referral by my Health Visitor, and I'm just back from my first weigh in. 2 lbs lighter. It's a fraction of what I had hopped for walking out of my first meeting last week, but it's a baby step in the right direction.

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to food. Food is so entwined with my emotions that even thinking about it gives me serious anxiety. I have struggled with body confidence and self image for as long as I can remember. I have always over compensated with hair and heals and make-up, so most acquaintances would probably describe me as quite confident, but this is far from true.

I feel like a fraud and that I'm letting down the curvy team because I've always represented plus size girls. I've always put my 'I don't give a shit what you think' hat on and put myself out there. I've modelled, done TV work, even got to the final of Simply Be's model search a few years back.
But that was all a way for me to validate myself. If people thought I looked good the way I was maybe I could start to agree.

But my level of body dis-morphia goes much deeper than that. I was first diagnosed with Bulimia at 14 (I think It was so bloody long ago), and have been trying to control it ever since. There was no Eating Disorder services for children in Ireland at the time so I went to an adult councilor, who was great, but not exactly equipped to deal with a hormonal teenage girl. It helped, but it definitely didn't fix things. Not at day has gone by in the last 13 years when I haven't thought about starving myself or making myself sick. I have managed some days but not others.

Pregnancy was the worst. I lost my only sense of control. The feeling of involuntarily getting sick fucked with my head, added to an already huge body getting even bigger and all the crazy pregnancy hormones, there were days I made myself sick. But again, could not find the services for crazy women who carried bulimia through pregnancy, nor could I bring myself to admit it to anyone. I was a typical case of PND waiting to happen. I took the antidepressants, I told myself I was better, I had another baby. And that cycle is starting all over again.

I've lost weight before, with Weight Watchers. -30 lbs before I got married. -52 lbs after Fionn was born. But as soon as I take my head out of the game, it piles back on again. I sabotage myself. I tell myself I don't deserve it. I'll never by happy with my body, so why bother. I plan and cook and eat and exercise well all day, then eat an entire box of chocolates on my way to bed. It's disgusting, and I hate myself even more for doing it. I'm happy for, but also jealous of people who do well, dieting and working out. I feel I'm too far gone for that to ever be me.

But something's got to give.

So that brings me to where I am now. I'm talking about it. To you, to anyone, maybe to no one, but it's getting it off my chest. I'm starting this journey for my own health, but for my families as well. One of my biggest fears growing up was that I'd pass my eating disorder on to my children. Like it was hair or eye colour. But it's not. It's all in my head, and if I'm going to be the best mother I can be I need to deal with that shit now. I want my sons to grow up happy and confident, and never having to battle the negative thoughts I deal with every day.

I don't have any answers yet. I'm not even sure I know where to even start, but I'm going to try. I'm setting goals, building a support network and blogging. I don't even care if anyone reads it, but by putting it out there in writing, I'm accountable to more than just me. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. I want to be confident in my body. I want to be fit, and healthy and happy.

My goal for next week in to be down another 2 lbs.
My goal for the 12 week referral period, that will bring us to Christmas is to be down 21 lbs
I don't know what my long term goal is, but I'll come to that later.

I have no advice to share, I'm not in a position to right now, but hopefully by this time next year I might.


Monday, 10 October 2016

Our first family holiday as four

This weekend, I agreed to something Sharon from 5 years ago would never have even considered!! A surf trip to Devon, with babies welcome. Some friends of friends were organising it, and were nice enough to invite us.
I didn't even run it past Shane before booking, I knew it would be right up his ally. It's me who is normally too anxious and uptight to jump out of my comfort zone like that. But this time, I just said Fuck it and went for it.

I packed the car up while Shane was in work, and as soon as he got home we hit the road. Destination Europa Park, Woolacombe. It was a good 4 hour drive, but took us 6 by the time we stopped and fed the kids.

We booked a budget 4 bed, and rocked up expecting the worst. What we got was a cute little log cabin, basic enough but with a TV, fridge and heater. The group also booked a super lodge, more expensive but totally worth it. Proper bathroom, living room and kitchen, and to top it all off, a hot tub on the deck.

Saturday was spent surfing. The beech was about a mile away, and probably could have walked it, but with two kids I didn't fancy the back, so we drove. We were able to rent wet suits and boards from a shop in the town, and despite it being fucking freezing, there was a good two hours spent in the water. Fionn had an absolute ball 'surfing' with Shane. He kind of just clung to the board, but even after a total wipe out he wanted to jump up and go again. The child has no fear. It terrifies me.

The beech itself was clean and well kept. It was split in two, with one side reserved for dogs. It was also well manned by life guards, something reassuring when you're there with children. Parking was reasonable enough too.

The park also had a little swimming pool we were able to take Fionn and Daithí into on Sunday. It was thankfully a much warmer swim than the previous day.

There was bar with a surprisingly varied offering and a restaurant serving an all you can eat breakfast and reasonably priced food all day. The staff were friendly, the park was so well maintained, the loos and showers were spotless. Everything about the place was actually great! They're welcoming to children and pets, what more can I say, we're already planning out next trip back.

4 person cabin - £101
Surfboard and wet-suit hire - £10
4 x Breakfasts - £30

Capturing a picture like this of my husband and son . . . Priceless!

Thursday, 29 September 2016

How I made Bedtime work for us

So there has been a lot of talk on line lately about bed time. Bedtime is definitely up there in the top 5 things all mothers talk about, after coffee, wine, complaining about our husbands and coffee again.

At the risk of angering the bedtime gods and having it all go tits up for me after publishing this, I've decided to share our routine. It works pretty well for us, and it might actually help some other poor parents who are at their wits end.

Let me start by saying Fionn was a terrible sleeper. Like awful. He'd wake every 45-90 mins wanting to be fed, If I got 3 hours out of him I felt well rested. With Shane working three different shifts, we found it very hard to actually get into a routine. We were also refusing to accept the fact that kids were going to ruin our social life, so we took Fionn everywhere with us. Way later than his current bedtime. 

I went back to work when he was 7 months old, had a lot of trouble with the company, PND reared it's awful, ugly head, I stopped breastfeeding to go on anti depressants, and I came out of work again. This is when we decided that if I was going to feel like a human ever again I needed to sleep. 

So we made a plan.

Shane stated going to Fionn in the night.
From the time he was born I was the one to get up to him, I'd put him on the boob and he'd be back asleep within minutes, for another hour. He learned after about 3 days of Shane getting up to him that he wasn't getting fed so he stopped waking up. Why we hadn't done this sooner I'll never know. 

Then we introduced a bed time. 
It took us a while to find a time that suited us. But we learned that no matter what time he went down at, he woke up at 6am. So we settled on 6.30pm that gave us some quality time together in the evenings and gave him a full nights sleep. That in turn reduced the hours of daemon like monster he became the next day.

We made a routine.
As much as I hate them, kids love routines, and Fionn responded to it brilliantly.
Bath every night at 6.30pm, a cuddle and a bottle of milk in our bed, then we'd carry him to his cot, sing some songs and leave him. 

In the beginning he'd cry or whine, we'd leave him 5 minutes, go back up, sing again and leave. Some nights he'd cry again, we'd leave him 10 minutes and go back up, sing again and leave again. 
After a few weeks, the crying stopped and he'd fall asleep straight away. We'd never leave him cry if he got too upset, you can tell when the pitch of the cry changes. It was a gentle way to encourage him to self settle. 

This worked so fantastically for about a year, that I was worried moving him into a new room and a bed would disrupt him and we'd be back to square one. So we did it in stages. We moved the cot into the new room first. Then swapped it for his bunk beds a few weeks later. I am so happy to report that it hasn't affected him at all.

As he's getting older, and since Daithí's come along we're following his lead and adapting the routine to fit us as a family of 4.

We aren't as strict now. 
We tend to try start bed time at 6.30pm, but he can talk back now, and will try to reason with us to stay up later. After a day of negotiations with a toddler, sometimes we all need another episode of Sarah and Duck before bed.  

We don't do baths every night of the week anymore.
But normally manage 2-3 a week. It all depends on Shane's shift and if I'm by myself or not. The saga of washing his hair is also more than I can handle more than once a week.

He's dropped his bottles of milk.
So we climb into my bed and read some books. Fionn LOVES books. He'd sit there all night reading if I didn't put a cap on it. Then he climbs into his bed and we sing the same few lullabies. (I say lullabies, but they include Oasis and Boy Dylan!)

And that's the last I hear from him till morning. The wonderful thing, He wont get out of his bed without me there. I don't know if its that he doesn't realise he can get out of the bed by himself or he doesn't think he's aloud. Either way it's great!!

Now I'm not saying this will work for everyone, or even anyone, but it's what's worked for us. Feel free to share what you do, and ask me any questions. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


I really need to stop referring to myself as 'just' a Stay at home Mother. I mean, yes, I am a stay at home mother, but there is no need for the 'just'.

I met some new people over the weekend, and when asked what I do, I kinda rambled on about being on maternity leave, but was now redundant, so I was 'just' a say at home mother. I cringed as I said it, but it was said. I was almost apologizing for it, making excuses nearly, and I realized the next day, in the mist of general hung over fear, that I was selling myself short.

I feel like I'm shaming myself, and in turn shaming others, who are, and rightly so, proud of their SAHM status. I don't know if it's my embarrassment of not having a degree, and so only having worked retail (again selling my self short, I built a very good career over the last 10 years in retail). Or if it's how the question it's self is phrased 'What do you do?'

I do a lot actually. But I don't have an impressive salary anymore and my current job title is Mother. Or Mamam, depending on who you ask.

Just a stay at home Mother. Fuck, I'd love to just stay at home. Even for a day, but with a toddler with more energy than a can of Red-Bull I need to go out. To the park, the library, anywhere to run the legs off him and mentally tire him out.

Also, with all our family in Ireland, if I leave the house for anything, doctor, dentist, shopping etc. I come with two attachments. and one of them is generally stuck to my boob.

So I'm done with being ashamed or embarrassed by it.

I think it's time to shout it out.

I am a chef, teacher, cleanersecretarychauffeur, nurse, lullaby singer, potty trainer, sore knee kisser, laundry fairy, grocery shopper, MOTHER!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Fionn Starting Nursery

There has been ALOT going on these last few weeks. I just cant seem to catch up with my own train of thought. Everyone has been asking why Fionn wasn't in nursery yet, and the only reason was expense. As a family who work and pay taxes, we're not entitled to the 15 hours a week of free childcare that those who don't work are. It's unfair, and frustrating, and typical of a society that bleed the worker dry and give no incentive to work to the unemployed. But less on that topic.

I kinda decided he was going without thinking too much about it. I went down to the Nursery at 5.15pm (They closed at 5.30) on a Thursday, got the registration pack, and dropped it back in Friday morning, due to start the following Tuesday. It's very unlike me to be so unorganized, and to do such little research, but my friends sends her little one there, and they're OFSTED approved, so I figured they must be alright.

He was due to have two trial sessions, then start properly.  Perfect I thought, but just as I got a taste of freedom, as if perfectly timed to make me appreciate the time away from him even more he got horribly sick on Saturday. Five full days and nights of diarrhoea. Talk about a shit week. Literally.

It started when we stayed over in Uncle Niall's house (Not blaming him!) I got for the first time, the feeling I'm sure my parents have had a number of times over the years. Where you're all set for a great day out, in this case it was watching the All Ireland Hurling Final in St. Pat's with our friends, and then one of the kids get sick and you have to cancel all plans and go home.

Over the course of the week Myself and Daithí got a touch of it too, but somehow Shane managed to avoid it. Come to think of it, he managed to avoid changing a shitty nappy or stripping a shitty bed all week too. Jammy fucker.

So we pushed his start date back a week. The nursery were great, completely understanding. And so he started. I didn't make a big deal out of it, but I did take the obligatory 1st day photo.

He was very excited. mostly about the slide in reception he'd get to go on. He hasn't told me anything else, other than he went on the slide and played with trains. But I'm sure when I take a look at his Learning Journal next week he'll have done loads.

Ok, so I took day 2
And day 3 pictures too

What I'm finding strange now is everyone asking me how I'm feeling about sending him. Maybe I am just a selfish mother, but I'm not worried about him at all. A little concerned that he's going to be a little shit and bully other kids, but all I can think about is how much easier the hours he's there are going to be for me. Granted the 8.30am starts are going to be early, but I'll have three blissful days a week where I can feed Daithí in peace. Blog. Make frames. Drink hot coffee. Nap. All these wonderful things I never seemed to have time for when Fionn was Daithí's age, but now that I deal with two every day, I've realised just how easy one actually is.

So far every day has been great. His key worker has commented on how polite and affectionate he is. She's told me he's chased the girls around trying to tickle them. (Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing). And he's only had a few instances of being mean to other kids, but he's apologized and got on with it. My sister's girlfriend who manages a nursery says it's good he's been bold so early on as it shows he's comfortable and confident in the room. And that all kids need a telling off at some point.

SO maybe he's not such a little shit after all!!

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

That's my breastfeeding story, and I'm sticking to it.

I've decided to write this off the back of the unbelievable reaction to my milk collection post. 24,000 (?!OMG?!) people have seen it, and that number is growing every day, I seriously can't get my head around that post reach, so thank you, sincerely to every person and organisation who has shared it.

As I had hoped the reaction has been mostly positive. So positive in fact that my goal of reaching just one woman who didn't know she could donate, and considered it, has not only been met, but exceeded. Three wonderful women, from the UK and Ireland have contacted me via this blog, to get more information and some have made the decision to go ahead and donate. These women need to be applauded. Bravo Queens!

Obviously, as is life, when you put yourself out there, there is going to be judgement passed and criticisms made. But you know what, Fuck 'em. I'll wear that 'Hippy Earth Mom' badge with pride. There were worse comments, but I don't need that sort of negativity in my life. 

This whole thing has started conversations with people I never would have dreamed I'd be talking to about breastfeeding. And it's got me thinking, the more of these conversations that are had over a pint in the pub, or while out of a walk in the park the better. They normalise it. And that's what I'm all about. I don't care how anyone chooses to, or has the choice made for them, feed their child. But what I do care about, is women being made feel 'different' or 'odd' for wanting to breastfeed. You can deny it all you want if you've never experienced it, but the stigma definitely exists. 

And god forbid we want to talk about it. We're grown ups, we need to talk about boobs. Because you never know how being part of a casual conversation could affect someones confidence when it comes to them feeding. Or how knowing that your friends are supportive, can help a guy support his partner in their breastfeeding journey.

I'll end with these two pictures I absolutely love.

At a friends wedding recently, while keeping me company during a feed, my friend Caroline captured this beautiful picture of me and Daithí that I have been debating sharing. On one hand everyone's done it, so there's no need for me to add to the pile of 'awareness raising pictures'. But that's not what this is about. I really wanted to share it because it shows exactly where I was as a mother in that very moment. Dress and heals on, tan and make-up done, baby on boob, hat and everything.

My sister took this one while I was getting ready for another wedding last month. To me this shows just how normal breastfeeding can be. Juliet Morrow is the wonderful make-up artist working on my face. I'm sure she's faced will all sorts of everything, arriving into peoples houses, into the stress of getting ready for a wedding, but she was so calm and relaxed, we chatted like old friends. Not only did she not bat an eyelid when Daithí needed to be fed, she continued working, and agreed to a picture being taken. The girl does amazing work, seriously, check out her page!

And just a thought to finish...

Sharing pictures of your substantial weight loss, isn't shaming people who don't work out.
Sharing pictures of you at graduation, isn't shaming people who didn't go to University. 
Sharing pictures of you breastfeeding, isn't shaming people who don't.

That's my breastfeeding story, and I'm sticking to it. 

My body wakes at 6am, my mind not so much.

I've just come to the end of what would have been* month 6 of maternity leave on baby number 2, and it has got me thinking of all the things I might have managed to do, if I had maternity leave without the children.

*I was made redundant the week Daithí was born...wankers.

He's a happy little man at 6am that's for sure

First off, it wouldn't have taken me 3 days to find the time to write this. When one naps, the other wakes them up. One needs a new nappy, the other throws up on themselves. One watches TV, the other wants to be held. One eats anything and everything that's put in front of them, the other... well actually they'll both eat what ever is put in front of them, not necessarily a good thing when Fionn wants to share his play dough with Daithí, but he'll soon learn.

There's every cup of coffee I've made for myself in the last three years that wasn't drank hot. Or at all. Or downed in one, JagerBomb style, once I found it again. It may be cold, but the caffeine still works. 

There's both baby books. started with all the best intentions in the world, beautiful scrapbook paper, stickers, colored pens, ribbon. Dumped in an Ikea cube for some future version of myself who has the time. 

There's every DIY job I've started, that is yet to be finished; the head board for the bedroom, the hat-to-fascinator project, (that one will have to wait for next years weddings for an outing), the baby leggings I started for Fionn that I'm pretty sure Daithí has already out-grown, painting the fence in the back garden, cushions for the sofa, bed clothes and matching curtains for the kids' rooms, knitting projects, I could go on and on. 

I'm just about keeping on top of essential paperwork. So far this week I've renewed the home insurance with a month to go, car insurance with a week to go, and car tax on the last day. Its a far cry from this time last year when my MOT went 6 months out of date...ops!

There is more to
come with this story!!
I feel like I'm getting better at prioritising, but am losing all sense of creativity. My to do list is getting longer, and things are being crossed off less and less frequently. I'm even starting to neglect this blog. I'm currently trying to map out two pieces about or recent trip home, and a lovely encounter I had with a make-up artist while there. I'd say watch this space, but It might be a while!!

I think I need to give myself a right kick up the arse and start giving myself some time for me. Time that doesn't include house work, applying for jobs, feeding babies or sleeping. If anyone knows where I might be able to find that please let me know.

This is where I spent two hours today,
At least there's time for the important things.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

As if I couldn't love Aldi anymore!

I don't normally fall victim to Aldi's special buys, I can easily get in and out with just my weekly shop and little more than a 'oh that's a nice picnic basket/ book case/ drill', but this week it is all about the kids bedroom, I just couldn't resist.

They have 4 designs, and considering Fionn has bunk beds in his room I got to pick two of them.
Dinosaurs and Safari Animals. A single bed duvet cover and pillow case for £6.99, yes please!

Then came the sheets, spots, stars or stripes? £3.99 each, you can't go wrong. But here's the clever bit, the fitted sheet comes with a matching pillow case, so even if you're little one is attached to a blankie/ still in a GrowBag and so doesn't need a duvet cover, their pillow and sheets can still match.

My favorite part of the whole thing?! Dino and Lion throw cushions! I just couldn't leave them behind, I mean look how cute they are, and only £5.99 each.

Lion and Dino Cushions £5.99 each

Curtains (£19.99-£24.99)
Rugs (£14.99)

I managed to pull myself away from the rugs (£14.99) and Blackout curtains (£19.99-£24.99), but I just had to get some bunting for £2.99 to hang around the top of the bottom bunk. They've also got throws and drawer towers in coordinating colours.  I've already got storage sorted from Ikea so there was no need for any else...Although there's always Daithí's room...

Conveniently, they all fit perfectly with my existing colour scheme, and I just can't get over the price for the quality of the everything!! Aldi have knocked it out of the park again. I can see myself falling for the Circus print if they still have them in stock next week. They have a Pretty Princess one too for the little girls (or boys) who prefer  pink!!

Fionn was happy anyway and
jumped into bed, shoes and all while
I was trying to take the picture

Friday, 15 July 2016

Adulting the Shit Out of Life

This week was fueled 100% with coffee

Most of the time I'm not fully convinced myself that I am actually a grown up. Despite Shane being certain I was never a child, but rather was born in my mid 20's and my age has only recently caught up. But I realised in a few stages, that this week I most definitely am a fully functioning, adulting adult.

So what convinced me? Well, while simultaneously keeping two children and a husband alive, dressed and fed, and a house hold in clean dishes and bedclothes I did the following;

See. . .All alive!!
I went to a committee meeting. For me growing up with parents who loved a good oul' committee meeting, nothing screams 'adult' more than attending one. I've always known organisations like my football team, don't just run themselves. It's always the same handful of volunteers who organise and arrange everything. I may not be able to keep my home in order most of the time but I am one of those people.
Organising, running, writing.  Adulting.


I booked Daithí's Naming Day. (In a social club, that I have a fully paid-up, family membership to.) A Naming Day is a non religious alternative to a Christening/ Namaran/ Shalom Zachor. So requires all the same planning. Booking a venue, inviting people, writing a ceremony, sorting out catering, decorations, picking readings, etc. etc. etc.
All in a different country, without my Mammy. Adulting!

Romantic <3
We celebrated a wedding anniversary. In Pizza Hut. With a tantrum throwing toddler, and a baby stuck to my boob. We laughed about how things have changed. I'm not saying the romance has died after 4 years, far from it, it's just taking a break. And Shane did send a beautiful bouquet of a dozen red roses.
So, ya know. . . Adulting!

Mamam and Fionn Aprons
But what really did it for me was when I was in Ikea (there's a surprise) with the boys. I picked up some cupcake cases for the baking I'm planning on doing at the weekend, then thought about the Christmas apron I have hanging in the kitchen and said to myself, 'no, you're an adult, you need a seasonally appropriate apron', so bought Fionn and I matching ones. 
Coordinated Adulting! 

I also arranged for an estate agent to value our house, sorted out my pension after being made redundant, and commented on the fantastic drying out.

Adulting. The. Shit. Out. Of. Life.

Family Winning

Friday, 8 July 2016

5 Things I've used Breastmilk For

Everyone knows your breastmilk is tailor made for your baby, and provides all the nutrients they need. It's amazing how it changes to suit your babies individual needs. But there are SO many other uses that you might not think of.

So here are my top 5 tings I've used my breastmilk for, that haven't involved feeding the baby.

1. Conjunctivitis;
When Daithí was born, like most babies, he developed an annoying case of sticky eyes. For about two weeks I was cleaning his eyes with cooled, boiled water on cotton wool. It wasn't clearing up, if anything it was getting worse. So one night, after a conversation with my health visitor, I sprayed a bit of milk in his eye during a feed. Low and behold, it was practically gone the next morning. One more squirt, and we have't seen icky eye gunk since.

2. Cradle Cap:
Again, like most babies, Daithí developed a bit of cradle cap at about 8 weeks old. I wasn't going to do anything about it, because it wasn't bothering him, but at 15 weeks it was starting to flake and get a bit red. I washed his head with breastmilk, combed out the flakes, and applied some more milk. His head has been perfect since.

3. Molluscum Contagiosum:
Don't let the name scare you, it's quite a common rash many toddlers develop around 18 months. It can last up to 2 years (!!!) They normally develop an immunity to it by themselves, but if it becomes a problem, a GP can prescribe a steroid cream to get rid of it. Well Fionn got a bad case when I was pregnant, months and months of creams yielded no results. As soon as Daithí was born and my milk came in, I decided to give it a try. After two days of applying milk to the rash it started to clear up, and after a week it was gone altogether.

4. Nappy Rash:
This goes for both of them, but Fionn mostly. He got a nasty rash on the drive back from Dublin (12 hours traveling, none of us fared too well after that one). Me being the paranoid Mother thought it was something worse, as the spots looked like measles, and didn't fade under a glass. The GP prescribed a steroid cream, but I don't really like using them, so I tried breastmilk. You guessed it, the rash was gone within 24 hours.

5. Donated It:
Ok, so this isn't really me using it, but my excess milk is definitely going to good use in children's hospitals, feeding very sick and pre-term babies. Read a bit more about that here.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Product Reviews :-)

Indulge me while I talk about silly, pretty, frivolous, girly things.

While we were home, we attended the wedding I was stressing about an outfit for.
I finally decided on a dress I had in the attic from my days in Coast, circa 2009, Even after a week of eating and drinking in Ireland it fit! Hooray. 

I had tan and nails done, and managed to get a last minute appointment with Shane's cousin at Lux Lashes to get my eye lashes done. Seriously, I can not recommend her enough, I was so impressed. Between them and the tan I didn't need to wear make-up for the rest of the week.

For the wedding I did need make-up though, it was a chance to finally use some of my new make-up, and brushes, I got for my birthday but haven't really had the chance to play with. The brushes are my new favorite toys. Who knew Wilko would do such amazing quality brushes, and the prices are even better!! £1.50-£4 per brush. I built a full 13 brush collection for under £40. This coming from the woman who often spent €40+ for one from MAC and Inglot. They're so soft, ridiculously full, and don't shed, even when washed.

These are my top 4
(shop on line here)

The Powder Brush £4 It's huge!And super soft. I love it, for everything!!
The Stippling Brush £4 I've got two, one for foundation and one for concealer. It's light and doesn't clump together like some other far more expensive stippling brushes I've used.
The Short Stippling Brush £3 It's super, super packed, perfect for powder contouring.
The Eye Liner Brush £3 The tilt in the brush is so clever. It makes it so much easier to get to your eye at the right angle.

The Make-up
Over the years I've sworn loyalty to so many different brands and products. These are some of my new favorites.

Kiko Milano Unlimited Foundation SPF15 £15
(shop online here)

I tried this on a whim while on my way to refill my MAC collection and I have to say I was very impressed. It smells like, goes on like, and lasts like Dior's Forever extreme wear foundation. Only half the price. It's light, full coverage, doesn't cake and lasts for ages. The only thing I was disappointed about was the pump didn't work, so I have to open the bottle each time, but the shop was WAY too far away to bother going back to exchange it. I'd presume it was just one faulty bottle, but still annoying!!

I wear Warm Beige 15

Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit £35
(Shop online here)

This was bought for me as a birthday present, and I was initially disappointed that it was a powder, as I had never used powder to contour before. Once I tried it though, I loved it. At first the dark powder scared me, but once I ditched the brush that came with it and started using the super packed short stippling brush from Wilko and properly blended it out with the bronze and light colors everything came together perfectly. Having the little instruction card on the mirror was a nice touch, it would definitely be a help for beginners.

Soap and Glory Archery DIY Brow Bar £12
(Shop online here)

I've only recently started using Soap and Glory, beyond the annual purchase of their Christmas Gift Box, and I have to say, I'm always impressed with the quality of their cosmetics.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this one. One one hand I hate the highlighter and have never used the darker colour, and the tiny little brushes are the bane of my make-up application existence, but boy do they work.
I love the wax, and the lighter colour, I love how compact it is. The instructions were perfect too, for someone who always wanted to but never ventured into eyebrow sculpting. (Seriously, how can you keep up with EVERYTHING?!)

Inglot Body Sparkles £13

These can technically be used anywhere, lips/ nails etc. but I've only ever used them on my eyes.
I literally can not do my make up without adding a dusting of sparkles to the inner eye, and Inglot do the BEST glitter there is. I find them lighter than any other glitter I've tried, so even with a lid full, it doesn't feel like you're wearing much at all.
Dust them on with a light brush for a subtle sparkle, or press them on to a lid prepped with Duraline for an intense spotlight.  I use 56 and 53, either by themselves or mixed and every time I love the result.