Monday, 17 December 2018

Top Gifts for Every Member of the Family

Time to Think About Christmas: Top Gifts for Every Member of the Family

With Christmas not far away I know that most of you will be busy frantically buying presents. To help you to get this task done I have come up with a few present ideas for the whole family.

Gifts for the men in your life
There are plenty of essential items for men available online, as you can see when you click the link. So, if you start your shopping fairly soon, you can buy everything you need for the men in your life without having to leave home.
Start by looking at clothing. Most men don’t go shopping for clothes enough. This could be because they are short on time or money or because they do not like shopping. Either way, you can usually find a gap in your man’s wardrobe that you can fill with a gift. It could be something small like underwear, or a bigger item like a new coat or pair of boots. Workwear or sports clothing are also good options for many men.
Hobby related gifts are always well-received. Anything to do with their favourite sport or team is also usually welcome.

Gifts for women
If you are wondering what to buy your mum or sister start by looking at personal care items. A pot of their favourite moisturiser or anti-wrinkle cream can make a good gift. Hair care products can work too. If you know that your sister, aunt or mum needs a new hair dryer or straighteners, you could buy those for them.
Vouchers for a day out can also make a very good gift. It is a present that requires a bit of thought and shows that you know them well. Try to buy the type of present that allows the person you are buying for to choose when they enjoy their day out. For example, for a theatre lover, a voucher they can use to see any show rather than tickets to a specific performance. This will help to ensure that they can actually take advantage of your present. It also means that they have a little treat to look forward to later and ensures that the joy of Christmas spills over into another part of the year.

Gifts for the kids
In some ways, kids are easy to buy for. They usually tell you exactly what they want. All you have to do is to censor their list a bit and share with friends and relatives the items they really want. If your budget permits, try to make your main present something from their wish list.
Little stocking fillers are always nice, because it gives them more than one thing to open. Some families buy a set of surprise gifts and wrap them in multiple layers of paper then play pass the parcel on Christmas morning. It is a fun way to give everyone an extra gift and prolong the present opening experience.

A few more Christmas gift ideas
Remember that you do not necessarily have to buy all of your gifts. Making some is always an option. It is a great way to really personalize some of your presents.
People love the fact that you have taken the time to make them something unique. There is still enough time to a few simple stocking fillers. Here are some that you can make in just 15 minutes. Most of them are not at all expensive to make. Great if you are on a budget.
If you would like even more gift ideas, you can find a few more by clicking here. I wrote that particular Christmas present article a couple of years ago, but a lot of the items I suggest adding to your shopping list are still readily available in the shops.


Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Family Activities in East Cork

Throughout Ireland, there are plenty of activities on offer for the family to enjoy, but living in East Cork it’s good to try and find things to do closer to home. I came across this ebook from Chill Insurance  and it got me thinking about the places we’ve been and would like to go. Here’s a list of 3 places to explore right here in East Cork.

Blarney Castle

Children love getting lost in their imagination and what better place to do that than at a medieval castle? Many believe this is simply a place to visit if you like history or architecture but there’s a lot to do.
The Witches Stone, Rock Close, and Gardens all give a feel of enchantment that the little ones will just love, wondering around telling stories and taking in the magical landscapes. The Dungeon is beneath the tower and you can explore this maze of secret passageways, it can be a bit scary for some, especially if you don’t like the dark.
Heading into the castle itself you can discover two differing worlds as the castle was built in two stages.  There are plenty of views to take in too, from different angles of the castle.

Leahys Open Farm

If your children like to run and play all day then Leahys Open Farm is a fantastic place to play and get to know the animals. There are cows, rabbits, birds, and snakes! Don’t worry, they are well trained.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy too, with adventure trails and go karting available. Entry fees are good value at €9.50 per person, and an extra €2 for diggers and crazy golf.
This is a fun day out for the family and the kids are kept busy, as there’s so much to do.

Fota Wildlife Park

This is an educational and fun day out learning about wildlife such as Giraffes, Cheetah and Lions to name a few of the animals that can be found here. There are even wildlife experiences where you can get some behind-the-scenes insight into the daily running’s of the park and feed some of the animals – which apparently is very popular.
These are just a few of the great days out you can enjoy in Cork, but there’s a lot more you can do.


Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Turning One Of The Many Parenting Corners

I had one of those moments this morning where I realised we'd turned one of the many corners in our parenting journey, a kind of "Ah there it is" moment. 

Up until recently we had been struggling a bit with Luke and his attitude and cheekiness, I put it down to the preschool to primary school transition and the adjustments that come with that. I know he found it hard to adjust in the first couple of weeks especially with the restrictions primary school puts on everything else. He had come from a fantastic, small preschool where they had so much freedom to play, learn and grow to the seriousness of primary school with double, if not more, the amount of kids in the class room so we gave him a bit of leeway to get used to it.

I'll be the first to admit, he's a bit spoiled! He's an only child and the centre of our world, used to having our undivided attention and generally getting what he wants. He would always get something in the shop when we went in, it was normal for him to expect it because we always gave it. Now we try to teach him about earning it and not having money at his disposal to buy something when he wants it. 
 He's not a brat and I'm very proud of his mannerly and kind nature but he wasn't used to hearing No all that often so when we started it was another shock to his system.

Things at home were a bit up the air last month too and I've no doubt that affected him but we couldn't let him use that as an excuse. So myself and the OH had the chats and decided we needed to be firm but fair and be on the same page, reduce the shouting when we get frustrated with him because that does not work with Luke. He responds better to us ignoring him until he can behave. 

So when he's cheeky we would say "We can't talk to you when you're being like this. When you can apologise and speak nicely we will start again". He would sulk for a while but after a bit he would apologise and we would start over. 
When he wouldn't do something he was asked, we would withhold something he wanted to do / watch etc until he did as he was asked. 
We wanted him to realise that if he wants to do things he likes he must earn them and that includes doing as he's told. 

I think the turning point where he realised we meant business was last week when he'd been super rude and cheeky, not just to us but his Nan too which a big No as far as I'm concerned. His Nan looks after him while we are at work and I always try to explain to him just how good and helpful that is to us and he must respect that. So he kept it up all the way home in the car and I just put my foot down and said no books and no bath before bed that night , two things he loves - it would be a top to toe wash and straight in to bed. I didn't shout but I was firm and I stuck to my word. This happened 2 nights in a row and where he'd usually wear me down, this time he didn't and I think he realised we meant business. 

We firmly believe in giving him responsibilities, suitable for his age of course, so each morning and evening he must put his dirty clothes in the wash bin instead of on the floor, he must undress himself before bed and in the mornings he must open his curtains and blinds in his room.
 He'd been doing it the last few mornings but this morning it all just happened so seamlessly - he dressed himself into his school uniform without any hassle (we make it into a bit of game), he opened his blinds and curtains and went downstairs and put on his shoes, then, when asked, he proceeded to go and get his tooth brush and tooth paste himself and brush his teeth. It all just happened in a second nature kind of way, there was no asking numerous times, no one was getting annoyed - he's a bit of a messer and the master of delay tactics - but this morning it all just came together and it was wonderful!

I'm not saying it'll be this way all the time because he's still a feisty 5 year old who loves to test boundaries but if we stand firm in our instruction and expectation of him I feel like we will continue this way and just to point out that our expectation of him is not to be perfect but to be respectful and understanding. My Mum even mentioned it yesterday that he was a lot more calm and a lot less cheeky this week. 

In our experience it's about presenting a united front on this, he knows I'm the soft touch and would try and play us off against each other but when he realised we stood firm and aid the same thing, it changed things for him. 
Kids love rules and boundaries, as much as they try to push them and break them, these boundaries give them security and builds confidence and there's nothing like the pride they have in themselves when they have done as they've been asked and earned their treat. Luke loves the praise we give him and stands proud when he gets the reward, be it a treat, some screen time or a simple high five from us. 

Long may it continue....


Thursday, 6 September 2018

It Really Was A Summer Of Fun

I'm not sure how other parents working full time during the Summer months feel but in my 5 years as a parent and working a 5 day week during the Summer holidays I've put myself under immense pressure to make sure we make the most of the time off we have together and subsequently feeling like we need to compensate for not going abroad.

The mother's guilt kicks in about the boy child spending a majority of his time with his Nan while me and his Dad are at work, his Dad working 3 jobs over 7 days this Summer so a bit tougher than previous Summers.

The mother's guilt over the fact that because our jobs are seasonally busy, means Summer is the busiest time, we can't take Summer holidays during June, July and August. 

The mother's guilt that there aren't enough days out with the boy child, with either him and I or as a family of 3. 

Then there's the daughter's guilt (yes that's a thing for me now too!) that I'm asking too much of my parents, mostly my Mum as my Dad is at work, to keep the boy child entertained throughout the holidays. The pressure put on her of having an energetic 5 year old to look after 9+ hours a day 4 or 5 days a week, depending on our work patterns. 

I was browsing my photo gallery on my phone the other day though and while I thought we didn't get a chance to do much over the Summer holidays, I was mistaken. 

I have numerous pictures of afternoons and evenings on the beach thanks to the heatwave that came our way.

There was numerous play dates with his friends and ice creams a plenty.

There was spur of the moment take away suppers from the local chipper with his best friend which was a big novelty for them.

There was two different Summer camps.

There was day trips to local attractions and an abundance of trips to different playgrounds and play centres.

We got to the cinema twice when the heat became too much.

There was family fun days in local clubs that we went to, places where we always bump into someone we know.

There was quality time with his cousins, impromptu days with his Aunty and some much needed quality with his Dad's side of the family. 

I lost count of the times we'd stop off at the local strand on our way home and he would wade into the water in his clothes, going home in the back of the car wrapped up in one of my jumpers (or the spare towel when I remembered to replace it for times like these!)

There was many an evening in the garden until it got dark and movie nights were almost every night. 

Not forgetting the biggest adventure this Summer, going down town at night for the local Regatta where we watched the fire works from the roof top of the local hotel, ate chips by the pier and candy floss that made our hands all sticky, there was rides on the fun fair attractions and a flashing light saber bought that is now wedged down the side of his bed - the most exciting part of this for him was being "down town" late at night while it was dark - it's the simple things eh?!

And in the middle of all that was some chill time, days where he stayed in his pj's all day, snacked as he was hungry instead of the usual meal times, where he strolled between the house and the garden as he pleased in his bare feet with no rushing and hurrying trying to get to where we needed to be. Just the right amount of rest time for his last Summer as a care free preschooler. 

Someone said to me recently that next year now we'll have to make sure we take him away on holidays as he'll be older and all his friends will probably be going away and he can't be left out, or something along those lines but for us and I'm sure some other's that not what the Summer holidays are always about. 
Not everyone can go away on a holiday during the Summer months for many reasons whether it's financial. time restrictions due to work, illness or whatever, sometimes it's just not possible but that doesn't mean your Summer holidays were unsuccessful and I'd hate for anyone to think like this because they didn't get on a plane or stay in a hotel somewhere.

The Summer holidays for us are about letting go a bit, easing up on the routine and restrictions of the school year, it's about making the most of the nice weather and getting out and about to enjoy our surroundings, it's about taking the foot of life's accelerator for a few weeks and enjoying time with family and friends, making the most of the longer days, spending the extra hour in the garden or going for a walk on the green in the evening, having chips on the beach as our dinner and going for a 99 after.

Maybe in the coming Summers we'll manage to get away on holiday at some point and some day in the future I won't have to work a 5 day week and the OH won't be working 3 jobs but for now these are our circumstances and we make the most of them and the most important thing - we've made lots of happy memories this Summer regardless and the boy child was smiling at the end of it and really that's what matters the most. 


Thursday, 21 June 2018

Make Time Daily For Your Wellbeing

As I mentioned in a recent post I was trying to take some time out for myself more regularly and I'm pleased to say I've been doing ok on that front.

There's a number of things that have helped me to focus a bit more on myself and keeping my mind healthy so I thought I'd share them here in case it may be of help to anyone else.

Supplements & Essential Oils:

I absolutely swear by these three items: Magnesium, Lavender Oil and Rhodiola.

Magnesium: This supplement has many uses and benefits which include: 

regulating nerve and muscle function
supporting healthy pregnancy and lactation
maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
maintaining optimum blood pressure levels

 I use this primarily for overall health and well being and to prevent headaches and migraines which I would be prone to. As a high blood pressure sufferer, I find magnesium also helps to keep it normalised. If I stop using it for a length of time I see repercussions immediately and the headaches return. I take to magnesium citrate capsules most of the time but recently gave the oil a try when I began suffering from sleep disruption and restless legs and it has worked wonders for both issues. I rub it into my legs, about 4 or 5 sprays on each leg, after a bath or a shower. 

Rhodiola: So many benefits to this supplement and few which I use it for:

Relives stress
Boosts cognition
Boosts energy levels
Protects heart health 
Strengthens immune system
Rebalances the adrenal gland
Reduces fatigue
Reduces cravings

This was suggested for me to try when I mentioned I was feeling sluggish and tired all the time and felt like I needed to rebalance after finishing courses of pain relief and anti inflammatory for back issues, some pain relief for that kind of pain can really knock me for six and I always find it takes me a while to get back to "normal" again after it. I take these regularly while breaking briefly between each course. I find I am so much more focused at work, energy levels are lot better especially in the evening time when I'd usually begin to slump. It gives me an overall boost really and couldn't recommend them highly enough.

Lavender: Some benefits of this versatile essential oil include:

Reduced anxiety and emotional stress
Improves brain funciton
Improves sleep 
Alleviates headaches
Restores skin complexion and reduces acne

I've only ever heard one person say they don't like the smell of lavender and that's the OH, tough on him though because I have it burning all the time! I think everyone should have some lavender oil in the house. I add this to everything - a few drops in your body lotion, an oil burner in the bedroom, to a hot bath, a few drops on my pillow if I need a bit of extra relaxation at night, the list is endless with lavender. 

I buy all of my supplements and vitamins in Here's Health and tend to stick with the Solgar brand as I find them the best quality. 


At long last a pair of shoes that suit me for walking. I've really enjoyed getting out and about on my lunch breaks for a walk recently but with lower back pain I was finding it was taking it's toll of me quite quickly and knew I needed to find the right pair of shoes. I've a few different kinds of runners but a few people recommended I try a pair of these. These are a delight to wear and have really helped take the pressure off my lower back a bit so that I can enjoy my walks in a bit more comfort. 
It really helps to clear the head to get out for that half an hour so and break up the day especially when I'm sitting in front of a computer for most of it. I need to up the ante a small bit more now though 


I reorganised my Spotify account and made different playlists to suits different moods. My favourite one at the moment is my "Zone Out" play list. All the songs are of a slower beat, more mellow and are perfect for winding down or just zoning out and shutting off for a while. It's important to take that little bit of time when I can to park my thoughts for a bit and just let my mind wander. Sometimes it's  where I get some of my more productive ideas from. 

Overall I have just being trying my best to take some time out for myself even if it's to take a few minutes for a quiet cup of coffee and read a magazine or a few pages of a book. It's surprising how that bit of time out can give me the space to clear my head in order to concentrate on everything else that I need to do.

What do you do in order to take some time out and mind yourself?


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Gift Ideas with Oregano Designs

I'm a sucker for a personalised gift, I think they are the best kind of gifts not matter the occasion. 

Suzanne over at Oregano Designs kindly sent us one of her personalised items. Suzanne has a background in design and began her own business after doing prints and gift ideas for friends and family. Suzanne creates all of her items from home while looking after her two little ones. 

We chose the family crest frame and it's such a lovely idea. I love the calligraphy writing in the middle of our 2 family crests and it's the first thing we have where our names are combined.

I was really impressed by the quality of the prints and the whole frame in fact, delivery time was also super quick. The colour of the family crests is really vibrant, it makes the whole frame stand out and catch your eye as you walk down our hallway. 

If you're looking for something a bit different then Oregano Designs will definitely offer that - I've already got my eye on the Finger Print Gift for another occasion. 

Suzanne has kindly offered all of you lovely readers a 15% discount off your entire order including shipping when you buy something from her website. Please use promo code 'PROMO15'


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Life Lately...Finding A Balance Again

Oh hello there little blog! It's been so long since I've posted, my little space on the internet has been neglected but life has got in the way these last few months and that's ok. 

What's Been Going On:

I think I last posted in February, not long after I was struck down with Influenza B and honestly it's taken me a while to get back up on my feet again after it. 
Work has been busier than usual at this time of the year and the OH has been busy holding down 2 jobs and finishing his final year in college.
The boy child seems to have had lots of preschool holidays, an extra mid term this month, what's that all about?! 
Back in March the snow put the country on hold for about a week, we we're stuck in our estate for 5 days! 
The campaigning for referendum on the 8th Amendment has pretty much taken over my life since the voting date was announced and now we are only 10 days away from May 25th when we will get a chance to cast our vote. 

What's Happening Now:

I'm trying to concentrate on myself a bit more. I've been getting out for walks in my lunch break, trying to improve my diet with fresher foods and less processed and taking my vitamins and supplements regularly as I really feel it when I don't take them for a while.
I'm spending some time tapping into my spiritual side and just trying to refocus on the important things with a more positive attitude. I attended my first Scared Feminine Circle  with Juliana Torres recently, I'll write more about that a later date I hope but I really enjoyed it and I feel more able and focused since. 

The OH has been able to give up his job by night in the local hotel and is currently putting the final touches to his last projects for college. I can't believe he is almost done with 3 years in college, it feels like yesterday he started but at the same time it's been a long and hard road not least for him. I'm very proud and keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that he gets the final mark that he deserves. 
As of next week we will be able to regain some kind of normal routine when he is finished college and back to work in the one job full time. It'll be a bit strange having him at home more but looking forward to some proper family time. 

We now have an almost 5 year old imagine! In less than 4 weeks the boy child will turn 5. He's done a lot of growing up lately - he's finally given up the dummy. He had it at night time mostly and we had made a few attempts to get rid of it but he wasn't letting go so we stepped back and allowed him to do so when he was ready. It's funny how it happened, we had been chatting in my room one afternoon during the Easter holidays and it came up that I had braces as a teenager and he asked me what they were. I explained as best I could, metal and a bit of cement on your teeth, it wasn't very nice and he didn't seem to take much notice but the next afternoon he threw his dummy across the room and said he didn't want ti anymore and that was it! He asked for it that night but I told him i threw it out as he had asked and he's not looked for it since. He gave up on his "bear" for a week or so too as he associated it with the dummy but now he's back taking ti to bed every night which we're happy about as he's had it since he was a newborn and I love that he still has a bit of comfort.

The referendum on the 8th amendment and the lead up to the vote next Friday has been all consuming. I'm been out and about campaigning as best I can over the last 2 months and honestly I'm so looking forward to it being over. We are fighting the good fight here in the Together For Yes group but having to deal with the dirty tactics and the abundance of lies from the No side has been draining to say the least. I will probably write a separate post on this in the coming days as I have a lot to say but we will be campaigning right up to the last minute in the hope that care and compassion for the women of Ireland will prevail in the polling stations on May 25th. 

I feel like we as a family are moving on to the next phase of our adventure and I am really excited about what our future holds.

Love & Light To You All xx

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Our Weekend Happy #2

Week 2 of documenting our weekends and I'm loving it.
It's reminded me to take out my camera and capture some very ordinary but lovely moments, it's reminded me that the weekends are important for family time and having a break from the hustle and bustle and it's reminded me that we don't have to do anything extravagant at the weekends to have a nice time. 

Last weekend saw us get a blanket of snow, not for long mind but throwing snowballs and chasing each other around the garden was definitely the highlight of the weekend for Luke. 
On Sunday we actually had 4 seasons in one day! It was sunny, snowing, raining, windy, cloudy and then a shower of hailstones! We'd no sooner have our jackets on to go out in the snow and the sun would either melt it away again or the rain would start. Not to worry though we did manage to get out in the snow and I got some lovely pictures of Luke enjoying his first proper snow experience.

As you can see he was absolutely thrilled to be out and about and chasing his Mum and Grandad with snowballs! 
The garden looked like something off a Christmas card for the short while the snow hung around. 
Car shopping was on the agenda last weekend as my car is hanging on by a thread at this point. I have found my perfect car and I'm hopeful we'll have it in the next few weeks, a few financial aspects have to be looked at first as it will be a big investment but I'm excited at the thought of having something that runs smoothly for a change. 
After car shopping we went out for lunch and despite it being absolutely freezing, it wasn't enough to deter Luke from getting his ice cream after lunch!

We had other plans to travel to commemoration ceremony at the weekend but due to the bad weather we couldn't so we spent the rest of our weekend visiting friends, doing a clean up around the house and lots of puzzles. We even managed a lie in on Sunday which was much needed, I really need to start going to bed earlier again during the week, it's been so late recently and I'm exhausted.

Overall it was a lovely weekend, we had a lot of time with the 3 of us which was is rare but lovely.

Linking up with Mummascribbles and Mrs H's Favourite Things for the #ourweekendhappy linky. 


Thursday, 8 February 2018

Our Weekend Happy

I've found the perfect linky to help me remember to make the most of the weekends and to document it!
We are linking up with Mumma Scribbles and Mrs H's Favourite Things in their Our Weekend Happy linky, documenting your happy moments from the weekend gone by. 

We had such a lovely weekend last week, it was the first one in ages where I didn't have to be anywhere that took me away from home and from Luke. Besides a physio appointment for 45mins, I was free to do as we pleased with my little boy. The OH was around for a little bit of the weekend but he works late nights, sometimes right through until the next morning so he needed to catch up on some sleep.

We got a trip to the woods in on Saturday with one of my good friends and her daughter and niece. It was freezing cold and windy but we braved it, wrapped up warm and let the kids run around and tire themselves out and it reminded me that I need to purchase a pair of wellies though because it was quite muddy and my footwear was not suitable. It blew away some of the cobwebs of working all week and being stuck inside due to the exceptional cold we faced last week. L had also been hit with a cold and cough so he was delighted to out and about running around.
It was movie night for him then on Saturday night as we do every week, tucked up in his cosy pjs and in our bed, he usually lasts for most of the movie but he was asleep 10mins in, the fresh air knocked him out! I love those movie nights, one of us usually tucks in beside him for a little while too. 

This weekend was exceptional in the fact that 2 of my good friends and I actually manged to arrange a day out with the smallies and stick to it! We took our broods to see Coco in the cinema that morning, the OH only got in from work at 8am so it gave him a chance to catch up on some rest but they were so excited to be heading there together and getting their popcorn and treats. It was a lovely film, maybe went over L's head a bit but everytime his friend Aoibhinn laughed, he did too, it was very cute.

We weren't long home from that when we went and met up with another friend of mine and her 2 kiddies, L is great friends with them, a brother and sister and they had a great time running around the Fairy woods that's near us and I had a catch up chat with my friend.

Of course we paid a visit to my parents house on both days of the weekend, we call there every weekend, if only for half an hour or so, usually longer though. 

It was a full on weekend but full on with lovely things and equally lovely people. L and I had some much needed quality time together too, working full time Monday - Friday can take it's toll so I try my best to make the weekends count for us and mostly L to make up for the time I miss out on during the week. 

Hopefully this weekend will be just a lovely.


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

A Grandparents Love

Grandparents - what we would do without them?!
I know we'd be lost without Luke's grandparents, my Mum and Dad.

Luke was the long awaited grandson, after 3 granddaughters from my sister, a boy was needed in the mix. Not long after I found out I was pregnant I knew it was a boy, we didn't find out but I just knew and so did my Mum, she had the "vibrations" she said. 
His name was influenced by his Grandad.

They adore him and he knows this and he loves it. 

My Mum is Nanny / childminder. While the OH and I go out to work and college she looks after him, Monday - Thursday for us, collects him from preschool at 12.30pm until 6pm. They also help mind him outside of these days too in case we have other appointments to attend. 

He has lunch with his Nan and dinner with his Grandad when he comes in from work. He likes it if his Grandad gets home from work before he leaves so that they can mess around for a while. 
He usually stays overnight with them one night a week, this all started in his first year of preschool when he had Wednesdays off and my Mum thought that rather than waking him early to drop him out to her on our way that he could just stay overnight and have a lie in the next morning - see she spoils him that way.
My nieces are all teenagers now so they aren't around their grandparents as much so Luke has their undivided attention most of the time, as you can see in the picture below.

He has his own room in their house, filled with his clothes, toys, books and his own super soft blanket that he got off his Nan (it was supposed to be hers but he took over ownership!) which he uses for when he's "chillin' out" in their house. 

He has his own apron in the kitchen so that he can wear it when helping my Mum with cooking or baking - peeling vegetables (she peels and chops and he outs them in the pan) or baking cakes. They spend ages playing Jenga or Playdoh. He helps her out around the house. His favourite thing to do with his Nan is the weeding in the garden, in the Spring / Summer they are always out there and filling up the bird feeders - he knows what seeds or nuts go in each container. Nanny always lets him play in the yard for ages after preschool is finished. He has different bedtime routine with his Nan than he does with us - I tried to replicate her routine one time but he firmly told me that "No that's only for my Nanny's house". Of course he always goes to bed without any hassle for her and always sleeps all night, ever since he was small - he did not and does not do this at home!

He has his own tools in his Grandads shed and a toy lawnmower that he follows him around the garden with when he's cutting the grass. He likes to wear sleeveless jackets when he's "working" in the garden, just like his Grandad. They go for walks to see the cows or the neighbours horse, they could be at home one minute and then gone the next for ages exploring the countryside. He loves to "fight" his Grandad - "You try push me over Grandad" and so ensues a wrestling match on the new couches that my mother pleads with them not to jump or bounce on, it falls on deaf ears, these 2 are like 2 kids when they are together, always messing around. He loves it when his Grandad comes to visit him at our house too, "Will you come to my house so I can show you all my new toys?".

They teach him things that he would never learn anywhere else and in a way that only grandparents can. I often hear "That's not the way my Nanny does it" if I'm doing something a different way to her. He knows they adore him but he also knows that they won't tolerate any bad behaviour and they have boundaries, even at this young age, he respects them. 

He missed his Nan a huge amount in December when she went away for a few days, they have a routine you see and he misses it and misses her when it's changed up for whatever reason. 

He's a lease of life for them that keeps them young and makes them smile, he entertains them with his random comments and statements. 

While it was never my intention to rely so heavily on my parents to help us out with looking after him while we hold down 3 jobs and full time college amongst running a house and keeping up with life between us, there's no one I'd rather him spend all this time with than his Grandparents and we will be forever grateful for all their help and the relationship they have with our son, their Grandson. 


Monday, 22 January 2018

5 Ways To De-stress...And Lower the BP!

Back in November I wrote about how I had been put on medication for high blood pressure after a scare with my health. As I wrote back then it felt like every little stress had built up and finally imploded and I was knocked for six. 
Almost 2 months on I'm delighted to say my blood pressure has lowered and I'm feeling a lot better in myself. I took a few steps to help me along the way - food, exercise, de-stressing even decluttering made a difference. So I'm going to share my few tips in the hope that they might help someone else who is feeling overwhelmed, stressed out or anxious. 

Today I'm going to share my 5 favourite ways to de-stress:

Music - I lost my love of music for a while in the hustle and bustle of life but it was the first thing I turned to when I really need to bring myself back down to a calmer level and begin to de-stress properly. I always have a cd on in the car mostly to block out the sounds my car is making but it had been a while since I just put some music on and sat back and listened. I'm mostly listening to my "Chill" playlist on Spotify at the moment and I have it on while I'm pottering around the house, reading, on the computer or even just to lie back on my bed and close my eyes for a while. Music was a huge part of my life for ages so it feels good to rediscover my love for it again and allow myself to switch off while listening.

Colouring - I know this has been a bit of a "thing" recently but it's something that I've always enjoyed. Before adult colouring books were readily available I was known to buy kids ones and just spend some time zoning out while colouring them in, I still have them under the bed in my parents house. I just find it so relaxing, picking a colour theme and losing myself in the task for a while. I spend a lot of the evenings on my own once Luke is in bed as the OH works so it's a nice way to relax and pass the time.

Relaxation Apps - I was recommended a couple of apps from some of my fellow bloggers over in IPB and they really do work. I can't remember of this one in particular was one of them but I downloaded one called "Sleep Pillow" and it has different sounds and noises. You can download a a heap of them but I've just been using the free ones and they are so handy if you are finding it hard to switch off at night, which I usually do. There's nature sounds, weather, waves, a robin, streams etc My favourite ones are the waves and the wind / rain one, you'd think I'd have enough of that in real life with the weather we are having at the moment! They just distract the mind enough for it to wind down and before I know it I am conked.

Reading - A former love of mine and one I've very much neglected since L came along. I used to love reading, escaping into the story for a while. In recent years I've found it impossible to shut off enough to concentrate on a book but I'm slowly getting back into it. My book choices vary greatly and I stocked up on some new ones in the Christmas sale as well as receiving some as presents so I have plenty to choose from. A page or two a night and I won't be long building up my reading stamina once again.

Candles - Nothing relaxes me more than turning off all the main lights, leaving just a lamp on and lighting my favourite scented candles. I use mostly Yankee candles but I couldn't possibly pick my favourite scent. I've also had a couple of Tipperary Crystal ones too. There's something so relaxing about a flickering flame and dimmed lights while I'm reading or watching a program or even just sitting back and listening to some music. Candle light creates a cosiness in the house, like a warm blanket, I'm all about hygge at the moment! 

Do you have any particular thing you like to do to relax, unwind and clear the head? I'd love to hear!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Back To The Grind

Although I returned to work last week, it was only 2 and a half days and didn't really feel like the festive season was over, so today it really is back to business. 

Work clothes laid out the night before

Preschool clothes laid out the night before

Work lunches made up for the week - this week it is veg soup all boxed up and ready to grab each morning

Preschool snacks in the bag ready for the boy child to grab on his way out

Coat and hat put next to the bag

Setting the 500 alarms to make sure we are up on time

Getting the boy child bathed and to bed early 

Trying to get all the little jobs done the night before because there will be no time during the week to get them done now we are back to normal. 

Checking the calendar to make sure all the childminding arrangements have been made for the week

Just like that the holidays are forgotten about and we get back to the grind as if there was never any break to begin with. I do love my routine though, not necessarily the time constraints that come with it but the order being back in the house. 
Looking at the above it would seem preparation is the key to make all the juggling go as smoothly as possible and Day 1 back it, we are doing good, y'know that's a good effort right there. 
Now just to keep it up for the foreseeable, we should do, I mean if we stick to our "getting up earlier so we aren't rushing" philosophy that we've been attempting for the last god knows how long....we'll be just fine!

Happy Monday! 

Or this!


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

2018 - A Year Of Change

2017 slipped away from me quietly. I spent it back at home in my parents house with them and the boy child while the OH had to work. We never really do anything on New Years Eve, the parents usually come to us and we get take away and watch RTE 1 until they do the countdown which they mess up every single year! 

2017 was a bit of an odd year to be honest, it felt like we were just surviving, just about keeping the heads above water in every aspect. We were caught for finances and time a lot in 2017 from the very beginning and when the OH lost his job last January I honestly didn't know what we were going to do, but as everyone said "Don't worry you'll be fine" and we were, still are. We made it through, it's been tough and it's not over yet but we are so close to the finish line in this chapter of our lives, change is on the horizon and well, I'm excited for 2018. 

I usually make resolutions that I never stick to but these aren't resolutions as such but things that deserve a bit more of my time and attention, all things that were put on the back burner while we got through 2017.

  • Blogging - My blog has and is a hobby of mine, it's not my job and I don't rely on it financially so I do it out of total love. It's taken a hit in recent times and been neglected both in the frequency of posts as well as the quality of posts. I aim to give it a bit more love this year and make an effort to create interesting content. As well as loving my own blog, I want to share that too, I've not kept up with my favourite blogs and I miss reading them and discovering new ones so I'm going to make more of an effort to read and share. 

  • Photography - I will, I swear I will, actually finish the online photography course I've started. I need to understand the camera better and make better use of it, or y'know actually pick the thing up and turn it on! It's a pssion of mine, I lvoe capturing, editing and creating pictures and I missed it more than I thought last year. 

  • Health - One of my last posts of 2017 was about how I'd been put on medication for high blood pressure and I'm determined to take better care of myself to reduce the risks associated with it. There are a few steps I can take to do this and I will hopefully share what I find effective. I was given a clean bill of health this time last year with the exception of high BP and to keep an eye on it, I didn't and well now I suffer the consequences so it really needs to take priority this year. 

  • Wellbeing - As the point above I also neglected my own wellbeing last year, resulting in stress related headaches, weight gain, skin break outs and just an overall not looking after myself and minding myself. I let things go a lot and it doesn't make me feel good. I want to feel energised and positive, not sluggish and unmotivated. This has been going on for more than the last 12 months but the shock of the BP diagnosis really hit home for me. I aim to stress less, or at least manage it better.

  • Time Management - I really need to manage my time better. Holding down a full time job and having an energetic 4 year old at home, there's not much spare time left in the days but what is there I need to use more wisely. It's so easy to say "Argh I don't have time for that" but if it's something I really want to do I'll make the time. Organisation is the key here and lists, I lvoe a good list and they really help wiht hitting the mini goals. Small changes on this issue I hope to make are getting up even a half hour earlier to save the last minute rushing, utilising the time I spend on the computer and being more productive on it, planning a week in advance for things that need to get done - I've a fancy new journal to keep track of all this.

  • Reading - I love reading, I used to be an avid reader but since L came along and life picked up a very fast pace my reading time has dwindled and it's something I miss. I have a pile of books next to my bed that I have every intention of picking up every night but never do. This is something I really want to change. 

  • Family Time - Something we have very little of in recent years but this year I want to see big changes in that and priotitise our time together. L loves having his mum and dad to himself and going off on little adventures and I feel like this year it's more important than ever before he makes his way into Junior Infants and proper school life begins. 
I'd like to think all of the above is achievable and that I put my focus back on some of the more enjoyable aspects of life.

Happy New Year!
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