Wednesday, 9 August 2017

I'm up for an award - and I'd LOVE your vote please!


So ahem, cough, cough,

Mama-tude is up for Best Parenting Blog in the Boots Maternity and Infant Awards (woohoo!!). I would be so, so incredibly grateful if you could take the time to vote for me.

Its really easy - just click on the image.  It only takes a second.

Thanks so much

Jen x







Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Blurb is Out!!

Woohoo, sharing the full book sleeve to reveal the blurb on the back which will give you an idea of what The Real Mum's Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood is all about! The headshot incidentally was taken by the genius that is Sabrina Dunny. Not only did she ensure this total photo-phobe felt comfortable - she also managed to banish the look of 16 years' sleep deprivation!


The book is now available to pre-order on the Orpen Press website and they've very kindly given me a 20% discount code for followers of Mama-tude. So if you fancy getting in early, the code is "Mama-tude" and the link is here
I'm on countdown!!!





Sunday, 30 July 2017

Book Cover Reveal and Publication Date!

2017 has been one of the craziest, busiest years of my life. In a rare turn of events, I am neither pregnant nor mum to a brand new baby, but I have been working on a different project - a literary type of "eighth baby."

What started as an exciting new venture, back in February has finally come to fruition. I thought nothing could top the excitement of the offer of a publishing deal - I was wrong. The arrival of my book cover, with the book's title, and MY NAME on it, has knocked that original excitement out of the park.In fact I still can't look at it without hopping from one leg to the other like an excited child!

So without further ado (and because I'm too excited to write much more!) -  here it is:

"The Real Mum's Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood", will be published by Orpen Press on the 5th September.

And the cover....




So there you have it. No doubt the hopping will continue between now and September 5th although I've been assured that this is nothing - and to wait until I'm holding a physical copy of it. (I may actually burst with excitement at that stage!!!)

The countdown continues. We're nearly there! 😀😀

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tips for cutting the cost of "back-to-school"

We went to hell today, otherwise known as a shopping expedition with all of the children in tow. The sun shone much brighter than it had promised to do resulting in hot cranky kids and even hotter crankier parents.  The adults traipsed from shop to shop, without any semblance of enthusiasm, whilst the children resisted and complained, and complained and resisted every step of the way.

It’s not that we’re martyrs to the cause, or complete gluttons for punishment either – but taking all of the kids was a necessity as there were feet to be measured and school shoes and runners to be bought. With the summer holidays half over, it’s time to consider the return to school.

It’s a hugely expensive and pressurised time for parents. With five in school here, including two in secondary and a sixth in Montessori, the costs are scary and the need to make serious savings is real. So with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for cutting the costs involved with very expensive, free education.

1.       Book Swap
This is a great and easy thing to do amongst two or, even better, a group of parents who have children of different ages. Get out the booklist, set up a Whatsapp group and send out the searching texts. In a time of every changing editions and book requirements, hoarding books for younger children coming up the line is not necessarily the best course of action as frequently the required books change. Some years you’ll manage to do better than others in a book swap but even one book acquired this way is a saving to your pocket

2.       Sell ‘em
No not the kids, the books. Many educational book stores buy your old school books if they’re in good condition and either pay you or offer store credit, which leads nicely on to tip 3  …..

3.       Second-hand books
It’s always worth checking a second hand book store for the school books you need and the earlier in the summer that you do this, the more chance there is of you managing to get several. Just be very mindful of editions and always double check that you have the correct one.

4.       Watch out for special offers.
Around this time of year, may outlets such as Easons and schoolbooks.ie offer online discounts towards the cost of new school books or the option of free delivery or free book covering. Heatons are another place worth checking for back to school stationery as they often run a 3 for 2 offer, providing the potential for great savings if your numbers are up!

5.       Discount outlets.
School shoes and runners are a very expensive part of back to school. If there’s a discount outlet near you (such as the Kildare Outlet) it’s worth considering a trip. There’s significant savings to be made on shoes in Clark’s, which for me is a lot more than the cost of the petrol involved! The many sports shops on site meanwhile can see you make savings on runners and possibly even school bags.

6.       Schoolbags
And speaking of schoolbags. Before purchasing new ones, double check if a quick wash in the machine with lots of fabric softener is enough to make the bag look good as new and obliterate the pungent yoghurt smell from last year! If you are buying a new one however, – shop around and don’t forget to check stores online to compare value. Sports Direct can offer great value too, but always double check the measurements. Pictures can be deceiving

7.       Crested uniforms
When it comes to uniforms, crested pieces are usually the most expensive parts. Don’t be embarrassed to ask around. If you have friends who cannot pass their child’s outgrown school uniform to a younger sibling, ask them to pass it along to you instead. Sometimes people are afraid to offer for fear of causing offence. Personally, I’m eternally grateful for the amount of outgrown crested uniform pieces that are passed to this house. And remember to share the love. There’s always someone who will happily receive you own children’s uniform hand me downs.

8.       School sales
Check on the school website just in case a uniform or book sale due to be held ahead of the return to school.

9.       Veer from the obvious
Don’t assume that certain things can only be bought in a certain type of shop and keep your eyes peeled - always. Book Station for example, usually renowned for selling good value books, also sell lunch boxes and good beakers for very good prices. The “smash” beakers have stood the very testing, test of time, here.

10.   Buy in bulk
Sounds obvious but list your copy needs and stationery needs and buy together. If you’re trying to spread the cost over a few weeks, spread by purchase type rather than by child. Copies bought in 10 packs work out cheaper and getting all stationery together lets you make the best of special offers and avail of 3 for 2’s.   


Friday, 7 July 2017

Lessons learned on the parenting frontline

The first week of the school hols is over and high-fives all around, we survived it – relatively unscathed, well kinda. And we’ve learned a few lessons that I thought I’d share. The sort of things that it’s handy to know as we navigate our way through the remaining, approximately thirty five weeks, or thereabouts, of the school holidays.

1.       Never leave the house without babywipes. It’s just asking for trouble and without them, your child’s first port of call with their snotty nose, carrot stick orange-coloured mouth and chocolatey hands will be your cream jeans – if you’re daft enough to wear them on an outing with the children.

2.       Never wear your cream jeans on an outing with the children

3.       “Live food” for reptiles in the pet shop is actually live. This will bring about two types of reaction in your children. Those who think it’s really cool will want to touch it. Those of a more sensitive disposition will continue their emotional meltdown well after you’ve arrived home. Steer clear of the live food for reptiles section in your pet shop

4.       Always ask your four year old what’s in his pocket before checking for yourself. Sometimes it’s a spider.

5.       Small children cannot be distracted from asking relatives about their boobs. It’s best just to answer.

6.       If you are trying to gauge the weather and the likelihood of rain – hang out a load of washing. Expect imminent downpour

7.       You will never have enough food in the house and they will always be hungry- always.

8.       Small children don’t do "appropriate" very well. If they know they correct name for genitals they are quite likely to shout it very, VERY loudly and only mildly mispronounced, in the park with maximum audience attention. For example “Mammy I can see your dagina through my binoculars”

9.       The row over who pushes the lift button can potentially see your 4 year old escape in a lift alone if you don’t wedge yourself between the door very quickly. Your four year old will not be as traumatised as you.

Have a great second week!