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!


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Crying It Out - Update

In my last post I wrote about our attempts at crying it out and how well it was going. I should not have written that post! The law of jinxing something prevailed.The next night we were up twice with him and he cried for 30 minutes both times. He did however, wake up in his own bed in the morning which is a big plus.

I'd love to say after 4 nights of doing it he is sleeping through the night and I'm on a blissful, sleep-fueled cloud all the time but sadly, that is not the case. Each night he has woken up at least once, refused a bottle and looked at me with beseeching eyes that say "take me into bed for a cuddle, Mummy - look how cute I am". Resisting him is seriously hard work because J is of course, very cute and he is a very cuddly baby. What Mum doesn't love baby cuddles? However, I know if he comes in the bed with us I will be awake all night while he cries and squirms and kicks me for hours on end. The promise of nice cuddle time is never fulfilled!

So, I have resisted and he has fallen back asleep quickly enough each time. Even though I have to get up during the night to alternatively soothe him and listen to him cry, I'm actually getting more and better sleep then if he was in with me. The house is cleaner and more organised and both J and I are happier because we are both getting more sleep. Every morning he has woken up in his own cot which in itself, makes it all worth it.

So, I don't think it's going to magically make him sleep through the night any time soon but it has made me realise that when he cries at night, he doesn't need anything and can go back asleep by himself soon enough. I'm still going to continue with it and you never know, miracles do happen. Maybe one morning I'll wake up at 7am and realise I've been asleep for 8 hours straight. I can dream anyway!


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Crying It Out

Ah yes, the old crying it out conundrum - is it cruel? does it damage your relationship with your baby? is it selfish? There is copious amounts of information, both negative and positive on crying it out (CIO) online. You could tie yourself in knots reading all the conflicting opinions (and in fact, I have).  Before I had a baby, and in the first few months of J's life I was firmly in the "I will never do such a thing camp". How could I bear the idea of my precious baby crying out for me like that? Little did I know!

Now J is 9 months old and still a terrible, terrible sleeper. I keep looking for ways that it is my fault but I've come to the conclusion that it is just his personality and the way he is. I don't remember what it felt like to not be tired and 9 months of disturbed sleep is really catching up on me. J is a wonderful baby, (although he is very active so wears me out during the day as well), he is a fantastic eater and a day napper and loves people (he has yet to reach the "making strange" stage) and being out in new places. The only thing that causes us problems is his sleep. Everyone keeps telling me that it will get better, when he goes on formula, when he is on solids, when is eats 3 meals of solids a day, but it still remains a huge problem for us.

We did a modified version of CIO about 6 weeks ago and after that he was sleeping from 8pm until 4.30/5am when he would come into bed with us. I didnt't know myself. Then his first tooth cut and we went on holidays and it's just got worse and worse since then. At the moment, he will go to bed easily at 7.30/8pm. He goes asleep with no problems, it actually seems that he wants to go to bed, he goes down in his cot and turns over and goes to sleep. Our problem is the constant waking during the night and the complete inability he has to self-soothe. Recently he has been waking up as early as 9.30pm and there is nothing you can do to get him back to sleep in his cot. If you hold/soothe him until he falls back asleep he wakes up the minute he is put back in his cot. The only thing we can do to get sleep at the moment is to have him in the bed with us. I miss having our bed to ourselves and not waking up every hour to soothe a squirming, crying baby.

As I said, I was against the idea of CIO but we just can't go on like this and I know it gets results. When we did a modified version before (modified being that we didn't leave the room but we also did not pick him up when he cried) we saw results very quickly. This time we're getting so frustrated that we're happy to whatever to get him to sleep.

Mr HNW was out last night and he's the one that finds it tougher to hear J cry so I decided it was time to start the CIO. When J was very tired I put him in his cot, kissed him goodnight and walked away. It took him a minute or two to realise what was going on and then the crying started. I went in every two minutes three times and then every four minutes three times. At 18 minutes, I was about to go in and soothe him and then wait 6 minutes until going in next when he abruptly stopped crying and went asleep. I was so relieved because the crying was horrible and from what I've read on the first night in can take over an hour for the baby to go to sleep.

He slept soundly until 4.30am. I went in then to give him a bottle which he wouldn't take, he then cried for 5 minutes and went back asleep again. This morning he woke up at 8am in his own cot as happy as can be. It's nothing short of miraculous.

So, the CIO is getting a big thumbs up from us. I'm out tonight so Mr HNW will be on duty. He's sworn he'll tough it out so fingers crossed it continues to go well. Wish us luck!


Monday, 10 March 2014

Charity Shop Challenge

As I mentioned in a previous post, Avril at School Gate Style is having monthly style challenges throughout 2014. February was Frugal February - a challenge to abstain from shopping. As I was going to be in South Africa, I knew that that was never going to happen for me. It would be a miracle if I left Johannesburg with nothing new in my bag. March is a charity shop challenge, all about sharing those good finds she has come across while charity shopping and challenging others to do the same. I think it's a wonderful idea.

As I discussed briefly before, when I lived in New Zealand I used to shop in charity and secondhand shops regularly. Buying second hand is a big thing there, as goods are just harder to get and I used to really enjoy "op shopping". I didn't just shop for clothes either, I have a collection of New Zealand Crown Lynn Colourglaze crockery that I amassed by trawling through online trading sites and charity shops up and down New Zealand. I really enjoyed the triumph of finding a piece I was missing in some small town we were passing through.

Anyway, enough reminiscing, today was just a beautiful day in Dublin. It was the kind of day that just breathes life into you and makes everything seem that little bit better.

Not a bad place for a walk with the baba
I was meeting my other mum friends for coffee in Dun Laoghaire so walked in with J in his buggy to make the most of the day. As I had time before meeting my friends I had a look in a few charity shops to see if there was anything to take my fancy, with Avril's challenge in mind. Since returning from New Zealand almost 2 years ago I haven't set foot in a charity shop so I'm thinking this challenge is a good opportunity to get back into it.

Dun Laoghaire has a reputation at the moment for becoming a bit of a ghost town, full of closed down business and charity shops. I still head there fairly often, it still has a lot going for it and there didn't seem to be that many charity shops to me. I went into three along the main street and came out of two of them empty handed.

In the third, Oxfam, I did find an item that I'm really pleased with. A dress for €6.50.

It's a dress from Oasis, and it was the colours that caught my attention first, i just love this particular shade of purple and turquoise. The label is actually cut out of the back of the dress but I looked at the label on the inside at the bottom. I actually used to work in Oasis when I was at University so I knew from the code on this label that it is a size 10. I'm amazed how I could remember what the codes meant almost ten years later, I doubt I could recall any of my lectures so accurately!

I'm wearing it here with a silver and turquoise necklace that can be picked up for cheap in Penneys and metallic silver pumps I bought in the sale in Topshop (now out of stock!)

I'm really pleased with this, it's in great condition and the fabric is very comfortable so I can see it being a great casual dress with pumps or sandals for the summer. I suppose boots and tights in winter could be an option but I have a vehement no navy with black policy so it would rule out black boots making it a bit tougher to style. I know dresses like this go for between €50 and €60 instore and given how good a condition it is in, I'm very pleased.
Murdoch wanted to be included. He also likes the dress. 
While I was out I also donated a pair of Seven For All Mankind jeans to one of the shops. They are in a size I doubt my post-baby body will ever fit into again. It makes me smile to think of some other (skinnier) thrifter coming across them and snaffling a bargain.

So all in all, a good day. I can definitely see myself popping into charity shops in the future, especially given we are on a budget.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Spring Is In The Air

Since we returned from South Africa earlier in the week we've been hibernating trying to recover from the trip and the journey home. We had ourselves well bedded down into the house this weekend.

Today, a friend suggesting meeting for lunch, as we were in hibernation mode our initial response was to say no but on balance we decided it was time to rejoin the world and get some fresh air. I'm very glad we went out in the end, it was a lovely day and it has been a while since we ventured into town.  Today was one of those days where you can feel spring in the air and everybody looks that bit happier that Winter is coming to an end.

As it was a bit warmer today it was a good chance to try out a recent purchase. I bought a khaki parka with "leather" detailing in Penneys (aka Primark) for €25 before I went on my trip but it was just too cold then to wear it, it's very light with no lining or anything. It was perfect for a day like today when you don't need anything too heavy. We went for a walk around St Stephen's Green with J to feed the ducks. He's just old enough that animals are very amusing to him.

At €25 - a bargain by any standards!

Worn here boyfriend jeans, green long sleeved knit top and green bow pumps, all of which I bought on my mad shopping spree in South Africa. I'm late to the boyfriend jeans party, I was stubbornly sticking to me skinnies but I love these. They're just so comfortable.

I'm also wearing a scarf which is from Penneys too. I bought this a few weeks ago and it's getting a lot of use. It has a number of shades of green in it and I seem to be wearing a lot of these colours lately so it's proving very useful.

I hope wherever you are that you had a lovely Spring day too!


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Fat Face - Lymington Jacket

Despite my previous post saying there wouldn't be many purchases in the future I am toying with ordering the Lymington jacket from Fat Face. Liz at What Lizzy Loves brought it to my attention on one of her posts a few weeks ago and ever since I've been seriously coveting it ever since.

While I was away I looked around for a similar item but as South Africa has opposite seasons to us it just wasn't the right time to be looking for this kind of jacket there.

I love it in yellow but I can't help thinking that it would date a bit quickly or maybe wouldn't go with as much? Navy seems like the safer but more boring option. I do have a bad habit of buying shoes and jackets in only black, navy or beige so as to get the most wear out of them. It's actually probably sensible as opposed to a bad habit but I'm trying to think more about what I buy and make different choices.

I'm torn on this one though, I do have this navy superdry jacket already:

I bought it a few years ago in Australia and it does get worn a good bit. I'm thinking the navy Fat Face jacket is just too similar to justify it. Do I need another jacket?

Fat Face are having a mid season sale and I was hoping the jacket would be in it, to make my decision a lot easier but of course, that was not to be (although there are some other lovely items on sale).

Hmm, decisions, decisions..........


Return to Reality

After almost two and a half weeks away I have returned from South Africa. I would love to say that I have returned feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again but unfortunately, that is not the case. It was a bit of a stressful trip, there was a lot of moving around staying with various people which just played havoc with J's routine. On top of that he came down with an ear/throat infection that necessicated a trip to Casualty one night, as well as a follow up visit with an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor. He is still not right and therefore not sleeping well meaning I am one frazzled mammy at the moment. Luckily, Johannesburg is only two hours ahead so jetlag is not really an issue, although the overnight flight home was a bit hard on him (and therefore us!). He is a great flyer, not a peep out of him on any of the flights, despite his ear being at him but the return trip in particular really disturbed his sleep.

It was lovely though to see J with his South African grandfather and his aunts, uncles and cousins there. Both Mr HNW's grandmothers are still with us too so it was wonderful for J to meet his great grandmothers. It was a bit stressful and tiring for us but it was worth it for J to spend time with the other side of his family.

Another great part of the trip is the current euro/rand exchange rate. Some days it was 15 Rand to the Euro which made shopping extremely affordable for us. We went a bit mad, especially buying stuff for J for the next year of his life. I will share some of my purchases in a future post. I don't think there will be many purchases over the next few months. We'll be getting back to saving again, methinks.

This fits in well with Avril at School Gate Style's March challenge - to blog about what you can find in your local charity shop. Luckily, there are a number of charity shops near me so I'll be making a trip soon to see what I can come up with. When I lived in New Zealand I used to buy second hand clothes a good bit as it's very common there (they call it op shopping) and I used to sell clothes I no longer wanted through a big second hand store there and then use the money to pick up some new items for myself. It's something that is not popular here at all so I'm looking forward to seeing what I can pick up and if there are any bargains to be had.