I am Stop Measuring Your Time on Someone Else’s Clock Mum

It’s August; which if you believe the Interweb and the Instafluencers, means it’s practically January already.

So apparently it’s time for Happy New Year already?

Eh. No.

augustny

I did laugh at this. It’s funny coz it’s true…sort of.

Ok, I will agree that once the 1st of August arrives, I get a bellyflip of panic.  It means the long (and for once glorious!) summer is almost over.   It means it’s high time I was sorting Mini-Me for Back to School.  It means that I now only have 3 weeks to get through the mile long to-do in the summer list I wrote on the first day of her holidays.  It means everyone trying to cram all the things on the Summer lists into 3 weekends.

But it also means return to routine, which if your house is anything like mine, is something that I can not deny missing.

And then begins September; a month of sunshine and still long evenings where the dust settles on the chaos of the summer months and where Fridays take on a whole new meaning.

Then comes October, with the crisp coolness and warm colours and the excitement and build up to Halloween.

And then we have November, the month which will last 498 days and drive us all to stews and hot whiskeys and panics about how it’s nearly time for Santa Season and we haven’t even “started yet”…

And then it’s December and there’s a whole month of glitter and Christmas and Grinches and never-ending darkness and fires and heating blasting and cold and ice…

And we have ALL of that to do before we even think about next year.

So while YES, once August arrives, the end of the year does suddenly seem right around the corner, in reality, we still have 5 whole months until then.  5 whole months of birthdays and new beginnings and fighting and eating and laughing and growing and sniffling and working and parenting and everything else that our lives entail.

So take it easy on allowing memes and such online images to make you feel like you’re losing time.  You’re not.

You didn’t make it to every waterfall or family day out you’d planned.  Your kids didn’t get to go on nature walks every day.  You didn’t get that catch up with your cousin that you’ve been promising each other all year.  You didn’t actually get that night out with your besties that you’ve been putting off until summer since January.  You didn’t get your children to the top of a mountain. You didn’t make it to the beach and the fancy picnic basket remains unused since last year…

So what?

Who says these things have to be done in summer?  What’s wrong with getting that family trip in September if it suits your work better?  Why can’t you go to Glenveagh or to the beach in October? Who says that all of these things have to be done within school holidays?

So while these images and memes are quirky and cute and we find ourselves laughing or nodding in inst-agreement, they’re just another example of how we’re letting strangers online affect our own perceptions of our own lives.  Instead of thinking “sure the year’s nearly over”, ask yourself what you can still do and fit in and enjoy in the 5 months that are left…until next year, where guess what? We start all over again!

Scrap the summer bucket list and make up a new one for yourself and your family that doesn’t have a deadline.

Because yes, summer is limited, but thankfully, there are 3 other seasons and no one is measuring you, except yourself.

 

Are you following The S-Mum Blog on Social Media?  Find her Facebook here and read her blog here.

 

 

I am Sobbing at Mamma Mia Mum

Mammy is an emotional wreck this morning…
I’m talking a blubbering, snottering, breath-catching, eye-brimming slobberpot.
 
Why?
 
Because snippets of the final scenes of Mamma Mia 2 keep popping into my head. I can’t look at the feral ones without seeing their whole lives, and mine, flit in front of me. Never have I been so fecking aware of my own mortality…
 
mammamia.jpeg
Am I being over dramatic?
 
Well of course, probably…maybe.
 
But I challenge you to find a more real and emotional and poignant and absolutely fucking HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL portrayal of Motherhood than the final 10 minutes of this fricken movie. If you can find it, let me know, so I NEVER put myself through it.
 
Now, the movie is great. A bit weird to begin and not quite as electric and magical as the first one if I’m honest. The choreography and dance scenes were a bit disappointing, but the acting and the sentiment and the one-liners are fablis. The “younger” characters are so well cast that I’m not sure it’s beyond plausible that they were grown from the DNA of the “older” cast in a lab somewhere… shockingly believable.
 
And of course the music is class.
 
But it’s the cheese and glitter and escapist nonsense that you expect and love. And you will thoroughly enjoy it.
 
And if the ending doesn’t make you:
a) broody,
b) Bawl like a toddler whose just been handed the wrong spoon,
c) question your own life and mortality and
d) want to choke your own Mammy with an eternal hug, then you are either emotionally fooktarded or you are already dead.
 
Because this would make concrete weep.
 
It’s incredible.
It’s like the Directorial team had “Let’s break them all! Even the tough bitches” as their only objective!
But seriously, it’s so well directed and so well acted and the final song is just STUNNING.
 
Yes, I shall go back to see it again.
 
Last night I cried like a baby.
This morning, my eyes are still leaking a little.
I can’t look at the girls without wanting to squeeze this little shitsters. I’ve been told to “Stop squashing meeeeee!” three times already…
 
The broodiness however lasted a whole 3.8 seconds and has thankfully passed! Close call. Don’t tell Him.
 
Have you seen it yet?
What did you think?

I am Some Bridey Love Mum

Ok so it’s a bit off topic maybe, but my Lovelies have asked for more Lifestyle content, and sure why not?

So tonight is Mammy’s advice to any Brideys in the audience.

wedding5

The Him and I got married on a Wednesday, over Christmas in 2009, which was (you might remember) the year of THAT BIG SNOW.  I’m sure it was a huge inconvenience to many.  I’m sure some people grumbled about our choice of date.

But here’s the thing about weddings, they’re a lot like parenting really.  Because everyone has an opinion (or ten) and if you try to please everyone, you’ll spin right through the whole event in a whirlwind of stress and worry.

So from an oul married woman to you, the lucky Lovely who is planning your big day, here are some of my words of wisdom…

  1. Firstly, you WILL get opinions thrown at you.  As usual, people usually don’t mean any harm or to interfere, and yet it can be exhausting.  There is NO WAY of avoiding this.  We had our whole wedding arranged and booked for 18 months before we even put a ring on.  We got engaged just 10 months before the wedding, announcing our engagement and the date and venue etc in one go… and even then, we had “You need to look at this venue/band/DJ etc.”   We didn’t.  We’d booked what WE wanted.  And it was perfect.

2.  Do what YOU want.  Don’t book a hotel just because that’s where your 4 sisters got married.  Don’t get married in a chapel/church/field because that’s what people expect.  Don’t have a video if you don’t want one.  Don’t wear heels if you don’t want to. Don’t have a top table if it terrifies you.  Don’t have a traditional first dance if you hate the thought of it.  Decide with your partner how YOU see your day, and WHERE you see it happening, and do it.  You’ll be married the same as everyone else whether you have fancy cars or 47 priests on an altar. Your Day, your way.  And yes you may have some people grumbling about how THEY would have expected it, or done it, but unless you’re marrying your great Aunt Jacinta, her opinion isn’t that important.

wedding4

3. Don’t get caught up in who can and can’t make it.  Whoever wants to be there and CAN be there, WILL be there.  Life gets in the way some times; illness, no babysitter, kids suddenly sick, weather… And while you might be genuinely sad that someone can’t make it, or doesn’t turn up, the wedding will go on without them and you’ll still be married to the love of your life.  The only people who NEED to be there, are you and your partner and whoever is celebrating the marriage for you! We had some guests who didn’t make it (or used the snow as an excuse not to make it!) and yet, the day went on and we’re still married.

4. Stick to your means:  Don’t put yourself in debt for 5 years for one day.  You don’t NEED most of the things you think you do. Why do you need the most expensive hotel?  Why do you need 6 Bridesmaids? Why do you need eleventy billion people there? If you WANT them there, go for it.  If you don’t, why are they invited? If (like us) you are both from huge families, don’t be afraid to set limits.  Only aunts and uncles, or first cousins only, or adults only… or only the family members you see and spend time with?  Imagine!  Imagine NOT inviting the cousin you haven’t seen since you were 4, or the aunty who you’re pretty sure despises you? Imagine!

If you are going to be paying for this wedding yourselves, YOU are in charge of what, when, how and who…(If getting help, of course the people who are helping to fund it should be respected and included in plans.) Yes of course, many of us want to keep everyone happy, especially our parents, but it is YOUR day and if you are going to have to leave out your team mates or workmates so some schoolmate of your Mum’s (who you don’t know) can come, it might be time to have a chat with Mum.  Surround yourselves with the people who mean the most to YOU.  (Both of our sets of parents hosted a table each at ours.  It worked perfectly for everyone. Just a suggestion!)

wedding7

 

5. Say NO.  “We want to get you a magician as a gift.”  “We’d love to get you doves as a gift.”   “I’d love you to wear my veil.”   ALL of these are kind gestures and if they suit you, go with them.  But if you hate magicians, don’t want to see any birds on the day (unless they’re on your plate) and don’t want to wear a veil, JUST SAY NO.  But I might offend someone… Are they you?  Are they your partner? Are they getting married? No? Well then, they’ll get over it BECAUSE IT’S NOT THEIR WEDDING DAY!

6. To Kid or not to Kid…  OOOOOOOOOh, yes.  I am going there.   You can probably guess where I’m going with this.  Do you WANT kids at your wedding?   Then THAT’s your answer.  If you have kids, chances are you’ll be glad of some company for them.  If you have nieces and nephews, you’ll most likely want them there.  I’m talking OTHER people’s kids.  It’s so difficult to draw a line here and you’ll always get “Well if the kids aren’t invited, we can’t go…”  And while this is sad, it’s not your problem.

If we are invited to a wedding and the kids are invited too, unless it’s their aunt or uncle, they ain’t going NOWHERE!  If we’re invited to a wedding and can’t get a babysitter, we don’t go.  Or one of us goes.  It makes us sad, but our kids come first.  If we are invited to a wedding without the kids, usually we highkick it up the road, delighted at the prospect of a date day!

Of course, every situation is different and there are things to consider, (eg. Your friend’s Baby is 5 weeks old and she’s breastfeeding tends to be a genuine enough one), but if it’s someone who has 3 kids and just wants to bring them, then NO.  This is hard to do.  It causes problems.  It did at ours.  But we stuck to our guns and only had the first cousins, the youngest of whom was 5.  Outside of that, nope.  Some people didn’t come.  We were sad.  We’re still married though.

wedding1

7.  Delegate:  If (like me) you are a complete Monica, this can be hard.  But rather than getting stressed about what needs to be done the week or day before, delegate.  I only had one grown up BM. Thankfully she is as OCD as I am, but she took charge of things like collecting dresses and flowers and such, allowing me to spend the day before my wedding relaxed, getting my nails done and going for tea with Himself.  I did the same the day before hers. She gave me a to-do list. I dood it.   And never mind the BMs, I bet you have a friend or two who aren’t in the wedding party but who’d love to help with stuff? Let them.  Don’t spend the week before your wedding so busy that you miss the excitement of it.

8. On the Day:  1.  Between courses at the meal, we went to 2 or 3 tables to say hi to our guests.  It only took a few minutes and it meant that we didn’t feel obliged to spend hours after the meal walking around tables.  2.  Every so often, we’d meet to take it all in. Just us. He’d nod across or I’d catch his eye and we’d go to the bar, on our own, have a drink and watch the fun unfolding around us.  If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have seen each other all evening AND we’d have missed his cousins doing a human pyramid on the dancefloor!

wedding3

9.  Does it matter?  Problems will arise and issues will present themselves.  The people you THINK will be problematic or stressful, are usually the opposite.  No.  The drama Llama usually comes in the person you’d least expect.  No matter what arises, stop and ask yourself, Does it really matter?  Does it really matter if John Joe and Jacinta won’t come if Nancy is invited?  Does it really matter if your hotel tell you they have to change the layout of the room.  Does it really matter if your invitations have the wrong shade of mauve on the ribbons?  Does it really matter if Uncle Jenny doesn’t like the band?  NO.  So unless the problem is going to affect you and your Him or Her getting married and declaring your love to each other, feck it.  It doesn’t matter.

10.  Enjoy.   Yes it’s cliched and it’s easier said than done sometimes, but your wedding day REALLY should be THE best day EVER.  And it will be if you remember that table plans and flowers and bouquets and all that jazz are superfluous.  Only have them if you want them.  (Ditch the table pan.  I’ve been to so many weddings recently where bar the front row of tables of immediate family, the rest of the hall was free-for-all.  Worked great.    Allow other people to help, do what YOU want and remember what’s important to YOU.

wedding2

And if you disagree with anything I’ve written, that’s fine too.  My way obviously isn’t how EVERYONE would do it.  You don’t have to agree.  You do what is right for YOU.

I loved every second of being a Bride.  I loved every second of our wedding day.  I’d do it all over again in the morning… and I’d even marry the same Him.

If you are getting married, I wish you all the love in the world.  Enjoy every magical moment, however and wherever you’re doing it.

Mammy x

I am Sun & Fun in Salou Mum

Well we ventured abroad for a week with the girls, and despite my fears and worries, it was fantastic. (So fantastic in fact that we are probably going to book the exact same hotel again for next summer!)

The girls in Atlantic Travel in Letterkenny were brilliant when I went in. I wanted short flights, short transfer, central location and good food. Within a few minutes, I was looking at Family Life Avenida Suites in Costa Dorada in Salou.

Atlantic were able to recommend it, having visited it and from customer reviews, so we booked it, trusting their recommendation.

And it was everything they said it would be.

37300536_10160452226655167_1596257026856452096_n (1)

We flew from Belfast which is only 80 minutes from our home. Flights were 2.5 hours and transfer was only 20 minutes. We were the first stop for the bus and everything was so easy.

36438152_1399380380162289_1179301335472799744_o

Arriving at the hotel at 10am meant that rooms were not quite ready for most of the families in front of us. There was no problem with this as they were simply invited to leave cases and the hotel phoned them once their rooms were available. Now, here is where Atlantic Travel impressed me most. When I went to check in, at the end of the queue, our room was ready! Emma had requested “early check-in” on our booking. Ingrid at reception was so lovely and we were delighted to get in to our suite. We were at the poolside by 11am.

37268360_10160452224365167_877710763467210752_n

The main foyer

This resort is beautiful. It’s clean, it’s well organised and it’s fully geared towards families. The suites are incredible. A double bed, kitchenette, wardrobe spaces and shelves. (Not one square inch is wasted…shelves everywhere!).

Then a huge bathroom with bath and shower and massive mirror area AND a separate twin bedroom for the girls. We had a double balcony and were on the first floor. Room service made beds and did a quick clean of bathroom each day and on 2 mornings, they changed full beds for us where a nappy incident had occurred. No problem at all.

Now, our room was directly above the bar and while it was noisy at night, the suites are quite well soundproofed. My girls sleep through anything, however if your kids are light sleepers, it might be an idea to request a quieter room, but you might lose the pool view. For us, it was perfect. And everything was quiet by midnight anyway.

Family Life Avenida has everything you could imagine for the kids. There are 2 kids’ clubs, a creche facility, just inside the pool door there was a huge baby changing room, a room with chairs for feeding and cots for napping babies with chairs next to each for parents. Mini-Me joined the @611 club which ran from 10-12 and from 2-4pm each day. She went for 3 of our 7 days and LOVED it.

The resort is exclusive to English and Irish families, and while I missed the lilt of different accents around me, it did mean that Mini-Me and Princess had no problem making friends. There is a huge pool area with a separate baby pool, a bar, a cafe terrace and loads of play areas for the kids. It was only a 5 minute walk from the centre of Salou, where the pier and the fountain are a must see.

The food was exceptional; The breakfast buffet was so impressive, fresh and varied each day. Fruit, breads, cereals, full fry-up, porridge… anything you wanted. (Even bubbles for Buck’s Fizz for Mammy!)

The dinner buffet was also impressive. Again, unlike some resorts I’ve stayed in where Tuesday night’s dinner was a mash up of Monday’s left overs, the spread here was brilliant. So fresh and very tasty. We had the option of booking the a la carte restaurant for one of our nights, but the food was so good in the buffet and the girls were so happy that we didn’t bother. There was a little mini hot plate area for children to get their own food, which the girls just loved.

We were half board so we bought lunch each day. 2 pizzas, 2 chips and some drinks and beers was usually around €32. Ice-creams and drinks were all we had to buy, but with a pint and a wine costing less than €5, we weren’t too badly hit. All inclusive however, would be cost effective if your kids are a bit older. Then, the soft drinks and icecreams are unlimited.

What really makes this hotel however, is the staff.

From the room maintenance, to the front desk, to the restaurant staff, they were second to none. A special mention must go to Ana, the lady who met us at the desk morning and night. She was an absolute lady and gave the girls a coloured straw every time we entered, Might sound silly, but it was one of the little touches which made our girls feel special.

But the TUI staff themselves, what can I say?

Those guys work, work, work, but at no point did we see any one of them without a smile. They remembered names. They high-fived. They stopped to have conversations and their energy was contagious. And their talent? Now, I am not easily starstruck. My ‘theatre’ background means I am critical enough of “talent”, but these guys were phenomenal.

Our first night was a Magic of the Musicals night. We could have been sitting in the West End for some of the scenes. Francis in particular was exceptional. This guy could transform from clown, to chimney sweep to Jean Valjean in the blink of an eye. His voice, his acting and his dancing were superb. Izzy and Taylor were equally as talented. They did the Musicals show, a cabaret show of all TUI staff, and a Disney night which was fantastic.

The schedule of entertainment was varied and fun. At 7.20pm, a few episodes of Paw Patrol are shown on the screen. (Cue every parent sighing as they sup on a glass and breath!) Then the team entertainment starts with ‘Download’, a virtual interactive gameshow where the kids and parents get competitive. Other various pieces were mixed up throughout the week, with outside acts coming in on alternate nights; acrobats, Michael Jackson tributes etc.

The hotel was full of young families, with most kids seemingly under 12. We travelled at the end of June. The hotel was comfortably busy for the first 4 days, but it did become very busy on our last 2 days. The pool and restaurants were much more crowded by the end of the week with the UK hoildays beginning, and there was suddenly a queue for loungers at 8am, which hadn’t been the case on our first days. This is not a complaint by any means, but an observation which has convinced us to travel earlier next year if we can.

We spent most of the holiday in the resort, visiting the main town and promenade a few times, venturing to the beach once, and going to PortAventura World on the Tuesday. This was great, but expensive and tiring for our little kids. They’ll enjoy it more as they get older, but it’s a great day out.

And then, it was suddenly time to start packing up to come home.

Our journey home was as easy as our journey there. Bus pick-up was at 8am for our 10.30am flight. Check in at Ruess airport was incredibly slow and we were worried we’d be late for the flight, but with very little to do and limited seating in the airport, it was fine. Again TUI staff were on hand to assist.

37204438_10160452219430167_8679060536396087296_n

We’ll be back

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable week of amazing family time. Our fear of sun holidays with the kids has been dispelled forever and I’m going to book our return trip to Avenida Suites as soon as I can.

5 stars from Mammy… a great spot for young families

The S-Mum is an Irish Mammy Blogger and writer. No compensation was received for this review. I write it simply because I was impressed by the Family Life Avenida Suites and the whole TUI experience. These are my own thoughts and I am obliged to nobody.

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram

TheS-MumBlog_Banner-01

I am Sit on My Knee Mum

On my Knee.”
Today you are poorly,

My precious wee lamb.

Today you need Mammy

And right here I am.
I’ll sit right beside you

I’ll rub your wee toes

I’ll clean up your mess and

I’ll wipe your wee nose.
I’ll kiss all your fingers and

rub your wee face

I’ll not give a damn about

the state of this place.
I’ll cuddle and snuggle you,

I’ll let you complain

You don’t understand

this feeling of pain.
To see you feel poorly

It breaks Mammy’s heart.

I’d take every ounce of it,

every last part,
To make you feel better,

To make you feel fine,

I wish with my essence that

the sickness was mine.
And whether you’re sniffly,

or puking or hot,

You’ll sleep right on top of me,

not in the cot.
And yes this is minor

and yes you’ll be fine

But I am your Mammy

And your pain is mine.
So today, there are so many

things I should do,

But none of those things,

as important as you.
The world won’t stop turning

if I stay here with you,

Some days I’m just “Mammy”

Cos only Mammy will do.
So cuddle your Mammy,

Just sit on my knee,

When you need your Mammy,

right here I will be.
xxx Mammy xxx