Taking small steps – the first day at creche

It started with the lunchbox last Sunday afternoon, a simple little pink box.  I bought it in Dealz on Saturday along with a stash of Bountys for himself and a few notebooks to feed my on going notebook addiction.

Buying the lunchbox, bringing it home, even taking it out of the bag – and still nothing registered with me.  It wasn’t until I went to make a name label for the box ( that sounds less ‘make and do’ than it was) that the tears started coming.  Edie was going to creche tomorrow. Our little woman, starting out on her own little path to learning and independence, really I couldn’t believe it.

Starting our little lady at creche the next morning was a big step for all three of us. Until now she was minded by her nanny a few days a week since I had started back at work in July so it was always so much easier to bounce off in the morning knowing that she was in the safest of hands.

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But now, a new routine, new hands. Arms that she had never been held by before. Would she eat and sleep for them? Would she talk and be herself or would she be a little subdued and wonder why I’d left her?

I know I’m not the first mother to go through these feelings, but that doesn’t matter when you’re alone in your own moment of vunerability.  Certainly this week’s back to school and creche photos on Facebook made me think. As a new parent its easy to feel that everyone else isnt stressed or dreading their childs next big step – whether thats school or creche, but thats not the case. Reading the messages under the cute uniformed babas made me realise that we’re all in the same boat, just at different stages.

It’s Friday now and we’re on day five, and I’m happy to report that what everyone says is true, it does get easier. What a little trooper she is. This morning she left out a little excited kick as we got nearer to the gate.

It was just the message I needed, she’s happy and that’s all we could wish for.

 

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Moments from a first holiday

It’s the last day of our first holiday as a family of three. We’re all tired. It’s lashing outside long full rain, the sort that bursts pipes and makes you wonder if the roof will come in.

We’re at home, taking a day to recoup before going back to work.

It has been a wonderful week together – of day trips, adventures and fun times. And do you know what, Ireland you are every bit as deadly as you seem.  It’s been great.

Homework done we headed off every day, took advice from our friends who also have small people and this is how it panned out.

We packed picnics, bought sandwiches, made bottles. We got new teeth, forgot ourselves on beaches, hills and park benches. We got fish and chips, smelled sea air, saw other babas, wore shorts and sunglasses on days when there was no sun.

We talked and walked – beaches, castles, estates, shopping centres. We took in Airfield Estate, Ardgillan Demesne, Skerries, Dun Laoghaire.

IMG_8354There was ice cream, buggy walks, smells of salty beaches.  Strolls down big hills, swings in the playground, small slides. Waving at new friends, tantrums in high chairs.

Good coffee, there was plenty – Butlers, 3FE.  Smiley selfies – first holiday memories for Edie and for us to keep.

There was little chats at 5.30am. Stories in bed, early long breakfasts.  Late nights watching telly, feeling like we had six Saturday nights in a row. Anticipation, time together. Fun doing nothing but planning picnics for tomorrow.

There was magazine reading, now sacred as it is so seldom done. Sneaking in a few pages of style and stories while Edie and Adrian sleep late on a Monday morning. Bliss.

Long showers too. Showers where you are not running for work, where you can let the conditioner stay in your hair for more than thirty seconds.

We made a cot too for Edie’s babies, from a Pampers box. We snuggled Penelope in and Edie looked at us like she was in love.

Adrian painted some pictures, beautiful work while we sat up into the night talking, me having a gin, him wondering if the cat he painted looked more like an owl. Laughing together.

It was perfect to us, our kind of bliss.

 

Get dry hands and nails autumn ready

I don’t know about you but as I get older the quest for soft hands and nails seems to be getting harder.  Between baby bottles and a bit of ezcema/psoriasis my hands are quite dry and a little bit worse for wear most of the time, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I always seem to need a very strong hand cream to make them look any way presentable.

The problem with strong handcreams as I like to call them ( you know the kind – unperfumed medicated thicker creams you might pick up in the chemist) is that they often don’t feel luxurious.  I love skin care, and body creams in general and because of that I want products to feel like a little bit of a treat, an indulgence.

I like something with a little bit of a smell, as well as that nice feeling that your hands have been soaked in something comforting and rejuvenating.  Surprisingly it’s not so easy to find that even in a market that is awash with all sorts of hand creams and lotions.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were out shopping when I stopped to try on some of the Clarins Mandarin leaf scented Hand and Nail Treatment cream at a counter.  As someone with a bit of a hand cream addiction I wanted to try before buying so I lathered some on and walked away without picking it up that day.

In the time that lapsed between us leaving the shop and getting into the car I was hooked.  The citrusy plant based aroma, as well as a gorgeous instant deep soakage (without the greasiness) meant that it was a pretty perfect buy for me.

Autumn ready hands and nails 

The creams are mini 30ml tubes and come in different citrus scents, the bad news is that they are limited edition and when I went to buy more in Arnotts last week they didn’t have any in stock.  The good news is that when I read a little bit about them I found out that they are just a perfumed variant of the original Clarins Hand and Nail treatment which has been around forever and is available as a constant staple from Clarins counters.

Although it’s not a budget product, this is an absolute star buy – genuinley a joy to use.

Since I’ve started using it my hands are generally softer and my nails seems less jagged. Clarins Hand and Nail treatment is available at Clarins counters nationwide.

PS. If you’re lucky enough to come across the citrus mini special editions pick them up, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Discover the countryside within the city in Airfield Estate

When we planned our staycation this summer, we decided  we were going to plan day trips out of Dublin so that we felt like we really were heading away.  It’ll be stress free we said.  Just us, a ten month old and our picnic basket travelling to the wilds of Meath and Kildare every day for a week with the wind in our hair.

And we did just that for three days.  On Tuesday evening, mid way through our week off, we both confessed we were both wrecked from being up during the night with our little woman who is teething, and then mid morning ( about 8am) rushing out the door  with picnics, changes of clothes, suncream and umbrellas to make sure we were making the most of the day!  To be honest, going to work would have been easier!

So when I suggested a midweek trip to Airfield Estate ( which is about a 15 minute drive from where we live) I think we both sighed with relief and resigned ourself to an easier staycation life for the rest of the week.

Airfield Estate is an old stately home set on 38 acres of gardens and farmland in Dundrum. It’s literally a stones throw away from the sprawling metropolis that is the Dundrum town centre, yet as we were to find out on Wednesday, it could’t have felt more like the countryside.

Highlights 

As a family day out, Airfield is a breath of fresh air.  A family estate dating back to the 1700s, its every bit as interesting as it is beautiful.  If it’s sprawling flower and vegetable gardens your into then you’ll love the wild walled garden that you’ll find and pretty much everywhere you look there’s poppies and other wild flowers around every corner so strolling around enjoying the sunshine is just bliss for the senses.

fullsizeoutput_3c93The farm was the main attraction and reason for our visit, and we weren’t disappointed. Although Edie is only ten months she loved the ducks, hens and goats roaming around the farm.  In comparison to some farms and family days we’ve previously visited, the facilities were excellent. Lots of picnic bench space, lots of bathrooms and baby changing areas throughout the gardens and farm as well as a really lovely family friendly atmosphere.

I pulled together a few bits that I loved about Airfield, our don’t miss moments

The Farm – Everyone of every age couldn’t but love the baby animals and the giant pot bellied pigs rolling. We passed families of every age who all seemed to be enjoying it as much as we were.

Naturescape – A fabulous adventure playground for little ones up to 12 and for the smaller ones head to the Grey Barn where theres blackboards, a lovely foamy ground for crawlers to let loose on and some toys that’ll suit babas of every age.

The Stables Cafe – A nifty little cafe who’ll heat your baby food and will give you a free babycino when you buy a coffee yourself.

The Vintage Car garage – StyleLivingDada was obsessed. Home to the gorgeous vintage cars from when the estate was home to the Ovenden family. I loved the Peugoet Quadrilette.

Go see it!

We really enjoyed our day out in Airfield. The bonus for us was that it was that getting there was totally stress free and we were only sorry we hadn’t discovered this little jewel on our doorstep sooner.

Tickets for Airfield Estate are 10e for Adults, children under 3 go free, over 4’s are 5 euro and Seniors & Students are 8 euro.

 

 

Three budget beauty buys to invest in

Pre Edie I was a beauty marketers dream. I bought most of my make up and skincare from beauty halls in department stores and at the first mention of a new shiny mascara I was handing over oodles of my hard earned cash to try whatever the latest beauty press release was selling me.

While I’m still a sucker for beautiful packaging and for spending a morning lingering around the Beauty halls, now that I’m a mama its fair to say that my purse strings have had some readjusting over the past 10 months, making me more of a beauty bargain hunter when it comes to my skin and beauty routine.

And that hasn’t been a bad thing. Mornings spent researching and then hunting for star buys at a fraction of beauty hall prices has opened my eyes to some really great everyday brands that offer high end beauty results.

Here are three of my favourites:

Bourjois Volume Reveal Mascara 12.99

My name is Denise and until now I’ve always been a mascara snob. There, I’ve said it. Certainly until I bought this mascara on the recommendation of a friend I’ve always forked out up to thirty euro on high end mascaras believing all cheaper chemist brands to be clumpy and drying.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong. This one is a great find – at 12.99 it’s affordable, has a defined wand to make sure you get all of those lashes one by one and in my experience doesn’t clump. I look, and feel awake when I’ve got this on. That to me is what I want from a mascara.  It does what it says on the tin, it’s great for adding volume and it’s got a nifty little mirror on the side too, handy for applying make up on the bus as I do frequently.  In my experience it’s as good as any of the Lancome mascaras I’ve been forking out wads of money for up until now.  Total  best buy find, available in chemists nationwide.

Bioderma Atoderm Shower Oil  7.50 for 200ml 

Shower oil is a product I discovered when I was pregnant. I loved the luxury of using an oil in the shower instantly and the chances of me moving back to a normal shower gel are now slim because as someone with dry skin, I really feel that using an oil is really nourishing, and certainly for me, takes the cardboard skin feeling away when I step out of the shower.

Admittedly I started my foray into shower oil with a luxury L’Occitaine gift, their Almond Oil if your pockets allow, is sublime. I’ve long been a Bioderma fan, and for me their Hydrabio range is excellent for dry skin ( and was especially perfect for me post baby when I needed the hydration most).  At 7.50 for 200ml this product, their Atoderm Shower Oil is nothing short of exquisite – hydrating, soft and feels as luxurious as some of the high end oils – I just wouldn’t be without it.  At a fraction of the cost of these luxury shower oils, it really is a star buy.  Available in select chemists nationwide.

Lacura Nail Strengthener (Aldi brand) 4.99 Aldi supermarkets nationwide 

Making baby bottles is not conducive to having nails, not nice nails, but just actually having any sort of nails. My nails were brittle to begin with but post baby they have the same consistency as a book from the 80s. I came across this Lacura nail strengthener one day in Aldi and I’ve been using it since. Since using it my nails aren’t as brittle, don’t break as often and it makes for a nice base coat and top coat too. Multi functional, and cheap as chips – a winner in my books.