Tuesday, 8 August 2017

She's here!






Yes, finally. After what seemed like the longest pregnancy in the history of the world Cora Olivia made her entrance at 7.02 on the 18th of July, five days early.

I don't know if any of you are as interested in birth stories as I am, but I'm going to share this one anyway so feel free to jump to the end if discussing dilation and stitches doesn't float your boat!

So, or the last three weeks of the pregnancy I was totally convinced that I was going into labour every day. I had all the same signs I had with the previous two, the cramps, the intense braxton hicks, the....dodgy stomach, and so every night I went to bed convinced I'd be woken by proper contractions within hours. But every night...zip, zero, nada. All that woke me up was the constant need to pee or the sound of myself snoring like a dying warthog. Fun times!

But then, after a weekend of lying in bed while Gavin took the kids out to let me get some rest because I felt more tired than I ever had in my life (looking back, this was probably my bodies way of forcing me to rest before the delivery) on the Monday, which was scorching, I decided I needed to mow the lawn and clean the house. On an incredibly hot day. As you do. Throw in wrangling the kids solo until after seven that night and I had a pretty active day, and late that evening the baby started kicking up an incredible fuss, but I went to bed and tried to sleep. She was having other ideas though and kept waking me up with her thrashing. I got up again at 12.30, slightly worried by now that she might be in distress, but by then I was having worse and worse cramps so I was pretty sure that this was it. 

I sat downstairs for a couple of hours and had something to eat while I waited for things to progress, and at 3 a.m I decided it was time to wake Gavin up and call his mother to come over to look after the kids.

We got to the hospital at 4 a.m, and I was only barely starting to dilate, but was having strong contractions. The midwife wanted to send me home but my previous labours progressed very quickly once things really got going so I decided to stay. Lucky I did. I walked the halls for a while and my waters broke at 5.30. The midwife checked my progress and I was 3 cm, then she checked me again 10 minutes later and I was 4 cm....so they moved me to delivery where I could finally have the life saving gas and air!!!!

I was only in the delivery room around 20 minutes when I started getting the urge to push, and as I was standing by the side of the bed the midwives prepared to deliver that way, but then I realised my dilation hadn't been checked since I was 4 cm so they had me hop up on the bed to check.....

I never did hear what the result of that exam was as the baby had her own ideas and a couple of pushes later (that I couldn't have stopped if my life depended on it) she arrived.....and pooped all over everything on her way out!

They had to cut the cord straight away because of this (I had wanted delayed clamping of the cord) and give her a quick check to make sure she hadn't inhaled any muconium, but thankfully she was fine, and the minute they handed her back to me she started to nurse like a pro.

Meanwhile they brought in a young female doctor to stitch me up while a young male student doctor she brought with her stared so intently into my nether regions I was tempted to ask if he'd lost something. 

The pushing stage of my labours has always been fast, and a bit...traumatic for the area. *shudder*. Getting the stitches has honestly been the worst part each time. I mean, that area needs a delicate hand at the best of times, and a human has just exited it, go easy for the love of god!!!!

So that was it, about three hours from first proper contraction to grand finale. Intense, but thankfully over so quickly that it didn't really matter, and they let us go home the next day.




We're all head over heels in love with her, and I don't say that because that's just what you say about your babies. She is my third, and I know that that intense kind of love doesn't always come straight away (and that's fine, and totally normal) but she has just come along with her chilled out personality and serious expression and turned us all into grinning idiots.

I have to admit I was worried. How would we cope with three? Would it be too crazy? Would Max and Em feel left out? Add to that the usual guilt about bringing another kid into the mix, using up more of your time and attention  and taking away some of your focus from the older ones and I was pretty worried. I pretty much hated being pregnant this time around, I had no energy and felt like crap all the time, so I already felt guilty about "neglecting" the kids, how bad was it going to be with another one in the mix?! 

But the kids have been great, in general, and with her. We just have to watch that they don't try and hug her when we're not looking but the initial obsession seems to be settling a bit and they're calming down so it's fine. Gavin was home for two weeks and did a great job taking them out and entertaining them so they didn't feel left out, and to give me a chance to rest at home with Cora. 

For some reason everyone has been very relaxed and happy since we brought Cora home, and given how overwhelming things were for a while after we had Max this has been a lovely surprise. Cora is a very laid back baby so far, great to feed, happy to be put down awake and left to nod off by herself....thus far. Fingers and toes crossed that this continues. And the older kids are just that bit more civilised than they were even a couple of months ago I guess, and much happier to play by themselves or with each other. All in all it's been great. Busy, but great!

I feel like I just did the equivalent of saying "I'll be right back" in a horror movie? Stand by for the next post where I've had to send them all off to various relatives cos I can't cope!

I am hoping to focus on the blog a bit more once the older two start school and montessori in September, so bear with me, and in the meantime if my posts are few and far between or I don't seem my normal, vivacious self, just know it's because I'm typing with one hand and breaking up a fight over shopkins with the other while breastfeeding an infant propped up on a cushion. Cut me some slack!! ;)




                               

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

pallet wood shelves



Way back when, somewhere in the mists of time, you may remember that I started making over our en-suite bathroom. Yes, that was almost a year ago and it is still far from finished. I blame the fact that no-one but us sees it so it's easier to forget. Embarrassment is a great motivator I find. But I had a short list of things I wanted to get finished before the baby arrives and getting this space finished was way up there.


Saturday, 17 June 2017

fancy-fied plant pots




I feel a little bogged down lately guys. It seems like quite a bit is getting done around here diy-wise (di-yise?) but actually getting things finished, photographed on the odd day when there's decent light and I have the energy to clean up and then actually blogged about is a lot of hard work. And I'm like, large and slow at the moment. Plus, it seems like all I want to write about right now is the kids, or being pregnant, and while the odd post like that is probably interesting for you guys, it's not what most of you come here for right?

Friday, 9 June 2017

I totally missed my second blog-iversary!


  Related image

Time flies when you're desperately trying to get through the day without collapsing in a sweaty heap on the floor and refusing to do anything else until someone removes the life sucking human you're gestating from you....and consequently I just realised that I totally missed my second blog-iversary!

This time last year I had had 60,000 visits to my little blog, and I was hugely proud of that. In the last year I have had 330,000!!!!!!! That's growth of like 550%* people!!!

*Please don't check my maths.

I hadn't actually realised things were going that well, and I'm so happy about it. On top of that I've recently been nominated for an Irish Beauty Blog Award (I know, weird, but it turns out they have a "design blog" category) and I ended up coming second in my category at the Blog Awards last September. It's really nice to get little pats on the back like that. Sometimes I wonder if I'm wasting time I should be spending elsewhere on this blog, but seeing things like that make me feel like I'm justified!

I'd totally keep doing it no matter what, but it's nice to feel like maybe I'm actually ok at this.

And wary as I am of seeming like I'm blowing my own trumpet here, I always love to know actual figures when it comes to blogs I follow, so I though some of you might be interested too. Plus, it's not like I make any money from this, so horn-tooting is all I have!

So what's the plan for the future of my little corner of the old interwebs? Well, I'm hoping that as soon as the little soul-sucker exits my body I'll get my mojo back and find myself able to do more of an evening than lie in a darkened room scarfing biscuits and binge watching Parks and Rec. There are many, many things that I could improve on here (starting with my blogging schedule!) if I just had a couple of hours a week to sit down and dedicate to it, and seeing as Em is starting school in September and Max will be in Montessori every morning then I'm hoping that the next year will be a LOT more productive than the last has been, blog-wise. Sure I'll have a newborn, but I've long since mastered the art of typing while breastfeeding, so I'm hoping it won't be a problem ;) 

So thank you guys for reading, and if you feel like saying hi leave a comment every now and again, I really do love hearing from you. Blogging can be weird and lonely, and it's hard to believe there's anyone paying attention sometimes.

                  



Saturday, 27 May 2017

I've been nominated! And it's weird!

Image result for beauty blog awards 2017 tickets




Ehm, so this is a bit weird but....I've been longlisted for the Irish Beauty Blog Awards?

Yeah, I don't know how that happened either. I'm lucky if I shower every second day and my idea of the perfect lipstick is one that hasn't been dropped down the toilet by my kids at some point, beauty blogger I am not!

I'm in the "Best Design Blog" category, which I don't even know if it refers to the actual design of my blog or the fact that I talk about design. But hey, it's really lovely to be included! Every time something like this happens it just makes me feel a little bit more justified in spending so much of my time dicking about on the internet! I'm quite proud of my little blog, and to get this kind of positive feedback is amazing.

So, if you'd like to vote for me that'd be awesome, and you can do so here.

And whoever nominated me, thanks. It's a bit weird, but I really appreciate it :)

Saturday, 20 May 2017

plans for a super cheap garden makeover



Our garden is pretty crap. Yes, we're delighted to have it and it's a decent size, but our whole estate is built on a flood plain, and on top of that our soil is full of the usual builders detritus that seems to get dumped in the gardens of all estate houses, so our drainage is non-existent and the soil we do have is almost clay it's so wet and clumpy. 


So, it's not easy to have a pretty garden here. For most of the year our grass is completely waterlogged and even normal rain results in flooding at the bottom. So, I think in an effort to combat this and create some areas that were immune to this waterlogging, the previous owners put in slightly raised beds at the bottom and left hand side of the garden, and an area of concrete covered in gravel on the right.

We've stolen lots of plants from my MIL's garden and bought many more and the beds are finally starting to fill in a bit and there's a bit of colour out there now, but the gravel area is a problem. Sure, it looks nice and it's tidy, but practically it's pretty pointless. The problem is that the gravel is pretty deep, and while this is great for playing diggers, it's not so great for walking on. Also, and I'm only sharing this because I believe in showing you guys the reality and I feel like this is a safe place......the right hand side of our garden currently looks like this.....


*screams internally*

Yep, that's a giant pile of rubbish that not only hasn't been shifted since we got the kitchen tiles done but has actually grown as we clear stuff out of the house and throw them out there waiting to go to the recycling centre. You also have a large collection of plastic vehicles that Max likes to line up and wash here, various dead plants in pots plus some pallets I've been meaning to find a use for for over a year and a new fence panel that sticks out like a sore thumb. Pretty, isn't it?

So, what to do? It's been pretty much unused since we moved in nearly three years ago, and I suppose we were thinking that eventually we'd install some sort of paving or decking over it and make a usable seating area (and also somewhere where the kids could play outside when the grass was a swamp) but that's not going to happen this year. So we leave it until then I guess? But then, we actually had a week of beautiful weather recently, and as I sat at my tiny bistro set by the back door, perched on an uncomfortable chair trying to enjoy my coffee in the sunshine I thought "ENOUGH"! I have all this space available, why not just make it usable as cheaply as possible for now, and worry about doing a permanent job later?

So that's what I'm doing. I want a comfy seating area where we can all hang out in the unlikely event that we actually get a nice summer. I'm thinking pallets, cheap plastic furniture and fairy lights. Magical! The budget for this is non-existant so I'll be using things I have already and sourcing stuff from euro stores and second hand shops. I'm actually excited by the challenge! We'll be getting going clearing the rubbish this weekend, and I've already picked up a few bits and pieces to prettify the area, so watch this space!

And yes, I did try to get better pictures of everything out here, but I was foiled by a small naked entymologist who managed to get himself into nearly every photo asking me what I was doing and trying to show me the very interesting woodlice he had just captured. I don't know why he was naked, but it's not unusual around here.




                             
                                 

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

removing and replacing a contact paper countertop

removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top



If you've been following my blog for a while you'll probably know that I covered my old kitchen counters in d-c fix contact paper about eighteen months ago. It's still by far one of my most popular posts and I constantly get questions about it's durability and whether I'm still happy with it, and the answer was always a resounding YES! Honestly, in the eighteen months it was in place it took a lot of abuse, I mean, as far as I was concerned it was an interim measure and I really did absolutely nothing to try and protect it. Water was spilled on it (and left to sit), hot things were placed on it, my "coffee station" which is basically a little tray on pointy legs was dragged across it repeatedly, and yet....nothing. It held up to everything I could throw at it with no lifting, scratching or bubbling. In fact, the only tiny piece of damage it showed was from when my husband dropped superglue on it and tried to scratch it off with a knife, and even that was minimal!



So, the time finally came to replace our kitchen tiles, and as the chipping off of the backsplash lifted the edges of the contact paper it was time to remove it. All along I had thought that this would be the perfect time to replace our counters as well, but when it came to it....well, I was totally happy with the contact paper, so why change it? I mean, a brand new shiny solid wood counter would be lovely, but was I willing to spend nearly a grand on it when I had such a fantastic alternative? No sir, no I was not.

So I contacted the lovely people at d-c fix (they had gotten in touch last year offering to supply me with more paper if I ever had a suitable project) and I got them to send me a roll of their grey marble paper. I was absolutely delighted to discover that they do many patterns in a wider roll now, which meant I could cover my counters horizontally rather than vertically, meaning way less join points and consequently a much more seamless finish.
removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top
I'll leave an affiliate link for this product at the bottom of this post ;)


I had loved the more dramatic black vein through the paper I had previously, but I'm liking the more pared back feeling I've got in the kitchen now with the light grey floor and white subway tile backsplash, so I thought a lighter pattern would really compliment that. I definitely wanted to stick with the marble pattern, mostly because I love it, but also because I think the pattern really helps hide any joins in the paper and gives it that seamless look.

So first, we had the fun job of removing the old paper, and after all the questions I've gotten about whether it really doesn't do any damage I was eager to see just how this would go. I gathered my crack demolition team and set to work....


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top


It was really stuck on there! But once you get it moving it came off easily. We didn't have to use any scrapers or tools and it took about twenty minutes to uncover the whole thing. The d-c fix website does suggest you blast it with a hairdryer to aid removal but I didn't feel like we needed to do that.


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top


And just to clear up any "will it damage what's underneath" questions, may I present to you a photo of some paint splashes that I was too lazy to remove before I covered the counter. As you can see they are completely unharmed after removing the paper....and I was able to scrape these off with a knife in seconds afterwards! So honestly I couldn't see this stuff doing any damage to any surface. And there was absolutely zero adhesive left behind anywhere either. I don't know how this stuff sticks, but it didn't leave so much as a residue that needed to be wiped. 


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top

removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top
Not a terrible counter by any means, but it still had to go!

The process of applying the new paper was exactly the same as before, and you can find the tutorial here. I cut the pieces to size, peeled back a small section of the backing at a time and started to stick the paper down, smoothing out bubbles as I went with a credit card. If you find any when you're finished you can poke a tiny hole in it with a pin and remove the air that way, but getting it right while you are doing it is really preferable. The paper can be lifted and re-done many times so don't worry if you get a lot of bubbles at any point, just peel the paper up past that point and lay it back down, being more careful to work the air out as you go.

I left a small edge where the paper met the wall/any edges, and went back over that with a craft knife at the end, trimming off the excess. As the roll was so wide this time, technically I could have done the whole thing in two pieces, and I did try, but I found it much too difficult to get a good finish around the cooker and sink this way, so I ended up using more than one piece for each counter, but I still ended up with a hell of a lot less in the way of joins than I did the last time I did this.

And that was that, two hours after I started I had brand new marble counters once more, and I'm loving them! I think the lighter colour really compliments the light grey in the floor now, and I' sure I'll be happy with them for the next two years at least!


removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top

removing and replacing a contact paper self adhesive vinyl counter top



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Saturday, 6 May 2017

10 parenting tips I feel qualified to give



So I'm pregnant. Which means I'll soon have three kids. And yes, they're all alive, occasionally well behaved and even potty trained! I do let them eat things off the floor and run around naked whenever they feel like it though so I usually don't get asked for advice, but sometimes....sometimes a poor soul will catch me on a good day, a day when no-one is crying, flouting public decency laws, or tag-teaming my hugely pregnant, vulnerable self into letting them eat an entire bag of Haribo in one go if they will "JUST SHUT UP FOR 5 SECONDS!!!!" and foolishly ask for advice. When this happens I feel like Gwyneth Palthrow for a minute, all smug and knowing, ready to dole out patronising advice that I can't even follow myself, but then I just try and remember that there are often days that Youtube Kids does more of my parenting than I do and I get a hold of myself.`

But still, I think there might be something I can share with the world. So here it is, the parenting advice I feel I can give without being a total hypocrite....

Monday, 24 April 2017

my new kitchen tiles!!!!

neutral kitchen tile


Yes, finally, the new kitchen tiles are in! They've been in for a few weeks actually but I've been too busy enjoying them to blog about it. That and the fact that it's never been clean enough to take photos #reallife

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

amazing lighting for under €150




If you follow me on Instagram (and why wouldn't you? everyone loves pics of things I want to buy interspersed with the occasional "fml" post showing my kids destroying my house right? It's @makedoanddiy by the way) you might have seen the gorgeous new pendant light currently bringing a bit of glamour to my kitchen. 

Gorgeous isn't it?! I'm really in love with it, and get this...it was €52!!!! Yep, that's correct, absolute bargain. 

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