We went to Comic Con!

You may or may not know, I love dressing up. I love trying to recreate a character or celeb pic, using mostly, just what I have at home. I’ve lived in London 18 years now and have been saying for a fair few of them, that I’d go to Comic Con and this year I finally did. I gotta say though, all the times I thought about going, I never thought I’d be bringing a child, my child with me…..here’s how it went……..

We got on the tube at London Bridge, we were going to meet “Larry Croft” & friends in Greenwich to take our first trip across the Thames on the Emirates Cable Car….a day of firsts! Lots of other cosplayers were on the tube too but being that Small Man was dressed as a mini Darth Vader and looked really cute, people wanted to talk to us….Queue me nearly missing our stop due to politeness, listening to some woman go on about her first Comic Con visit. I thought we had time so I leapt up, grabbed Small Man’s hand and ran for the door. Most of me was through, bar my arm and Small Man when the door closed on me!! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!! He was screaming, I was tryna wrench the door back open, I was sweating, he was screaming, more hands appeared in the door and finally plied the tube doors open. Yes this is up there as one of the worst parenting moments of my life! Poor child was devastated…all I could could see was myself meeting a gory end by refusing to pull my arm out and letting the door close with him inside, or possibly worse…leaving him inside a car full of strangers, hoping nobody would steal or hurt him til I reached him. Grim start to the day!

Thankfully the trip across the Thames was slightly less eventful and actually really nice apart from Small Man’s constant chanting of “we’re going to die”. Oh that and it’s kinda

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awkward when his favourite word at the minute is poo. “You’re a poohead, we’ll all die in poo, I’ll throw poo at the boats to make them sink”, ya know that sorta thing, which although is jarring is not the worst word he could be using right? Well I think so, but when the other child you’re travelling with is not allowed to use it so liberally….ugh…though gig! Bad parenting on my part again?

Yay! We made it over to the Excel centre without dying! It was hot and although we were at the Excel, you had to walk almost completely around the building to get in…musta been a mile at least. A mile is nothing really….unless you had no backup plan to your chosen costumes and had to stick to Vader and a Stormtrooper…..in 24 degree heat! FML! Still once you got in, it was aircon central…thank God, Buddha, Odin…whomever!

We went on the Sunday which is the quieter day, but there’s still a lot of people to contend with, so we lost Larry and his daughter in the crowd. We had a quick scout about at the different stalls, during which I realised I hadn’t gone to the bank. FML, yet again! Small Man also spotted the Nintendo stand. FCUKING NIGHTMARE!! He’s just getting interested in computer games and when he seen this of course he wanted to play. I managed to convince him we needed more money and got into the queue, which was short enough, but then 3 out of 4 cash machines stopped working and made our wait at least 35mins. The only break from whinging to play Nintendo during this time was when a Jedi Master noticed my little Vader and challenged him to a duel. The Force answered my plea for help here.

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Money acquired, we headed back into the sea of characters to the continuous whining to plaaaaaay Ninnnnnntennnndo! Once again though, the Force, albeit the Dark Side answered my need for respite and the “real” Darth Vader appeared. This guy was brilliant, even with the top of the helmet off he had the Vader breathing apparatus, just like in the movie. Small Man was a little nervous but stood just close enough for a pic. We ran into BB8 next, and although Small Man was only delighted to see him, he grew a bit concerned when BB8 kept following him.

I foolishly thought the Nintendo idea had been forgotten, until a break in the crowd meant Small Man spotted the big red stand and started asking to play again. You can’t explain to a 4yr old though, that the people already playing the games are most likely proper gamers and have been there aaages. Or that the people queing have also been there ages, and that us queing for him to play will be a ridiculous amount of time, most likely ending in either the shortest game in history followed by lots of crying and refusals to leave, or neither of us knowing how to play hence him dying immediately, followed by lots of crying and refusal to leave. I KNOW you can’t explain this, ‘cos when I did try, it ended in me counting to three three times without result, then me grabbing his hand to walk off but him throwing himself to the floor screaming he wanted to play Nintendo, so he ended up being dragged along slightly, when in turn led to my last resort….pretending to walk away and leave him. This also took it’s time to work. Small Man had to have a little tantrum roll around the floor whilst I threw any fcuks I had left about other people’s opinion on my parenting to the wind, and told him very publically I’d had enough and I was leaving him there to be stolen by aliens. He told me he hated me. Then he ran after me and grabbed my hand……and whinged some more. *sigh* Larry rang to say he was sitting outside with a vodka, if we wanted to meet him there….oh how I wanted that vodka but I spied a really great Bumblebee and told Small Man to get a photo with him. He was still crocodile tearing over that bloody game stand and told me was sick of photos and this was so boring. I said we’d go home so. He said noooooo! Thankfully Bumblebee intervened and managed to coerce him into a photo….without any words, or blips, or songs…why the hell doesn’t this work for me?

In a bid to become friends again, I said he could pick something to buy. He wanted a donut! A DONUT!! I made us queue 35mins to get money out for a donut!! FFS!! We found a donut stand, thank God, and all was right with the world…..til we tried to exit the building. I lost my bearings, we came out the complete wrong side of the building and had to re-enter all over again, to get out all over again. We found the rest of the crew on the steps, Larry was melting, the vodka was gone. I settled for a Twister and wished I’d bought more to shove under me armpits and down me back….the heat lads, was unreal! Small Man finally stopped complaining and ate his donut and a twister and was happy enough to pose for a pic with Rastatrooper (I had major armour inferiority complex right then lads….Me = “£50ebayeffort”, Rastatrooper = “6fansinhishelmetarmourmostlikely£700+”) and over the moon when a Deadpool hi-fived him.

Although it added to our journey home, I didn’t say no to a few beers at Larry Croft’s house.

So did we enjoy it?

“Small Man what was the best part of the day? Well let me tell you the worst part first Mammy…YOU wouldn’t queue for me to play the games. Ok, well was there anything you liked? Yeah, the best bit was the “real” Darth Vader and BB8…..and Deadpool”.

Me….. well yeah, I admired the hard work and effort of the other, proper cosplayers.I enjoyed getting us dressed up together.I loved seeing his face when he recognised characters and pointed them out to me. It made me smile when we ran into Vader’s mini grandaughter, Leia and great grandson, Kylo Ren 😀 The whinginess was ball breaking though. Makes you question your sanity in doing these things but then you think of the memories created and you strap in for the ride.

Tips for next year….consider the weather when deciding on costume. Don’t people please on the tube. Get money out the day before. Bring more snacks for small people. Look at the map….so you can avoid any computer game stands.

Have any of ye been? Tell me how ya got on?…

Love Donna x

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I’d vote YES!

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pic of badges from Together for Yes website

In just three days, The Motherland will ask it’s people to vote on whether or not to repeal our 8th amendment. The 8th says “The states (Ireland) acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”

I remember at secondary school, we had some people come in to give us a talk on how abortion was basically murder. They even had little pairs of tiny, silver feet pins, we’re talking Barbie doll sized feet here, that you could buy and wear in support of pro-life. I remember leaving that talk thinking, well it’s a very simple answer, I would never do that, what kind of person would abort a child……As you get older though, you realise, there is no simple answer, it’s not just black and white. There is a grey area.

I know lots of Mammies, I know different types of Mammies. I am a Mammy. I know women who said they never wanted kids, but have them now and could never be without them. I don’t know anyone who’s first ever thought in life about pregnancy was “how shall I get rid of it?” I don’t think we knowingly plan ahead for an abortion. Most of us look forward to becoming a mother.

I now know about fatal foetal abnormalities, where the foetus may or may not make it to full term and even if it does survive the birth, won’t live very long. I cannot understand how despite knowing these things, but because there is still a heartbeat, our government insists a mother carries her unborn child until birth, allowing her to go through the trauma of knowing her baby is dying/will die but making her suffer the pain and sadness of going through the birth anyway. Can you even imagine the heartache that woman would feel?

I cannot understand how our government would refuse a victim of rape, a child victim of rape the right to an abortion. It was not their choice to be raped. The trauma of this whole ordeal must surely be unbearable?

I cannot understand how an embryo can come before a woman having life saving treatment as the drugs needed may result in a miscarriage or a FFA. How do you knowingly allow a woman with pre-existing medical conditions put her life in severe risk, forcing her to carry on with a pregnancy? I read on a pro-life site that today the abortion rate was one in every five pregnancies here in England & Wales, and that I should think about five people in my life, whom could I not live without? I don’t think comparing people I know now or even from when I was little is the same as comparing an unborn foetus to a born person. Yes, there may be brain activity but this is not the same as knowing a fully developed person.

What if a woman’s contraception has failed her, after all, no contraception is 100%, but what if you were actively doing what you can to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, but it failed….what do you do? There were reasons you were using contraceptive in the first place.

I had a look at the abortion info on the Irish Citizens Information Centre page and I find that slightly hypocritical too…..We do not advocate abortion in Ireland BUT we cannot prevent you from travelling abroad to have an abortion, we can give you names and addresses of where to go to have one legally abroad and we will give you some amount of counselling once your back. Oh by the way, if you don’t have the means to travel abroad and pay for it and we find you’ve taken it upon yourself to abort by means of pills or an extremely risky backstreet abortion, we’ll sling you in jail for possibly 14 years! Ireland should not be forcing it’s women abroad at a time when she needs it’s care and support. It should not be forcing them to extreme methods such as drinking bleach or self harming in the hopes of bringing on a miscarriage. It should not be forcing them to leave their families and their familiar surroundings to go through such an ordeal. It should not be making her feel ashamed and guilty. It should not be putting her life at risk. It should be reaching out to help her make informed decisions with the correct medical care and support.

Abortion has been around for a very long time, it will not go away Ireland, you can’t keep shipping it off to England (and with Brexit looming how much more stressful and traumatic will it become?). I believe that if a woman has chosen to have an abortion she has not done so lightly and although it is actually 14 times safer than actually being pregnant, I don’t believe it’s a procedure anyone really wants to have. We have to trust that women are doing these things for the right reasons, after all, whatever her decision, ultimately it is her body and her mind that will carry that scar forever.

For those of you who are voting no, did you step out of the black and white? I hope you considered the grey areas. I hope that you, your wife, your girlfriend, your sister, your Mam, your aunt, your daughter never have to be in any of the situations I’ve mentioned above.

For those of you thinking of not voting, you still have time to make an informed decision, but surely a vote for choice is better than a no?

Vote YES! Vote for CHOICE!

Be my yes,

love Donna x

Simple bake sale ideas.

I like the idea of baking but baking doesn’t really like me, so when Small Man’s class held a bake sale last week, I kept it nice and simple….not as simple as the classic Rice Krispie buns like, but still easy enough for the Monkey to get involved.

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We started with the tried and tested Chocolate Biscuit cake, which Small Man enjoyed making as he got to batter some biscuits with the rolling pin, and do a lot of mixing. There’s not a lot of hassle with this one, just some crushing, melting, mixing annnd waiting…..et voila! I use this Odlums recipe, as recommended by a friend, but instead of the nuts, I added some marshmallows. If you like sweet, this is the cake for you…..if you’re aiming to lose a few pounds, turn around and walk away!

As I was already melting stuff, I decided to make some Popcorn Surprise Cones. Small Man was only interested in the mixing to start and the sprinkle dipping at the end, the assembly was far to messy for his liking. Here’s what I did….

  1. Make your popcorn as normal….or buy 2-3 premade bags.
  2. Find something to hold your cones upright, if you have an empty cereal box just 180503114925punch some holes in it and sit the cones in. I placed a lollipop in each cone, ideally I would have filled them with smarties or midget gems, but I forgot to pick them up.
  3. Melt 400g of marshmallows in a pot with 2tbsp of golden syrup and a knob of butter.
  4. Pour popcorn into the marshmallow mixture and be prepared to get very sticky. You can use a spoon to mix the popcorn into the mixture but I found it better to coat all the popcorn using my hands.
  5. Now the fun begins, scoop up a handful of sticky popcorn and try to wangle it onto each cone in a vaguely “ice cream” type fashion.
  6. Once all the cones are done, dip each one in sprinkles, place back in your makeshift cone holder and allow to set.
  7. Use clingfilm to wrap each cone separately…….Ta daaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

This recipe made about 26 cones and if you want them to look extra nice, tie a pretty bow around each.

Lastly….and this really is cheating but for all the times I bake, I find this method a lot 170730081453_wmcheaper and with less chance of burning due to me forgetting. Of course, you can bake your own cupcakes but I bought (I can feel the judgement here 😀 😀 ) a packet of plain buns and simply iced them how I liked….well how Small Man liked. We made Rainbow Cakes. I piped vanilla buttercream icing, made blue of course, onto each cake to make clouds and topped with a mini fizzy rainbow belt. Five minutes and done! I’m happy ‘cos I’ve not burned anything and Small Man is happy ‘cos he got to use the mixer and eat fizzy rainbows!

Now, we didn’t actually use this recipe this time round, 180503115032as we did it for his little Christmas party (they looked like snowballs), but these No Bake Cookies from IslandPicnic.com are yum! They are super easy to make, the only help Small Man really needed was with measuring.

Drop me a line if you decide to have a go and most of all have fun!

Love Donna x

 

 

That time I had a baby & almost lost my s**t.

I had planned on doing a book review, but for the day that’s in it and I’ve always planned on writing this post at some point, let me write it and see how it goes. I’m also writing it as this could be you, you may relate and you’ll find you’re not alone.

I like to think of myself as generally a happy person, of course it’s not 100% of the time but enough for me not to consider depression. Roll on August 2103, one month post baby.

When the Small Man was born, I had my Hubbalump and my Ma with me. Hubby had taken a week’s paternity leave. Mammy had come over from Ireland for this momentous occasion and I had her with me for a glorious 3wks. I also had my sister up for a few days. They left, and my bestie came over from Ireland for 10 days, I think. I was surrounded by people constantly, with the drop in visitors too. Then they left and the drop-ins had fizzled out.

Then I was alone.

Well, not alone alone. I had a spanking new baby and Hubby wasn’t put off enough by the whole spectacle to leave me, but otherwise, I was alone. Hubby, obviously, still had to go to work, so myself and the Sprogladite were on our own. My Ma would text me nearly every day, as did my sister and Ash, but a text was not the same as a physical being. I have friends here, of course, but my friends here tend to be a lot older than me (I blame this on the fact i used to work in a pub…with love of course 🙂 ) and they’re done with babies, their kids are all grown up. They work long hours and then have long journeys home, to their own families. My friends my own age…well I left them in Ireland and the commute to visit regularly would be a bit much. The people I thought, would definitely be there, physically and emotionally, who unequivocally said they would be there, like I had always been for them, weren’t.

I felt let down, lost, confused, excluded and alone.

I felt sad for my little boy, like he didn’t matter enough.

Our mornings started early..ish and they were kinda set. I’d be up in time to watch Lorraine with the first feed, Small Man would go back to sleep, Hubby would ring, I’d wash bottles, have brekkie, tidy up a bit, then scroll through FB to see what my friends were up too, this was my new lifeline to conversation. This Morning would start. Small Man would wake, the cycle would start again only with lotsa cuddling and talking to a little man who can’t yet reply. I wasn’t a total hermit, we did go out for walks and to the shops etc, but mostly it would be just me & him. I would crack sometimes and my need for company would take to those who I felt forgot me, and I would be happy and I would be happy for my boy, ‘cos ultimately the love was there. It just seemed that if they couldn’t see us, we didn’t matter. I remember once the Small Man had been a bit ill, and for 14 days, nobody checked in on us, by any means.

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I smiled though, because I was happy, delighted in fact with the new man in my life. I smiled because, generally, I am a smiler and I felt like that is what is expected of me, jayzus, shur I expected it of myself! I smiled because isn’t that what people expect when you have a new baby?! Secretly though I cried, I cried alot. When Hubby came home to find me crying, I’d tell him, I’d just had a baby, I was allowed to cry for no reason. I couldn’t tell him, that when the baby was asleep I’d spend a lot of the time crying, or that I’d get dressed just before he came home. I couldn’t tell him that I felt like that narrow piece of wall, dividing our bedroom and sitting room, seemed like a really good place to bang my head ’til it bled. I couldn’t worry him like that. It would be selfish.

I thought I was going mad. This was not me. This was irrational. There is no way I…ME…I could be depressed. I googled postnatal depression. Everything fitted. Ash could tell from just texting that I wasn’t right too, but I wasn’t ready to admit “happy Don” wasn’t quite so happy, and I felt guilty and stupid for feeling this way. Hello!! Didn’t I just have a perfectly healthy, little boy, who in the grand scheme of things, I’m told by my Ma, is a pretty good baby!

I took Small Man for a check up at our surgery. It went well, he was perfect. Dr Herzmark asked me how I was and I cried. I cried, I talked, she listened and made notes. She seen me once every 4wks for 6 months, to ask how I was and to listen. Dr Herzmark never mentioned the words postnatal depression to me, but I had a sneaky look at her computer screen one day, she had me down as border line. Half way through this time, she said to me, I’m not going to prescribe you anything because I know you can pull out of this yourself. I didn’t want anything anyway, her time, those 12 minutes were enough to help me find my usual get up and go. I began to get my groove back and started going to local baby groups and meeting new people, new friends.

I will always be so, so grateful to Dr Herzmark for her time.

Although, I was never officially diagnosed as suffering from postnatal depression, the roots were there and I think my loneliness fed these roots, if it wasn’t for a small “how are you” it may have festered into something worse. Sometimes a bright smile is just an illusion.

The only advice I can give you is, if you are suffering, take the advice YOU would give to somebody else and don’t be too proud or ashamed to use it on yourself. You don’t have to make like the new baby made life perfect. The Perfect Mammy is a myth.

#itsokaynottobeokay

#worldmentalhealthday

Love Donna x

 

 

 

 

 

The Legend!

I’m writing this post so it’s here for the future should the Small Man ever choose to read my writings and in case my memories ever start diminishing. It will probably be uninteresting reading to most of you but shur what about it?! I’m going to write it as if talking to my boy……

So who is this person that warrants such a title as “The Legend”, I hear you ask. Who is this person that is so important they need writing about and cannot be forgotten? Well he is…..was my Grandad, your Great Grandad, Tommy O’Connell, one of the coolest dudes I ever knew and a man I constantly miss. Today would have been his 93rd birthday.

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Firstly, let me tell you this fun lil fact about my family name, as it all starts with him….So Grandad was actually Thomas Oliver Connell, some of his official letters used to come addressed to Thomas O. Connell, which over time a clerk somewhere decided that that little dot should have been an apostrophe, and with that we became O’ Connells. This will come in very useful should you ever be involved in an O’ Connell family history quiz….make note. 😀

Anywho, let’s get on with remembering the man….

Grandad had great time for me and I loved him to bits. When I was little, we lived in a mobile in his garden ’til I was two. I don’t know how true this story is but Grandad used to tell me, he’d open his back door some mornings and find a ghostly looking child in a long nightdress just standing there waiting…it was me, sleep walking to, well, I guess my best bud.

There used to be a picture of Granny and Grandad on their wedding day, hanging on the kitchen wall. Grandad was wearing a proper uniform with one of them peaked dress cap thingys. He used to tell me he flew an airplane during the war and he’s take Granny for a spin in it. I used to think, wow, how cool is that. Turns out he used to tell Da, your Grandad, he drove tanks during the war. 😀 He didn’t do either but he was part of the Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil (FCÁ), the local defence forces during WW2, hence the dapper uniform. I guess it was a bit like the T.A now. (Another bit of family trivia, Grandad’s brother Porrie did fly for the RAF during the war, as a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber). It makes no odds to me, his coolness has not decreased, but you can imagine from that how good his stories were…..

He had a big garden and behind it they had some fields which at the very bottom included a small wood, a.k.a The Woods. At the time it seemed huuuuge. Grandad used to bring me for walks to the woods, helping me jump the ditches or carrying me across. One wintery day we went down there and Grandad was telling me about The Badgers, who would bite your leg off. He showed me how to keep them away by breaking thick twigs in half as we walked, so they thought is was your bone snapping. I dunno how true that twig snapping story is but at the time I was constantly breaking twigs for fear of losing me leg to a badger. There were wood chopping expeditions to the woods too. Da (your Grandad) and Uncle Mike would go down to chop sticks and Grandad would sit there, give orders and supervise. As I got older,  we discovered some fallen trees that made a really cool fort, that Grandad supplied all the old pots and pans for (probably nicked from Granny’s kitchen). He couldn’t fit in but he’d sit outside. 😀

When they had the big new shed built in the garden, Grandad let us kids use the old shed as a babby house. He hung a swing up for us in there, your Auntie Sarah and Uncle Phil split the back of there heads open falling off it a few times. Grandad would sit there with us, in his deck chair pretending to drink endless cups of coffee made from turf mould and water. Sometimes he’d nod off and me and Sarah would pee ourselves laughing, whilst stealing the biggest logs we could from the stick pile, walking right across in front of him whilst he snoozed. He always approved of the little gardens we’d create next to the babby house.

Grandad loved flowers, he had a great garden. He’d trim the hedges into castle or horse shapes. He showed me what flowers were what…daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, roses, sweet peas and sweet williams….sweet williams and daffodils always remind me of him. There was a field across the road, Grandad would take me into and it was full of cowslips. You never see them anymore. 😦 There used to be a little Robin that hung out in the garden, we’d put out a bowl of bread for him. Grandad used to say he was watching out for us.

When the road was empty, Grandad used to take me onto it and we’d pretend to be driving imaginary cars, him using his walking stick as a steering wheel. Sometimes we’d walk as far as the Thatched Cottage to nose if the Yanks were in or pick the bluebells out of the hedge opposite. Sometimes we’d bring Sheba for a walk up to the canal and watch her swim. During the summer Grandad used to hold my hands whilst I stood on a big stone in the water, dipping me toes in the deeper bit.

Ugh Small Man, I wish you could have met him and him you, ye would have loved each other. I wish I had more photos to show you….you know he was a bit of a photographer too. He’d take pictures of us and send them into The Topic for our birthday’s. I remember him developing photos in the bathroom and hanging them on the line over the bath.

One of my fav memories of Grandad was the night we watched a very satanic Christopher Lee movie (no, there is no way I should’ve been watching these movies at my age, at that time of the morning but Grandad was a rebel babysitter) so I was pretty freaked out going to bed. It was summertime so the windows were open in the kitchen. Anyway I’ve gone in to get a drink before bed and there was probably about 10 “Clocks” (beetles) around the kitchen floor, of course 10 looked like 100 at the time and I started bawling for Grandad. He rushed into the kitchen to see what happened, I was crying over all these clocks so he began standing on them. Oh if you could have seen him in his trousers and vest with his braces on, Grandad looked like he was doing a jig around the kitchen tryna kill all these little beasties. 😀 😀 Uh, I loved staying there, even though the house was a bit isolated and the long hallway creeped me out. In the mornings, I’d get into bed bedside Grandad and we’d do our arm exercises, arms up, arms out. We’d get up and listen to Radio 3 or Grandad would play records. He used to love a bit of Jim Reeves and would play “But you love me Daddy” for me.

So there you go, I could go on with little titbits of memories forever but this is just a taste of Grandad…The Man, The Beetle Killer, THE LEGEND! (Your Grandad has big shoes to fill 🙂 )

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There’s a sad end to my memories of Grandad though, I never got to say goodbye…….Auntie Ina had moved home with our cousin Monica and was living in Granny and Grandad’s. I was jealous. I thought Grandad didn’t love me any more, as he had Monica there all the time now. I remember my 11 year old self telling him this and telling him I wasn’t talking to him. I was going out to Nanny Mooney’s a few days later, and although we stopped at Grandad’s on the way by, I couldn’t get out like I wanted to to say goodbye and tell him I was sorry. We carried on to Nanny Mooney’s. I knew when I woke up the next morning, by the look on my Ma’s face that he had died that night.

So my little Mandingo, there’s an important lesson to be learned here; never be cross with somebody you love and if you have to leave them, even for a short amount of time, tell them you love them and say goodbye.

Love you always my Baby,                                 Love you always Grandad,

Mammy xx                                                                               Donna xx

 

When your kid wants a rainbow party…

As usual, I’m late posting the birthday theme idea…only two months though, it was four last year. So as you can guess from the title, when I asked me little Mandingo what kind of party he’d like, he said “a rainbow party Mammy” and so my work began. Rainbows, obviously are lots of lovely colours, so I thought the best way to approach it and make it fun would be to have a Rainbow Paint Party in the Park.

With that in mind, I headed to my beloved Ebay and searched “rainbow birthday party invites”, shur you’d be blown away with choice but I went loved these from Sweet Sentiments. It was £3.99 for 12.20170927_010715

Now the cake! The curse-a-God cake! I’ve previously made a Teddy bear cake (sitting up I’ll have you know) , a George Pig themed cake and a Lightning Mcqueen shaped cake, but this! THIS!!! This simple sponge cake was supposed to be easy….it was not…mind this was purely down to the roll out icing which I DO NOT get on with. These are the woes of home made cake making (I lovingly blame my Ma for always baking our cakes and thus I feel I should to the same for my sprogladite).170730075734_wm As always I used a prepackaged cake mix for my cake…less hassle. I baked 6 thin sponges, using 6 different food colourings to create the rainbow inside. Unfortunately though, I wasn’t happy with the colours, they weren’t bright enough for me, but the kids ooohed and aaaahed on seeing it cut up, plus the height of the slices was unreal! 😀 I used jam and buttercream as fillings, alternating between layers. Now lads…now the fun began! I wanted a marbley/ colour splodge looking cake so I rolled out all the colours together as in the pic…. Of course I rolled it too bloody thin and it kept ripping as I lifted it. I tried sitting the cake on the icing and sorta folding the icing up around it….nah….no dice! I got thick then and I new in me heart of hearts that this would happen but I continued anyway….I smushed the icing back together and rolled it out again. Of course…just like when you mix paints, it turned brown!! FML!! I stupidly hoped for the best thinking maybe the underside would be ok and lifted it onto the cake. My son’s rainbow cake was now a swamp thing!!

I sent a pic to my Ma for help. Ma told me to stick some trees and little people on it and it would be grand! THIS…this was after she text my sis to say, say nothing but Donna’s 170730081531_wmmessed up Conor’s cake….in our GROUP chat!! At this point I’d no back up icing left and I’d ruined my son’s birthday so I decided I needed a drink.

After buying nearly £30 pounds (yes, yes I know…) worth of cake resurrection supplies in a, what’s turning into a yearly Sunday morning cake panic dash to Morrisons, a patchy rainbow cake was created. In my eyes it was a bit poo but when the Small Man seen it he was delira and that was enough for me. I got the cool little bunting banner frommmm Ebaaaaay!!!170730081437_wm

In keeping with the rainbow theme, I made my usual fruit pots, consisting of chopped up strawberries, grapes and blueberries. Actually…I’ll just do a list of what we had to eat;

I baked some yummy, smartie rainbow cookies using this recipe from Baking with Granny.

I like to make things a little bit fun for the kids, these chocolate and sprinkle rimmed ice cream cones were based on a Pinterest idea. I stuffed them with jellies and popped them in individual cone shaped bags.

I made some rice crispie squares, which turned pink as I only had a bag of pink and white marshmallows, topped with sprinkles.

Marshmallow pops. Super simple, just large marshmallows, dipped in chocolate and sprinkles, stuck on a lollipop stick.

I always cheat with my buns…I buy prebaked ones and decorate how I like. So as it was a rainbow party, it wouldn’t be complete without some rainbows…hence my Rainbow Cloud cupcakes. Blue icing and rainbow laces…et voila!

I also took along a watermelon, popcorn, onion rings, two trays of sandwiches…..peanut butter, jam and cheese. My friend Elaine gave me a huge tub I filled with ice to keep the fruit shoots and fizzies (for the adults) in. Oh I also brought two mahooosive bottles of water to mix with robinsons.

Food done….now the party bags. I wanted everything rainbow themed. Everything here came from Ebay. I ordered rainbow cellophane bags from here and Thank You stickers from here. I stuck stickers on each bag and on each tube of giant bubbles,  also Ebay. I got some fab rainbow pencils from here and crayons for the younger ones from here. The really cute mini paint trays came from here and those cool pull-out-nib pencils here. Of course there had to be sweets, so each bag had a packet of swizzles, a retro rainbow lolly annnnd Rainbow drops!

Now as the Small Man is a Summer bub, I try to make use of the free parks where I can. It can be a pain in the ass getting everything there, which is why everything I make is fairly handy to transport, and with a little help from friends and family, it works. This year we headed to Kennington Park. I donned my best (£3 from the market) Rainbow party dress and Elaine packed up her car with all me bits and drove me round to set up, under a nice big tree.

I took around all my picnic blankets and asked people to bring one if they had any. I also took round The Monkey’s giant foam tiles to act as a more level “table” running down the middle of the blankets. My SiL, Katie and Chanelle helped me lay out all the food and the little plates and cups, all odd colours from the local 99p store. I tied some balloons from the tree branches so our guests could find us.

Now it wouldn’t be a paint party without paint so I took along pretty much all of my paint supplies and a giant cardboard build and paint your own house, that I’d bought in Lidl aaaages ago and was saving for a rainy day. I also had two rolls of paper in my suitcase of tricks. Katie was good enough to help (and be painted) by the kids whilst myself and Chanelle did some impressive first timer face painting, for anybody who fancied it. I got a nice little Snazaroo set off Ebay for about £13 and it was money well spent. I also took along an inflatable goals and a hoop throwing game that we had at home, and of course the kids had their giant bubble tubes to play with too.

I gotta say this has to be my favourite party we’ve had for the Small Man, the weather was great, it was like a mini festival, just missing the music and it really wasn’t that expensive….apart from the cake situation! I work out the party bags, including the bags and stickers to be just under £4 each, based on 20 kids and I got 24 bubble swords for £15. (Prices correct in July ’17)

Now this may seem mean and given that it’s a big class anyway, I don’t believe in inviting kids he doesn’t play with or mention to his parties but as his birthday fell on a school day, rather than hand out party bags after school, I thought it would be nice to bring something in for the whole class to share together at school. So as we’d just finished reading Handa’s surprise, I took the Small Man shopping and let him pick out his own fruits for his surprise to take to school for his birthday….hence Small Man’s Surprise!20170927_011014

I hope you enjoyed this post and got some inspiration from it. I know we’re coming into the winter months now but it maybe possible to adapt some of the “festival vibe” to an indoor set up. Don’t be shy, do comment and share your own party ideas…it’s good to share.

Thanks to everyone who helped me on the day especially the Hubbalump…God love him and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

Love,

Donna x

 

Babe (babe), I’m back again…

I haven’t written anything here in two months! Did ya miss me?? But two months!!! Shocking! Why? Well to start with, writing a blog is harder than you’d imagine.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, there’s always something to say, but sometimes it just doesn’t warrant writing a blog post as it’s only something short….hence I’ll post it on my Instagram or Facebook page. Finding time is sometimes an issue too. A blog post can take you only a few minutes to read, but by the time I’ve written, considered, rewritten, spellchecked and added pictures, two or even three hours have gone by. Those hours equate to a lot of time out of my day really. Also I write mine on my laptop, I’ve no patience for writing it on a tiny phone screen but I know lots of bloggers do and therefore blog on the go. Believe it or not, despite liking to actually write and having the equivalent amount of notebooks as Paperchase’s stockroom, I’m still poo at writing a good idea down for later or even making notes in my phone…..Bye, bye ideas!

My blog as you can see, is not focused on anything in particular, which I guess might inhibit me a bit, as I don’t have a focus. I don’t really need to keep up with the newest beauty or fashion trends. I’m also woeful at following the news so politics and current affairs are also out. That said though, not having a focus means I can write whatever the hell I like….wooooooo!! Roll on the randomness and tat!

I guess like all bloggers, I get a little dissuaded sometimes from lack of support. I enjoy writing anyway, and hope one day to write a book so committing to a blog forces me to Screenshot_20170907-224118write stuff  down rather than say I will. So although I write because I like it, the likes, the shares and comments make all the difference. If I see you’ve shared my post or better still you’ve commented, then I feel like you’ve read it and you’ve enjoyed it (or not) and that inspires me to not give up. The lack of interaction can be discouraging sometimes but I guess if you really want to do something you plough on in hope. The likes themselves are good too, but I always wonder….did you just see I posted, and liked it for the craic or ‘cos you know me…did you actually read it? I’m also still very shy about telling people I write a blog. When my work colleague mentions it to people I always feel a bit of a sack really. I guess I still feel like it’s not interesting or glam or current enough to disclose it for fear I run into somebody who’s been doing it for years or has some supersize megablog that all the world knows about. So yeah…I’m not great at pluggin’ it!

So what do I want to achieve with this blog of mine? Well, I want lots of people, not just family and friends, to read it and give their opinions on what they’ve read or seen. I want people to interact, connect and enjoy what I’ve written and how I’ve written it. I guess I want my blog to be one of the few things I’ve started, stuck with and not given up on. Ideally, just like my “personalphotographerintraininglongsuffering” hubby, I’d like my blog to grow old with me (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw) unless I sign a major book deal and reach Stephen King-like status, in which case I might be too busy to keep up with it all. Dream big people, DREAM BIG!!

So dear readers, if you like what you read, if you’ve laughed at my “skit” pics over on Instagram and Facebook; if I’ve brightened your day, made you smile or inspired you to do something, make something or read something, please tell me and tell others too.

Sharing is caring,

much love

Donna xx