Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

My little J is almost a year old and I've been getting sentimental and looking back at photos of pregnant me. Towards the end I look happy and glowing. For the first 6 months I looked like death.

I mentioned in a previous post that when I was pregnant with J I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Basically, this means I turned into a puke-monster for about 5 months. I vomited all over Dublin (there's an extensive list) and also a lot in Austria  (including in a little hole I dug in a snow bank) while we were there on holiday as well. I vomited outside posh restaurants, in gardens, pulled in at traffic lights, the moment I stepped off buses and one memorable time on an icy cold morning at Kylemore Luas Stop. A friend moved into a new flat recently and Mr HNW was coming to pick me up. I directed him there by telling him "it's that road near Blackrock that you had to stop and let me vomit on and that guy in the BMW screamed at us". My vomit spots have become landmarks.

When I found out I was pregnant I was nervous about the whole morning sickness thing. My Mum, Aunt and Grandmother all suffered very badly and my Mum used to talk about how sick I made her all the time. She was living in America while she was pregnant and has an extensive list of American vomit locations - including in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York.

The nausea kicked in at about 6 weeks and things rapidly went downhill after that. I couldn't stomach any food and anything I did eat came back up. I have never been so miserable in my entire life. There were times I thought I was going to die (a bit melodramatic, yes but I genuinely thought this!). I became a recluse, only barely having the energy to go to work. Where I worked at the time was in a very awkward location that meant I had to drive there. When I became too sick to be able to drive myself Mr HNW used to drive me most of the way, then get out and make his own way to work while I drove the last ten minutes. I was so exhausted I spent every lunch break sleeping in my car, cradling a sick bowl.

I lost 10% of my body weight in about 3 months. I was skinnier at 16 weeks pregnant then I had been since I was about 18. I had to go into hospital and go on drips as I was becoming dehydrated. There, I would be told by the nurses that I had to eat, that my body was eating itself. Obviously I knew I had to eat but if nothing stays down, what do you do? After some debate with the doctors and against the advice of my GP I took anti-nausea medication. It didn't work so I gave that up pretty quickly. No point in taking it if it's not 100% safe and doesn't work anyway.

The only things I did eat and could stomach were McDonald's chips, Coco Pops, Rowntree's Fruit Pastille Ice Lollies and lots and lots of milk. Occasionally, they'd stay down. You know those really bad hangovers where you've gone on the absolute tear, where you're vomiting until 5pm and you feel like you will never be well again? It was like that but it never lifted, and I never got the fun drinking part either.

When you are that sick it is impossible to hide that you are pregnant. Everyone knew. When I told people at 12 weeks that I was pregnant nobody was surprised. Everyone thought I was having twins.

People tried to help, telling me to nibble on ginger nuts or peppermints. One, very pregnant lady sitting next to me at the hospital told me to start eating mints while I was hooked up to a drip. Gee, thanks. It didn't occur to me to try mints. Guess this drip is just not necessary then, as you have the solution. She was just trying to be nice and I didn't have the energy to say anything to her anyway but I just wanted to scream at her. Everyone told me that the sickness would lift soon. Every week, my Aunt and Mum would say ooh, I think this is the week my sickness lifted, just to try and get me through it.

There was one upside, when I went into labour I was only 4 or 5kg over my pre-pregnancy weight. As J was over 3.5KG and the fluid and other bits weigh 1-2Kg it means I was lighter just after giving birth then I was before getting pregnant. Also, the sickness seems to have had no negative effects on J at all. He was a bouncing 8lbs 1oz and healthy as a horse.

I genuinely believe that being that sick has changed my relationship with food. Although the sickness lifted at about 22/23 weeks when I gave up work and could sleep whenever I wanted (it's believed fatigue can aggravate it) I never fully got my appetite back until after J was born. Then I was breastfeeding and was hungry all the time. It took a long time for me to get over the novelty of being able to eat whatever I wanted and having a good appetite again and I went a bit mad. That was the weight I had to lose, not baby weight, it was cake weight! Also, although I never fully regained my appetite I did stop getting sick, some women have it right until the end so it could have been a lot worse.

Anyway, this post has turned out to be a lot longer than I expected but it's been very cathartic.If anyone out there is suffering from HG you have my utmost sympathies. It was a horrible time. If I could I'd hold your puke bowl and stroke your hair and tell you that it sucks. Everybody said it would be worth it. When you are that sick this makes you want to punch them in the face. but they were right.  It was worth it.  J is a joy and even though I remember the sickness very well (including getting actual flashbacks sometimes) it feels like a different time. It was so worth it that it hasn't put me off wanting number two at some stage!


Monday, 26 May 2014

Marshmallow and White Chocolate Blondies

I came across a recipe for marshmallow and white chocolate brownies a while back and had it saved in the "to bake" section of my internet favourites. However, most recipes I came across were aimed at Americans and one of the ingredients in particular (butterscotch chips) proved difficult to find in Ireland.

Over the weekend I decided to give it a try and made a version of the blondies that could be made easily by those of us outside the States. I replaced the butterscocth chips with fudge chunks and it worked well. They were very, very sweet which in a way was a good thing because it meant I didn't scoff the whole plate myself. They went down well anyway when we had friends over for dinner as a post-dinner treat with a cup of tea. They're definitely worth a try!


60g butter
85g fudge drops
100g flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150g brown sugar (I used demerera because that's what was in the cupboard but I think muscovado would have been nicer)
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
100g marshmallows
100g white chocolate chips
a dash of milk (if needed)


Prepare a deep baking tray by lining with baking parchment.

Melt the butter and fudge drops over a medium heat. It's not possible to mix the butter and fudge together completely, there will still be some separation but with vigorous mixing you can get it fairly well combined.

In a bowl, add the dry ingredients - the flour, salt, sugar and the baking powder

Mix in the melted butter and fudge to the dry ingredients - you will get a crumbly, dry mixture

Stir the egg and vanilla into the mixture.

Add the white chocolate chips and the marshmallows.

Add a dash of milk if the mixture is still too dry (you should be able to pour it easily into a baking tray).

Pour into the prepared baking tray and bake for 20-15 minutes at 180C until the middle of the mixture has set (test with a skewer)

Allow the mixture to cool before cutting.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Matalan Wish-List

I've been off the radar a bit for the last few weeks. I've been feeling very under the weather, with just a complete lack of energy. I've been sleeping ridiculous amounts, J is sleeping through the night but I was still so exhausted that I was taking two naps a day with him and still feeling tired when I went to bed at night. I think I was just very, very run down. I've been trying to rest as much as I can with a very active 11 month old, looking after myself and taking supplements and I seem to be perking up a bit. I've had problems in the past with chronic fatigue after getting a virus so I'm just being careful.

All that has meant though, that blogging has taken a backseat and I've been wearing whatever is easiest and most comfortable (mainly yoga pants!). Now that I''m feeling a bit better I'm starting to feel a bit scruffy and need to start thinking about what I'm putting on in the morning again. You know when you just feel stuck in a rut a little bit and you need to give yourself a push to get out of it?

Anyway, the other day one of the million emails I seem to get daily from clothes shops pinged into my inbox. A lot of the time I delete them after a quick scroll through. With this email I skimmed through it, figured it was for somewhere on the expensive end of things because the stuff looked fab and then as I was about to press delete I noticed that it was an email from Matalan. So of course, I had to investigate further. I'm really impressed with the stuff they have at the moment. Even better they have a new petite section. Hurray! It has me feeling inspired again.

We don't have Matalan in Ireland (although I'm sure there are some up North) but I can get stuff delivered to me using Parcel Motel (aka the best thing ever invented!) and now I have a bit of a wish-list. The good thing about a wish-list from somewhere like Matalan is that it is much more obtainable than a list from say, J Crew.

My Matalan Wish-List

First of all this Palm Print Woven Sweat Top at £16. I love the print and it's causal enough to wear with a black pencil skirt and sandals to make a change from all the jeans I seem to be wearing recently.

I want these Block Heels so bad but where would I wear them - riddle me that? They would look great I suppose for when I'm cleaning the bathroom or doing the ironing!  They are lovely though and they come in a lime green colour too. Maybe I need to invent an occasion?

Love this spotted denim shirt, I can never resist polka dots. I did actually buy a denim shirt for summer but it's quite heavy, this would be a great lighter option worn with white jeans or capris.

I am so tempted by this jersey maxi skirt. I love maxi length things but because I am a shortarse they look ridiculous on me. I have bought dresses and had them taken up before though which makes a big difference. This skirt is in the petite section and I'm allowing myself to believe that I may actually look like a normal person in it and not like a child trying on her Mother's clothes.

I love this Kimono but I have a feeling if I ordered it the colours would do nothing for me and my pale skin. It is beautiful though.

Lastly, this cross body bag. It's £12 which I think is a great bargain, it certainly doesn't look like it's that that cheap to me online so I'd be very interested in seeing it in person. The only problem is I rarely use handbags these days as everything goes into the nappy bag. Maybe it's time to start!

Out of these, I think I'm going to order the sweatshirt, maxi skirt and bag when payday arrives, just for a little pick-me-up. Fingers crossed they look as nice in person!


Sunday, 11 May 2014


Things have been quiet on the blogging front the last while. My lovely little baby is practically a toddler and I am run ragged chasing around after him trying to stop him pulling my house apart or seriously injuring himself. I just fall in to bed every evening after a few lame attempts to keep the house clean.

We thought he might not crawl, but go straight to walking because he was cruising confidently but would freak out when he was on his stomach. Then one day, I had friends over for coffee and he saw a few of their babies crawl and he was off. I guess he just needed some peer pressure. Now, he's off like the clappers when you set him down on the floor and everything is fair game to get into. Yesterday, he opened all the drawers in my bedroom and decided that my knickers were the best new toy ever. They were strewn around the house. I just had to leave him be and hope nobody called over to visit. At least they were clean, anyway!

The idea of babyproofing just gives me a headache, at first it just seemed so overwhelming, especially as we are moving out in a few weeks and we will just have to do it all again in our new place. Luckily, we are in an apartment so no stairs and a lot of our furniture was already screwed to the wall (thanks to me being pregnant when we bought it and us actually being smart and looking ahead!). Apart from that, I'm just not sure what to do. I've bought cupboard and drawer locks and they remain in their packets. We bought foam cushions for the doors so he can't close them and trap his fingers but he managed to get them trapped under the door anyway. At the moment my babyproofing is just watching him like a hawk and racing around pulling him off things.

The one thing I'm not sure how to protect is the TV and digital boxes. It seems a bit of a small space to use a fireguard but he is going to town on the speakers and the various electrical boxes under there. If anyone has any suggestions I will happily take them! I'm trying to think of ways to protect the area that doesnt involve blocking it off entirely. So far, nothing creative has spring to mind.

Anyway, I must rush off to bed. Tomorrow is another day of running around, saying no a lot and being laughed at by an impossible cute wrecking ball!


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Saying No to Jeans!

Like lots of other bloggers out there seem to be at the moment I am so sick of jeans but I'm just not brave enough to wear anything else out of the house yet. Not brave enough because I hate hate hate being cold with a passion. April/May and September are my least favourite times of year when it comes to dressing myself because I never get it right. I'm always too hot or too cold, or I've forgotten that I live in Ireland and it rains a lot, no matter what time of year it is and I've gone out in something flimsy that gets soaked through at the first hint of rain in the air.

Today, I decided, screw it I am not wearing jeans  and maybe it's time to get my pale, milky legs out. I'm not into Fake Tan, I just think it looks silly on me, like I haven't washed so I'm stuck with being pale and interesting instead. Cameras make me look even paler but I've just learned to accept that that's my lot in life!

So I had a bit of a rummage through my wardrobe and decided on my Boden crop trousers, not a million miles away from jeans with regards to covering my legs but a lot more colourful.

Bistro Crop Trousers - Boden
Black Waterfall Cardigan - New Look (similar here)
Black Tassle Ballet Pumps - Oasis (sort of similar here
Necklace - Oasis (they have a similar one in stock here)
The second shot captures the necklace a lot better (Mr HNW and I are having some photography issues at the moment!) On that note, I'd love to be able to do OOTD (outfit of the day) posts. It's one of my favourite things to see on other people's blogs. Seeing what normal women wear going about their everyday business really is the best inspiration for me. The problem is I don't have anyone to take photos during the day while I'm doing things (unsurprisingly 10 month olds don't make the best photographers) and the only mirror I have access to is narrow and in a dark hallway. Maybe crappy photos are better than no photos. I may need to just go for it!

We went into town for a birthday lunch for Mr HNW. We chose to go to Pitt Brothers, an American BBQ restaurant on George's Street. Mr HNW is big into ribs and he was very excited about a meat overload. He wasn't disappointed.

I originally had a white long sleeved top on but then Mr HNW reminded me where we were going for lunch and how saucy ribs can be so I had to do a quick change! I had a pulled pork bun with fries and mac and cheese. It was delicious and J also enjoyed it very much. He eats what we eat now and the mac and cheese in particular went down very well with him. It was pretty baby friendly overall actually, welcoming staff, room for buggies and a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

Of course, I couldn't resist a look in the shops afterwards so, leaving the boys to take J for a walk myself and my friend, Jane had a little mooch around Henry Street. In Stradivarius I came across a playsuit that caught my eye. I've never worn a playsuit before, I'm not sure if I can pull them off or where I would wear it. I tried it on and I'm still undecided. I'm going to have a think anyway and maybe order online if I need to.

I hope you all had an equally lovely Bank Holiday Sunday!


Friday, 2 May 2014

Real Nappy Week

Before I go any further I should say I don't actually like the term "real nappies". It is used to describe cloth nappies but I find it a bit condescending, disposable nappies are not "fake". I don't know, maybe I am thinking about it too much or missing the point but it has a bit of a snooty earth mother vibe about it which I think could put some parents off.

Anyway, that's beside the point, real nappy week starts Monday 28th April (so we're well into it at the moment) and is a week where the use of cloth nappies is celebrated and promoted. The best thing about it for me is that a lot of cloth nappy retailers have specials and sell nappies for reduced prices. If you are thinking about trying cloth or need some more to bulk out your stash it's a great time to pick up a few bits.

My favourite nappy of choice at the moment for J is a Bumgenius Freetime. It is an all in one nappy so doesn't require any stuffing of inserts into pockets and they are just the most reliable nappy I've used.

Today, J was accidentally in one for about 6 hours (due to being out and awkward nap times) and it held perfectly. I've managed to pick up a few at a reduced price and also took the opportunity to try out a new brand so we'll see how that goes. Babies shapes and weeing habits change so nappies that did work well for you at one time can be terrible at another time. It's a good idea to have a stash of nappies that cover different brands and styles.

I was going to put together some details on sites that have offers on but I came across this link on Fluffy Mummy that really sums things up so much better than I could.

So, if you are interested in trying cloth or are a cloth addict and want to convert some of your friends, this is a good time to do it!


Monday, 28 April 2014

Denim Blue Scarf and New Lace Shoes

Scarves are something I've got into a lot more in the last few months. I've always had a stash sitting in my wardrobe but never bothered to get them out and actually use them. There's a few bloggers out there who rock their scarves and this has really inspired me to get myself together on the scarf front.

One thing I've been looking for recently is a scarf with light denim blue colours in it to wear easily with jeans. I've been searching for a bit but came across this one in New Look the other day. 

It's a pale blue colour with gold threading at the edges. The site describes it as Pail Blue Gillter Trim Longline Scarf. I can't decide if that Pail is there intentionally (is Pail Blue a colour? Are buckets generally a blue colour?) or if someone at New Look HQ needs a spelling lesson. Hmm.....

Anyway, pale blue is not generally my colour (pale anything is generally not my colour, sadly) but this scarf has proved very handy. It's great to wear with denim and my gold Warehouse pumps. I can see it proving very useful this summer. 

While I was New Look, I also spotted these cream broderie anglaise pumps for €11.99 (which I'm also wearing above). 

For some reason I cannot find them on the New Look website. These ballet flats are the closest I can find.   I have a pair of navy Toms that I'm living in at the moment so I'm on the lookout for other comfy flats for summer because I don't want to destroy them by wearing them too much. I also thought they would be handy for the weddings I have coming up, my pro wedding tip is to bring flats with you to change into once the dancing starts. It can be a long day to be in a pair of heels. I do love me a good dance at a wedding!

They're very comfortable and make me smile thinking of Summer!


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Who Doesn't Love A Bargain?

Last week I had a rare afternoon off. J was deposited with my Mum and I headed into town to meet friends for shopping, dinner and drinks. It was just heavenly, as strange as it sounds I felt like a real person again. I think I hadn't realised how much I needed a little bit of time off from everything just for me. So in the future, I'm making a conscious effort to have an evening like that at least once a month. I'm lucky that I have help, Mr HNW is great with J and my mum helps out a lot too. It must be tough with less support so I'm very grateful for being able to get some me time every so often.

I was shopping with a purpose. I even had a little list (how organised!) so I wouldn't go mad and spend money I didn't have. I have quite a few weddings coming up over the next few months and I needed a pair of shoes to go with two dresses I have, as well as my new navy jacket that I had spotted online.

Despite my best intentions, I did purchase a few things that weren't on my list because I really can't resist a bargain. I looooove getting stuff on sale, especially if it's something I've had my eye on for a while.

We popped into Debenhams to have a look at their fascinators (some of which were hilariously massive). My friend wanted to take a quick look at the Mantaray concession, a brand I'd never heard of before. Most of the stock, while lovely, wasn't really my style but then I spotted this gilet on the 70% off rail.

Worn here with distressed Boyfriend Jeans (similar here)
Navy Toms
Grey Luxlight Sweater (on sale at the moment !)
It was reduced from €85 to €25. What a bargain! Especially as I'd had my eye on a navy gilet from Fat Face for the last couple of months and it costs £65. I couldn't justify spending that much on one, especially as I wasn't sure how much wear I would get out of it.

The gilet has a fab fairisle fleece lining and a fur hood. There is one review on the Debenhams website that says it is small fitting but I didn't find that and actually bought it in a size 8. There are other colours and patterns on sale for the same price but I'm a sucker for teal so I couldn't resist.

Even though the weather is warming up (slowly!) I think I'll get a bit of wear out of it before the summer starts. Some days are still a bit nippy so a gilet with a long sleeved top underneath will be perfect. I've already worn it a good bit over the last few days, it's so easy just to throw it on with a pair of boyfriend jeans.

I also popped into town over the long weekend for a wander with Mr HNW and the baba and came across these skinny mini khakis in Gap reduced to €9.99.

They seem to be full price (€39.95) on the website which is strange. The codes and item description matches so it is the same pair of trousers, and the tag (pictured below) has the same information on it.

It's all very strange, I have found with Gap that it is worth going into the store to look for bargains as what is online doesn't seem to match the stock in store. Again, what a bargain! To be honest, I do already have a similar pair from Boden I bought last summer (although they are a lighter colour) but I couldn't say no at that price. The fit is great and even better I bought them in a size 8. It was worth getting them for that feeling alone! All that denying myself chocolate has been worth it.

Worn here with Boden Henley Striped Top
They had quite a big section on sale actually, but nearly all the tops were only available in a medium or bigger and Gap sizes for tops are massive as it is so there were no bargains there for me. Quite a lot of their scarves in lovely bright colours were reduced though, most were 60% off but I resisted!

Finding a good bargain always makes me happy anyway. I hope some of you have found some good bargains recently too!


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Dressing Your Little Boy

I always think it much be so much easier to dress a little baby girl. In kids shops the girls section is always much bigger and with a much more varied selection. If you have a little boy, you're kind of stuck with jeans/cords/tracksuit bottoms with a long sleeved top that usually has a tractor or boat on it, unless you want to spend a lot more money on kids clothes than I'm prepared to. In saying that, the lack of choice probably makes it easier once you have the clothes at home. It's easy to have them dressed and looking vaguely put-together.

Recently, I've been looking for formal outifts for J. We have a number of weddings this year but most are child-free. We are going to a wedding in France in June (so excited!) and J will  be coming with us so I needed something for him to wear then. He'll be 12 months old by then and if he continues the way he is (there is a lot of cruising going on in our house at the moment), probably walking, or very close to it, so I needed something that was still relatively comfortable for him but suitable for a wedding.

I loved these outfits from Mama and Papas:

Welcome To The World 5 Piece Blazer Set - €61 

Welcome To The World 5 Piece Blazer Set -€67

The price is just too much for me though. I can't justify spending over €60 on something he will wear for one day and will likely have filthy within twenty minutes. We have another wedding early next year and I am a bridesmaid so J will need to be all dressed up like his Mama. I'm hoping they'll go on sale over the summer and I will be able to pick one up half price. I'm checking the site every so often anyway so fingers crossed.

Littlewoods have this 4 piece suit set for €37:

It is available from newborn to 7 years (although a lot of the older sizes are sold out) but it seemed a little bit too grow-up looking for my little baba. I wanted something a little bit cuter while he is still small.

In the end I purchased this outfit from H&M for a very reasonable €25. I'm thinking he'll look very French at his French wedding. Also, I thought it was casual enough that he could wear the little trousers and cardigan on other occasions too. I'm taking bets on how long that dickie bow will stay on though, 5 minutes maybe?

I'm dying to see him in it. I'll be taking lots of photos to document the cuteness while it lasts.

If anyone knows anywhere that has good boys wear, formal or not, please share. I'm always on the look-out. I'm telling you, I'd be lethal in the shops if I had a girl!


Friday, 18 April 2014

100 Happy Days

Some of you may have heard of this doing the rounds on Facebook. Basically 100 Happy Days is a challenge where you take a picture every day for 100 days of something that makes you smile and post it on the social media site of your choice - with the appropriate hashtag.

You need to register with the site and you can either use the public hashtag or if you want to keep your contributions a bit more private (which I do) you can register your own hashtag so only your friends/followers can see what you post.

I was really enjoying some of my Facebook friends'contributions, they were all of small things like a bar of chocolate they had treated themselves too, or Spring flowers in the park, just things they had spotted that brightened up their day a little bit.. All the photos I've seen have made me smile too.

I really liked the idea of using a challenge like this to help me appreciate the small things in life, it's easy to let negativity take over when you're busy and there's enough horrible things posted on the internet, it is nice to see more positive things. The idea of taking time to share the things that made your day a little better just seemed like a worthwhile challenge.

So far, I am day 3 and my photos have consisted of J giving me a cuddle on the couch (he's normally too busy for cuddles during the day), some red pandas at Dublin Zoo and J's nappies hanging in the sun to dry (I don't usually have access to a washing line).

According to their website 71% of people fail the challenge, citing lack of time as the reason. As I'm only on day 3 it's obviously easy for my to be enthusiastic but I'd really love to finish the challenge, even just to have 100 days of photos to look back on.

So, here's to another 97 happy days!


Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Navy Waterfall Jacket

I used to be a strictly cardigan girl, having them in a rainbow of colours but over the last year or so I've been steadily getting more and more into jackets and blazers. My grey Mango blazer has been worn a lot over the last couple of months and I recently realised that I had no jacket I could wear with navy - which I have a lot of in my wardrobe currently.

I wanted something light for summer and after some hunting online I came across this waterfall jacket from New Look.

I was in town a few days ago so popped into New Look hoping they would have the jacket in stock (I find the New Look website such a pain to use. I had stuff delivered from there to New Zealand before but for some reason the site does not like me entering an Irish address so I've given up). Luckily they did have it in stock and I snapped it up. It's slightly smaller fitting so I bought it in a size 10 to make sure I had room to layer easily.

Worn here with my new Gap legging jeans, a burgundy top I bought years ago in New Zealand (similar here - on sale as well), denim shoes from Korky's (they are like Irregular Choice shoes which I love - there is a similar pair here with a daisy on them. After looking this up I want so many pairs of shoes. This blog is dangerous!)

I wore this out to the theatre the other night. The jacket is still a little chilly for April so I had a coat on over it but I just love it. It's available in mint and coral as well and I'm very tempted, especially by the mint. My only concern is the material. I had a black jacket from River Island I bought a few years ago made of the same material and you just couldn't wash the jacket at all. The material started to thin at the seams so it looked like it was ripped. I'm a pretty messy person so wearing something you can't wash isn't great for me but for €30 I figured it was ok to take a punt. Here's hoping!


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Weight Watchers Friendly Toffee Crisp and Raspberry Cheesecake

Since returning from South Africa (where I gorged myself on meat and cake) I have been trying to lose weight with Weight Watchers. I lost some weight with them a few years ago, but since having J the pounds have been piling on. The leader in my class is lovely, when I went for my first weigh in I was shocked by what the scales said, she was very reassuring and told me it was baby weight and not to be hard on myself, that it was perfectly normal.

The truth (that I didn't tell her!) is its biscuit weight, not baby weight. Because I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum while pregnant with J I actually weighed less the day after giving birth then I did before I got pregnant. The weight I put on was completely biscuit (and crisps, chocolate, cake and brioche rolls) related.

I was so careful about making sure J ate three proper meals a day but I was completely neglecting myself and instead of meals I was snacking on junk all day. I think we can all agree that in the long term that was going to do neither of us any good.  Plus when I was breastfeeding I got an even worse sweet tooth than I normally have and was eating like a mothertrucker - when I stopped breastfeeding at 5 months I just kept on eating as if I was still burning those calories.

So, I've lost about 9 pounds in 5 weeks with another few pounds to go until my goal weight which I'm very happy with. I feel so much better in myself, my clothes fit better and when I look in the mirror I don't feel the need to suck in my tummy (as much). I had just tipped into the overweight category for my height (using the bmi) so it's good to have nipped it in the bud before I put more weight on. Also, I feel ten times better for eating proper, healthy meals again.

Anyway, the one thing I find hard on a diet is satisfying my sweet tooth. I love me some chocolate and cake and desserts of any kind. Today we had our Easter Sunday lunch with my family (as my parents are away for Easter). I was in charge of cooking dinner and wanted to make a dessert I could eat. I did a little bit of research online and then winged my own version of a baked cheesecake, a low fat version. It was actually very nice.

If you are using the Simple Start plan, I've worked out that the entire cheesecake is around 23 Propoints (the eggs, quark, cottage cheese, vanilla essence, milk and raspberries are on the list of foods you can eat without counting points). If you divide the cheesecake by 8 it is about 3 points per slice.

Low Fat Toffee Crisp and Raspberry Cheesecake


250g Cottage Cheese

300g Quark

110g Caster Sugar (if you want to make it more WW friendly you can use artifical sweetener but in my experience it doesn't taste very nice baked and I don't like to eat too much of it anyway)

4 eggs

4 Toffee Crisp Biscuits. I  used these as I had them in the cupboard. One biscuit is 3 WW points so it is 12 points in total for the recipe. You could also use 2 normal toffee crisp bars which are 6 points each (from my quick look online earlier anyway)

Splash of milk

Vanilla Essence

Small punnet of raspberries

Ingredients - but without the raspberries as I realised I had them to use during the creative process!

Grease the sides and bottom of a Springform Cake Tin. I also put baking paper on the bottom of the tin to stop the cheesecake from sticking.

Crush three of the Toffee Crisp bars and sprinkle this on the bottom of the cake tin. This makes a kind of crunchy bottom, but without using the usual cheesecake base of crushed digestives and lots of butter.

Separate the eggs.

In a bowl mix the quark, cottage cheese, egg yolks, sugar, splash of milk and vanilla essence. Use a hand blender to smooth out any lumps from the cottage cheese.

In a separate bowl mix the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and then fold this into the mixture in the other bowl. This is important. I made this at my parents house and sadly, did not have my mixer with me. I found it difficult to whip the egg whites right and ended up throwing them in while they were still very funny. This meant the cheesecake mixture was not as fluffy or risen as I would have liked. Make sure you have access to a good mixer! 

Pour the combined mixture over the crushed toffee crisp in the tin. The tap the cake tin on a hard surface a few times (until you don't see any more bubbles rise to the surface). This will prevent any pockets of air forming in your cheesecake.

Push the raspberries into the mixture - you can do a pretty pattern if you like!

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for about 30 - 35 minutes. Check the cheesecake is solid all the way through by placing a skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean, it's done.

Chop the fourth toffee crisp biscuits and sprinkle over the top


The last photo was taken in a bit of a rush. I was getting strange looks from my family for photographing my food, plus I really wanted to try it!

It was actually very nice. It has a different taste to regular cheesecake, the quark gives it much more of a tang. but I really liked this. In Austria quark is called topfen and they make a lovely dessert there called Topfenstrudel and this reminded me a bit of that. It got the thumbs up from the non dieting members of my family anyway.

I think if I were to make it again. I would leave out the raspberries  and instead of sprinkling the fourth Toffee Crisp biscuit on top, as a bit of sweetness next to the sharpness of the quark would be nice I would mix it into the cheesecake mixture, kind of like chocolate chips.

Other options for a cheesecake like this is to use crushed oreos, or jaffa cakes as your base. It's definitely worth a try!


Wednesday, 9 April 2014


I've been a bit quiet on the blog-front the last week or so. I'm the leader of a Ladybird Unit (it's part of the Irish Girl Guides, for girls aged 5-7 and it's what comes before Brownies. It's called various different things in other countries!). We had our enrolment tonight so I spent the last week making props like rainbows and crocks of gold, as well as making tons of rice krispie buns and things. It went really well and was a lovely evening so I'm very pleased. It's funny how quickly the weeks go though. I couldn't tell you what I do with my time but my days at home with J just seem to go so fast.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I have really dry skin, like uncomfortably dry. Some days wearing make-up is a no-no because it just flakes off (not that I wear make-up very often anyway). I've tried so many products over the years, some of them very expensive (like Clinique, Clarins or La Prairie). Nothing seems to help, none of the moisturisers I've used ever seem to do the job for any longer than an hour or so. There's pots of moisturiser dotted all over my house for when the dry skin really overcomes me, none of which I ever seem to finish.

Recently, I spotted something in Boots in the section devoted to products for sensitive skin/eczema. The Eucerin Replenishing Face Cream. I thought I'd give it a go as it's advertised for dry to very dry skin. It is easily the best moisturiser I've used. Honestly, it's the only one I've ever tried that stopped my skin feeling tight and dry for more than an hour or two.

Since trying this moisturiser I've started using their Mild Cleansing Milk. Clarifying Toner and Dermo Purifyer Night Care Cream.  The Night Cream can feel a little bit sticky on the skin after applying but they have really made a huge difference to my skin.

Eucerin have a very extensive range (and Boots have a good selection on their website). If you suffer at all with dry skin I really, really recommend it. It's not particularly expensive as skincare goes and I definitely wouldn't use anything else now.  A friend of mine also recently recommended the childrens sun spray as being very good for baby's senstive skin. So, I'll be giving that a try this summer!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Taz of Taz-Mania

If you are of a certain age the title of this blog post will have you singing the theme tune to the cartoon Taz of Taz-Mania.

Here it is to remind you!

I seem to have given birth to a Tasmanian Devil. J is the happiest, smiliest baby. He is also a terror. I do not know how one small baby, who cannot even crawl yet can have so much energy or cause so much destruction. He. Never. Stops.

Moving, he's just always moving. Everything is fair game to be grabbed, chewed and ripped apart. He's almost systematic in the way he ransacks a room, despite not being very mobile. We call him Taz because he is like a whirlwind whipping through a room, destroying everything in his path and draining the energy of everyone around him. Even when I was pregnant he had me destroyed from the kicking and punching.

He is currently trying to skip crawling and walk instead. At the moment he can stand and pull himself up and sometimes takes some tentative steps but he is nowhere near walking unaided. This makes him more frustrated because he can't move where he wants. He is well capable of learning to crawl, he just hates being on the floor on his front in case he misses anything (J has a severe case of FOMO - fear of missing out) His joy in everything around him is wonderful and infectious but that excitement and enthusiasm for the world also has his parents exhausted. Even while sitting in his high chair and eating his body is constantly moving, his legs are kicking or he's doing a little dance.

The other day my Mum was minding him and told me afterwards I need to wait a while until the next one because J had her worn out. When I meet my other mum friends for coffee, most of their babies (especially the girls) are very placid, they'll sit there and chew on one toy or look peacefully around the room. J is of course, ransacking the room, grabbing everything within his reach, screeching or singing songs at the top of his voice and pulling at me to be lifted up, and then wanting to be put back down and then he wants to be lifted up again or to grab something out of his reach. Apparently it is a boy thing and I have talked to a few women who say their babies are similar.

Obviously, I wouldn't change him for the world. The excitement he has in his surroundings makes you look at the world in a different way and it really is infectious. It makes him a lot of fun and I spend my days cracking up laughing at his shenanigans. I am exhausted though.

Does anyone out there have a similar baby? Maybe one who grew out of it and calmed down a little bit? I think I'm in for a world of pain once he can run around the place. Watch this space!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Mothers Day and a New Spring Jacket

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mamas, Grandmamas and Godmothers out there. I had a lovely day with my family and J, Murdoch and Mr HNW spoiled me rotten. It was a perfect first Mothers Day. Part of my present was that I was off duty with J on Friday and Saturday night. So, what do you think happened? Yes, he slept through the night both nights and Mr HNW didn't have to get up at all! Him sleeping through the night for the first time is the best Mothers Day Present I could have had though. 

Today, I went to church, then for a walk with J and Mr HNW and then had my parents and brother over for a lovely Sunday roast. It was a beautiful spring day, made brighter by the clocks going forward last night so it was the perfect day to debut my new Spring/Summer jacket. 

I had a post before on my dilemma surrounding the Fat Face Lymington Jacket. I couldn't decide whether to get it in yellow or navy or if is was too similar to a Superdry jacket I already own. Very important decisions, I know.

My humming and hawing resulted in me buying a different jacket, albeit still from Fat Face.

This is the Roseanne jacket and is much lighter than the Lymington jacket. It's shower proof and has a big hood which Í know will come in handy. It's much more of a summer jacket and it comes in more colours too. Again I was vacillating between two colours. I tried the mint on in the shop and it was lovely but yellow was still calling to me. Unfortunately no shops near me had the yellow in stock so I had to chance it and order it online. Thankfully, when you order online you can get it delivered to the shop for free so I had the opportunity to try it on there along with the other colours.

As you can see, the yellow won out. The colour just makes me feel happy and I'm loving yellow and navy at the moment. I decided when thinking about it that a lighter jacket would be more useful, as I don't really have anything for the cool summer I'm sure we're about to have! The other Lymington jacket was just too similar to jackets I already own.

When I was picking up the jacket I spotted the yellow and navy top in Marks and Spencer for €24. As soon as I saw it I know it would go with the jacket perfectly and at a great price too. I love the navy and yellow together and it will be such a useful piece (I'm never sure about the use of the word piece, I'm thinking it's a bit knobby but I can't think of a substitute!)

What I am on the hunt for now is a navy and yellow scarf to go with the jacket. I can't find one for love nor money. I've been trawling the internet and the shops but no luck so far. I've found a few with black and a bit of yellow in them but I'm really stuck on finding one with a navy/yellow combo. I know if I can find one it will become a great staple for the summer and I'll be able to throw on the jacket, scarf and jeans and be out the door. If anyone comes across one please let me know!


My Mother's Day Munchkin! 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Gap - Spring Edit

Instead of my usual shopping online, I was actually out in the shops this week. I ordered a jacket from Fat Face (more on that later) and had it delivered to the store instead of paying delivery charges so it was a good excuse for a mosey around the shops.

Surprisingly (at least to me) most shops were having a mid-season sale. I don't remember things being on sale in March before but maybe I just didn't pay much attention to it before.

Gap currently have 30% - 50% off a lot of styles. Now that's what I call a discount (Boden, I'm looking at you. Anything I fancied there was only 10% off, which is just not enough to put an order in).

The reason I went to Gap was to buy a new pair of jeans. I bought a pair of 1969 legging cords in the January sales and I am getting a lot of wear out of them. They're a great fit. So I thought a pair of leggings jeans would be a good purchase. Luckily the jeans I had my eye on were 30% off. It would have been madness not to get a pair!

These are the 1969 legging jeans in Santa Cruz blue. They're currently reduced to €34.97. What makes me even happier about these is that I've been trying to lose a bit of weight recently and it seems to have had some effect. I had to buy these in a size 8 (a 26 waist). Is there any better feeling?

The reason I've no picture of myself in these jeans is that they didn't have my size in the shop I was in but the very friendly staff reserved them in another shop and my friend Emma went to pick them up for me on her lunchbreak (she is a saint!).

I'm tempted to buy a pair of their boyfriend jeans now too but I'm spent out for this month. I bought a pair of boyfriend jeans in South Africa and I love them but they've got very loose on me recently so they're starting to look a bit silly. Maybe next month!

I also bought this Luxlight sweater. It was reduced in store to €17.47 although it is not reduced online. I bought a light grey colour which also doesn't seem to be online, which is very strange. It comes in a variety of colours and I'm kind of wishing I got it in the lemon yellow or winter peach. It is a lovely soft and silky knit.

So, there are some good bargains to be had, especially if you have had your eye on something. The staff told me the promotion online is slightly different in store than online, which is presumably why I got the above jumper on sale. There certainly seemed to be more stock reduced in store than online to me so it might be worthwhile taking a look if there is a shop near you.


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Baby Pearls

We've had a very nice weekend celebrating my lovely friend Jane's birthday. A weekend of good friends, board games, pizza, manicures and lots of laughs. Also, my parents took J last night and we actually got some sleep and a lie-in. Heaven!

I am deluding myself that the weather is getting warmer but in reality, it just seems to have gone a bit haywire and can't decide what season it is. We've gone from sunny and warm to very cold with hail, all in the space of a few hours and I'm finding it hard to dress accordingly. I've just accepted that sometimes I'm going to be a bit cold at the moment.

It does mean that for the first time this I was able to snap a few quick pics outside. We live in an apartment so no direct access to a garden and as Mr HNW works during daylight hours it makes getting pics in good light quite hard. I did manage to snatch a little bit of time outside today.

Wearing here my new Boden stripy Henley top, Topsop Baxter jeans and my gold pumps from Warehouse.

I love statement necklaces, there are some lovely ones out there at the moment and they're a great way to wear the current season's colours without buying lots of clothes that you might not get a lot of wear out of. Unfortunately, I have a 9 month old baby who also loves statement necklaces, as in he loves to pull and pull and pull at them until they snap, then he likes to eat them. A few of my favourite necklaces have gone to the big jewellery box in the sky so I have to be very careful about wearing them during the day now.

I did find a good solution while we were in South Africa though - Baby Pearls and I'm wearing mine in the photo above.

I came across these when we visited a cute little baby shop in Johannesburg looking for cloth nappy supplies (which they sadly didn't have). I was immediately taken with what a good idea they are, a necklace in funky colours that look good on Mummy but are made of silicone so baby can also safely chew them. It has a breakaway clasp as well so that if J pulls the necklace (which of course, he does) it just comes off.

J never stays still so is blurry in a lot of photos and this was the best we could capture. He does love to gnaw on them though. They come in eighteen bright colours and they have matching bracelets too. The company also advise that swapping the bracelets from wrist to wrist are a good way to remember which side you breastfed on last, which I think is a great idea.

Baby Pearls are made and sold in South Africa but they do ship worldwide. I did find another company called Koo-Di selling a similar product, but the colours are quite muted, just whites, blacks and greys which frankly, don't do it for me. They are having a flash sale on the necklaces at the moment though which is always nice!

There is also a company called Jellystone that do silicone teething pendants and necklaces and bracelets

I'm not sure I like the fact that the necklace doesn't have silicone beads all the way around but the silicone owl pendant is pretty funky.

So, for any ladies out there whose baba is destroying their jewellery here is a good back-up option!