Thursday, 30 April 2015

Glenisk Irish Parenting Blog Awards 2015

So April 25th was the night of the first ever Glenisk Irish Parenting Blog Awards or #IPBawards as it was famously trending as over on Twitter.
These awards were set up to celebrate the Irish parenting bloggers who are taking the blogging world by storm and by god did the organisers do a good job.
These awesome people: Mama.ieMind The BabyThe Airing CupboardDolly DowsieAt The ClotheslineThe Busy Mamas and Raising Elves were the stars of the show (alongside the award winners too!) and together they put an amazing night together.
The venue was Odessa on Dame Court in Dublin, The food was delicious, the wine was extremely pleasant to sip (gulp) down and the venue was the perfect size for all of the awards attendees. We began with drinks and food in the restaurant and then moved upstairs to the roof top bar for the presentation of the awards (and some more wine, it was really good!)
On arrival we were given a goodie bag with some pretty amazing goodies in them, take a look:

How awesome are the personalised #IPBawards One4all cards?! The OH won €50 on one of them, I will be helping him spend it! The blog goodie bag itself is epic, "Blog when the baby sleeps!" usually the only time I get to do it anyway! I'm in love with  the Glenisk "Eat Blog Love" apron and I will be putting it to use in the kitchen. Luke was totally impressed with the Lottie doll from MyKidsTime although I had to keep it away from his little hands until I managed to grab a picture. The folks over at MyKidsTime are offering a 10% discount (use code IPBA2015) on these fabulous dolls until May 31st. Why not head on over there and grab one for yourself?! I really want the Rockabilly one.

 I was delighted to see such worthy finalists shortlisted for the 10 categories and happy for all of the winners, maybe slightly envious of their super cool award that came in the shape of a special IPB teapot designed by the talented Colorines Wonderful. You can view the winners of the 2015 awards here as well as the lovely sponsors.

The main thing for me was finally getting to meet some of the wonderful people I have been conversing with online within the group for over a year and a half now, to finally put some faces to the names and to meet the talented folks behind each blog. They were all as lovely as I imagined and the atmosphere on the night was fantastic. I don't think the event gone have gone any better.

So, have we a date set for the 2016 Irish Parenting Blog Awards?! 

(Ps. Yes I know it's Thursday and I'm only posting about it now and yes I know it's almost a week since the event but it's taken me this long to fully recover!)


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

As I Lay Him Down To Sleep

Night time cuddles with my boy are few and far between at the moment. We've had the same bedtime routine since he was tiny, a nice bath, his bottle in his darkened bedroom with Pachbel Canon in D playing softly in the background while I sit in the rocking chair with him. Before it was a good half hour of cuddles after the bottle, these days he's no sooner finished the bottle and he says "Bed, mam" and in he goes into his cot, not a bother on him. 
A few nights ago however, after a long and fun filled day that involved family time, cupcakes and a bouncy castle he needed those Mammy cuddles to help ease his little over tired self off into the land of nod. Bedtime is my favourite part of the day, not for the usual reasons of being able to actually get things done or having 5 minutes to myself but for those few moments we have together where he's still and relaxed and wants no one but me. It's also a time where my inner lioness comes out and my protective streak is ever present
As I look down at him, shuffling into a comfy position to snuggle into me with his not 1 but 2 bears tucked under his chin, I feel a wash of panic sweep over me. As I watched his eyes get heavy, opening and closing each time he heard his Daddy going out the back door to water the garden, I fear for his future. Will he achieve everything he wants to? Will he be successful in school? Will he have good, honest, reliable friends? Will he go through his childhood years happily? I hope he's never excluded or made to feel inadequate. How can I ensure that he never has to suffer hurt or heartache or sadness needlessly?
That mother's instinct in me was on high alert as all of these thoughts rush through my head, Luke oblivious to my internal worry. 
He makes a big sigh and I can see his body relaxing that little bit more as he's slipping further into a slumber, his eyelids have stopped flickering and he is breathing at a slower pace, still tightly grasping his 2 bears.
I rub his cheek and my eyes fill up as I think about how's there's nothing in this world I wouldn't do to protect him, how being away from him to go to work 4 days a week almost kills me sometimes but knowing I'd do whatever it takes to ensure he has all he needs.
His grip on the bears has loosened and the sucking of the dummy has stopped, he's in that deep sleep now and ready to be put into his bed for the night ahead but I sit there with him just a little longer. I sit there taking in all of his loveliness, all of his innocence and I cherish this moment because I know they will soon be over. 
Slowly I stand up, keeping him tucked up in my arms and gently put him into his bed, he shuffles a little more, getting into position, I can see him feeling for his blanket so I tuck it in around him and he's out like a light. Smoothing over his hair, I steal one last kiss from him and I creep out of the room anxious for my little boy and his path in life but also happy, so wonderfully happy that he's mine.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

Our First Family Home

I was recently inspired take part in a lifestyle series hosted by Compass where they feature bloggers stories on their first home or starter home, be it a rented property or your own property. I love these kind of posts, both writing and reading them.

We've been living in our current house for 2 years now and it's the house that our family began in. We moved in in April 2013, two months before our son, Luke was born. It took a while for me, personally to settle in there but honestly it didn't really feel like a home until the day we brought Luke home, then it truly was our "home".

We live in a 3 bedroomed terraced house with a decent sized living room and kitchen. It was actually the living room size that pushed me towards this house when we were looking. There are 3 bathrooms, 2 too many if you ask me though, that's a lot of bathroom cleaning! There's a main bathroom, en-suite and downstairs toilet, I'd much prefer if that was a storage cupboard or pantry though. Most rentals properties in Ireland are furnished so we didn't have to worry about furniture, the couch was the final aspect of our decision on this house. My main issue with this house is the garden, the front is onto a road so not a suitable area for Luke to play but the back isn't in great condition either. There was a bit of a drainage issue but we are currently in the process of making it that bit nicer while not spending too much.
There is a big green area right across form our house which looks out onto Cork harbour, it makes for some stunning sunsets in the Summer.

When renting you are always restricted in relation of what you can do to the property but there are plenty of accessories that you can buy and temporary adjustments you can make to give the property a personal touch without leaving permanent marks.

My main project when we moved in was making a nice space for Luke and having a comfortable and cosy bedroom for him. We initially put him into the bigger room but ended up moving him to the smaller room as it was more suited to his cot and furniture and it's a lovely pale terracotta colour which gives the room a warm feel. His room is my favourite, I often sit down in there to catch 5 minutes, it's probably the most organised too, no mean feat with a toddler in residence there!

I found his name in letters online made by a woman near by, I love these little touches and it's something we can take with us when we move. 

As I mentioned the living room is quite big and mostly taken over by toys now but I do love our L shaped couch, you need a good couch and cushions! Our TV is wall mounted to it's away from roaming hands and the walls are adorned with family photographs. The shelves are filled with books and candles.

I'm the process of changing a few things in this room, getting some new curtains and painting the walls an off white colour, all in order to match a recently purchased mat and to make it that bit more neutral. 

Our bedroom was a bit up in the air after the arrival of a baby but recently we sorted it out and made it into a much more relaxed and personal space. I may have made it too girly for the man in my life so he purchased a Marvel canvas print which hangs behind the TV, that seems to be his corner of the room along with the playstation, not to worry though I've added a candle to that area too!

The prints above the bed were pictures printed from Instagram and I purchased the thread and heart shaped pegs on EBay. It's all of these little touches that make it our home and are all things we can take with us no matter where we go.


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Community Spirit Is Alive And Well

Followers of my blog would know that back in March our beloved family dog, Murphy was knocked down by a car outside our house and he ran off.
I'll just give you a quick run down of what happened: It was St Patricks Day eve and I was about to go to bed but let the dopey dog out for a pee before locking up, I turned my back and he took off over to the green area next to our house. He came back but was running at such speed he obviously didn't have time to register the car coming towards him and him being almost completely black I'm guessing the driver didn't see him either. I ran out to the drive but sadly the driver took off and so did the dog. I rang the OH to come home as he was in his friends house so that he could go looking for him. My worst fear was that he'd ran off to die somewhere as I was unable to see if he was injured before he took off.
So the OH called this friend to help him and I said I would post on our local community page just in case anyone came across him or he was in someone's garden. The response I received was over whelming!
The local animal rescue group were tagged immediately and offered their help to go out looking for Murphy despite it being almost midnight and before I knew it there was a car load of people outside our house along with the OH and his friend and a few other local residents of our estate who'd seen the post and gone out looking too. I was helpless being at home as someone had to stay there while Luke was in bed but it gave me a great sense of comfort to know that so many people had gone out of their way to be out there searching with us.
About 2.30am and everyone decided to call it a night as we all agreed that Murphy was probably in hiding due to shock and not ready to be found and that we would begin searching again the next morning, When I woke up the very lovely Katie from ARC (Animal Rescue Cobh) who had organised the search the previous night had made up "missing" posters and had circulated them online to raise awareness for Murphy.

We went out searching again the next morning and many more people were messaging me to say they had seen him and were out looking for him and would try and catch him if they came across him again. The phone didn't stop ringing either.
The pup was eventually found not too far from home by 2 friends of ours who managed to catch him and hold on to him until the OH got there. Thank fully we wasn't hurt, the vet checked him over, a small cut on his leg and bit stiff in his shoulder but other than that fine.

It just made me so happy and revived my sense of community spirit to see so many people genuinely concerned for Murphy and going to such efforts to help us. Most of these people didn't know us but that didn't matter.
Growing up I lived in the countryside and was always part of a close knit group of people, everybody knew everybody. I moved into "town" a couple of years ago to start my own family home and it's a quiet estate where we kind of keep ourselves to ourselves, we would say hi to the neighbours but that's it really. I missed the familiarity of the countryside where I grew up and the knowing all my neighbours type of thing and it's something that I felt was really important to have for Luke as well.
However after this incident I very much feel like part of a community, a supportive one at that. We went to the local parade once we had Murphy sorted after finding him on St Patricks Day and for the first time n a long time I felt genuinely proud of my home town.
It also made me realise just how valuable these kind of organisations are, like ARC. I guess sometimes you don't realise that until you need them yourself. Also never ever underestimate the power of social media, it's amazed me how fast word got around about Murphy, how his picture was shared in places outside of Cobh.

I would like to commend the members of ARC for all that they do, taking in stray, unwanted animals, animals in need of veterinary care or just some TLC. They do all of this off their own backs and rely on charitable donations to cover the vets bills for the animals. I believe they have people who can foster the animals while waiting to re-home them permanently but even at that these foster homes are stretched thin. Also a big thank you to everyone else who helped in some way.
I would ask that if there's a group like this in your locality, help them out every so often, give a donation, offer to spread the word of their work, share posts and pictures on your social media, no gesture is too small when it comes to something like this.
Say hi to that neighbour, support that local event because at the end of the day a community is made of the people who pull together at all times.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Carry On In Ponty Pandy

I remember reading a post by the very funny Hurrah For Gin way back in 2013 about Postman Pat and her open letter to him and while I laughed out loud, I always wondered would I ever watch enough of a kids cartoon to feel the same way. Luke was only about 5 months at the time and I couldn't imagine a time when he would be so into anything that I, in turn would also be so "into" it, not by choice obviously. However it happened and my own fond childhood memories of watching Fireman Sam and listening to the theme tune on vinyl, English on one side and then you could flip it over for a Welsh version, very swanky, are now being slowly replaced with feelings similar to Groundhog day and annoyance and a growing hatred for that bloody Norman Price!
Luke is obsessed with Fireman Sam, I don't even mean in a cutesy, ah sure isn't it sweet, he'll definitely be a fireman when he grows up kind of way. I mean in a full on, he talks about him 24/7, I would say that when he's not thinking about food, he's thinking about Fireman Sam. He even woke up crying during the night recently, calling out for "Sem". (Maybe this kind of obsessive behaviour is something I need to keep an eye on?!)
He has a couple of dvds now as well as several episodes on the planner that have been viewed more times I can actually bring myself to think about. I swear to god I was singing the Ponty Pandy Sea Shanty in my sleep not so long ago. It's got to the point now where we actually rejoice when we come across an episode that we haven't seen, although this is fading fast as I think we are close to the point of having seen them all.
Needless to say while I'e been forced to watch Fireman Sam numerous times, I've made a few observations:

  • While Ponty Pandy is a small village, the local council must have bucket loads in their budget to cover the daily fire services used by the same local residents, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Now they have a state of the art station with all these fancy extras AND an ocean rescue centre AND they don't even think twice about whipping out the helicopter to rescue a sheep up a mountain. 
    Just off out in the chopper to get the cat / sheep /dog that's stuck up a tree / on the mountain / down a hole
  • Dilys Price really needs to find herself a husband of some kind! I'm not sure how many more embarrassing scenes of her throwing herself at poor Trevor Evans I can sit through. If Trevor isn't around Station Officer Steele gets it. 
    Dylis, always on the prowl that one
  • I am baffled as to how Elvis Cridlington ever made it past the entrance exam for fireman training school (or whatever the official term is), he's as dopey. If I saw him coming to rescue me, I'd probably be better trying to save myself than have him make a mess of it. 

  • The mountain rescue guy, Tom Thomas, just his name is enough!

  • How freakin' bold is Norman Price?! I'd have him strung up if he was mine or I would have moved out of Ponty Pandy a long time ago after the shame he would've brought on the rest of us. I suppose having randy Dilys as your mother though there wasn't much hope for him really.
    Yet again Norman is causing havoc, thank god for Sam
  • You'd feel a bit sorry for poor Charlie Jones, he's constantly living in the shadow of his hero brother Sam and even his wife Bronwyn likes to undermine him from time to time. The infamous Sea Shanty episode where she was swooning over Ben, the ocean rescue dude and neither of them would listen to Charlie when out on the boat and Ben thought he knew best and ah sure before you know it they are ship wrecked singing that stupid annoying, oh my god I hate it, bloody sea shanty until they are rescued!
Sam is actually my favourite character, he's not featured as much as you would expect and his story lines aren't half as ridiculous and to be fair he really is the hero next door saving the rest of the locals from their own stupidity most of the time. I imagine he goes home every evening and cracks open a bottle of whiskey in exasperation! 

Pure annoyed head on him. The facial expressions say it all!

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