Tag Archives: Parenting

We’re Not Feelin Ya, Ophelia

“Well..did you survive the night?!!”

That’s all we are hearing this week in the wake of Mz Ex-Hurricane Ophelia who hit the south west coast of Ireland with the MAJOR rages on Monday morning.

Us Irish, as usual, had been fairly chillaxed about it’s arrival.

Except me. I’d been flinging garden furniture and toys into the shed since Friday afternoon (thanks to my trusted bringer-of-all-the-weather-updates – Twitter – but by Saturday night at dinner, most of my fellow diners hadn’t even heard that a hurricane was about to hit.

And I thought I was the one who generally had my head up my ass.

Am I Hurricane Prepping? What made you ask me that?! 👻

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By Sunday evening, as soon as we all knew that the kids were getting the day off school, we were taking that shit seriously.

“The WHOLE day?”, cried we. “Sher it’s not even SNOWING!!”

Kids strapped to the crafts table, X-box, games board and hunkered down in forts, we braced ourselves for the inevitable cabin fever that comes from having to entertain our kids all day when the weather isn’t playing ball.

Hurricane Prep Step #1: Build a Fort 👍🏻

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That we can deal with – but throwing our PARTNERS into the mix? Ass Monkey was off and house-bound with us for at least 7 hours.

That’s just damn torture.

(Hope you all ARE ok after Ophelia. I know that lots of people are without power around the country and homes and businesses have been damaged. Thinking of you all x)

Snapshot

I am doing my best to be better organised on Raising Ireland – it was all somewhat abandoned last year while we built the house and got married (I know, I know, I’ve hardly mentioned either of those things for HOURS now) – but now, I’m getting back into it.

You see, the thing is, I LOVE writing and I love the fact that I have a little website that is all my own and when the kids are ignoring me or asleep or I just want some time to myself – I write. So why wouldn’t I do it more often, huh? WELL EXACTLY!

This is the first contribution I’ve ever made to another blogger’s link-up and I’m excited! Maud from Awfully Chipper has come up with a fantastic idea to just give a quick snapshot into our lives right now, and as I’m usually so busy running around, I thought it would be a great opportunity to take stock of where our bonkers lives are currently at!

So here I go;

Listening to:

Florence and the Machine, mostly. Nothing like epic anthems to get you going around the park with the dog at 7am.

Watching:

RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix. Like, addicted. Can’t stop. May enter next year ;o)

Playing:

Catch-up, mostly. The house, the laundry, the jaysus unfinished garden!

Reading: 

The last two Sunday’s newspapers – why won’t anyone let me do it the day I buy them?!

Looking forward to: 

Booking a holiday. We’re still trying to decide what to do. And find the money. Doing the Lotto and regularly dreaming.

Drinking:

All the champagne. We were off the booze for most of January and February but have just begun to pretend like that never happened and we’re starting to open all our wedding presents. And drink them. WOOT!

Wearing:

Only new clothes. Chucked everything out at the beginning of the year that was tatty and wrecked. Have been clinging onto an old padded maternity coat which is the next to go, fact!

Channelling Avril Lavigne this morning 🙈😂🙈😂

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Eating:

Meat and dairy-free. No I have no idea who I am either!

Working on:

Opening a coffee shop and bakery. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years and I think the time might be now!

Permanently frustrated by:

The news. I’m so over it. Planning on having a week of digging my head in the sand and avoiding it all!

Enjoying:

The good weather. Even the lollipop man was in good form this morning!

Not enjoying:

Two short work weeks ahead of me. Jacob’s school are off this Friday for Paddy’s Day, obviously, but the following Monday too. Noooo!!!

What is going on in your life right now?! Let me know in the comments on Facebook!

 

The 10 Kinds Of Parents You Meet At The School Gates

When I look back over some of the articles I wrote for HerFamily, I realise how much actual craic I was having while I worked there. I mean, where else would I get away with this kind of boldness?!

Wishing editor Sive O’Brien the very best of luck in her next adventure as she moves on from Maximum Media. I feel like I had an intense digital media training under her mentorship for the year that I worked there which was all kinds of priceless (and crazy fun too!)

See you under The Spire for a Johnny Blue some day, Sive (right before we do our Luas passengers makeover!!) x

Every parent is different and everyone has their own way of doing things, we hear that all the time and it is true.

Those unique styles are always really evident, I think, when a range of different types of parents are bunged together by the choice of school, or even pre-school, that they make.

You are all forced into the one carpark, the one line outside while you wait for the doors to open, and the one corridor when picking the kids up again – and you get to meet lots of parent types on the way.

Here are the 10 Types Of Parents You Always Meet At The School Gate:

1. Hot Dad

Let’s just get this one out of the way, shall we? Amidst a sea of mammies doing the school run, are one or two gorgeous dads, who make the wait for the doors to open that little bit more enjoyable. There, I said it.

2. Chatty Cathy

Even if you’ve stated 17 times that really, you must go or else you’ll be late for work/the childminder/your own funeral, Chatty Cathy will keep ‘er lit until you literally lock yourself into your car and drive off while she’s mid-sentence.

3. Aero-dynamic Mum

You can’t miss her in neon pink or green sweats, as she zooms pass, clenching her buttocks as she goes, en route to a half-marathon before elevenses. Guaranteed to make you feel exhausted just by looking at her.

4. The Recruiter

Whether she works for Herbal Life, Aloe Whatsit, a Jewellery company in China or hosts Tubberware parties – there is a woman at the school gates who wants you on her ‘team’. Don’t worry, she’ll tell you, it won’t take up too much of your time – you just need to have a launch, attend weekly motivational group meetings and hand over your bank details. Er, no thanks.

5. Mz Perfectly Turned Out

“I don’t come down the stairs without my make up on!” she’ll trill at the rest of us, as we mentally scold ourselves for wearing the hubby’s football jersey again, and wonder when was the last time that you chucked on a slick of mascara.

6. The Expert

‘The Expert’ will have been a physiotherapist, nurse or doula in a past life, and wants you to know that she has the answer to all your problems, even if you haven’t particularly asked any questions. Casually chatting about approaching 40 and thinking about having another baby? The Expert will put paid to that, based on her past professional experience, leaving everyone sort of..well, depressed.

7. The Over-Sharer

You won’t know this woman very well, apart from politely smiling the odd time as you rush off about your business. But one day you will find yourselves alone together, and she will tell you details about her life that you don’t even know about your closest friend. Her husband’s erectile dysfunction? Check. Their plans for divorce? Check. Her burst cysts and subsequent laparoscopy? Check and double check.

8. Earth Mother

She who cannot for the life of her understand why you are mainlining coffee by 8.55am without acute knowledge of the coffee bean’s origin. I mean, how can anybody’s brain be operating at such a wholesome level at this hour? Oh yes, constant juicing and bursts of yoga throughout the night, while breastfeeding the twins simultaneously. I forgot, my bad.

9. Nosy Nelly

If you feel like you’re being interrogated by someone, then you probably are. If, like me, you live in a small town, then lots of people tend to know your business by osmosis.

“I see you’re thinking about going on holiday to Tenerife”, they’ll nod sagely as they greet you in the car park.

“But..my husband and I..just talked about it for the first time last night!” you’ll stutter.

Nosy Nelly doesn’t apologise for their actions. They merely pat you reassuringly on the shoulder and add, cryptically:

“I know”

10. She Who Is Wrecked.com

Even if you or someone you know falls into any of the categories above, the chances are that you will join the rest of us in looking, feeling and acting wrecked at some point. Teething babies, nightmares and terrors or sick kids can all rob us of those precious Zzzz’s that we so long for at the end of the day. Wrecked Mammy gets a free pass from all of us at the school gates, agreed?

I love HerFamily, I hope you’ve checked it out! 

Our Alternative Valentines: Doing It When You Have Kids

Well, we all know how to ‘do it’, otherwise we wouldn’t HAVE kids, right?!

But if you’re a fan of Valentines (and I AM, despite being a grump about most other things), you might need to adjust your way of doing THAT each February 14th.

Now that Ass Monkey and I are an old married couple (!) we agreed that having just had two weddings in the past couple of months was probably enough romance to last us another while yet, and we’d keep it in our pants this year.

(You know what I mean)

Anyway! The kids were excited about Valentines and at 5 and 2 respectively, were very busy in school and pre-school making cards for their mum and dad.

As they were all jazzed up about it, we decided to have a Big Family Valentines Day Out to celebrate little chubby Cupid’s day.

We took the kids to The National Sea Life in Bray for the afternoon, something we’d been meaning to get to for ages.

The weather was pretty bleak, grey and windy that day but the colourful aquariums inside The National Sea Life were all kinds of colourful and gorgeous by contrast.

We’re having a blast in @sea_life_bray today. Full craic in Instagram Stories 🐠🐟

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The kids loved every minute of it and I have to say that the staff were particularly amazing. They gave every family lots of attention and answered every kid’s questions (Jacob had about seven thousand of them).

You can spend a good hour and a half visiting each section, learning about the fish and hanging on for feeding time at the ‘Nemo’ and ‘Dory’ tank.

There’s also a cute little merchandise shop at the end of the tour where Miss Eva insisted on having a pink pirate costume to bring home. And who can deny her?

There is only one real way to be a pirate and that is IN HEELS 😂

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If you want to go for something to eat afterwards, Bray has many, many great places to eat along the seafront yet sadly we didn’t choose one of them.

Not that I am one to name and shame but someone should tell the manageress of the Shmocean Shmar And Shmill to never, ever, EVER pour the dregs of one woman’s white wine into the fresh new glass she just put on the table.

(Also, the food was shit)

But the company was TOP CLASS and I love our new family tradition for our very own Valentines Date For Four.

Tickets bought online for Sea Life are €10 per adult and €7.50 per child aged 3 – 14 years.

When Is It Time To Say Goodbye To The Baby’s Bottle And Blankie?

We left Eva’s ‘Bop-Bop’ and ‘Blankie’ behind us in Tenerife.

Accidentally on purpose, of course.

While our young 2-and-a-half year old never took to the soother as a baby, she formed a major attachment to this tatty old fleece blanket that once belonged to her big brother which she affectionately named Blankie.

Whenever the mood took her for a little comfort, she would announce ‘I’m very tired’ and dramatically lie herself down on the couch while someone filled a bottle of milk and went on the hunt for the ever elusive Blankie.

Miss Eva would then spread the Blankie out evenly over her entire body, up to her chin and covering her toes, before demanding Umizoomi from Netflix before shoving the ‘Bop-Bop’ into her gob.

She is a lady of leisure, my girl.

But we felt as though the time was nearing for her to give both of them up. Her dependency on the bottle was too frequent and besides hoping that less milk would mean a better appetite for her regular meals, we also want her to be dry overnight while we continue to potty train her.

While we were in Tenerife recently, we realised around Day 2 or 3 that Eva hadn’t once asked for Bop-Bop and Blankie and so we seized the opportunity to eliminate them from her life.

We’d been down this road before with Jacob whose source of comfort was ‘Froggy and Do-Do’ -is it us or is it them who comes up with these names, I can’t remember! – his soother and a suckable teething toy in the shape of a frog.

When we moved house when he was two-and-a-half we just ‘didn’t bring them with us’ and he didn’t once ask for them ever again. The new environment and house just never had any association with them for him so… BINGO.

Eva has asked for her little comforts since returning home, eyeballing the couch where she normally has her siesta and seeing Umizoomi on the family TV again, but we’ve stayed strong.

“Bop-Bop and Blankie minding the pool in Spain” is what she now keeps telling everyone and while it breaks my heart a little bit for her I know she’ll be better off without them in the long run and soon she’ll have forgotten about them completely.

AND she’s had a dry bum every morning so far – winning!

When did you get your kids to give up their comforters? Or are they still going? Let me know how you’re getting on!

Have you checked out Mum’s Box yet? It’s Raising Ireland’s monthly subscription box dedicated to fabulous mums! Our very first boxes are headed out next week and we’re so excited about it! Click in the logo below to take you to the site and remember: #loveyourbox

18 Stages Of Bringing The Kids To A Local Swimming Pool

Looking for activities for the kids to keep them entertained over the Xmas holiday break? Your local public indoor pool is most likely open and not terribly busy. Although – be warned – taking the kids swimming in Ireland ain’t no walk in the park!

(This article originally appeared on the fabulous HerFamily.ie parenting website)

Single-handedly taking our two small kids (5 and 2) for a swim is a challenge that I do not take lightly.

I know that I must be in the full of my health to achieve this family outing: I must be rested, feeling positive and have an otherwise flexible schedule on the day in question to ensure that it is a stress-free event.

Will all the preparation, mentally and otherwise, in the world – it never ceases to amaze me how the whole effort of going for a swim always goes completely wrong.

Here are the 18 stages of this delightful family activity:

1. Hope

You feel confident that you can master this and that everyone will not only have the time of their lives, but they will thank you for days afterwards. Hope is an asshat.

2. Excitement

You let the kids know that a trip to the pool is definitely on the cards and they rummage through their wardrobes for arm bands and swimming hats with glee. You feel completely proud of your decision.

3. Regret

As the toddler empties the packed swim bag for a third time, you wonder if you can get out of this now. But you’ve already told them and one of them has their float jacket on over her clothes, waiting by the front door. Damnit.

4. Nervousness

You mentally check all the things that could go wrong in your head. What if the water is too cold? What if the fancy wave machine isn’t working today? What if your daughter takes a dump in the pool and it has to be evacuated? Take a deep breath and keep driving.

5. First Round of Relief

You get to the changing rooms and everyone is in good spirits and happy to hang about while you get them into swimming costumes and rubber rings. You imagine it will be the same on the way back out. You are 100% WRONG about that.

6. Panic

Every square inch of the wet changing room floor is a death zone. You shove bags and towels into the locker while roaring at your kids to just. stop. running and hold onto mammy!

7. Stress

One of them just slipped on the floor anyway. You contemplate not even dipping one toe into that pool now.

8. Rage

The rubber wrist band with the key on it for the locker is half broken so it won’t fasten to your wrist. You can’t bear taking everything out and finding another locker so you just shove it down between your boobs instead. Be grand.

It won’t be this cute at your local public pool, promise (just thought you may have needed some hope!)

9. Glee

We’re in the water! We’re in the water! Everyone is happy now, we’re floating around without a care in the world. The kids are having a BALL.

10. Boredom

You look at the pool clock and wonder if they’ll know they’ve only been in for 15 minutes if you start giving them the countdown to get out now.

11. First Row

“No, we’ve only just got here!!!” your five-year-old roars at you when you give it the ole ’10 minutes, guys’. “You’re the meanest mammy ever!!”

12. Second Round of Relief

The pool staff just sounded the alarm for ‘Big Waves’ – that’ll buy you another 5 minutes or so.

13. Big Love For The Baby

“Mammy, poo poo”. Fair play to her, she didn’t shit in the pool. You instruct her big brother that you guys have to get out now one way or the other because you have to change her nappy.

14. Second Row

Carry-on and wailing from the pool to the changing rooms, no matter whether they’ve been in for 5 minutes or an hour. Threaten to never bring him to the pool ever again and mean it.

15. Regret

Yes, you will feel regret several times throughout the course of this exercise. It’s just the way it goes.

16. The Getting Dressed Dance

Getting you and two wet kids dry and dressed successfully in a slippery, and often gross, changing room at the pool is enough to drive anyone over the edge. We’re talking negotiating, ordering, pleading, re-sitting them on the bench 14 times so they won’t get their socks/bums/feet wet on the floor, shoving packets of crisps and raisins into their hands to keep them distracted, packing everything up, deflating EFFING rubber rings.. epic multi-tasking required!

17. Defeat

You pass the pool mirrors and realise you completely forgot to brush your own hair and look exactly as demented as you feel. Will you open up that backpack and search for the hairbrush? Not a hope. Carry on, soldier.

18. McDonalds

There is only one way to successfully cap a trip to the pool and that is a drive-thru at McDonalds. Nothing says ‘I’m sorry for being such a crazy mammy today’ like a Happy Meal and a thumbs-up through the rearview mirror.

What are you lot up to in trying to entertain the kids until they go back to school? Would love to hear any top tips!

Have you checked out our new monthly beauty box dedicated entirely to Mums? It’s called Mum’s Box and will be full of gorgeous gifts and treats that hard-working Mammies truly deserve. We are making our first shipment on January 20th and can’t wait to share it with you! Make sure to sign up – it’s just €20 per month! Click on the pic below for more info.

 

Keep On Truckin’: When Career Dreams Become A Reality

In my almost 40 years on this planet I don’t think anyone has ever described me as a wallflower.

‘Messer’, ‘Mad Yoke’ or ‘Little Bitch’ are more along the lines of the phrases used, intended, I am sure, in the nicest possible way 😬

I was born a feminist – a flaming ginger haired toddler with a great imagination, in-built compassion for vulnerable humans & animals – and the desire to stand up for everyone’s rights in a very loud way.

Loud, of course, because as a woman, you have to shout sometimes to be heard & that’s ok. Coz if we need to shout.. fuck it, we’ll just shout.

And then someone gave me a microphone. I can’t remember who that first person was but I’m sure they regret it now.

I’ve been shouting through my art & creativity for a long time. I wrote plays, I did stand-up, I created shows & gigs which parodied the bullshit & injustices that certain unequal members of our country & others have to deal with.

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My gaf was taken over by sound men and cakes for the afternoon

I created Raising Ireland & wrote a book because I thought it was important to empower young mothers to see that they were part of a great support network & that they were fabulous.

I put on my big girl shoes when Sive O’Brien & HerFamily.ie came knocking on early 2015 & I grabbed that job by the (let’s not say pussy) HORNS because it was a dream job and a half.

Today, Maximum Media has announced is super exciting plans to evolve into a broadcast platform, to rival current tv offerings which are already struggling, as we all know.

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I like silence in my kitchen ;o)

I am GIDDY with excitement to tell you that I am going to be a part of it!I get to present HerFamily’s flagship Facebook Live show The MotherLoad in 2017.

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Sinead from fab skincare range Peachy.ie and Dr. Ciara Kelly from Newstalk joined us for the pilot shoot – how lucky was I?

The MotherLoad will interview parents with stories to share & discuss parenting issues of the week in the usual HerFamily style – relaxed, real & most-importantly, with zero molly-coddling!

As you can imagine I’m so delighted with myself that I’m having a glass of bubbles in the bath so – cheers!! X

*The full link to today’s announcement in The Irish Times is here if you want to give it a read!*

 

Parents Worst Nightmare: When A Head Bump Goes Bad

We were VERY lucky with Eva and a recent head bump.

I say lucky in that she had a mild concussion, we went to hospital and she has come out the other side ok.

Every time she and her brother start to mess together now, i am terrified for her; I don’t want it to happen again and am seriously considering popping a helmet on her from morning to night.

We won’t do that, obviously, but it is that thing that we are always concerned about with our little ones isn’t it? Don’t bump your head, don’t bump your head, don’t bump your head…

Eva’s preschool are running a fundraiser tomorrow night for an almost four-year-old boy named James Higgins who was not so lucky with a head injury last year.

Just shy of his third birthday party, he fell at a playground and banged his head.

What happened in the next 24 hours is every parent’s worst nightmare – their gorgeous James is now rehabilitating and wheelchair bound following a blood clot and other complications.

I will let James’ grandad tell you the story in his own words:

James Higgins was 1 month short of his 3rd birthday when the accident happened on the 2nd of December 2015. His grandmother and I had taken him to collect his brother, Liam, from school. On the way home we decided to visit the playground. We were only a few minutes there when James fell on the all-weather pitch and hurt his head. What seemed innocuous enough at the time later turned into a nightmare. Within the next two and a half hours his condition worsened and we called an ambulance to take him to Temple St. Children’s Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to remove a clot on his brain. He was subsequently moved to intensive care where he spent the next three weeks in a coma.
Over the next six months James’s condition fluctuated with bouts of pneumonia and flu. At the end of May 2016 he was moved to the National Rehabilitation Hospital for further treatment and rehabilitation. At this stage he was unable to walk or talk and his left eye was partially closed. A recent brain scan has revealed that he will never have the use of his left eye.
Obviously James needs 24 hour care and still attends the National Rehabilitation Hospital four days a week in a specially adapted taxi. At the weekends his Mum and Dad, Jean and Kevin, and his brother take him out for walks in his wheelchair but outings are limited to this as they have no other means of transporting him.
When Brenda heard about James’s plight she offered to carry out some fundraising events so that James’s Mum and Dad can purchase a specially adapted car, which would make a significant difference to the family’s quality of life.
A big thank you from James and all his family.
Michael Conroy (James’s Grandad)
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Eva’s preschool are helping to raise funds for a specially adapted car for James and his family promise to bring him to visit the children at Bizzy B’s when he (fingers crossed) gets it.

There will be a charity auction hosted by yours truly in The Drop Inn in Rush at 8pm and I hope some of my Rush friends reading this might make it along.

If you have any prizes or items for auction please contact Brenda Lattimore on 0872487445 or if you would like to make a cash donation, please contact me and I will point you in the right direction.

I know you join me in sending love and best wishes for little James and his family, and I hope to see you tomorrow night x

8 Pros & Cons Of Living Back With The Grandparents

At the beginning of 2016 Alan and I duped my parents into letting us live with them while we had an extension built on our house.

“We’ll just stay with you for three weeks and then we’re going to find somewhere suitable to rent for the rest of the building work” we said.

Four months later.. we moved back out.

Here’s a piece that I wrote for fab parenting site HerFamily.ie about it at the time. It is SO much fun looking back on these things!

Here are 8 pros and cons of living back with mum and dad, when you are mum and dad yourselves:

1. You Don’t Have To Do As Much Housework As Before

Pros: We do our bit, of course, but you don’t do the normal amounts of housework like you would do in your own house. You know, rearranging presses and re-homing spiders and so forth. Therefore, you have loads of spare time on your hands! I’ve read two whole books since the beginning of January, a total record.

Cons: You feel guilty about not doing more housework to help out, but you don’t want to be all ‘eh, your gaf is a bit manky’ about the situation. So you clean the loo, but not really clean it and then you feel dissatisfied with your efforts while your mother wonders were you were dragged up. Disaster.

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2. Your Dad Will Do Your Laundry If It’s Sitting There

Pros: Anytime that anyone else will attack your laundry on your behalf is a great day, especially if they also elect to pair the b*starding socks.

Cons: YOUR DAD IS DOING YOUR LAUNDRY! EUWW!

3. You Have Babysitters On Demand

Pros: You can pop to the loo, have a shower, unpack the car, all safe in the knowledge that there are at least one other pair of eyes on the kids.

Cons: The act of living with your folks works off all your general babysitting tokens. We kind of don’t feel as though we can live with them AND impose upon them if we wanted to go out for a night. Therefore our social lives are dead in the water until we can get back to our own place and return to guilting them into doing their grandparental duties once again.

4. You Will Sleep In Separate Rooms

Pros: It isn’t a ‘house rule’ or anything that we’re in separate rooms, we’ve just elected to be responsible for one child each in opposite rooms in the house. Absolutely no fear of us getting accidentally knocked up any time soon.

Cons: Living like brother and sister is not conducive to a healthy romantic relationship. ‘Alright mate!’ I said to Alan this morning as he came down for breakfast. Uh oh..

5. No One Has Any Privacy

Pros: You can’t let rip and have a row with each other whenever you feel like it, you can’t let a roar at the kids, you can’t lounge around in your PJs all day, you are forced up and out early to get out of the way, you can’t have a bad day and insist on watching ‘Extreme Makeover – House Edition’ re-runs to cheer you up ..

Cons: You can’t walk around naked, you can’t have a bath at 11 pm, you can’t get pissed and belligerent at the weekends, you can’t have a ride, you can’t make late phone calls.. and everything else above in ‘Pros’, too.

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6. You Will Save A Fortune

Pros: Not having to pay to rent another home while you are still paying a mortgage on the house that is currently a pile of rubble is SO fortunate. We have completely knuckled down and are saving every penny to make sure that we are covered for the inevitable ‘extras’ bill at the end of the building work.

Cons: There are no real cons to being able to save money, other than the boredom that has settled in on us that while we are saving, we aren’t doing much else that’s ‘fun’. We swing from ‘Let’s get out of their hair for a weekend with the kids!’ to ‘But then.. we won’t have a toilet for the downstairs loo’ and strike it from the list again. Wah.

7. Everyone Is On Their Best Behaviour

Pros: You will be a better parent, a better son/daughter, a better spouse and partner all because you’ll be putting your best foot forward 24/7 due to the constant ‘company’ that is four respectable adults living together.

Cons: You will break out in psoriasis due to the internal stress you experience in being unable to just tell someone to go f*ck themselves. (No one in particular, obviously)

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8. You Will Get To See The Relationship Between Your Kids And Parents Flourish

Pros: When I see how happy my parents are when my two kids give them the big smiles, the automatic hugs and kisses, I know that as hard as living together might be for us adults, this is a special time that we might not see again. Every time I get a bit pissed off, or yearn for my own space again, I remind myself of that.

Cons? There aren’t any for this one.

Like this post? Then keep on truckin’;

5 Reasons Our Kids Love Their Grandparents More Than Us

5 Reasons Your Family Will Love The Toucan Box

I’ve recently become obsessed with subscription boxes which is pretty terrible for my bank balance but when you find one that REALLY entertains your kids for a couple of hours, I would consider that to be #winning.

I signed up for personalised Toucan Boxes for both kids although Eva is still a little bit young – they recommend that 3 years of age is a good starting point.

Toucan Box promotes itself as giving families back quality time together and keeping kids away from the TV by giving them a box of crafts and instructions for embarking on particular projects.

I decided that they were going to be my ‘Rainy Day’ backup and so as the sun was shining on the day the first box arrived so I hid them in a drawer in the kitchen! My secret weapons were under a serious pile of tea towels.

Here’s what we love about them:

1. I’m not naturally crafty

I’m artistic and everything but I’m not great at imagining a crafty project for the kids. The Toucan Box does all that hard work for you and then you still get to feel like you ‘Parented Good’ by virtue of the fact that they DID crafts even if you had nothing to do with it.

2. They are great value

I could easily spend a tenner or so on feckin Play Doh and glitter glue at Tesco or Easons and we wouldn’t get that much out of either (and mostly, that Play Doh just ends up on the floor, right?) At e5.45 a box fortnightly and an extra just e1.45 for a sibling, I think it’s money well spent.

3. The excitement is second-to-none

Even I’M excited to know what’s inside the box when it arrives. We had pirate maps and parrots to make the first week and dragon’s masks and tails the second. We literally cannot get the boxes open fast enough.

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4. The kids feel like rock stars

The personalised aspect of the boxes is great so that the kids feel really special when they see their names printed on each box. Now they want to be Hobby Kids – GREAT!

5. I HAVE PEACE!

Once I get them all set up with their instructions for what’s needed, the Toucan Box projects keep the kids entertained for a really long time. I’m not just talking about the initial sitting down to craft bit either – but the activity books also keep them going with colouring and pasting for a few days afterwards.

I’m sold!