Christmas Activities and Days at Home ideas…

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The month of December is mostly about Santa and Elves but there are lots of other days to be keeping kids entertained and the hysterical excitement somewhat subdued until the big day!

There is plenty to do to get out of the house and a few ideas below if you are staying put too. These events are mostly Dublin based so apologies if you are reading from further afield!

At home, coming up to Christmas I find there is an abundant ideas to do baking or crafting with the kids. Here are some of my fav finds and I do hope to try and get a couple done with Josh in the few weeks ahead. I find baking a treat then picking out a festive film on a miserable day work well!

If you haven’t already sent the letter to the big guy make sure to send it to An Post and get a response from them/santa and see your kids faces fill with joy. See below on how to do it, couldn’t be easier and the result is fab!

Be sure to write early. In your letter clearly write your (child’s) name and address. Post your letter to: Santa Claus, North Pole (using a €1 stamp). Santa’s helpers in An Post will make sure you receive a personal reply from the great man himself, just before Christmas.If you are out and about there is plent to do..

We love going to the library so coming up to Christmas we will be picking some Christmas books and films. I did take a look at what my local libraries have happening and here are some of the events they are holding on the run up to Christmas.

http://libraries.dlrcoco.ie/events-and-news/event-calendar/pyjama-storytime

http://libraries.dlrcoco.ie/events-and-news/event-calendar/christmas-crafts-children-aoifemunn-1

Kilrudderry is always a lovely spot to visit and for this month they have Christmas Markets 9am-5pm for all Weekends in December

The Ark has a lovely festive show on called Tracks in the Snow for the whole month which might be nice to attend as something different to do.

Giddy Studios is a lovely spot to create a Christmas gift for the family and a good way to escape the madness of Dundrum. They make it easy and you always come out with something lovely.

Powerscourt at this time of year has a stable set up with reindeer to visit which is a really cute thing to do. I also spotted this lovely event which looks fun! –http://powerscourt.com/events/robby-christmas-robin-dale-treadwell

Phoenix Park Visitor Centre is a great little spot with a really good playground and the cutest little coffee shop which I would say is very Christmassy at this time of year!

Airfield have a lovely initiative on at the moment to leave food donations for the Dublin Simon Community and I think this is a lovely way to show kids to be charitable at Christmas too.

Speaking of coffee Lolly & Cooks will have lots of festive treats for adults and kids this month so a nice spot to stop for a warm milk and a little cake with the kids if our and about.

A really nice idea is going pick a new decoration for tree once it’s up, allowing them choose whatever one they want could end up soon interesting and you then have a memory made for each year!

Finally one of our favourite things to do is go to the Live Crib in the Mansion House which stepped up a gear last year but is still for charity which is nice. We then usually walk around the corner to see the wonderful display of the gingerbread house that The Shelbourne Hotel put on each year, Josh just loves it and anything Josh loves Max usually gets fairly excited by too so this one will definitely be on our list.

Christmas can be so chaotic but just spending special times and moments with your family is really what it’s all about.

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Christmas Traditions thanks to Dealz

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Well there is no escaping it now.. It is December and Christmas is just around the corner. I LOVE Christmas but my goodness there is no denying that it’s an expensive time year. Sooo when Dealz asked me to work with them on some Christmas ideas for the family I was thrilled! I’d already picked up some of their great ranges which are so impressive this year and I am now excited to share some of my finds with you. Most of their Christmas range is only €1.50 with a couple of items slightly higher but more than worth the great price point.

I’m big into Christmas traditions.. It starts with the appearance of Elf.. To have such an array of Elf products in Dealz this year makes it all the more exciting. I haven’t undertaken all the different places Elf can turn up & he might make it onto his swing got my hands on, keeping an eye on goings on. I just had to pick up a Elf cam too, what a genius idea.. this should work wonders for a bit of bare faced bribery coming up to the big day 😝. Keep an eye on my social media accounts on some of the other great bits and bobs I have picked up to help with the excitement/threat of Elf! 😉

I generally do crafting with the boys and was astounded by the offering from Dealz and stocked up for the quieter days coming up to Christmas.

Next up is a new tradition I absolutely adore.. Christmas Eve boxes for the boys. The idea is you fill the boxes and give them to them on Christmas Eve night. Usually included are festive jammies, I also included a book, a bath bomb, a chocolate Santa for Josh and a little teddy for Max. To get the individual boxes from Dealz was such a find and at only 1.49 you cannot go wrong!

A couple of days before Christmas I always take some time to dress the dinner table. I have picked up some staples over the years but I like to freshen it up with some news pieces each year and give a slightly different look. I find Dealz great for this and their range this year is really super. Make sure you keep an eye later this month to see my table set but here are a few of this items I have my eye on.

I will have another post early next week for some activities and ideas for the kids when coming up to Christmas but for now I suggest you hot foot it to Dealz and pick up some of their festive offerings. From Secret Santa, to decor and more, Dealz has everything you need to create your perfect Christmas.

And don’t forget to leave Santa his treats.. This set is seriously cute!

Check out Dealz for more.

Halloween Decor at Dealz 🎃

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I adore Halloween, this time of year in general is full of festivities and celebration. My friends laugh at the effort I go to for Halloween but I did even before I had kids… 

I have picked up some great décor pieces over the years and then pick up some more cheaper bits year on year. When Dealz asked me to promote their Halloween range and event on the day it was a no brainer-I am already a big and regular customer-in fact I am surprised I am not on the Christmas party list! 

Dealz have really upped their game in recent years with what they have on offer and at only 1.50 you really can’t go wrong. From spooky décor to more stylish pieces-check out the gorgeous golden pumpkin I picked up last week- there is lots of offer and you can check it out here.

 

Now on the other hand if you are also like me and not very artistically inclined and the fear of painting faces gives you more than just the regular Halloween spooks then Dealz are holding Halloween events in a number of their stores, see details below from 1-3pm on Halloween Day and donations will be given to Make a Wish Foundation which is a lovely cause to get involved with. The first 50 kids will get sweet bags too to add to their trick or treat loot!

 

 Participating stores:

  • Swords
  • Blanchardstown
  • Omni
  • Bray 
  • Waterford
  • Gorey
  • Wexford
  • Galway
  • Athlone 
  • Killarney 

*this is a paid collaboration with Dealz but all views are my own and honest as always! 💚

Products we love right now… 

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I generally don’t write reviews, I’ll always pop up what I like on social media but sometimes good products merit a review and we have loved some lately. I do get sent things but I’m never going to say I like something if I don’t, having said that there is little we are sent that I/we really don’t like.

First up was bibs we got sent. Bibetta have a range of bibs online and we got sent a feeding bib and a dribble bib. The feeding bib was excellent, in fact I’m going to order another one soon. It was kind of scuba material so easily cleaned but also easily dried which is a winner for me. The dribble bib was definitely more absorbent than others we have used, I suppose the only thing for me was the range of designs wasn’t as good as others. Bibs start at about £7.00 and available online.

Next up is Molloys Pharmacy own formulation of teething gel and nappy cream, especially good for sore teething bums. Our little man has been teething since 4 months but still only 2 teeth to his name at almost 1. I was purchasing this product anyway but then Molloys kindly sent it to me along with the nappy cream. The gel has a strong smell with the clove bud oil as the main product and he does resist taking it somewhat but it definitely seems to get instant results for soothing. It’s all natural too which is a bonus. The nappy cream is also their own formulation with calamine, lanolin and olive oil. We sent it into Creche when they said his bum was sore. He’s never suffered from nappy rash so I’m putting this down to teeth too. It worked a dream and the very next day his bum was back to normal. You can get their great products online

Last but not least is the Obeo boxes we got sent. We had just recently purchased a small bin in ikea for food scraps since Panda brought in changes to the bins but during the tail end of summer the fruit flies were in abundance and really it needed to clear out daily which can be annoying. The obeo boxes can sit on your counter top, ours sat on top of redundant bin and as you prep lunch/dinner the food scraps can go in. I think the reason I hadn’t picked them up before was they seemed a bit expensive, current RRP is €3.85 for 5. However having used them and a believer in time is money I think they may be now something that makes it into the shopping trolley in the future, especially in summer months and would be so handy over Christmas too. You can also use the code foodwaste if you fancy trying them out to get 10% off! They are available online or Supervalu stores nationwide. 

12 things I’ve learnt with 12 months with Max

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 1. There is more room in my heart and love I didn’t know possible-it was hard to imagine how I could love another child like I loved my first born Josh but once Max arrived the love was instant and deep.

2. Tiredness I didn’t know possible-if I thought I was tired pre baby or with one this was on another level and unfortunately continues to be with another bad sleeper in our lives but most days you just learn to live with it. 

3. Sibling bond-as an only child this was magic for me to watch, from very early on they became firm pals and even though Max is still small they manage to have great craic.

4. Learning to be a mum of boys-when fart noises, poo and general dirtiness becomes common place.

5. My heart is so full but so is my mind-there is literally ALWAYS something to do. 

6. I became knarkier in the last 12 months than probably ever before-see points 5 & 2 above! 

7. I’ve learnt to let things go a little-coming from a perfectionist in certain areas that was quite the challenge but it’s a case of having to sometimes…

8. Fun makes a family-it’s the simple days out together we have as a family of four that truly are the best.

9. It’s not just a myth your boobs can reach your belly button-😳 12 months of feeding and second time round and this is the result! 

10. Wine is no longer your friend, coffee is-a glass or two is perfection at the weekend but a hangover is beyond deadly with 2 busy boys so a coffee a day keeps the madness away.

11. Your time with your husband is precious but rare-this is something we both miss madly at times but we know these are the trench years and will also miss them when they are gone.

12. I realised quite quickly that once I had Max that my urge to be a mother to another baby was incredibly strong and 12 months on despite all the above and because of all the above that hasn’t changed if we are lucky enough of course and give me a year or two of our new normality before another comes into the mix!

Anxious Mama

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Every parent has a degree of anxiety about their children and I am no different. It begins when they are in your tummy, then they are born, then they start to move, school, teenage years and I’m sure right into adult hood. This is all normal. You care unconditionally about your child/children so it is excepted for you to feel a little anxious about their well being. 

However I live and have lived with daily anxiety since my teens. When I discovered I was to become a mum I was nervous it would rare its head again but I was pleasantly surprised when my usual symptoms subsided-all those good pregnancy hormones did their job!

I stayed on low levels of medication throughout my pregnancies and feeding as recommended by the doctor and I knew this was right for me too.

On both babies those first few months I felt fine, completely sleep deprived but very contended and calm. It was around the 3/4 month mark on both I started to struggle. I’d feel familiar panicky symptoms, I’d overthink things and get completely overwhelmed. 

The more the years go on, the more I recognise these days/hours/periods of time but as a first time mum that was doing semi ok I decided to take action and went to speak with someone which I have written about previously. I met a fantastic councillor through Nurture who I will always refer back to when I need to check in on life. I returned to her for just a couple of sessions after I miscarried in between having the boys and it helped me immensely to take stock of my thoughts and  feelings. 

With my second child, the sleep deprivation was hightened. If I thought I was tired before this was on another level as all the reserves are gone. With the reserves gone, managing the feelings of anxiety that can come flooding in became a little less manageable at times but somehow I just muddled through. I put new strategies in place now that life was busier and on most days I come out the other side.

It is something I live with daily and I worry my eldest in recent months he picked up on some of my behaviours and will perhaps adopt some of my bad traits but despite him being almost 4 we talk to him like a human and that seems to help. 

A lot of the above mums are dealing with during periods in parenthood but unfortunately my head makes me work every day to be calm, be happy and be ok with just being ok. Even writing this post is hard because I know how lucky I am, I project a life of happiness because I am happy but the daily reality is with this I struggle, I’m learning and evolving with this almost 20 years later but I felt this week it was important to highlight the realities and be ok to put it into the public domain too.