Tag Archives: Raising Ireland

Review and Giveaway: ‘Cú Chulainn – A Family Times Fable Book’

I forget how much I love old Irish stories like Fionn agus Na Fionna and the Tuatha Dé Danann until something like the Family Times Fables Book series arrives on my doorstep. Not only do I get to waltz down Celtic memory lane, and my Old Irish studies at University College Dublin, but I am inspired to pass on these fabulous tales to the kids.

And author Wayne Kearns makes that very easy with what he has done here. There are not one, but two books for each tale – one is the story, the text and the beautiful illustrations, and the other is a copy of the first, but left blank for your kids to colour in. I think that is a GREAT idea, because that way, you get to relive the story in a more interactive way, and thus heightening your child’s opportunity to really engage, learn and remember the detail. I say Bravo! to Wayne!

Cú Chulainn

We have a copy of ‘Cú Chulainn’, including the accompanying colouring book, to giveaway to one lucky reader. To enter:

1. Like Raising Ireland On Facebook

2. Like Family Time Fables On Facebook

3. Drop us a nice comment – As Gaeilge!

**Competition Closes At Midnight On Friday 31st August**

Six Weeks Too Short

I have been spending a lot of time with my dad lately. I mean, it’s kind of hard not to, what with him being the financial advisor for our company, and our moving house to right around the corner from him last year.

Aside from that, he had a knee replacement operation almost six weeks ago and part of his recovery is to get out for short walks. Guess what the distance is from his house to mine? That’s right, a short walk. So we’ve been having a lot of lunches and chats.

Yesterday, we were talking about his upcoming six-week check up this coming Friday and how he mistakenly assumed he’d be miles more along in his recovery by now. In the lead up to the operation, all of the medical staff he was dealing with kept mentioning this magical ‘six weeks recovery’ that he took on board very literally. He thought he’d be dancing around with his brand new knee by now, back driving, cycling etc. But the truth is, that notion could be quite another few weeks away. In fact, he got himself online and read a few forums where other people said it took them six months to a year before experiencing complete recovery and that seemed more realistic to him (I told him he should start a blog for his peers – ‘Tommy’s Knees Up’ anyone?!).

I think this realisation is probably the same for anyone who has just had a new baby. Everyone talks about this ‘six weeks’ mark after giving birth, that you’re suddenly supposed to feel ‘right’ by then, you’re physically recovered, you can get back to exercise, you have bonded with your baby and incorporated them into your daily lives at this point.

And I think that’s bollox. Eva is now a year old, and I am just getting back to normal. I am only this week back down to pre-baby weight (not necessarily pre-baby body, am signed up to some pilates classes for that!), I am just getting to put the baby car seat away and the formula away and moving on a bit to the next phase of her life where she progresses to a little wobbler. I feel like I am starting to open my eyes a bit and take stock of the craziness of the past year so that I can figure out where we are at. The house is upside down, my wardrobe and car and bags and office and computer and photo files are upside down, I haven’t seen enough of the girls or had much of a social life and I certainly haven’t had much time to myself to exercise or recharge. So I’m looking forward to getting on top of all of that, while enjoying the next stages that the kids are at. I’m looking forward to getting a little bit back to being me.

So if you’ve just had a baby and you’re busy wondering when you’re supposed to feel ‘normal’ again, don’t rush it. Give yourself a year, please do, a full year. Take more time if you want. Take all the time you please. But six weeks after giving birth? No way, it’s not nearly long enough x


Prosecc-Oh No You Didn’t!

If you’re a parent and you’ve never seen the movie The Slipper And The Rose, I suggest you find a way to schedule it into your telly watching this week. Based on the story of Cinderella, it is a fabulous UK musical version starring our very own Gemma Craven and the ridiculously handsome Richard Chamberlain. Although I haven’t watched it for years, I am constantly reminded of it these days, in particular the really very funny Fairy God Mother, who was played by Annette Crosbie.

You see, Fairy Godmother could make all of Cinderalla’s dreams come true; she could magic her from slave labourer to a credible princess in a few clicks of the finger. When Cinderella was too exhausted to go on, she could whip up a cooked dinner for fifty of the Wicked Step Mother’s closest friends with a blink of an eye. But try to boil the kettle for a cup of tea for herself when everyone had left for the ball? Disaster. Magic a new frock that she might wear herself? You must be joking.

I think being a mammy is like that sometimes. We can get everyone up, dressed and fed, lunches made, schedule doctors visits, organize play dates, family holidays and get-togethers, and more or less succeed in serving everyone else’s needs. But try and make it on time for a nail appointment? Fail. Try to look unlike a harried mother with Rusk chunks embedded on her sleeves when bumping into an ex-boyfriend? Fail. Try to do absolutely anything that could be construed as ‘Private’, ‘free’ or ‘Me’ Time? Fail, fail, fail.

Ass Monkey and I had a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge for about two months. Actually, that’s not entirely true. It did leave the fridge on occasion, under the promise that we might open and drink it. And as we were interrupted by children/visitors/falling asleep into our dinner, it has always ended up back on the shelf. I have audibly apologized to the bottle on more than one occasion. ‘I promise I will drink you’, I’d say, sadly, as I slowly closed the refrigerator door.

On Friday night last, we thought we had it sussed. Both kids were unusually knackered by 6pm, so we bathed them and got them into bed by 7.30pm – about an hour earlier than normal. Marvelous! Abandoning all notions of ironing (me) or cleaning up after dinner (him), we grabbed the essentials: a movie, popcorn, cheese and crackers, a selection box (yes, we still have one or two and they’re not going to eat themselves) and the abandoned bottle of Prosecco. ‘It’s your lucky day!’ I exclaimed, reefing it by the next from the fridge. (It’s cool, Prosecco likes it rough).

We were having a great ole time, and of course I was feeling giddy after one glass because I hardly ever get to drink and I’m exhausted all the time (= light weight). Ass Monkey had just refilled our glasses with the last of the bottle when we heard a thud from upstairs. And then major wailing from Jacob, the kind where you think something really bad has happened. You know, like that there might be blood.

I jumped up with such a fright from the couch that I knocked the two glasses of Prosecco off the coffee table and over onto the rug below. Traumatised, I kept going upstairs and found Jacob bawling uncontrollably in our bed, hands in his mouth, and that continued for an hour. He was also kind enough to wake his baby sister, who was then also awake for an hour. Also bawling.

About half an hour into the carnage, I could hear Ass Monkey pottering around, switching off lights and locking up doors. I mean, who did we think we were, enjoying ourselves?

Kids: 1 Fairy Godmother: 0


This originally appeared on the HerFamily website. See other articles I have written for HerFamily.ie HERE!

Surviving The Night Terrors

Jacob had night terrors pretty consistently for about a year and a half – it started when he was maybe one-and-a-half to when he’d just turned three. If your kid has never experienced one, first of all, I hate your luck (!), but here’s what it means: You hear your kid crying 1-3 hours after they go to sleep, you go into their room to see if they need a drink or a wee, they start screaming in a possessed-like state and that carries on for anything from ten minutes to two hours. Screaming. Non-stop. Hitting you, lashing out, non-stop, while you wonder if everyone in your area has contemplated calling child services.

I read a lot about night terrors when we realised what we were dealing with and most articles said to sit somewhere nearby to make sure he wasn’t hurting himself, don’t wake him up and ride it out; that he’d grow out of it. So we did that, for a year and a half. We were absolutely shattered but without any real practical advice from anyone, we just sort of accepted it as our reality.

When Eva came along, the terrors got worse. I would just get Eva to sleep, and, hoping to catch some Z’s myself, Jacob would almost immediately kick off. He wouldn’t let Ass Monkey in the room with him at all when he was having an episode, I was the only one who he would scream the LEAST amount around. He was still screaming of course, just not as badly. Then his screams would wake Eva, she’d start crying agin, then I’d have to feed her, then because I hadn’t slept for fucking ages my breastfeeding was suffering and my brain was suffering and…we were all suffering.

Jacob’s night terrors stopped on account of one, all or none of these things happening (who can really say, they just stopped all of a sudden):

  1. We contacted a €300 sleep therapist.
  2. I started crushing half a tablet of camomile into his milk before bed.
  3. My friend said a prayer to her deceased mammy for me.
  4. We cut out his day time nap.
  5. We re-instated his day time nap, but only for half an hour.
  6. We started giving him milk and cookies before bedtime (he used to only want juice, a big dirty habit we’d gotten him into).
  7. I moved Eva and her moses basket into our room with Daddy, because being awake for five hours on the trot with my two kids while he snored was not part of my life plan.
  8. Did I mention the sleep therapist? Don’t worry, we didn’t pay the money in the end. But just like bringing a car with a ‘funny noise’ to the garage that disappears as soon as you get there, Jacob stopped having terrors THE DAY AFTER I sent my enquiry email.

Anyway, I came across THIS ARTICLE ON NIGHT TERRORS today from Lucie’s List, and I wish I’d seen it last year when we were in the thick of it. I haven’t tried the product, I haven’t a clue how it works, or if it works, but if you are dealing with a toddler who turns in to the Exorcist at 10pm every night like ours did, then I’m sure you’ll try anything too. Good luck!



When Good Hair Goes Bad

I was on the telly last week, you know, yar, yar…

It was my first time ever doing a telly interview so was obviously up to NINETY (as me ma says) all week, not eating bread, doing face exercises (yes it’s a thing), making panic purchases of make up that I hoped would make me look presentable at 8 o’clock on a Friday morning, and praying to the holy Madonna that the kids would sleep the night before (they didn’t – typical).

I think it went ok – Ireland AM are really lovely to visit, were very welcoming and I managed not to swear or lick anyone’s face. Although I did consider it when I met Sinead Desmond, her skin is AMAZING.

Thanks for the outpouring of love and support online since it aired, for my ‘relaxed demeanour’ (that was Rescue Remedy btw) and my lovely blue shoes. The one thing that NONE of you are mentioning one way or the other, and who could blame you, is my hair. It seems to be lovely on one side and the other….well… I dunno… I’ll let you decide for yourselves. (I’m scarlet!)


Catch the full interview HERE!

‘I Forgot To Take My Pill!’ – Now Available To Pre-Order!

I am having a GREAT day. I made it to the RTE radio centre, to speak to Ryan Tubridy about the book, on time, despite the following obstacles:

1. Ass Monkey used the car all weekend and DIDN’T FILL UP THE TANK WITH PETROL (a sackable offence if you ask me). And,

Who Does She Think She Is?!

Who Does She Think She Is?!

2. I accidentally parked in the radio director’s parking spot when I arrived in RTE. (I KNOW, the state of me, but I was a bit distracted with the giddiness of it all).

Mr. Tubridy himself is SO nice and professional, that I didn’t feel one bit as nervous as I thought I was going to be, and the interview went really well. My favourite bit was when he was kind enough to ask how doggie Pearl took the news that there would be a new additional to the family, coz no one else remembers that PEARL IS MY FIRST BABY!

If you missed the interview, catch the podcast below:

Pre-order eBookNow. I am THRILLED to report that, as of today, the eBook version of ‘I Forgot To Take My Pill!’ is available to pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords before it’s release on May 20th. The 4am finishes have paid off.

Can I go lie down now please?! 

La Roche-Posay’s Baby Skincare Range Review & Giveaway!

I have very sensitive, very dry skin, once even breaking out head to toe in psoriasis during a particularly stressful period so I am always on the lookout for thick, moisture-intense creams for me and the kids (and believe me, I’ve tried them all).

Because of my history, I keep a watchful eye on the kid’s skin, in case they inherit my sensitivity, and they definitely have a few extra-dry problem areas. It’s the usual spots, behind the knees, the crook of the elbow, the cheeks – but lately, with bad colds and temperatures, Eva’s skin has become completely dry all over her two little legs. Enter La Roche-Posay’s Replenishing Body Balm and I saw an improvement within 24 hours. We are now applying it twice a day to make sure she doesn’t suffer that horrible dry skin irritation that I know so well!

The new kids’ sun cream from La Roche-Posay is brilliant – it’s nice and thick so I know that they are not only protected from the sun but that their skin is being moisturised too. I used to prefer the easier liquid-type suncream for ease of application but honestly, I would rather take the couple of extra minutes applying this creamy one to make sure that I’m doing the right thing.

We have a 100ml tube of La Roche-Posay’s amazing Cicaplast Soothing Repair Balm to GIVEAWAY to one lucky Raising Ireland reader. It is the perfect remedy to have on hand to help soothe and protect your little ones’ damaged skin when they need it.


To Enter:

Like Raising Ireland on Facebook

and COMMENT below.

Competition closes Sunday May 3rd at midnight. Part of this competition is hosted on Facebook but is not endorsed by Facebook. La Roche-Posay have not provided payment for this post although they did send me these fabulous samples and who am I to argue with that?! All opinions are straight from Sharyn’s Horses’s Mouth. All of the La Roche-Posay baby skincare range are available to buy from pharmacies nationwide.


VIDEO: How To Escape A Sleeping Baby

Jacob used to be the greatest napper ever, which was brilliant because that was the time I spent doing all the paperwork for our then fledgling engineering firm. But Miss Eva was not born a napper AT ALL. Somewhere between having colic for 12 weeks, a big brother who doesn’t give a shit that I’m trying to get her down for a nap because he NEEDS A POO NOW, MAMMY!, and sort of hating her cot and sort of loving being held all the time – she just never got into the habit early on.

I am totally trying to change that these days, and to establish a better routine. Jacob is now (mostly) happy to use the toilet by himself & we’ve had a chat about how much great fun we have if he’ll just be quiet enough to let Eva sleep for a bit. At 10 months’ old, she’s on the move quite a bit with crawling and standing so gets a little more tired out so she’s happier to take a nap here and there.

But getting her down for that nap is such a delicate balance, isn’t it?! The room has to be dark, the yappy dog has to be in the back garden, she needs a clean bum and a full belly, there can’t be too many teddies in the cot but there needs to be one or two to prop up her shoulder a bit (she likes sleeping on her side, the diva), and heaven forbid that I should have my long hair down that she will take with her on the way, or sneeze, or cough or breathe... or you blow it and have to wait another hour to the next sleepy window.

I LOVE this video on How TO Escape A Sleeping Baby – you know we’re all going through the same crazy shit!