I’ve been a fan of Marian Keyes since I was about fourteen and picked up a copy of Watermelon. Her writing is funny, passionate and it draws you into her world with a warm hug. Eleven years on, I’ve read all the previous books and loved them in differing amounts. Her non fiction books (Under the Duvet and Further Under the Duvet) stuck out for me as particularly special, but I spent much time in the worlds of the Walsh family and their idiosyncracies. Much like the work of Emma Hannigan, with Keyes there is a habit of looking around your family and seeing them in the characters, it brings them to life. So, when I saw that there was a new book, The Break, to be read a little jump of joy was happening in me.
I’m quite a fan of the True Crime genre. Himself is a little bit paranoid about my obsession, as if it’s research. I’ve always found the psychology behind the cases and the investigations into them fascinating. In another life, I might have gone into law enforcement, but as it stands I wouldn’t pass the medical! So, instead, like any good armchair detective, I look into the cases that have already been sorted out (or have a story behind them). I’ve written before about the true crime podcasts that I’ve been listening to, and it seemed to really appeal to readers, so now I’m sharing the documentary list. Or rather, the 17 True Crime Documentaries that I’ve loved over on Netflix.
Getting to see Ireland’s gems of historical sites is definitely something I want to do more of. Being able to drive now has opened up so much more of the country to me and I plan to embrace it. I studied Celtic Civilisation as part of my degree, and so discovered a lot of interesting history of these amazing sites. They’re a great resource to bring kids to as well – they make a fantastic day out and they’ll be learning to boot. Many of these sites are now owned by the Office Of Public Works (OPW).
On a normal basis, these sites are mostly paid entry. However, on the first Wednesday of the month, they are free entry to the public which makes them a great free day out. AND from July 1st, they’re all free entry EVERYDAY for kids! Here’s a list of the sites waiting for you to discover them – great for days out when the kids are off and you’re needing something to do!
What have you been watching lately? Are you stuck into a marathon, or looking for something new? This is a tag post I took part in a few years ago, which I thought definitely could do with freshening up. So, here’s my 2017 Netflix Tag. I’d love to see others taking part too, so there’s a linky at the end!
I’ve been a fan of Claire Hennessy since my early teens. Her writing spoke to me at my different ages that I was reading it. Published in 2000 (when she was thirteen!), Dear Diary was my first introduction to a writer who would reoccur throughout my teen and early adult life. Through the teen angst years Abi and Emily (of Stereotype and Good Girls Don’t) were my touchstone. Adulthood has not changed their charm. That’s the thing with the YA fiction genre – when it’s good, it doesn’t matter what age you are. So, when I saw her latest novel “Like Other Girls” was about a teenager from Dublin, but dealt with things like the 8th amendment, questioning sexuality and the obligatory pop culture references, I was hooked.
If you’ve got a long journey ahead of you travelling with kids, you’ll know that it’s tough to keep them amused throughout. On our journeys to Wexford from Cork (2/3 hours in the car), we used to try to balance nap time, youtube videos and cow spotting. Sometimes, the lack of decent phone signal would cause a serious deterrent in the youtube use, which was a major pain.
The things we were able to set up for him to watch were also a bit more limited, inevitably the stuff he demanded wasn’t on there at the time. Also, with a ridiculously small data budget on my contract, it was super expensive for a few hours of streaming. So when Netflix announced that they were introducing the ability to download and watch later, we were thrilled. These Netflix Downloads have made road trips and upcoming flights seem a whole lot less intimidating with toddler in tow!
Today, Saturday 22nd April is Earth Day. It’s a day where we look a little bit more at how we treat the environment and the impact it has on the world around us. In particular, this year it’s a prominent topic, with climate change denial being part of the current American administration. While this terrifies me, as it will inevitably lead to years of damaging policies ahead, I am thankful for the tireless work of the scientists who are working to save our planet.
Over on Netflix, they’ve got a variety of documentaries which should definitely open up your eyes to what is going on with this planet of ours. They’ll open your mind, get you thinking and hopefully make a change in what you do. These are just a few of the ones to look out for this Earth Day.
In the run up to Easter, it’s been great to see a load of kid-centric activities to fill up the holidays popping up. Egg hunts, fun days, these are the things that memories are made of. So when we were offered the chance to try out the Rathwood Easter experience, we jumped (bunny-hopped?) at the chance. Rathwood is a home and garden centre in Tullow, Co. Carlow. I’d been there a few times previously, but never taken part in any of their experiences (I guess 25 is not their target audience age), however armed with the three year old we decided to try it out.
Now that the days are getting sunnier, we’re looking for more things to do outdoors with our little man. As much as possible we’re trying to keep it local – the less time getting there, the more time we get to enjoy outside! One of the big favourites around here is Fota Wildlife Park. So, when the weather was beautiful the day after his third birthday, we decided there was no better way to celebrate as a family.
Binge-watching and Netflix go hand in hand, it’s an inevitability. The level of new content they’re creating of late is fantastic. It’s a great platform which is allowing creation of shows which may not have worked on a network level, and is changing the way we watch television. One of the more recent additions to Netflix is 13 Reasons Why, the adaptation of the Young Adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher. While it’s all about high school and the drama that ensues, the content is definitely something that all adults should tune into. So here are 13 Reasons Why you should be watching 13 Reasons Why (With No Spoilers).
Ah, television, the great divider of opinion. I, along with many parents, prior to becoming a mother was a “My child won’t watch it” type. All I can say to my former self is Ha. Ha. Ha. We worship at the church of Netflix some days to get by, it’s just how life is when it’s hectic and the toddler needs distraction so we can make dinner. However, that doesn’t mean I’m happy to stick him in front of just anything – there’s definitely stuff I don’t want him watching.
Since E doesn’t really watch conventional television, most of his watching is Youtube or Netflix based, which makes things a bit easier to monitor. I’ve been thinking a lot more lately about the content of what he’s watching, and after taking a look, have found a lot of options both entertaining AND educational. So, here are 9 Educational Shows that will appease both parent and child on Netflix.
I’m a scatterbrain. My mother used to describe me saying that I’d lose my head if it wasn’t attached, and she’s right. Over the years I’ve lost rings bought by teenage boyfriends, numerous locker keys, various money notes (thankfully most showed up again), and various other things. I’ve not ever been one to lose things on a drunken night out though. No, I manage to do it stone cold sober. At the age of 25, it’s probably time to do something about it. The real impetus to get my act together happened just before Christmas, and has brought the Tile Mate into my life. So, inspired by Bumbles Of Rice posting about the things that make her life easier, here’s a look at something which makes mine infinitely easier.
The end of 2016 is here. A year that certainly won’t be forgotten, that’s for sure. As with every year, bars and clubs will be filled to capacity, parties will be held around the world and countdowns shouted in every household. If you’ve got small kids in the house, you’re likely not in the night club ringing it in. If you’re looking for great ways to commemorate ringing in the New Year in a kid-friendly way, here are some ideas which might float your boat.
Life is rather hectic when you add a small person into the mix. Suddenly the days race past, the bedtimes all seem to be like Groundhog day and there just never seems to be enough time in the day. It would probably help if I was a tad more organised. It’s on the to do list, to sort my life out, to rid myself of the stress of “oh crap, I was meant to do that TODAY”. Yes, that happens all the time. I apologise profusely to those I’ve missed coffees with, handed in stuff late to, and completely forgotten to text you back. Life gets distracting. The lovely folks in Busy B sent me a Busy Life Diary to check out upon hearing my disorganised plight. I’ve seen them the last few years and thought they were ingenious.
Have you got your Christmas watching thought out yet? Tradition is to buy a copy of the Christmas RTE Guide and a big marker, staking out your claim on the tv for whatever is on. However, as network television can be a little lacklustre at this time of year at times, Netflix is to the rescue. If you’re looking for movies to chill out with as a family, Christmas specials to enjoy with the kids in bed or simply something to pass the hours lazily, here’s a guide to what you can check out.
Although I live in Cork City since 2009, a special part of my heart lies in Waterford. It’s where I was born, it’s where I spent the Summers and weekends of my teenage years. It’s where a whole lot of my family live. I may have been brought up in County Wexford, but Waterford was MY home. On our visits home I love to share this love with E, which I’m hoping will become more frequent when I’m fully road legal! I love coming to Waterford City for Winterval, the Winter Festival which has been a massive success in recent years. Although we were down to see the festival last year, this is the first year we’ve been down to visit the Winterval Santa Grotto in the Medieval Museum. I think I was looking forward to it more than the child! Here’s how we got on….
For many of my teen years, I wanted to be Rory Gilmore. The grades, the relationship with her mother, the boys, the unashamed introvert love of books and writing. Her ambition. Her out-of-the-norm name! Now, I’m not sure I could ever speak as quickly as her, but I’m sure that my binge-watching of Gilmore Girls on Netflix before the new episodes air on the 25th November,Â I could give it a good stab.
So, I’m not exactly going to get back to being 16 and in Chilton (who wants that uniform anyway?), or studying at an Ivy League, but a girl can dream. Like Rory though, I do have a love of books and of writing, so when I came across this A-Z of books on Claire Hennessy’s blog (she has a new fab book out now too!), I was compelled to do it too! So, in embracing my inner Rory Gilmore, here is my life according to books…
Halloween falling on a Monday this year (albeit a bank holiday, but still) means a lot of plans for outings had to be relegated to the weekend. However, it’s still good to be able to celebrate the night itself in the traditional way – lots of junk food (or healthier treats like these cookies if you’re that way inclined) and Halloween movie . This may work better if you’re lucky enough to be off for the midterm, or if you’re off for the Bank Holiday Monday to start your marathon on the Sunday! Gone are the days of needing to head to a shop to rent the scary DVD, Netflix has a range of horror and scary shows and movies, ranging from those suitable for the kiddies, to those you’ll be sleeping with the light on after. Here are a few picks which are on my list (for watching behind a cushion, with popcorn, of course).
As a teenager I was rarely out of the cinema. Every weekend, I went to see something with my group of friends in Waterford – I was up to date on everything, good bad and indifferent. For date nights as I got older, the cinema was always a good bet followed by analysis over a late night pot of tea or a few beverages. Since having a baby and a back injury which causes me to have to skip out on long periods of sitting, I’ve not really been able to make it for movie night. However, in the last few months I’ve managed three cinema nights, which makes me a bit too excited for a grown adult. Here’s a look at what films I’ve been checking out in the cinema of late.
So, Summer is officially gone, the rain has set in, it’s cold and it’s cuddle under blanket time. Happily, this allows a lot of time to check out whats new (and not so new but loved) on Netflix while soaking up the warmth. When I’ve got free time at the moment, I can be found snuggled up in my fleecy blanket I got last winter in Penneys, looking for new shows. Lately I have not been disappointed. Here’s a look at what we’ve been enjoying on Netflix lately.
I am not a fan of bedtime. The child going to bed, yes, perfectly happy with that (what parent isn’t?) but it’s an ordeal at the moment. No matter what kind of routine we try to put in place, it’s a bit of a non-runner. Basically my two year old has skipped childhood and gone straight to the teenage years. Refuses to sleep until late at night, is a GRUMP in the mornings and doesn’t want to listen to a word I say. I’ve not yet gone seeking a refund from the midwives in CUMH just yet but I’ve been close. However, the one bit I do like of the whole farcical routine is curling up with bedtime stories and reading together. It’s a nice time for the two of us and once I’ve got the books that I can’t stand out of the way (I’m talking to you Stickman!), it can be nice and relaxing. So, what have we been reading lately? A mesh of old and new books on the shelves, some I’ve spoken about before, but this is what the two and a half year old is loving right now (and I’m not tearing my hair out reading).
I’m a big fan of non fiction and documentary, in both visual and written media forms. I like true crime, factual accounts of people’s lives, adding knowledge and new experiences to my mind which can change the way I think about things. Fiction is great and all, I get very invested in the lives of people who don’t exist, but there’s something special about learning about the real people and feeling the real emotions, knowing more about the world around me. I’ve found Netflix to be great for providing new documentaries for opening my horizons – from stuff on what we’re eating, to different religious cults, to treatment of women in different parts of the world. It all informs who I am as a person, and who I am raising my child to be. This month has definitely been one with thought provoking watching, not easy watching, but documentaries with important messages that everyone should see.Â (more…)
As anyone who has a toddler living in their home will know, you wind up with a lot of rather ear-worm type songs stuck in your head. Just this morning, Iâ€™ve already been humming â€œMummy Finger, Mummy Finger, Where Are You?â€ and the all-time classic â€œThe Wheels on The Busâ€. As singing plastic enters the house and adds new lyrics to older songs (Iâ€™m looking at you VTech), the list of Top Toddler Hits grows and grows. At any time, I can be found to regale you with a feisty rendition of the Big Balloon song from Peppa, the Fireman Sam theme tune or, and Iâ€™m NOT proud of this, The Pup Pup Boogie. Yeah, this is parenting life, weâ€™re very cool with our music.
At the end of last month, I was very lucky to be offered the chance to attend Inspirefest. Inspirefest is a technology and science conference, but one which not only shows a lot of merging with the arts, but also issues about diversity and gender. As someone who hasn’t studied science since her Junior Cert exams in 2006, I was definitely much more driven towards the diversity and gender side of things. Who’d have thought by the end of it I’d be rethinking my entire vision of future careers?
It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these, I’ve spent much more time binge watching than I’d like to admit. However, the offerings this month are ones I want to rave about, so to save the people in my life from my endless ramblings, I may as well ramble on here. With the Summer in full belt (someone tell the weather please!), theres a bit more time on hand for most people to check out something they’ve maybe been intending to watch for a while. For me, it’s somewhat the opposite – as everyone else is taking a break I’ve returned to the workplace and so am busier than ever. I’ll choose that to mean that my downtime should only be spent doing things I really enjoy – and Netflix has definitely taken care of that this month.