While You Were Sleeping

You see, I wasn’t to know. Who could know?  Who can predict that the big sleep was going to happen today? If only I had known! I might have made a plan. Might have ‘got stuff done’. Painted a few window ledges. Pruned a few sad looking roses. Reorganised a few wardrobes of unworn clothes. The Forever To Do List! Still to be done …

You see, I expected at least one of you to wake.

But you didn’t.

You both slept on like the peaceful angels you are.

By the time I knew it was happening, it was too late! I had casually wasted my time.bitmoji-20160827030555

While you were sleeping…

I could have weeded the flower pots.

Uncluttered a few presses.

Written a decent blog post.

Planned a few lessons for class.

Vacuum packed some old gear.

Dusted a few shelves.

Framed some pictures.

Brushed down a dog.

Ironed on some name tags.


I could have napped too.

No. None of that. I did none. Instead I squandered the time. Foolish!

I washed the kitchen floor. Again.

Browed twitter.

Ate cheesy, cheesy pasta.

Drank a WHOLE cup of hot coffee.

Insulted my intelligence watching some guy called Stephen and another called Colin on that love to hate to love show we call Celebrity Big Brother and how they are the reason why the world can be a headwreck to figure out. Stephen and     Colin have given themselves other names but I choose to call them by their actual first names.

Ate a flapjack.

Stared into space.

Listened to nothing.

While you were sleeping. I did nothing. I could have fixed the world. This time I didn’t.



Little Gems

Is there any harm looking for the moments of the day that make today different to others? I believe not! Life being a series of moments, it is only right to acknowledge some of them occasionally. Maybe I am off my rocker or maybe some of you will like to hear my little gems for today. They might help you see something tiny that was in your life today that was an unexpected gem.

There is no light bulb moment or awe inspiring thrill seekers’ experience here. You see being a Mother might be tough, but here is one benefit. The fun is in the small things. No need to pay for tickets to Springsteen (and lose a night’s sleep 😨)  when you can find happiness in your garden. Or on your telly.

We will tell ourselves that anyway.

So here are my little gems. These made me smile. Today. 24th August 2016.

1. My WW class. I love this morning class. It cracks me up. The smartpoints we have wrong. The things we do right. The leader, Patricia is a professional people person and I don’t care who knows it. A brilliant leader. Only for her, my doctor and I would be falling out over my BMI. So I smiled today. pear-1530193_640Even though I was a half pound up. The class made me laugh as we discussed coffees and their points throughout Ireland.

2. I left class and had a coffee. Had a longin’ after all that chat! I believe a coffee should always be sniffed before you drink it. For me, that is half the point of a coffee.coffee-777612_640 Just before you add milk, take a long feel inhale in your nostrils. Amazing. So I did. A little gem of a moment.

3. The Rose of Tralee. I have alluded to this bizarre  (but lovable to us Irish as it is our daft tradition ) competition of …well I can’t really say what. THE-ROSE-OF-TRALEE-2.jpgYou see the parody on Fr Ted (Lovely Girls Competition) seems too close the event to not ring true. Read Fr Ted and nineties Ireland… A nod to Frank Kelly. Anyhow, despite my adult reservations of what it stands for, the show has lovely memories for me as a child. I loved it. I wanted to be a rose so badly. I always spent that week in my Granny’s house in Roscommon. We watched together, making bets and genuinely bonding. That time is sadly past but the memory is strong. The show still makes me smile. Especially when mad stuff happens at it. Poor Cavan rose had to deal with a petitioner for father’s rights storm the stage midst her turn. I am not against the cause. It is just very Fr Ted -esque to see this particlar storming! I felt sorry for the girl as it interrupted her interview but the incident made me howl laughing and I keep watching it. Wanna see it?  Click here  I didn’t even watch the whole show. Just the funny bits. Like the stage invasion. It is still a gem that made me laugh. That and the lovely memory of competitions past in my Granny’s house.

4. Body suits.  I know. You wonder! You know those adult babygros vests with the button under flaps?  These are back in fashion. 179c1e31f479615cd2bbb77f59f9b8af.jpgI didn’t buy any. However they make smile as I remember 1992 and the ones I once had. I was a skinny twelve year old and thought them the height of fashion. No bulgy tummy worries.I see them on shelves in Penneys today and I smile.

5. My biggest gems are obviously my little ladies. Today’s post however is about little gems. So a little gem that they offer is when both make eye contact and it makes them giggle. That makes me giggle. It makes me proud, happy and overwhelmed. They did that this morning when they woke up. Sweet as an iced gem biscuit. Remember those? cropped-dscf4925-12.jpg

So you see! I can have a gem filled day without heading to Italy or having a white water raft ride! No need to shop in designer stores or hit the top theatre. Big moments can arrive in small packages. They may seem silly to some.To me they are little gems. They make the day better.

Have you any to share?

I just want to thank all people who took time to vote for fancypaper at the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. Voting is now over. I will let you know how we do! 


Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist…thank you for choosing us!

I am reblogging this today as it is the last day of voting. Thank you to anyone who did vote- I appreciate it so much!


Well, we are all a little bit humble at the Paper house today. I was delighted that we had been longlisted in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards for Parenting blog. Shortlisted? That, I didn’t expect! bitmoji-20160817031353

I have been blogging since January. My main reason was to combat an overwhelming feeling of well, being overwhelmed. I suppose it was to combat a depression setting in. I made this website my therapy calling it An exercise in happiness: An Irish parent’s project.

They say when you feel blue that you try do something or you may have to take something. Writing being my passion and dream, I had found myself drifting further and further away from it. This parting often made me shiver. One day, probably whilst googling my millionth baby question, I stumbled onto the idea that I could blog.  Therefore I had a go. I blogged. So far it…

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I’d Like to Know…

Every day is spent asking questions. Ambiguous. Vital. Pointless. Out loud. Silently. Through gritted teeth. Cheerily. Grimaced. Happily. Passive aggressively. Rhetorically. In need of reply. Vague. With a smile. As part of the internal monologue. ..bitmoji-20160814073922

So today I am penning it. Today I would like to know the following. Don’t expect deep philosophical mind benders. In no particular order…

I would like to know….

  1. What happened to Elizabeth? ? I can’t get to finish my book!IDShot_540x540 It is just that reading (my absolutely FAVOURITE thing to do) is taking a backseat because of my baby world. That is OK. It will return. In the meantime it us taking me ages to read a book that once took no length. This doesn’t matter for some books, but this one demands my attention. I love this story, poignant and bittersweet as it is. I have an idea of what may have happened to Elizabeth (but not Sukey) I just need to finish the book to be sure! ! Maybe page turners are the best if you don’t have time to turn the page! More suspense.
  2. When will ‘rested’ be a consistent feeling again? Two small children. I can feel your eyeroll!  I can ask though, can’t  I?!tumblr_inline_o0r213bJsn1t3a9o9_500.gif
  3. Where does the dust and dirt come from ? In such quantities. At such speed. Why can’t dust swap with money?? Why do I care so much about cleaning when a clean home is so temporary?anigif_enhanced-12587-1400056496-6_preview.gif
  4. How much will my work life change in the next two years? My job is changing. My school is amalgamating with another. It is our school however that moves site meaning the physical and probably emotional alteration will be ours. I love my job and school. I hope so much that I will grow to love the new. This year is our last in our old school. I am allowed to be a little emotional surely? Change I can handle. Two small children bring a world of change already.  I can’t handle too much more…
  5. Who killed McGonagall?  You know when a serial TV show features a killer (serial or otherwise)? You spend weeks. Who killed JR/Mr Burns/Lucy Beale etc.? In fact I never got into any of those particular mysteries. Who killed Danny in Broadchurch-that sure got me hooked. So my husband and I follow fairly new Irish soap Red Rock. Nasty garda McGonagall got his comeuppance. We all are gripped to know whodunnit. They end the series on a cliffhanger for the summer. G’wan. I will barely care by September! !red-rock.jpg
  6. What do my new glasses look like? Is my face now different to the outside world? My precious angels, my little girls must take mutual blame here. Ask Gigi who broke my glasses however and she will give you the large, eye blinking ‘Betsy did that’ reason. Betsy was pulling them off my face. Gigi tried stop her. In the fracas a leg came away. Do I need them badly? Yup! A sellotaped Jack Duckworth style wearing week later, I have new ones. I chose swiftly. I have taken no time to see if they ‘suit’ my face. Children give you that freedom. You no longer have time for trifling worries! It is only a sporadic minute (like now) I wonder if I changed much and am interested in how little I care where once I cared so much. I took no selfie. Am I out of touch?

    Lived to a good age.
  7. What will the good people at Glenisk do if my daughter loses her taste for their yoghurt? gleniskI just wonder how much yoghurt a little girl can want. If Betsy is the same, we will need yoghurt loans.
  8. Am I a bad parent for looking forward to next trip away with husband? I love these ladies. More and more we are becoming a family who can work trips outdoors. It is getting more fun all the time. Can I be forgiven though for looking forward to a day with Mr Paper? To giggle and laugh like when we first dated?
  9. Is my little girl done with Peppa?
    giphy (1).gif
    I am not ready to hang up just yet Peppa.

    Gigi likes other cartoons now. Peppa is an occasional view. Did we leave it too late to visit Peppa Pig World? Is Dora the new Peppa? I will miss that pink pig.

    10. Will the day soon come where I haven’t got a whiney physical complaint? giphy-11From plantar fascitis to ear aches, apres birth issues to strange gum pain, I have had so much to complain about. Time for it to go people!

Bonus Wonder. I would like to know how my girls are so ridiculously cute to watch play together?  How did we get these dotes? As hairy as life gets being a parent, we are head over heels in love with these magic wee pixies. Why us? Why do we get these wonderful girls? Lucky, lucky folk. We are helplessly grateful.15906433-The-little-two-girls-have-got-a-friendship-Stock-Vector-cartoon-birthday

Many of these have answers I will learn soon.  Some matter. Others don’t. As each one is answered, I will replace it with another. The brain rolls on and on, a stream of consciousness Joyce can barely document.james-joyce

Why do cheeky flies always return to the same spot even when you have disinfected? How come I boil the kettle all day but when I need it it needs refilling? Why is it that when I have a relaxing night I can’t sleep? How is it that…why…what if…should I…could we have…will we…who said. ..

You get the picture…I got questions!

If you could take the time to place a vote for this blog in the Littlewoods Blog Awards for Parenting Blog, we would be very happy! Thank you so much! You can  Click Here  if you so wish or the link at the side of this page. We are so surprised to be shortlisted alone!

Voting ends on the 23rd. Thank you!!




Spills Less Thrills

You know those days when everything falls to the floor? You feel like joining the cups, the cereal, the milk and just lie down and rock in the mess?bitmoji-20160819092104 Only you know there is no bludy point because you will have to clean it up anyway? A circle of frustration.

Yesterday morning we decided to have a go toilet training Gigi. She is 2 and a half. If it didn’t work, we would give it another while.potty-training-153278_640

How rational I was! How calm. How foolish.

Morning saw a cross little girl. She was just not fully herself, not wanting to do much and only interested in Dora the Explorer. I had chats with her. Sat by her waiting. Took her to the the loo. Found little wet patches in various places. All to be expected I suppose.

As I did this, I noticed the floors needed cleaning.

When would that happen?

Time was gathering.

When would I cook dinner?

Gigi loved the sticker rewards and the new clothes for toilet training. However she just wasn’t really into it overall. Clearly not ready. After she accidentally spilled a drink of water on the couch (my fault as I had not given her a non spill cup), and towels were running out, I began to feel we needed a new tactic. Do something different. We hoovered as a group effort. Betsy in the walker getting dangerously caught up in the flex. Gigi ‘helping’. We then baked. I would then bring her in and out again to the toilet. Fresh. Big accident though in the kitchen in the midst of cake mix and flour, meat frying in the pan, baby screeching and the dog yowling. The dog was howling at another dog in a jeep. Baby Betsy knew something was going down and was demanding her attention quota. Fair enough. It just seemed to be a soundtrack to chaos. Barking. Squealing. Frying. Mess. Wee.

Gigi didn’t notice. She was licking the batter spoon. 9780399240133-1

I gave her a nappy pull up. Enough was enough. It was one of those days. Definitely not the day to start this kind of job.

I hoovered more. Made a stab at a dinner.

Time out.

The girls ate. Attempted naps.

Betsy went after a mini battle. Gigi seemed to be asleep. Morning having attempted to crush my spirit, I needed sustenance. I filled a large glass of cold sparkling water with orange. I laid out my pasta. I sat -no sank- down. On the sopping cushions covered with a blanket. For the moment. I reached out for the much needed drink.

You can see where this is headed.bitmoji-20160819034859

Of course, my finger acted as if it wasn’t attached to my body, jabbed the pint glass spilling every drop. Coffee table soaked. All down the sides. Over and under the baby ABC floor tiles. I didn’t shout. I didn’t scream.  I just cleaned.

I ate a few bites of tepid pasta. Couldn’t face making fresh orange. Made a coffee. Cut some of the cherry cake we had made. (All cherries at the bottom of the cake. Sorry Mary Berry).

Soggy bottom…gasp!

Heard a yell. ‘MAMMY!’. Gig was wide awake. She had no intention of sleeping.

Coffee and cake sat there until the coffee was as good as iced. Uncool. Paradoxically.

Betsy was up instantly on the rooster cry that is Gigi. It was two pm. Naps had been bypassed.bitmoji-20160819114428

Gigi had some cake.  In the sittingroom. Kitchen. Hall. Every room you can imagine. Cherry cake is very crumby. I walked through thinking possibly Hansel and Gretel were leaving me a trail. Hopefully I wasn’t the witch in question.fairy-tales-72660_640

So much for hoovering.

We played games. Colouring in. Playing with Snoopy toys. Peek a boo. Both girls wanted to be on my lap. Both happy but agitated. Just that type of day.

I had potato slices on to boil as part of our tea later after Mr Paper got home. I was planning to roast them as a fakeway, (weight watchers)-like chips but healthier. Of course I didn’t get back on time to the kitchen to turn them down to simmer.

They boiled over. Spectacularly. Had I even put that much water in the pan? It was everywhere.

It was around now that my head went into meltdown. I can usually get through the insanity. I wanted to run away on this occasion. Instead I had a silent scream with a spatula in the utility room.bitmoji-20160819103707

I got out for an hour with Gigi to the shop. Air helps. Bought orange. Drank it. You know the one made out of clouds? That one. Orange that exaggerates.TWOl

The day passed.

Evening time. Girls slept. We had fake chips. Two hours watching Tony Soprano being a complex protagonist that you find yourself loving despite his obvious flaws and it was bedtime. Eggshells!followed. bitmoji-20160819040059Successfully passed.

The day ended.

Some days spilled everything is not a problem. Somedays it is a catastrophe. Every day ends.

Time to rest. Tomorrow I need to buy a spatula.

If you find you have the time and are so inclined…please vote for this Mammy who somehow managed to make the Littlewoods Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist. Please click the badge at the side of the page or Click Here . We are very grateful for taking your time!bitmoji-20160819035220


Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist…thank you for choosing us!

Well, we are all a little bit humble at the Paper house today. I was delighted that we had been longlisted in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards for Parenting blog. Shortlisted? That, I didn’t expect! bitmoji-20160817031353

I have been blogging since January. My main reason was to combat an overwhelming feeling of well, being overwhelmed. I suppose it was to combat a depression setting in. I made this website my therapy calling it An exercise in happiness: An Irish parent’s project.

They say when you feel blue that you try do something or you may have to take something. Writing being my passion and dream, I had found myself drifting further and further away from it. This parting often made me shiver. One day, probably whilst googling my millionth baby question, I stumbled onto the idea that I could blog.  Therefore I had a go. I blogged. So far it has been wonderful medicine. I have had plenty of tough moments since starting. I just wrote about it. Why is Everyone Crying?was one occasion. Or The Fear. Of course there was a most memorable Mother’s Day lunch too – Lunch out with little babyboos. It didn’t eradicate my humour. It did help however. My posts are helping me and knowing others sometimes checked in and seemed to like them too…blew my mind. I tried staying positive. I write more posts like Five Ways to Stay Happy when being Mam gets Tough.  I made blogging friends-a bonus. I really didn’t expect to get to feel as if I knew other people-but I do. I love the comments, chat and banter with other bloggers. Discovering new linkies. Hiding in the bathroom to read other bloggers’ work. The hiding is something other parents will understand. I blog mostly on my phone. Babies love to grab phones…

Hiding on the babies!!

The experience has been cathartic.  I look forward to more blogging.

Time now for me do a spot of fishing. ..bitmoji-20160817034154

The next stage of the awards includes a public vote. I would hope, if you have time and would like to, that maybe you could send a vote our way. We would be very grateful! I have a link below and will shortly add one to a badge on my page.

I am not expecting a win. It is fun to play though..😃

Thank you!

Vote now by clicking HERE!

Tullamore Show 2016-A Mammy’s Perspective

14th August. Tullamore show. Midland Ireland. Fair County of Offaly. map-offaly

I knew it was coming. Mr Paper has been watching the advertisements. I know he wanted to go. Desperately. This is a show and exhibition mainly of agriculture, livestock and farm equipment. This is his wine and chocolate. This is not to say what the show offers is limited to just farming. Oh no. Plenty of extra entertainment, education or fares are available. Demonstrations. Cookery. Shopping. Dealing. Competitions. There are also food markets, quirky vintage stalls and every type of seller you can possibly imagine. My husband, as a dairy farmer, loves an agricultural show. This one is a local, annual event and a pretty big deal. I am fond of the idea. It is working the day with smallies that makes me quiver a tad!

I have only been here once, when Gigi was not even four months old. I had tons of reservations. Big fair in a field? How would we feed her? Change her? What if the weather didn’t hold out? Would our parking be miles away on an up and down unploughable hill, definitely a no go for the icandy? I was a scared new Mammy. A tense Mammy. An uptight Mammy. Combine this with a baby not long out of hospital and a big busy field full of tractors and I just wasn’t sure. We didn’t last long that time. Rain. Mud. Crowds. Didn’t know where to change her. I needed out. So, we left.

Skipped last year.

Two years later and we braved it again.

Two children now…it felt like facing battle!

So how did the Tullamore show do from a Mammy’s perspective?  This time, it knocked my socks off. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

I just want to applaud the organisation of such a show. Tremendous to co-ordinate and operate safely, I imagine the colossal amount of work that goes into such an event to be exhausting. My musings only spring from four hours, bringing two small children and being a tired, slightly frantic Mammy!

A number of points:

1. Gigi and Betsy loved the animals. Mr Paper and his parents got to check up on the livestock breeds on show. I took pictures. I am a farmer’s wife but still don’t fully get what a nice udder looks like!! Seems a bit weird..! I did enjoy walking about the section. Nice walkways made it easier for buggies. Lots of space between exhibits.  Great! This Mammy gives thumbs up.

The Cow Beauty Parade!

I enjoy watching the competitions. I know Mr Paper would love to see his girls enter their own animal in the future.

2. Food. Mammies always worry about their little people and what will they eat. Clearly I brought snack packs but Betsy is new to solid food so a heatable lunch had to come. I was constantly spotting for somewhere to feed her her bottle when the time came. We lunched al fresco! Burgers and chips from a van.

Avert your eyes cows😨

Not nutritious but yum for a treat. Lovely experience. Lots of outdoor seats and friendly people all in good humour. Mr Paper brought Gigi to see more livestock and I found a nice spot to feed Betsy. The Farmers Journal stand.

The paper all farmers read. Thanks for the pew.

I hope the walkabout works off the calories for my  dessert…

Munchies Waffles.

3. Families. As we walked about,  I people watched for families. Loved spotting the different ways to look after children. Babies were carried, in strollers, buggies, in pouches all sorts!  I loved spotting one very young baby being fed by Dad at their livestock pen. They kindly let me photo them for the blog.

This little baby in the midst of nature. Very nice to see.

I have a double buggy but find it lots of hard work. We chose not to bring it but I look out for them wherever we go and silently doff my hat in respect to them. Another lovely family who let photo them for the  blog was one such brave group!

The Burns family enjoying the day. Double buggy professionals.

Don’t forget the pouch. A fabulous way to transport baby.

This little lady loved quality time with her Daddy.
Sometimes we don’t want to sit in the buggy at all!

4. Toilets. Remember the days when this was only a side thought and you didn’t really care about loos!? Now, as a parent all has changed, changed utterly. (Yeats? You OK with that?)  Parents always are looking out for toilets. My massive concern is always for baby changing facilities. I suppose we could use a mat in a quiet corner on the field but I respect my children and their dignity!! Luckily we found the show’s baby changing facilities at a few different areas. OK, it was rustic. It put me in mind of Fr Ted (as many things in life do…). Did the job however. I, thankfully, am quite organised so I had a portable mat sheet and nappy bags. SmuggyMcSmugerson…

There was a table inside. No bins. Nothing else! Good table though.

Portaloos galore for adults. Not our fave but better than nothing. People were hired to keep an eye on their cleanliness. Quite good! An interesting option for mothers with buggies was my only bugbear…

This caused more confusion than anything. What about the Daddies. ..

Mr Paper always has a grievance that baby changing facilities tend to be inside ladies’ toilets thereby excluding men. Here was another example. I went in, with a stroller. There was space for a buggy. Two regular sized cubicles.You had to take the child out to use the toilet yourself!  No changing area for baby. Three urinals and a sink. What??! I reckon someone was trying to come up with a good idea but sadly this was a fail.

5. Fairground games and attractions were on offer and there was a lovely buzz around this area. Great for all older children!

Don’t forget a bag of Tayto and a club orange for a proper day out.

6. Stalls to shop at. You could spend a fortune if you so wish. Handbags and jewellery, gardening equipment and fashion, accessories and toys, all ages catered for here. Great fun to peruse. Crowded as the day went on. I didn’t overdo the spending on this occasion!20160814_101619

Overall, it is a wonderful day out. You need energy and time to see everything fully. I saw the cattle (obviously), sheep and pigs but missed the equine section. As a parent, you focus on what the children will enjoy leaving the Neven Maguire cookery demonstration to another day. There was definitely a focused attempt to make families comfortable and this event is extremely well organised for that.20160814_102507

I loved the hq tent announcements. None were meant to be funny-cars with lights left on, lost watches etc. It just makes me think of Fr Ted and their trip to the funfair!GoatsTunnell.jpg

Overall, top day. Well done Tullamore show!

PS. Thank you rain for holding off!