Family Movie Night

A picture of popcorn and cookies for a movie night with a  toddler
Like pretty much everyone I've ever known, we're fans of movies around these parts. While I love a good rom com,  and Tommie seems to like watching anything but rom coms, as a family we have to think of things that will suit us all. 
While newer movies like Frozen and Big Hero 6 are always a hit in this house, I've also been introducing older Disney classics like The Jungle Book, The Fox and The Hound, and  Lady and the Tramp. Obviously, you can't forget the Toy Story Movies, and Despicable Me, movies that started Caelen's obsession with toys from the series. 
I find that movies with bright colours and catchy music are best to keep Caelen's attention. I mean, who can say "Let It Go" is anything but catchy? Or if he's interested in something, like monsters and dinosaurs, much like any little boy. We recently watched The Land Before Time, a favourite from my own childhood, and Monsters Inc, because monsters. I was a little disappointed when he didn't care for The Little Mermaid, I really wanted an excuse to watch it over and over!
No movie is complete without treats of course. We usually spring for freshly popped popcorn and cookies fresh out of the oven. I usually use this recipe, but after seeing ads for Chips Ahoy! we decided a taste test was in order and added them into the mix. None of us were a fan of them, unfortunately, so I'll be popping back into the kitchen for our next movie night. Usually, us adults would have a can of Coke while watching the movie, but since we're trying to curb our Coke addictions, we've been reaching for MiWadi instead. I'm quite a fan of the Apple Berry flavour. It's not Coke, but it'll do for now!
Add dimmed lights, some snuggly throws and these cute little popcorn boxes and we're pretty much set. At least until Caelen gets older and we can take him to the cinema as a treat. 
What movies would you recommend for smallies?


Midweek Slump

It's the middle of my working week. Like so many others, I find Wednesdays hard. The start of the week is just over, but the weekend is still so far away. However, I'm usually off on Wednesdays, so my slump is more likely to be boredom related than the stresses of work.
My plans to overcome the midweek slump today:
Drink at least 53 cups of tea. Granted, that means I'd need to drink a cup of tea every twenty minutes from the time I get up until I go to bed, but it's a small price to pay.
Get the house in order. It's literally a tip. From the clothes mountain that's taking over the kitchen table, to all the toys strewn around the living room floor after an already busy morning, it's not pretty. In between cups of tea, I'm planning on tackling this today.
Burn all of the candles. I have three Yankee Candles and some sweet smelling cheapies from Deaz left over from Christmas that I plan on lighting all day long. Because, if I don't get the house in order, at least it will smell amazing. And that's half the battle, right?

This evening is for crochet. I've got orders to finish, and I've put it off for far too long. I have a bunny in my WIP box for the last few weeks that I'm itching to get finished. 

After having an early night last night, and having the best sleep in months, I'm planning on retiring early again this evening. Armed with my laptop, hooks and yarn, pattern notebooks and another cuppa, I'm already looking forward to it!

Mainly though, today is for enjoying with the smallie. He loves helping out with the washing machine, and hanging clothes out, so we can put on some cheesy music, dance around the kitchen and have fun while we clean. Now, to teach him Enchanted's "The Working Song" and pray it doesn't attract rats!


What's In My Bag?

I've been toying with doing a post like this for some time now. I mean, I'm incredibly nosy, and love seeing what's in other people's bags. Even though the world and it's mother has done similar posts, I said I'd give it a whirl. Today, I found myself with a free hour so I decided to get cracking. Unfortunately, the weather didn't agree with me so I had to do my best photo wise!

This is my bag in all of it's glory. It's just a cheapy from Penneys/Primark, but I think it's cute. I will say though, that while I love it because Caelen hasn't figured out how to open it yet, it's a little awkward when you're pushing a buggy and your phone starts to ring! It'll do for the time being though!

For such a mid-sized bag, I tend to fit a whole lot in! On days I'm working, I have all this, and maybe a bottle of water or an Innocent smoothie stashed in. On days I'm off, there's a pack of wipes and a nappy taking up most of the room in my bag. Lately though, Caelen's taken to wearing his Toy Story backpack with his own little odds and ends. It feels so nice to have space in my bag now!

First off, the necessities for a working day. Purse, phone and work essentials. The purse is another bargain from Penneys/Primark. For years, I carried around a huge teal purse from River Island, until the change clasp broke. I can't justify spending so much money on a purse at the moment, so this one will do just nicely. My iPhone, because duh. My name badge and safety knife tend to live in my bag now, because I keep forgetting to attach them to my uniform. Clearly, I'm a model employee! And sweeties, in case I need a pick me up.

I picked up this diary in Dealz in November, when we first got them in. I had planned on giving it to a friend as part of a hamper for Christmas, but somehow it made its way onto my bookshelf, and later into my bag. It's not great, but it'll do the job. Considering I tend to use diaries for a few weeks and then forget all about them, spending megabucks on the likes of a Filofax are wasted on me. The same goes for the spangly pink glitter notebook. I start off so well, keeping good care of my notebooks, but then I need to make shopping lists, or make not of something that's ~not intended for that particular notebook~ and I lose all interest in them. A phone charger because the life on my iPhone is a complete joke. And cigarettes because I'm a dirty smoker with no intention of quitting.

On the days I actually wear makeup, I need to have it on me at all times. I have a dirty habit of pawing at my face when I'm tired and stressed, so this ensures that my makeup looks halfway decent throughout the day. I've also been carrying around a tub of Gauge Gear since I started stretching my ears again. For ages, I was only using the likes of Bio Oil, but since this is solid, it's not as messy on application. 

And lastly, the odds and ends. My keys have a habit of getting lost, even with my Unikitty keyring. This week alone I left my keys in my mother's house for four days before remembering where they were. I'm telling you, I'm a joke. And what mother's handbag wouldn't be without some Peppa Pig. We're constantly losing Peppa and George around here, and nine times out of ten, they've been stashed in my bag or one of my pockets. I'm looking forward for him being over this phase already! 

So tell me, what's in your bag? Send me on links to posts you have!


The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Yesterday, the very lovely Amy from Batwings and Lashes nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. While I'm usually not one for tags, in the last week or so I've gotten new Bloglovin' followers, so I thought it might be fun to tell you all some little known facts about me.

001. I have a huge grĂ¡ for body mods. From piercings to tattoos and almost everything in between. I've been slowly growing my collection of both, though I ended up taking out most of my piercings a few years ago. Now, the only visible piercings I have are teeny tiny stretched lobes, my tongue and the newest addition, my septum.

002. I really enjoy baking, I find it quite therapeutic. However, cooking actual meals are my downfall.  I merely have to think of meat and veg, and my kitchen is in flames. It's a good thing my boyfriend enjoys to cook or I'd go hungry.

003. When I was little, I was convinced I was a robot. Any strange little creaky noise my pre-teen body would make, only convinced me more. I always wondered why my parents would want/need a robot child.

yep, that's me in front. see why I thought I was a robot now?
me either!

004. I always had really curly, frizzy unruly hair. The first time I cut off my hair into something resembling a pixie crop, pre GHD days, my hair was always a mess. However, the older I get, the straighter my hair seems to be naturally. Or else I just have a better hairdresser!

005. I used to play the piano and the bagpipes, up until I started studying for my Leaving Cert, when I lost interest. Last year, I tried to learn the ukulele, but my fingers just ain't up to it I'm afraid! It makes me feel a little guilty when I see it perched on top on my bookcase that I didn't make more of an effort.

006. I had a pretty crazy imagination growing up. Like, I had an imaginary friend, Junior, that went everywhere with me for months. Until one day, visiting my nan in hospital, I accidentally sat on him and squashed him. And that was the end of Junior.

007. I really enjoy finding new crafty things to try. Though, so far, I seem to be getting along with crochet the most. It makes me feel like an old woman, especially when I'm wrapped in a blanket with some tea and my latest project on a Saturday night. But it's fun, so who am I to judge myself? 

I'm meant to tag fifteen other bloggers as part of this tag, but I think I'm going to leave this open for whoever wants to do it. If you've done a similar post, send me your link so I can check it out!


late night ramblings #5 - feeling thankful

001. For cake. Seriously though, can you imagine a world without cake? I know I can't! Last Friday, my parents packed myself and Tommie off for a meal, where I had the most delicious mud cake. Even looking at the pictures of our meal now is making my mouth water!
002. Getting amazing news from my granda today. He's been unwell the last few months, and we've been seeing him decline. After a triple bypass and multiple mini strokes, we then found out he needed a hip transplant. The quietest, kindest man I know, who has worked so, so hard his whole life and well into retirement, has been cooped up at home. We found out today that he has an assessment with a surgeon next Tuesday to see if he will operate on him. Even if it gives him some relief so he can potter around and feel more comfortable will mean so much to him. Keep your fingers crossed for him!
003. Having the opportunity to raise money for a worthy charity, and have fun in the process. Last Saturday, I got to sit outside in the sunshine at work, and do face painting for all the children that passed. Annnnd, I get to do it all again for St. Patricks Day and Easter. Today, my manager told me that I raised over fifty euro on my own for Make A Wish. It may sound small, but considering I was only there for two hours I'm pretty damn pleased with myself.
004. For Caelen's Tom Haverford face. It sounds like a funny thing to be grateful for, but seriously, that boy makes me laugh. The last few months have been another learning curve, with the Terrible Two's, and him thinking he can do what he wants (why do I get the feeling he'll be an unruly teen?), but it's little moments like this that make me feel like it's all worthwhile. 

005. This here blog. It might not be read a whole pile, or at all except for that boyfriend of mine, but it's mine. It's my little space to get all those thoughts out. I've always liked writing, and keeping a diary, but in the last few years I haven't been able to physically put pen to paper any more, without doodling all over my shiny new notebooks. With Inked Hibiscus, I have that space to write, and share pictures, even if it is only for myself!


late night ramblings #4 - adventures in hair dye

For years, I wanted bright, colourful hair. I had images upon images of rainbow tresses pinned on Pinterest until I finally took the plunge. You see, I simply got sick of dying my hair brown. I found my first grey hair at eleven, and from then on I'd top up my colour every few weeks. Spending so much money on a colour I didn't want really bummed me out. From time to time, I'd experiment with reddish or purple-y browns, but for the most part they were just that. Brown. And, quite frankly, I was sick of it.

I started off with a brown pixie cut. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, and the colour suited me, but I wanted more. Once it had grown a bit, and knowing I'd be going to the hairdresser soon after (in case of any crazy disaster involving burning half my hair off, or it turning green!), I stocked up on bleach and some L'Oreal Olia red dye and got to it. I figured, a vibrant enough red would sate my thirst for a hair related change. The red didn't take properly on my hair, and I was left with an pink based orange. It was patchy as hell, but I loved it. Some parts were more orange, and after a few washes other sections of my hair turned a pastel pink. Someone even commented on my hair, saying it reminded them of a Fruit Salad sweet. It didn't last long though.

Now, I'd really gotten the bug for stand-out hair. Browsing Amazon one night, I came across Carnation Pink, by Directions. Stocking up on bleach again (FYI, I've used Jerome Russell b.blonde and have never had a problem so far!), I turned my hair from a chewy sweet into the perfect candy pink. Yet again, I loved it. Sure, I didn't have the patience to get help with the bleaching, so there were some patches of my roots that were still a little brown, but once I couldn't see it, it didn't bother me. That lasted for over a month until, having a wedding to go to, I revisited my good friend Amazon for more dye.

Stupidly, I ordered the wrong dye, and instead of the soft, yet incredibly bright, pink I already had in my hair, I ordered Flamingo Pink. It was bright. Like, really really bright. It took a while to get used to. While Carnation Pink felt almost like my "natural" colour, this one felt like a beacon on my head. Once it started to fade, I loved it. It faded to something similar to Carnation Pink, but when it came close to the time to do my roots, I decided I fancied a change.

On a whim, I popped into my local boots, and came out armed with two boxes of Schwarzkopf Live Colour XXL Ultra Brights in Turquoise Temptation. From the colour on the box, I was hoping for a bright, almost teal, blue. I couldn't have been more mistaken. It came out patchy, and only took to the roots. The lengths of my hair, of which there isn't much, came out a pastel blue. And blonde. There was a whole lot of blonde. It looked ridiculous. Not wanting to bleach my hair again and risk more damage, and wanting to read up on some dyes to get it right second time around, it stayed in my hair for a few weeks. As you can see from the picture below, taken three weeks after initially bleaching and dying with the Colour XXL dye, it's a whole mess of colours. And, my hair grows hella fast!

The next stage was also a blue based one. I had given up on finding a turquoise/teal dye without having to mix one up myself, and settled for Crazy Colour Peacock Blue, a dye that I was able to find without resorting to shopping online. This one worked well. It covered all my hair consistently, was bright, and best of all, was blue. I dyed it just before our anniversary, and apart from the crazy fast growth, lasted a good month before I even had to think about topping up the colour.

As usual, I got bored. I grew tired of the blue, and wanted to go back to pink. As things never go smoothly for me, I should have known something would have went wrong. The blue wasn't light enough to lift properly with the bleach. There wasn't enough bleach. I am a tit. All these things are true. I just bunged some pink on my hair and hoped for the best. Strangely though, this was one of my favourite colours I've been. When I took the towel off and looked in the mirror, the first thing I thought was - UNICORN HAIR! Pink, blue and purple, all in one? It was love. Even as it faded, and the colours all merged together from washing, I thought it looked pretty awesome. Until, I felt the winds of change again, and dug out the dye.

Two nights ago, not wanting, or needing, to bleach my hair again, I popped some leftover pink I had knocking around for years - Splat Pink Fetish Rose. Now, I have no idea what the staying power of Splat dyes are, and I did add quite a bit of conditioner, but all I know is I'm destroyed. My hands are pink from running my hands through my hair, my forehead is pink. Three towels, a pillowcase, my work pants, and a nipple are all a bright neon pink. That said, my hair looks good. Surprisingly, it came out mostly purple, even the back that was all pink before dying it. The best bit though, is the little pops of hot pink running through the top and front of my hair.

So, there you have it, a late night ramble about my hair colours in the last few months. So, what colour is next?


Abortion - A Woman's Right?

**** This post is about abortion and my views about it. It's something quite different to usual posting content, so feel free not to click! ****

Last night, I watched "Abortion: Ireland's Guilty Secret" on BBC3. I had seen multiple articles about it over the previous days, and considering it was about Irish women travelling to England for abortions, I felt compelled to watch it. You see, back in 2010, I found myself in Liverpool for the very same reason. I've spoken about my own personal experiences a little on my old blog, but this is new territory for Inked Hibiscus.

If you didn't watch the documentary, the reporter, Alys Harte, interviewed a selection of Irish women about their experiences and feelings after abortion. Tara, and her partner, were interviewed before and directly after her procedure. Lauren talked to Harte two weeks after her termination, which ended with heavy bleeding and passing blood clots on the plane home, effectively having her abortion in a public place. Suzanne, who as a broke student couldn't afford to travel to England, and instead took matters into her own hands by ordering abortion pills on the internet. And Sarah, who changed her pro-life stance after being told her unborn child had been diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality, and chose to travel to England to have the abortion she was denied at home.

I'll just set the record straight. I am pro-life, in the understanding that any child born should come into the world loved and be provided for. I am not pro-birth. Women should have control over their bodies, not the government, and certainly not the Catholic church. I, for one, was not ready. Emotionally, I still had a lot of growing up to do. Realistically, I was living out of home, in a very casual relationship, with no savings and not much money left over at the end of the week. As much as I didn't want children, I also couldn't afford one at the time. It think it's a disgrace to expect women to have children they don't want. Children that may not be loved. Abortion is an awful dilemma to be faced with, and most decisions are not taken lightly. As Tara said "I think I will be able to give a lot more to a child ten years down the line than I am now and that's what I want for me and that's what I want for my future kids."

Do I think that abortion should be legalised in Ireland? Yes. Without even going in to the cost, imagine how traumatic it is to have to travel to England, or further afield, away from family and familiar surroundings, to be faced with such a procedure. I know many will argue that it is the decision they made, but at the end of the day, having a baby should be a choice, not a sentence. I know personally, even though I was completely behind my decision to have an abortion, it was daunting. While the staff were wonderful, home seemed so far away. 

Because abortions in Ireland are usually shrouded in secrecy, and have to be carried out within a certain time frame, it works out expensive. When I got pregnant, I was casually seeing someone. By the time I found out, we had called time on our relationship. I told him, we decided that a pregnancy wasn't the best thing for us at the time, and we tried to come up with the money. I still remember my journey. A bus from my home town to Cork city, on to the airport. From there to Manchester, where we got a bus to Liverpool. We had booked in to a grotty hotel for the night, and had the procedure the following morning. Straight after the clinic, we were back to the airport, and flew into Knock, where we got another bus to Galway city, and another one home. That's a whole lot of travel for someone who is terrified, bleeding heavily and generally uncomfortable. Add to that being with someone who didn't understand why I was upset, and was generally emotionally unavailable.

I talked this over with a friend this morning. She has very different views to me, and we respect that it's a topic we will never agree on. She told me that if she was faced with an unwanted pregnancy, she would put the baby up for adoption. Personally, I think that's incredibly brave, but how popular would that idea realistically be? To carry a baby to full term, and be willing to tell people that you don't want the baby growing inside you? Would you risk being shunned by family and friends for your choice? And then there's the hormones kicking in, that are telling you to keep the baby after the birth.

All of these women, no matter the circumstances, are brave. To take their lives into their own hands, to have to walk past protesters outside clinics, to deal with the conflicting thoughts and reasons for and against, and come out stronger for it. 

Over four thousand Irish women travel for abortions every year. Maybe it's a little too close to home for me, but something has to change. But living in a country where religion is so deeply ingrained in decision making, it will be a long time coming. Ireland, it's time to let go of these medieval views and wake up to the 21st century. It should be a woman's right to choose. 


the day Betty came to the rescue

Sometimes it's the simplest of things that make the world of difference. Take yesterday, for example. It started off well, with breakfast and piping hot tea, before a brisk walk to the outskirts of town. Once we got back though, the terrible twos took hold. Where my smiley happy toddler was, now stood a surly mini teenager. One who just wanted mama's iPhone, and nothing else would substitute. Thankfully, good old Betty Crocker came to the rescue.

I'm not the most confident person in the kitchen. I can bake, but not cook. I enjoy measuring out ingredients, and coming up with little tweaks of my own. On days like yesterday, where time is of the essence, there's nothing like being able to tear open a box of cake mix with your toddler and get stuck in. No waiting for the perfect amount of flour, no searching for the sugar. Just unbox and go.
Yesterday, we made some delicious chocolate cupcakes with rich chocolate frosting and a thousand colourful sprinkles. And tonight, now that Caelen is gone to bed, we're settling down to watch a movie on Netflix with another box mix concoction, brownies!
And the reason I have no pictures of the finished product? They were eaten much too quick. There's always next time though!


Looking Forward

Salou, Spain - May 2013
I've been in a pretty bad funk for the last month. After all the excitement of Christmas petered out, I was left with nothing to look forward to. Going through the motions, I had a (not so nice) event the end of the month looming over me. I felt pretty lifeless. I was still there for my son, but everything else just seemed to stand still. Going through the motions at work and at home. I shut myself off from my friends, my relationship suffered, I piled on (yet more) pounds comfort eating. I haven't blogged, I've barely tweeted. I haven't felt myself.

January was such a troubling month for me. But now, the first of February, it's time for some changes. No more negative thinking. No more holding back. No more needless worrying. What will happen, will happen. It's time to remember what's important in life. That sweet little boy of mine, who seems more grown up every day. My family, and their endless support. Tommie, who is there each and every day. The friends that I've neglected for the last few weeks. That's what is really important, not dwelling on the misfortunes of the past.

This month is already shaping up to be a good one. With my little cousin hitting a milestone birthday today, there's a family get together to look forward to once her exams are over. Playdates with Caelen's best friend. Valentine's Day with my two loves. Friends coming to visit. A mini trip to see family the next county over. Finishing crochet orders, and seeing people smile when they see them. And tonight, while I'm all alone after Caelen's gone to bed, I've been looking at some old holiday pictures, like the one from Salou above. I think it's time to sit down with pen and paper and see if I could afford a sunny break away before the year is out.

It's not much to look at, but it's something to cling on to. January, I'm glad you're behind me. February, I'm ready for you!