Friday, October 30, 2015

aden + anais Night Sky Starburst Cozy Plus Sleeping Bag & Night Sky Hibou + Starburst Dream Blanket | Review ♥

aden + anais is a brand whose products I have admired for a while now, having seen them featured in various bloggers newborn purchases and nursery posts. The prints were just my cup of tea, especially the prints with the muted colours and stars - I can never resist a star print! I was under the impression that their products only catered for babies, how wrong I was! When I got the chance to try out some products from the aden + anais range I discovered their Cozy Plus Sleeping Bags, a super soft 100% muslin sleeping bag which is ideal for toddlers as the sizes range from a small to an XL and their dream blankets (don't you just love the name?!) which are also made from 100% muslin and with their 120cm X 120cm sizing they're the perfect blanket for toddlers to snuggle up in too.

My first impressions of the sleeping bag and the dream blanket when they arrived were of just how well made they were and of what great quality they felt. The muslin really is a great choice for baby and toddler products like this as it's so soft and quite breathable. I chose the Night Sky Starburst print for the sleeping bag which features an array of stars in grey, light blue and navy - it really does have a look of the night sky.  

The Cozy Plus Sleeping Bags have a TOG of 2.5, making it a great sleeping bag to use at this time of year when the cold nights are setting in. It features poppers on the shoulders and two at the sides as well as a continuous zip which covers the whole right-hand side and bottom of the sleeping bag - this makes for easy nappy changes in smaller babies.

I've been using sleeping bags with Tyler Lee ever since he was six months old and the Night Sky Starburst Cozy Sleeping Bag really is one of the nicest and probably the most stylish we have used. However, now that Tyler is older he seems to hate sleeping in a sleeping bag and usually tries to escape as soon as I leave the room. I've found that the poppers on this one aren't that hard to get open and he can get out of it pretty quickly by just slipping it down so I've only been able to use the sleeping bag for his nap times or when I know he's going to fall asleep instantly.

The Night Sky Starburst Cozy Plus Sleeping Bag* is £55 and is supposed to get softer with every wash so I can't wait to see that when we wash it.

I've made no secret of my blanket obsession and when I saw the range of dream blankets aden + anais had to offer I knew I had to add to our collection. I chose from the classic range of dream blankets as some of the print had those muted hues and star prints which I love. I chose the Night Sky Hibou + Starburst Dream Blanket as the double sided print really appealed to me and one of those matched the sleeping bag. 

I love that one side of the blanket features owls, it really does give it such a dreamy feel along with the stars. I love the thickness of this blanket, it's 'just right', if that makes sense? It's not so thin that your little one will get cold whilst sleeping but it's not too thick either so that they'd overheat. The muslin material makes is breathable too and perfect for snuggling up in.  

As the dream blanket is so generous in size I think it'll be great for letting the little ones play on, once our new addition arrives. It'll also be great for tummy time - if Tyler lets us have it of course, he gets very attached to his blankies and this one is no exception, he loves cuddling up in it at bedtime. 

The Night Sky Hibou + Starburst Dream Blanket* is £44.95 and is well worth the price in my opinion, we love it!

aden + anais have recently launched some beautiful new prints, my favourites being the Flower Child and High Seas prints. The lovely people at aden + anais have very kindly offered one of my lucky readers the chance to win a pack of Flower Child Bamboo Swaddles (3 pack) worth £49 which are perfect for a baby girl and another lucky reader the chance to win a pack of High Seas Classic Swaddles (4 pack) worth £55 which are perfect for a baby boy. I have my eye on both of these prints for the new baby and I really want to try swaddling with them so I love these prizes and hope you do too.

To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is open to residents of the UK and Ireland only and will end on November 14th. Best of luck to everyone who enters.

*I was sent these products for the purposes of this review, as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tyler Lee's Halloween Basket | 2015 ♥

I really love putting together little treats baskets for Tyler Lee whenever there's a holiday of sorts. He gets one for Easter, Christmas Eve and I also put together a little one for him at Halloween. Some people seem to be really against the idea of gifting children with these types of baskets so often but I for one love them and to be honest, I'd rather he had a basket full of books and other seasonal themed items to enjoy rather than a load of chocolate and sweets - everything in moderation for us because the boy sure does love his choccie! You can see the Halloween basket I put together for him last year here, he really enjoyed it and that's reason enough for me to keep up with our basket traditions.

This year Jacek went and bought Tyler Lee some new Halloween themed books and I think they're some of the nicest books he's ever had. They were all relatively cheap too, apart from two that were from Waterstones - but aren't they always expensive?! The rest of the books were picked up from our local Dealz store and were just €1.49 each - a total bargain! The books in his basket are Spooky House which is a lift-the-tab flap book which is a lot of fun for toddlers to interact with whilst being read the story, Halloween ABC, which is another great book for toddlers. It goes through the abc by showing what everyone dressed up as for Halloween and what they saw when out trick or treating. The other two books are the ones from Dealz (Poundland if you're in the UK) and are called Spooky Spells and The Haunted House.

Tyler is really into his arts and crafts at the moment and does some colouring everyday so I wanted to get him some new crayons. I picked up a pack of 24 Crayola crayons from House of Fraser when I was picking out some Christmas gifts from him and these were just £1.70 - such a bargain! I'm always impressed with the prices of the toys available at House of Fraser.

I was supposed to do some baking with Tyler last week but I was just too ill so I decided to put the 3D dinosaur cookie cutters I got him from the Natural History Museum Shop into his Halloween basket. We'll bake some cookies on Saturday afternoon and I can't wait to see his face when he sees the Triceratops and Brachiosaurus standing up and ready to eat. He loves dinosaurs! These were just £8 each.

I also included a vampire mask which he wore to his school Halloween party last week and the little pumpkin bag he made, I think he'll use this for his trick or treating - I'm hopefully taking him for the first time on Saturday night! He also made some candy apples in school and I put one into his Halloween basket. I haven't added anymore sweets as he'll have more than enough if he's going trick or treating.

Are you putting together a Halloween basket for your little ones this year?


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Pregnancy So Far... | Baby #2 (Weeks 4-11) ♥

I'm now 11 weeks pregnant (12 tomorrow, eek!), we've made our pumpkin inspired announcement and I've shared about how we found out we were expecting baby #2. It's amazing to know that in a few months we'll have a new, precious baby to love and that our little boy will have a little sibling to grow up with. I've written a little log of how I was feeling each week before we announced, just for my own records really, so that I can look back in case we ever have another!

Week 4
We found out that we were expecting baby #2 at exactly 4 weeks and ever since that moment I realised that a lot of the symptoms I was having were most probably pregnancy related and the more the week went on I was convinced they were. I had sore boobs, couldn't go to the bathroom, couldn't sleep but wanted a nap during the day and my skin was atrocious, very dry and breaking out. I was so indecisive about everything and was just in my own little world - probably still coming to terms with everything. I was so muddled that I even forgot to bring Tyler Lee to school one morning!

Week 5
At exactly five weeks pregnant I went to the doctor just to confirm everything and to speak about getting an early scan - something we were told to do when I suffered a miscarriage in February 2014. The doctor sadly didn't see any need for me to have an early scan so we'll have to wait it out until between 10-12 weeks when I'm called for my first scan. She also wasn't able to get any blood from me so I had to return the following week - tell me I'm not the only one who dreads getting bloods done? This week I threw up once and had lots of nausea and I still was in my own little world! This week I also had a reading with psychic and medium Emma Kinsey who told me that I would have two children, a boy - who I already have, and a girl... Only time will tell if she was right!

Week 6
The nausea really upped it's game this week and I tried making myself sick to get some relief from it but no joy. This was also the week when I felt absolutely awful in my pregnancy with Tyler Lee so there must be something about week 6 for me! My doctor was able to take blood from me on my return visit and I almost threw up/passed out, so awful! (I really am such a baby when it comes to blood as if you couldn't tell already!). I spent a lot of this week in bed just trying to feel better. I didn't blog or even turn on the laptop for five days - so unlike me I can assure you.

Week 7
It feels so strange to have made it to seven weeks pregnant after we lost our last baby at six weeks. I've expressed to Jacek, my mam and a friend that I can't see myself holding this baby, I don't know if this is because I don't want to let myself become excited about the pregnancy or what but it's quite a sad thing to feel. I've begun throwing up daily now, the most being three times a day. I feel nauseous all day but only get sick in the late evening - so much for it being 'morning' sickness! I have aversions to every single food except salads - the same as when I was pregnant with Tyler Lee. I feel so hungry during the day but am afraid to eat for fear of being sick, it's awful. My energy is also non-existent and most days I feel like I can't even stand for very long, I hate the sickness so much. Week 7 ended with severe cramps in the middle of the night, it honestly felt like the start of labour and was very worrying but I think it's just everything stretching and making room for baby to grow.

Week 8
This has been a strange week. My pregnancy symptoms seem to have disappeared - except for the tiredness, I can sleep all day and all night without a problem! I haven't been sick or felt nauseous, which is a Godsend really but it's quite concerning too to have every symptom completely disappear. I was contemplating booking an early scan as I still haven't received an appointment date from the hospital but at €99 a pop I just don't know if I could justify it. I still have aversions to food and although I find myself really hungry at times, nothing appeals to me at all.

Week 9 
This week we saw our precious little baba for the first time! We went to the early pregnancy unit for a scan and were literally there for ten minutes as there was no one else there. We got to see baby - just one there, everything is perfect and its little heart was beating so strongly. We both teared up, it was such a great moment for us and we're so delighted everything is okay. Strangely enough I don't even feel pregnant this week. The food aversions are disappearing and I don't even have to pee that much! All soreness is gone from my chest too and I have more energy which is great as I've been wanting to get out and about with Tyler Lee. We can't wait to see our little babe again in a few weeks time at the 12 week dating scan.

Week 10
This week has left me feeling worse again. I've felt nauseous again and have thrown up once. The food aversions just won't go away and I constantly feel hungry, which leaves me feeling tired. I now nap during the day when Tyler Lee is asleep but I usually wake up feeling worse! This week we got to see our little bubs again at our dating scan, which, if I'm honest, I thought would be much later, not at 10+6 weeks! It was so great to see our little babe so soon and they were even moving about, it was absolutely adorable! All is going fantastic and they're measuring spot on for my dates. My due date is May 12th and hopefully we won't have to wait too long for their long-awaited arrival.

Week 11
This week seems to have taken an absolute age to get to, it feels like the longest pregnancy already, probably because I've known for so long! The sickness has gone again but I now have problems with my pelvis and lower back. They constantly click when I'm moving, trying to get in and out of bed, bend down, etc. The mornings are the worst and I hate the sensation and noise of it, it's so uncomfortable. The breathlessness is a lot worse now too and I can't even lift Tyler Lee, which is quite hard considering I'm the only one with him here most days. The food aversions are still ongoing, nothing appeals to me at all and I find myself having frozen drinks or toast just to quench the tummy rumbles. I'm still feeling extremely tired and could sleep for Ireland! I had my booking appointment at the hospital this week and everything was fine until I got my blood pressure tested. At first it was 143/98 and it went up to 145/109 at its highest and I began suffering with awful chest pains. Thankfully it came down to 123/80 so that I could leave the hospital but I now have to go for a repeat blood pressure monitoring session and if the chest pains happen again I have to go to the ER, ugh. I never had this with my last pregnancy so it's all new and quite scary, I need to relax.

So there you have it, an update on my life and the ups and downs of this pregnancy over the past six weeks. Hopefully the next stage of pregnancy will bring more ups and happy moments, it's awful feeling so unwell, which I have done since yesterday's hospital visit especially.

We can't wait to meet the new arrival next May, I'm so excited to be having a summer baby!


Monday, October 26, 2015

Winning Bronze For My Photography & My Future Photographic Dreams ♥

Last week the much awaited Blog Awards Ireland finals took place, a night which bloggers around the country had looked forward to for quite some time and waited with baited breath to see whether or not they had won their finalist categories - I was one of these bloggers, although sadly I couldn't make it to the awards, my funds just sadly don't leave room for a trip to Dublin at the moment.

I was up for Best Photography Blog, something which I was still quite shocked by as I was up against some amazing photographers and people who actually made a living from their work and here I was, the girl who only received her first DSLR camera back in December, who has never done a photo shoot with with anyone but my own son but who is so passionate about the art of photography and capturing precious moments in peoples lives and the beautiful nature around me.

I anxiously scrolled through Twitter looking for updates on the category winners and although, deep down in my heart I knew I wouldn't be crowned the winner, I was still a little disappointed when I didn't see my name. However, this year the Blog Awards Ireland decided to honour not just one winner but to also have a silver and bronze award. Imagine my surprise when one of my fellow Irish parenting bloggers informed me that I had won bronze for my photography. I was absolutely delighted!

It meant so much for me to even be aknowledged in this category amongst some very talented bloggers and those who have honed their skills to perfection over the years. In my eyes I feel like such a beginner, only starting out on my photographic endeavours and learning new things about the craft everyday but I honestly love it so much and I could never imagine my life now without snapping away pictures - impromptu photo shoots on sunny days are the best!

I would like to thank anyone who voted for Dolly Dowsie in the awards and to the judges who deemed me worthy of a bronze award - you have no idea how much it means to me! So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Winning this award has really given me a boost of confidence. It's made me want to pick up my camera even more and capture the wonderful nature that's around me at the moment. Of course, I always like to have my son, Tyler Lee, in my captures too.

Now that I'm pregnant again, one of the things I'm most looking forward to with the new baby's arrival is capturing lots of newborn photos of them, something which I didn't do with Tyler Lee. I have so many ideas and can't wait to capture them all.

My absolute dream would be to one day be a professional photographer, capturing gorgeous shots of peoples precious memories. My favourite subjects to capture are people, especially children and nature - even better when the two are combined like in the picture above, one of my favourite pictures from the year so far.

I really want to pursue this dream, even if it means a lot of hard work. I just want to start out photographing other people and experimenting with different types of outdoor shoots - natural light is always the best for me. I just need some willing participants now!

Whatever happens I will always love my camera and capturing moments to remember for ever, from the ordinary to the extraordinary, having a moment in time to look back on forever is such a special thing to me.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

As Long As I'm Living, My Baby He'll Be... ♥

I've been such a silly mummy as of late. I've had people express their concerns to me about my son and his development and I let them get to me, I let them make me doubt him and his abilities, even though deep down I knew there was nothing wrong with him whatsoever.

It all boiled down to his speech, or lack there of... until two weeks ago when he suddenly began repeating everything I said, singing songs and learning everybody's name. I had people tell me that him speaking in his own language was something to be concerned about, and suddenly, something which I had always found endearing and a trait of my little boy's, had turned into something which worried me, something which made me want to take him to the public health nurse to inquire about speech therapy. Oh how glad I am that I listened to my gut and didn't take him.

Yes it has taken Tyler Lee longer than most children to master the ability to talk. He's still not fluent but he tries very hard and for that I'm as proud of him as possibly can be. I feel so stupid and actually quite ashamed of myself that I let complete strangers make me question my boy - it just goes to show that mummy always knows best... I'm only angry at myself that I didn't stand up for him more and tell people that there's absolutely nothing wrong with him.

Not all children are the same, some take longer to develop than others and even though he seemed to understand everything I said and asked for from him, he just didn't know (or want to) communicate with me or anyone else. It made me sad to think of him being lonely, not being about the say what he wanted and becoming frustrated with his lack of skill that he simply might give up trying whatsoever. I had no need to worry, he just needed time.

He surprised me this week, he counted the stars on the ceiling with me at bedtime, not to his usual ten but to twenty. I was even more shocked when he counted to fifty the next day with me counting along with him. He also began saying "merci coup", which I can only imagine meant "merci beaucoup" to him - I have no idea where he's learning the French from! Could a child who had difficulty learning to talk say all these things to me, I don't think so. I'm so sorry I doubted my boy.

I've been worrying so much - more stupid worries I'm sure - about this new baby, how Tyler Lee will adjust and even if I'll have enough love to go around - how bloody stupid is that of me? Tyler Lee is my absolute world, I've spent almost everyday of his life with him and we're very close, I worry about becoming a mother of two and not just having my little angel man anymore.

Whatever the future holds, he can rest assured that he will always be my baby, the one who made me a mother, the one who I shall never doubt again, the one who taught me how to mother and the one who never fails to surprise me.

As long as I'm living, my baby he'll be.


DIY Autumn Leaf Garland ♥

 Since autumn began I've been wanting to do some autumnal themed crafts with my boy to have some fun and to make something nice for our home. I had seen some beautiful autumn leaf garlands on Pinterest made out fake leaves but I was intent on making ours out of real leaves. I took my boy on a nature walk, something which was on my toddler autumn/winter bucket list and we collected lots of leaves and conkers in the woods for our crafts. I was going to use the conkers as part of the garland too but decided to leave them out and just focus on the beautiful colours of the leaves instead.

I used some gorgeous gold rope which was part of a little toga costume Tyler Lee had lying around. I then sewed some leaves onto the rope using a very thin needle and some thread. I sadly ran out of thread and had to resort to stapling the remaining leaves onto the rope but this actually worked fine, the didn't tear and stayed on the rope. I then covered some of the leaves with some PVA glue I had and sprinkled glitter onto the glue covered leaves, you can never go wrong with a bit of glitter! I decided to have a plain leaf, a glittered leaf, a plain leaf and so on as I didn't want to go glitter overboard and wanted to show off the gorgeous reds, browns, yellows and tinges of green on the leaves. That's all it took to make this lovely garland, just a few bits lying around the house and some leaves and I'm absolutely delighted with our thrifty autumnal decoration, I love it!

I have the garland hanging on the garden fence and the glitter is shining so brightly in the sun, it's stunning. This is such a simple thing to do and was lots of fun to make with my boy but I think it looks beautiful and is such a great autumnal decoration to have. I think I'll leave it in our garden on the fence but I also think something like this would be lovely to frame a mirror or hang on the mantlepiece.

Next up on our autumn crafts list is leaf printing, I hope our efforts turn out just as lovely as our garland.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pregnancy | The Good, The Weird & The Downright Embarrassing ♥

Pregnancy, such a wonderful, joyous time in any woman's life... well for most women anyway, some of us can suffer with terrible sickness during pregnancy making it anything but a good time! Growing a precious little life can be quite hard on a woman's body, much harder than most people imagine - I never knew how hard pregnancy could be before I had my son, but it's safe to say the tears, sickness, pain and everything else I didn't particularly enjoy, was so worth it when I held my precious newborn in my arms - honestly!

I thought I'd do this post just to let people know - those of you who may be trying to conceive, are already expecting or who are on their second or multiple pregnancies, about all the weird and wonderful things that can be experienced during pregnancy, all of which are completely normal but some which may be a bit embarrassing to talk about! This is my view on pregnancy - the good, the weird and the downright embarrassing!

Lets start with the good shall we? I'll be honest, during my first pregnancy I didn't experience many good moments, my head was constantly in the toilet throwing up every morsel of my being - cause there was no food in me to come out! But some things that really stood out were -

Every scan where you get to see your baby - it's such a precious moment to see your baby floating about inside you, made even more special if they're moving around. I will never get enough of scans!

Feeling baby kick for the first time - nothing will ever compare to that pregnancy moment, knowing you have a life growing inside you is so completely, utterly special.

Hearing your baby's heartbeat - this is also another amazing thing to experience, I just love the sound of the heartbeat, it's both emotional and reassuring to hear.

Having your partner/other children interact with your bump - I absolutely love this, it just reminds us all of how loved this baby is already and to be honest, is there anything more adorable than a child giving kisses and cuddles to their mummy's baby bump?!

Finding out the gender - this is another favourite moment of mine. I simply couldn't wait nine months, having a private scan, seeing my baby and hearing the words "it's a boy!" was just magical. It was all blue from there and it was great to have things planned and ready for his arrival.

Having a valid excuse to cry at everything - I can cry at the drop of a hat anyway but everything seems so much sweeter and worthy of tears during pregnancy! Even Wall-E made me cry, he was just so lonely on his little planet with all the rubbish!

Now onto the weird, some of these can also be quite funny too!

The most vivid dreams you will ever have in your life - it's like multiple films are going on inside your head each night. Some pregnant women complain of nightmares and distressing dreams, I on the other hand have the best, unusual and funniest dreams and I love them! I wish I could record my dreams and watch them back the next morning. The most notable of my dreams this week was when I was in a Eastern European city in search of a Mr. Pea Nus - my mother says I've already found him, hence my condition!

Always being hungry but not wanting to eat anything - so many food aversions, so many tummy rumbles. Why is nothing appealing anymore, not even my beloved chocolate? Forcing yourself to eat is never a good feeling.

Feeling like you have a cold but not actually being sick - like what the frack is going on? All those hormones are wreaking havoc on your entire body, why should your nose escape the drama? I sometimes sound like I have a peg on my nose. Keep the saline drops at hand ladies!

Sweating like there's no tomorrow - no I haven't just run a marathon, it's called 'glowing' don't you know!

Breathlessness - again, you haven't been running or over exerting yourself but even climbing the stairs feels like you've conquered Everest! You're not getting unfit, your diaphragm is just pushed up to make way for baby - an excuse to sit down and take it easy though, no?

Being able to nap at the drop of a hat - You sit down to relax and watch a bit of TV and BAM! you're asleep. This particular symptom meant that I missed the final of The Great British Bake Off... noooooo!

Not being able to put your shoes and socks on by yourself - No amount of wiggling or jiggling is going to work, the bump wins every time. We all must sit and be patient whilst our other halves or whoever else is around, tends to our shoe and sock issues. Back to the toddler stage for us all...

And now for the downright embarrassing... things that we don't really want to talk about but have to, even if it means trying to whisper over the counter for a remedy in your local pharmacy - why are they always super busy when you're looking for these things too?! It's a conspiracy against us pregnant ladies and all our unsightly ailments!

Hemorrhoids, a pain in the bum... literally! I've been lucky enough not to suffer from these personally during pregnancy but I've had friends who have suffered terribly with hemorrhoids - some even having to go to hospital after the birth to get them sorted, eek! My nan, God rest her soul, used to tell me not to sit on wet grass or you'd get them, she never warned me about pregnancy! There are some remedies you can get to soothe and relieve the problem. Anything that can discretely resolve the problem at home is a winner with me!

Discharge, every colour of the rainbow. Another issue I never even knew about before pregnancy. Pregnant women can be more susceptible to suffering from thrush but thankfully the issue can be easily sorted with vials or creams such as Canesten. 

Unwanted and unexpected wind! It always seems to happen at the most inappropriate times too doesn't it? We can't be blamed though, our insides are being pushed, shoved and pulled from pillar to post to make room for our growing babies, so it's inevitable there's going to be some eruptions from time to time. Blame anyone but yourself - the other half, the toddler, the dog!

Leakages. I miss the days when I could laugh or sneeze without the worry of peeing myself... oh pregnancy, what have you done to me?! Whether it's pee or breast milk, a pregnant woman can experience many leakages during and after her pregnancy. Yes these can be embarrassing but after all our bodies have been through there's bound to be some fall out, or leak out, isn't there?

Unreliable bowels. It's either you can't go or you're going too much, there doesn't seem to be any happy medium. Why does no amount of orange juice work to get things moving either?

Pregnancy really is such a wonderful thing, but it's not without it's ups and downs. I think all us ladies deserve a medal for what we put our bodies through for our precious babies! I hope you enjoyed my light-hearted view of what mine and millions of other women's bodies are going through right now. 

Have you suffered from any of these things during your own pregnancy/pregnancies?


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lancome Grandiose Intense Mascara & Hypnose 5 Eye Shadow Palette in Nuit Mordorée | Review ♥

I really love trying out new makeup, especially when it's from a well-known, high-end brand and I recently got my hands on the new Grandiose Intense Mascara and Hypnose 5 Eye Shadow Palette in Nuit Mordorée from Lancome. Lancome is a brand which I have loved for many years and I use their Bi-Facil cleanser on a daily basis - it's amazing and I highly recommend it, just in case you've never tried it!

Grandiose Intense is unlike any mascara I have ever used before. It has a double-twist "Swan Neck" wand which makes application perfectly easy. The look of the wand is so unique and unlike anything I have ever seen before and I have to wonder why mascara wands weren't made in this way before? The curves in the wand allow you to reach every lash and curve of the eye area, which gives a gorgeous, elongated look to the lashes.

The colour of my Grandiose is a metallic brown shade which is perfect for these autumn days. I actually love the colour, it's a welcome change from my usual black mascaras and I think it makes for a prettier, more natural look and that's something that I love. At €30 this mascara is a lot pricier than what I would usually fork out for a mascara but I'm a firm believer in that you get what you pay for and the results this mascara gives to my eyelashes is completely worth the money in my opinion.

I love the packaging of this mascara just as much as I love the actual product. The shape of the tube is gorgeous, it's sleek and has such a luxurious look to it with the little Lancome rose motif on the handle of the wand. I've used this mascara every day since I got it and I honestly don't have a negative thing to say about it. It's something I would repurchase and genuinely enjoy wearing as part of my everyday makeup look.

The Hypnose 5 Eye Shadow Palette in Nuit Mordorée* is enclosed in the classic black Lancome packaging and again has such a luxurious feel to it. It contains a mirror with a helpful guide on where to place the individual eye shadows on the eye area, it also contains two eye shadow brushes, perfect for application.

There are five, stunning, rich and shimmery shades contained in this palette - a neutral shade, a mixture of earthy browns and a fawn hued shadow and a bright, vibrant blue which is truly beautiful and such a lovely addition to an otherwise neutral shaded palette.

My favourite shades are the lighter brown and the fawn coloured shade, I think these two look lovely together when applied on the eyelid and I just love how much shimmer they have.

I think the shadows included in the Hypnose palette are especially perfect for this time of year. I can never get enough of the earthy tones once autumn arrives but equally it's great having the addition of the blue in there when you want a more striking look to your eyes whilst still keeping everything else quite demure. I think the blue shade on the lower lash line would make for a gorgeous makeup look.

The Lancome Grandiose Intense Mascara is €30 and the Lancome Hypnose 5 Eye Shadow Palette in Nuit Mordorée is €49. Both are available from Debenhams and Brown Thomas stores nationwide.

*I was sent these products for the purposes of this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Making the Most Of October With Your Little Ones ♥

October is one of the best months of the year, honestly, everyone seems to love this particular month, have you noticed? The mornings are crisp, the sun is bright and low in the sky, we are all clinging on to the last of the daylight before the clocks go back at the end of the month and we get to celebrate Halloween - yay! Now’s the time to really make the most of the beautiful autumn weather, to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the season with the little ones in tow.

Children love autumn - when else can they jump in leaves, spot so much colour on the trees and enjoy so many nature walks? Because of this itt can be a perfect time of year to teach them about seasons and the harvest. After nursery or school, why not head down to the park and play in the leaves, collect conkers and enjoy nature together - I used to love collecting conkers as a child and this is something I want to share with Tyler Lee this year. The gorgeous golden leaves won’t be around for long before the winter chill turns the trees bare and the air bitter so it’s a good idea to get collecting the most interesting and colourful leaves and pine cones as soon as you can to make autumn collages with and autumnal themed arts and crafts. You and your little ones can have so much fun preserving a pretty piece of autumn before it disappears for another year. 

Once winter arrives the dark nights mean it’s not always safe for kids to play out after school, especially without an adult present, so encourage your children to get outside now. There are loads of fun outdoor activities for kids to do before their cooped up inside watching TV and movies and playing indoor games all winter. A really fun idea is to get them a pair of Heely’s from Proline so they can skate around the park with you or their friends. Just flip the heel up and the trainers instantly become like roller blades so they can skate around in an instant - I actually had a pair of these as a tween and I loved them! If they prefer cycling and skateboarding push them to take their bikes and scooters out with them and get some fresh air and healthy exercise. I actually have begun trying to teach Tyler Lee how to ride his bike and trike this week, wish him luck!

For now, make the most of your weekends together as a family and take a football to the park for a kick about or go on a long walk in the woods and stop off at a café for a cosy hot chocolate on the way back. There are some great national parks around which often have fun outdoor exhibitions to explore. A really good one at the minute is the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where the poppies from the Tower of London are currently being exhibited. If you're living in Ireland like myself Fota House and Gardens is a beautiful place to visit this time of year, in fact, we were just there last week and it was gorgeous!

Remember that the clocks go back on the 25th of October at 2am - no excuses not to enjoy the extra hours lie in! 

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Giveaway | Win A Ladies Duffle Coat From MandM Direct ♥

The colder weather has well and truly arrived and I for one am freezing! I really need to invest in a new, warm coat but until I get round to purchasing a new one for myself, I've giving all you lovely people the chance to win this gorgeous Bellfield Women's Wool Duffle Coat in Navy from MandM Direct, who have a whole host of stylish coats and jackets to keep you warm in these colder months of the year. I always think of my lovely readers!

This is a prize worth £49.99 and I'm so sad that I can't keep it for myself as I love it, it just looks so cosy! I love the colour, faux fur triims and the embellishments on the front and buttons, it's fab!

This giveaway is open to residents of Ireland, the UK and European Union only. It shall run for two weeks and the winner will get a Bellfield Women's Wool Duffle Coat in Navy in a size of their choice. The prize will be posted directly from MandM Direct.

To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. Best of luck to everyone who enters!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


Finding Out That We Were Expecting Baby #2 ♥

On September 4th we found out we were expecting baby #2. I don't know why I woke up feeling like I should do a test, I wasn't even late, but I asked Jacek to pick up a test on his way back from bringing Tyler Lee to pre-school. When he came home and handed it to me I didn't even go and do it straight away, I was fully convinced that my 'time of the month' was on it's way from the dull cramping aches I was having in my tummy, plus, we had been trying for months and I had got it into my mind that it would never happen... how wrong I was!

I did the test and waiting for the results, fully convinced that 'not pregnant' would flash up on the screen as it had done many times before. I even went into our bedroom to get a pair of socks as I was freezing - lovely Irish weather and wasn't even contemplating the fact that it would be positive. So can you imagine my absolute surprise when I went back into the bathroom and the word 'pregnant' was on the screen. I gasped, I literally gasped and said "oh my God!" I could feel myself tearing up in disbelief as the little hourglass symbol was working away trying to see just how far along I was, then '1-2 weeks' flashed up on the screen. It was official, I was pregnant and I was surprised, amazed, teary, emotional and happy, so so happy.

I had wanted to wait until September 24th, our 4 year anniversary to tell Jacek that we were expecting another precious little bubs but I blurted it out to him straight away when I went downstairs! I think he was in shock and disbelief too, we were so convinced that it wouldn't happen for us again.

As we sat there talking about everything and discussing all our hopes and dreams for this pregnancy and our new baby I started tearing up once again when I said "Tyler is going to be a big brother" - I think that's what made me emotional the most! Our little boy is going to have a baby brother or sister and that makes me incredibly happy!

When I picked Tyler Lee up from school later on in the day I said to him on the drive home - "Tyler, do you want to know a secret?" He said "ya" in that sweet little way he does, even though I knew he had no idea what I was talking about! I then told him - "Mummy's going to have another baby, you're going to be a big brother". His reply was "baby", rather dreamily. From that moment I have begun speaking to Tyler Lee about the baby, he says "hi baby" or "bye baby, see you baby" if he's not happy to talk about it. I've found that he's become very gentle with me, rests his head on my tummy and has even given 'love' (kisses) to the baby when shown where the baby is, it is so incredibly sweet and I feel so blessed. He's going to be such an amazing, caring and loving big brother.

I'm writing this post at exactly five weeks pregnant and am dying to publish it - I hate keeping secrets! I'll wait until after our announcement though, it was good to get this all written down now before I forget how it all happened and how we all felt about our impending bundle of joy.

You can see our pumpkin inspired pregnancy announcement here if you want to see how we revealed our joyous news to the world.

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