My weightloss Journey, calorie counting and getting back to excercise.

Its been no secret to anyone includimg myself that I’ve been overweight for sometime now and while I’m a big believer in body positivity and appreciating your body for more than how well it fits into todays “beauty standards” the fact is I’m happier,healthier and in a better place both physically and mentally when I’m fitter….

At the end of January something clicked in me (trigged partially I’m sure my a number I had never seen on my scales before) and I felt the time was right.

I remember my old home Ec teacher saying quite wisely we are all on a diet, the food we consume each day is our diet. The word diet to most means punishment, abstinance and sacrifice to mention just a few words and that as sure as shit wasn’t for me !

Just to give you the start point … I was more than likely in the obese stage of carrying weight but i wasn’t wrapped up in it … I was none the better for it if i had to run up a stairs and I’d been struggling with emotional eating over five years . I haven’t got a before pic as such as I only ever really took pics of myself from the shoulders up ! But even in my facial selfies I think the journey is obvious ….

Believe it or not I feel that learning to love my body despite what society and the media deemed all its flaws led me to put a plan into action to get healthier and fitter but maybe that’s another blog post in the making !

I had used the app My net diary before with success so decided I’d start by downloading that again.. Not only is it a great tool but its free and easy to use. Basically you enter your stats and your current weight and the weight you would like to reach and a date by which youd like achieve your goal by .. If your goal is unrealistic or dangerous the app will not register it as they advise a slower rate of loss to sustain it longterm. You can track your water intake,steps and excercise as well as your food.

This is the app ! See below for the icon /logo you will need to look for in the play/app store

Now I am no dietition or fitness expert, far from it but here are a few things i did that i found worked for me …

Rome wasnt built in a day or a week either… First off I focused purely on food for the first two weeks and made small swaps and changes and although I excercised I didn’t do it as part of my plan and it was purely leisurely. In addition I did not give up my kryptonite ..for me its chocolate but be it savoury snacks, beer or wine whatever is yours don’t give it up in fact do the opposite factor it in every day ! You will only crave and or binge on a “forbidden fruit” and in the first few weeks as if you were training a dog or a horse you ‘set yourself’ up to win …

Progress Tracking.. For me the lbs in the weightloss were a means to track my progress but I also had a leather skirt that was my tracker too ! It was my goal to get in it comfortably…whether you are measuring, weighing yourself or aiming for an item of clothing to fit… be consistant. For me I weigh myself every sunday after lunch in my weigh in leggings and top (the same ones each week) taking on and off shoes/weighing in jeans one week and leggings the next you are only fooling yourself ! Another must is an accountability buddy .. each week I text my friend cathy and she encourages me, asks my goals and plans for the week to come (It helps that this is her area as a fitness instructor and pt) and gives me tips and tricks to try.

Fill the fridge… Make sure you have plenty of low cal food in the fridge ( these are not necessarily “low cal or diet brands”) and stock up on healthy alternatives to your favourites and make sure you have treats in that are “good value for calories” I personally would not have lasted a week only for skinny whips !!! I’ll do a list of my fave foods and must have fridge fillers next but the obvious is fruit and veg ! I also have a calorie counting highlight on my instagram page @the_eclectikmagicmomma

Mommas treat box !

Remember your struggles and  triggers… A lesson learnt early on for me was to remember my struggles… The main one for me along with emotional eating was the lack of a ‘stop’ button in my brain .. I had been excited to see kit kats on special offer in my local shop and the fact that a two fingered bar was just over 100kcals was music to my ears but where as I could stop at one or two skinny whips these were so delicious I had to have three or four in a sitting.. boom just like that i had near 400 or more calories consumed and still longed for more. Clearly this was not a healthy way to “spend” calories and it meant I skimped on dinner that day to stay on calorie budget but you live and learn and go from there one day won’t do any harm !

Excercise…. In week 3 I brought in excercise … I had been riding 2/3 times a week for leisure but I hopped on you tube and got my weights out on week 3 and started riding for longer blocks of time . When getting back to excercise start slowly with whatever you do and don’t over do it, Doing an hour day one is no good if you cant walk for the rest of the week!!!!

Start off by doing a little more than you do allready, be that walking an extra 15 minutes or starting off walking for 15 minutes every second day you’ll be surprised it builds up quickly.

My other piece of advice is do the excercise that you enjoy most as you will do it for longer… Im lucky in the fact that a) I have a loan of a horse and b) horse riding is what i love to do and its a great way to burn kcals but the point I’m trying to get at is I can ride easily for 2/3hrs and enjoy it so ultimatley every minute on that horse is a minute that I’m not shoving something in my gob !!! So maybe a 45min jog will burn more cals than a 2hr leisurly hike but if your hiking without a three course picnic then you can be sure your saving calories… within the app you can track your excercise and choose whether to bank it or add it to your food allowance for the day, I would advise banking it …. we are all human you might have a day where you have only 200 kcals left for the day but you fancy a mars bar that will put you in the red but so be it.. If you’ve banked those excercise cals you can eat the mars bar, grab a latte on your walk or say yes to granny’s apple tart without sweating it !

Sign up for a challenge ! In febuary I signed up to do 3,000 crunches in March for MS Ireland so along with raising money for a good cause it gave me a reason to do 100 crunches a day… There are loads of these challenges going on right now as charities are really struggling in the absence of flag days so its a win win situation for all involved !

I mean it was no wonder that when I sat down on the yoga mat to start my crunches that my dogs thought it was a rest we were having !!! Any other time Ive put my arse on somethimg soft there has been a cuppa, a biscuit and the tv involved

A ‘bad’ choice doesnt have to mean a ‘bad’ day or week …. In the past if I fell off the wagon I’d have the attitude “era I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb ” I’d let one bad choice turn into a bad day or week or more .. Learning not to self sabotage has been something Ive had to do , this week has been an good example after the easter weekend I relapsed into my chocolate addiction … it was all I could think of literally morning noon and night … compared to the last two weeks this week has been hard and not as successful..hopefully if I can just maintain my weight this week it’ll be a win. It has been difficult with the kids at home to excercise god knows i cant even pee in peace and the less I do the harder it is to find the motivation …. but this week has thought me i need to make a plan for the summer and set out how Im going to make it work when the kids will be here with me for 3 months and how I will have have to factor in healthy eating prep for picnics etc…

So learn from falling at the hurdles and stratagise how next time you can clear them without fail … Im writting down the changes im going to make nxt week all ready and the first one on the list is this ….

Drink lots of water… This seemingly easy task is something i find really difficult for two reasons … Firstly for me its in one end and out the other as quick, not funny my friends when your in a farmers field with your pants around your ankles at school collection time when your neighbour passes high enough up in his jeep to get a good view … needless to say I greated him in shame for a few weeks after !

So back to the point secondly I find water hard on my stomach and dont realoy like it .. to make drinking water easier for me I add a little boiling water to the glass as i find cold water harsh also you can add fruit for flavour or theres no harm in adding squash if thats what you have to do to get it into you !

So they are my tips to help you get fit or lose a few pounds of coarse as Ive said earlier I am no expert and I am very concious as to how easily unhealthy eating habits can become damaging so please if you feel you need to talk to anyone with regard someone elses or your own unhealthy attitude to food please contact BODY WHYS HELPLINE on (01) 2107906.

Best of luck if you are embarking on a healthier lifestyle and if you need it my inbox or dms are always open to you ..

Xxxx Laura.


Santa at Amber Springs…

A couple of weeks ago the four of us headed to Gorey, santa hats on and YouTube Christmas playlist blaring to stay and visit santa in Amber Springs.

I, like most had heard Amber Springs was the place to go with kids but I must say it exceded my expectations, so it’s not surprising that only a couple of years ago Amber Springs won the award for the Best Family Hotel in Ireland.

The hotel was decorated beautifully and from the minute we arrived until we left we had the pleasure of dealing with exceptional staff their genuine positive attitudes were lovely.

The rooms were nice and spacious and the family room had two single beds and a double.

After settling in we got ready to board the train to see santa.

We were greated by the elves in reception and they then took us to a room where the kids got colouring sheets and their faces painted while waiting to be brought for story telling, hot chocolate, photos and letter writing. The snow queen told us all about Santa’s village in story form which was lovely and after happy elf asked a mum a question based on the story (her correct answer was the key to boarding the train!) we were lead singing jingle bells to our festive transport for a quick spin to Santa’s village.

We were helped on and off the train by lovely elves and informed our number on our ticket to see santa would appear lit up outside his base when we were due to que up, this was a fantastic idea as it elimated waiting.

The village was laid out with wooden huts housing Santa’s elves each doing their piece to make Christmas perfect, circling a grass area that was decorated with lovely lights.

We just had time to visit Santa’s pets before our number popped up but the kids were so enthralled with the chinchilla etc that we went back after.

Santa was situated in a lovely homely room and he was super! The fact that I hadn’t sent info in the kids and their requests like previous Santa visits meant he chatted more naturally with them and posed for a photo before calling on the elves to get some gifts for their respective ages.

The elves were very accomadating in snapping some lovely photos but there was no official photographer there which was a pity as it was a lovely setting. The gifts were great and age appropriate and both of mine loved what they got.

We met some amazing friendly elves who were fixing toys, making elf clothing, singing Christmas karaoke, wrapping gifts, checking the naughty or nice list (lf you were lucky enough to be on the nice list you received a cert! ) and the kids made Reindeer food along with getting little gifts too.

The person stood out for us adults and children alike was Mrs Claus she was just amazing… She was even better than santa and the children loved her. She was so warm and loving and it was clear this lady loved children. She spoke to the kids but more importantly listened to their every word as if it were the only thing that mattered. My two would have stayed all night with her and left only as other kids needed her attention.

We then got the train back to base where we picked up our photograph for ten euro from the energetic elves and bid them farewell!

Little James was worn out from the excitement but my little lady was no where near ready to sleep so we spent an hour in the soft play area before grabbing a delicious pizza from the Italian on the way back to the room.

Usually the soft play is open 7am to 7pm but I was delighted with the extended opening hours to burn off the extra excitable energy Lucy had!

The next morning the excitement woke James at 5.50 am and l only managed to keep him in bed for an hour after that before he was ready for breakfast.

They have a traffic light system like most hotels indicating level of chaos but I usually ignore it and things work out OK but here the red light is not just busy but jammed so it’s worth getting up that bit earlier!

The food itself is just amazing and there was everything from continental to a delicious hot breakfast with all the trimmings but I must say my treat and favourite is pancakes I don’t have to stand over a pan flipping!

When it is busy your room number is taken and you can enjoy hot drinks and pastries while you are waiting to be called and relax in the comfort of lovely seats while the kids play which I thought was a nice touch.

Before a last run in the soft play we headed out to check out the other on site entertainment which includes a football pitch, a gorgeous rustic playground, the petting farm (which was well and home to happy animals), the go carts and the mini golf. Note the golf and go carts are charged for but it’s not expensive and the shop isn’t outrageous either! We had intended to visit some local attractions but didn’t even have to leave the hotel as the fun to be had on site was more than enough!

Over all we had an amazing time and will certainly return as there is no doubt that it is an amazing place to holiday with kids, my gripes although minor were that on the Friday morning the kids club was not open despite a hotel full of kids and our official family picture this year does not include santa but more importantly does not have the year (or location) on it…

We look forward to returning to Amber Springs, all my opinions as always are my own and this was not an ad or gifted! We got a deal on pigsback so keep your eye out for future deals or contact the hotel directly for packages and bookings.

Christmas Gift Guide – For Her

The bits I’ve chosen for this gift guide are things I have chosen because they appeal to me, you could say this is almost my wish list ! I have not been influenced or paid by anyone to include them or their products, neither are the links affiliated I’m just trying to make things easier if you do fancy them!

I hope you get some ideas that help you

Xoxo L.

Love Moschino Oversized Sun Glasses – E155

I love love love these sunnies !!!! But you can choose whatever tickles your loved ones fancy … my point is just because it ain’t really sunnies weather doesn’t mean they don’t make a super gift.

Whether it’s for winter sun or summer which really (isn’t that far away) I think a good pair of sunglasses is a super treat for a loved one, more research will have to be done than when buying a more conventional gift as they are quite personal but that’s only a small hurdle !

I found these on the littlewoods Ireland site but I’m sure can be got from many other sources too.

Jo Browne

Jo Browne solid perfumes are handmade with love using beeswax and essential oils and although I have not purchased myself I have it on good authority that these are in fact as amazing as they look and sound !

They are available in three different aromas Floral (lemongrass and wild jasmine), Sweet (citrus and crushed vanilla) and oriental (spice tea and honey) and are packaged in a beautiful and economic friendly bamboo tube.

New to the range is a gorgeous facial cleansing balm which I am treating myself to this Xmas !!! Containing Camillia oil it is sure to revive and replenish dry and tired skin. Either of these beautiful products would be well received by any lady but especially by those who like to use products with less chemicals and nasties in the ingredients !

For more info or stockists see

McWilliam Tote Bag – E60

McWilliams holdalls are notorious around Cork and within the sailing circles but maybe you didn’t realise that they do more than just holdalls.

From pegbags , pencil cases to clothing there is something on the McWilliam site that will appeal to everyone but my favourite are the totes in particular this black,red and white one.

As with the holdalls you are sure of strength and quality along with a stylish appearence. I love these bags as handbags are not for me and only useful on a child free night out in my opinion !

Be sure to take a look at the full range via the link below.

A gift or voucher from Horse Shoe Hearts

I follow this gorgeous UK based company on instagram and I think the pieces are so beautifully made that you don’t need to be an equine lover to appreciate them.

You can choose from a selection of gorgeous iron works made from recycled horseshoes or send one of your own to personalise your purchase. Gift vouchers are available if you can’t get your hands on your loved ones best friends shoes or would like them to choose their own gift.

Be sure to check out all the gorgeous crafts on their grid , see link below …

DKNY Bryant Sutton Envelope Clutch Bag – E240

You cannot go wrong with a nice black bag and this I think is amazing… It is timeless and classy and very few could find fault if they received this on Xmas morn ! I’m not really a designer fiend but I must say I do love DKNY whether it be clothes or accessories.

A piece by Thomas Sabo from E25

If you have never visited or seen some of his beautiful pieces before then you are missing out.

I first discovered Thomas Sabo when looking for black earrings for my wedding that were classy and didn’t look like costume jewellery and along with finding the perfect pair I’ve lusted after many a piece since!

Along with the pretty golds and usual nice pieces what attracts me to his designs are the unusual vibes eg the boohoo, aztech and darker feels that his pieces give off while still looking classy and are of beautiful quality.

Whatever your loved ones style your sure to find a perfect piece here at or at the stores they stock.

Adopt a Seal ! From E35

Looking for something a little different this year or something for a huge animal lover well look no further ! The seal sanctuary in Courtown Harbour is not only a cool place to visit all year round but also has fantastic adoption packages from E35.

See more on

Sabbot Head wear – From £30

Sabbot headwear features silky faux fur poms and a soft fleece lining to make sure you are as cosy as can be ! comfortable all day long.

Unfortunately the harsh reality is that many of the hats we buy which have bobbles labeled faux fur is in fact real …. with sabbot headwear you can have relax knowing your style is cruelty free.

Sabbot knitted bobble hats are made in Europe from the finest materials including Merino Wool, Mohair, Alpaca and Cotton. There is loads of styles and colours to choose from for you to find the perfect hat for the outdoorsy girl in your life or indeed yourself .

To explore the Winter fashion knit collection see the link below….

Christmas Gift Guide – For Him…

So it’s that time of the year again Halloween is not long over and we’re all starting our Christmas shopping lists!

For me men can often be the hardest to shop for as they seem to “want” nothing and have everything they need… well that’s the case with the men in my life anyway!

The bits I’ve chosen for this gift guide are things I have chosen because they appeal to me ! I have not been influenced or paid by anyone to include them neither are the links affiliated I’m just trying to make things easier if you do fancy them!

I hope you get some ideas that help you

Xoxo L.

A gift card from Tom Winters Barbers

Whether it’s a classic cut or a traditional shave the gentleman in your life is after he is sure to thank you for his experience at Tom Winters Barber Shop.

Situated on North Main Street in Cork City the vibe and interior of the shop is just as impressive as the talent of Stephen and his team.

My experience here was superb when I took James for a “little Gent” haircut .. short of getting a beer or a shot of whiskey he was treated like one of the lads and Stephen was amazing with him.

Along with providing a fabulous service you can stock up on all the hair and beard accessories you might need at the shop too.

Be sure to call in for vouchers or accessories or book an appointment via booksy on the shops instagram page.

Animal Clothing from E14.99

I have bought quite a bit of animal clothing for both Mr Mmmm and James and I personally love it. It washes extremely well the quality is so nice that I feel it always looks smart yet is casual and cool.

There is a colour to suit any man and a huge range to choose from including long and short sleeved tees and hoodies.

They can be found in a lot of outdoors shops, Debenhams do a small selection and there is a huge collection at ;

Fossil Machine Watch and Leather Cuff Mens Gift Set – E235.

I love Fossil !!! I think the quality is excellent and the brand is luxurious as well as on trend.

This watch and cuff set really stood out to me as I felt it would be just as fitting with casual clothes as it would be with smart clothes and is ideal for the man who isn’t too into formal wear but prefers his style a little more relaxed.

The black and brown colour combo means it will go with just about everything and the style I feel is masculine yet funky.

I spotted this on Littlewoods Ireland online but there is also a store in the Kildare Outlet village.

Beard Card Game – E5.99

Well what’s not to love about a top trumps style game ! This is a fun stocking filler for the man, bearded brother or buddy in your life.

There’s sure to be a little eye candy in here to encourage you to play after the Christmas dinner too !!!!

I spotted these at Littlewoods Ireland online …

Husband Dad Feckin’ Legend – E12

If you are shopping online this Xmas do not do it without visiting this Irish site ! There is so many witty and cool gifts to be got here and it’s always good to buy Irish.

I thought this was a cool mug and there are so many more to choose from along with lots of other quirky gifts.

Go check them out at

Manstuff-mega-advent-calendar -E25

So there is a an advent calender for everyone these days so why leave out the men!

I came across this calender on oxendales and thought it was good value and that most men would use pretty much every thing in there ! Ideal if you want to give the man in your life a pre Xmas treat !,size:

Pure Silk Paisley Bow Tie and Pocket Square Set – E27

Pocket squares and bow ties have thankfully made a comeback as there is nothing quite like a dapper dressed dude in my opinion.

You can of course get some amazing extravagant sets but they come at a price. I thought this M&S set is great value at e27 and not too out there !

This is an ideal gift for a God father or uncle or maybe a music teacher etc …

It comes in 3 colours and all look amazing against a crisp white shirt.,en_IE,pd.html?dwvar_P60196791_color=Y4&start=

Ecoffee Cups -E11.99

“No excuse for single use “

Every man, woman and dog these days is big on takeaway coffees ! So here’s your chance to help them help the environment…..

There are loads of cool prints over on the website so go and take a look.

100 Movies Bucket List Scratch Poster – £12.99

This is a cool gimmick gift for the movie mad man in your life ! And I must admit I’d love this in my own Xmas goodie bag ! Truffle Shuffle have so many cool retro gifts and clothing be sure to take a look.


Mike Ross – Dark Arts – E20

Hopefully Mr Mmmm can resist buying this before Xmas so I’ll be sure of at least one of his gifts being a hit !

Cork born rugby player goes into his private and public life in his autobiography that is sure to be a heartbreaking read in many ways I’f his time on the late late show is anything to go by.

This book can also be got via book depository.

Happy Shopping !

Mothering Without My Own.

Remembering always my beautiful mum Marian 1960 -1999.

I had been putting this off for a long time; writing about how becoming a valiantlymum has made me mourn the loss of my own mum more, in the last four years, than I did the previous thirteen. To be honest, I just didn’t know where to start.

Recently, on dropping my little man at school, we were informed of the sudden passing of the mother of a little girl in the preschool. As a mark of respect there would be no class the next day. I mumbled, ( I actually don’t know what I said) grabbed the note and scuttled off. More than likely it appeared that I didn’t care, or had something I deemed more important on my mind. The truth was the opposite. I couldn’t face the reality of the situation.

I had to run. I had to get to my car before the tears came.

And they came.

I cried for the loss of a life of a young mum I didn’t even know. I cried for her family and friends. I cried for her husband who would have to be strong for his children and as all parents do, put them before everything, even his own grief. I cried for him thinking that after the loss of their son just a few years ago, life would be so unjust to take his wife too, and I cried for her children.

I cried for their loss, not just now but for the loss of the relationship they would’ve shared with their mum and the loss they would feel at every momentous and eonderful milestone and moment throughout their lives to come.

And that was when I realised I also was crying a little bit for myself.

The loss of my mum aged seventeen was a tough lemon to suck on but I got through it and got over it … or do I thought. My Debs, my twenty first birthday, going to college and my first job, all milestones that would have been quite different had my mum been part of them. Until my wedding I sailed along coping valiantly.

The floodgates opened, quite literally that day and I haven’t been able to shut them since. The suppressed grief has caught up with me and I guess I had ten years plus of crying to catch up on.

Life after James, my firstborn, was basically as it always had been, just with a little less sleep and with a new sidekick in tow. It wasn’t until the birth of my beautiful daughter and having two children under two that I realised just how much I was missing out on not having my mum around and how mothering without your own mum was so hard.

Losing my mum to the big C before I had got over my teenage angst, was difficult. I often wonder what kind of adult relationship would we have had, would we have gone shopping together, to events, trips away or even just sat at the kitchen table with a cuppa putting the world to tight? Maybe we would still be clashing, bickering and disagreeing.

Either way I would like to think I would have got to know her – nit just as Mammy – but as Marian. I now know since becoming a mum that there is so much more to a woman than her role as a mother.

I must admit, my first experience of giving birth I had a bit of a nervous wobble while gone up and waiting for my c- section. I cried, I felt insecure and nervous and silently, I cried for my mammy. The last time I had been gowned up I had been a child having my adenoids out and grommets put in and I felt no fear because I had her by my side.

I have two great sisters one that is even nicknamed “auntie mummy” by my kids, and without them I often joke I’d be in a strait jacket. Aforementioned auntie mummy often talks about her ride or due bitches, those friends that have your back no matter what. As I get older I see my friends and their mums and I realise for most young mums their own mum is the queen ride or die bitch.

Your mum is the lady who has been there, gotten the tee shirt and advises accordingly. The lady who knows when your near breaking point and provides some you time by taking the tots. The lady who reassures you that you are not alone in tough times and the lady who reassures you, most importantly, that the hard times – they too shall pass. Sometimes the only person who can reassure you like this is your mother and that’s when mothering without your mum can hurt deeply.

Of course, it saddens me to think of how much she would have loved the gruesome twosome. She lived children and would’ve been a super granny. Would she have wanted to be called granny? Nan? Nana? What kind of relationship did she have with Nanan (her own mother)?

How did she cope when she had us? Did she take it all in her stride or find motherhood challenging at times despite looking like she was a pro juggler?

On the humorous side of things James has recently told me I’m a bad lady and a mean mammy, and it just rolls off me without hitting a nerve. If I learned anything from that teenage relationship between my mum and I, it was that things said in anger are mostly hot air and there’s little or no truth to it. So I’m ready for the drama and the I hate you when the day comes!

Until then I’m striving each day to be the great mum mine was in the years we had together and pray a little prayer that my little Luce will be easier on me than I was on my poor mother.

Halloween Fun and Feasting !

The kids are settling into school, the blackberries have ripened , the leaves are turning into a rainbow of autumnal colours….these are all hints that my favourite time of the year is almost here !

Halloween is my my favourite seasonal event …. all the fun but less stress and expenditure than Christmas and a period of time where I’m not weird just festive !!!!

Before the kids came along we hosted a fun fancy dress parties annually and from those great nights I have a collection of memories that I will never forget !

Let me give u an insight … picture my best friend in a Dolly Parton wig with a wet teashirt competition winner costume on giving my father in law a lapdance at 2am !

Fun times but a far cry from how we celebrate samhain these days !

As the years add up the traditions multiply so I said I’d give you a look at how we “do” Halloween these days with two smallies in tow !

Hope you enjoy or even gain an idea !

Decorate , Decorate Decorate !

“Caution, enter if you dare !”

I should have this crime scene tape up all year round !!! I’d love to say my house is tastefully decorated in an instagram type fashion but alas the fact is its cheap and cheerfull pound shop tat and we love it !!!!

All of the stuff I got this year has been from Dealz (we also got sweets and paper plates etc there too) as they have a great selection.

* Our hall / nature table decorated *

Host a party.

As our friends started to have kids we noticed our crazy parties were no more so the past four years we have hosted a family party in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital and it has been a huge success.

Instead of people bringing the usual goodies and wine we ask that they donate what they can and bring just themselves !

We all have a great time while helping a very worthwhile charity.

Sign up to host yours at;

Decorate / Carve a pumpkin.

This year James chose to carve his pumpkin and Lucy chose to decorate hers…

James drew his face on and I cut it out almost so that he could punch out the pieces with a cake crafting tool !

Lucy attacked the craft box and stuck on her face and accessories, I let her stick them on with regular glue but secured them with super glue after !

They were both very proud of their pumpkins but when Lucy saw James lit up I had to cut a few slots in her to give the same effect.

I used battery operated tea lights that I picked up in deals to safely light up the pumpkins.

Fabulous Festive Food.

This year I vowed not to have any waste after carving the pumpkins so put together a pumpkin and potatoe curry and then Googled what to do with the seeds.

Pumpkin and Potato Curry:


* 400g of pumpkin thinly sliced/chopped

* 400g of potato

* 2 onions halved and finely sliced

* 1 Green chilli deserved and chopped finely

* A piece of ginger peeled and chopped 3/4cm

* 2 tsp Garam Masala

* 1 tsp of mustard seeds

*1/2 tsp of ground tumeric

* 4/5 cardamom pods bashed !

* 1.5 tablespoons of tomato puree

*small bunch of coriander

* 250g Natural Yoghurt

* 400ml water


> Fry the onions until golden and add the ginger, garlic and chilli

> Stir in the spices for a minute or two before adding 400ml of water gradually

> Add your potatoes sliced thinly and cook until almost soft then add in the pumpkin and simmer for 5 minutes

> In a separate bowl mix the yoghurt and puree taking a little juice from the pan before stirring the paste back into the veg and spices.

> Add the corriander and simmer for ten minutes.

> As there is plenty of potato in it it can be served as is or if you fancy it add rice !

Sweet and savoury pumpkin seeds:

I did not come up with this recipe but can’t find it again to credit it !!! So just be known it’s not mine ….


*1/4 cup of butter melted

*1/2 cup of honey

* 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

* pinch of salt

* 4 cups of pumpkin seeds

* 1/4 cup of white sugar


> preheat the oven to 150′ and while you are doing that boil the seeds in salted water for 15/20 mins

> mix the melted butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a bowl.

> toss the seeds in the sweet mixture, sprinkle in white sugar and bake on a tray covered in baking paper

> bake for 20 mins , toss and turn and bake for a further 15/20.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

For a savoury flavour try tossing in olive oil and your favourite spice I tried cajun and as an alternative to nuts proved to be a nice nibble !

These went down a treat with himself and a healthy eating child of a friend but not so much with my two and I !

The sweet seeds reminded me a little of popcorn and Mr mmmm described them as tasting like sugarpuffs. These would be a nice addition to museli or flapjacks .

Spooky Gingerbread Monsters:

So I took the easy way out of this one as when I saw the pack of a pair of skeleton men to decorate in Dunnes for less than e3. I figured I’d save a mess in my kitchen but after helping lucy decorate hers I think I’ll bake and decorate some for my party !

These are fab but I got some extra sweeties to brighten them up a bit and fuel their imaginations.

Check out local Halloween events ….

* James getting his groove on with his buddy after last year’s fairy not scary walk !*

Each year Halloween is getting bigger and better and there are so many events to choose from but we love staying local and our favourite event last year was the “fairy not scary walk ” as part of the Crosshaven Halloween Festival which finished with a mini kiddies disco !

The primary times website is a great place to see what’s on near you …

Also see @thegetoutmommy on instagram not just Halloween events but fun events and outings all year round.

And of coarse Trick or Treating !

We are quite rural so for us and these little legs we go house to house ( all 6 of them approx !) by car !!!!

But really how u do it doesn’t matter I mean u dress up , smile and get free sweets…. ingenious !!!! Mums also have chocolate on tap in case of emotional outbursts or dramas for the nxt few weeks ( for ourselves of coarse lol )

Who doesn’t love Halloween !!!!! How do you do Halloween ?

Have a spectacular and spooky one whatever you do !

Xoxo L.

Bubblebum Booster Seat review.

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be sent a Bubblebum car booster seat. I knew it was going to come in very useful during the summer with the extra bodies and bums we were inevitably going to have and I was right !

Like most instructions I glanced at them rather than reading them and opened the valve completely off and wondered how in the name off God I was going to get this Bubblebum inflated….

I reread the instructions to find you only need to open it enough to inflate and while you still have the valve in your mouth you tighten it to leave u with your inflated booster ready for road !

The Bubblebum is suitable for children age 4yrs and 15kg and over. It is crash tested and not only meets the EU and US safety standards but exceeds them.

I really loved the seat belt positioning clip to make the child more comfortable and the clips on either side of the bubblebum make sure the seat belt is positioned correctly and safely.

The first bum on our new booster was my nephew, with the age gap between my two kids being small up to now they both had car seats with three point harnesses (which in general are quite bulky) and left no room for a regular booster seat in between the two seats if we needed to facilitate an extra child.

This posed a problem for us in the past as although my nephew is a tall and strong lad at only nine years old he of coarse is still by law obligated to sit in a booster seat and I hadn’t found a booster that fitted comfortably up to now.

The bubble bum fitted in between the two seats no problem and he was quick to tell me it was really “comfy”.

Soon it was my main man’s chance to give me his opinion on the bubblebum ! I must admit up to a few weeks ago he was still in a 3 point harness and we only decided to remove the harness as it became difficult when he had a cast on his arm after an unlucky break even then I was apprehensive about doing so. Knowing that the bubblebum met and exceeded the recommended safety standards and seeing the extras for securing the seat first hand put my mind to rest when we started to use it on our travels.

James loved it and thought it was “really cool”, it was obvious to me that he was comfortable and he felt like a “big boy”, he travelled well in it and kept a good position.

The Bubble bum when deflated folds up into a neat little bag and is extremely light which means not only will it not take up massive space in your car when not in use it also is easy for children to carry and would even fit in a P.E bag or in a bag with the other contents needed for an afterschool adventure.

The bubble bum is a must to have as a spare booster as we all end up doing another mum a favour, or asking one of another family from time to time along with it being the perfect purchase for a childminder or a relatives car.

It is also a great buy for those who are not car owners but find themselves needing a booster for their little ones when hopping in a taxi or accepting lifts, you wouldn’t even know you had this in a nappy bag or in the undercarriage of a buggy! For the same reason it is ideal to take on holidays with your brood.

I can also see myself taking the Bubble bum to the cinema or theatre as my little princess has told me more than once that the booster seats they supply are cold and uncomfortable!

At just under e35 (offers on two or more on their site) the Bubblebum is very reasonably priced considering the high level of comfort, the safety tests it has easily passed and the use you will inevitably get out of it.

There are 5 different colours to choose from black (as seen), pink, union jack, Irish shamrocks and stars and stripes which can be seen on

along with lots of other usefull information and blog posts .

The Bubblebum for us definately gets a big thumbs up and when little luce hits the age and weight requirements I will certainly be purchasing one for her.

For those of you who thought you had crossed everything off your list for the new school term maybe your not quite done yet !

Be sure to check out them out on Facebook an instagram too….

Despite being gifted the bubblebum all the opinions above are genuine and my own as always.

Xoxo Laura.

7 Ways to see out the school holidays !

So I had planned on writing this post (it’s had quite a few title changes!) earlier in the summer but life got in the way but now is as good a time as any to share some activities!

It’s only about 2 weeks till school starts for most and I’d imagine you mums are worn out from entertaining and refereeing your brood so hopefully this post will help you entertain your kiddos in the last leg of the holidays !

I hope you find something useful in here ,

Xoxo L.

1- Dino Excavations.

This is a simple way to get a half an hour to have a cuppa, watch your favourite soap or just stop the bickering ! It is also cost effective if you wish to set it up for when there are a few kids around.

I bought a pack of cheap Dino figures including some trees for just e1.50 and that in total was the cost to entertain 5 children.

I used old Chinese cartons and started with a thin ice layer at the bottom as each layer froze I added another.

I tore open used tea bags to get an earthy effect and added dried seaweed, shells and stones along with the little plastic dinosaur. Just make sure the Dino is not too near the bottom or the top as it will lessen the time needed to dig him out !

When the block is frozen just run some boiling water over the end and side of the container and it will pop right out.

My impatient children spent 20 minutes at the ice blocks with a fork and a sugarcraft tool before realising that if you throw the ice block at the wall you’ll free the beast !!!! Either way they enjoyed it and more have been requested !

2- Kiddy Yoga.

* The gruesome twosome try the first part of the jack in the box pose! *

My two absolutely loved this activity !

I looked online and found this handy chart from

It shows 25 fun, easy poses ( one you must create yourself !) for kids. Some may be a little harder for the younger kids but you get 15-25 min of entertainment and exercise too !

*James loving the “happy baby” pose *

I was actually surprised at how into this the guys got ! James loved it and I’m sure he’ll be superb once he is minus the restrictions of his cast.

The favourites were jack in the box ,aeroplane and the mouse.

It’s super to make them aware of their breathing and encourage exercise at a young age. This is a cost free activity that is great for the body and the mind.

3- Bubble Wrap Prints.

This is a fun alternative to normal painting ! Nothing outrageously mind blowing but the kids loved it …

I kept some bubble wrap from packaging and cut it onto shapes and let the kiddos loose with the paint !

Older kids can cut out their own shapes from the bubble wrap.

You can also use cheap dinkys or some lego bricks to paint with and let the imagination run wild !

4 – Personalised t-shirts.

For this activity I got a xl white vest top and a couple of long sleeve tees for the kids but you could always jazz up a tee you had all ready.

I bought a packet of fabric markers in the arts and hobby shop which were e8 and the Tees in dunnes which made the total cost e19 but I’d advise going to penneys to reduce this cost ( I was caught for time ).

5 – Get some online inspo!!!

We have it all at our fingertips ! Get searching online …. I found this great free website (and there is loads!) with loads of fun ideas to keep the kiddies entertained like this cool lego challenge.

From printable wordsearches , card tricks for kids to even cocktail ideas for mums it has it all !

6 – Wash,wash,wash !

We all know how much kids love water and the summer is the ideal time to let them have fun with H20!

We don’t want the house flooded so outside is a win for all !

Let them set up a car/bike/vehicle wash, set a pricelist and even make some sinage!

Now the water restrictions are no more they can have some simple good clean fun !

7- Have a picnic lunch.

With kids it’s all about the simple things …. you don’t need to be going somewhere to pack a picnic !

Meet a working buddy or family member on their lunch break from work in a nearby park, grassy area, go out to the green or walk a little till you find a spot !

Every child loves a picnic and we all have to eat so get out there and when the food is eaten throw in a game of hide and seek or eye spy for good measure !

Whatever you do enjoy the last few days of the holidays !!!!

Easing the Transition to “Big School”.

I can’t believe how quickly the last five years have gone ! I am now preparing “Baby J” as my sister used to call him for big school…..

Making the move to primary school while exciting for some children can be stressful for others. In our case ( and in most cases ) the preschool were super in introducing the topic to the kids and taking the edge off and just chatting in a relaxed manner about the move.

Considering James is my first to hit “big school” maybe I’m a bit of a fraud writing this post but I’m going to share how we are prepping for this big milestone none the less !

Here are just some of the ways we are preparing;

Reading books on the topic of starting school.

In the last few weeks I purchased and borrowed (from the library) some wonderful books that gave James an idea of what school will be like and were a great way to open conversation.

As a result of reading these books we have spoken about such topics as other people’s feelings, making friends and the posibilty of new rules and different routines to name but a few.

You may find this blog i have posted interesting as it is a list of my top 10 books to prepare your little one for school.

Chatting about “Big School”.

We have been casually chatting about the school and answering James questions for 6 months plus now. We wouldn’t make a deal of it as such just show the school to him passing, mention that a child or children we met were at the school, talk about our own experiences in primary school and even tell some funny stories.

Luckily as a child I had a positive experience in school but that said I didn’t really like going either.. I never mention this to James and always talk about school in a positive manner. It’s so important not to let your own personal feelings influence your child we all know how quickly they pick up on these things !

Visit the school / Attend any open days.

Most schools have an open day and it is a great oportunity to get the feel for the school and potentially meet some classmates if you have not already.

If you can’t make the open day or feel that it would be overwhelming to your child be sure to phone the school and organise a visit. It’s good that the child feels comfortable in the setting and knows what to expect.

Organise play dates / make a buddy !

In a lot of cases someone in your little ones circle, childcare facility or preschool will be attending the school but not always.

No one from James circle or preschool will be starting with him in September so we made it our business near the end of term and during the summer to take James to a small local beach where children from the school and some who would start with him in September frequented.

He now knows a few lads in the older classes ( and looks up to them !) and also now has a few little buddies that will be starting in his class. I’m also hoping to organise a play date or two before the end of the month to make his transition as smooth as possible.

Aside from the emotional preparation there are other areas which you can work on to improve confidence….

It is important that the child recognises their own name so that they are confident in finding their coat hanger etc. This may seem like a small thing but if your child is anxious and/or upset the littlest thing like not knowing where to hang their coat or what desk to sit at can really upset them as you can imagine.

It is also important that the child is confident in recognising colours, shapes and talking about their family etc again so that they don’t feel out of their depth amount their peers.

Encourage independence at home eg; in the area of toileting, dressing, self hygiene etc as this will help them to be self sufficient at school.

Make sure the week before school is relaxed.

Try to minimalise stress in the house by having books,uniforms etc all sorted in plenty of time and if you have to do any trial travel runs do so in plenty of time.

If you cannot drop your child to school yourself make sure they are comfortable with the child minder/neighbour or whoever is bringing them and again do so in plenty of time.

Sleep and well being.

We’ve started getting back into our 7pm bedtime routine since last week to ensure my little people are in tip top shape and well rested as we all know lack of sleep messes with the emotions at the best of times and they will also need to be fresh to learn !

A lot of people give their kids a tonic or vitamin supplement in the lead up to the school term and considering we are fighting chicken pox as we speak I’ll certainly be having a chat with the pharmacist to get some advice on how to have him feeling his best for the big day !

Some tools to combat or deal with anxiety or worry.

Essential Oils.

Pop one of your favourite oils on a tissue so that if the child is feeling anxious than can inhale and breathe it in. Just be sure to use a good quality therapeutic grade oil Here are some of the best oils for anxiety ;

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Vetiver
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Frankincense

Guatemalan Worry Dolls.

On a recent trip to London I grabbed a few of these for my two fairies and my niece as I remember having these as a preteen and found them useful.

Based on the legend of a princess that was given the gift of never carrying a human worry Guatemalan worry dolls are given to brooding or sorrowful children.

The children tell their worries to their dolls and hide them under their pillows as they sleep and the following morning all the worries have been taken away by the worry doll.

Tigers Eye.

Quite some time ago I can’t remember why in particular I bought my little man a tigers eye stone to give him courage and he responded well to it and has kept it with high regard.

It’s yellow/golden brown colour makes this stone very attractive but also gave it its name as it resembles a tigers eye.

They originate mostly from south Africa and the tiger eye is a powerful stone that helps to release fear and anxiety and helps restore harmony and balance in the body.

Traditionally carried to ward off curses and I’ll wishes this gorgeous stone is known to give courage, strength and self concious to all who hold it and is a lovely gift to give to anyone starting a new adventure or going through a hard time.

Make sure to clean your healing stones and crystals see how here;

Other tips I received from other mums

Spray some of your perfume/body spray etc on the cuff of your child’s jumper and when feeling a bit anxious they can get “your smell ” which will help them relax.

Draw a love heart on your hand and theirs so that you can think of ea h other through the day when you look at the heart.

As in seen in the book Ná Gabh ar scoil you can kiss your hand, put it in their pocket so that they can retrieve a kiss at any stage during the day that they feel uncomfortable.

What have I left out ladies ?! Have you suggestions !Do let me know …

Xoxo Laura.

Useful books in preparation for “Big School”

It’s seems like only yesterday that I had little J in my arms gazing at him thinking he was the most adorable thing I’d ever seen and now poof just like that I’m preparing him for primary school…

I don’t have any great worries about the transition in general but despite his confidence and enthusiasm about going to school in September I’m still very much aware that will be a huge move for him. None of his preschool friends will be going on with him and I want him to be as best prepared as possible both academically and emotionally.

I’m working on a post focusing on preparing for the transition to “big school” but for now I want to share the books I’ve found to be useful in preparation for this huge milestone.

I hope you find these books as helpful as I have…

Xoxo L.

All You Need To Know Before You Start School – Felicity Brooks/ Marina Aizen/Francesca Allen.

Published by Harper Collins for Usborne Books.

I absolutely love this book ! I wasn’t the only one .. both James and Lucy really enjoy it too.

In this book we join five animal friends who have just started school and they show us just what happens on an average day.

Nothing new you say ! Well what I loved about this book is that along with going through the daily happenings it also goes through all the kids need to know to give them a boost when the big day comes.

From letters and numbers to who’s who in your family, nature names and lots more .

By running through this book I found out in a child friendly manner just what I had to do a little work on .

This is a book I’d highly recommend for all making the big transition !

Usborne First Experiences – Going to School

Published by Harper Collins for Usborne Books.

In our household we are a huge fan of the Usborne First Experiences series and in fact the complete collection (all experiences combined in a small hardback) was the first “proper” book James received from us !

Follow twins Percy and Polly Peach as they prepare for and share their big day with you.

Polly soon overcomes her shyness and Percy gets stuck in ! The twins leave happily after a fun day at school and have made lots of new friends.

This is a simple book with excellent illustrations as always by Stephen Cartwright and one I really like … if you have a toddler or preschooler the combined collection (The Little Book of First Experiences) is one I feel everyone needs to have as it covers do much other including going on a plane, going to the dentist and going to hospital among others.

Ná Gabh ar Scoil – Marie Zeph / Tarsila Krüse.

Published by Futa Fata.

This is just a fantastic book that deals with the usual worries of a child starting school but with a twist …

In this superbly written book it is Mamaí that is reluctant to send her little guy Cóilín to school. Cóilín is very excited and his mamaí is his only problem! Mamaí worries about not knowing anyone and staying in school for the day !

Soon Mamaí realises everyone is kind and there is lots of fun to be had at school that’s when Cóilín decides it’s time for her to go home and leave him to enjoy his first day at school.

This is an absolutely beautiful book (I’ve come to expect nothing less from futa fata as I just love their publications, they have a super team of authors and illustrators) that I would highly recommend.

Fear not if Irish is not for you this is also available in English.

Betty and Jim go to School – Margot Channing.

Published by Scribblers Books.

This is a lovely book that gives a double page to each stage of preparing for school, heading off for school and the different stages during the day at school.

Betty and Jim make new friends, play and describe the classroom among other things.

What I really like about this book is that “lesson time” was mentioned, while its important to describe all the fun that your child will have at school I feel it’s also important to make it clear a little learning will have to take place too !

Cathal Sa Naíolann – Christine L’Heureux / Gisele Légaré / Pierrepont Brignaud.

Published by Futa Fata.

Another lovely book but particularly useful if you have a little one starting An Naíonra or preschool as it’s geared more at a younger age group as for example in the story the kids go for a little nap ! We must not  forget about starting preschool as this is often the first loosening of the apron strings !

Do I Have To Go To School – Pat Thomas.

Published by Wayland.

This superb book explains school in a factual yet fun manner, It normalises worries and tackles honestly the new experiences that are ahead for your child.

What I love about this book is it doesn’t shy away from the fact that yes we have to go to school, it’s more than just fun/games and some new rules may even be thrown in your child’s direction.

That said all this is explained in child friendly manner that prepares rather than worries your child about the new adventure that they are about to embark on.

The questions/ conversation starters throughout the book are another lovely feature as they encourage your little one to share their thoughts and/or fears to enable you to talk things through with them and take the worry out of making the move to “big school”

This is a book I would highly recommend to anyone with a littlein heading off in September or as a gift to a child taking the big step.

Going To School – Rose Blake.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

On first glance I thought there wasn’t a whole lot to this book but it became clear that in the case of this book the illustrations were more important than the text .

There are a few lines on each page that go through the day at school but there is so much in the illustrations that I feel the aim of this book is to encourage engagement and spark an interest in discussing what can be seen from the different ways we can travel to school to the activities that take place and much more.

Tá Siondróm Down ar Lara – Jennifer Moore-Mallinos/Marta Fábréga

Published by Futa Fata.

This is a beautiful book actually it’s one of a beautiful series Bimís ag caint faoí published by Futa Fata.

This is more than a great book to explain Down Syndrome in a child friendly manner but more importantly it’s a book about inclusion which is why it is listed here as a useful book for starting school.

This gorgeous books eplores the questions children may have about other children with down syndrome from physical features to abilities.

Rosie tells us the story of how she met Lara at camp and how they became fast friends.

A week into camp the leader Máire Treasa shares with the group that a new girl will be joining the group, after Máire Treasa explains that Lara has down syndrome a few kids are a little nervous one boy even suggests that if she has special needs she should go to a camp for people with special needs.

Soon the kids see despite a few differences Lara is just like all of us talented in some areas and not in other areas !

Whiff Wilson the Wolf who wouldn’t go to school – Carl Hart / Leonie Lord.

Published by Orchard Books(.Co. uk)

This is a really fun book ! I adore the whiffy series as I love to read stories where the text rhymes and the illustrations are endearing so in that regard this book ticks all the boxes.

Whiffy like most kids just wants to have fun and stay up late, School is certainly not part of his plan!

Children may relate to the fact that whiffy despite his bravado he is actually quite nervous about school.

His pal Dotty takes him under her wing in school shows him where the toilets are etc and before he knows it whiffy has realised school is not all that bad! So much so that he appears to walk to school with Dotty on Saturday !

Not only would I recommend this book I’d recommend the others in the series whiffy Wilson the wolf who doesn’t want to go to bed and whiffy wilson the wolf who wouldn’t wash !

An Bhfuil Tusa Cúthail? – Núria Roca /Marta Fábreģa

Published by Futa Fata.

Another from the beautiful Bimís ag Caint faoi! Series, this time focusing on being shy.

This gorgeous story shows shy children that they are not alone and helps those who have never been shy to understand just how inhibiting being it can be.

There is also a couple of tips to try and help little people overcome their shyness and working on including themselves and speaking out. It is a lovely book and a conversation starter that could be useful for do many scenarios.

You can buy these gorgeous books from the Bímís ag caint faoi series individually or as a set from

If you found this useful or like this then maybe you’ll like this post featuring my fave books as gaeilge.

Or maybe this one … eight terrific titles for your little terrors.