Oh did I say beautiful? Sorry, I meant… em… sweeter. Nicer. More pleasant. Just a bit ‘oh’ in the day. I’ve been keeping note of these items since the second born came along – little things that cheer me up in some way. I’m trying to think outside of wine and chocolate and massive cups of tea because they go without saying, obvs. Some of the items are baby related, and in the way you would recommend to a friend, I’ve included them here. Others are for the Nicci thank bank. You get me.
1. Chicco Bottles
When I was preggers my lovely friend Kellie at mylittlebabog.com sent me on these bottles she had been sent previously. She asked if I minded if they were blue and because I was sure I would be having a boy, I said no prob. When we had a girl, I did that thing you do when you have a second child – large shrug of the shoulders, Robert di Niro grimace face and said whaddayagonnadoaboutit. Gender neutral is the future anyway. The bottles have a slow release teat and are shaped like a boob – although it did take us a while to work out teat up or down?? It means that the baby has to work harder to get the milk which replicates breastfeeding. Recently, my husband used another bottle type on the baby and she nearly drowned and couldn’t feed properly. If you are breastfeeding and want to get as close to booby bottles for expressed milk or formula, as possible, I would recommend these.
Can we just take a minute to say… aaaaaaaawwwwwwww. My little Bonnie. Here she is sporting a very fetching pair of CozyPhones. These are headbands with headphones built into them – and are designed for children, with an adult’s range too. They’re deadly! We were sent these for review and at the time I had been searching for something to put on the toddler’s head to help distract her during an event we were going to. Being a toddler, she refused to let them past her ponytail when they arrived, so that hasn’t been too successful on that front. However, we will be holding onto them, because I know they’ll come in handy in the future, when she calms down! I wondered how they’d work before arrived – they have two flat headphones in the band that sit at the back of your hand and transmit the sound. These will work if you find normal headphones uncomfortable and they’re promoted as headphones you can sleep in. You can find out more here.
3. Gel pens
I love stationery. It goes hand in hand with liking books and reading in general I think. Most writers and book lovers I meet are also usually obsessed with journals and pretty notebooks. I envy kids these days with their choice of stationery ranges. Back in the day, we put up with our Cashel copybooks or dreaming of going to France and coming home with notebooks with tiny squares on the pages. Remember those?! In Aldi recently and on a tight budget I just had to add a whole set of gel pens to the trolley. I could not leave them behind. How could I? They were sparkly, neon and metallic! I snuck them into the house, but confessed to the hubby later. Yes, I spent some food budget on pens. BUT THEY’RE SO BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL. (He didn’t think so and would have preferred the box of cornflakes I traded them for).
4. Stationery subscriptions
That brings me on nicely to my 3 month stationery subscription to honeytreepost.com. I cancelled my contact lens subscription to sign up to it. (I might not be able to see the stationery when it arrives, but boy, does it feel good in my hands!) I didn’t know such a thing even existed until my good friend Margaret @BleachHouseLibrary confessed her addiction too. As soon as I get some more funds together, I’ll be signing up again. You get a mix of writing paper, cards, labels, bookmarks, and other pretty papery things. There is a cost to it, but I’ve found each month I’ve used the cards for lots of occasions – and it’s great to always have something nice to hand. I might try some new companies next time just to shake it up a bit.
5. Ali Express
My husband has been using Ali to have all manner of wires and ties and bum bags delivered to our door over the past year or so. At first, I thought it might have been a bit of a scam site – I just didn’t like the look of it, but recently I decided to give it a whirl to buy a few promotional items for the upcoming novel and I have found it fantastic! As they’re being sold wholesale from China they are beyond cheap and their app is pretty cool, where you can save your wished for items and pay with the click of a button – it remembers your details (I love that). It does take some time to arrive in the post, but I’ve had really good experiences recently, with some of the items coming in about two weeks. Def take a look if you’re looking at bulk buying items and also – if you see nice pretty things being advertised on social channels like Facebook or Instagram, do a quick search on Ali. You’re likely to find the item at one tenth of a price.
When Bonnie was only three weeks old she became quite ill with bronchiolitis and was hospitalised. One of the symptoms she suffered was really bad nappy rash – I always find that with little kiddies when they’re ill – their bums tell the tale. We bought bepanthen and the difference it made to her little botty was amazing. It had almost cleared by the next nappy change – I couldn’t believe it. We always have some handy now in case it flares up again – whatever is in it, is magic stuff.
7. Make a house a home
If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I have a hard time being housewife of the year – in that I’m completely shite at it, but I do have notions and aspirations and living in a show home is one of them. It will never happen – but we all have to dream, right? One go-to place to help me achieve this dream on a budget is a Facebook group called Make a House a Home. Join it! It’s full of people like you and me painting everything in their home grey. Or white. Or off grey. Anyway, I rushed out and bought a tin of paint called ‘moonlight grey’ there recently during a sleep deprived psychotic episode and decided to transform our mantlepiece and sitting room door. It took me four months, a lot of hardened brushes (replaced by new ones) and enough white spirits to knock a horse, but today, I am the proud owner of a creative door and one white skirting board. I’m hoping to complete the rest of our shoebox room by 2018. Wish me luck. Can you imagine when we decide to remodel our kitchen?
My mother has a saying about your hair being your crown or something, but it’s something her own mother always said – if your hair is done, you’re more or less dressed / ready to face the world / gorgeous. I struggle with my hair as it’s become quite thin and I was born with some sort of half curly, half straight, fuzzy, split end city combination. (I’ve come to feel bad moaning about my hair, because I often read pieces about people who lose their hair completely and I think, you are lucky you have what you have at all!) Still, for a while there I wasn’t able to afford a trip to the hairdressers and I put in a home dye and it looked dismal. What a great word dismal is – it describes exactly how my hair looked and felt. Lank, rank and kind of a charcoal lacklustre fuzzy mass. Am I painting a picture here? Anyway, I’ve recently returned to work and with that comes this amazing thing called MONEY! As soon as my bank account caught a whiff of it, I was straight on the phone to Hodgins in Stockwell Steet in Drogheda, where I’ve started going recently and I had a great balayage put in. I am still so chuffed with it; I’m so bloody happy to have some sort of fashionable hair. (The pic above is actually pre-balayage but it is the only photo I could find showing off the gruaig. It doesn’t look too bad here. It lies, my hair lies).
9. Mama’s Drawing Room
Isn’t this print beautiful? I have it set up on top of my books in my writing room (bomb exploded laundry room). I was sent it by the lovely Grace at Mama’s Drawing Room and she specialises in art featuring breastfeeding women. I think it’s such an emotive capturing of what can be a special and often very short time in a woman’s life. You can follow this artist on Facebook at Mama’s Drawing Room, and she’ll even do commissioned pieces. Love it.
I’m an adverts addict. I sell all the stuff on it that no longer has a place in my life and I buy tons of other’s people’s stuff, secondhand. I am proud to buy from others, to help recycle and give people back a value on what things are worth. It’s so easy to throw things away. I love to shop on it, because I can refine by budget and area and I find it easy to see clothes that might suit me. I’ve also started buying toys on it for my toddler – particularly if there’s something she’s into right now and I know she’ll love it as a surprise. You can pick perfect sets up for a fiver and and the absolute smugness I feel when I organise a bargain! I prefer it do Done Deal as you see people’s profiles and exchanges – and I find people are almost always genuine and straightforward. If you haven’t tried it, you should download the app. Here’s Bonnie hammering away on a little Vtech laptop I picked up for next to nothing.
What has been cheering you up lately? Anything other than wine? Let us know in the comments below, or if you’re a blogger, you can join in the linky and let us know what products, lotions, potions or good old fashioned bargains are making your life more beautiful right now. I’m tagging the following bloggers to take part: It’s Just a Phase, Mum’s Make-up Bag, Mum I Am, Tatooed Lady with a Baby, Dodees to Daquiris, Another Drop of Ink.
*I’ve indicated where I was sent a product in return for an honest review, all other items were purchased by myself. This is not a sponsored or paid for post.