Dressing Dapper This December – Toddler Boy Clothes Edition

As the carrier-arounder and main wardrobe consultant of a 20 month old, I find myself perusing the aisles of clothes shops these days mostly in the kids section – nothing there will make me feel bad about my own body, and the vast majority of it is so damn cute. I’m a demon for picking up little bits and going “Ah yeah sure of course he needs a millionth jumper, sure isn’t there a few euros off, it would be CRIMINAL to leave it there”, despite knowing he has an overflowing wardrobe thanks to this shopping habit and the generosity of friends and family who have kindly donated a hefty stylish wardrobe that will have the child dressed until he’s starting school. With that in mind, I have made the conscious decision to stick to the more economical brands – sadly this kicks Next off my Christmas list (see you in the sales, maybe) and a few others but the alternatives really do make up for such losses. Shh, look at the pretty tiny clothes…

Dressing Dapper for December - Toddler Boy Style Winter 2015

Absolute disclaimer; these are not things that are currently in my wardrobe (sigh), nor are they things I’ve been sponsored or bribed to say are wonderful (though if anyone is interested, feel free to contact me), I merely have a habit of staring at the gorgeous toddler clothes and mentally spending the entirety of my bank account on clothes he will outgrow within weeks. This sort of thing may work out slightly better on the old bank account. Maybe. (Perhaps I should hide the card for the rest of this post). (more…)

Festive Netflix Picks this Christmas AND Christmas Netflix Giveaway

It’s that time of year again boys and girls, the evenings are getting darker, the days getting colder and the shops busier and more full of stressed out retail staff. People are giving out about “that Mariah Carey song playing AGAIN” while knowing that if nobody can hear them they’ll belt out a few bars along with the music. Best of all, mince pies and selection boxes are in the shops, so it’s time to forget about the “summer body” for the moment and chill out with some amazing eats and some fantastic viewing, holiday classics which were intended to be accompanied by lack of movement and yummy snacks. The Christmas lights are lit and Santa has arrived in shops around the country. So stick on Netflix, dig into your selection box and enjoy! Pass the mulled wine, won’t you? If you pass enough, you may even win the fantastic prize up for grabs at the end of this post!

Festive Netflix

(more…)

Listography : Songs That Transport Me To A Particular Time and Place

I do like me a good list, and in turn, I do like certain music to have a story to it. So when I saw that the lovely Kate Takes 5 had started a linky about songs that brought you right back to a certain time and place, then it wasn’t really something I could ignore. So in the midst of all the tinsel filled Christmassy stuff, I may as well throw in a bit of nostalgia, none of which is Christmas related, just so I don’t lose the grinches among you.

(more…)

Ingenious Secret Santa Gifts for Under €15

That time of year again, when someone in the office/friend group/extended family decides the best thing to do is pick random names out of a hat and allocate someone you barely know to be the one you’ve to pick a perfect present for. Oh yeah, and ridiculously small budget to do it in. Sometimes this can be brilliant – if you know the person well, if theres a running joke or you know they have a particular interest. Other times, this spells one thing and one thing only: absolute hell. In that vein, here are some ideas for epic Secret Santa gifts within a fifteen euro budget (the average from what I’ve seen) – these could also be good for those gifts for people you don’t really know but have to have something small for anyway.Ingenious secret santa gifts (more…)

Craft-y Gift Ideas at the Glucksman Gallery

With Christmas close at hand (yes, I went there, Tesco has been blaring the music since midnight on October 31st), thoughts have started straying towards gift ideas and trying to find unique gifts that friends and family will love. I spotted the Glucksman Gallery in my alma mater UCC was holding a Craft & Design Fair last weekend and thought it would be a good idea to check it out, to see if I could spot some gift ideas from local craftsmen. I was not disappointed.

Crafty Gift Ideas from Craft & Design Fair, Glucksman UCC - Four Walls, Rainy Days

(more…)

My Happy Place – with Independent.ie “Mind Yourself” campaign.

Last week I spotted a request from a journalist with Independent.ie, asking for bloggers to talk about their “happy place”, as part of their Mind Yourself campaign.

My Happy Place - Mental Health - Parenting - Four Walls, Rainy Days

As I’ve written about mental illness and my personal experiences with postnatal depression and the impact it’s had on my life, I thought this might be a good idea – there is so much doom and gloom around it that it is important to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the happy bits which make life worth living. I had a bit of a think about specific places which fill me with joy (currently a bubble bath with a glass of wine sounds fairly idyllic) and came to the conclusion that it isn’t really a physical place that I can pick.  (more…)

Everything but the Fireman’s Pole : A Fire Station Bedroom for My Toddler

Have you got a fireman-crazy kid at home? Looking for some bedroom revamp ideas? That’s exactly what I’m up to at the moment – trying to plan a room for my little man that will make him feel like Fireman Sam.

Creating a Fire Station Bedroom for My Toddler - Four Walls, Rainy Days

My nineteen month old is OBSESSED with Fireman Sam, or as he refers to it “Nee-Naw”.  (Loudly, in public, shouting it out for all to listen to). The theme tune, the characters, every single fire engine he sees, he’s mad about it. It makes sense, since from really early days he has been mad about the colour red. The theme tune is permanently stuck in my head, and I find myself spending too much time thinking about how much easier life in Pontypandy would be if Norman Price was sent to boarding school and other such things, but it keeps him quiet and isn’t half as annoying/questionable as some of the other offerings of Children’s Television these days.

Since we moved house in September, I’ve been meaning to do up his bedroom and make it much more of a little boy room, rather than the adult-based neutral themed boring room. The obvious answer is a Fireman theme – not necessarily Fireman Sam, as that can get dated quickly and add expense to a theme which can be put together in a less costly and more creative way. I’ve been eyeing up little bits which I think would pull together a room which he would adore (and hopefully want to sleep in).  (more…)

To Paris, With Love

stockmen

It was a Friday night like any other, even if it was a Friday the 13th. Families crowded together, home after a busy week. Music fans attended concerts, football fans games in large stadiums. Bread was broken in restaurants. Normal things that people derive enjoyment from on a regular weekend. Me, I was drafting a blog post about a craft fair which I visited today, until my Twitter feed lit up with news of a shooting in Paris.  (more…)

Always Drink Coffee Before Soft Play – Tales from the Front Line

Ah, soft play areas, savers of sanity (most of the time). When you are accompanied by a tiny human who finds fantastic enjoyment from flinging themselves around in ball pits, on foam mats and generally tangled up in things, it makes sense to veer towards the large padded area on a rainy Friday morning. Unlike me, however, you should always stop off at a coffee shop first – for the insurance policy against the sanity loss soft play can bring before caffeination occurs.

Always Drink Coffee Before Soft Play

(more…)

4 Irish NonFiction Reads You Should Pick Up Today

I’m a bookworm at heart, I have been since I was a child. I was that kid who was always, without fail, in the book section if you lost me in a toy shop – while my brothers were instructed to go to the security guard by the door if we lost sight of either parent, there was really no need for such instruction when I would be most likely to be found devouring an Enid Blyton tale of boarding school and ginger ale. My love of reading for pleasure somewhat waned when I hit college – ironically studying literature – because the sheer volume of academic reading intimidated me into ignoring the growing pile of books which I had been eyeing up for fun, as to attempt to get on top of difficult articles in multiple languages that I would be able to quote in assignments or exams. It wasn’t that I had lost my love of a good book, rather I realised that with working part time alongside a heavy college workload and extra curricular activities which were adding value to my CV did not allow much time for relaxing with a Marian Keyes book and a cup of tea. Since graduating three years ago, I have been making a concious effort to get back into reading, and have discovered a love for non-fiction, particularly Irish nonfiction. While it started with economics books (Freakonomics, numerous David McWilliams tomes and rather depressing tales of how the Irish economy had been flushed down the toilet), it quickly spread into biographies and tales of events happening within the last century in Ireland, things that have shaped the society I live in and that I am bringing my child up in.

Irish nonfiction reads

(more…)

Through His Eyes

Through his eyes

The world can be an awful place. Drivers speed up as they come to a massive puddle on a rainy day, soaking the mother with the buggy who forgets all about her child’s propensity to learn new words as she screams in frustration. The much needed coffee after a sleepless night tastes horrible and doesn’t help with an already stressful morning. The ever present guilt with every bite of chocolate, the knowledge that the jeans are a little tighter and knowing that these thoughts will hurt you most when you’re already feeling down and out. The rain, always the bloody rain. There are days where I just want to go under my duvet, curl up and not come back out.  (more…)

Like Magazine: Talking About Mental Health

desert CAMPING

Through blogging, I have discovered the power of talking about mental health and how it can not only help me to let it out, but also to read others writing about their experiences – a problem shared is a problem halved, and all that. I am of the belief that mental health is something we need to work to de-stigmatise in this country, the time of our sheltered attitudes towards people “suffering from their nerves” and shunning those who suffer in silence needs to be gone. Thankfully this seems to be a changing attitude in modern Ireland. We are living in a time where mental illness is becoming a public concern – recent reports have shown dramatic increases in the amounts of clinical depression diagnoses, linked to the economic crisis and it’s effect on family life in Ireland, while various charity events are held on a regular basis to raise awareness and funds for groups who provide mental health supports in the community. As a society, we are learning that it is important to talk.  (more…)

Change For Charity – Get Involved!

in the city

Hands up who has at least one jar or tin hanging around the house filled with coppers that you vow will make it into those little bags and into the bank to be put towards something useful? Hands up how many of you have been saying that for the last few years and have yet to actually act on it? Yeah, me too. As of this month you won’t even be able to use them to buy anything in shops as they’re headed out of circulation – meaning they’re slowly but surely becoming useless. Yes, it is the end of the 1c and 2c coins meaning my purse is likely to become less of a mess, and many poor retail workers are going to be dealing with people who just aren’t happy with not getting their correct change… not a world I miss.

However, a fantastic initiative to put these coins to good use is available. (more…)

These Quiet Moments

 
 You snore. You get that from me – apparently, I don’t believe I snore but apparently I sound like a train breaking down, so if that’s to be believed then you take after me. You’re currently curled up in the foetal position, all 80cm of you managing to take up a considerable amount of bed space with your tiny frame. Though I put you sleeping on the pillow next to me, you’ve curled over so your foot is in my rib, your body stretched out across the rest of the bed, meaning that when I lie down, my head is aligned with your nappy. I pray for a peaceful night. (more…)

Scary Or Sexy: A Hunt for a Halloween Costume

Brownies-3

Ah, that time of year again. Gone are the “bikini-body” workouts being flaunted in every magazine, newspaper and bathroom stall scrawl, enter the confectionary-filled holiday season which begins at the end of October. Not that anyone has told the local Tesco, who have been stocking selection boxes since before schools went back last month. Yes kids, the one time of year where it is not only socially acceptable, but rubber stamped okay to ask strangers for sweets and accept them from them without feeling creeped out or violated in any way.

Unless you’re a woman. (more…)

Toddlers and Lock-Ins; my near heart failure.

Toddlers and lock ins.

Since E’s Daddy has started going away for work, I’ve started noticing a definite move in his favouritism between the parents – where I used to somewhat get a bit more of the love and adoration (probably thanks to me being the one who made dinner, to be fair), since we’ve started having a whole lot more one-on-one time he’s rapidly gotten rather bored of me. His reaction to Granny dropping him off after a sleepover at hers the other day was to freak out at the thought of being left alone with me. Harsh, kid, harsh. You need a thick skin to parent toddlers, that’s for sure. It’s so damn easy to be made feel like the Worst Mammy On The Planet (trademark pending) by someone just higher than two feet tall. This week though, I think I may have earned a little bit of the wrath. (more…)

The Kid is Alright

Untitled design-8

Last week, we had an appointment with a doctor who we were initially referred to for a reason that I’m sure will be the impetus for many jokes at E’s expense in years to come – the size of his head. Apparently, my tiny, too-small-for-premie-clothes baby, upon deciding to grow, put a little more effort in when it came to the size of his head than the rest of him, and many months ago, this had the public health nurse worried. From the outset it wasn’t something that had me very worried, it’s a trait of my brother’s which we laugh about (in good fun, no harm meant), but when the professionals are mentioning things like fluid on the brain and growth at a rapid state before “…but I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about”, it does get the heart racing a little bit. And not just because he’s a Precious First Born with a hypochondriac Mama. I swear. (more…)

Why You Need To Watch How To Get Away With Murder

Watch How To Get Away With Murder

Straight up – to me, Shonda Rhimes can’t do much wrong (though she makes my tear ducts activate on an almost weekly basis). For the last ten years, I’ve been a major fan of her work on Grey’s Anatomy  but before that, she wrote my favourite teen movie, The Princess Diaries (as well as the sequel AND Britney Spears movie Crossroads). So when I see her getting involved in new things, I get excited for amazing soundtracks, captivating storylines, a cast which inevitably will cast at least one gorgeous man, one gorgeous woman (who am I kidding, they’re all pretty gorgeous, this is the entertainment industry) and some of the best acting talent out there. So last year once I spotted the trailer to How To Get Away With Murder, a legal drama based around a law lecturer and her team of interns who somehow get caught up in a murder themselves, I was captivated. I ate up the episodes, a lot of them in one go, and then mourned for the summer that I’d have to wait for Season 2 which I am VERY happy to be enjoying every week at the moment. And now I see that the whole first season is being added to Netflix UK (It’s already up on the US and some other places) at the end of this week (22nd), it’s all safely there for more marathon binges where I can spot the little things I didn’t notice before. If you haven’t already, you should be joining me in checking it out – but of course I’m going to say that, I may as well give you a few reasons why.

So – Why do you NEED to watch How To Get Away With Murder? 

(more…)

Heading Into Nature: A Wander in BallyBrack Woods, Douglas

Wandering into Nature

Winter is definitely coming. The weather is finally starting to get cold, the evenings are getting darker and there are leaves all over the ground in gorgeous reddish/orange shades. Living in Cork, this also means getting into the mindset of dealing with even more rain, but for the moment, I am cherishing the days without, where it is cold and crisp, and I’m able to head out walking with my boy. We’ve recently moved further out of the city than I’ve ever lived before since my move down here in 2009, and so have started exploring a whole other area which I’d not really paid too much attention to before. Through a curious wander the other day, I discovered a trail that went through Ballybrack Woods, behind the playground, and resolved to go back as a three so we could enjoy a nice family wander into nature.  (more…)

A Year On: PND and me.

Untitled design-6

Almost a year ago, I started writing a piece for this blog that I wasn’t sure about writing but knew it had to come out. It wasn’t something I was ashamed of, as such, or something I thought was wrong. I was perfectly happy with the anonymous people of the Internet knowing it, it was the not so anonymous faces of friends, family and other internet friends who I wasn’t so enamoured with knowing my “secret”. I sent it to my best friend and got the mister to read over it, to check that the wording was okay, that it wasn’t “too honest” and that I wasn’t making an absolute idiot of myself. In a way, I was looking for their seal of approval that it was okay to write this piece, to tell anyone who read my blog that I wasn’t finding life so easy, that I had been diagnosed with postnatal depression. A year on it seems on one hand crazy that I put so much time overthinking it, but on the other it seems completely justifiable and even now like something I should do.  (more…)

Boots, Blogs and Teenage Angst: My Little Loves

my little loves

Hello October. It’s officially hurtling towards winter, and that time of the year when people obsess over a day of much food, some love and a heap of stressful shopping trips. Let’s not mention that yet though and enjoy the time that is October. Leaves are coming off the trees, the weather is as temperamental as my newly out-of-wonder-weeks toddler, and even the mid-riff baring teenagers seem to be dressing a tad more sensibly these days (yes, I feel ancient writing that). So, while I contemplate getting the electric blanket out of the cupboard and onto the bed, lets check out what I’ve been loving this week in my Little Loves post (part of the butwhymummywhy linky). (more…)

Coffee in Cork City: My Top 5 Coffee Spots

 

I’ve always been a big coffee person – for a lot of my college life, I was pretty sure that if I got a cut, I’d bleed pure caffeine. Becoming a parent has not helped with lessening my caffeine levels; in order to keep up with the toddler it is recommended to be running on fumes and coffee beans! Due to this necessity, I do spend quite a lot of time trying out different places to find “my” coffee place. Somewhere that can make the perfect cup to wake me up in the morning. It’s not just about the coffee though, the service can make a serious difference (much nicer to be perked up by a nice personality as well as the caffeine hit) so I’ve definitely got a few places earmarked as “favourites” in this little city that I now call home.

top 5 coffee spots in cork - four walls rainy days - ireland 2015

 

(more…)

Balance Restored: What I’m Watching while avoiding the rest of the unpacking

Netflix Picks October 2015

Balance has been restored to the Four Walls, Rainy Days household. It may have taken 21 days, three phonecalls ending in crying with rage, two failed installations, one failed activation, and learning a whole new definition of morning (apparently 9.30-1.30, but potentially can go on up to 5pm) but we have broadband in our new house. Not only that, but thanks to our new place having a TV that has a HDMI slot (yay for entering the modern era), I can finally get to use my Apple TV and watch Netflix on a screen that is bigger than my laptop.

There’s been a lot of kids tv. I’m not proud, but solo parenting while moving house and balancing a toddler means that sometimes, Peppa has to give Mammy ten minutes of peace from “No!” and “Mama! Mama! *scream*”. We’re managing to get back on our feet though (happily welcoming Dada back from his work trip, getting a bit more settled into our new home) and the child has started actually going to bed (and staying asleep) at a reasonable hour. Which means we’re actually able to sit down and watch things, in full, and be able to follow them. The novelty. So, after my month of deprivation, of not being able to depend on 90210 to make me feel better about life, I’ve accumulated quite the list of things I’m looking forward to enjoying (and have started on some of them).  (more…)