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.

https://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/love-moschino-love-moschino-oversized-rectangle-black-sunglasses/1600266391.prd

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 https://jobrowne.com/

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.

http://www.mcwilliambags.com

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 …

https://instagram.com/horseshoehearts?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=15waj0t06b7gt

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.

https://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/dkny-bryant-sutton-envelope-clutch-black/1600290111.prd

A piece by Thomas Sabo from E25

If you have never visited http://www.thomassabo.com 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 http://www.thomassabo.com 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 http://www.sealrescueireland.org/adopt-a-seal

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….

https://www.sabbotheadwear.co.uk/

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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.

https://instagram.com/tom_winters_barbers?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=xyj7hm5tc10a

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 ;

https://www.surfdome.ie

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.

https://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/fossil-fossil-machine-watch-and-leather-cuff-mens-gift-set/1600130578.prd

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 …

https://www.littlewoodsireland.ie/top-beard-card-game/1600294088.prd

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 http://www.gillyandrob.com

https://gillyandrob.com/shop/mugs/mug-husband-dad-feckin-legend/

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 !

https://www.oxendales.ie/shop/manstuff-mega-advent-calendar/FO028/product/details/show.action?pdBoUid=8020&gclid=CjwKCAiAt4rfBRBKEiwAC678KcnHE4dlpyK613YdesYe4nFZASYX3OyFgDVt2pSLZ15OlD5tsUPx6RoCVJUQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds#colour:,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.

http://m.marksandspencer.ie/mt/www.marksandspencer.ie/Pure-Silk-Paisley-Bow-Tie-Pocket-Square-Set/P60196791,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.

https://www.thecoffeelady.ie

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.

https:/truffleshuffle.co.uk/product/26769/100-movies-bucket-list-scratch-poster

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.

https://www.easons.com/dark-arts-mike-ross-9781910827055?gclid=CjwKCAiAz7TfBRAKEiwAz8fKOAu5ip-TmiemMidHoTil35DNPjX9k7ExhS4VRnF6pPHGZEpJGVAdUBoCSRwQAvD_BwE

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 Bern 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;

https://www.templestreet.ie/event/trick-or-treat/

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:

Ingredients;

* 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

Method:

> 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 ….

Ingredients:

*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

Method:

> 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 …

http://www.primarytimes.ie/south_ireland/

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

https://www.bubblebum.co/ie/

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….

https://www.facebook.com/bubblebumukltd/

https://www.instagram.com/bubblebum_uk/

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 http://www.abcyogaforkids.com.

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!) http://www.mykidstime.com 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.

https://mindmadnessmilesandmummetime.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/useful-books-in-preparation-for-big-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;

https://www.yogiapproved.com/om/7-convenient-ways-cleanse-healing-crystals/

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.