The Book Lover’s Tag

I am a book lover who has never used a tag so here we go! Thank you to There’s Something About KM for the idea. You should all definitely be looking at this blog- a wonderful writer. I am glad to have been inspired to write this by KM. The first of many Book Tags hopefully.

This tag is originally from another very pretty reading and other lovely things based blog called Of Reading and Random Things.

I hope to read more from here in future. Please feel free to adopt said tag or maybe share some of your own responses in the comments box.

Lovely Books

Do you have a specific place for reading? 

I love to read in bed. Simple as that. Snuggled up Hygge style (that word deserves a capital because I need to know it exists). I can read in quiet places where I must wait. I can also do the same in louder places even though I am a ferocious people watcher (really meaning I earwig all the chats and surmise their true stories). Trains. Airplanes. Waiting rooms. 20171015_181121.jpgHaving children means much much less reading time and I find blogs quicker to read and get satisfaction from. I still have a wildly ambitious stack of Novels To Be Read on my nightstand and if I pass a charity shop, book sale or any other random book stall I most certainly will indulge.

Always watching and listening Agatha Christie style.
Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

Bookmarkers are my favourite but I will use a receipt or post it when I have nothing else. Dog ears are a criminal activity.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of the chapter?bitmoji-20171014083144

I can jump out anywhere. This is a gift I have. 007 style reading.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

I am an expert at this and know exactly what can be eaten with what reading material type.bitmoji-20171014083316 Magazine for a dinner, book with soup, sandwich or breakfast etc. This started early with my parents completely allowing me the terribly unsocial habit reading all through dinner. I had a stack of annuals, presents and second hand ones, which I dipped into reading and re-reading until they were nearly boring to me. Nearly. Beezer, Beano or Dandy as a child with Bunty,  Mandy or Jackie in my earlier tweens.20171016_102321 I was one of those quirkier children who also had Greyfriars books and Oor Wullie texts years after their popularity had waned. My teens saw more Tintin and Asterix comics with novels at night or every other part of the day I could fit them in. Novels were less of an eating accompaniment. They were read without a snack.

Music or TV while reading?

Earphones occasionally but they make me daydream. I haven’t used them in years actually despite loving music. I will switch TV off for a book. So neither I suppose! bitmoji-20171014083811.png

One book at a time or several?

I have one ‘steady’ book relationship at a time but am inclined to fleet to other potential amours upon occasion. I am a fickle book lover. bitmoji-20171014084009Who was Roseline when Juliet arrived on the scene?  I can be a bit like that with a book equivalent.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I will read anywhere. A total literary kleptomaniac, I look for opportunities to read and will steal them wherever neccessary. These days if I have an hour to myself in town, I will have coffee and a read. Joyful, guilty pleasure with milk.

Bitmoji me has a cat. Real me has two babies and a dog. Bitmoji me is also a tad skinnier. A tad…
Read out loudly or silently?

Silently when I read for pleasure. However I have read many the book aloud in my capacity as a teacher. I use an audio but still find myself going back through it. Only recently I was trying to consider how many times I have read aloud Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear.bitmoji-20171015125016 I definitely put a dramatic spin on it and am known to flourish. My favourite novel to read aloud to a class is Of Mice and Men. It is literary caramel.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

If I skip pages, it is because I am bored by the novel and am ready for it to end. A fantastic story will keep me gripped and also disciplined enough not to flip ahead.

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

Spine breaking physically upsets me, pun probably intended, knowing me. It really gets my back up. OK I’m done. This is not to say I don’t own spine snapped books. Of course I do. Second hand ones or books I kindly let Spine Breakers borrow to read and returned in need of literary surgery. I also own well- worn  (meaning loved) books. I have been known to ‘rescue’ an occasional battered book.

There we have it. Book Tag writing is as pleasurable as I have always imagined. I am finishing this on a Monday morning with a sneaky day off from work due to Hurricane Ophelia’s arrival in Ireland. As you can imagine, I love the name of the storm if not the actual storm. My daughters are dressed as Anna and Elsa and playing babies. I had a full coffee, a read and a blog write. Is this Hygge?  It sure feels like it. Book Lovers, feel free to adopt this lovely tag! In the meantime…quote-blow-winds-and-crack-your-cheeks-rage-blow-you-cataracts-and-hurricanoes-spout-till-you-have-william-shakespeare-310420.jpg

Images by Bitmoji, myself  and Izquotes. 


Little Chip

We have a little lady in our home who will be two on the twenty fifth of October. She is a fiesty, independent and utterly adorable little second born, full of mischief and giggles and what we Irish refer to as ‘divilment’.

Betsy was born only eighteen months after Gigi, swinging us wildly from a one child family adapting to life with a baby to a white water rafting style of parenting that two under two can incite.

I never fancied white water rafting.

Not very trusting of water.

This doesn’t mean that I had a choice. Staying afloat whilst perversely riding the rapids one moment and coasting calmly through the peaceful waters in glorious utopian snatches became my world. Always ready for the next thing or always desperately looking forward to the next full cup of hot coffee.

Betsy’s personality bounds from her tiny frame as she elfishly beams at all around, fearing no one.

Hi Lady!’, she announces cheerily.

‘Bye bye Man!’,  she declares winningly

Many smiles greet our happy fairy as you can imagine.

She is different and exactly alike her older sister in so many ways. I imagine like my own baby sister and I. The same but different. Related but individual.

A similarity would be determination. Neither will be swayed away from their opinion too easily.

One difference they may have is their varying abilities to choose whether to clamber the levels of bravery to foolhardy degrees. Gigi will employ a certain amount of caution. Betsy will charge in vigorously to whatever the challenge may be, disregarding all potential signs of danger that may be poking out ominous feelers of  sinister warning.

This has consequences.

Toys that Betsy receive should not be delicate. She is capable of destroying delicacy within breaths hence an Ariel wand that her sister had just been given. Seconds. Broken.  Should I mention the unintentional decapitation of Cinderella? It is Halloween after all… turn away now if you have Delicate Disney Disorder.

You were warned. 

Betsy is the little girl that you left climbing into the car seat who will wind up in the driver’s seat.20171008_113233

Betsy is the precious little sprite who will easily grapple past the challenge that is the fireguard (we don’t light the fire ever but there is a granite piece that could be dangerous if a fall occured) and you will find her inside the area cordoned off for her safety. 20171008_113207

Betsy is the child with a broken front tooth. I mean, I celebrated the day this tooth arrived. The joy and relief of seeing that milky white pearl glistening in a vulnerable candyfloss coloured gum much like the oyster’s jewel primly perched on a fleshy bed. I celebrated with A First Tooth on my blog just over a year ago.

Now it is broken.

Hence the nickname Little Chip.

The tooth was chipped in a game Betsy was playing called Pushing Your Toy Deckchair Around the House At Top Speed aka Keane Reeves on a Life Saving Mission. All went well until Betsy hit a door stop and flipped out over the chair. Gigi was so impressed by this circus trick she laughed heartily and helplessly.

Blood pouring down my baby’s chin made my heart sink. Again. She splits her lip regularly.

The missing piece of tooth wasn’t obvious until the next day.

So we have a child with a broken front tooth and possibly a missing front tooth if she has more trouble with it. She has developed an abscess so far which was dreadful for the poor mite. The tooth may yet be removed to avoid a reoccurrence.

So this is the little girl who I think will climb the tree. Attempt to scale the wall. Eventually ride the rapids herself. Voluntarily. An adventurer. A potential explorer, game changer or influencer to coin a modern phrase.

At the moment she is just my cuddly little Betsy who snuggles into my arms demanding milk and Spot Goes on Holidays with a charming toothy grin.

I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Little Chip is definitely one of the sweetest people.



Liebster award: Lobster Love!

One element of blog life that is particularly lovely are the blogger awards that we give to each other. I know they are no everyone’s cup of tea, but many bloggers adore these little Internet based high fives. The social aspect of questions and answers is a lovely idea and fantastic inspiration for a post.

Win win! Thank you to the wonderful Gemma Orton, lifestyke and reviewer blogger at Wheelescapades for nominating Fancypaper for this award. I am inspired by this writer and have weekly food/ event envy reading about her social life. If you don’t follow her writings, you must.

I like to repay the favour by way of a virtual drink.  So for you Gemma, here is a selection. They may inspire you for weekend indulgence! As an afternoon tea aficionado, I have included, well, tea! And bubbles.

So onto the challenge!

For those of you who wish to peruse the rules and reasoning of the Liebster Award Click here .

Firstly, I answer ten questions. I select ten nominees of my own and then provide ten questions for their attention.  Gemma’s 10 questions for her nominees:

1. What made you decide to blog?20171004_175752.jpgI have always been ambitious to write. Dabbling at play scripts, short stories and many non- fiction formats, I find I love all forms of the written word (except maybe technical writing or a mass leaflet). Life seems to push around my ambition, juggling it about like a play toy in front of a distressed cat. I swipe at it. I paw at it. I haven’t yet fully caught it. Having my babies was a wonderful time in my world yet it changed me. Adaptation to parenthood is so extremely tough, especially if you were very good to yourself in life, as I was. I found the challenges attacked my identity and sense of self. Blogging became my method of being me whilst still being Mammy. Having my cake and eating it- well what else would you do with it?!

2. What is your biggest strength?

Patience. I have infinite patience. I have no idea how or where it came from but I can put up with people and their bullshit for a ridiculously long period of time. Patience is a strength when dealing my my toddlers when they are feeling antagonistic. Patience is a lovely way of making you feel relaxed in any environment. As long as there is a toilet nearby, I know where the next coffee is coming from and where I will lay my head for the night, I can wait out any craziness.

3. What is your biggest weakness?

Patience. Have I said that before?! I have put up with all sorts of attitudes and comments that should never have been given hearing time of any kind. I forgive easily but I think that is a good thing. I put up and shut up too much- but I am getting better at not doing that.

4. Tea or coffee? 

Coffee. Decent, aromatic, beautifully roasted mahogany coloured magic beans. A coffee must be sniffed before drinking. I cannot waste time on nasty instant coffee (Azera being an exception) unless times are extremely tough. I am Irish though-so tea drinking is part of my make up. If I need comfort or other health benefits, I drink teas. Brown tea. Mint. Fruit. I am not fussy. Herbal tea is not Horrible Tea to me. A cup of tea will warm my cockles, whatever they are, but coffee keeps me motivated.

5. Where in the world would you like to be right now?

I am quite happy being snuggled on the couch with my girls. Gigi is watching Peppa and Betsy is challenging my stomach muscles with bomb dives. If I could be anywhere else,  I would select Sam Gimigano. I would like to be doing the same thing though. Just with gelato and Mr Paper there too. Maybe a glass of chianti…

6. What’s your favourite type of cake?

I enjoy chocolate fudge with hot sauce but only if made properly. Most are dry or overcooked. The original Victoria Sponge made with a very light touch will also float my cake boat. Wow- a cake boat. That would rock.

7. What is your favourite season and why?

I have a fondness for all four, but will say Winter. Being a girl who eats cake, I will take any opportunity not to wear short shorts and winter gives me that. It also hands me beautifully cosy clothing and bedlinen, rugs and blankets, hot chocolates and Christmas. 

8. What makes you laugh out loud?

I love to laugh and will enjoy a truly ingenious pun. A well told anecdote will get me. Father Ted is the whole reason I have embedded laugh lines on my ‘youthful’ complexion with Blackadder claiming some of the credit.93724b7d8ec4e76a88d0d4f9f3c3069e--father-ted-nerd-humor

9. When is your favourite time of day?

It is the evening. Snuggly O’ Clock. Time out with my girls and then time out with my husband.

10. Do you have a quote or motto you would pass on to others?carpe-diem-881082_640

As a teenager, Carpe Diem was my favourite phrase followed by Whitman’s ‘Sound your barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world’. Dead Poets’ Society having been a game changer in my teens, these lines stay with me. Recently someone told me that whatever someone tells you is their opinion only and not yours- unless you choose to make it yours. I like that. I like that a lot.

Once again, much thanks and gratitude to must read blogger Gemma @Wheelescapades. What a legend!

To the next stage,  I get to nominate ten folks who in turn get to nominate their ten folks. The Liebster love ball keeps on rolling…

My Lucky, Lucky Nominees:bitmoji-20171006041133


2. Champagne in a Teacup

3. Oriana’s Notes

4.The Plagued Parent

5. Traci York 

6. Unbound Roots

7. Agirlandherpassport

8. Global house sitter x2

9. Lisa Orchard

10. Gin & Lemonade

Ten Questions for my Nominees…

  1. Can you empathise with a fictional character?  Who and why?books-1141910_640.jpg
  2. What Box Set would you chose if you could only have one for ever more?
  3. What country is on your Bucket List and why?
  4. Jack Nicholson, Jeff Bridges, Liam Neeson: who would you leave in charge of the house and the pets?
  5. Name the film that changed your life- if one did.james-stewart-392932_640
  6. 6.What is your memory of the time of the tragic September when Princess Diana died (or alternatively) what were you up to 20 years ago this month?
  7. Afternoon tea, nite club and shots or long hike with a protein bar:  which is your go-to and why?cups-2792581_640
  8. Which element of your personality has changed most since your youth?
  9. Please tell me three people you would have to have at the Ultimate Dinner Party- no limits!
  10. Finally, A Sweet Ending. Which dessert is the ultimate sweet to end all sweets? ( I am clearly watching too much Bake Off…)heart-762564_640

Enjoy your awards nominees and share the Liebster joy💟

A Near Drowning or The Tale of when Betsy Saved Gigi.

If life were replayed as a movie reel, I would begin this tale at the end and employ dramatic use of flashback. You would be dropped into a bedroom with an exhausted Mammy and her sleepy three year old reading The Little Red Hen, adorned with sparkly adorned, green based nail polished fingertips (Ariel style), a face made up to look like a cat (mascara) and clutching an old, heavy, grey toy kitten called Lucky. Lucky is taking centre snuggle stage. All looking calm and centred…I would then talk directly to the camera, soliloquy style and say something like…

So, seems like the perfect domestic scene, eh? Nothing wrong, nothing out of order and everything serene. ..well you are right. Right now everything is peachy. Yesterday, however, told a different tale. It happened something like this…(cue camera flashback to 24 hours earlier).

In the world of parenting, there is always something. Something to worry about. Over analyse. Double check. Thank your lucky, lucky most fortuitous stars for.Jiminy Crick 02

On Saturday, we experienced living in the effects of what in medical terms is referred to as ‘a near drowning’ of our oldest child. Gigi is fine now. She is coughing and sleepy, but she is safe and happy. Let me relate.

A normal Saturday morning.  We go to a local pool for swim lessons. Betsy goes to SwimBaby, a nursery set of lessons with rhymes and games. One of us goes in the water with Betsy- in this case it was Mr Paper. Gigi has progressed to Turtles. Turtles are in a pool with a depth up to Gigi’s chin. They are a class with an instructor and all are aged about 3- 6. I was questioning when she was moved originally and reminded everyone she was only three (despite looking five) but was reassured. She will be fine. She is ready.

Lessons week after week.  She is no Michelle Smith but she is enjoying it. I have often thought her class is over crowded at times. I have often thought she looks easily distracted from the lesson due to the cacaphonos pool noises of six groups in lessons. I have often thought that I am over thinking it. Once again, parents are taught a lesson. If you are over thinking it is because you sense the potential danger. You should always listen to your little voice.people-2603730_640.jpgGigi had been in her lesson, the float in her hands and the waggle under her tummy. She had been trying to stay afloat. She must have lost her grip on the float. Gigi went headfirst into the water with her but stuck in the air, held up by the waggle. Her head was totally submerged.c2abb86be5ad275337a2757a0d1e18a2.jpgI hadn’t seen it. I was in viewing gallery position, but a lady was talking to me and picking my brain about education. I was glancing from her to the pool. Mr Paper and Betsy were in their own lesson but were watching Gigi when they could. We encourage Betsy to wave over and say hello, just so Gigi knows we are nearby. In this case the instructor didn’t see Gigi go under. No one did.

Except Betsy.

She piped up ‘Where did Gigi go Daddy?”.

He spun about searching. He saw the telltale Little Mermaid swimsuit ruffle and the danger instantly. Passing Betsy to her instructor, he swiftly got to her and righted her up. By now, Gigi’s instructor was by her side. The lifeguard came.  I saw Gigi at the poolside vomiting.

Tearing around the gallery, I ran through the slippy changing area to meet her lifeguard approaching with a pale Gigi. As I had only seen her throw up and nothing else, I assumed this is why she was out- as she was sick. The lifeguard assured me that was all- she had only thrown up. He never mentioned the other incident at all. Had he even known? 

As I changed her Mr Paper arrived with Betsy saying ‘ I saw what happened,  I know what happened.’

What happened? I didn’t know. Gigi shivered and said ‘I fell in the water Mammy’.ariel_drowning_1_by_arielfan90-d91zzmh.pngMore than a little bewildered, we changed and warmed up. I kept hugging Gigi and kissing her. My head couldn’t keep my thoughts straight. Mr Paper went to speak to the pool management and try get their version.

A few hours later we were home with a seemingly OK, if somewhat congested Gigi. She had begun coughing. Quite violently. It was a persistently chesty bark. Suddenly she complained of cold. She shivered and her teeth clattered. Her temperature rose. She became very hot. She threw up. This is all happened in the same half an hour. She was in shock. From the VHI nurse to midoc, we were referred to A and E.

Three hours later we were checked in. Four hours later we had a chest x- ray result- slight infection on the lung.

Five hours later we were in the children’s ward for the night.

The Children’s Ward Bobby

Gigi is OK.  She has an antibiotic. She had a nebulizer to help her breathing. She got home the next evening.

So to present day- we are curled up. Napping. Catching up. Mentally, physically and emotionally. We had a fright.

I don’t know what I think. So many people asked me the story. So many people were angered by it. I don’t feel this. I feel more unnerved because I always suspected it a possibility. I always knew the lessons looked impossible to monitor properly. I now know I was concerned because it was true. I was not just being over cautious. The instructors are mainly quite young. They are passionate. The complex is a big company- international I think. The owners need to rethink their policy regarding class sizes and this has been our recommendation to them in our follow ups. It is not fair or right to expect one young girl to watch up to ten children constantly and teach them in water.

We are lucky. Again, with Gigi we have been very lucky. Just like Lucky the cat, who had been my sister’s toy, rising from the ashes with the love of another little girl, we fight another day and learn another lesson as parents and children.


Tips To Enhance Your EuroDisney Experience

All my blogging (and my non-virtual)  friends know we have recently been spectacularly EuroDisneyed in our house. (Do you like my new verb? I see a future for it!). I have written a post for parents already called EuroDisney Magic: 18 Best Bits for Toddlers and Babies. I am now gifting you you with a few tips for making these best of the trip for all ages and groupings. Hear ye!

  1. Photo Pass.PP_logo_stacked_@3x.png It cost 60 euros for this card. It works for most Disney characters. The official photographer will swipe your card and click away. I got 50 pictures this way over the few days and have all downloaded to personal devices. If you are like me and will not be able to decide as to which pictures to buy (to me they are Pokemon- I have to catch them all) then this is your gig. This gives you every image. Loved it. It links to an app and you can see your pictures that evening.
  2. Half-board Package.

    We went with this option in our four day package. It meant breakfast included at the hotel  (Santa Fe breakfast was an impressive buffet). You also had one other meal covered in a Disney restaurant. We ate somewhere different each day with the vouchers and only had to pay for one other meal in the day. This is great as Disney food is pricey. I mean, what sort of magic makes you not care if a drink from a cart is at least three euros? Disney magic.

  3. Food Options Outside of Fried.

    I discovered that in the Aladdin area (Agrabah) there are other food options. Their street carts sell fruit. Bananas, finally! Restaurants offer options outside of the chips category. We had falafel wraps. Rice cakes. Date bars. Rice. Kabob. You get enough fried food! It is also a peaceful spot which is rare in the park.

  4. Autograph Books.20170920_144910.jpg I was advised that my kids buy their own before we go,  so I did. However the park sell lots and they are lovely. They might charge more than Penneys but you are on holidays. Don’t sweat it if you forget them- buy them if you must…do have them though. Characters signing the books is pretty adorable.
  5. Costumes. The Disney gear on site is costly. We brought all of our girls’ Princess dresses from home and a few other Disney themed pieces purchased at H&M and Penneys previously. We held back two ‘surprise’ dresses.

    These were enough to make them happy. I bought them Princess shoes in the park (as they were unlike any I have seen at home) as treats from their holiday money.

  6. Hotel Drop Off Shopping. 20170919_215836.jpgI love to buy unusual things or partake in deals on the way when I travel. Make use of the hotel drop off add on. You have to ask at the counter but they gladly do it. You pick all your shopping up at your hotel in the evening- hands free for Disney!
  7. The Fashion Statement that is the Rain Poncho. 20170919_215253Prepare for rain. Buy the five euro fold away ponchos in the pound shop or Tiger before you go. They sell them in the park but are about eight euros each. Bring your own! If you are planning to use a buggy bring an extra as a cover for this as buggy parks are all outdoor. You will thank me!
  8. Nappies, Cosmetics and Milk!  If you have young babies, it is hard to buy domestic items. I spotted nappies in one store only onsite. Disney doesn’t do convenience stores. You might get to the large shopping centre one train stop away but we didn’t want to go there. Starbucks at our hotel sold me milk nightly for the baby. The hotel should too. We brought sufficient everything else- nappies, wipes, the lot. Come prepared.
  9. Disney App. GA5WvxlY2xlSS-VvLgIhJIM8NyeaV1phcCDvzOjUSfI0hK7bvIwHkZNF6jndDSsYhQ=w300-1If you have a few days, don’t join all the large queues immediately. Bide Your Time. You will find lapses when they are quieter. The Disney App is a good download and will give you the wait times as well as a park map.
  10. Programme of Events . This is a brochure of the shows and parade times as they happen. You will want this!20170913_172259.jpg
  11. Disney Princess Lunch/Breakfast. It is an experience that you book and pay for extra to the park ticket. We went to L’Auberge Cendrillon for dinner, a three course French cuisine meal, whilst having personal audiences with several Disney Princesses and Cinderella’s mice as we dined. It is not cheap but worth it, if you want to splash out and have a Princess lover in your life. All ages will love it! Living a dream. If you have half board package you can use your vouchers against the the full price. We got quite a discount this way which was a nice surprise as I had set aside the cost. More money for shopping!20170817_122429
  12. Early Pass. We had the opportunity to be at the park at eight am for an early chance to see everything. We didn’t use it once. Try telling a 1 and a 3 year old that we need to be there for eight am! We enjoyed letting them relax and eat breakfast calmly instead.
  13. Water Bottle. Invest in a strong, manageable bottle to refill your water in. There are spigots of drinking water all over the park. You can save money this way and only but the overpriced chilled water when you really want it.bitmoji-20170922104837
  14. Do it Piaff style- Have Fun with No Regrets. hqdefault.jpgEnjoy it and Don’t Regret what you Don’t Do. We missed Ariel and Sofia- two faves. We don’t care. We saw so much and experienced the magic and beauty of this world. It was a joy. Don’t spend time chastising yourself if something is overlooked. Think about what you did see. I am sure it was pretty special.bitmoji-20170922103524.pngEnjoy your Disney experience!

EuroDisney Magic: 18 Best Bits for Toddlers and Babies

20170913_173130.jpgThe trip we planned for so long finally happened! I feel that it proves that we have come a long way as parents. We are less nervous and able to deal with the meltdowns if they happen.

I want to describe Euro Disney without cliché. I can’t. It is magical, enchanting and a dream. That is just how it is.20170909_101116

I could blog about our little holiday to Euro Disney all day and probably could bore everyone so I am picking the highlights for families bringing toddlers and small children. It might help someone out there bringing small kids to this paradise.

  1. Mickey and the Magician. 20170909_103929This was far and away my personal favourite attraction in the whole park. Lasting about 35 minutes, it is a full stage show with all the glitz and tricks of a Broadway show. The wait wasn’t long and we sat in the front row. The concept is that Mickey is working for a magician (ring a bell?)and is left alone to clean up. He longs to be able to do magic- and it isn’t long until we are all swept in his wonderful journey. We are treated to several hits from the films, actual characters on stage and it is thrilling for a Disney lover. Tale as Old as Time, Be Our Guest, You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me, all feature but my mind was blown by the marvellous rendition of Rafiki’s Circle of Life. If you have seen the Broadway show, you will remember the ingenious staging of the birds and animals from The Lion King and this show gives you all that. My little ones were amazed. They are so small that they fully believed these were actual animals and even were shying away from the she-lion. Betsy fell off her chair when Olaf appeared on stage. She screeched in joy and had to be held back from hopping the stage like a tweenage Belieber. Finally when Elsa herself arrived and belted out Let it Go, it was Gigi’s turn to fall from her chair, as she had been balancing on the proverbial edge of her seat. Too spellbound to cry she stood up and yelped in joy when Elsa started to ‘do the magic’. ‘Look Mammy! She’s doing the magic, she’s doing the magic!’. Gigi was sold and in an oblivion of wonder. This is what it all about. These were no special effects to her. She was watching real, honest to goodness magic. We left the theatre on a high. All four of us. Mr Paper and I caught eyes several times in the show, almost tearful watching our children’s joy.bitmoji-20170821103046.png
  2. Lunch with the Princesses at L’Auberge Cendrillon. 

    Princesses are true celebrities of the park and you will get not to speak to one without queuing for a long time in the Pavillion or paying for the ‘back stage pass’. 20170909_101336We spent the money. We went for the four course lunch and let the celebrities come to us. Our little ones will never be fully aware that this wasn’t just a regular restaurant but we will have the pictures forever.

    Having Belle, Tiana, Aurora and Cinderella arrive to your table as you eat is not an everyday experience and worth every penny.20170913_182624(0)-1 I will review the lunch fully again for those who want it. Let me know! Who can deny dessert in the shape of Cinderella’s slipper? So cute.

  3. Rencontre avec Mickey Mouse. 20170909_101233.jpgMickey Mouse holds court in a large theatre at the back of the Magic Kingdom and there is a lengthy queue to meet Disney royalty such as Mr Mouse. However it is indoors and with entertainment as a large screen shows old cartoons constantly on a loop as you wait. Mickey Mouse is a great guy and gives every child their deserved attention. Mickey had an Irish assistant on this occasion (a Dublin girl) which made it even nicer for us Irish folk! Watching one year old Betsy hug Mickey Mouse and kiss his nose will never leave my memory. Enchanting.
  4. Charachter Meet and Greets: Minnie, Moana, Snow White Daisy, Alice and Goofy.

    We met Goofy at our hotel and Mickey was also a regular there too. All Disney hotels will have their own meet n’ greets with not very long waits. Characters have their regular spots and are their on a daily timetable. The queues are lengthy but one of us could talk a walk with the girls and return to the other in their place with no problem, as others are understanding when surrounded by Disney magic. Minnie Mouse was a highlight for the girls, but I loved Alice. 20170817_141945-1-1.jpgI am still quoting her advice to my ladies ‘Drink lots of tea as I do- I drink lots of Positivi-tea’. 

  5. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.20170817_112920.jpg You see it as soon as you walk down Main Street and you are in enthralled. It is beautful. Lights sparkle all day and waterfalls add to the delight. It won’t let you down.

    You can shop inside the castle (this includes a gorgeous Christmas shop) and upstairs is a a pretty Sleeping Beauty pictorial walkabout. Nice for little ones. Nice for Mammies too.

  6. The Flying Teacups. These are as wonderful as you expect. My girls loved the thrill of the spinning about. The queue depends on the time you get there. We waited  10 minutes on a wet day (under over) just after lunch. No bother. Totally worth it.
  7. Flying Carpets. Another simple and fun ride with an Aladdin  theme. We managed to get a five minute queue but then heavy rain for the actual spin but it was a great excuse to shop for dry clothes. I had my eye on a Grumpy Dwarf t-shirt…
  8. Steamship Cruise. My husband laughed at my enthusiasm on this staid pleasure cruise trip as I was in convulsions of joy and he reckons ‘well it is hardly a thrill seeker’. It is a pleasant saunter on water all round the Utah valley mock up island. 20170818_141322.jpgYou can watch Big Thunder as it rumbles through the mountain and then you glide past the atmospheric Haunted House. I was in raptures on this steamer straight out of Huckleberry Finn or even Show Boat which I know isn’t even Disney.

    I did warble a few bars of Old Man River. Times like these, I have no sense of embarrassment.

  9. Disney Juniors Show. The obvious one for toddlers, this live interactive show features Jake the Pirate, The Little Einsteins and Winnie with friends. There are others too from the Disney Channel and our screen generation will be in kinks of joy. We were hoping for Sofia the First but unfortunately she missed our show. Boo! The queue is in a large room with a screen and disco lights, where our youngest danced and danced. A great release for toddler energy and before the show even started!  This is a lovely show but I highly recommend you don’t chose it instead of Mickey and the Magician. This is a beautiful show whereas Disney Juniors is only fun. Go to both if you can.
  10. Stitch Live. Huge fun. 20170818_153440-1Another interactive show with some good tricks. Stitch is onscreen but technology allows him go talk to the audience and respond appropriately. He is hysterical. Gigi was enraptured and laughed throughout.
  11. Star Wars.20170818_161719-1.jpg There is a live Star Wars outdoor event staged regularly as you pass through the Disney Studios Park. 20170824_214017.jpgIt is a draw for the Star Wars lovers and the music of course is exciting. The girls hadn’t a clue what it was all about but they watched as we drank coffee from a nearby van. Stormtroopers may not be very child friendly, but it is a fun exhibition if you are passing by.
  12. The Princess Waltz.

     The crowd gathers for this early and all sit about waiting for the show to begin. We fell upon it and just settled for a break from waking. A few crowd members got a little feral over seats but otherwise it is lovely. Don’t panic over queues and crowds. Get a drink, popcorn,  sit and wait. It will be lovely. You get to see at least every Princess and Prince.

    Our Pavillion Princess.

    It was our only time to see (much loved in our house )Ariel and Rapunzel so if you have a princess fan, catch the show in case you don’t get to meet the favourite Princess at the Pavillion or a lunch. It will be on the programme. Don’t get caught up in the seat/ groundspace wars!

  13. The Daily Parade.

     Everyone talks about the parade and for good reason. It is pretty spectacular to have such an exhibition take place every day. It is proof of the amazing power of Disney that such an event can flawless occur with such massive crowds watching.

  14. The 25 year Celebration Show.

    Seeing as we wandered about the park aimlessly and without a programme for the first days, we tended to sit down any time we saw a crowd gather and this was one of the results. This is a one-off show for this year only taking place outdoors next to the Castle. It is charachter filled and musical,  full of fun and joy.

  15. Character Walk Abouts: Part of the wonder of the park is the fact you could walk into a character on a walkabout just about anywhere. These are flybys- you won’t get a chat with them but spotting them is cool. Watching Peter Pan and Wendy skip hand and hand through a sidedoor, getting to wave at Winnie, Eeyore and Piglet or a quick photo of Captain Hook and Smee is just fabulous. The girls spotted them too. Chip n Dale, Goofy, Mickey- they are all wandering about. Princesses won’t be spotted like this. They are kept on a strict celebrity status timetable. 20170819_163755The only ones you may see walking about are with their gaurd and cloaked as they move to and from their Pavillion! Very Beyonce. It just adds enigma.
  16. Alice’s Curious Labyrinth. 

    Considering I don’t think the Disney ‘Alice’ movie is very good for children (stoned caterpillars, genocide of baby oysters, random threats of decapitation), I loved this area so much. I  must explain. I love the colour of the movie.  I am fascinated by the characters. I just found it very dark as a child. Wonderland was not awe inspiring.20170817_134847 It was more horrifying. At Euro Disney, I still wouldn’t miss the maze. We didn’t need to queue at all, even though I did see large queues forming quite often. Just timing I guess. It is lovely- just don’t wait, come back when it is quieter. This is not one bit horrifying, just bright and lovely.

  17. It’s a Small World. 20170913_172537.jpgOh the insanity of this place! You really do enter the mind of Willy Wonka or the horrible funpark in Pinocchio- it is more scary than cheery but definitely shouldn’t be missed for this very reason. Kids will love it. I really want my twenty five year old sister to travel through this puppet laden mania as she would freak out. It the music combined with the waterway passages and the exhibits from a potential King novel that makes this madness fun. It is like being on Willy Wonka’s boat travelling on the chocolate river. A side effect from acid possibly. Unfortunately we had a bad experience as the lights went on our our trip and we didn’t see most of it. Imagine: travelling through through the crazed mind of this creator’s vision, you can hear the music and only see occasional flashing images of the manic caricatures around you…thank God my small children weren’t afraid.  After a ninety minute queue, we were very disappointed not to be accommodated by the staff and given another turn. We were angrily turfed out and shouted at in a very Anti-Disney style that it wasn’t their fault. So it was a scary and dark world after all. I still think my little ones loved the boat. Even though it was a bit of a house of horrors for some, it is a best bit for little ones.
  18. Mary Poppins’ Carousel.20170913_203658-1Who doesn’t love a Carousel?  Those gold and pink, purple and silver hobby horses that like sitting into a time machine. I don’t believe the Carousel is specifically Mary Poppins themed but I chose it to be. I adored this movie, especially the scene where the horses leave their stations and take their passengers away on a journey. The seats have belts for toddlers and if you feel safer holding your child and standing on the Carousel, you can. I held Betsy and she was thrilled by it all.

There are many, many parts of the park that will appeal to your smallies. I was concerned about sleeping arrangements, transport in the park, food- everything. It was all no problem. In fact, it was pretty wonderful. I promise a basic tips post to follow and will leave you with an image of what a day in Disney will do for your precious ones.

Goodnight Disney Sisters.

Longlisted Loveliness in the V by Very Blog Awards 2017

Once again, I am humbled and happy to be longlisted for these Irish blog recognitions, V by Very Blog Awards. I read many of the bloggers’ work that has won or been nominated before and it is a little cosy hug of pleasure to know that my writing might be enjoyed by someone else as I have enjoyed theirs. My vanity has been tickled!bitmoji-20170902100006

I didn’t begin to blog for awards. I am not a blogger that is making money from my efforts as much as I admire those who can and do. I have been a Boolino friend (getting books to review occasionally) and I am sent the odd yoghurt voucher but that is it and that is fine. I don’t want my blogging to become hard work. I want to be a teacher by professional and writer by passion.

When my children were born, life changed. There were all sorts of magical changes and many difficult ones. Who I am changed or who I perceived myself to be. It soon became apparent that I needed to take a handle on this quickly or I would be swamped under.bitmoji-20170902015449

This is where blogging came in. I have been writing all my life. I wanted to publish my first ‘book’ when I was four. College allowed me a miraculous capacity for creativity but then you hit real life-wow. Isn’t it hard to get yourself off the ground? I had found myself reading and reading Family Friendly HQ. Their posts were so apt and timely,  I felt as if they were mind readers. One fine day when I may have had a slightly less than blurry mind and a bit of a brainwave, I decided to try blogging.  I had been taught how in college. I had Internet access. I could use my phone.  I also could do something productive creatively in those moments when the babies slept rather than mop the floor. Again. I mean I was killing it in domestic productivity already.bitmoji-20170902045323.png

I was pretty new to this virtual society that I now love and was very rose-cheeked to reach the short list. I had no other expectations but I will say that getting that far did make me value my blogging a little more. Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist…thank you for choosing us!  is a post about last year’s selection.

Getting named in two categories is even more exciting as I don’t feel as if I am niche enough to be exclusively one or another. I started this blog as a parent blogger dealing with motherhood and what it brought to the fore in my world.

I mean, I went from this to chaos. I needed a new outlet.

The blog brings me a chance to explore my identity outside mothering and this included lifestyle elements, travelling, eating, reading, theatre and film largely I mainly write from the angle of a mother and teacher.

So to conclude,  I am going to list the the benefits of blogging for those of you reading who may want to give it a go bit are unsure.  What do I get out of blogging? Here I go…bitmoji-20170902092051

  1. My Own Style. I can dress this blogger anyway I like. As you see, today I am a white rabbit. I can be me without leaving the house. It is a marvellous place to ‘find your voice’. You don’t need to be a wonderful writer.  You don’t even need to write. You can be purely pictorial. You get to choose.
  2. Express Yourself. I get to say what I want to. It doesn’t mean anyone needs to listen/ read but I can rant, laugh, race and review at will. Any time of day or night. You don’t feel silenced anymore. You don’t feel like you have nothing interesting to say outside of baby led weaning, babygros and burping. Not everyone is interested these topics, I soon realised, just when my brain started to limit itself to just the 3 B’s.

    Why are you looking so bored? These are the most beautiful baby pictures EVER. There any only 150, nearly there…
  3. Flexibility lives somewhere in my world now. I blog from a phone app. No more wasted time. I wait on a doctor’s office- I blog. I cannot sleep- I blog. I take a bath- I blog. You don’t need to overthink that last one.bitmoji-20170905014546
  4. No Pressure. I don’t have to produce to a deadline unless I challenge myself to. bitmoji-20170902020046I can hit that Publish button any time I choose. I can save titles, ideas and dip in and out. No one us expecting anything from me.
  5. Identity. Blogging had brought ‘me’ back. I am mothering, teaching keeping house and still being myself. bitmoji-20170902020215Life suddenly included me again.

So thank you blogging and bloggers. I have already won my awards in many ways. I link to several groups such as #bigpinklink and #fortheloveofBLOG and recently had the fortunate pleasure to be involved with Big Up Your Blog. Several people have been kind enough to grant me the blog hug that is The Liebster Award. I once read Family Friendly HQ but now I write articles for Family Friendly HQ! I have written several reviews for Boolino. As for for folk out there who think they should blog and are uncertain, I say go for it. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. It is a beautiful world out here in Blogosphere. bitmoji-20170902044855.png