New York- our experience

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always had a desire to visit New York… so when Sean gifted me a trip to the big apple child free may I add, for my 30th I couldn’t believe it, I cried! Mind you I did drop enough hints running up to my 30th. I loved planning our trip, reading reviews and asking people the best way to get around, places to visit and recommended sights to see. This would be the longest period we have left the kids at home for.

Since having a 3rd child we’ve found the most challenging thing is finding someone to babysit all 3 at the same time, as it can be quite a handful. We came up with a plan, the girls would stay at my mums and Malachy to Seans mums for two nights then they would plan to swap over the weekend. I found it most stressful packing clothes for them, making sure everyone had everything they needed for school and after school activities. I found myself writing endless lists for grannys about what’s on and where. I was trying not to think too much on how I felt about leaving them for almost a week.

The journey

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We flew from Aberdeen to Heathrow, Heathrow to JFK. I just remember my bum hitting the seat on the plane and feeling a sense of relief. I couldn’t believe how relaxing the journey became, no stress, no running to the toilet 29 times a flight, no packet of wipes, no crying and no one spilling juice all down me. Just a relaxing flight with hubby by my side drinking wine with our meal and watching movies, and of course a nap. I brought all my nursing journals I had stocked up at home as I don’t often get the chance to read them. I also bought a book for the first time in years. Total bliss… quite the opposite to traveling with kids.

The itinerary

We arrived about 5pm New York time so I thought best to make the most of our time by jumping right into the sightseeing. The hotel was relatively central and just a five minute walk to the Rockefeller’s centre. It was a beautiful hotel, stunning rooms and spacious. We quickly dumped the bags and headed out to explore.

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Everything I had hoped for…

Oh it was cold!! Glad we packed the thermals!! My first impressions of New York were everything I thought it would be, buzzing, cold and Christmasy. We headed for the Rockefeller centre for our sightseeing excursion, Top of the Rock. I booked all my tickets through Viator. They were flexi tickets and que jumping. When we arrived, I couldn’t quite consider the length of ques that lay ahead! At the top the views were breath taking and beautiful, made all the queuing worth while. We decided afterwards to head to Times Square before heading back to the hotel for some sleep, considering it was about 4am for us.

 

Day 2

The temperature outside all of a sudden crept up to 10c. It was great didn’t need the thermals. Just outside our hotel we bumped into a sales person for the hop on hop of bus, I love these busses they are so informative and drives you by all the sights. We grabbed a bacon roll from a small cafe (something not possible with kids, eating on the go) and jumped onto the bus picked up our ear phones at the door and off we went. Taking in all the landmarks along the way. We jumped off at the Empire State Building. This was a really good experience and enjoyed it more than the Rockefeller. Finding out how it was built on the way to the top was really thrilling, the view from the top was vast and could see for miles in the day light.

 

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Next stop Ground zero

Along the journey we jumped on and off the bus to have a wander about and take photos. You could walk for miles just taking it all in. I couldn’t believe the size of the space where the twin towers stood… so sad and yet so real. I kept trying to imagine, what it would of been like on that day. The small church that stood unharmed was right next to the site. This was where the fire fighters rested and slept while searching for survivors. The memorial museum; again, we queued for ages with our que jumping tickets. Inside this huge museum filled with people’s belongings and letters. Information boards, photos and flash back news coverage it was a moving experience to say the least. To end the day we walked over Brooklyn Bridge and again took more selfies. Seems to be what all the tourists were doing.

 

Day 3-

By this point I was itching to do some shopping but going by the weather we were best to do more sights and visit the shops when the rain was forecast the next day.
Sunday morning we headed for church, this is something we do at home every Sunday. I love Hillsong music so I was really excited about going to church that morning. A Hillsong church, was located in broadway inside a theatre. One thing I noticed about all attractions was the scale of security you go through before you get in, bag searches and scanners. No exceptions for church.
It really was an amazing atmosphere. Hundreds if not thousands of people filled the building praising God. Such a huge church they had two services in the morning and two at night. It was great to see a church of that size still focusing on aspects like life groups, they are doing great work in the under privileged communities.

Next stop Central Park

 


It was such a treat just the two of us floating about New York, without kids. Grabbing lunch on the go, can you imagine what that would be like with 3 kids. It was engaging for Sean and I to talk about things we don’t get a chance to talk about in normal day to day life. I think its really important as a couple to set aside time for each other without the kids. By this point naturally I was missing the kids, I tried not to think about it too much. The weather was on our side as we strolled through Central Park without a care in the world. I loved coming across famous land marks in the park I’ve seen in films. You can see why its so popular with locals, the quietness feels miles away from the hussle and bustle of the busy city life.
That evening I decided to treat my husband to a nice meal. Pre booking to ensure we got a table. We dined in The View- revolving restaurant in Times Square. Stunning romantic meal for two. Peace and quiet to eat our meal without sharing it or someone sitting on our knees. A delightful ending to a wonderful day exploring.

 

Day 4 -Monday last full day

We still hadn’t used a boat trip that was valid with our hop on hop off bus ticket. Offering a close up view of the most famous lady in New York. The weather was dry we decided to go for it as hubby is such a keen seaman, me not so keen. A really informative trip out to the Statue of Liberty and back again was a highlight of my break. It was thrilling to see her close up in real life, and of course the obligatory selfie…or two. I came off that boat swaying all day. Vertigo was about to hit home again.

 

Next stop Macy’s

By this point I was very excited to get stuck into some shopping, as everyone raves about it. However, when we arrived in Macys it was so hot in the shops we was all of a sudden so tired from all the adventures. With Black Friday just past I felt as I raked through the clothes searching for sizes for the kids that all the best bargains had perhaps been snapped up. The 20000 steps a day/jet lag was beginning to take its toll on us. We did stop over at the Christmas department offering 65% off! Where I filled my basket with Christmas baubles, hoping they would survive the journey home.

Time for some last minute buys

 


We had now visited everything on our to do list. Our last morning in New York we decided to head for a sit in breakfast. It was delicious in a cosy cafe just beside our hotel. I sipped coffee and people watched enjoying the last few hours of our holiday in New York. After a FaceTime with the kids we headed off to Grand Central Station, and a stop at Bath and Body works store. Where I decided to start buying loads of 3 wick candles, not thinking about the weight of our cases, as soon as I had them into our basket Sean became the head of reason and started to calculate the weight of each one. Do we really need 6 large candles? He said. Good that he did stop me buying all those candles as shortly after we was standing at the check in desk awaiting the weights of our cases, surrounded by people emptying and rearranging theirs. img_5753

Our trip was something we couldn’t have done with the kids. It would have not been possible or enjoyable to do many of those things. We made the best of it, stopping in Irish pubs for lunch and a glass of wine, nipping in and out of quirky shops and simply enjoying all the things we couldn’t do if the brood was with us. New York was amazing and spectacular. Would I go back? yes of course! With the kids? Probably not. Best to do those types of trips solo.

Until our next child free break, beach break maybe next time…

man and woman holding hands walking on seashore during sunrise

Photo by Ibrahim Asad on Pexels.com

 

The week I failed at parenthood

Diary of a tired, honest, moody, hormonal mum…

Not your ‘normal’ week…
Have you ever had a week where you feel you’ve totally failed at parenting? Reward charts have gone out the window, chicken nuggets for supper every night, feeling you just want to run and hide from the kids, cry and eat a snicker without sharing it with them. The constant tidying, cleaning, cooking battle on rotation. It’s not glamorous it’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I don’t want to put people off having kids but parents will understand this. Social media is good for showing off the good bits, and the happy times of parenting but oh boy there is a lot of bad bits too!! I suppose we don’t want to share them so much. Why not? Ashamed to say we struggle? Afraid of what people might think? When you open up you soon find out everyone’s on the same boat. I’m here holding my hands up saying yes, I struggle, really struggle. It may look like 3 kids looks easy… a breeze…believe me it’s more like a hurricane.
I feel the kids are constantly fighting for attention, you satisfy one and the other one kicks off, just one vicious circle. I’m having one of those weeks where by dinner time I’m counting down the last hours until bed time. One good thing is when they go to bed at 7pm they don’t move again, no bed time performances, just lights out and sleep. So why can’t they just behave like this during the day?

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I always laugh inside when I hear people say ‘’Oh I love the bed time routine, we snuggle up and read a story and spend one on one with the child special bonding time, it’s just wonderful’’ In reality is it really that wonderful? Yes when they are all lights out and sleeping that’s wonderful . I call it happy hour in my house the bath time bed time routine. It’s a struggle now to get the eldest into the bath at all, while the other two are trying to drown themselves deliberately by seeing who can hold their breath the longest. The Drama performance of who comes out the bath first is always a showcase. Tackling 3 naked body’s to put on pyjamas and dry hair you would think they are being chased by a lion. So let’s have that one on one time with 3 children individually…yes that’s right, by this point everyone is past it including myself.

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Malachy our 3rd child is lucky if he gets a bed time story, if he forgets to grab one I’m delighted, one down. Gracie the middle child always goes for the thickest book or chances her luck with 2 books. If you secretly try to skip a page or a couple of sentences oh boy does she notice! Ain’t no fooling her. Final bonding time is with Ivy our first born the most laid back of the 3, very independent and easy pleased. Somehow we was led into a false sense of security after having Ivy as you think they will all be like her…don’t be fooled! By the time I get to Ivy’s bedroom she’s pulled out the good old 500 page BFG chapter a night book. Naturally Ivy likes to try and read some of the words which takes twice as long. So as u can imagine by 7pm I can’t wait to see them all tucked up in bed…asleep. I then head down stairs to tackle the bomb site they left behind.
‘I know what I’m doing, I have it all planned out- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.’ Jeremiah 29:11
Before I head upstairs for the night I go around their bedrooms and switch off their lights and tuck in their little hands under the blankets. I look at them sleeping angelically and begin to feel guilty and the worst mum in the world for shouting, because someone spilled milk for the 2nd time or wouldn’t put their shoes on the first time I said it. Why did I have no patience today? I say tomorrow I’m going to try harder to be a better mum. Sometimes I question myself and God why am I getting pushed to the very ends of my limits?

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‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down: he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.1st Corinthians 10:13
I’m beginning to sound like I live with 3 caged wild animals, well sometimes it feels like that. What is the key to well behaved children all the time? Has anyone found it? Hats off to you if you have. I know a few people pretend to have it all under-control.
I know all children have their moments and usually mine are not too bad, but I think a combination of hormones, 5.30am starts everyday, work, Christmas planning, more hormones, has made this week exhausting and left me questioning my parenting skills, my life choices and hormonal imbalance. Reading back I sound like a right witch of a mother, like the one in Tangled. I love my kids, and everything I do is for them, they are my world and my dream is to push them to their fullest potential. Sometimes I look at them and can’t believe how blessed I am to have them.

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Parenthood wasn’t supposed to be easy sometimes we just need a little encouragement to get through it. Maybe these bad days wasn’t in our vision of parenthood but its all part of the package to make us better parents on our journey. We are not robots, we struggle and have our bad days, this is just a glimpse into mine…

Love Endures

What the bible says about love…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians ch13 verse 4-8.img_8166

What love means to me?
I love this verse its a perfect example of what love means to me. Love is all those things and more. It stems from a close friendship that grows to affection, feelings and state of mind between yourself and another. Love is forgiving, Love is about tolerance, Love is about compromise and putting others before yourself.
Before we got married 7 years ago my dads only advice was to never let the sun go down on your wrath. A well known bible verse. Yet so true, as relationships can be damaged if arguments and strain goes on and on. The best piece of advice I could ask for.pexels-photo-256737.jpeg

What is the definition of love?
The definition of love is different for everyone. No one can define it and no one has the right answer. To fall in love when a strong connection in your relationship kindles, the feeling of giddiness and excitement. That feeling when you cant wait to see each other again. Holding hands, and the feeling that you cant be apart. There’s a big spark between you and the relationship is very rosy and fresh and new. As relationships mature the spark becomes a glowing ember in your heart. Maybe your not feeling the same excitement when you see each other but you just know the love is still there. You don’t need to question it. You don’t need to express it with PDA public display of affection anymore or bunches of flowers. Love simply becomes a cup of tea made for you in the morning or plugging your phone into charge when you simply forget. Or prepping the kids before you head out the door to work to make sure they behave while your away. Love has your back, love forgets old wounds, Love doesn’t look at your bank balance or your race. Love doesn’t care about your cellulite or your stretch marks. Love is blind and love is from the heart. Love endures.


What love means to others…

Claire, also known as @Cailynsmummy

Love to me is being present, caring and wanting to be there for the people you care about. Love is such a strong word and one I’ve not said to many but love with Chris gives me excitement, happiness and security. Love to us is passion and support for each other, always. See more from Claires here

Hetti, also known as @blossomandbe mother of 2 take on her love…

Defining love is complicated as we each experience love in our own way. For me love doesn’t exist as one thing. The love I have for my husband is a passionate commitment that is always developing and being nurtured.
I think a key factor in this growing love is our compatibility, we share the same values, likes and dislikes and interests, and these common grounds were what sparked our love, and what allow this love to grow. I don’t find it difficult to stay in love with him, it’s something I never question. He makes me laugh, is there for me when I cry and I will care and protect him forever through thick and thin.
The love for my children is a different type of love, it is a profound emotion that is like nothing else in this world. When I first saw them i got an instant overwhelming urge to love them and I find it almost indescribable. From that moment these tiny babies were my main priority and I immediately had a fierce desire to protect them. When my children were born I also realised how much my mother loves me. I love my children unconditionally, it is an attitude, something that is eternal.
You can catch more from @blossomandbe here


Valentines Love

Around this time of year we can get caught up in the commercial aspect of valentines day, what about all the other 364 days what happens to the love then?
I love valentines it simply gives the men out there a nudge in the right direction. Or if you’re like my dad and father in law they still forget its valentines and I have to remind them. However, I don’t believe this phases my mother or mother in law. Except that kind of love even not shown is there like a glow. Cooking their supper every night when they come in the door. Keeping them company in an evening in front of the tv and just being there for each other.pexels-photo-196664.jpeg
Love can be seen in many different ways. Love is when the others happiness is more important than your own. I must admit Sean doesn’t whisk me off for a surprise weekend away or send bunches of flowers to my work for all to see, except he appreciates me in many different ways throughout the year, not just Feb 14th. If he’s down stairs in the morning before me he always makes me a cup of tea. That’s what deep down love is for me. He doesn’t need to show me with outward approach. When he does buy me flowers its usually the most unexpected times and a great surprise. He knows me when I’ve used my reserve tank with the kids and he steps in.

One Valentine’s Day he did actually run me a romantic bath. I had just finished a shift at work and was very pregnant and sore with my pelvis at the time. I thought to myself wow! He’s really pushing the boat out here. However the kids heard the bath running and stampeded up the stairs. I ended up sharing the bath with Ivy- It had slipped my mind for a second she was off nursery that day due to a tummy upset. Seconds later she passed wind… well u can imagine what happened next…I’ve never exited a bath so quick in all my life. Poor Ivy she didn’t realise what was going on! So that was the romance down the drain that night.coffee-cup-stack-break.jpg

I wish you all the love this Valentine’s Day. If its with that huge bunch of roses or the silent love expressed by that cup of tea he made you. Share the love. Today and everyday. True love endures.

Have a great valentines day

 

Happy Baby=Happy Mum Harry & Rose product review

Disclaimer: I was kindly sent a free sample of the product in return for my honest review in my blog. All opinions expressed are my own and unbiased, not influenced by the company and any links used in this review are not affiliate.


Background
Harry & Rose founder Alba Cusworth is an experienced parent who has a love for natural baby products. The company have specially formulated these products to a high quality, natural ingredients especially for sensitive skin. Which is good news for Malachy as he falls into this category also suffering from eczema. As much as myself Harry and Rose believe what you put on your skin is very important, especially baby skin. This product is manufactured in England with the best quality and standards and not tested on animals may I add. Ingredients used in these products are Calendula, coconut, camomile, cottonseed, aloe Vera and sunflower. I am a great lover of natural ingredients for your skin. So I couldn’t wait to try this out on Malachy.


Features/ Target Group
The target group is mothers/fathers and expectant mothers of young babies. The great features of this product are the natural ingredients and the affect they have on sensitive skin. For example, camomile is great for breakouts and rashes, and the sunflower extract is honourable for babies that suffer from eczema.

The Baby hair and body wash ingredients include:
Calendula, coconut, cottonseed, camomile, sunflower and aloe Vera. The attributes of these particular ingredients are quick absorbing, retain moisture, light and silky, great for break outs and rashes. I admire how this product is natural and doesn’t include the nasty preservatives or parabens. So many products these days are full of nasty’s and we don’t realise it as we wash our children with them every day and don’t give it a second thought. As a nurse myself I know too well of the effects of these parabens on frail and delicate skin. Even creams and washes prescribed from the GP contain many of these. I have many patients whom I purely moisturise their skin with 100% olive oil, it’s so natural and works wonders


Malachy loves a bath however with 3 kids he often endures it with the girls in beside him. Tonight was special and I loved spending time alone with Malachy. The bottle has an easy to use pump top, the great waterproof label is a hit as malachy is forever playing with the bottles in the tub. The product design and render is neutral and soft, which best describes the contents of the bottle.
The previous evening before I received this sample Malachys bath time was very stressful for me as a mum. As soon as I strip him down he always likes a good scratch. With eczema this is quite common however this night in particular was the worst I’ve seen it. I had to quickly bath him and pull him out the bath as he was getting so agitated and couldn’t stop scratching. Even after his pyjamas were on he just couldn’t content himself forever trying to scratch through his clothes.
The next morning, I booked an appointment with my GP to have him reviewed. Is this a food allergy? Is it my washing powder? I came out of the doctors with a prescription bag full of ointments, creams/steroid creams and antihistamine. I’ve been here before in this situation. I feel like I have tried every cream and ointment out there. I was very reluctant to start the process all over again. Coincidence the same morning my Harry and Rose sample arrived. When I stripped him off again for the bath he did have a scratch as usual and I placed him in the bath and began to wash him with the bath and body wash. I must admit it wasn’t instant relief but I didn’t want it to turn into the previous night all over again. I took him out and rubbed him all over with the body lotion cream sample they kindly sent me…It was like a miracle, after the cream was applied he was settled and didn’t need to scratch. Typically with other creams and lotions he scratches through them after they have been applied.
When I first smelt the product, I was slightly dubious it smelt so lovely I thought how can something so natural smell so nice. After his bath there was no scratching and no need for the antihistamine that night. I was so pleased as it’s so upsetting and frustrating as a mother not able to help your child who is constantly itching. I have been using the product for over a week now. I purchased the body lotion after the company kindly sent me a small sample which I am so glad they did, or I wouldn’t have discovered it. Malachys skin has returned soft and smooth and no blemished or rash areas from the eczema. I have been applying the body lotion morning and night.
Overall, I am very pleased with this product and its quality. As the products has won several awards including Best baby and toddler gear I have no problem in ‘sharing the love’ to friends and family. I am going to continue to purchase this product for Malachy as long as it continues to work wonders. It is more expensive than your typical supermarket products however I wouldn’t grudge purchasing this product if it works for Malachy. Happy baby = happy mum. A big thank you to Harry and Rose from Malachy and Mum for this new discovery in natural skin care.


The Harry and Rose baby hair-body wash and many other lovey product can be found at their website here.

My survival guide

Many people ask me how I cope with 3 kids 5 & under also with an occasional husband (who works away 2 weeks at a time) To be honest some days are more fun than others. Sometimes I look at people with 4 or 5 kids and wonder how they cope. Having 3 kids really push you to your limits when your solo parenting. I try to keep on top of the housework as much as possible to make this journey more enjoyable for everyone. It’s getting easier now the kids are older and more independent. I love to plan things out, write myself notes, and be prepared for the week ahead. I don’t have OCD but after you read this blog you might think so. It works for us. Everyone does life differently, so here’s how I do mine:

Prep the kids
I found out through experience and reading baby books that kids love routine. Keeping them informed makes them happy bees in the hive. A fine example of this: Gracie is sitting engrossed in the iPad, instead of taking it off her I would prep her beforehand. If i didn’t I would then endure a 10 minute tantrum which then leads to some serious misbehaviour. “Gracie, you’ve got 5 minutes left on the iPad” then a while later “two minutes, Gracie” then after a another couple of minutes ” okay Gracie, times up put down the iPad now that’s long enough” It works wonders. I would say 90% of the time she puts the iPad down. It’s a good technique to use when were about to leave the grandparents ” were leaving in 5 minutes kids” and so on. Usually we all leave happily and without a tantrum, tantrum free= happy mum!

Prep the food
At the start of the week I love to meal plan for the week ahead. I first got the idea from a Slimming world class. It helps you to stick to your chosen meals for the week and not go off track. I try to involve the kids as much as possible however their reply to “what would you like for supper?” is usually “noodles.” I have recently started to write out a shopping list before I head to the supermarket. We’ve found that we save money as we only buy what we need for that week, we actually come out with some decent meals. As before I would wander around the aisles throwing stuff in the trolley be £100 at the till and have nothing to make a decent meal with. So this is how we do it now. If its not on the list it doesn’t go into the trolley. On a Monday I do lots of food prep when the kids are away at school. A typical Monday can be quite stressful for me so I like to have a big pot of soup boiling on the hob. This will do us for 3 lunches. I also stick a big piece of meat in the slow cooker that will do us two meals too. Doing this just releases the stress of making supper after one of our busy Mondays knowing that the meals are sorted.


Housework
The dreaded word, right? I used to enjoy house work when I had time to do it before we had kids. Nonetheless with 3 kids now and sometimes a working mum I struggle to find the time. I like to be able to keep on top of it so it doesn’t nag me. There is more important things in life than housework however when the house looks like a bomb has hit it something needs to be done. I love following The organised mum method(TOMM) 30 minutes a day on specific rooms and your done! I hear you thinking that doesn’t work… but it does. She also does a deep clean method for all those homes needing a bit more tlc. I find that if I keep the washing & ironing basket empty I am not doing piles of ironing that I hate. I like to spend a little time each day in my utility room sorting out clothes and it keeps the whole thing at bay. Sometimes if were busy over a weekend and I don’t keep on top of it, and I go into the utility on a Sunday I could just walk out again and cry.

Morning Routine
From when I open my eyes in the morning even before I have a cup of tea here is a glimpse into my morning routine. This only applies when Sean’s away. As when he comes home the routine can sometimes get a knock on the head. When I hear the first child awake, usually one of the girls I jump in the shower while Malachy is still asleep in his crib. The girls will sit happily with the tv on until I shower. We are lucky with Malachy as he sleeps from 7pm till usually 7am. If I were to take him out of his crib there would be carnage in the bedroom and I would end up not getting a shower. He can be seen running about calling 999 with the house phone, emptying bedside table drawers or dunking the toilet brush down the toilet. So I tend to leave him in bed till I get myself organised. After everyone is dressed
1, Make beds
2, Throw all dirty clothes down the stairs
3, Quick tidy of bedrooms and bathroom upstairs
4, Open blinds and turn radiators down (Sean’s request)
5, Everyone comes down stairs and eats breakfast
6, While the are kids eating breakfast I load the washing machine.


I love to come down stairs to a clean kitchen and empty sink so the night before I ensure the island is free from dishes and clutter. I like to set out everyone’s clothes for the next day in the bathroom in their individual piles. When the kids get up they know the routine, get dressed and go down stairs. I try to encourage the girls to help with making their beds and throwing the laundry down the stairs. Which usually results in a pair of knickers landing on Malachys head. The girls can be so messy at times, I try to engage them in some games when it comes to tidying up. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Please note my routine doesn’t always go to plan the way I would like it. There’s usually a chase around the bedroom with a half-naked child trying to put on their socks. That’s what makes life exciting I suppose a lap around the bedroom before school. I’m not the perfect mum or don’t try to be. I just love routine and so does the kids. What is the perfect mum?

Shetland Travels

As Sean was assigned to the boat over the festive. I did something I have never done before and decided to leave the kids at home and join him to take in the New Year…in Shetland with a couple of our close friends Daniel and Emma.

Barnacles

Since having no3 we’ve found it increasingly difficult to get away for theseso-called date nights, shopping trips and weekends away which are pretty much now out the question! Can’t remember the last time we went out for dinner alone.

Meal times usually consist of bribing the kids to sit on their seats and finish their dinner, someone usually spills their juice and all of a sudden a voice shouts I need a poop when your about 2 mouthfuls in. This happens every time we sit down to eat sometimes someone falls off a chair on a good night, if your lucky. So u can imagine leaving these 3 head cases with anyone is a big take on.

No more babies

Saying that we do have our annual Christmas shopping trip together. Don’t be fooled it’s not like all those Instagram pics you see with a glass of bubbly , Christmas markets etc… it’s usually planned, a list is written out and the exact shops are visited. Pretty much in and out painless as possible. Meanwhile I worry about what the brood is getting up to at home in the care of some of the grandparents or great grandparents. Who’s idea was it to have no 3? I was quite happy with 2 until Sean started hankering for a boy. Luckily Sean just needs to smile at me and I fall pregnant. Sean was soon handed a vasectomy leaflet to ponder upon last year. My mum did warn me not to have 3! Wouldn’t change it now for the world however do wish we could afford a nanny at times.

Packing up the kids

The boat was leaving Aberdeen heading north for Shetland. Two nights would be spent docked in Lerwick harbour then sail home again during the night. Which means this would be 4 nights in total I would be leaving the kids. Who was going to be the lucky grandparents? After much deliberation I decided to split the kids up to make it an easier time for all involved. My mum kept trying to make me feel guilty by saying things like ‘you’ll miss them you know’ and ‘Malachy will miss his mam, he’s a mammy’s boy’ I didn’t let this bother me as I was really looking forward to some mummy annual leave. The thought of uninterrupted meals and long lie ins kept me going.

So I decided to put Ivy (oldest) and Malachy (youngest) to one set of grandprents and Gracie to the other, and mid break they would do a swap. As placing the two girls together can be a disaster as they have a love hate relationship at the moment. So packing 3 kids to go 2 different ways was a nightmare. Anyways I got them packed and prepped them all on their behaviour for days before hand. If I heard that there was bad behaviour Santa would come in the night and take back their presents! So I dropped them off and ran home! I had an hour to spare in the house before I left and it was amazing the difference in the atmosphere in the house with no kids. It was really strange.

Bon Voyage

So we set sail for Shetland at 1700 on board the MV Hjaltland courtesey of Northlink Ferries. Leaving the harbour we were on the bridge to see the sights. I was planning a nice evening of catching up with good friends ( Emma and Dan) over supper and a glass of wine. However things did not go as planned, Emma and myself had already taken Stugeron (sea sickness tablets) as we know how we react to the vessels motion on the sea. I didn’t think there was much swell in the sea however Emma didn’t finish her meal before she disappeared off to bed with a sick bag. I thought what a light weight the boat isn’t moving much. Lone behold by 1930 I was in bed with my pal sickky bag the evening came to a sad end with Daniel left watching the game alone at the bar.

Arrival

We arrived in Lerwick, Shetland at 0730. What about a long lie? Not likely! Sean was still working so he was up and showered at 0630 for arrival and I didn’t get back to sleep after hearing him clatering anout.

We decided to take a drive to explore the island. I have been to Shetland before on placement for 9 weeks when I was doing my nurse training so I knew a fair bit about the island already but hadn’t explored it much at the time. When I started to count back how long ago it was since I was there in placement I couldn’t believe it was nearly 10 years!! That couldn’t be right! I’m not that old!! But as Sean keeps reminding me I am nearly 30!!

Day trip

We took a walk through the streets of Lerwick, however with it being New Year’s Eve and a Sunday there wasn’t any shops open. The weather was good which is unusual for Shetland at that time of year. We headed for Eshaness it’s along the North West coast. It’s really nice just driving along those single track roads where the sheep roam freely, usually in the middle of the road.When it was my turn to drive Sean’s nerves was running in over drive sitting watching me drive those narrow roads.

Hogmany

We headed back to the boat to get glammed up for the evening events, the staff on board had organised a fancy dress party. Emma and myself are not really big fans of fancy dress Emma in particular so we opted out of the fancy dress competition this time. Sean being Sean went for captain Jack Sparrow, it was a pretty good attempt if you ask me.

We took in the ‘bells’ up on the bridge all staff and guests toasted the old year out and the new year in. Glasses of champagne clanged while listening to the horn of the boat being honked by the oldest person on board and the youngest member on board, lovely way to start the new year. Soon after I whisked Sean off to bed. Yes not in that manner at all! I’m not used to the late nights and in this case extremely late…1pm!! I usually would be thinking about getting up with the kids shortly if I was at home! Well not quite 1am but not long off it.

Beach Hopping in Burra

The celebrations probably went long into the night. The staff then provided a lovely New Year lunch for all on board the next day. We decided to take another road trip this time exploring the South West of the Island. We set off in search for the well-known Meal Beach, been known to be compared to some of the beaches in the Caribbean. After a short walk from where we parked the car we found it. Beautiful scenery so calm yet the air was so crisp and before our eyes was this exquisite white sandy beach hidden away beneath the rock face. We didn’t miss out on some selfies and writing our names on the sand. Emma and Daniel don’t do PDA so they weren’t up for some romantic photographs taken by myself.

It was -3c in the car and the narrow single track roads with random sheep about was making Sean rather nervous as I was driving. I kept reassuring him however the grasp of his hand on the roof handles told a different story. We traveled further West of Burra and came across another gorgeous stretch of beach called Minn beach. At the end of the stretch of beach sat a cottage, alone with no car access. How nice would it be to go there on holiday, no distractions, and just chill, no phones, just the simple life?

Home time

Due to work commitments Emma and Daniel decided to book a flight home. As the boat wouldn’t reach Aberdeen Until the 3rd am. I was in two minds of flying home too after the sail north, I was constantly checking the weather. However I decided to take the boat home. The next day we drove the love birds to the airport…yes Shetland does have an airport at Sumburgh. What you might not believe is that you have to actually drive over the runway to get to it! The runway actually stops when the land stops, so if you don’t take off by the time you get to that section you will be going for a swim in the sea! Emma didn’t know this so she was now on edge about the take off!

It was a lovely break and I was super excited to see my brood again when I got home. I felt it refreshed my head..well refresed my head so much that I had vertigo for about a week after iIretunred home! It was lovley to see the brood again.

Xxx

The simple life

Shetland is a beautiful Island with many different aspects to it. We were lucky enough to visit just a small section of it. They have a language of their own and if you listen closely you can just make out what they are saying. They heritage of the Island is instilled in generations today, and they are proud of the Island and what it has become.

How to get there

By ferry from Aberdeen-Lerwick : The boat sails overnight, Cabins can be booked for up to 4 people. Occasionally the ferry stops by Orkney if you fancy a trip there too. If you are at all queezy on board a boat I would advise you travel in the summer months otherwise best of luck. Sick bags are provided in all easy to reach places!

Online bookings can be done Here

Check regularly for adverse weather updates before you travel.

On board the ferry there is a cinema, guest lounge, sleeping pods and a lovely restaurant and quaint shop full of local produce and products.

The Shetland soap is charming Click here for the website the products are beautiful and smell exquisite!!

If you are into your Gins they also stock the well-known Orkney Gin. Distilled in Kirkwall, Orkney. More info on their Gins on instagram lovely product!

One of my favourites is the Orkney Fudge they put all fudge makers to shame. Melt in your mouth, delicious fudge is a well-known favourite in our family.