Saturday, 15 February 2014


I am (or was, pre-baby) a very organised person. I love lists and having things laid out neatly and organised. It pleases me. Now, I'm not like this in all areas of my life, (which would be very obvious if you arrived unannounced to the house and saw my kitchen) but one area I am very organised is my wardrobe.

Even when I was a teenager and my room was a tip my wardrobe was neat and organised by colour starting with black on the left going through to white items on the right. I like to hang up as many things as possible so I can really see what I have and put outfits together more easily. Like a lot of women I'd love a walk-in wardrobe. I genuinely believe I would be better dressed if I had enough room to store all my stuff, and be able to access it quickly. If I have an item that has been put away I tend to forget I have it.

One solution to this that I've been enjoying recently is Stylitics. It's like a virtual wardrobe. You can add pictures of all the items in your wardrobe, along with where you bought it, the price you paid etc. There is even a stylitics button you can add to your toolbar so if you buy an item online it will add it to your wardrobe. You can then put items together to make outfits, or simply use it as a way to record what you wore on a particular day.

A Screen Grab of the Accessories section of my Stylitics
Starting this blog has made me think more carefully about what I'm buying and how I'm putting outfits together (which was one of the reasons I wanted to blog about style as well as other mummy type things). Stylitics has also added to that, I really enjoy browsing through it and seeing what I wore over the past few months and it reminds me of items I haven't worn in a while, or gives me inspiration on items to wear together that I wouldn't have thought of before. You can also tag items and then do searches, as well as track the cost of the items, if you want (great if you want to see how much you have spent on clothes in the last year. Personally I'd be too afraid to find out!)

I don't get time to log in everyday but I do add items whenever I buy something new and I do try log outfits that I particularly liked. My profile is private but you can have a public profile where you can share new purchases/outfits with others and receive comments.

There are a few things I don't like about it, it's of course very American focused (meaning it doesn't always make it easy to use the terminology I would be more familiar with) and uploading multiple photos more often than not causes it to have a minor meltdown. Also, as some shops don't have online versions (I'm looking at you Penneys) you will need to photograph items you buy from there yourself which to me, is a bit of a PITA. It's much easier just to save the image from the shop's website. That's not Stylitics fault though I guess, it's just a limitation in any virtual wardrobe.

I do recommend it though, it's a great way to be more thoughtful about what you're wearing and an easy way to put outfits together when you are lying in bed exhausted after a busy day and your wardrobe just seems that little bit too far away to look through in person.

Also, I am away for the next two and a bit weeks so there will more than likely be no blog posts. My internet access is likely to be limited at best!


Monday, 10 February 2014

Best Baby Buys

I know this has been done a thousand times before, it seems like every blogger with a baby does a post about good and bad purchases for their baby. I am not going to be any different, I'm afraid! I can see why it is done so much though, when you are pregnant with your first you really are clueless. You're walking around a hormonal (and in my case, vomiting) mess, befuddled by the choice of baby things available and all you think is BUY ALL THE LITTLE THINGS!!! There are things I bought for J that were just completely pointless and things I bought that ended up being surprisingly useful.

1. Fleece Backed Bibs

I have a giant basket of bibs in J's rooms, of all shapes and sizes. He has just cut his first tooth (yay!) but it took him 2 months of teething to get to that point. His mouth was like Niagara Falls most of the time, really just constant drooling. I was changing his bib every 20 minutes at one point. There is only one type of bib I've bought that really works and that is one backed by fleece. Fleece is actually great for drawing away moisture, it's used to make reusable liners for cloth nappies and on the back of baby's bibs, it's the bees knees. If I put him in a bib without fleece on the back it would just soak through and his clothes and even the chest skin underneath got really damp.

The best brand I've found and the only place I buy bibs from now is Name It. The bibs are €3.95 each which isn't super cheap but they are worth it. They say Newborn/Mini on the label but they do fit older babies. J is still wearing them comfortably at almost 8 months. In the shops as well, they have a large selection of colours and patterns- I'm not sure why the website is only showing three colours.

2 Clevamama Soother Tree

Clevamama is an Irish company, run by Irish parents which is a reason to support them from the off. Luckily, a lot of their products are great, they make the sleep positioner that helped us so much when J had reflux. I saw this soother tree when I was first shopping for J and thought it was a bit ridiculous. Why would you need a special thing just to sterilise soothers (dodies/dummies/binkies/pacifiers whatever you want to call them) in the microwave. It seemed redundant and extravagant. Then I had baby who loves his dummy (which is what we call it in our house)and I realised they get everywhere. There are dummies just scattered all over the house, on the floors, in our bed, in his cot, in the cat's bowl - everywhere! Then I realised why the soother tree is so useful. Whenever I come across a dirty dummy it gets rinsed and put directly on the tree, once the tree is full I sterilise the dummies, then take them off the tree, put the caps on and they go in a pot in the kitchen. For only €9.95 it's a great way to keep them organised and not just littered around my house.

3 Clevamama Pillow

Another Clevamama purchase. There are few things that had any positive effect on J's sleep. One of them was this pillow. It's safe for young babies and is designed to help combat babies getting flat heads. For us, it just helped J sleep better and anything that can do that is a miraculous purchase in my opinion. Why it helps him, I don't know and to be honest, I don't care.

4 Jumperoo

The Fisher Price Jumperoo is like the deluxe version of those little seats on elastic that are attached to doorways. We bought this for J when he was about 4 months old and we noticed that he was starting to want to jump a lot while we were holding him.It says it is for ages 6 months and up but as he had very good head control at the time we figured it would be ok for him. It ended up being a lifesaver. Honestly, I tell my friends with babies that are a little younger than Josh that it is the number one thing we bought.

When be bought it his feet didn't quite reach the floor, despite it being on the smallest setting but we just put books under his feet. The reason it was a lifesaver was that until J could sit up it was the only way he would entertain himself at all. Otherwise, my little velcro baby was just on me constantly. He loved (and still loves) bouncing away in it and I loved it because it allowed me to actually go and pee when I needed to. All of a sudden I had freedom that I hadn't experienced since he was born.

At almost 8 months it's still on the smallest setting so we should get another while out of it yet. It was worth every penny. Also, I kind of wish they made them in adult size, it could be great exercise jumping up and down in front of the TV in the evening. In fact, I sense a business opportunity.

5 Sophie the Giraffe

I wasn't going to include Sophie, as she seems to be the must have accessory for babies at the moment. She is just everywhere. When I meet my other baby mama friends for coffee we have to keep a close eye on the Sophies to make sure we don't end up taking the wrong one home. There's a reason for that - she is awesome.

We are actually on Sophie Mark 2 at the moment. Sophie the first got jettisoned from the buggy somewhere on O'Connell Street. When I realised she was missing, I had to make a mad dash to Mothercare to buy another one. That's how much J likes her. I don't know why he (and other babies) love Sophie so much, it must be to do with the feel of the rubber on their poor teething gums, I just know when J hears Sophie squeak his little face lights up.

Just something to note about Sophie, a piece of advice passed on from a friend, don't put her in the dishwasher. It will kill her voicebox and you will never hear her lovely squeak again!


Friday, 7 February 2014

Summer is here! (sort of)

Summer is here ..... well, summer is here for me in a way. Soon we are off to South Africa to visit my in-laws with the baba. At the moment the temperature there is about 27C, so a little different to what we are experiencing here. This has thrown me into a panic slightly as to how I will dress the baby. All the clothes that fit him at the moment are very wintry - think lots of fleece and long sleeves. 27C is hot, like proper hot. We're planning a mad dash to the shops the day we get there to stock up on some cheapy shorts and t-shirts.

What this means for me is that I can get some of my summer stuff out a bit early this year. I have also made some recent purchases in anticipation of the warmth I will soon experience. I don't know why I do that, seeming as when we go to South Africa I tend to do a good bit of shopping anyway.

First of all I bought these bistro crop trousers from Boden.

The Boden catalogue arrived in my post box recently and I have been drooling over the contents since. I had my eye on the Bistro crop trousers but I wasn't sure about spending £59 on something I might not get to wear much. Then I was browsing the clearance and realised that a lot of last years Bistro crop patterns were on sale, some for as little as £17.70. Bit of a bargain.

Worn here with my Warehouse gold pumps and a new necklace from Oasis (a little birthday treat!)

At the last minute I decided to order a pair in petite size and I'm so glad I did. I think the regular length would have just looked like I was wearing trousers that had shrunk in the wash. I think I'll actually end up wearing these a good bit once the weather warms up a little. They are surprisingly comfortable.

A current trend that I'm not too sure about is pastels. I am as pale as the driven snow and I just think pastels wash me out. I love them on other people and some of the pastel styling I've seen recently is fab but I'm not sure about it for me.

Again, I found a way to give it a try by finding something on sale. I bought these shorts from River Island for €12.

I was impressed that River Island now deliver to a store for you, even in the Republic of Ireland (we always get excluded from that kind of thing) so you don't have to pay for delivery. Worn here with my navy Toms, white t-shirt from Gap a new scarf from Penneys (Primark to those of you in the UK!)

I really love these, I think the fact they are mint green as opposed to very pale green really helps. I am very much looking forward to getting my poor white legs out for the sun. Vitamin D - I need you!

My last purchase is this dress from Asda for £14.

I had to order something from there recently for J and of course that meant Mummy needed a little treat too. My crazy cat lady persona couldn't resist this!

I actually wore this out last weekend for a night out so it's not really just a summer thing but I'm thinking with a pair of sandals it will a great casual summer dress.

Also, in this picture is my new bag from Boden - the Canonbury Clutch. I bought this as kind of an afterthought when ordering the crop trousers and when it arrived I wasn't that impressed, but I am in love with it now. The leather is so soft and it is the perfect size for purse, phone and things like lipgloss. I've been wearing it all week. I can see it getting a lot of use, especially as it can be converted to a clutch bag. When I checked yesterday, only the leopard print was in stock but the black seems to be now back in stock (a return maybe?)

So, bring on the hot weather please!


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Kids Clothes

No, this is not a post about baby clothes or how I style my little 7 month old (God forbid, he is too often covered in spit-up and yoghurt to even think about that). No, this is a post about buying childrens clothes for myself.

I supposed you could describe me as a "petite person". I'm 5ft3 and generally wear a size 8-10. I don't think of myself as particularly slim or anything (especially recently) and I do have a generous enough pair of boobs but I guess I'm just "small". Generally, this is a pain in the arse (I'd love to be taller) but it does have it's benefits, I can wear very high heels and don't have to worry about being taller than everyone else in the room, I am good in caves and I can fit into childrens clothes.

Shopping in the kids section means things are a lot cheaper and embarassingly, the trousers there fit me a lot better. I regularly hit up the kids section in H&M and Gap.

Gap do up to an XXL (13 years +) in their kids clothes. I haven't braved trousers or leggings from there yet but I love the t-shirts and tops. I find even an XXS in the adult tops are not that fitted, which is annoying when you want to buy plain tops for layering.

I recently bought this t-shirt dress in Gap for the summer for €24.95 (with 25% off due to a promotion - bargain!). I had my eye on a long-sleeved version from Boden but this option was a lot more affordable.I'm on a budget here!

This is it in the XXL and is not too bad a fit, if I do say so myself!

I've also recently bought some leggings and tops from H&M. Their sizes go up to 170cm or 14y+. I'm presuming the 170cm refers to height, and as I'm 160cm this works well for me, even if it is a bit depressing to think that there are 14 year olds out there who are 10cm taller than me.

I have two pairs of their Jersey leggings (€9.95)

The pink top is also from H & M kids section.

Obviously some of the stuff for kids is going to look ridiculous on a 30 year old woman but there are some real finds, especially for basic items.

Zara also do kids clothes with the biggest size being 164cm, Their kids shoes also go up to a size 5. Zara is not a shop I'm keen on, I never find much I like on the odd occasion I do venture in there, I always feel like I have to trawl through the place a bit, but I'll definitely be popping in soon to in take a look at the kids section and see if anything interesting pops up.

Marks and Spencers do kids stuff too and their largest size is 14-15 years which is quite generous. I was in there recently and had a quick squizz around. There were a lot of One Direction themed items but I did come across one interesting t-shirt:

How could I resist?!


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Meow Meow Meow

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a full on crazy cat lady. Lots of other bloggers with babies post birth stories (I'm not sure anybody would want to read that, to be honest) but instead this is the story of how Murdoch came into our lives. (His picture graces the banner at the top of this blog)

We always had cats growing up and I can't imagine not having one in the house. We had a much loved family cat who died when he was 16. I had him from the age of 8 to 24 so really, we grew up together. The day he had to be put down was a sad day for our family and years later, we all still talk about him regularly.

About a year after that cat died, I became desperate for a cat of my own. I was like a broody woman wanting a baby. At the time, we were living in New Zealand, where cat ownership is high (much to the detriment of the local wildlife!). There were cats everywhere and the day that Mr HNW caught me trying to tempt the neighbour's cat to come in to the house with a saucer of milk was the day he realised we needed to get a little cat of our own. Our big concern was that we knew we were not going to be in New Zealand forever, but after some discussion we decided the cat would just have to come with us when we left and that was that.

One Easter weekend we went to the Wellington SPCA. The staff were very busy because it was an "adopt-athon" day and there were lots of prospective cat and dog owners in. They asked us four or five questions and then instead of bringing us into the main cat area brought us into the administrative office. There were so many kittens that needed homes that there were two cages in there with a litter of kittens in each one. They pointed us to one cage, said these cats love people and left us to it. I opened the cage and a little black and white cat crawled up my arms and fell asleep in the crook of my elbow, purring loudly. I knew then that this was my cat and Murdoch has been with us ever since.

When we left New Zealand, Murdoch came with us on a three day trip across the world to get him home to Dublin. The trip involved two long car journeys, three flights and a ferry crossing and it cost a small fortune to bring him back but it was worth every penny. It's a story for another time I think.

When I got pregnant a lot of people advised me (aka told me what I had to do, in a way anyone who has had a baby is familiar with) that I would have to "get rid" of Murdoch when the baby arrived or that it was madness to have a cat and a newborn in the house. These were people who did not know me well and it infuriated me. Obviously, I wasn't going to let Murdoch babysit and it's not like cats steal babies souls or anything. I know toxoplasmosis can be an issue but it is rare and there are normal, sensible precautions you can take. People said that Murdoch would smother the baby because they like the warmth or that they can smell milk. To be honest, that's nonsense and people who say that must not know cats well. Cats, in general, do not like things that move when they are trying to sleep on them (as you will know if you have a cat and get up while they are on your lap and have experienced the "death glare" for disturbing their slumber.)

I discussed it with my vet who said that as long as Murdoch was fleaed and wormed regularly and we watched to make sure Murdoch didn't get into the cot on top of him then it was fine. In fact he said that there are studies showing that babies who grow up with pets in the house are less likely to be asthmatic (unless the mother is actually asthmatic herself). We "cat-proofed" J's cot before he was born but Murdoch, of course was having none of it. We found him in there on top of the cat-proof netting so many times that we gave up and just did our best to keep the door closed. He had some kind of cot sensor though and would manage to get in there all the time. He still sneaks in there whenever he can and gets shouted at a lot for taking naps in there (after I took pictures of course because it is bad, but also kind of cute!)

Murdoch, is in fact, very good with J. He is a gentle cat at the best of times but now that J can grab and move about he really has a chance to show that. When they are near each other I watch them carefully in case Murdoch suddenly turns but he just walks off when J gets a bit rough. If J is crying Murdoch will come and sit next to him and give him headbutts (cat kisses) and when Murdoch walks past J starts giggling like it is the funniest thing he has ever seen. I know some people will probably think I'm a terrible mother for letting J and Murdoch sleep like in the photo below but it works for us and I just think it is the cutest thing ever.

So, there really is no reason that pets and babies are not compatible. J and Murdoch already have a little bond and  it's lovely to see them together. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if J's first word is Murdy. As long as you are smart about it and take a few precautions what''s the problem? If I could get ten more cats I would but Mr HNW has vetoed it. Apparently 11 cats, one baby and two parents in a two bedroom apartment is "not a good idea". We'll see!