Cinema Kids Club; A Survival Guide

We love a trip to the cinema but it’s an expensive ordeal. The kids club allows us to enjoy our movies at a fraction of the cost. It’s a fantastic service in terms of your purse strings. Enjoying the movie, well that’s a whole other kettle of fish altogether. Continue reading “Cinema Kids Club; A Survival Guide”

Our Mini Staycation with BubbleBum

* We were gifted a BubbleBum. The opinions expressed are honest and come from my own brain and not cause someone told me to say it!

I just about managed to get myself and my budget in order to bring the kids away for a couple of nights. One problem, the logistics of three children to one adult is a nightmare. Enter sister extraordinaire to the rescue and we were all giddy for our little holiday. Continue reading “Our Mini Staycation with BubbleBum”

Day Tripping : Sealife Bray

* Our entry into  Sealife’s LEGO adventure, Ocean Explorers event was complimentary. The opinions expressed are honest and come from my own brain and not cause someone told me to say it!

My youngest is four and it’s only now that I’m getting my head around the idea of taking them off for the day on my own. I was always just a little bit worried that the day would be a disaster without the support of another adult. Continue reading “Day Tripping : Sealife Bray”

Dressing My Daughter Frustrates Me!

Growing up I was mainly around women. I have one sister and no brothers.  My Mam did everything with her two sisters and my cousins were predominantly girls. So when my first child was a boy, I was at a loss. What do I know about boys?

Kyle was the first boy born on my father’s side in over 50 years. 

There was a massive amount of uncertainty about how I was going to raise a member of the opposite sex. Then number two Finn came along, another boy just in case you were in doubt and I had come to adore the idea of having two big strapping young men on either side of me as I grew old disgracefully.

The thing I found disappointing about having two boys was the selection of clothes available. You’d walk into any department store to three or four acres of girl’s clothes and one rack of boys.

Every boy within a 60 mile radius looked like they were members of cult that required a uniform.

Having said all that it was easy to make the boys look good. Nice jeans and a t-shirt and they looked effortlessly cool. Pair of kicks or runners as we call them down my neck of the woods, and they were like mini pop stars.

Then low and behold like a gift from the Gods I got my girl.

The house exploded into a maze of pink and tulle and I loved it. For Macy’s christening she got gifts of clothes almost exclusively. I had to get extra rails put in her wardrobe to allow for the selection of outfits that my 6 month old child possessed.

But wait….. It was all grand when she was teeny because the clothes are usually sold as an ensemble. They are matched up perfectly for you in advance so all thinking has been done on your behalf by some designer in China. As she got progressively older I found dressing her becoming more difficult. Now I’m no style icon, I have pictures from the nineties that would attest to that but I do know how to coordinate an outfit.

However, there were so many elements to this child’s clothes, I was truly overwhelmed.

I’d go to the wardrobe and pick out a dress that had stars on it.

Perfect!

Now I had to find a pair of tights to go with her lovely star dress.

Simple!

Wait…. the tights have polka dots on them. Now again, I’m not claiming to be a stylist but as far as I’m concerned I wouldn’t match up horizontal stars with vertical polka dots unless I was walking in a pride parade. I could get nothing to coordinate. A lovely cream and navy dress with a little pair of mary jane patent shoes

Glorious!

Do you think I could find a pair of cream socks to go with them? Not a hope in hell.

I longed for the simplicity of dressing the boys. I couldn’t handle the pink pig on the jeans and then the neon unicorn on the jumper. I found myself dressing her in plain jeans and tops because it was near impossible as far as I was concerned. Then the tide turned because as children often do she developed an opinion of her own, at about two and half. A couple of years earlier than I would have liked but she loves her clothes. She lives for a twirly dress and often likes to pair this with pink neon wellies.

I wish the people who design young girls clothing would follow the rule of looking in the mirror and taking one thing away before they put their items into production. The beauty of her getting bigger is when I have no other choice but to dress her like a cartoon confectionary company has vomited over some polyester, I simply shrug my shoulders and say…..

She dressed herself bless her!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the Social Welfare System has Treated Me

When I was 13 or 14 everyone I knew had a little part time job. It was either after school or at the weekends but everyone worked. Well back then, it was also a big part of your social life and you’d look forward to going to work everyday. Thankfully that continued well into adulthood. When college didn’t work out for me (that’s a nice way of saying I dropped out) I secured a job with the H.S.E. and worked there for over ten years.

Then life threw me a curve ball as life tends to do.

My relationship broke down and I had to move to Kilkenny with two boys in tow and a baby in my belly. I had no way of commuting to my job in North County Dublin. I had to resign. This was uncharted territory for me. I had never been unemployed before and it all happened so quick. I had no savings. No reserves. No way of providing for my growing family.

I had massive support; my mother took us in and provided for us as best she could. Then the realisation came that I was going to have to apply for social welfare of some sort or another. I had no clue but I wasn’t long about finding out. The forms were so long that they practically asked what underwear I had on when I lost my virginity, but I persevered and filled them in to the best of my ability.  It would take up to 6 weeks to hear if I qualified for my One Parent Family Payment.

In the mean time, my Mam and I were finding it tough to manage trying to plan for a new baby. We found out about the Community Welfare Officer – someone who can award interim payments in special circumstances. I had to go down and ask for help. Now I can’t say this aspect was pleasant.

Well none of it is pleasant, but I found this humiliating. I told the guy who didn’t know me from Adam that I was in trouble and needed help. Overcome by the situation I burst into tears. Not gentle ones. The big ugly face ones that could drown a small child.

He listened, took the evidence that I had brought with me and presented me with a cheque. He would continue to issue me with the cheques weekly until my case was decided. If I was denied I would have to pay the money back.

I left that office relieved. I didn’t want to be a burden on my mother. I couldn’t work for now and I genuinely needed help. I know that there are many complaints about how the systems work in this country. I can only speak from my own experience. The forms are a nightmare. The staff can be hard to approach. It feels like an invasion of your privacy. They look for the same documentation year after year.

However without it, I don’t know where I’d be.

I think the general feeling is that when people are on Social Welfare they get a bit cosy and don’t want to work, and to be honest I can totally see how that would be the case. I could have happily stayed at home for another few years and lived a pleasant life on what the government provides for me. But I am not that type of person. I want more in life. I am currently in full-time education in order to help me get back into the workforce. My course in Beauty Therapy is fully funded by a government scheme, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to get away from the kids  up skill.

It hasn’t been easy and it’s not the way I saw my life going. I never thought I would need Social Welfare. It may not be a popular opinion, but the Social Welfare system worked for me.