30/03/2015

Giveaway // WaterWipes



Back when I was packing my hospital bag, ready to welcome Caelen into the world, my aunt took me to one side. "WaterWipes" she said. "Pack them. Smuggle them in if you have to. They're a godsend". And she wasn't wrong. From those first days in the hospital, through the first few weeks, and beyond, I used WaterWipes on Caelen's delicate baby skin. And more than once, on my own, when I found myself too worn out to wash my face properly. 

While the hospital staff recommended using cotton wool and cooled boiled water, getting out of the house (and those early morning explosive nappies) meant I reached for the WaterWipes more and more, until the cotton wool started getting dusty and I realised I was using the wipes all of the time. Easier to stash in the changing bag, less hassle for quick nappy changes, plus they smell incredible, what's not to love?

WaterWipes are the only wipes in the world that are as gentle on your baby's skin as pure water. Scientifically formulated to be as kind to delicate skin as cotton wool and cooled boiled water - but much more convenient - the only ingredients are 99.9% purified water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract... and that's it.


I'm delighted to be able to offer Inked Hibiscus readers a three month supply of WaterWipes. If you're a new mama, know someone who is, or just want something more natural to give your own face a quick once over, hop over to my Facebook page to enter. The competition runs until the 5th of April at 9PM, and is open to people in Ireland only.

Best of luck!

Amigurumi: Big Hero 6 Baymax!!

crochet amigurumi baymax from big hero 6


It's no secret that I've been trying to improve my crochet for the last while. In particular, making amigurumi. I've been lucky enough that family and friends have offered to pay me for my latest little creations. Orders for Easter themed goodies trickled in over the last few weeks, something I'm both awed and grateful for, that people actually want my crochet in their lives. Baymax though, was different. One night, after all my Easter orders were finished and packaged, I decided to make something especially for Caelen. And the idea of a crocheted amigurumi Baymax was born.

Cobbled together from a couple of different patterns, and minus the fiddly fingers that Baymax has, I'm really pleased with how he turned out. Sure, his head isn't quite right, and one of his arms aren't stitched on as neatly as I'd imagined it would be, but I'm learning that things don't have to turn out perfectly the first time. Now I have the excuse to make many, many more to perfect my Baymax technique! Since this one is about ten inches tall, I want to try making a smaller keyring sized one for my bag best. Portable Baymax, here we come!

And now for the scary part... Now that I've got the amigurumi bug, but have a list a mile long of things I want to make, I want suggestions. What would you like to see me hook up next? 



29/03/2015

Pamper Me!

\
Inked HIbiscus pamper night Soap and Glory Essie La Roche Posay Game of Thrones


Sometimes, things get on top of me. I love to procrastinate, and leave things until the last minute. For the last few weeks, I've had a certain special crochet order to do. But, between my granda being unwell, and having hooking related pains in my hands, I had to rush to get them finished on time. 


Now that they're finished, and an extra special crocheted Baymax is almost ready for Caelen for Easter, I'm planning a relaxation day. Just me, some music, a good read, and some pampering. I've been letting things slide, you know. Chips on chips on my nails, and my skin is a stress related Sahara-esque spot central. 


One day this week, Caelen's nana is taking him someplace fun. I'm going to have the longest of hot showers (no bath over here, unfortunately!), and spend a few hours all my myself. Wrapped up in a fluffy throw and lazing around in my pyjamas, painting my nails and catching up on some Game of Thrones, before I desert the books for the show in a few weeks time! I want to bathe my poor neglected hands in champagne for getting through this difficult and painful time. My budget won't stretch that far, although I do have a champagne infused Vaseline that I can lather them in. I doubt it'll have the same effect, but a girls gotta try!



25/03/2015

The Hunt Is On

Inked Hibiscus Easter bunny chick egs


With Easter creeping closer and closer, I've been really busy getting things done. Crochet orders left, right and centre have pretty much taken over my life. I have a lump on my finger from my hook, and my left hand is really stiff from gripping what I'm working on. I even had to stop completely for a few weeks due to the pains. However, I'm completely delighted to have been asked to make little crochet cuties for family and friends. I feel it's a lot more personal than giving people chocolate eggs, and my hands will get over it, in time!

Now that Caelen is older, and understands so much more, I'm planning an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday. Just for him, just at home, but I'm ridiculously excited. I've bought little plastic eggs to fill with goodies, and signs to guide him on his way. I'm in the process of looking for a suitable basket or other container that he can use for the egg hunt, but I'm leaning towards making one that he can use for years to come. Since I don't get to spend the full day with him, I do want to make it special for us.

While I love chocolate myself, I do try to limit how much Caelen has. So a large majority of his Easter gifts will be confectionary free. Colouring books, PlayDoh, crayons. A couple of chicks and bunnies, like the ones above, to add to his collection. I've put away some Easter and bunny themed books to leave at the end of his bed with an Easter egg, ready to collect on my next trip to town. And when he comes back that afternoon, I want to have a nice dinner ready, with something extra nice for dessert!

Lately, any little noise he hears around the house is the Easter Bunny. Caelen is convinced he's hiding in the house, with lots of chocolate, ready to be found. He really hasn't grasped the fact that the Easter Bunny only calls once a year, but it's providing so much entertainment when he drops everything to look for him.

Me, you ask? I want all of the chocolate. So, if anyone would like to drop a million hints on my behalf, be my guest!


21/03/2015

World Poetry Day 2015

So, tardy to the party as ever, but today is World Poetry Day. 

I'll admit, I haven't read much poetry since I left school almost ten years ago. Even then, I was limited to whatever poets we were studying in English class. I did enjoy it, but I'd much prefer to pick up a regular book than a book of poetry. Which is a shame, as some poems are so beautifully written, I'm definitely missing out!

I used to dabble in writing the odd poem or two in school, but I'd rather not relive the time I wrote one for my maths teacher. I don't think I'll ever live that down! Lets just say the phrase "big is beautiful" was meant to be about our graphs.... Instead, I thought I'd share this little book of poetry that my grand uncle had published a few years back. 


Inked Hibiscus World Poetry Day


"A Tree of Tissues" is a collection of poems by Michael Callaghan, Mickey to family and friends. Mostly written for his wife and family, I laugh and cry my way through this little book. Dedicated to the memory of his wife Nellie, he was encouraged by his children to collect his favourite poems together to form this book.

Mickey writes with affection for his family, friends and wildlife. He pens with a firm faith in God, but can also produce a cursing poem that packs quite a sting. His poems of emigration ring true, as do his lighter, comedic, pieces. 

This one is my favourite, written for his fortieth wedding anniversary -

I tried to find a pretty box
To show how much I love you

But I could not find one made of silk
With the colours of the rainbow.

Nor could I find one made of gold
That had the scent of roses,

Nor one that sparkled like the stars
With the beauty of an emerald.

But in my heart there is a box
And for forty years you have filled it;
And if I live for forty more
You will find three words within in-
I love you.



And one he presented me with on my 18th birthday  - 

A journey through life,
Has many a bend,
And at times one may feel
They are lost.
But there isn't an atlas
That one can buy,
To guide them to the right path.
It is what you take with you
From the time that has passed,
That will help you
To find the sure way
So take your manner and grace
You have shown in the past
And you surely will not go astray.
 



19/03/2015

Catrice Nude Illusion review

I'm not a beauty blogger, or even know all that much about makeup. I know what I know, and I like to think I do it relatively well. But sometimes, I fall in love with something. And instead of proclaiming my love for something from he rooftops, I'm going to use this here blog from time to time. Call it a "Dummies Guide to Makeup", if you will.

Up until I got pregnant, I never had any real issues with my skin. Granted, I tended to blush a lot for no reason (still do!), but my skin itself was in good enough nick. Once I was pregnant though, my skin started to suffer. Big old angry spots and red patches would appear all over my face, all of the time. My skin became incredibly dry and flaky.

Because funds are ever limited, I have to limit myself to buying makeup on the cheaper end of the spectrum, foundation included. My favourite (price and coverage wise) is Rimmel's Wake Me Up, but the shades are all too dark for me. Which is fine in the summer, when I get some sort of a colour, but in the depths of winter and spring, I end up looking ridiculous. On a whim last week, I bought Catrice Nude Illusion in Nude Ivory.


Catrice Nude Illusion Nude Ivory review


Looking a lot more expensive than it's budget friendly €8.49, and with a handy dandy pump, Catrice Nude Illusion gives a nice bang for its buck. A medium consistency, I found it quite easy to blend. To do this I usually use a blending sponge from Model's Own, and then buff it in with the Real Techniques. While it's got quite a light coverage, I find it covers any red areas well. However, I do find I need to use a primer and setting spray to stop it rubbing off my nose throughout the day. I realised too late that showing a swatch on my purple, poor circulation ridden hand was probably not the best idea. It does match my face, I swear!


Catrice Nude Illusion Nude Ivory review swatch


With self proclaimed "soft, light reflecting pigments", Catrice Nude Illusion gives me a nice glow-y complexion. While it doesn't last as well as I'd like without extra steps, it's certainly good value for money. If you're looking for a low budget, natural foundation, this is one to try.

18/03/2015

Sunny Days

Some days are so much better than others. Today was one such day. We woke early, after a late night. Not due to the normal St. Patricks Day shenanigans, but because Caelen decided to stay up as late as possible. And wake up as the sun rose. It didn't seem like the ideal situation, but with the sun shining, I decided it was better to make the most of it. Sure, I could have dozed on the couch at home all morning, but where's the fun in that?


Inked Hibiscus cupcakes sprinkles chocolate



We popped to the shop for some supplies, and spent the morning baking. Chocolate covered cupcakes and scones made before lunch, and then a visit to my mom and grandparents to deliver the goodies. My grandfather, now out of hospital, seems to be on the mend. He's still in pain, and gets tired a lot, but that's to be expected. He loved that Caelen brought him breakfast in bed, and later ran around pretending to be a robot. It's simple little things like these that make my day.



Inked Hibiscus Sunny Days baking scones
Before lunch, we took another walk. This time, a haircut turned my curly haired babe into a tousled headed little man. Looking at him walking down the stairs after getting his hair cut, Jasper in hand, it hit me. My child is practically reared. Walking home in the sunshine, hand in hand, I thought back on his two and a half years. It's been a tough journey, but one I'd take over and over again. 


Inked Hibiscus son haircut
It's easy to remember him as that tiny little baby, with scrunched up little frog legs and the biggest hands I've ever seen. And the milestones. His first word, his first spoonful of baby food, his first step, the works. It's harder to pinpoint though, where the baby ends and the boy begins. It seems like he just grew up overnight, with his own personality thats becoming more and more apparent. He has a crush on my brother's girlfriend, and would like a yellow dog. He loves the colour purple. Peppa Pig rocks his world. While he doesn't get it often, he can eat chocolate in a matter of seconds, and it doesn't end up all over his face, like me.

He makes my heart melt.

I know there are tough times. He's stubborn, and demands to get his own way. He gets frustrated easily, especially when someone doesn't understand him. Sometimes, he thinks sleep is for the weak and decides against it. But when he hugs me and I hear "I love you mama, to the moon and back, and all around the world" in his singsong little voice it makes it all worthwhile.

   

10/03/2015

As Told Through My Camera Roll

Sometimes, when I look at my camera roll, I wonder why I'm allowed to have a phone. While people usually take photographs to document a moment, I've been known to take pictures to use as reminders. Or screenshots to make a shopping list. I thought it'd be pretty fun to showcase some of the oh-so-amazing snaps I end up finding on my phone. These are the last ten photos on my camera roll...


An old family photo













Last week, on my brother's birthday, my mom sent me a couple of old pictures. This one is of me and the aforementioned brother. I was obviously fashion savvy back then though, proudly wearing a Christmas jumper in March/April! And now I know where Caelen gets his gruumpy little head from.


A photo of the snow in Tralee




Last Tuesday we ended up getting snow. You can't see it here, but it was snowing really heavily, while I was running home with Caelen in the buggy! I was trying to get a decent snap of the snow to send to my friend Michelle in Dublin, to try to make her miss this little place and come back to me!





Another photo to a friend. Talking about what we were doing at that particular moment, I sent her this. Peppa Pig. Over an hour of Peppa Pig. When Caelen wasn't even watching it, but complained every time I turned it off. Someone seriously has to make some sausages out of that whiny little pig already.




Tralee hospital




I tend to send a lot of random photos to friends. This one was to a group Whatsapp chat I'm part of, taken on my way to visit my granda in the hospital. It's pretty boring. A hospital. A road. A path. Some snowy mountains in the distance.


hailstones


This is known as "The Night The Hail Came Down The Chimney And Collette Thought The Roof Was Caving In". Sitting down after Caelen had gone to bed the last night, something hit off my bare feet. And then again. And again. All I saw were things jumping out of the fire, and jumping to conclusions I thought it was the chimney caving in. Turns out it was hailstones that were coming down the chimney. I do have quite the active imagination.

Gloria Jeans muffin


Last Tuesday, the lovely Nicola treated us to hot chocolate and muffins. The adults both sprung for chocolate, and I chose a salted caramel for Caelen. Mainly because I knew he was more likely to eat a plain looking muffin, and partly because I doubted he'd eat it, and I wanted to sample it. Shoot me, ok?


Inked Hibiscus Argos Ben and Holly


Picking up some new bits for Caelen in Argos. Since my granda is in hospital, I thought buying Caelen a doctors kit would help to explain it. And then I decided to avail of the 2 for €20 offer Argos have and get him some Ben and Holly figures too. He's been going around the house making Holly do magic and operating on me ever since. Money well spent!


Sulky toddler. I swear, each and every day he acts more like a teenager. I told him it was time to go home, and he ignored me and pretended to watch my parents television. That, or he's the only two year old interested in the news!




This is what happens when someone is falling asleep directly after dinner, and Mama has a yoghurt in her hand. Smearing it all over his face woke him up long enough for a giggle and a quick change into his pyjamas.

Inked Hibiscus Spring daffodils Yankee Candle crochet chick


Today, with the sun streaming through the windows, I set about spring cleaning. The kitchen table was buried under a mound of clothes that needed ironing, the back garden had seen better days. Everything just needed to look fresher. A few hours later, with both kitchen and gardening done, it was lovely to sit at the table with a cuppa and enjoy the new daffs I pinched from the garden!


As usual, the majority of my photos are of Caelen. But when he looks that cute, you can't blame me, right?


08/03/2015

Granda

So, things have been a little quiet around these parts recently. After making such a fuss about wanting to post more regularly, and really try to make a go of this little blog of mine, I ended up not being in the form for blogging all week. You see, my mind was elsewhere. My granda was in hospital.

Before I start waffling, he's fine. He had complained about pains in his knee for months before finally going to the doctor. Instead of there being a problem with his knee though, it was his hip. He needed a replacement. Months of travelling back and forth for consultations, coming off his medication, going back on his medication, and admin mix ups meant my granda was kept waiting. Last week, he was told it was going ahead, and went into the hospital a few days early, to come off his heart medication again before the operation.

My granda is truly one of the best people I know. Quiet and reserved, who wouldn't dream of letting anyone seeing him without his hair combed. He would do anything he possibly could for anyone. Never without a kind word or some helpful advice, he's always been the rock that held the family together. Growing up next door to my grandparents for most of my life, I truly learned how dependable and strong he was. He built my parents extension, giving them a kitchen and proper bathroom. He plastered the entire house. When I moved in here, he built a fence to block off the unruly jungle of a back garden. He'd come over to fix curtain poles and doors, never a complaint. He'd drop off bags upon bags of blocks for our fire, early in the morning, before Caelen and I would even be awake. I remember when I was younger, and he'd bring me to car boot sales every Sunday. And fishing too, when I was that way inclined. No matter how busy he was, he always had time for the people he loved. 






The last few years have been tough for him. A triple bypass, a couple of strokes and now a hip replacement, and it still hasn't made him want to stop. Visiting him yesterday, and he was complaining. Not about the pain, or the fact that he had the procedure with only an epidural (Yep, he was awake and fully aware while they were sawing out his hip!), but that he hadn't been able to garden in ages. He's itching to do some pruning, or weeding, or whatever it is that green fingered types like to do. 






Now, things have got to change. He's not the same man as he was, even a couple of years ago. It really hit me yesterday how old he was after getting. He's been told by his doctors that there'll be no more plastering, or painting, or building. Gardening will be kept to a minimum. But the very fact that we were told there was a very big risk that he wouldn't make it off of the operating table is something to celebrate. He will be pain free and, hopefully, around for many years to come. It lifts my heart so much to think that Caelen has the opportunity to spend so much time with his great grandparents, something a lot of people aren't able to do. And he, in return, loves his Nanny Joan and Granda Michael, and not just for the odd biscuit when we visit!






















So, yeah. That's where I've been. Waiting for news, going to the hospital, coming together as a family.  Now that he's on the mend, I'll be blogging more regularly again.

02/03/2015

March Playlist - Ultimate Cheese

An iPhone with Spotify and a playlist


As the weather gets warmer, and the days get longer, I find myself singing around the kitchen. Not like in the depths of winter, where I'm in and out as soon as possible, to get back to the warmth of the fire. And because I don't have the best of voices, when I sing, I only sing the cheesiest of the cheesy music. You're talking Backstreet Boys, you're talking classic Britney Spears, you're talking  Destiny's Child. And yes, I do sound like a strangled cat more than I'd like to admit.

Here are some songs I plan on listening to over and over this month:

Just Got Paid - NSync

What I Like About You - The Romantics

Ooh Stick You - Daphne and Celeste

Bootilicious - Destiny's Child

When The Lights Go Out - 5ive

Obviously - McFly

Gold Digger - Kanye West, Jamie Foxx


Lately, I set up a shared playlist on Spotify for me and my friends. It's filled to the brim with all these, and more. They remind me of our schooldays, and singing while we drank together before going out. They remind me of my oldest friend, Zoe, who was into the whole pop thing when I found it embarrassing. They remind me of parties, and shopping and everything involved with being a teenager. This year marks a whole decade since I've had that title, but sometimes its fun to put on some old tunes, and reminisce about the good old days.

01/03/2015

My Favourite Perfumes

A picture of Lancome, Avon and Lolita Lempicka perfumes

Some people are creatures of habit. When it comes to scents, I'm one of those. As a young teen, I'd borrow my moms, or my aunts, when going out with friends. I got my first proper "grown up" perfume in Christmas 2005, just in time for my debs in January. Since then, I'll flit between different perfumes, but I'll always, always come back to my favourites.

Lancome Hypnose was that first proper perfume. A Christmas present from my parents, it quickly became my signature scent. From lazy days at home, to wild nights out, Hypnose came along for the ride. So much so, that I went through my first bottle at a super quick speed, with no thoughts of where my next bottle would come from. 

Lancome Hypnose is an oriental, woody fragrance, that features passion flower, velvetier and, my favourite, vanilla. It feels feminine, light and luxurious. When I wear this, I'm instantly transported back to all of the most special occasions of my adult years. It retails for around €44 for a 30ml bottle.

Avon's Rare Pearls might seem quite an odd choice for a favourite perfume, but nothing beats it for every day value. An impulse buy at first, I've repurchased it time and time again to wear every day. 

With notes of rosewood, plum, honey and patchouli to name but a few, Rare Pearls can come across overpowering at first, but settles into a sweet, almost powdery, white floral scent. Likened to Dior Pure Poison, you really can't go wrong! Rare Pearls is available on the Avon website for £6.50 on the Avon website.

Last but not least is Lolita Lempicka, another Christmas gift from my parents. They bought it in the duty free on a break away, after asking me if I had anything in mind. Being the creature of comfort I am, I literally Googled perfumes and the shape of the bottle drew me in. Without ever knowing what the perfume was like, I knew I'd love it.

Lolita Lempicka's first perfume is pretty unique. Based on liquorice, it's notes of anise, violet and green ivy combine with iris and vanilla to create a wonderful fresh and woody scent. It's one I don't wear all too often, the last time being our anniversary weekend in Killarney. Considering the price, I think I'll be keeping this one exclusively for extra special occasions, to make them feel more special. That way, whenever I catch a whiff of Lolita Lempicka, I'll remember all of those happy times. This one is the most expensive of the bunch, on sale for €73.35 on the Debenhams website.

What are your favourite scents?