If you’re looking for a Santa Experience that isn’t going to break the bank but still fill your little ones with Christmasy wonder then look no further than The Santa Experience in the Ilac Centre Dublin, undoubtedly the best shopping Centre Santa we have ever visited. Christmas came early this year when we were invited…
You’d think at this stage that I’d be a pro at packing a hospital bag. I’ve had two kids and in pretty quick succession and so shouldn’t really have forgotten the must have items to pack. Not so. I’ve spent the last few weeks saying I must get my bag packed and so the other morning I decided to finally sit down and get it done. I had a quick look at the Coombes recommended list of things to bring just to refresh my memory but from there quickly became confused. How many bags was I meant to bring again? I’d totally forgotten about having to bring a bag to the delivery ward separately to the main bag. Should I bring my change bag for the baby with nappies in etc or just throw everything into the case? Again I went searching for a few more helpful hints on google and found these two posts brilliant: www.pippa.ie and FacesbyGrace youtube video. These girls are organised! Anyway, reassured of the contents that needed to be packed I went upstairs and quickly realised the bag that I was to use just wouldn’t cut it and I’d have to use a big suitcase. Where was I going with a handheld bag to fit 2-3 days worth of towels clothes nappies etc in? New case hauled down from the attic and finally I could begin to pack – well after a last minute dash to boots to stock up on everything that I had forgotten (such as maternity pads!, seriously baby isn’t even here yet and my brain is mush). So here it goes for anyone else who is struggling with packing their hospital bag – the contents of mine are below.
Delivery bag: Small hand held bag
Nightdress (Button down the front for skin to skin with baby once born and easy access for breast feeding)
Warm fluffy socks (although I didn’t use them for my other two as I generally have very warm feet I put them in just in case)
Light dressing gown in case I end up walking the wards during contractions
Notebook to keep track of my contractions and kicks, or you can use an app on your phone
iPad and charger for phones
Snacks Multigrain bars, fruit and water
Maternity pads: You can buy these in Boots or else pick some up in the pharmacy. I’ve packed the pharmacy ones which are larger and green in colour – the kind that you actually get in hospital as I’ve found the first day or two after labour warrant these. Boots ones are thinner and less absorbent. Sorry for TMI. I also packed 3 in the delivery case as wearing two at a time seems to be called for too
Elizabeth Arden 8 hour Lip-balm
LaRoche Possay Thermal Spring water face spray
Hat, scratch mittens, long sleeved vest and baby grow in newborn or tiny baby size (my other two were little 6lb smallies), 2 x nappies.
Bag for the ward: Medium sized suitcase
Two large dark coloured towels for the shower along with two hair towels
Plastic bag to put dirty clothes in so partner can bring them home instead of taking up space in the bag
Flip flops for the shower
3 x pyjamas Ive packed a button down night dress and 2 x light pyjamas with easy access for breast feeding and I will have my dressing gown from the delivery bag too
Maternity pads boots range two packs of ten
Underwear, big unflattering granny style ones are definitely best x 8
Nursing bras x 2
Maternity jeans and nursing top to go home in
Travel size shampoo, conditioner and body wash. (These can be bought in Boots in their 3 for 2 offer)
Palmers Cocoa butter body lotion
Philosophy Miracle face cream
Kiehls Anti wrinkle eye cream
Lansioh nipple cream
Toothpaste and toothbrush
Garnier Micellar water and cotton pads to remove makeup (ha if I get a chance to do it)
Makeup – A very stripped back version of my usual makeup bag, Giorgio Armani Luminous cc cream, Sleek palette with blush, contour and highlight powder, mascara, tinted lip balm, Billion dollar brow eyebrow pencil with brushes for application and a mini hand held mirror.
Hair brush and bobbins
1 x pack of newborn pampers nappies
Nappy bags x 1 pack
Water wipes x 1
Cotton pads x 1 pack
Bepathen nappy cream
Long sleeved newborn vests x 7
Neutral newborn baby grows x 7
Cellular blanket x 2
Hat x 2
Scratch mittens x 2
Cardigan x 2
Muslin clothes x 3
If you choose you can include a going home outfit, as I don’t know what I’m having I’ve just put neutral outfits in and will get someone to bring me in a suitable colour for bringing baby home – although I’ll probably just end up putting baby in a white outfit anyway.
Soothers x 2 (I’ve never brought these into the hospital with me before but I thought I’d bring them this time just in case)
Glycerine and aniseed dip: This can be used to clean your babies tongue. I dip their soother into it and as they suck it removes the milky film often left on babies tongue. It also encourages baby take to a soother if you choose to use one.
I’ll purchase a set of breast pump bottles and tubes which are compatible with the hospital breast pump in the shop in the Coombe once I have the baby. I rented the medela hospital grade breast pump for a month after having my other two and found it a godsend for increasing my milk supply. It also allowed my husband to feed and bond with the babies too. You can rent it from www.medicare.ie or the pharmacy across from the Coombe also rent it (this is where I usually get it from). It’s €109.00 for the month but for me it was money really well spent.
With just two weeks left of this pregnancy I’m as prepared as I can be. I’m sure I’ve left one or two things out but nothing that can’t be gotten once baby comes. Best of luck to any new mams to be, I hope this post helped.
I’ve recently had to give myself a bit of a reality check. I was writing something for work the other day and was completely oblivious to the fact that I was actually writing about myself really. Let me fill you in a little. I was tasked with writing a piece about age appropriate dressing (link is here), one piece was for the thirty something woman (me) and the other for being fabulous over 50 (my mam). Of course it had to be specific to the clothing ranges I was writing about but it honestly didn’t dawn on me that I was styling myself and my mother through my own words. For the 30 something I wrote about modern tailoring, work appropriate jackets, chunky knits and pieces that work hard for you in your wardrobe blah blah blah. For the over 50’s I wrote more about how classic silhouettes can be updated with modern graphic prints. All the usual buzz words for any fashion writer. It was only a few days later while sitting in my car (in a tracksuit) with my husband and two kids did I realise that I’m in my mid thirties, my mam is well into her 50’s (eh early 60’s) and not once did I equate the styling pieces I wrote to either of us. Does this say something about me? Am I so far removed from the reality of my actual age or does everyone still think that they’re in their 20’s?
It made me take a little step back and wonder about the clothes I have in my closet. While I do have a few “hardworking pieces” in my wardrobe the majority of my clothes are from “Penny’s hun”. Cheap, affordable, easily replaceable bits and bobs that can be mixed and matched (although I never have anything to wear). Don’t get me wrong I’d love to be able to afford to buy beautiful designer clothes but even if I could afford it could I justify the price tag?
My daughter recently turned 4. We had a beautiful birthday party in the house with Elsa and Anna from Frozen gracing their presence and thankfully entertaining the kids for a few hours. We had to cancel the bouncy castle as it had been lashing rain! Anyway, my daughter received a beautiful gift from a very special aunty of hers, a Versace dress and some other designer gear. It was only when I went to put it on I realised the price (I googled it out of curiosity). I nearly died, how could anyone justify spending hundreds on one simple (but beautiful) piece of clothing for a little person who will no doubt grow out of it in a month? That makes me sound ungrateful, believe me I’m not. That’s not what I’m getting at, we (myself and my daughter are in love with the dress and totally thankful for the present) but the reality is, is that some people actually kit their children and themselves out in designer gear all the time. I’m not so sure I’d ever be able to justify spending that kind of money on clothes even if I could afford it. Although owing a real Chanel bag would of course be ok, bags are life!Back to the reality of my age. I am unfortunately no longer in my twenties but still have a hankering for my teenage, twenty something self on occasion, most recently the weekend past. My husband was having doubts about weather to go to a concert the other night (The Stone Roses) it was only after I blasted a few of the old tunes out did the nostalgia of it make him decide to go. I then decided to stick on the old reliable Alanis Morrisette ‘Jagged little pill’ album I’d loved so much as a young teenager. Listening to it made me think of all the little things that my younger self loved back in the 90’s, and I wondered are they still relevant today? Who else remembers Tribe and Exc!amation perfume, or died their hair plum? Or turned their hair orange from Sun-In? Constant Carroll concealer from the pound shop was always in my makeup bag as was Rimmels heather shimmer lipstick? Dax wax for the boys and illuminous coloured pots of hair gel.And who could forget the movie Clueless! Long summer evenings spent with a group of great friends down by the river in Kilbride and games of basketball in the school yard are memories I will cherish forever and never forget. I just hope my girls and baby to be will be able to grow up with great memories of their teenage years too, and that the pressure to dress and look a certain way that has been made even worse these days by social media will not inhibit their ability to be themselves and have fun.
But maybe it’s time I start taking some of my own advice. Maybe I should start thinking a little more about what I put on in the morning and relinquish the 20 something in me…or maybe we all need to hold on to that part of ourselves to keep ourselves young.
It’s calling me again…baby-land, I nearly made it out of it. I was “..” this close but I’ve realised if I go too far and return to “normal” life would I ever be able to go back?
This is the dilema my husband and I face. Before we had children we both knew we wanted a few, two maybe three kids. One would have been an absolute blessing. When we struggled a little to have our first four years ago we were truly grateful when I did eventually become pregnant. One baby down and five months in we’d done it again, babog number two was on her way. I know, I know we were blessed to have been able to get pregnant again, but believe me when you’ve a five month old baby with terrible reflux our first thought was panic. How would we cope? What had we done (besides the obvs!). Fast forward nine months and we couldn’t have been happier with our beautiful new baby girl. Two crazy baby filled years passed full of crawling, wobbling, toddling and kisses. Our baby girls were growing up so fast.
Me myself, well honestly I was a shadow of my former self for the first year of baby number two arriving. I think it was literally a game of survival. Once the kids were fed and watered I considered this to be a very successful day. Now nearly three years in I’m starting to become the person I once was. I’m getting a little bit more sleep. I’m able to shower regularly, without having to jump out every two minutes to check to see if the kids are ok. I’m thinking about my own future again, my career. Thankfully the girls are beginning to play together a little more. But in the back of my mind I have a niggling feeling. How far into this new reality should I go? Yes I’ve managed to pursue a whole new career. I’d once been an ABA tutor for children with Autism and now am working in the busy world of fashion PR. I’ve created my own website as an outlet for myself. A few of my beauty articles have been published in the national press and I qualified as a makeup artist all in the past year. But really could I pursue this wholeheartedly if the little niggle in the back of my head just wouldn’t go away.
Our eldest (that sounds mad!) is now 4 and our youngest 2 (almost 3), we’ve literally just gotten out of the two year sentence (that’s what I call it). Whoever tells you the first 6 weeks, 6 months, year are the hardest are lying, it takes two years for real normality to settle back in after having kids. Routine has been established, nighttime wakings are becoming more infrequent. Bottles, nappies and teething are a thing of the past. All the thorns have been forgotten of early baby life and the roses are smelling sweeter than ever. But that niggle just isn’t going away. In fact it has become more of an all consuming thought than a niggle. Should we go again? Were we really ready to go back to babyland? With such a short gap between my two girls I really could see the benefit, in hindsight mind you, of having siblings close in age. If we were to go again we seriously needed to consider doing it soon. And so the decision was made ironically over a few glasses of wine and a good meal to return. It was now or never with hopefully now being on our side, baby land here we come again!
The pill cast aside we waited anxiously every month for that + sign, luckily it came quickly enough. Alas that one was not to be, but shortly after we became pregnant again, and so here I am, mid thirties pregnant for the third time nearly mid-way through (19 weeks, feeling warm and safe in the knowledge that we’d made the right decision. Because although reality is a wonderful thing, living in baby land is (really hard work) but joyous too!
I will say though the little prickle of thorns are staring to re-appear. I’d forgotten how tired you can be when pregnant. It’s like a wall is in front of you and you’re trying constantly to climb over it just to do the simplest of things. Cooking, cleaning, working, anything is now more of an effort than ever! As if sensing she might be displaced my youngest has become increasingly attached to me again, not even going to her Dad at times, and has reverted back to me feeding her from a spoon for everything! I know this will pass though so I’ve indulged her with a warning…when baby comes she’ll have to feed herself again.
My love for all things sweet has been rekindled and this time I’m going with it. Double deckers are still my chocolate bar of choice (I know weird!). I’d forgotten how good they were! There are definitely differences with this pregnancy though. I think on your first you’re very much aware of the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy, such as don’t eat blue cheese or shell fish. Don’t drink alcohol. DO exercise moderately and drink plenty of water. You buy every baby book there is and follow all the rules of how to be perfectly pregnant first time round. I was aware of all of these on my second too but I was still so submerged in baby land that they came naturally to me as I hadn’t really returned to my usual non breast feeding diet. This one however is different. I’d started to have a few glasses of wine again, eat shell fish and blue cheese and so have definitely noticed their absence. They are however very very small sacrifices to make, especially when you start feeling those first few movements in your tummy. I’m now just looking forward to having my anatomy scan soon and cherishing every little kick, poke and prod I’m getting from this little babog, as I know in my heart and all going well this will be my last.
by George Cooper
” Which is the way to Baby-land? ”
” Anyone can tell;
Up one flight,
To your right;
Please ring the bell. “
” What can you see in Baby-land? ”
” Little folks in white —
Faces pure and bright! ”
” What do they do in Baby-land? ”
” Dream and wake and play,
Laugh and crow,
Shout and grow;
Jolly times have they! ”
” What do they say in Baby-land? ”
” Why, the oddest things;
Might as well
Try to tell
What a birdie sings! ”
” Who is the Queen of Baby-land? ”
” Mother kind and sweet;
And her love,
Guides the little feet. “
One of THE top selling beauty products in Ireland is self tan. Is it any wonder, what with our summer usually lasting about a day, often in May, before the schools are out and then again maybe for two days just as the kids go back to school (poor kids!). Anyway, I’ve tried and tested a lot of self tanner over the years and have never really found one that I love. There are usually a number of factors that have to come together in order for me to use a self tanner more than once.
- There needs to be very little prep needed (I like to be able to whip it on and be ready to go).
- If I am going to use a gradual tanner over a few days it has to work like a body moisturiser for me. In other words it has to go on smooth and evenly with little fuss and smell great.
- It CANNOT BE ORANGE or too dark. Dark tan looks great on some people, for me it’s a natural glow all the way.
- Finally it needs to fade well. There’s nothing worse than a tan that fades terribly and then you’ve to wait nearly two weeks before you can start all over again.
I know, I’m very fussy! I do believe however that I have found my holy grail of self tanner.
Karora tan (who by the way are an Irish brand, yay!) recently sent me out a selection of their self tanners to try out. I wanted to make sure that I could review them properly and so gave myself a month trying and testing all of the following products. But first, before I talk about the tan itself I have to give a little nod to the Karora packaging as it’s quite simply beautiful. It’s not often that you could keep a bottle of self tanner on your dressing table but with its cute gold insignia against a purple background with accents of pinks, blues and orange they definielty brightened up a corner of my ensuite!
The first tan I tried was the instant tan as I could obviously try this straight away and wash it off to get testing some of the other products. It’ called Glow Glamster which is said to give you fuss free flawless colour with superb coverage that washes off. And it did not disappoint. In fact this is the one of all of the tans that I tried that I loved the most. It has ticked all of my boxes. It is fuss free, smells great (probably thanks to its ingredients of grape seed oil, sweet almond and macadamia oil). It also doesn’t dry out my skin which I find other instant tans can do. It has a slight hint of shimmer in it once dispensed but this is not noticeable on application. It’s best applied using a mitt like all tan is. The result is the most natural looking subtle glow I’ve ever seen using an instant tan. It also doesn’t rub off as it’s water resistant but washes off easily in the shower.
Ok so this is not necessarily a tanning product. It is however a multi tasking skin perfecter. Not all of us like to use tan but many of us have uneven skin tone on our legs, arms, face etc. that we would like to even out. In a nutshell this CC cream (colour correcting cream) will allow you to even out any blemishes you have on your skin, such as thread veins, blotchy patches etc without tanning. It can be used on the face and body and will reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation. I have to say, I liked this product but wasn’t in love with it. I first used it on my face as an alternative to foundation but found it a little thick, it didn’t settle well on my skin. It did however blur out imperfections and magically adjusted itself to my skin tone which I found incredible. So I gave it a second chance and tried it on my legs. As I’m pregnant I’ve noticed I’m getting more and more little thread veins on my legs which I’m fine with but would rather they weren’t there. And as if by magic they disappeared! The Skin Sensation really did work like makeup for my legs without the tanning effect. One to try depending on your needs.
This promised and exotic colour in just one hour! I was expecting a lot. I was also a little dubious as I dispensed the mousse onto the mitt. It looked a little grey? You have to be quick with this one as the mousse dries quite quickly. You can decide yourself how deep you want your colour to be. Leave for one hour for a light glow, two hours for a deeper colour and three hours for a rich dark bronze. I’m never organised enough to leave a tan developing for more than an hour and so I washed this off within the hour. I was a little dismayed as I saw all my tan rinse off in the shower but pleasantly surprised when I emerged and my tan was 1.even, 2. natural 3. still had the potential to get a little darker as the tan still develops even after rinsing. There was not a hint of grey in sight, my skin was left beautifully glowing with a natural tan I haven’t gotten before with any other tanning product. Thumbs up for the fade too, I barley noticed and wasn’t left with any dirty patches or grubby elbows.
Gradual tans (besides instant) are something I tend to use more often than quickly developing tans. As I said before I use them like a body lotion and so they cannot have an unpleasant tanning smell. As a tanner I really liked this one. I’m not sure what the science behind the tanning colour is but Karora have nailed it with each of these tans. Once developed this tan was again beautifully golden leaving my skin sun kissed with not a hint of orange or muddy brown in sight. This also smelled divine on application. It has extracts of vitamin E, jojoba, coconut oil and orange for a blossoming scent. I do need to point out while it smells great on application there is a slight (very slight) self tanner smell that lingers a few hours after you apply it. I for one can live with that though as the results are the best I’ve come across for a gradual tanner.
So there you have it all four products tried and tested. Thank you Karora for sending them out to me and for allowing me to review them. My legs have been out more then ever since your package arrived and I’m loving feeling all sun kissed and glowy. You can find Karora on Facebook here or check out their website here.
You’ve spent your 20’s experimenting with your style, the 30’s have well and truly hit. It’s time to lock down your style. By the time you hit this decade you should know what you like to wear and have a better understanding of your personal style. Here’s a quick guide to styling your thirty something wardrobe.
Know your assets
We all have a body part we are more comfortable or confident with. Highlight your assets, minimise your shortcomings. Dressing to accentuate your best asset whether it’s your legs, neck or waist will instantly make you feel more confident in your chosen outfit. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one favourite body part stick to highlighting just the one area, nobody looks good in a low cut top with their legs out. Chanel your inner Victoria Beckham, think effortless elegance, slick and chic.
Invest when you can
Your thirties is the time to start thinking of your wardrobe as a longterm investment. Reduce the volume of clothes you buy and choose pieces that will work hard for you for years. Think timeless, style will always trump fashion. Create ensembles that will flatter you and make you feel fabulous. High quality pieces are always worth the investment both in terms of how they will look and how they flatter you and of how long they last in terms of cost per wear.
Get to know your go-to colours and stick to them as part of your basic wardrobe. Understanding which colours flatter you or wash you out will allow you to choose key clothing pieces. Jewel tones of deep saturated colours work beautifully with almost every skin tone. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colour either. Use your base colour but add a bit of fun to your outfit with colourful scarves or fringed bags. A pop of colour will make even the most formal workwear outfit feel more youthful.
Sort out your silhouette
While you may love a great body-con dress it may not love you back. At this stage you should know what style suits your body shape and stick to it. Are you hourglass, apple or pear shaped? A quick rule of thumb for each shape is as follows. Hourglass – dress to accentuate your curves, pencil skirts, wrap dresses or wide leg trousers with a belted waist look great. Apples – minimise your midsection by highlighting your shoulders and legs. Swing coats, flowy tops and straight leg low-waist trousers work wonders in your wardrobe. Pears – elongate and balance your figure by accentuating your top half. Off the shoulder tops and box cut jackets along with A-line skirts are your go too pieces.
So many people make the mistake of shopping for size rather than fit. You may have worked hard to get into that size 10 but be true to yourself. Would the twelve fit better? Try everything on first, not all sizes fit the same even when shopping from the same brand. The cut, style and material can all impact on how a piece of clothing will fit you. So if you need to, buy the one size up and cut off the label. It will look far better on you and in turn you will feel much more comfortable and confident knowing you look great.
Sun sand and sea sounds amazing right? However all these elements can play havoc with your hair and instead of looking like a beautiful long locked beach babe the reality can often fall short. So… Here are three easy hair styles to keep you looking beach fabulous all day long.
The wonderful wave
There is something inherently beautiful about a full head of long wavy beach hair.
This look is best suited to naturally wavy hair. Although effortless looking using products can banish the dreaded frizz caused by humidity. Get Victoria Secret model Erin Heatherton’s (26) wonderful waves by apply applying an anti frizz serum to damp hair, try John Frieda Frizz Ease Extra Strength 6 effects + serum (€8.59, Boots.ie). Add a spritz of salt spray then throw your head over and scrunch the hair a few times, leave to dry naturally, et voila beautiful wavy beach hair.
The Pretty Plait
Beautiful braids and pretty plaits work so well when beach or pool side. Apart from keeping your hair off your face they instantly create a chilled out boho beach vibe. Get Nicole Richies (33) look by first applying a leave-in conditioner specially formulated to protect your hair from sun damage to damp hair to give it some texture. Try Revlon Equave Sun Protection Detangling Conditioner 200ml (€14.99, Terrysales.ie) . Then, part your hair on the side and start a French braid that follows the hairline, working its way down toward the ear. Do this on each side of the part. Last, secure the ends of the braids with elastic.
The Beach Bun
If free flowing hair or intricate plaits are all a bit much there is one sure way to get it right.
The Top Knot as worn by Model Gigi Hadid (21). This is so simple yet chic. Again spray a generous amount of sun protecting conditioner onto damp hair. Pull the hair tight into a ponytail towards the top of the head and secure with an elastic. Separate the lengths of hair into three, twist one around the elastic and secure with a bobby pin, repeat with the other two strands. Add a spritz of sun protector spray which will also help stop fly away hairs. Try Soltan Head & Hair Dry-Touch Transparent Suncare Spray SPF30 75ml (€6.00, Boots Nationwide).