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.
Oh, the weather outside is… well, it’s bloody awful for the last few weeks, isn’t it? While I consider myself extremely lucky to not have been affected by the horrific flooding around the country, it has been pretty miserable out, meaning that my big wandering walks have been lessened and more time trying to keep a toddler amused and myself sane has been had. It’s been a long holiday break, but there’s nothing like getting stuck into a series to make the time go faster. Enter Netflix, saviour of the rainy day blues.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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). Read More
The concept of rape culture is something that was probably first highlighted to me around the time of the furore around that “Blurred Lines” song – it’s not that my life had been in a massive bubble from it, but rather it had never been pointed out in such a way that it had a name, that it was a thing, not just a part of normal life. Things previously seen as “banter” or “just being lads” began to be framed in a whole new, less rose tinted, light. I consider myself extremely lucky in this regard, that it isn’t something that had hit me personally, that it wasn’t something on my radar. I remember being horrified hearing the details of the Steubenville case, the victim blaming, where society didn’t look at the horrific acts suffered by the victim but rather the damage to the reputations of these “promising young men” and the ruination of their futures, as if their “indiscretion” shouldn’t be something they needed to face up to, and one girl shouldn’t get to ruin their lives. This wasn’t the first case in the US in recent years where this was the premise; Savannah Dietrich from Kentucky, was assaulted and recorded in 2011, and faced her “justice” as her attackers having their records expunged by the age of 19 and a half, despite her having to live with their actions for the rest of her life, then faced potential incarceration herself for breaking a gag order by naming them online as her attackers. As a long term fan of shows such as Law and Order SVU, I’d seen time and time again the “ripped from the headlines” stories where girls and women who had been violated were unable to win a case against their attacker as much of the time, it came down to a “he said, she said”, and often, she wasn’t believed. It wasn’t until the Slane Girl debacle, almost a year after the Steubenville case that we got to see it hit our shores here, the difference in attitudes and the ruination of reputation and impact of social media in how we perceive sexual conduct in society. There were no Slane Boys, there was no shaming of them for their actions which were equal to that of the young woman involved. Instead we saw a public “slut-shaming”, photos going viral over social media, a drunken mistake displayed to the world and in an instant ruining a reputation and a life. It is with these cases, and others like them in mind, that Louise O Neill wrote the powerful “Asking for It”.
Insomnia is never really a welcome friend to any house. I’ve never been a big fan of it – I like my sleep, comfy and duvet covered. It went without saying that the sleep deprivation caused by the installation of a baby into my life was tolerated (barely) but not loved. So when I finally manage to get a child who is sleeping (not sleeping the night, but sleeping in blocks that feel like it’s a full nights sleep) and I’m stuck staring at the wall at 3am, that’s really just a bad joke. One that really, really isn’t funny.
Last week I started having some slight breathing issues where simple things like walking and talking would make me so dizzy I had to sit down and stop, or risk falling over. In typical form, this initially happened on a treadmill, mid-physio session. Because, where else would you fancy almost fainting? Off I toddled to my GP, who after a quick listen to my chest announced my athsma had decided to flare up for the first time in a few years and I’d have to be on a course of steroids for the week. Grand, as long as it stops the forever dizziness, all was good. Or so I thought. I hadn’t weighed in the thought of how steroids affect sleep – something I’ve definitely learned a lesson from this week. Read More
I’ve been changing nappies on a daily basis for the last 16 months. I’ve become somewhat of an old hand at it, there are no more pee on the sofa incidents, and it becomes less of a two man job as each day passes. So, you’d wonder how after 16 months of dealing with changing nappies multiple times a day, how I would still forget to pack the basics in the bag. I’m in need of a one-stop-everything-in-one-place solution – I blame the sleep deprivation!Read More
As part of my trip back to the not-so-sunny South East, a couple of visits to Waterford were in order. Iâ€™ve got a lot of extended family who live in the city, and it is one of my favourite places in Ireland, having spent ,most of my teenage years spending any free time hanging out in the city, living in The Book Centre and having a lot of lunch breaks from work in the same cafe every single time with the same friends. Said cafe no longer exists sadly (RIP four euro chicken goujons and mashed potato), but it has been replaced by a wonderful cafe which is both adult and child friendly, No. 9 Barronstrand St, in Georges Court Shopping Centre. Iâ€™ve been in here once or twice but never with my own child until today, when myself and the Mammy decided weâ€™d treat ourselves to brunch. We were not disappointed.
There has finally been some form of a break to the heat – okay, so I would have rathered a gentle breeze rather than the monsoon that descended over the weekend, but thankfully the most of the sticky humidity has left us for the moment. It’s been an active week here; lots going on, some of it even nice things. Continuing on with the fab Little Loves linky from butwhymummywhy, this is what I have been loving this week!Read More
The diet is still on, don’t worry, but some times you have to have a bit of a cheat meal. Lately in Cork, everywhere you look there have been springing up “Asian Street Food” restaurants and takeaways. As someone who quite likes her food asian but isn’t a fan of MSG, seeing that the two combined in one of these establishments was definitely a call for me to try it out. I apologise for the pictures; food blogger I am not, but having tried it for dinner one date night, I decided to try it for lunch with a friend the other day and review it on the blog. Read More
Since having E last year, I’ve bought a lot of baby bibs. For one thing, it took us a long time to figure out just how bad the staining was with sweet potato (never, ever ever use white bibs when your child is a messy eater), as well as sheer forgetfulness on my part to stick spare ones in the bag on our way out. The fact that they came in ridiculously cute designs merely added fuel to the fire, and sure “They’re only four euro”, the ever-lasting Penney’s trap, was at play at the same time. I’ve bought them in varying quality; some would be nearly considered disposable, others (the amazing wipe clean ones from Tommy Tippee) considered lifesavers and essential items. I’ve always had a soft spot for the multiple designs though, bandana bibs can truly make an outfit, they are full on baby accessories. So, when I got the chance to review some of the wonderful Funky Giraffe Bibs, I jumped at it.Read More
Ah, reading, my old friend. Before I had a baby, I was one of these people who liked to read for pleasure, a book before bed, as a method of relaxing. These days, its more like my head hits the pillow and I black out until inevitably the child wakes up and wants the bottle which is right next to his head handed to him. My book shelves have changed greatly; my library membership now more utilised in the children’s section than the adults – although this is something I’m working on. Here is a look at what books we’ve been reading lately.
I’ve read my fair share of parenting books. Most of them while pregnant, unsure, terrified and hoping that divine wisdom would help me remove the watermelon I was growing in as painfree a way as possible. Since his birth, theres been a number of books enter my house telling me how to feed, dress, treat my son as he grows up to ensure that he’s the best he can be. Oh precious firstborn, I did my research on you. Most of it is a fat lot of nothing – Annabel Karmel recipes don’t seem to work on him, we’ve gone through numerous sleep books. None of them made me laugh (apart from the ones with seriously unrealistic expectations). None until “I Forgot To Take My Pill – An Honest Diary of a First Time Mum”, by the very funny Sharyn Hayden, which launched this week.Read More
My now-toddler has been a life changing transformation for me. Not least in the amount of effort it now takes to leave the house. No longer is it a quick check for keys, wallet, phone; oh no, leaving the house now requires military precision, the nappy bag, the kitchen sink, numerous toys and a few dashes back in the door having realised something essential has been left behind. Most of the time I’m listening to comments like “You’re not going for a week!”, but most things in that bag are things I know that if I don’t have them, I will somehow need them.
Recently, I’ve had the great pleasure of reading a charming book writtenfor children but with a deeper message that can apply to us all; regardless of age. Edward Mark Fitzgerald’s first children’s book, a tale called “The Adventures of Wilbur Burrows” in his “The Last Fairy Tales” series, is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while and it did not disappoint.Read More
Anybody who knows me, knows I’m a stationery fiend. I look at pretty notebooks – too pretty to write in – and try in my head to justify buying them just to add them to my collection. In college I had a lot of different notebooks – while this sated my pretty stationery buying urges, my lack of organisation to boot meant that finding random references written on random pages in various notebooks was a bit harder than it should have been, leading to panicked sessions of cramming for final projects. Many hours have been spent staring at the Paperchase website, and many others like it, trying to justify my future lack of food. Who needs food when there is pretty things in life?Read More
So if you follow me on any social media, in particular Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed that I went to London for a few hours yesterday. I might have maybe mentioned it, just a little bit. Or a lot. Fierce exciting stuff as I’d never been before and not only was I going, but there was pampering and child-free Me-Time.Read More
So it’s been a while since my materialistic retail therapy side paid a visit to the blog, indeed since the contents of my makeup bag did. January was a fairly, let’s say, sparse month for new things but between a payday flurry at the end of the month (who lets me loose in Boots??) and some stuff I got for Christmas but waited to try out, there have been some new additions crying out for attention.Read More
I’ve written before about my relationship with food, weight and body image. After my pregnancy with E, I was left at the biggest I’ve ever been and felt like absolute crap. Jeans shopping was more traumatic than normal and my new shape made me want to cry when I looked in the mirror. I looked at other mothers walking around with their buggies (some of them jogging) and wondered how they did it, how they attained their gorgeous figures with tiny babies, how they found time to exercise and cook clearly healthier meals than I was. I listened to person after person tell me how breastfeeding was the key to the super weight loss and felt even worse about my failure as a watering hole for my son. In hindsight I realize that the onset of post natal depression did play a lot into the hands of this. I felt horrible, ugly, like my son would be ashamed of me, that my partner would clearly want someone better, thinner, less whale-like. It wasn’t a good time. Read More