Top 5 Summer Bag Essentials

I have been a little MIA on both the blog and my Youtube channel but since the rain has gone away and I have a child destined to be outdoors and another who refuses to sleep all day until about 9pm the time I get on the laptop is usually with one eye struggling to stay open. We have been outside from first thing in the morning to last thing at night a lot lately. I am in no way complaining I love that Aidan is such a little explorer. The weather and types of days out we are having are very different to those of a few months ago and so the contents of my changing bag are a little different too. Here are some of my summer bag essentials for the sunny days and adventures..

  1. Suncream (obv!)
    I don’t think there is a single parent who doesn’t have suncream in their bag during the summer. I have some in every bag, room and the car. We currently use the Childs Farm suncream which we are huge fans of! Keep an eye out for an upcoming review. There are too many good things to get into in this post!
  2. Plasters
    Again, an obvious one if you parent a child even remotely as adventurous as mine. The kid has no fear – he will climb on everything and crawl through anything. I don’t use specific ones but I do find the characters ones a bit useless. They fall off in no time.
  3. Zap It*
    Zap It is basically exactly what the name says. It is a little device that ‘zaps’ insect bites to take away any stinging, itchiness or swelling. It is suitable from age 2, meaning it is safe for almost all the family. I remember my Mam always having one of these on holidays.
    Available from
  4. Anthisan
    This one is for the children. Anthisan is great! It takes the itch out of nettle rash, bites and stings. It is an antihistamine which means it stops the histamine working in the body. Histamine is responsible for the pain, redness and swelling that happens after getting bitten or stung.
  5. Peaked cap & change of clothes
    This is a mistake I made once and never again. I ended up bringing Aidan home in a nappy after an impromptu ‘pool party’ in a blow-up Peppa Pig pool. It took about a week to get Aidan used to wearing a hat too but now he leaves it on for the most part… although he wears it backwards half the time – for the fashion I’m sure!


What is in your summer bag? Is there anything you would add or take out compared to mine?


*I was sent this product for the purpose of this post.

Skincare for Acne Prone Skin

skincare acne prone skin

skincare acne prone skin

A few weeks ago I published a post about how I cleared my cystic acne, and never in a million years did I expect the response it got. It became my most popular post in a matter of hours. I promised in that post to share my current skin care routine which then had to take a back seat after an allergic reaction to a new product I was trialling. Here is a list of products I use, some interchangeably.

Nip + Fab Glycolic fix pads (€12 – €17)

I mentioned these in my previous post and I still use them daily. Overnight before I go to bed I wipe my face and neck with one of these pads – if I do nothing else at least I have done that. These have become major popular in the past months which meant that when I went to restock last time they were sold out. I got the extreme glycolic pads – they are definitely stronger on my skin meaning I can only use them every second night or my skin begins to get a little cray.

Ziaja Aloe Vera Cleansing Milk (€3.99)

Again I mentioned these in my previous post. I use these on the alternative nights with the Extreme Glycolic pads. I also use this as my second cleanse when removing makeup – but I think makeup will have to be a completely different post.

Coconut Oil (varies – Aldi do a great one for €3.99)

When the acne cleared my skin went from previously being an oily mess to being extremely dehydrated. I wanted an intense moisturiser that didn’t have too many chemicals which my skin might not appreciate and the internet suggested coconut oil. I use this to remove makeup, moisturise my face, body and hair, I even used it cooking curry the other night (not the same jar I use for my skin – obviously!). I also put some on an insect bite the other day and the itchy/ pain disappeared after a few hours! Anyway, this is not a coconut oil appreciation post – my skin definitely feels a lot healthier since introducing coconut oil to my routine.

Tomitago Elixir (€18 – €30)

I use the Tomitago elixir as a face and eye serum. So I will remove my make up and then cover my face and neck with the Elixir. This product is created locally (love to support local) and I had heard great reviews of their gentle but effective products. Tomitago were kind enough to send me a sample to try in case it didn’t agree with my skin. They did not know I was a blogger (unless they are reading this now – HEY!) they simply allow a customer to trial their products because they have great faith in their abilities but also all skin types are different and it can soon become a costly affair to spend money on products only to find after a few days they don’t suit you.

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 (€12.99)

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I suffered an allergic reaction to a new product I was trying. The product was Rose Water – it is meant to be great for dehydrated skin and while it definitely was helping with my dehydrated areas my cheeks (which are normal) came up in tiny red bumps. I had seen LRP Cicaplast being mentioned for allergic reactions before so I picked some up in my local boots and after a few days the bumps are almost gone. I applied the cream all over my face and it has sort of brightened my skin – I can’t really explain but I like it. When I looked at the ingredient I saw that it has 5% panthenol, which is also the main ingredient in the miracle cream we used with Aidan. Two different brands, two very different price tags – same results?

Well, those are the products I use on my skin daily and have managed to keep my temperamental skin at bay (now just the temperamental toddler to concentrate on!). I will share my makeup favourites soon because I have had a few people ask ‘what’s in my makeup bag’ – I have a makeup unit so I will pick the products that I found worked best and the tools I use to apply them. If you have any other skin questions feel free to message me – I am in no way an expert (If you want someone who knows what they are talking about then Janat is your woman!) but I am happy to help if I can. I hope this helps someone out there who hasn’t yet found their perfect routine. Like I mentioned before the price tag doesn’t always mean it is what works best – on my pregnancy with Aidan I bought a skincare range that was stupidly expensive but it only made things worse (and it stank to high heavens.)

Everybody has different skin meaning that each person will get different results from products. While these products worked great for me I can’t guarantee that they will be everyone’s solution but I know that I was desperate to try anything when my skin was bad.

Trolley Bags | Review & Giveaway

You don’t know satisfaction like packing at the same speed they scan in Aldi!

We have been fans of Trolley Bags for over two years now. Back when I was pregnant with Aidan I saw somebody in our local supermarket with some and within hours I had ordered them for me, my Mom and my Nan. I use them every single time I go shopping, as do they. In fact we don’t own a single other shopping bag, only our trolley bags.

The four bags roll up into one neat and easily transportable set, which hang at the front of the trolley. The bags hold over a weeks shopping for our family (which is a lot of shopping – trust me!). The structure of the bags mean that they can stay open themselves giving you two free hands to pack your shopping. The different colours mean that you can separate frozen food from fresh and cleaning products from dairy – meaning that unpacking is just as quick and easy as packing.


The smallest bag is the easiest to manoeuvre making it is perfect for cans, bottles and other heavy items. The large bag is ideal for cereal boxes, toilet roll and other bigger, bulkier items. Each bag can hold 15kg – which totals 60kg or €160 worth of shopping in our case.

Over the past two years I don’t think there has been a single shopping trip where someone hasn’t enquired about my Trolley Bags and where to get them. They honestly make shopping trips so much easier – especially if you are as OCD as me. Before packing shopping would have my breaking a sweat but now I can do it with pure ease, and have been for years now. I cannot recommend these bags highly enough especially if you have kids to juggle as well as shopping.


The lovely people at Trolley Bags have given me a set of bags to giveaway. Simply follow @_ellenokeeffe & @TrolleyBagsIE on twitter and retweet the following tweet:

Good luck!

1. One winner will receive one set of Trolley Bags
2. Prize supplied directly from Trolley Bags
3. Entrants must follow both accounts AND retweet to gain a valid entry.
4. Open to ROI only.
5. Competition ends 31/05/2016

*I was sent a set of Trolley Bags for the purpose of this review but I have had a set for over two years now and all opinions expressed are my own 100% honest thoughts.

Memories of Growing Up | Review & Giveaway

My phone is jam packed with photos of Aidan and Finn – like most parents – but that is as far as they go because I never manage to print them off meaning baby books and scrapbooks don’t take long to become redundant. I actually don’t even have one for Finn. With technology taking over most ‘old school’ ways of saving memories the ‘Memories of Growing Up‘ memory stick is the perfect scrapbook alternative for me. It will be a great 18th or 21st gift for the boys to have all their childhood pictures in one place.

memories of growing up

The USB memory stick comes pre loaded with folder divided into age groups containing sub folders for major milestones and events. Of course you always create your own folders but I actually think the preloaded folders have everything covered.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 12.47.47
Years 0-5

Another idea is to take a photo of the boys everyday and put them onto the USB stick as a great way to watch them change over the years. I plan to photograph all their ‘art work’, school reports and awards and save those too.

The appearance is beautiful – a sturdy silver border with simply but stylish ‘Memories of Growing Up’ printed material. The stick comes in a matching box with foam interior. This would be an ideal gift for new parents and parents to be.It is available in two sizes; 16gb (£21.99) and 32gb (£28.99) and Memories of Growing Up offer worldwide shipping.

memories of growing up


Memories of Growing up has several other products for recording your children’s early years, like their Tall Tape. This is a great way to record you children height over time especially if you are renting or haven’t settled on your ‘forever home’ as it can be rolled up and taken with you. Tall Tape can also been used horizontally meaning that you can start recording from birth.

They also do a range of memory jewellery that include a capsule to hold something special to you – maybe your babies first lock of hair, their hospital tag or small message.

I think this brand has some very unique products which would make great gifts for parents and grandparents. Camilla has created a great range that allows a child to be tracked from birth to adulthood, and each piece is compact making it easy to transport if necessary.

Memories of Growing Up has also decided to give away a memories stick and a tall tape to allow you to start recording your memories. You can enter using the Gleam widget below and this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!

Memories of Growing Up Giveaway

terms & conditions –
1. 1 person will receive a 16gb memories stick, another person will receive a tall tape.
2. Prize supplied directly from ‘Memories of Growing Up’.
3. Competition ends 23/05/2016
4. Incomplete entries with be disqualified.
5. Open worldwide.
*I was given a memories of growing up memory stick for the purpose of this review but as always all opinions are my own, honest thoughts.

How I Cleared my Cystic Acne [Before & After Pics]

You may have seen a post I wrote a few months back, my 28 week pregnancy update, where I mentioned that my pregnancy acne had cleared up. Obviously being pregnant meant that anything too harsh and certain chemicals were off limits meaning I had to try out other methods.

cystic acne

Firstly, I knew that aloe vera was soothing to irritated skin so I decided to try products containing aloe vera. After the amazing results we have gotten from ziaja products in the past I decided to give their aloe cleansing milk a try. I think this was what helped to take down the severe redness and irritation initially and even now helps with redness I had from pre pregnancy.


Next I decided to try the Nip+Fab glycol fix cleansing pads. I had seen several bloggers using these and apparently they are a favourite of Kylie Jenner too. The glycolic pads not only exfoliate the skin and remove dead cells but they also pull the water from the deeper layers of the skin to the top layers providing a ‘plumping’ effect. The reason I gave these a go was not only for the extra cleaning but in the hopes that they may dull or reduce the many scars that remained from years of bad skin. I have to say that this is one of those products that even though its popularity is based on a celebrity recommendation deserves every piece of hype. I will never be without these in my house because they have made such a change to my skin – completely erasing several of my scars and deep pores. I have also purchased the cleanser in the past few weeks so I am excited to see if that will help even more.

Cleaning make up brushes. When my skin is very bad I will either plaster on make up everyday or I will completely avoid it. This time I avoided make up until it started to heal a little because the make up would irritate it even worse. Once I began to wear make up again I knew that cleaning brushes, sponges and other make up tools was a very important part of the process. For years I used baby shampoo to clean them but this method wasn’t disinfecting my brushes so I began to spot clean my brushes with Dettol after every 2/3 uses which meant that any bacteria from my face was removed frequently enough between washing. I now use Moo Goo goats milk soap to deep clean them based on the recommendation from Laura Dempsey, a local make up artist.

*I am not sure if Dettol is good for brushes so follow this step at your own will. I have been doing it for months now and had no issues but I am not sure if cheaper brands or long term use would ruin brushes.


I have recently began to use coconut oil to moisturise my skin which had become severely dehydrated. It seems to be doing great things but it is still very early days to give a proper judgement. I also put it in my hair as a mask and it was amazing!

And now for the pictures. I still can’t believe that it was actually this bad. A skincare expert actually told me to go to A&E at one stage because she was so worried about what was going on beneath the redness.



And now…
PicMonkey Collage

Don’t get me wrong I know it’s not perfect and to be honest it probably never will be but it is so much better and pain free! I now have several products that I use on my face daily to keep everything clear and in the best condition it can be so keep an eye out for my current skincare favourites post in the next few weeks.



Chocolate chip flapjacks | Recipe

There are more flapjacks consumed in my house than hot dinners I think. Anytime I make these they are lucky to last 24 hours before being devoured. I thought I would share my super easy, but slightly messy recipe for chewy chocolate chip flapjacks.

Chocolate chip flapjacks

200g of butter
200g of sugar
6oz of golden syrup
400g of porridge oats

*Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius*
1. Melt the butter in a pot over a medium heat.
2. When fully melted add the sugar and syrup and mix well – until all sugar is dissolved.
3. Add the porridge oats and stir until completely mixed.
4. *optional* Add chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc and again mix well.
5. In a greased 6×6 baking tin, pour your mixture and ensure it is evenly spread.
6. Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Allow to cool completely before cutting. (It will be soft to touch when removed from oven).
8. Cut and enjoy!

One Month Update | Finn

It’s 5 weeks since Finn was born – 5 weeks?! Seriously where has the time gone. In one way he still feels brand new but it also feels like he was always here. Now don’t get me wrong we are still very much learning and adapting to our new dynamics but luckily it has been going well so far. Within the first two years babies change so much from month to month so I love doing updates from time to time because it is crazy to see how much they have advanced in such a short period of time.


Height/Weight: Finn hasn’t been weighed or measured since we took him to A&E at 2 days old. Basically, our PHN advised us to go and have his blood sugar checked and when we got there all the doctors and nurses couldn’t understand why we had been sent out – go figure?! Anyway, by that stage he had already gone back up to his birth weight of 7lb 9oz. Since then we have had a few issues with reflux and it means that he has only begun to put on weight in the past week since I switched his formula.

When he was born Finn was 52cm long. I would guess that he is around 55/56cm now because he is now too long for newborn clothes, even though he is still lost in the body of them.

Routine: HA! The only little bit of coincidence ‘routine’ that we have is that Finn takes a bottle around 8pm and sleeps until somewhere between 2 and 4am and then sleeps again until around 8am. Can’t complain with that!

Sleeping: Before I switched his formula he would take his bottle and still be wide awake and irritable as well as spitting up a lot. Since changing his food Finn sleeps between all of his bottles except his morning one. He will have a bottle around 8/9am and stay awake until about 12. He will normally go about 5/6 hours between feeds during the day but like I did with Aidan I will feed him on request because he knows better than I do when he is hungry.

Eating/Feeding: Finn is taking 6-7oz bottles and is now on Aptamil Reflux and Regurgitation formula.

Sizes: He is now too long for his newborn clothes but is totally lost in 0-3months babygros so I think I will have to get him pants and top sets which might fit better. He still wears size 1 nappies but I’m thinking of moving him up a size soon.

Milestones: Finn has started to smile (and yes I am sure it’s not just wind!).

Netflix and Newborn

While having a new baby in the house has definitely been a huge adjustment I always make time for Netflix. Honestly, if Netflix wasn’t keeping track of what I have and haven’t watched, and which episode I fell asleep during I think I would be still be watching Pretty Little Liars on repeat – anyone else think the new series was a little bit pointless? Anyway, here are a few things I have been watching and what I have on my ‘to watch list’. The upside to night feeds – having total control of the remote control!


RuPauls Drag Race

I watched the first episode of this the night before Finn was born and as you can imagine my mind was a million miles away. Since coming home with my little fire ball I have gone through all 5 seasons on Netflix and am now watching the current season. I love all things reality tv, make up and comedy and this has all of those things. Some of those drag queens do make up better than most women I know!

Jane the Virgin

I was a little late to the party on this one after seeing several others rave about Jane the Virgin. They were right! It is a telenovela style comedy drama. After deciding to remain celibate until marriage, you can imagine the shock when Jane discovers she is pregnant after a routine gynaecologist appointment. That is only the tip of the preverbal iceberg when it comes to what Jane is about to encounter.

Pretty Little Liars

If you haven’t watched PLL by now where have you been? I began watching when it first aired and have kept up to date ever since. I must admit that the latest series was far from my favourite and I found it all a little bit pointless – with me zoning out for 75% of each episode and still not missing anything. However, the finale did end on quite a cliffhanger which will have me tuning into season 7.


No words needed. I am sure everyone and their mother knows what Frozen is about and has either sung it with their children or in the nightclub on a Saturday night. Yes, they play Disney songs in the nightclub now – at least thats what I’ve been told, I haven’t been inside one since my college days.

Gnomeo & Juliet

I am not a fan of the smurfs so initially I passed over Gnomeo and Juliet. I admit that one day I put it on for Aidan but when he went for his nap I was so invested that I just had to keep watching. It takes the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet and switches it up – with garden gnomes!

The Gift

Like 90% of couples, Clayton and I hardly ever agree on something to watch and when we do one of us either hates it or falls asleep (me). We both like thrillers so decided to give The Gift a go. The story is slow to start but then it is full of twists and has you changing your feeling towards the characters throughout. The ending was definitely unpredictable and memorable.

Still to watch…

Prince of Egypt

God I love this film! (pun intended!) I remember seeing this first in school and loving it. I want to watch it just for the beauty that is ‘When you believe’

Prison Break

I am definitely one of the last people to watch Prison Break. After saying a hundred times that I am going to start it somehow it always manages to get forgotten. Since they have said they are coming back with a new season I have decided (again) to watch the previous seasons.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I LOVED season 1 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! I still remember where I was when I watched the last episode. (I was on the landing folding clothes incase you were wondering). I had planned to spend last weekend with Kimmy, Titus and excessive chocolate but as I mentioned briefly above I have a newborn now who was far from co-operative! Maybe this week, Finn?


Now, I have a special request for Netflix. Could you please release more seasons of Paw Patrol because if I find myself watching that Halloween episode once more I may cry! Like, don’t get me wrong who doesn’t love a puppy Elvis or one with a pumpkin on their head but after 1,439,527 times the cuteness starts to wear off!

What have you been watching on Netflix lately? Is there anything you think that I should watch?



*Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV in return for posting Netflix updates and reviews, however, all opinions are my own. I also already had a personal subscription before joining the Stream Team.

One step forward, Two ounces back


Finn was a hunger from the moment he was born. He took to his bottles at lightening speed compared to Aidan. His first bottle he took over an ounce which the nurses were shocked about given his slender size. Like his Dad and brother he could not, and still can’t, seem to stop feeding. We recently had to switch his food to the reflux and regurgitation food because his little tummy couldn’t manage to keep his full feeds down which only added to his excessive hunger.

If it wasn’t for the ‘Baby Connect’ app I wouldn’t have had a clue how much or how often Finn was fed, changed or spit up. I used this with Aidan too and it was a godsend. By keeping track of Finn’s feeds and how often he spit up I was able to tell that it wasn’t just ‘normal’ spit up and that something needed to change. I love the Aptamil formula so when I saw they had one for regurgitation I decided that was the best direction to take and one week on there is a huge difference. Finn now spits up ‘normal’ amounts within an hour after his bottles, there are no more projectile incidents in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep and he is keeping down his food which is the most important thing.

He now, at 4 weeks old, has 6oz bottles – and drains them dry!

However, as Sod’s law states, the moment I up those bottles to 7 ounces he will revert back to only drinking about 4 – why?! I think it is how newborns get their kicks or something because I remember Aidan doing the exact same. While we’re on it, why do they wait until you are literally walking out the door to pull out their poo face or save their extremely loud farts for quiet, public places?

So, it’s one huge step forward but I am expecting to go at least two ounces back.

Our favourite Irish baby brands

With a new baby comes the unwritten rule to spend ridiculous amounts of money on anything remotely small or cute. With Aidan I bought him so many tiny clothes that he only got to wear some things once and others never even got the tags removed. This time I said I wouldn’t buy too many clothes until Finn was born so that I could judge sizes a little better. That being said I couldn’t sit through 41 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy and buy nothing, right? Here are some of my favourite Irish baby brands and stores that I simply couldn’t resist.

JellyBean Group
I first discovered the JellyBean Group when I purchased Aidan’s Tripp Trapp. Not only did they offer the best deal at the time but their customer service was second to none. After ordering they phoned me to tell me when my delivery could be expected and were an absolute pleasure to deal with. As you can guess they were my first port of call this time around on my search for a new changing bag. Again offering the best deal, speedy delivery and fantastic personal service. I got the Storksak Noa in grey for €99 with a free gift of 3 aden + anais muslin clothes.

Hogsett Designs
Again a previous favourite. You may have seen Aidan’s personalised blanket we had made last year on my Instagram. It is the softest and most complimented product I got him. In the spirit of fairness I of course had to get one for Finn too. As you can see from the picture the blankets are minky fabric with tags on one corner and personalised with the childs name. Like with Aidan’s, Finn’s blanket attracts almost as many compliments as his hair. The blankets measure 75cm x 110cm, which is almost cot bed size and are made with the softest material I have ever come across. Including shipping the personalised blanket cost €49.50.

Irish baby brands
When Aidan was born he was a chubby 8lb 11oz and went straight into 0-3 months clothes. Finn weighed 7lb 9oz, but he is long and skinny – meaning at 2 weeks he is still a little lost in newborn sized babygros. He has a tiny little neck meaning that any ‘one size fits all’ bibs I had bought were utterly useless! I happened to have some that Kellie from My Little Babog had sent me from and they were the perfect fit on their smallest setting so I immediately went and bought a collection of them. Because they have 4 different size settings and they wash so well they will do Finn right up until he is finished with dribblers. Each dribbler costs €5, but they are currently running offers of 3 for €12, 6 for €21 and 10 for €32.50!

Irish baby brands

Irish baby brands

Baba Me
Technically I haven’t ordered from them yet but I have my eye on the Lillebaby All Seasons Elephant Parade. I think a sling is a must have with two under two – it will allow me to hold the baby and still have my hands free to play with the toddler. Anyway, even though I haven’t dealt with them directly yet I have been a member of their Facebook group for a while now – their offers, helpfulness and advice cannot be faulted! They also offer 10% off your first order using the code ‘firstorder’.

*I purchased all products mentioned and was not asked or influenced to include any of the above brands – I simply love to spend money and influence others to do so 😉