9 Gift Ideas For Your Man For Christmas

The Clothesline:

I am reposting this in case anyone needs some last minute gift ideas for the man in their life. Merry Christmas.

Originally posted on At The Clothesline:

The key to all of these suggestions is you must keep a straight face when presenting the gift to your beloved.


1. A t-shirt with your face on it. Easily done online. Better still your face in a love heart on the t-shirt.

2. A homemade book of hug tokens because what man does not love hugs? Especially at the times when the  tokens suggest , for example, At night when he trying to sleep. First thing in the morning. Outside his place of work. In his place of work. During key sporting events. The possibilities are endless.

3. A voucher for dance classes for both of you to enjoy together.  ( No need to actually buy a voucher, a fake one could be easily made up) You can be original with this , no need to stick to ball room dancing , why not go with Interpretive Dance For Couples – analyse…

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Whinging and Weaning

My laptop has been broken and so has my sleep. The last six or seven weeks of my life can be summed up with the word meh.

Six months post baby and everything just went wobbly. My hair fell out. Loads of it. Ridiculous amounts and the hair that stayed turned to straw.Spots. Craziness. All of it. The worst part of all this is losing my ability to sleep, this kicked in, rather nicely, just as I hit that bone tired exhaustedness that happens after months of broken sleep that is life with a small baby. Then she started sleeping  and I stopped. Anxiety then started kicking in because what else do you do at 1am in a quiet house but imagine all the ways you can die and think about how your children will miss having a mother. Then I had to start blocking out the proper dark scary thoughts and just have some general worries in the middle of the night about stupid things that are out of my hands and that’s killed  a good few hours in the middle of the night. See? I have been a real cheerpy motherfucker.

Anyway it’s December now and Christmas , some reckless online shopping, some mild chemical assistance with sleeping and all the crazy busy that is the build up to Christmas means I am sleeping slightly better now and I am fine again. My hair has stopped falling out and I have some rather wonderful hair regrowth too. I have everything crossed that locks will be the big look of 2015 because I am currently sporting some marvellous ones along with some baby hair  fringe along my hairline.

Locks like Elvis. Going to be HUGE in 2015 . You heard it here first.

Locks like Elvis. Going to be HUGE in 2015 . You heard it here first.

My lack of sleep has also resulted in me cracking how one of lifes great mysteries happen……..Mom hair. It happens because you reach a level after having a number of children and your hair just gives up and you realise that’s it. Long hair is no longer a possibility. I am getting Mom hair once I can get a hair appointment. Hard to do in December at a time when you can get someone to take all your kids too but I am optimistic it will happen some time this week. I might get a tint or something instead of highlights to get fully on board with the Mom haircut I am planning. I have made my peace with it.

Also I worked out that eating everything, exhaustion makes me eat more than normal, also doesn’t make you feel great but I am not going to worry about that till next month. Everyone feels fat in January and I will have company. Be grand.

The husband walked past me a few weeks ago and stopped and told me I smelled lovely. It was head lice lotion he could smell. That about sums me up at the minute.

In other news, the new child is flying. Getting big. Loves Britney, she dances. She started eating last month. Jesus its a pain in the hole having to shop and cook for another person but she’s seriously into it.



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She is crying here because I moved her breadstick to her other hand. She thought I stole it.

She is showing signs of being very determined and headstrong so that should be fun when she is a toddler. I think first sentence will definitely be I will do it myself or It’s Britney bitch. She’s great. Everyone is great so really I have fuck all to be lying awake at night worrying about. So I have stopped. I am decking the halls and  crying at nativity plays and buying ridiculous things on Amazon. Back to normal.

How are you?

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I Am Not A Pleasant Fooker

Yesterday: Starburst’s for breakfast followed by 17 mini mars bars, some stale roses sweets, 7000 jellies, some rolo and a packet of tayto. Lunch. More miniature bars of chocolate. More jellies. It rained all day, we stayed inside and eat all the Halloween treats. At the peak of the sugar high we resorted to tongue twisters. Pheasant Plucking.

I am not a pheasant plucker.

I’m a pheasant plucker’s son.

And I am only plucking pheasants, 

Till the pheasant plucker comes.

Not clever. Not mature. Funny though.

Back to school tomorrow coupled with a sugar comedown. Should be fun.

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Fisher Price Smart Stages Car Review


A couple of years ago, my house resembled the baby aisle of a toy shop, with three children under aged four, there were toys everywhere. I was quite the expert on toddler toys but time moved on, lego moved in and baby and toddler toys have changed  in the few years since I have had a baby.

I research toys before I buy, I am that person. I try to work out a usage per cost basis and always look for recommendations and reviews before big purchases. I still feel bitter over the year Santa brought two tablets, that were played with twice. TWICE. That’s a €50 per usage cost by the way.

We were recently offered the Fisher Price Smart  Stages Car for review and straight away the fact that toy grows with the child appealed to me , top potential marks on the usage per cost basis!

Crawl Around Car 1


The Smart Stages range are a brand new and innovative way for toddlers to discover the world, with the toy adjusting its content to the baby’s level of development.  Parents can input their child’s age for content updates, just like an app. The toys evolve with age appropriate content, as the baby grows at their own natural pace. This keeps the toy fresh, and encouraging exploration – for both babies and parents.

 The discovering content of Smart Stages is categorized into three stages, ranging from 6 to 36 months. The exploring level starts at six months.  That’s about the time when the baby experiences feedback and learns its first words. 

In the second stage at about 12 months the baby gets more encouraged with building on learning. In the last level at an age of 18 months baby´s play is already gearing up for an early role-play. To perfectly match their baby’s needs, parents can also change the development stage manually through a switch.

They see me rollin'

They see me rollin’

My first thoughts were that the car was a lot bigger than I imagined. Assembly was relatively easy, it only took a couple of minutes and thirdly, the box it comes in is very big so if worth bearing in mind if you buy this as a Christmas present. My elder daughters commandeered the box to make their own car ( because they are deprived and don’t have any of their own toys) while the youngest got to enjoy her new shiny car.  Its red and bright and very appealing to the eye.

The new one is still a couple of days off six months, the recommended age for the first stage of the smart stages car. She has not quite mastered sitting up unaided so I did need to prop her up with a cushion inside the car. Straightaway she grabbed onto to the steering wheel and the dials and keys. The car is very sturdy too and it doesn’t move, this is a big plus for me as I could safely put her in, shut the door and leave her too it. The car plays a variety of songs at a tolerable level and the new one seems to really like it.

I can see the car coming into its own in another couple of months when she is crawling and pulling herself up. The door to it opens and closes and it is sturdy enough to support a toddler leaning on it. There are shape sorters and balls too that come with the car but she is too young to play with these yet, although they are a hit with the four-year old who also fits comfortably in the car.  I really liked that my older children knew the songs and rhymes the car plays as it encouraged them to get down on the floor and play with her too.

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You need a hat for your convertible in the winter months……..


As mentioned the toy, evolves with the baby ;


“The discovering content of Smart Stages is categorized into three stages, ranging from 6 to 36 months. The exploring level starts at six months. That´s about the time when the baby experiences feedback and learns its first words, in the second stage at about 12 months the baby gets more encouraged with building on learning. In the last level at an age of 18 months baby´s play is already gearing up for an early role-play. To perfectly match their baby’s needs, parents can also change the development stage manually through a switch.Thanks to the stages of development up to 36 months, Fisher-Price Smart Stages toys become long-term companions in baby´s play-life.”


The Fisher Price Smart Stages Car retails  between €80 to €89.99 , I have seen it in a few places at different prices so do shop around and is available from all major toy stores and Amazon. I would absolutely recommend for baby’s first Christmas or birthday due to the different stages of the car plus its a well designed, sturdy toy that will last. Despite its size, it’s easily stored and it’s been a big hit here and I imagine it will continue to be as the new one grows.



I was sent a SmartStages Car for the purposes of completing this review.  I received no other compensation for the review and as always, all opinions are my own.


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The Chanel Ad- A Lesson in Magnificent Smugness.

I saw the new Chanel ad last night. Have you seen it?

Sorry its a mini-film not an ad. Directed by Baz Luhrmann  with more than a nod to The Great Gatsby which he directed recently. It’s a follow on to the  Moulin Rouge inspired Chanel ad of ten years ago also Luhrmann directed,  which starred Nicole Kidman. Now Gisele Bundchen is the star. She is just like us. 30’s, husband, kid, surfboard…….

The husband called the mini film a load of insert many swear words. I think it is magnificent.

The whole thing plays out to an achingly fucking cool version of You’re The One That I Want from Grease…….Gisele surfs like a boss in her No 5 wetsuit and Chanel surfboard. She is positively Amazonesque. Strong. Stunning. Her legs are twice the length of normal legs. When she emerges from the sea, her hair isn’t a tangled mess, its sleek. She is a goddess.

Her husband sporting a baby blue suit and a seriously high maintenance beard watches on from their fucking amazing Hampton’s beachfront home. He looks troubled though. Gisele too looks troubled upon seeing him and dashes out of the sea with her sculpted by the angels themselves body, peeling off the wetsuit and slipping into some type of  perfect white robe top, hair starting to fall perfectly into beach waves. Bearded husband’s distress is too great and he has left in his Range Rover with his driver. I want the Range Rover with driver even more than I want Gisele’s body. There is just so much coveting during this mini-film.

So then their beautiful child appears with her Nanny. Gisele gets ready, does her makeup , sprays her No5. Herself and the child have all the fun. The child asks no questions about why Mammy is putting make up on and is not continuously screeching “where are you going, why are you leaving me” and skips off with the nanny. Testament to how  far from stylish I am and how much the mini film invokes the want, but I also even pause to admire the Nanny’s coat. Anyway Gisele finds a note from hipster husband quoting the song from Grease.

We don’t know whats wrong with him. Is Gisele too focused on her surfing, her job, the child and not giving him the attention he needs? Who knows? Not us. We only see glimpses of the note which just seems to quote the song. So Gisele goes off to work to be fabulous whilst looking at the note from beardy . Then its too much and she must leave. So she hops into her fucking amazing convertible and cries the most beautiful tears as she speeds into Manhattan to find beardy in a jazz club.  He is there. He has changed from the newborn baby boy coloured clothes into a tux, bow tie open, of course. Her dress and earrings emblazoned with No. 5. Only Gisele can carry this off. Don’t try it anyone else.

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Their eyes meet.All the love it there. They kiss and no doubt live happily ever after. Magnificent. It is all so glamorous and perfect and the best type of smug. Proper smug. Not fake smug that normal people think they can achieve by clean eating or having a tracker mortgage  or never brings their child to McDonald’s smug but Hampton’s, range rover with driver, childcare staff who wear nice coats,fabulous job, perfect hair, beautiful tears whilst speeding into Manhattan in a convertible smug. THE BEST TYPE.

The rest of us cant have all of that but we can have a bottle of Chanel No.5 and a tiny sliver of this life. It is the best mini film. I have rewatched it many times. Bravo Chanel.

*whispers* I prefer Coco Chanel though and I would prefer a different Musical to provide the soundtrack to my life. Maybe My Fair Lady or Calamity Jane. 

photo credit: Josh (broma) via photopin cc

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Nap- time Interrupted

I know all my children love me. I thought the four-year old loved me the most. This is possibly not actually the case.

On Saturday afternoon, I escaped to my bed for a nap. The husband had been away all week, I was tired. Circumstance allowed for the perfect nap scenario. I was cocooned in a bed all alone and was asleep shortly after lying there and really appreciating the quiet and space. Roughly 8 minutes later

Mammy, mammmmmmmm, mama, mama, mom, MAMMY, MOMMY” I could hear it in my sleep, an urgent whisper getting louder and louder. Then I felt my eyelids being physically prized open.

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She excels at the extreme close up.

mmmmuugggh” I replied

Can we go to town tomorrow?” she asked, not the most urgent question but she is wise and she knows the right time to make requests. This is why she thinks she is getting a kitten for her birthday. A grey one, apparently.

Ok” I whispered desperately trying to get back to the perfect nap.

Mammy, mammmmmmmm, mama, mama, mom, MAMMY, MOMMY

I was awake.

Stop doing that” she demanded

Doing what

This” she replied and inhaled and exhaled

Breathing?” I asked

“Yes, stop breathing. I don’t like it”

The nap was disappearing rapidly.


Ok, thanks”


Admittedly this wasn’t very nice of me but it was the perfect nap that was being destroyed.

She laughed.

But Daddy would just get a new wife and she would be my mammy” She explained like I was the small child and bounced off the bed.

I rolled over desperately trying to resume the nap.

90 seconds later, her face appeared again.

Mammy, mammmmmmmm, mama, mama, mom, MAMMY, MOMMY”


“YOU KNOW I’M ALL ABOUT THAT BASS, IT’S NO TROUBLE” complete with finger-pointing.

Grand.  She went. I lay there thinking about the husbands new wife, would she love the kids?What would she look like? I imagined all the scenarios how I would die, fought off the anxiety, fell back into another restless non perfect nap and got up again.

She did assure me later that evening when I was clearly breathing in a more acceptable fashion that she really really loved me and that I was her favourite . No doubt in her head she added on a “for now“.

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My Stupid Car

Stupid Car

When we bought our ozone destroyer ginormous car a couple of months ago from a person who looked like a gangster, I did not have many expectations. I knew that buying a car with 7 full seats, with my limited budget, was not going to lead to glamorous driving. I knew I was going to spend a huge amount of money on road tax for the tank and while I expected fuel costs to be high, just how high they are continues to be slightly eye watering. I knew my ugly fuel guzzling car was going to be ugly and it came as no surprise that when driving it, if I put my foot to the floor on a motorway, I am lucky to get up to speeds of 80k per hour. I knew all this. I did expect it to fucking start though.

The first time it died was during the summer. It went back to the garage. Then it happened again. Then it went back to the garage again. Then a few weeks after that it happened again. Clearly, and not all that surprisingly, dodgy garage hadn’t fixed it properly. Anyway the issue turned out to be a loose wire. That is a mechanical term. The husband was able to flute around under the bonnet when it died two more times and fix it.  All fine.

Then one morning last week, at 8.20am, whilst trying to leave for school, it died again. I was thrilled. I kicked it and left it. The husband fixed it again that night. The next morning, kids loaded into car , car started, all good. I don’t usually drive all the way to school but this morning for the first morning this school year, I decided to, as the baby was still asleep so I didn’t get dressed properly or dress her, into the car and off we went.  Kids went into school. I hopped back into the car. Dead.

The car wasn’t strictly in a parking place. I wasn’t able to leave it there. I rang the husband in work. He told me to open the bonnet and wiggle the wires. That’s another mechanical term. I opened bonnet. There were about 678 wires. I phoned him back. Which one I asked. He didn’t know. So I leaned in under the bonnet and started the long process of jiggling all the wires. In the space of five minutes pretty much everyone I have ever met walked past me. I saw neighbours, friends, people I went to school with, people I worked with. They just kept coming, sympathetic smiles, offers of lifts, offers of help. I continued my line of “I just need to jiggle the wires, its grand” and started to sweat.

As well as streams of people I know passing me, random strangers did too.

“Car trouble?” they asked my arse. It’s a big car. I had to lean right in to get at all 678 wires so only my arse was on display.

People sure do love to state the fucking obvious.

I eventually gave up. The husband rang back. Rather awkwardly we weren’t actually talking after a stupid fight the previous evening. Thankfully he is a bigger person than I am and he chose to ignore my arseholeish behaviour and came to the rescue. He arrived after half an hour. The crowds ( no exaggeration, it’s a big school) had dissipated. He wiggled the wire. The car started. I came home. Half an hour later I realised the leggings I was wearing had a hole in the arse of them. A hole that would have been largely on display to hundreds of people when I was playing mechanic. At this point, I seriously considered having a drink.

I ignored the car for the rest of the week. Too fearful to get into it again. A garage assured us it was a very small job and the car was booked in for the small job yesterday. Shock surprise the 40 euro job turned into a job that cost five times the amount. When I collected the car, reluctantly, at this stage I would gladly never have set eyes on it again, the mechanic started to tell me about potential problems with the clutch. Being mature, I stuck my hands over my ears and started singing loudly.

So for now, the car is working again. I hate it. Stupid car.

I am buying myself some driving gloves like these to make it better. Next month though obviously. There is no money left this month.

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