Buy cheap buy twice?

I love looking for the cheapest deal on products, sure who doesn’t?? And of late I am trying out a few shampoo and conditioners.

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My latest purchase was the Alberto Balsam range, and I chose the Antioxidant Blueberry set. It’s for dry/damaged or coloured hair which suits me as my ends are processed and I like to keep my colour vibrant.
Hmmmmmm….
I’m struggling to find a positive on this product other than the price.
First off, it takes a lot of it to get a lather. Which defeats the purpose of the cheaper price tag.
The amazing blueberry smell? Not quite the muffin aroma I had hoped.
And most importantly, the result – my hair felt flat, a bit dry, not very shiny and basically ‘bla’.
Sorry Alberto Balsam, but your product doesn’t live up to its promises! I’m giving this one a skip.
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The Break Up

Not all relationships are meant to last. It’s a fact of life, and a sort of process that we all go through. There are so many positive experiences that you can have when you enter into a relationship with someone. But god does it hurt when you break up. Songs have been written about it, movies have been made; even trends have emerged on twitter (#taylorandcalvin).

But what about when friends break up?

Are friendships deeper than romantic relationships?

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Friendships often last for years; a lot of the time they are born in school. They stand the test of time and create a trust like no other. A friend is the one you turn to when your mother is driving you up the walls and won’t let you go to the teenage disco. A best friend (or bestie) is the one you cannot wait to call when you find out you are expecting a baby. That bestie’s arms are also the ones that you fall into if a boyfriend breaks up with you. Friendships tend to outlast many a romantic relationship in a person’s life.

So what goes wrong?

Much like a romance, friendships can sometimes fizzle out. Two people can grow apart and move in different directions. In this case, both parties simply drift away and the process is practically painless, given that the sentiments are mutual.

But in the case when one friends suddenly rips the plaster off without notice – it burrrrrrns.  One person is happily going along, life is great, my best friend is there for me etc. Then BOOM – the bomb drops and that friend is no more. It’s like your left arm has suddenly gone missing. First there is the shock of it all. Then comes the emotions; the anger, and the sadness. Then the wondering about what exactly went wrong. Then some more anger and tears and finally…….a hollow. It’s like a long term relationship break up times ten.

Two sides to every story.

No relationship ends ‘suddenly’. (Unless of course there has been a serious incident that warrants it.) While one person is ignorantly blissful, the other is usually feeling a little disgruntled. Many a factor (including external influences) can then add to this unhappiness until finally something will trigger a breaking point. Maybe one person was feeling a little neglected? Or perhaps the opposite feeling of being smothered? Either way, right or wrong, people don’t usually throw away something that they have invested themselves in for no reason. They too are hurting, and have been for a time.

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Licking your wounds.

When good friends go bad, there is always the risk of things taking a turn down nasty lane, which runs parallel to bitchy street. Anger is in control here, but ex friends have a lot on each other and the ability to really hurt. Losing a friend is damage enough without having to heal additional battle scars. Time and absence is a great healer. Disconnect on social media and in social circles if possible. You cannot move on from someone when they are sitting right next to you all of the time.

It’s over. What now?

Life moves on.

There are plenty more besties in the sea.

Sometimes one friendship can be so consuming that you fail to recognise and appreciate all of the potential friendships around you. True friends may not have been there for the last twenty years, but they are here, right now and when you need them the most.

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When you are truly over your break up, its best to look back on your time with your ex friend and cancel out all the bad stuff. Appreciate the time you had and great things you did. Regrets are pointless as they are out of your control.

Forgive them.

And forget them.

And as the old saying goes, never cry over someone who wouldn’t cry over you.

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Get fit not fat!

And that’s the general aim.

For some reason I just cannot motivate myself to shift that final stone and get back to where I was pre baba. Funny enough, after baby number one I snapped back and was in the best shape ever. Having my wedding to motivate me helped I guess. Since I have had my daughter, I have really struggled. At first I thought it was the hectic schedule of 2 kids but I have now realised it has all been emotional. My son was diagnosed with autism just before my daughter was born. And I have been learning to live that life since. More on that another time.

So, learning from past success I have decided to start setting mini goals. And this 8 weeks to Sa Coma is just that. The first of many. My aim is to be happy with how I look in a swimsuit/bikini/tankini/whatever before I go.

Let’s be realistic – this is only 8 weeks. I am not going to be able to radically transform how I look in this time. And that’s why this is a mini goal!

The magic formula…..

There is none. This is going to take hard work, focus and effort on my part. Simple as.

Exercise – I have started something I have never done before. Strength and conditioning training. I am totally hooked. I plan on keeping this up 3 times a week. I’m training with EMF in Blarney. Eoin is a great trainer and good fun too. I would highly recommend giving this a try, no matter what your ability.

I am also trying to increase my low intensity, every day stuff like walks with the kids or with my iPod. 

Food – this is the fun part. I know enough to by now to know that if you do not get this right, you are screwed! Run, hike and lift weights all you want. If you are over eating, you will not see results. (Damn it.) So for now, I am cutting out the rubbish, eating real food (emphasis on the REAL), protein with every meal and buckets of water. Not wine, water. I may tighten this up more as I go along, but for now this will be enough of a challenge.

Sleep – tricky little thing this. This area is out of my control. But in the hope that the kids might let me sleep through the night, I am turning off Netflix and going to bed earlier. Oh how I love Netflix…

That’s pretty much it. Nothing new, nothing amazing, just hard graft. 

Oh and you lot to report back to, so if I do fall off the wagon, I promise to tell you. 😊 Be nice to me, please.

How will I measure all of this?

I will check the scales every week, but they are not going to govern my success. I am going to use a much tougher measurement – the mirror. I, like most of you have a favourite photo. You know, that one that you use as your Facebook profile pic because you just love how fab you look? Well here is mine. 😊 (Creds to my gorgeous bestie Cara – this girl has two kids and just looks unreal. Serious mammy goals 👌🏼)

I will get back to this. And when I do, we are going to recreate this pic! And maybe the night out too to celebrate. 😄
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#breakthemould

I have never been good at accepting a compliment. I don’t know why, but when a person says ‘oh, you look well’ I immediately feel awkward and usually disagree with them. I find compliments embarrassing, and that’s just who I am. Maybe it’s an innate lack of confidence I have always battled with. I guess true confidence has to come from within.

I recently met someone who I hadn’t seen in a while. They congratulated me on the lastest baby, etc and then said ‘you look stunning girl!’ Queue me and my awkward reaction so I side stepped having to take the compliment by mentioning that I was going to Slimming World and still had a few pounds to go.

“But sure what do you need to be going to Slimming World for? There’s not a tack of you there! I wouldn’t go losing anymore weight if I were you, it will age you.”

Now, maybe most of you read that as a compliment. Perhaps it was intended as such. But the tone with which it was delivered, to me, said otherwise.

To paint the picture, I am not hugely overweight. I have an athletic build, can fit into my jeans, and can wear a bodycon dress with Spanx. (Without Spanx it’s like a marshmallow wearing a thong). But I have had to work HARD to get to this, and yes I still have a few pounds to go until I reach my goal.

To say that there is not a “tack of me there” is a bit ridiculous. I have never been and never will be underweight. And to warn me about aging? Protect and Perfect all you want honey but wrinkles gonna get ya. (Eventually).

Lets reverse this little social scenario on its head. I bump into a friend of mine who has had her second baby. I compliment her and her little bundle etc and she mentions that’s she has joined a slimming group.

“Yeah, you need to be going to a slimming group alright, well done you. There’s a fair bit of you to go around. Try lose a bit of weight now, it will make you look much younger.”

I’m thinking that would be when she would pick up her Bugaboo and swing it at me (bundle of joy hanging on for dear life).

So what makes one comment ok and the other one a cause for grievous bodily harm?

I don’t have the answer I’m afraid, so it’s one I’d ask you to think about.

Maybe I really can’t accept a”compliment”?

Maybe I was “skinny shamed?”?

Whatever it was, there is one thing I definitely cannot accept – labelling.

Stop categorising body types. Stop trying to fit into one. Fat, thin, chubby, skinny or my personal favourite that has been graciously (with a subtle hint of bitch) extended to me – well built.

I can’t understand how we have only 3 types of bodies really – fat, thin and in between. Bullshit. There are so many variations on the human body so that makes zero sense.

Kim Kardashian wrecks my head. But I wil give her this. She used that arse to break the Internet and the stereotype of what is beautiful. I see nothing skinny about her, curves galore!

I also love Rhonda Rousey. She has been blasted all over the cover of FHM  – she’s fit, fierce, “well built” and stunning.

And then there is Taylor Swift – tall and thin and beautiful. Style Queen.

Get my point?

There is no one size fits all.

Variety is the spice of life.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

My well built arms and legs are fabulous.

Now I’ll take that compliment. From me, to me.

Blarneymum meets…….

To kick off Blarneymum Meets, I chat with Shaun Venter who works full time taking care of his son Grayson. Originally from New Zealand, Shaun shares his insight into life at home with an energetic 10 month old….

Thank you for doing this interview Shaun. Introduce yourself and tell us about your family.
I’m from NZ, 36 years old, married to Vicki for nearly three years. We have one little boy, Grayson who’s nearly ten months old and we have another baby on the way later this year. I gave up work as a chef to look after Grayson when he was a month old when Vicki went back to work.

What is a typical day like for your and your son?
Grayson wakes between 6 and 7 usually. We have breakfast and play until his nap at 9am which usually lasts for about twenty minutes. In the mornings we do whatever is needed – grocery shopping, housework etc. At the moment the weather is so nice we head to a park or down to the beach when we can. Lunch is around 12; he may or may not have an afternoon nap, if he does it’s usually about half an hour, not much longer. Then it’s more activities or outings until dinner at 5 and bed at 7.30 or so. If Grayson dozes off during the afternoon in the car or somewhere then bedtime is a bit later. He still wakes for a feed during the night. We’re trying to get out of that habit at the moment!

How has becoming a parent changed you?
I just asked Vicki and she said it hasn’t 🙂 – I suppose like everyone I’m more sympathetic or understanding towards other parents. I’m more tired as well. That’s all really I think.

Did you find it hard to transition from corporate life to the life of a full time dad?
We had always agreed that I would stay at home when we had kids so I was looking forward to it. I wasn’t enjoying work at the time I left which probably made it easier. I was hoping there’d be a bit more time for afternoon sleeps on the the couch though! It’s a lot more intense than I had imagined it would be. Ten minutes to yourself when you’re a parent is worth five hours to yourself before kids!

Can being a full time dad in Cork be isolating?
I don’t think so. I suppose it depends on the person – it’s as isolating as you make it. I have friends I meet up with on certain days, family I visit on other days and Grayson and I do activities outside the house as well like swimming which breaks up the week.

What do you do to unwind and ‘de-baby’?
I play a bit of sport and have occasional nights out with friends. It’s always easier when there’s two of you around to share the work. Grayson is a very energetic baby – he never stops so it can be tiring looking after him one on one.

Do you ever suffer from the Daddy Guilts if you are away for a period of time?
Not really, I do miss him when I’m away for a night or whatever. I’s always nice to have a good nights sleep though!

We all have our support network as parents. Who is that one person that you couldn’t be without for parenting advice?
Vicki obviously, we figure most things out together. Her sister lives close by and has four kids so she is always there with advice. My sister lives in America but has a six month old and a three year old so she knows what we’re experiencing. Everyone has an opinion and their own way of doing things but I suppose you have to have confidence in your own knowledge and instincts as well.

Why do you think so many men are reluctant to stay at home to care for children in Ireland? Is it similar in New Zealand?
It’s pretty much the same in NZ as here – I don’t know why really, maybe they’ve heard how hard it is 🙂 I suppose it’s tradition for the mum to stay at home and maybe women don’t want to give it up! I’m really glad I’ve been able to do it. I wouldn’t change the decision to give up work.

And finally, what is the best advice that you have been given as a new dad?
Get them into a routine as early as you can! We didn’t and we really should have!

This is what Autism looks like.

On April 2nd, some of the most iconic landmarks in the world (including Blarney Castle!) will light up blue to raise awareness of Autism. In Ireland, 1 in 100 people have Autism and for reasons unknown, it is becoming more and more common.

Autism is a spectrum disorder which means it can range from mild to severe, and symptoms can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations. Basically, no two people with Autism are the same.

Having a child diagnosed with Autism is an extremely traumatic event in any parents life. They say initially, the parents grieve the loss of the child. Will he ever go to the local mainstream school as I visualized? Will he play sports? Will he drive a car? Will he ever get married? Hopes and dreams are initially dashed and parents experience grief. The future becomes very uncertain. Naturally as parents we dream about our children’s future. As an Autism parent, you learn to look at things day by day.

Autism parents everywhere want you to be aware of Autism. Why? Because children with Autism grow to become adults with Autism. And these adults belong in society as much as you and I.

The child in the playground who wont wait his turn. The kid in the supermarket covering his ears and saying ‘mmmmmm’ loudly. The little boy in the play center playing alone, spinning in circles. Is this what Autism looks like?

The little girl throwing a ‘tantrum’ with her mum in the queue in front of you, holding up the whole shop. Is it a tantrum? Or Autism meltdown?

Please do not judge that parent. It may be Autism, and if it is, they are going through hell right now and your tutting or judgmental staring does not help.

The little kid who has his head in the iPad while mum sips a coffee? Don’t judge mum. Sure, too much iPad is bad but in a crowded place it can help this little guy block out all of the loud noises which cause him pain. And trust me, this mum deserves her cup of coffee.

So how do I know? Because I am an Autism mum. I have written this article to raise awareness. I am using my blog to raise awareness. If just one of you reads this and knows a little bit more about Autism, my work here is done.

Autism is a condition, it does not define a person. My son has Autism, I chose not to refer to him as autistic. Why? A wise friend of mine explained this really well – if Autism were the flu, would you say that your son is the flu? Or that he has the flu?

I want my child to grow up in a world where people will be aware of his challenges. An Autism mum’s biggest fear is what happens when I am gone? This is why we light it up blue every year, to let people know that autism exists.

So what does autism look like you might ask? It looks like me and you. It’s the little girl next door. It’s the man waiting at the bus stop. It’s the teenager you just walked past.

In my family, it’s cheeky, mischievous, gorgeous, bright eyed and handsome. It’s smiley, energetic and extremely affectionate. It’s just so handsome I could eat it!!

And I don’t care if I am biased. Because it’s my boy. x

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It’s just a touch of colic

My little girl turns 3 months today – that milestone that is supposed to bring sleep and a more settled baby. I have been counting down the days to this, because we had a ‘colicky baby’. 4 hours screaming a night on average, nothing could settle her. Passing her from mammy to daddy and back again. Rocking, bouncing, swaying, putting her in the buggy…..you name it, we tried it and it failed. I became a Google monster, looking up everything and anything, desperate for a cure. In desperation I turned to my doctor and was told ‘it’s just a touch of colic’ and she will grow out of it.

This enraged me. How can anyone be sure? What is colic anyway? I was not happy to see my little girl suffer and scream in pain. I’m not a first time mum so knew it wasn’t just wind. I persisted and the formula trials began….Comfort, Anti Reflux and then Colief…nothing. Until we tried one last effort – Neocate. It’s a prescription formula that has the cows milk protein broken down (amino based). I suggested it to my doctor after much research. Within 2 weeks I had a new baby.

Neocate is not the answer to everyone’s sleepless newborn nights, that’s not my reason for writing this post. I want to reach out to anyone going through Colic, to say to you to trust your gut and don’t be afraid to take no for an answer. My little girl cannot digest milk protein and was in agony (now confirmed by a paediatrician) so I’m glad I pushed.

I’d also like to share some tips and thoughts that might help anyone in those first few months:

  • Colic or whatever is causing the non stop crying is not your fault.
  • Long crying spells with a baby are damn hard, and will test you and your relationship. Admit how hard it is and have a good cry about it if you need with a friend.
  • Try to remember that all things will pass – visualise the future when you baby is no longer drinking bottles!
  • We all Google symptoms etc – it’s ok to read but but best to check things with a professional
  • Ring formula company help and info lines – they usually can tell you more than some doctors! A good pharmacist is also essential, I found Boots great.
  • Get on line in forums with other mums. Swap ideas with your friends. Speak to your public health nurse.
  • Trust your gut mum/dad…..the primary care giver knows baby best. Have confidence in yourself.
  • Most important – take care of your health, mental and physical. Your little baby cannot get through the this without your love and care and reach out for help when it is needed.

We still don’t sleep through the night in our house, we still feed every 3 hours! But gone are the screaming sessions, and bottle time is not a battle ground. Now we just have to get through the teething….🙄😊