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!