Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coffee addicts unite *sponsored*

'Tea or coffee?' my friend innocently asked when I brought the boys around for a play date.

'Oh I'd love a coffee' I replied, chomping at the bit. It was 11am and I still hadn't had my morning fix.

'I forgot you're a coffee snob. I only have this' she said holding up *gasp* a jar.

'That's, erm, fine' I managed to squeek out, hiding my horror.

I'm a firm believer in the joy of proper coffee you see. So, yes, a coffee snob.

I'm also a firm believer in start as you mean to go on. These are my kids enjoying a quick espresso before I send them off to my mothers house:

(That's a joke by the way. My mother would never allow them in her house).

At home my Nespresso machine takes pride of place on my kitchen counter. Other gadgets have come and gone but my faithful caffeine enabler stands strong.

The only problem is when I run out of the pods and end up spending €2.50 on a daily takeaway coffee to keep the shakes at bay until the new order arrives. 

Which is the stage I'm at right now, which is why I was delighted to find out about another coffee company - Caffe Cagliari - who make Nespresso compatible capsules. They may be new to the coffee pod game but their coffee has actually been around for over 100 years. They are an Italian family company steeped in over 100 years of Italian history. Alessandra Cagliari, the great great grand daughter of the founder handles the marketing and packaging today. 

Then and Now

These guys are serious about their coffee. The qualitative and sensory standards of their Espresso have been certified by the Italian Espresso National Institute (I.N.E.I.), which protects and promotes Italian Espresso. Bet you never even knew such a thing existed (I certainly didn't). 

Now all that coffee talk has made me thirsty, I'm off to top up the caffeine levels. Want one?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All words are my own. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Listography: Top 5 Photos 2013

I've been trying to get my photos in order. Again. My photos are a mix of iphone photos, Instagram photos, good photos, bad photos, arty photos, 'proper camera' photos and photos I had no idea were being taken - see 5 year old's first selfie below:

Most of these pictures are dumped in a 'photos' folder on the laptop, unbacked up and waiting to be compiled into some sort of system. *le sigh*

Anyway, I have previously done Top 5 photos of 2011 and 2012, but I somehow missed 2013, so in an effort of organisation and as a sort of pathetic back up procedure (at least I'll save five huh?) here is the Top 5 Photos of 2013 Listography.

1. I love everything about this photo taken in Grandma's garden - not least the fact that I sat on that very rug in that very spot at that very age. The very essence of childhood encapsulated.

2. Kaya again. This was almost the first photo I took with my brand new camera which was bought for me by my family as a 40th birthday gift with only a little prodding. (Well ok then I wrote the details of the exact one that I wanted on a piece of paper and handed it to my sister two weeks before my birthday. Just in case like..)

3. Our stint in Spain brought about just too many gorgeous pictures to choose from. I love this one not just for capturing the caught-in-mid-air jump but also for the fact that just a couple of weeks before this guy couldn't even swim. Thank you Spain.

4. No words needed.

 5. Discreetly spying on the neighbours...

6. The Seekers. So many gorgeous beaches, so much sunshine, bare feet on hot rocks.

Oops that was 6 wasn't i?. Ah what the hell - it's my linky.

Now over to you. Time to go back through your perfectly organised folders of photos and pick out your favourites from last year. Write up your own post and then come back here and linky it up. Now that's a nice little half-term project for you isn't it? Enjoy!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

On a pin and a prayer

I was rudely awakened at 6am this morning by a whinging 5 year old wanting his confiscated DS.

On and on and on it went. Normally I would just give in but he had been such a little sh*t the day before that my resolve was holding firm.

'Go downstairs and watch Netflix' I muttered from under the duvet.

*WAIL* 'But I want the DS! Why can't I have the DS?! You're a mean mummy'

'I'll be a lot meaner if you don't stop whinging and go downstairs now'

To my disbelief he actually went. Whinging and thumping all the way down.

Over the next half hour I could hear extended periods of wailing, followed by silence, followed by even louder wailing.

I wouldn't recommend it as an alarm call.

A little while later he arrived exasperated by my bedside.

'Urgh! Netflix needs a pin number and you're not coming, so I had to do lots of boring PRAYING instead!'

*Flops down in holy exhaustion*

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I want it all

Stuff. I want all of the stuff. Clothes, shoes, furniture, bedding, face creams, make up. I want it all.

Since moving abroad and back last year my ownership of stuff has dwindled to worrying levels. On the plus side the kids have no remaining toys left so the damage limitation on their playtime has taken a swift rise. On the minus side my wardrobe is worrying bare and I only have four dinner plates.

Unfortunately for me there is a little known but direct correlation between the amount of funds you have available and the amount of things you see that you 'need' to buy. I like to call it 'Paupers Law'. Ever gone shopping on payday only to come home with nothing at all? What about when you are penniless but accompany your friend on a tour of the highstreet and find that every single shop has read your mind and is crammed full of all your favourite clothes? Yep, that'll be Paupers Law at play.

To add insult to the injury of my wounded needs I have spent much of the last few months putting together galleries of 'stuff' for various websites. This is akin to self-flagellation with a empty handbag that you don't even own. Not to be recommended.

Anyway, I can't leave you without passing on my latest collection of wants. And you know what they say - a want shared is a want halved, or something like that.

Or you never know - perhaps I'll win the lottery. *

In life simple is best

*Must start doing the lottery

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Scooters for schools, plus WIN! brand new Micro Scooter Balance Bikes

Anyone who knows me know how much I love Micro Scooters. We've been fans for years and it's not only their scooters that float my boat, I just love how the company operates and how lovely the people behind it are. 

Last year they launched an iniative to revamp your old scooters so that they could pass them on to less fortunate children to love all over again, and over the past 4 years they have supported in excess of 250 schools, and donated over £10,000 to schools’ fundraising activities across England, Scotland and Wales.

This year they are going a step further and launching Scooters for Schools which basically allows parents and teachers to earn money or scooters for their school.

For lots more information on it click here

And that's not all. If you thought Micro Scooters couldn't get any better - just look at their fabulous new product! I adore these new balance bikes but am a bit cross that Micro Scooters brought them out just as my youngest is too big for them...

To see more on these awesome bikes just pop over to Micro Scooters. 

PLUS - if you fancy winning one of these new balance bikes just pop over to Parent.ie on Facebook for our fabulous new competition!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Girl Talk #GirlsAreAmazing

Today sees the 500th edition of Girl Talk magazine being released and with it a fabulous pre-teen feminist campaign #GirlsAreAmazing, which aims to broaden girls aspirations and ambitions beyond just pop stardom, and promote positive female role models. What's not to like about that? 

The campaign is in direct response to some unsettling, if not surprising, results in a recent readership survey. 

In a special anniversary poll, Katy Perry was voted ‘most admired celebrity’ by readers, followed by fellow popstrels Taylor Swift in second place and Jessie J in third position.  With the exception of children’s writer, Jacqueline Wilson, the Top 10 most admired celebrities were all singers or actors. 

The survey also revealed that an overwhelming 80% of young girls wanted to be referred to as “pretty”, “kind” and “funny”, with only 20% choosing “clever”, “strong” or “brave” as important attributes.

I hate to admit it but my nine year old fits this bill too. I do wonder how much of it is our fault. Since the age of two when she curled herself shyly round her Daddy's leg she was told by everyone how pretty she was. Now at nine years old it is an almost expected response from visiting older friends and relations - 'look how pretty you are!', 'oh aren't you gorgeous!', 'don't you look lovely in your new dress'.... Never - 'What book are you reading at the moment?', 'what's your favourite subject at school?', 'what sport do you play now?'

I hold my own hands up at doing the same thing to other people's children and have only recently become more aware of it myself. 

On top of that she and her friends are innocently gyrating dancing to Jessie J and discussing who is prettier - Kate Middleton or Katy Perry. 

To help break the cycle and show our girls that there are lots of other things they can aspire to, Girl Talk will be running the new campaign throughout the year in each issue. They will be featuring career profiles of and stories of inspirational women excelling in sport, science, business, technology and more. 

It's time to show the world that Girls are Amazing - in more than just one way. 

Girl Talk Magazine is aimed at girls aged 7-12. We received a subscription as a thank you for helping to promote awareness of this campaign. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Listography - My life in books

Plotting your life in books makes you remember specific times that you might otherwise have forgotten. That perfect beach novel on your first holiday girls holiday abroad, the blockbuster that everyone in work was talking about, the book that you drowned your sorrows in when your boyfriend of a whole 6 weeks dumped you...

These are books of my life that defined a specific time for me. They jumped into my mind almost the minute I first thought about the challenge.

1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series.
I still have my original copies of these, bent and broken from years of re-reading and carting around to each place I lived in. They opened up not just Narnia but a new world of possibilities to me.

2. Playing Beatty Bow
This book shocked me into how amazing reading really is. I discovered it in the local library at the age of about 10 and devoured it immediately. I recently found a copy online for a dollar and nervously re-read it, hoping desperately that it wouldn't mar my memories of it. Fortunately it seems I had good taste as a child because even now it is a brilliant read. Earmarking it for my daughter at the earliest opportunity.

3. Wuthering Heights
My romantic late teen years were spent willing myself into this novel, or at least writing it. It captured the angst, passion, confusion of teenage years and although I didn't understand it fully it seeped into my bones and remains there.

4. Tender is the night
F.Scott Fitzgerald remains my favourite author ever. Reading one of his books is like sighing back into literature. This book becomes more poignant the older you get, a story of decadence, beauty, loss and disintegration.

5. The Ground Beneath Her Feet
I've tried other Salman Rushdie books but failed miserably. I read this one in a hammock in Thailand in the middle of a 3 month island hopping escapade. Maybe it was because I had the headspace to 'get' it, but I remember frequently just looking up at the turquoise ocean before me and shaking my head in disbelief that anyone could write so brilliantly.

So that sums it up. Of course there are tonnes more brilliant books I have loved over the years but I think the ones that jump out at you are the ones that are right for this particular list. Have you ever thought about your life in books? If you'd like to take up the Listography challenge simply write your post with your 5 Books of your Life on your own site and then come back here to linky up.

Look forward to seeing them!

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