totesbig_dareprojectWhen you have kids, it’s #totesbig or go home. Seriously, you’ll head back to the house because you forgot something essential. Here’s a view inside one of my go-to bags, a super huge Cath Kidston messenger bag (similar version here) that easily fits all the stuff I need for a quick trip out of the house. I gave up my nappy bag a long time ago and switch between bags depending on what we’re up to–this is my short trip everyday bag and I usually take a back pack if we’re bring along snacks and water bottles. I try to never leave without a colouring book and pencil case full of crayons in case we need to sit still for a while. For me, I always bring lip gloss, sun glasses, tissues, a little purse with our Luas cards, a pen and paper, and business cards (you never know when you might need them). And of course my keys after I learned a hard lesson. My Ruby & Ginger mini change bag is still an essential part of our kit since Alex is still in nappies. As the boys are getting bigger and more adventurous on the playground, fun band-aids (ok fine, plasters) are probably something I need to keep with me all the time. My DSLR and a spare lens fit perfectly in the bag with a protective insert. And of course, there’s bunny, Nate’s best friend and companion.

Cath Kidston are running a competition until the end of September to win their newest tote. All you have to do to enter is share what’s in your bag and whether you like it #totesbig or #totessmall (I know, I know). So are you going to show off what you got?

Me & You (August)


I just got off the phone with Chris and I’m not sure how I get through my days without our midday check-in. He’s always there to talk me off the ledge and make me smile or to share with me the latest gossip from his working world. And lets be honest, it’s nice to talk to someone in my adult voice during the day. Chris is incredibly supportive of all my little ideas and helps to alleviate all of my big worries. We’ve been parents for four years, married folk for almost eight years, and friends for over a decade. We’ve lived in two countries and eight homes in the past ten years. That’s a lot of time and a lot of changes, but not much has changed between us since the first day we met. There’s still no one I’d rather hang out with and no one I’d rather share everything with, good and bad. Thanks Chris, for always being sturdy and strong and for making sure that I have a hot chocolate and a good laugh when I’m feeling most homesick and stressed. If I’d had the foresight, I would have made you include that in your vows.

This photo is from our recent camping trip in West Cork. The kids we’re interested in joining our family photo shoot, but it really didn’t matter. We can be fun without out them! (And seriously, who wants to pose for pictures when there are baby ducks and a super slide to play with!)


2014 Project (week 33)


I don’t think I have to say to much about what makes this picture so wonderful. It’s a sweet moment between my little guys at Nate’s birthday party. My wish for them is to always be so close and loving, even when they are too old for hugs (or better yet to never be too old for hugs!).

living arrows

The Orange Juice Party

For Nate’s 4th birthday we had an orange juice party. No, that’s not code for a boozed up bash (as Chris told me it meant after everything was planned) This was a party with orange juice, and lots of it! It was all Nate’s idea. I was originally planning an air plane themed party to get the kids excited about our trip to Texas next month, but Nate had a vision and apparently is really into orange juice. So without a script to go by (which is much more my style to be honest), we went orange overboard. Orange you glad we did?

natebirthday_food1We had a chocolate orange cake, vanilla cupcakes with candied oranges, rainbow sprinkled Rice Krispie treats, Jaffa Cakes, chocolate orange Kit-Kats, orange ice cream, low sugar marmalade muffins,  mandarin orange salad, orange and sesame chicken tenders, hummus with orange carrots and bell peppers, mini sandwiches with orange cheese, and about seven different kinds of orange juice (orange-lime, orange-mango, ruby breakfast, I’m starting to feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump). A week later, we’re still working through the orange juice! I’m not really a fan of chocolate orange, which is a pretty great method for not binging on cake. I’ll be honest, the baking for the party was nearly a disaster. My baking paper melted in the cake pan, ruining my first cake and Nate had a complete melt down about the orange food colouring I used in some of the cupcakes. Baking around tantrums (and tantrum related toilet accidents) is a challenge that really should feature in more TV cooking competitions.


I was super excited about out how the goodie bags came together. Everything except for the actual bag came from our local shopping centre (the bags are from Marks & Spencer). I drew the cute orange man and orange segments for his invite and ordered a bunch of stickers from Moo. They looked so fantastic and fit perfectly on mini jars of marmalade, so I decided to stick them all over everything. I found the ice lolly moulds for €1 at the Euro Value store and added a recipe for creamy orange ice lollies. I couldn’t resist making the orange gift boxes featured in MiniEco’s book (it’s actually blown up a bit bigger than the template download) and filled them with Maoam candy and stickers. And of course, I had to throw in an orange!

natebirthday_partyfavoursAnd of course, no birthday is complete without a cake. Nate knows the drill by now and was so excited to finally be able to blow out the candles by himself! His lovely auntie got him the Gruffalo costume that he immediately put on and hasn’t really taken off all week. It’s so adorable seeing him run around like a furry little monster. My favourite food the Gruffalo said Give me all the cake and not any bread!


This was the first birthday party that we’ve had a small guest list for. In the past, we invited everyone we knew because we really love sharing birthday joy (and cake) with as many people as possible. But with more family and close friends having little babies and as most of Nate’s friends acquired a brother or sister it just seemed like too many children for everyone to enjoy the party. It was really hard for me to not invite people, but we kept it to family and a couple of close friends around Nate’s age. I think it worked well because all the children played together nicely and the little babies got to enjoy the fun without risk of being trampled by the big kids. I also felt like I got to chat with everyone at the party for the first time ever. Most birthday parties end and I realise I missed half the fun. Has anyone else felt that way? The most important thing is that the birthday boy enjoyed it and is still basking in the orange coloured glow of being the centre of the universe for one day. He’s also taken to being a little party planner and is already working on an apple juice party for his dad’s birthday next month. His creativity know no bounds!

Happy 4th Birthday Nate!


I cannot believe my little Nate is actually 4 years old. That’s like officially old. That’s a child! Not a baby or a little toddler. He has his own Luas card now and will be (hard swallow) starting pre-school in a few weeks. That means for 3 hours a day he’ll be without me and I’ll be without his sweet, warm hugs (and also without his insane shape-shifting tantrums, so maybe it’s not completely terrible). There’s so much change ahead and so much change behind us. You notice all the little milestones during the first year, mostly because you are in touch with health care workers all the time and have to give progress reports (is he holding up his head yet? using a spoon? babbling? laughing? growing?) As Nate has gotten older, I’ve stopped noticing the little things but my has he grown this year. He has blossomed in to a sweet, caring, confident little boy. He loves stories and tells some pretty fantastic tales, usually about dinosaurs or giants and ‘quite some danger’. He has learned to give a proper hug, holding on tight and even cradling my head or rubbing my back when he really wants to be affectionate. He’s strong willed and stubborn (a little too much like his mom for our own good) and not afraid to vocalise his opinions on everything. He and Alex are amazing little companions and he’s actually good company during the day when he’s not overtired and grumpy. In the past few months he has let go of a lot of fear and shocked us with his bravery. He loves to run and is always up for a race. He actually runs at about a jogging pace for me and I imagine he’ll be joining Chris on runs in no time. Nate is a great little guy, and I can’t wait to see what new traits (and curve balls) this next year throws our way.

I was listening to the radio while making cakes for Nate’s birthday and De la Soul’s Three is the Magic number came on. I got a bit teary because this was the exact song playing at the exact moment that Nate took his first breath of life and we became a family of three, magic! (I had a pretty funny, not at all typical and relaxing birthing playlist – also included was Pixie’s Here Comes Your Man and the Kinks’ Stop Your Sobbing, you get the theme here) His birth was truly extraordinary and changed Chris and I into completely different people (parents!) He has taught me so much about love and patience and silliness. Happy 4th birthday my darling little man!

You can catch up on how we got here with his birth story, 1st birthday, and 3rd birthday (I was on a blog break for his 2nd birthday but I can assure you it was great and we spoiled him rotten).