Category: Christmas

Focus Ireland Christmas Campaign

Today I walked through my small City to pick up a few bits for Christmas and I was shocked to see people living in doorways and the hollows of the medieval walls. It is truly heartbreaking to think that people will have to spend Christmas this way – that includes 2,400 children across the country! This year Focus Ireland are running a Christmas Campaign to raise funds to help the 1,100 families that will be homeless this holiday season. No matter how small I am sure any donation will be extremely appreciated. Obviously, this is an expensive time of year but if you can spare some funds here is the link to donate: https://www.focusireland.ie/donate/

 

This is the press release which tells of all the work Focus Ireland does and the people it is hoping to help in the future.

FOCUS IRELAND LAUNCHES CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT THE DEEPENING FAMILY HOMELESS CRISIS

 

—   Charity makes urgent appeal for donations as record number of over 1100 families now homeless  ——

 

Sr. Stan launched Focus Ireland’s Christmas appeal today with a hard-hitting campaign that  highlights a record number of  over 2,400 children and nearly 1200 families are  homeless nationwide.  The new campaign makes an urgent appeal to people  to donate to support Focus Ireland’s work challenging homelessness.  The campaign features  TV, radio and outdoor ads and runs over the coming weeks leading up to Christmas. The outdoor ad features a mother and her child alongside the stark line: “Homelessness. We can’t  live like this anymore.”

 

Focus Ireland launched the campaign outside Government Buildings in Dublin with an admobile featuring the charity’s new poster.  Sr. Stan spoke passionately of the terrible impact being homeless has on children – and families – as she said: “Christmas should be one of the happiest times of year for children and their families. However, it breaks my heart to think that up to 2,500 children will be homeless on Christmas day this year.”

 

She added: “I know from meeting families who are homeless that we support it’s the children who feel it the worst. Many times a family who are homeless are often squeezed into one hotel room – 3 or 4 people in one room, nowhere to cook or for children to play. There are also many single people and couples homeless and they all need a place to call home.”

 

Sr. Stan highlighted the vital role Focus Ireland’s lifeline services play in supporting people   as   Focus Ireland reported that its family team services have supported   230 families and just under 450 children   in Dublin to secure a home and escape from the trauma of homelessness in the first 10 months of this year   *   ( * In partnership with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and local authorities) The charity also supports hundreds of families who are still homeless and  living in hotels and b”bs.

 

One mother Gillian who was homeless but has now secured a home with support of Focus Ireland said:”When you have a home you don’t realise how lucky you are…. my daughter was only two weeks old when we became homeless,  I don’t think I’d even be here now if it wasn’t for Focus Ireland,  I wake up every day now and  think ‘I have a home,”

 

Sr. Stan said: “We are working hard to support these families every day and not just at Christmas but we depend on donations at this time of year more than ever to raise vital funds so our services can cope with the rising demand. I am asking people to please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal.  Any donation will help us to directly support these families and also help fund our work to prevent other families and single people from becoming homeless in the first place. People can donate at https://www.focusireland.ie/donate/   or 1850 204 205.”

 

 

The charity said this Christmas will be a very challenging time as demand for its services continues to rise following the charity’s busiest year ever last year as it supported over 12,500 people who were homeless or at risk. Focus Ireland stressed that every euro donated counts in the battle against homelessness as 89 cents of every euro received by the charity goes directly to services to support people who are homeless and those at risk.

 

Focus Ireland said its new campaign aims to keep homelessness firmly on the public and political agenda in the countdown to Christmas.  The charity works to support over 12,500 people each year and aims to  provide 600 more homes by 2019 to help tackle the growing homeless crisis. Focus Ireland aims to deliver 150 homes a year over the next four years – to double its current housing stock.

 

Sinead Compton co-director of fundraising Focus Ireland with her two children Arron and Meabh with Sr Stan as they launch the charity's urgent Christmas appeal.
Sinead Compton co-director of fundraising Focus Ireland with her two children Arron and Meabh with Sr Stan as they launch the charity’s urgent Christmas appeal.

 

 

What Aidan got for Christmas

 

 

It is almost Christmas! I must say that this year I am very prepared and have some of these presents since October – yeah, I am as bad as the supermarkets. I thought I would share what I got Aidan for Christmas this year because I always find these posts really helpful when trying to decide on presents for other people.

Living around the corner from Smyths means that it is way too easy to just pop in and pick up one or two things, hence the excessive amount of stuff I managed to accumulate. His main present is a wooden kitchen and we decided on this one from Little Tikes as I wanted something really sturdy – 6 hours later and it is still being put together! He has a rapidly growing obsession with anything on wheels, and also a few crafty bits to help us get through the wet and miserable winter months ahead.

Kitchen collage

Little Tikes Wooden Kitchen || Melissa & Doug Food Groups || Melissa & Doug Fridge Food || Melissa & Doug Pots 

carcollage

Duplo My First Bus || Press & Dash Vehicles || Wooden Tractor || Melissa & Doug Safari Shape Sorter

craft collage

Wooden Magnetic Standing Girl Puzzle || Wooden Magnetic Farmer Puzzle || Crayola Minions Mess Free Markers || Crayola Twistables || Aquadoodle

And that is the majority of what we got Aidan this Christmas, not including the bits I picked up for his stocking like chocolates, mini cars, a sippy cup and so on. Also, there are several books we got him for Christmas which I haven’t included but I do plan to do a post about his book collection very soon so keep an eye out for those in there.

Now I just need to find the time to wrap them all, as well as gifts for everyone else! How did you do this year? Were you prepared early or are you a last minute dasher?




Fool Proof Christmas Dinner?

Today I actually got to watch ‘This Morning’ which hasn’t happened in months! When I switched on they were talking about Tesco’s microwave Christmas Turkey? Luckily we go to my Mom’s for Christmas dinner because to be honest if it was left to me we would probably end up with beans on toast or something because even the thought of having to do a big dinner like that stresses me!

Anyway, this got me thinking of a fool proof (or Ellen proof) Christmas dinner, and if such thing exists. Alas the internet never let’s me down in suggesting some crazy Christmas dinner alternatives….tinner

A tin of dinner, or ‘tinner’ per person – who wouldn’t love to be served this on Christmas day?

 

canned chicken

I actually don’t eat turkey so for me how about this ‘canned whole chicken’? Beans on toast is starting to sound pretty great right now, eh?

 

canned bread

Clayton is a sucker for bread and butter with a roast dinner so as not to leave out one of his favourites I could pick up this brown bread in a can? 99% fat free & 100% weird!

 

candwich

Incase you didn’t know Clayton is actually from American so to keep with his traditions – a PBJ ‘candwich’ to enjoy with a cuppa in the evening. Includes a candy surprise inside. Could not be further from excited about that surprise!

 

I do promise if I ever invite anyone for dinner in my house I will not serve any of these ‘delights’ but I just thought they were too weird interesting not to share! Hope I haven’t turned you off your Christmas dinner. Just remember if it all goes wrong beans on toast is always a better option than ‘tinner’.

christmas-dinner

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers





toddler christmas crafts

 

With the festive season approaching it is time to get creative – mainly because the weather keeps us pretty housebound. I have snooped around Pinterest and put together a list of crafts that I want to try (keyword being try!) with Aidan during the holidays.

Christmas Wreath Painting with Dish brush

Christmas crafts for toddlers


Toddler Christmas Tree cards

toddler christmas craft


Letter Ornaments

toddler christmas crafts


Snowman Letter

toddler christmas craft


Marble Art Christmas trees


Bedazzled Gingerbread men

toddler christmas crafts


Pasta Christmas Wreath

toddler christmas craft


Holly Jolly Christmas cards

toddler christmas craft

 

What crafts have you got planed for the winter months? Will you be trying any of these with your little one?




My Bloggers Christmas Wishlist

gift guide
Canon EOS 700D
I’ve been wanting a DSLR camera for a while both for blogging and vlogging and the Canon 700D has a flip out screen which is a must for me! Definitely high on the wish list.

LED free standing light
With the winter setting in quickly and daylight almost non existent after 3pm an LED light would be great for all blog pics. Mainly for the size during storage I would prefer an LED over a normal lightbox – but hey I wouldn’t say no to one of those either!

Planner
This was my present to myself this year. I got this lovely planner from TheNest.ie and I cannot wait to use it as soon as it arrives!

A blog PA
As you may have noticed (at least I hope you have by now) I recently moved blogs and although 99% of things are as I wanted there are one or two little weeks I would like to make but I cannot afford to risk anymore grey hairs by looking at HTML or CSS anytime soon. I would love to hire someone to make me some new social media buttons, advise me on some plug ins and give me general WordPress wisdom.

For Facebook to show my posts to people
Dear Santa, this year I would love if you could tell Facebook that people ‘like’ my page because they want to see my posts – stop hiding them! Twitter is my go-to social media but it seems like no matter how much effort I put into Facebook the results remain the same.

To never have writers block again 
This summer I suffered severe writer’s block – lasting about 3 months! I am terrible for drawing up blogging blanks for days, maybe weeks at a time. An endless mind of creative genius would be ideal!

TIME, more hours in the day would be great! 
Ok this one is a bit of a moot point because I am sure no matter how many hours were in the day it still wouldn’t be enough but surely and extra hour during nap time would be appreciated all round?

Aidan’s first Christmas

This year was Aidan’s first Christmas. This for me meant the return of all the magic which I had lost several years back. It meant Santa would be anticipated on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would revolve around family.


Our Christmas wasn’t a perfect first Christmas by any account. Aidan started the morning by hitting his head against a door. Halfway through present opening he got totally over whelmed and cried. Opened some more presents, cried. Visited some family, cried. It’s safe to say that this year Aidan was not a huge fan of Christmas. He also had the sniffles so that may have been a contributing factor.

There are still so many presents yet to be noticed and played with but after such a ‘traumatic’ Christmas morning I think we might introduce them one at a time. 


A got so spoilt and I honestly think he has almost every vtech toy available! Santa also brought a playpen, ball pit and Little Tikes Activity Garden. Overnight it went from an empty room to a fully functional playroom.


Aidan wasn’t the only person to get spoilt at Christmas. I was very fortunate to get a new MacBook Air, a 2015 planner, candles and so much chocolate! 

Although presents are brilliant and they realistically have become the main part of Christmas I do like to put effort into sentimental things that will make more of an impression than a present. This year for  Clayton’s Christmas card from Aidan I got a footprint of Aidan’s foot and put it into his card along with this poem:

”Walk a little slower, Daddy.” said a child so small
”I’m following your footsteps and I don’t want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they’re hard to see;
So walk a little slower Daddy,
for you are leading me.

Someday when I’m all grown up, you’re what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child who’ll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
and know that I was true;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you.

I thought this was such a nice poem and he later admitted it almost brought a tear to his eye. I think I will get the footprint and poem made into a picture or canvas to put on the bedroom wall.

Although we didn’t have a pinterest perfect first Christmas, it was our first Christmas with Aidan and that definitely made it perfect for me.


I hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends. And I hope you got spoilt from Santa too.


Step into Christmas

Although I still don’t have all my decorations up I am trying to embrace the Christmas spirit as much as I can because it will be all over in no time. Aidan has no idea what’s going on but at least I will have the pictures to show him when he does.

Over the last few days my Christmas playlist has been mainly cries and whimpers from a teething baby (still none at 6 and a half months!). Alas, between these times we like to get into the festive spirit with Christmas lights on and festive music playing. Bit of ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’, anyone?

I’ve also been giving A paper to try and get him to rip it so that Christmas morning might be a little better received. So far he seems to love it, although he’s not great at the ripping it part but more at the using it to be a cheer leader with pompoms part.

We haven’t read any Christmas stories yet because I ended up wrapping all the Christmas books I’d got so we’re currently making our way through the Disney Magical Stories books we have. I don’t know if I cant bring myself to unwrap them so we could be reading ‘Santa is coming to Waterford’ in March. Who am I kidding Aidan will probably be in his ‘My first Christmas’ pyjamas then too. It’s clean and it fits, who’s going to see you in bed?

I haven’t baked any Christmas treats.. I haven’t even looked for any on Pinterest! How Bah-Humbug of me! I think it’s the thought of cleaning up afterwards that just puts me off. I am willing to split any Christmas treats 50/50 with whoever comes to do the washing up.

Advent Calender – well that went down like a lead balloon. I decided not to give A chocolate until Christmas Day because it would be a nice treat considering the rest will probably go over his head. This means that I get to indulge in the advent calender.. yay! Except it’s not so yay because the chocolate tastes like chalk. Here’s an idea of how bad it is, we’ve yet to open day 3.

How have you been getting in the spirit? Anyone else want to admit to festive PJs in March or will I take one for the team?

Until next time,
El x


One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to Katy from What Katy Said for the nomination. My Christmas Tag post went up on Friday but here are seven random facts about me:

1. I was born with one kidney – it has had no major impact on my health, not even when pregnant. Despite a biology teacher once telling me I would probably never have kids and be on dialyses by my 30’s, thanks again Miss!

2. I was adopted when I was 8 weeks old. I’ve known my whole life there was no shock reveal day – which I think I’m thankful for.

3. I have 5 tattoos. The one on my ribs hurt the most.

4. I have never broken a bone (jinxed myself now I’m sure) and the only surgery I ever had was to have my appendix removed.

5. I’ve never waxed or plucked my eyebrows. I did shave a chunk out when I was around 11 and denied that I had done anything despite missing the middle of my brow. I was lucky to be born with ”penciled eyebrows”. Honestly, never knew they were such a big deal until I went to college.

6. I have an addiction to converse – I think I have around 12 pairs now. I wear them almost everyday.

7. I participated in the Guinness world record for the longest ring-a-ring-a-rosey when I was in primary school. I’m sure we’ve been beaten by now though.


Christmas Facts:


1. Every Christmas Eve my whole family goes for dinner together.

2. My favourite Christmas decoration is a wind up snowman cookie jar my granddad got me from Waterford Crystal.

3. I get new pyjamas from my Mom every Christmas Eve.

4. Christmas night ends with lots of my family gathering in my Mom’s house for a ‘social gathering’.

5. I never got a puppy or a pony for Christmas even though I asked Santa like 100 times! 

6. I miss the treasure hunts my Mom used to make for me every Christmas morning (yes I’m a huge child!)

7. Every year I would search the house for my Christmas presents so my Mom would have to lock them in a cupboard and keep the key with her at all times. 

(Only realised when I had done 7 random facts that it’s meant to be Christmas themed, so two for the price of one here)

The Christmas Tag

I was tagged by my lovely friend Emma to do the Christmas Tag so here goes…


1. What is/are your favourite Christmas movie/s? 
This is harder than I thought. I like The Hoiday but thats not really a Christmas movie and the only other one that springs to mind is The Nightmare Before Christmas which I watch every Christmas.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas morning. I always had to wake my Mom & Dad up before I could go downstairs. I never understood it but now I can’t wait to see Aidan’s face opening his Santa gifts when he’s older – he definitely won’t be going downstairs before me!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
When I got older and the magic had faded my Mom would always get me a present I really wanted but hadn’t asked for (eg: iPhone, portable DVD player) but she would create a treasure hunt around the house. The year she stopped doing them I was secretly heartbroken.

4. Favourite Festive Food?
Roses! I don’t eat roses throughout the year but once Christmas hits I could have them for breakfast! (That’s roses sweets incase anyone thinks I eat flowers)
I am loving Costa’s Black Forest hot chocoate too. I blame Kerri-Ann for that! 

5. Favourite Christmas Gift?
The one gift that sticks in my mind was the year I got my first ever mobile phone. Can you imagine my excitement at my Nokia 3330 when I was 12?

6. Favourite Christmas Scent?
I am currently burning Yankee Candle Christmas Eve and a Frosted Berry candle which are both lovely. However, my favourite non-candle Christmas scent is Christmas dinner cooking.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
My whole family, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, in-laws parents .. you get it.. all go for Christmas Eve dinner together and have done for as long as I can remember. For the past few years I looked forward to this day more than Christmas Day. I think this year with my own little family I will enjoy Christmas Day buckets more.

8. What tops your tree?
Ehh… nothing? I’ve been on the hunt for an angel but they all look really cheap and tacky. Aidan’s godfather just got back from America with lots of presents for A, one of which was a Santa hat saying ‘my first christmas’ so maybe I will use that to top our tree this year.

9. As a kid, what was the one gift you asked for but never received?
A pony. I asked almost ever single year but alas, I was not to have a pony. 

10. What is your favourite Christmas song?
It’s a toss between ‘I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday’ and ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ they’re always playing while I’m doing Christmas shopping. They’re my sign that Christmas has started.

11. What’s the best part of Christmas for you?
For years it was Christmas Eve dinner but I think this year could be completely different. 


I’m sure I am one of the last people to do this tag but if you haven’t then you’re tagged! 

Christmas decorations are up!

I’m back, after being struck by what I can only assume was man flu because I felt as bad as they complain – solved only by a day in bed! For the past week I’ve been trying to catch up on the Christmas decorations and presents. I still have lots to get and I left the hardest people until last, can you say stressed? 

Anyway here is a sneak peak at our Christmas decorations because who doesn’t love to be nosey? Feel free to share your Christmas posts over on my #christmascollection post for all festive posts.



  





I still have a few more bits to add but the majority of stuff is up. Now time to get wrapping presents. Anyone else feel like time is flying by?

El and Baby A