As the crazy days of Christmas come to a close, it’s got me feeling nostalgic of the year thats gone by. It’s a year that certainly won’t be considered boring to look at, that’s for sure. Politically, the world seems to have fallen on it’s head and decided that right wing is the right way to go. In the world of celebrity, the heroes of many have fallen to the will of death – David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and most recently George Michael and Carrie Fisher, with many more in between.
Personally, it’s been a mixed bag. I’ve returned to the workplace after being out for 17 months. E has grown up into a toddler with crazy energy. I’ve had work published, and appeared in other publications. I’ve had medical procedures that hurt like a mofo, and struggled to keep on top of my mental health with my pain. I bought my first car and learned to drive, but failed my first driving test. 2016 for me is a “Work in Progress” year. Lots done, more to do, to quote a certain political party. Looking back on my Instagram, it’s a nice look at the year that was. Here’s my Instagram Best 9, and a bit of an explanation for each one.
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.
This is a hard post to write. I don’t particularly know why, as it’s not the first time I’ve addressed it. I’ve written extensively about my experience with depression, with being medicated, with chronic pain. However, I decided this week that I would write about anxiety. Anxiety which has been exacerbated at this time of year. I wanted to share my story in the hopes that others would feel less alone in their feelings. I planned to write it for my Mental Health Monday post. Â And then I became too anxious to write it. Oh, the irony.
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.
I’m getting into the festive mood now with so few days to Christmas. Having spotted this tag online, I thought I’d take part – lots of bits about what makes a fab festive holiday time.Â It’sÂ certainly very different since having a child, there’s a lot more magic than it had for my jaded retail staffer self! I’d love to see other people’s answers to theseÂ questions. So, withoutÂ further ado, here is the Christmas 2016 Tag.
The internet is filled with gift guides. Nine days before the big day, you might still be stuck on what the lady in your life is REALLY wanting. If she’s a mother, the likely answer is “Sleep, please”, but since Santa can’t provide a sleeping child, retail may help. I am personally the worlds worst at telling exactly what I want – a source of frustration for himself and anyone else. For the last few years, we’ve used Amazon Wishlists for Christmas, which completely takes any surprise element out BUT does ensure that we get what we want. Chatting to some Mammy Blogger friends, we’ve come up with some suggestions if you’re still gift hunting!
Secret Santa is great. Instead of having to buy lots of presents for a variety of people, the focus is placed on just that one present. Generally it’s also under a price limit which makes it all fair – and easier on your wallet. Lots of Secret Santa arrangements will be doing their swap this week, so if you’re looking for a last minute idea, here’s the post for you. Here’s a look at nine gift ideas for your Secret Santa under €20.
On a lot of Christmas lists this year sit requests for new technology devices. The market has soared over the last few years and it’s led to a decrease in price and uptake in use by younger and younger users. Tablets and smart phones are incredible tools and are high on the wish lists of many young teens (and perhaps younger kids). However, they’re also something that parents can’t hand over lightly, which can create some worry when it’s number one on the Santa list. If iOS Devices (iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad) are on your kid’s wishlist this Christmas, here are some tips to ensure they stay safe, while enjoying their new tech.
When E was born, I was keeping an open mind when it came to breastfeeding. I’d told myself it wasn’t a big deal if I wasn’t able to do it. However, I Â found it incredible to be able to feed my baby myself. From the beginning, E was fed using a mixture of boob feeds and pumped feeds. I was advised by medical staff in hospital that supplementing his milk would be necessary to up his weight. As much as possible, I wanted to stick to breast milk as I knew it was best for baby. So I pumped. I found it incredible to be able to see the liquid gold in front of me, and ensure my baby got the goodness. It also meant that his Daddy or grandparents could do a feed, while I got some well needed rest.
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….
November has been a bit of a hectic month. I’ve somewhat fallen off the blogging bandwagon. Not for any major reason, aside from PLAGUE and Â ILLNESS that has ravaged the house. Only a slight exaggeration that. The boy child, of course, brought it home from creche in the form of a lung infection. Ridiculous high temperature (39.4!), scary lethargy and all. He was miserable and refused to sleep alone. So, off toddles Mammy to his room, co-sleeping for about a week. Surprise, Surprise, he passed it on. And in the way only I seem to be able to do, I managed to multiply it, getting struck down with an ear, throat and chest infection that will NOT go away. So, I’ve been out of work and unable to write because…. well, because my brain is fogged down with medications and illness and thoughts of naps.
So, this blogging malarkey has opened a whole lot of doors for me. It’s introduced me to wonderful friends, gotten me into situations to work with fantastic companies and occasionally has managed to even get my name in print. I write for the love of writing, as a form of expression and venting, and I couldn’t have imagined just how much more than an online word-vomit this blog was going to turn out to be.
My writing particularly about mental health has been cathartic and reassuring. Between comments from readers and posts from others involved in Mental Health Monday, I’m made to feel like I am not alone, and that others are being made feel that way too. That feeling of validation (yes, I need external validation from time to time, I’m only human) is furthered today by the fact that a fairly massive picture of me and a piece interviewing me appeared in a supplement of the Irish version of The Sunday Times.
I’m a big advocate of the internet and how it has enhanced my experience as a mother. Through my online communities on Facebook and beyond, I’ve met some incredible parents who have shared their experiences. I’ve made fantastic friends who I never would have met otherwise. I’ve had conversations late into the night about the frustrations of motherhood and been made to feel less like I’m going crazy and more like I belong. I have found my village. It’s a wonderful resource, a fantastic element which many people find essential to their daily lives. However, with all great power (the power of the online community), comes great responsibility, and I feel that this is something which can be easily ignored in the heat of the sleep-deprived moment.
Are you in Cork with the family this weekend? As Christmas is coming up, the city is set to be busy with shoppers. It can be nice to get away from the chaos for a while – kids aren’t known for their patience during long shopping days! The lovely folks in Cork Film Fest have entertainment suitable for all the family on this weekend – if you’re looking for something a bit different, this may be up your alley.
Every day, I take medication. This medication allows me to go about my day as a normal person, able to cope with the world. For my chronic pain, I take painkillers so that I’m able to work, to play with my son, to leave the house and not cry in pain. For my depression, I take antidepressants, which enable me to come out from under the duvet and interact with others. I work in a field where I am constantly talking to people – the idea of shutting myself away just isn’t sustainable to my earning power. So, each day I take these tablets, I get on with life and all is as it should be. I’m not ashamed of it. Not anymore.
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…
It’s two years since I came forward on this blog to talk about my journey through PostNatal Depression. Two years. Twenty Four Months. My son has grown up into a little boy, and me? I’ve changed too. Over the last two years I have come across a whole lot of different experiences when talking about my mental health. Most people are well meaning, and some interactions are really lovely. Others leave a lot to be desired. I got to thinking, perhaps a how-not-to-do-it list might work for a Mental Health Mondays post. (And then I got distracted by all the doom in the world so here we are on Tuesday, better late than never) So, here we are: 7 Things You Really Shouldn’t Say To Someone With Depression.
I’m always a fan of a good list post. I saw that Kate Takes 5 has revived her old blog linky, Listography, for a once off in celebration of her 6th Blogaversary, and thought “Yeah, that I can get my teeth into”. It’s somewhat of a love letter to the blog, this one, a list of my favouriteÂ posts. I’ve been writing this blog for two andÂ 3/4 years, it’s gone through various face changes, a name change, the birth of a child. It’s documented ups and downs and really shitty days and days where I’ve punched the air in pure joy, and lots of moments begging for more coffee (in an IV) in between.
My blog is still very small fry in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been very lucky to get to work with some fantastic companies and bloggers, I’ve gotten to meet so many people and gotten to do some very exciting things that never would have happened otherwise. This blog started as a rant at being housebound and pregnant, much like many older abandoned blogs before it. This one thankfully has stuck and allowed me to share my rantings on toddler tantrums, sleep deprivation, mental health and the general clusterfuck that can be current affairs.
As a thank you to the lovely readers and folks who have been liking my Facebook and Twitter pages, I’ve teamed up with Baby Elegance this week for a giveaway. As someone who spends rather too much time looking for different things to buy to make parenting a baby (now a toddler) easier, I spent rather a lot of time on their website, so was thrilled to hear from them.
Getting out and about with your baby or toddler can either be a joy or an ordeal, it depends on the day. Some days everything goes great, you’ve got that child who smiles and is happy. Others it’s more like bringing the Spawn Of Satan to Tesco, or worse, a full on trip into town. In the two and a half years I’ve had a tiny posse, we’ve definitely had a mixture of the two. Days can be made or ruined by little things – not having the stuff you need in the bag, people not moving out of the buggy spots on the bus, and one of my pet peeves, lack of appropriate changing areas. I’ve written before about my list of baby friendly places to grab a coffee or some food in Cork City, and have been told others found it helpful. Sudocrem recently ran their Baby Changing Room Awards 2016 and I’m thrilledto see some of my favourites on their list! Here are my top six places to head when baby needs changing and I’m out and about in Cork (city and suburbs).
Through this series, Mental Health Mondays, I’ve gotten to read and share some incredible stories of strength, character and even humour from other parents who have lived with mental health issues. It’s been inspiring and encouraging and has left me feeling so much part of a real group – parents who’ve battled our demons and lived to tell the tale. This week’s poster, Ellemental Mama, is yet another inspirational lady who has contributed to the series. Her piece looks at the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, in fighting depression. Hopefully you will find it as wonderful a viewpoint as I have!
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).
Happy Monday! This week for Mental Health Monday, the lovely Jen from The Medicated Mommy has agreed to share a piece about her postpartum depression. This one is a bit different – she’s writing about the reasons that she is thankful for her postpartum depression. It’s not exactly the first thing you’d think of being for postpartum depression – it’s certainly far from the first thing I was and am – bitter, angry, annoyed being ahead in the line. It’s a really great piece which was eye opening to the things that can be brought out from it, and I’ve definitely started looking on my own experience in a different way.
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.
It’s time for the ghosts, zombies and numerous Elsa costumes to hit the streets, and sugar levels to hit the roof. Yes, it’s Hallowe’en! As well as being a time where spirits cross over, it’s also a time the kids have a break from school – so it’s important to have things to entertain them! Here’s a look at some of the kid-friendly scare-themed activities which should put smiles (and shrieks) into your family day out this Hallowe’en in Cork City and County.