Slave To Elave

It’s not a generally held viewpoint, but I hate the summer. Don’t get me wrong- I love the fact that we can all dine alfresco, get the paddling pool out and relax but, there’s one main reason as to why I hate summer- eczema (yes, that again!).

Eczema can be worse in the summer or winter. Myself and Middle’s always seems to get worse the second the sun emerges. The thought of putting suncream on his skin when it’s so broken, fills me with utter dread. Also, as it’s on my hands too, I fear for myself. I’ve literally been going through psychological warfare with suncream for a month now. As stupid as that may seem!

Last week, the lovely guys at sent me some of their Elave products for us both to try- suncream, aftersun, moisturisers and bath products. I always go into these things expecting little….. boy, was I wrong! The packaging highlighted everything from the outset- organic, no sulfates, paraben or alcohol. All the things that typically exasperate any skin condition. This was looking promising.

Luckily for us, it was the best day weather-wise fell the following day. I braced myself to tackle Middle with the suncream. He usually starts crying immediately and runs like the clappers when he sees me brandishing any form of cream. I explained that this was a new cream and would help his skin whilst playing in the sun. No tears from him nor myself upon applying- that’s a first! At one stage he even asked if I could put some more on him!

We’ve used all the products for a week now and I have to say I’m majorly impressed. The suncream is amazing. We spent all day outside and no burning whatsoever. Both our skins felt hydrated and not at all irritable. Unfortunately, my sister didn’t fare the same way when at the beach but that gave me the opportunity to try out the Elave Aftersun on her. She too was impressed but I didn’t want to part with the bottle (sorry sis/auntie me me- I hope you slept ok and have forgiven my selfishness).

If you or your little one suffers from any kind of dry or sensitive skin condition, please try these products. I won’t be buying anything else after having used them. I love how they are organic- but, what I really like is the fact they actually work!

To all my fellow weary, homeschooling mums, check out their Sensitive Daily Skin Defence cream also. I’ve been using it after taking my make up off each night and my face is as smooth as Baby’s backside! Who needs botox?

You can buy the products at, delivered right to your doorstep.  At the minute they have a fab offer on their two Sun Safe Essentials bundles at £35.99, a saving of over £5.50.  Both bundles contain Botanical Aftersun 250ml and Hand Sanitiser 100ml, with the adult bundle also containing an SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen and the baby/junior bundle also containing a Paediatric SPF50+ 200ml sunscreen.

Follow Elave Skincare on Instagram @gardinerfamilyapothecary; on Facebook at; and on twitter at GF_Apothecary, so you can keep updated on all their latest products and money-saving offers.

A miracle in tube form!

This week I have mainly been…. party planning and getting exasperated by middle

Eldest is going to be five years old on Tuesday. I cannot believe it! Where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday that he was a baby and I was pacing up and down the hall thinking “oh my god, what have I done!”. Obviously, I wouldn’t change a thing. I just wasn’t expecting everyone to be correct about the whole lack of sleep thing. I actually thought they were all exaggerating- duh!

“What do you want to do for your birthday?” I asked him last week. I will admit to being thoroughly disorganised this year what with having three of them now and potty training one. “I would like a Super Mario party in the house” he replied. Oh bugger! There is nothing quite worse than a kid’s party let alone a kid’s party in your house. The tidying up of middle’s second birthday party is still ingrained on my memory as it was only in May. “Um, ok then” I said, “I guess we did that for Owen so, if that’s what you want to do, we will do it”. I set about ordering a few Mario related paraphernalia off Amazon in a panic. Party bags, a load of crap to put inside them, banners and paper plates etc. When the party bag pruck arrived, I decided to finally be organised and set about sorting them. Could I find said party bags that had arrived a few days prior? No, I could not. “You opened them on the top of the stairs” I said to eldest, “so where are they?”. “I don’t know!” he replied. “What do you mean you don’t know? I specifically said to you not to open them as they were for your friends!” I wailed. Having searched the whole house and, being unable to locate them, I gave up. What arrived the next day? The fu#king party bags! I mean, what in the name is going on in my head? I can vividly see myself opening them and eldest doing a runner with them. I am seriously losing the plot and, any wonder! This is almost as bad as that time I put my mobile in the fridge and spent two days trying to find it.

Next I began to think about food. Kid’s are easily pleased at parties. Cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, pizza- the usual. But, what about the adults? I quickly decided upon a chicken curry. Bung it in the slow cooker in the morning, cook some rice- job’s a good un! “That doesn’t really show a lot of effort” hubby moaned. “It’s a kid’s party, what will people be expecting? Some kind of A La Carte menu? They should just be happy they aren’t getting a bowl of super noodles” I responded. “I will make a curry from scratch then” he countered. “That’s grand, just don’t be complaining to me when it’s Sunday morning, we are trying to get three kid’s bathed and looking presentable, cleaning and, you are trying to cook with madness ensuing all around” I stated. It remain’s to be seen how Sunday will go, but, I imagine all the above will occur and, as always, I will be right. Men never listen and we will no doubt be like that Father Ted couple come guest’s arriving. “You fecking arsehole!” “Awk hello Mary how are you?”.

Middle is also becoming less of a baby by the minute and, this week, managed to go to nursery in pants and have zero accidents. This did not, however, continue when home. Instead he decided to wet himself at every opportunity. Didn’t I say he likes to surprise me? Two steps forward, five steps back. I will have to ask nursery what, if anything, they are doing different there that is ensuring no accidents. I cannot believe I have to do all this again with baby in a few years time. I really thought middle would be the last one I would have to potty train. FML. I am being quite harsh obviously as he has done so well considering he is so young.

In other news baby is back to normal and sleeping through. This deserves a party in itself! I also got my hair done again last night and, have decided, that this is going to be the norm from now on. I had three cup’s of tea whilst getting my colour on and, I think the girl was ready to throttle me. She probably thought ‘I’m only asking out of courtesy, you don’t have to keep accepting’. But, I had been let out for the evening so, why not! Upon getting my hair washed, I realised that this had been a very bad idea indeed. What with the bladder issues after having three kids. The hairdresser was spending forever doing a relaxing indian head massage with the conditioner and all I could think of was “I am about to wet myself right here and right now”. After she had finished, I ran like Forrest Gump to the bathroom and checked my phone whilst there. This is what confronted me:

I had been away one hour by that point! This is why I never leave them. Keep you all posted on the fu#kery that is the party on Sunday!

This week I have mainly been…. worrying about eldest

When I went to my interview last week, I had to leave early in the morning. My mum gallantly looked after the boy’s whilst I did so. There was only one thing I didn’t do before I left- I didn’t dress eldest. There was a very valid reason for this. I didn’t dress eldest because it is the most stressful part of my morning routine. I couldn’t face it and, also, figured maybe my mum should finally see why I am so stressed just getting out the door each day. He has an issue with every item of clothing! His socks don’t feel right, his shorts are too tight, change to jeans and they are too loose, his top doesn’t feel right and finally, his shoes aren’t right either! Some days I will be on my third clothes change with him and ready to lose my shit. I dress middle and baby first, daily, because I know how long eldest will take me. I can tell from watching middle that something is not right here. I have felt so for a long time. My husband, however, thinks I am overreacting. I’m not, obviously (us women are always right).

What will he do when he has to independently dress for PE lessons at school? I’m not going to be in attendance to change his kit multiple times! What will the other children think when he has a monumental breakdown that his socks are ‘hurting him?’ I love him so much and, I am worried about him. He is generally overly sensitive about everything and, I find this mostly endearing. Just not when I have to dress him and be somewhere for a specific time! Arrgghh!

Personally, I think there are sensory issues going on with him. I have ‘google panicked’ it and came to that conclusion. So now I have to figure out how best I can help him going forward and, try to be more supportive (and less ready to kill him). I plan to raise this with his new teacher by way of pre-empting any breakdown that may occur. I also plan on discussing it with the health visitor prior so she can either set my mind at ease or think I’m a neurotic mess! I can’t just do nothing for fear I am overreacting. To do so is a disservice to eldest. He has always been the most loving, intelligent little boy. Before middle arrived, we were literally joined at the hip. I wonder what is going through his wee head right now and why even clothing seems so daunting to him? I hope anyone who knows’s us reads this and realises why I can be so stressed with him from the get-go. I literally endure hours of stress just getting him dressed each day. There is always a reason for losing your shit daily and, never forget that. Have kids they said, it will be fun they said- yeah, it’s a right barrel of laughs! Someone shoot that messenger (with a pretend gun obviously, I’m not a Trump supporter).

This week I have mainly been….attempting to take some ‘me time’.

I’m not going to lie, I have been feeling pretty crap this last while. Stressed, exhausted, broke and very much pissed off with life. I decided this week that, enough was enough. I needed to start looking after myself, in order to best look after the others in my life. This called for one thing and one thing only- me time! Yes, us mum’s aren’t familiar with those two words but, these are the two magical words that will always bring you back to you. ‘Me time’ can mean anything, depending on who you are. Maybe a trip to the cinema with your friends, a sneaky wine and takeaway night instead or going shopping alone for once. Alone, what’s that?

For me, I decided my ‘me time’ should be spent at the hairdressers. An establishment I haven’t frequented in two years. Isn’t that shocking? I guess I just didn’t have the time and, after purchasing some hairdressing scissors off Amazon a year ago, figured I was the next Nicky Clarke anyways. But I got thinking this week how I used to go every month B.C. (before children) and how much I had loved it. As hubby was paying,  I booked myself an appointment at the most expensive salon around. He doesn’t know this obviously (well, he does now- shit!)

Come Tuesday 26th June at 2pm, I was going to feel like a new woman. Come Monday 25th June at 3pm however, eldest was in tears that his throat and tongue were “so sore”. Figuring he probably had my throat infection of last week, I wasn’t even going to check his tongue. Then thought, I probably should,  what with being responsible for him and all. When I did, it resembled a rather large strawberry- lumpy, swollen and weird. As all us mums do, I ‘Google panicked’. Said Google panic led me to Scarlet Fever. He had all the symptoms- fml! I called the out of hours number as our doctor’s surgery was closed. They advised that I take him to our nearest hospital.  So I did and, he did indeed have, Scarlet Fever- great! He was prescribed the most disgusting medicine ever, that bright, orange penicillin. Utter disaster trying to get it into him once he realised the extreme level of disgustingness. So much so that he declared that night “mummy when I am a big boy, I don’t want to design games anymore. What I will do is, design a super nice medicine for other boys that have this. That one is just so yucky!”. Richard Branson eat your heart out.

As eldest was now highly contagious, I was left in a bit of a conundrum. Who would mind him? My mum wasn’t available so, I was left pleading with my stepfather to do it (who much prefers to babysit with the assistance of a woman). He relented, finally. Middle was at nursery so, that just left baby. Stepfather was having convulsions at the mere thought of being in charge of two of them alone. So much for my ‘me time’ I thought. Baby will have to come with. Is that allowed? I mean, I don’t think I have ever witnessed someone at the hairdressers with a baby in tow. Then again, I haven’t been in two years so maybe it’s deemed acceptable these days? Then the fear began to sink in.  What happens if he starts having a crying fit whilst they are washing my hair? What do I do? What if they are drying it and I have to feed him? Arrgghh, this is not going to work at all. Just as I was about to cancel my much longed for ‘me time’, my sister messaged to say she would take baby. This was quite the offer, considering her little girl was ill. So off I went to hairdressers. I literally didn’t know myself just getting me in and out of the car. Usually, it’s a full mission getting those three in and out, numerous times. This is the life! I really should have appreciated that more all those years when I could do that, I thought to myself. A few hours later and, a few inches lighter on top, it was back to mummy/nurse duty. Even just getting those few hours alone, doing something for me, had served to create a more calm and serene me. It was worth every bit of stress even getting to that point.

I am all for the current ‘me too’ movement but, maybe us mum’s need to start a ‘me time’ movement also? Maybe it’s time we allowed ourselves to be selfish once in a while. Maybe, just maybe, we even greatly deserve it for what we do on a daily basis. Anyone with me?

When you get a weekend away from your kids…..

Omg- freedom! Actually in a bar. Hope kids still alive! **Drinks more wine, what kids?!**

Last month I was lucky enough to persuade (I mean, force and bribe) some family members into looking after my kids, night about, so myself and hubby could get away for the weekend. We had rather enthusiastically booked a Groupon deal a few months prior and it was now about to expire. I took notes at the time as the whole madness surrounding it made me laugh. To the point I actually wonder if it’s even worth all the hassle. I shall let you be the judge:

  1. Before we even went anywhere we had to secure some naive persons to give up their own free time to babysit three of our spawn. This was no hard sell, especially when you are in possession of a mad toddler and a newborn! Hubby’s sister rather gallantly volunteered to mind ALL three on one of the nights. “She must be mad!” I proclaimed, mainly because I myself do this everyday of the week. Thinking if anything it will teach her a lesson, we accepted.
  2. Next up was arranging night two. As my family are around my kids more (due to living down the road) this was an even harder sell. I couldn’t lie to them that they were good as gold and didn’t batter the life out of each other come six o’clock at night. The only way round this was to offer to split them up into more manageable, bite-sized portions. I managed to fob eldest off to the sister, leaving only  middle and baby to stay with my mum. Neither seemed very keen by the prospect but begrudgingly accepted as they’ve watched me slowly losing my shit over the last few months. Yeah, childcare secured!
  3. Call to confirm Groupon booking only to be informed that they now have a wedding on and we can only stay one night as opposed to two. Arrrgggh! Contemplate only doing one night. Quite quickly think f@ck it, we’ve sorted two nights and no one will ever offer again after this. Arrange to stay in a family members apartment the next night and say nothing.
  4. Organise kids clothing for three days and two nights. PJ’s x2 for each (why do us mums do this? Like I’m away two nights and only bringing one pair) clothes, vests, pants and socks. Will they need coats and jackets?
  5. Slowly lose will to live as middle runs round emptying everything I’ve just packed- multiple times!
  6. Argggh- toothbrushes and toothpaste, forgot those!
  7. Shit, medicine too, what if they get sick and have a temparature? This would mainly be awful as I don’t want called back (sshhh).
  8. Pack own stuff which consists of the only two t shirt’s I own. Some daytime jeans and dressy ones (as in black solely) for nighttime. Oh must pack some super sexy and seductive underwear! Crap! Can only locate some french knickers that are probably two years old (do people still wear these?) and a bra that sort of matches and probably dates to circa 2014.  Hello hubby! Grrr (sexy growl !)
  9. Day has arrived- hooray! But first have to take baby to doctors for his injections  (don’t tell sister in law this for fear she won’t mind them- sorry E!).
  10. Get home rather excitedly! Oh what if sister in law gets stuck and doesn’t know what to do? Lifts out pen and paper and frantically writes list of instructions that somehow ends up two pages long and, (in the words of Ross from Friends), “front and back!”. Hubby comes home, takes one look at my scrawlings, rolls his eyes and begins writing chapter numbers on each page. This makes me look even more mental to sister in law.
  11. Oh my god! The dog! Have stupidly forgotten to get her minded and she is the hardest sell of all what with the barking and flatulence problem. Cue frantically begging mum to revert to keeping them at mine so she can be both child minder and dog sitter. Considers how I am probably out of the will now after pulling that move. Decide will all be spent on her care home payments anyways so all good.
  12. After explaining how prep machine works and who will eat what and who will sleep when, off we go. Woo hoo, this is the life!
  13. Get to hotel and immediately head to the bar. After one glass of wine think how lovely this is not having to respond to “mummy!” every two seconds or change nappies. Get another glass of wine. End up drinking own weight in wine.
  14. Go a nap after dinner only to wake up the next morning. Grrrrr! One whole night wasted due to taking new found freedom too far.
  15. Get to second accomodation the next day and stupidly repeat above process that night again.
  16. Head home to look after three kids with the most raging and horrendous hangover that any person has ever had. Think how I am just not responsible enough to be let away from my kids.

Netflix Picks for Kids and Parents- May 2018

Once again myself and eldest (Aden) have sat together and compiled this. It’s like a new tradition now and he loves contributing (speaking freely without restriction whilst I type manically to keep up). Here’s what the kids have been watching endlessly and what myself and Hubby have just about managed to watch in light of this:

The Kids  (dictated by eldest Aden, typed by me)

Spy Kids: Mission Critical- One season 

There has hardly been anything new on Netflix lately for kids. That’s sooooo unfair, can you phone them and ask them why? There was that Spy Kids thing I watched. It was quite okay actually and was funny sometimes. It’s about a brother and sister and they are like, some kind of spy people who do spy type things. The boy is called Juni and he has orange hair and his sister is called Carmen and she has dark hair. They work as a team with other spy kids to feet (I think he means defeat?) the bad guys. Sometimes the bad guys pretend to be good and it’s only at the end that they know they aren’t so have to fight them fastly (quickly- he needs to start school soon, my correcting is doing nothing). The big, massive baddie is called Golden Brain and he is just super mean and cray cray (no more Jay Z and Kanye for him). I like how this looked like the Pixar films we have been watching and i liked most the fighting because that is cool. Can you be a spy person when you’re big or is that just pretend? Maybe I will do that then so I can fight baddies all day then fight Owen at nighttime (middle). 3/5

The Peanuts Movie 2015- 1hr 28 mins 

This film was sooooooooooooo boring. I changed it over to Horrid Henry like one day into it (one day?). I don’t know why you even put that on as you took me to the cinema to see it years ago and we had to go as it was so bad! I wanted to see the Star Bar’s film with daddy but you made me go see that stupid film instead (whoops, oh yeah- remember now). I never want to see that film ever again, I would rather eat a spider (ok then! I sincerely hope nothing serious ever happens in his life if this is how dramatic he is). 0/5

The Angry Birds Movie 2016- 1hr 37 mins 

This is a film about that game that I am the best in the world at playing (modesty son). All the characters from the game are in it- the red bird, yellow and black one. Oh, and the green pig things! The birds can’t fly which is like the game too as you have to put them in a big slingshot and fling them at wooden things. They live happily in their bird home place- where do we live mummy? Oh Norn Ireland, I never knew that (I tell him that all the time actually). Well, they live in their own Norn Island (Ireland, son) and then the pigs come to live there and this makes them very mad and really sad. The pigs put big bombs all round their houses and the birds have to ask some massive bird (eagle) to help them as he can fly. I liked how the red bird was really cross all the time. This made me laugh. I quite liked how colourful it was too and that it was like the game but more real life. Are we finished this now? I’m so bored! Maybe I can have your phone to play Angry Birds again? (oh no, what have I started reminding him of this- face palm).  5/5

The Rents : 

The Rachel Divide – Documentary (1 hr 44 mins)

I put this on randomly as I am so fed up with there being nothing to watch on normal TV, bar on a Friday- why is this? I will be honest, I thought it would be woeful but, it proved otherwise. Everyone has heard of Rachel Dolezal but, if you haven’t, she is a woman who is white but identifies and classes herself as a black woman. The whole saga is all the more perplexing as she shirked from telling anyone she was white and held a senior position in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People). In this capacity she campaigned and gained the trust and confidence of many people. You begin watching this thinking it is the most bonkers thing you will ever view but, it succeeds in making you have an understanding as to why she went down this particular route. You begin to feel sorry for her whilst still questioning her honestly. The plight her children face in light of all her decisions will break your heart also. Worth a watch if only to be left scratching your head contemplating whether you accept the reasoning or not. 4/5

27: Gone Too Soon- Documentary (1 hr 10 mins) 

I appear to be in a depressive documentary phase this month! Note to self to watch some less serious shit for next post! But it is a fact that I will watch anything to do with music or artists who are/were truly artists. Those who can perfectly express pain because they can feel it deeper than others. This documentary deals with those artists who sadly became part of the so called ’27 club’. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin  to name but a few. It explores their early lives before stardom, their lives after fame hit and the demons they tried and failed to battle whilst in the public spotlight. I found this so interesting and learnt about some artists that I hadn’t encountered before. Great snippets of some of the best performing live too and interviews with some interesting people. Hubby even put down his laptop to watch it, so it must have been good! 5/5


Soft play areas: A survival guide

 Who doesn’t love a soft play area? Me, that’s who! They are literally the most horrendous places on earth. I would much rather spend an hour listening to someone scrape their fingernails down a blackboard than go to one. But alas, sometimes you need burn them out mentally and physically and they are the only option. Here are my tips for survival when you have no other choice but to drag your spawn to one:

1. Never ever go to one hungover. It might seem like the better option to lying on the sofa, trying to die, whilst the kids throw things at you. But trust me, you will live to regret it the second you enter. These places have a decibel of their own range and a fragile brain cannot and will not cope.

2. Other people’s children are little shits and you only become fully aware of this once you have frequented a soft play area. Biters, pushers and thieves are swarming everywhere. Beware of the innocent looking ones- these are usually the worst culprits!

3. Sharing is caring, that is unless your child has something and some little cretin tries to pry it off them. You will find yourself whispering to the would be thief “oh but he/she had it first, you find something else to play with” until you spy their owner out of the corner of your eye and immediately direct to your child  “oh just give the other kid it, you’ve had long enough!”. There are unspoken rules when dealing with other parents, adjust your usual parenting technique to reflect a more serene, unbiased person.

4. Be prepared to do battle with fellow parents still, in spite of the above. Most go solely to drink their tea, read their phones and relinquish any parental responsibilities. With this being the case, they tend to not observe their little darling knocking the crap clean out of your beloved child. Be aware that , in the end, you will get into a fight with them and express language you never thought you’d utter in a venue filled with children.

5. Your child will insist on bringing one of their own toys then proceed to lose said toy in the ball pit, which will of course be huge! This will cause a monumental meltdown from child and result in you on all fours, flinging balls everywhere, trying to locate the item. You will not look good when this occurs but you will resemble some kind of flustered maniac.

6. Condition yourself for the onslaught of climbing up and avoiding swinging things by paying your local gym a visit at least once a week. This will ensure that your body is at optimum capacity to tackle what seems like an assault course and to run wildly after your toddler. The food choices on offer will also ensure that the gym is essential as you will eat your weight in buns and chocolate to keep your energy levels up.

7. The only other thing worse than having to go a soft play area is having to go to a birthday party in one. Kids party + soft play + small talk with parents you don’t know = total hell on earth. There’s no alcohol either which is pretty dismal.

8. “You would save so much more money here if you just took out a membership”. A membership to hell on earth? No thanks, I would save money taking out shares in Echo Falls, not here!  Never ever agree to a membership offer. You will feel like you have to go everyday to get your monies worth and nobody’s got the time nor the energy for that.

9. Thank me later for this advice!