Friday, January 31, 2014

Lidl/Tesco/Aldi Nappy Comparison

Nothing to Disclose

Hi!

Before Christmas, I put three brands of budget nappy to the test - Toujours (Lidl), Tesco Loves Baby, and Mamia (Aldi). All three are similarly priced, under €7 for over 50 nappies.

L-R: Lidl, Tesco, Aldi

As you can see from the photo, the Tesco ones are the largest of the size 3 nappies. They're also the softest and lightest - if you're a fan of Pampers nappies you'll love the Tesco Loves Baby ones. Unfortunately, I am NOT a fan of Pampers. I find that they don't absorb smells or wetness as well as they should for the price.


I had a similar problem with these - although they had a great fit around the legs and waist, they just felt too light to me. I'm sure they'd be a big hit with an older baby who doesn't need changing as often. The lads' skin also felt wet and sticky when changing them, which means there has to be moisture sitting on the surface of the nappy. Not good.

Next up are the Aldi ones.


The Aldi ones used to be my favourite - I used the newborn ones on my boys with no problems. However, they've recently changed the packaging, and I've found that the quality has gone downhill. At least 5-6 times now they've leaked after 1.5-2 hours - definitely not practical on a small baby and even less so when you have two to change every few hours. I've also found with these that the boys' skin can feel wet when changing them.

Lastly are the Lidl ones.


I love these! They feel a little stronger, they're waxier or harder or something - but not in a bulky way. They hold moisture really well, and the boys often still feel dry to the touch after an hour or two. Darren sleeps from 6pm-7am and he has never, ever had a leak with a Lidl nappy. Other brands have meant that I've had to take him out of the sleeping bag at 2/3am to change his nappy, clothes, bag, sheet... a pure nuisance.




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Panti vs RTE: My Two Cents

Hi!

As I've mentioned before, I'm going to try and keep all the baby-related things on the blog for Wednesdays, and I do have one coming up in a bit, but I had to get this out and on here because my blood is still boiling.

If you haven't heard about Panti VS RTE, you can read about it here: http://www.thejournal.ie/rte-no-comment-damages-saturday-night-show-1287287-Jan2014/

I wanted to write something but I didn't know where to put it, so I sent it in an e-mail to rte. No doubt nothing will come of it, so I'm putting it down here too just to add my support for Rory and my horror at the prospect that one cent of mine will go to funding that organisation.

**********************************************************

Hi,

As someone who pays their Television Licence fee on time and without complaint despite rarely watching RTE programming, I am outraged that there is even the most minute of possibilities that one cent of my money may have gone to John Waters, Breda O'Brien, or The Iona Institute.

You are responsible for inviting guests on to your talkshows - be it the Late Late, Marian, or The Saturday Night Show. It is up to you to ensure that those guests are treated fairly and without bias. On the night in question when Rory O'Neill (Aka Panti Bliss) was a guest on The Saturday Night Show, he was specifically asked by host Brendan O'Connor to clarify who he was referring to when he mentioned homophobia in the media. Perhaps Mr. O'Connor could do with a lesson in presenting if you wish to avoid this kind of situation in the future. 

For RTE to first use the death of Tom O'Gorman as a reason for removing the interview was laughable, considering his name hadn't even been mentioned - but to then award damages to John Waters (who gets paid to write some of the most misogynistic drivel I've ever had the misfortune to read), Breda O'Brien (who stated in an article published in the Irish Times on 11/01/14 that there is "no hatred" in calling homosexuality "intrinsically disordered" and then referred to a homosexual person as "a gay"), or David Quinn & The Iona Institute (who seem to have an inordinate obsession with homosexuality and make it their mission to tell others what they can and can't do with their lives) is downright appalling.

I am disgusted, but sadly not shocked. You have proven yourselves to be what I have long suspected of you - a company full of back-slapping, fearful cowards who are not doing a service to the public. You are doing a disservice to much of the country, especially the LGBT community. By issuing an award to those who have threatened legal action shows that you will support a vile organisation promoting prejudice, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia over someone who promotes equality and justice for the gay community. Rory O'Neill was asked to name names by one of your employees. You failed O'Connor in this situation too, by making him read out that ludicrous apology. He is employed by you to ask questions and present an unbiased opinion. In doing a U-turn on this, you made him look ridiculous, as if he had been chastised by the Headmaster.

Homophobia, by its very definition in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is "irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals". Therefore by leading a campaign to disallow same-sex marriage or adoption based solely on the fact that both individuals are of the same sex, are Mr. Quinn and his Iona Institute not, indeed, homophobic?

In speaking to the Irish Catholic yesterday, David Quinn stated "The accusations had to be challenged. They were aimed at closing down debate on same sex marriage and adoption." [Source: http://www.catholicireland.net/rte-apologises-homophobic-accusations-saturday-show/]

The Provision of Services section in the Public Service Broadcasting Charter states that RTE, in the case of its programming, will "maintain and cherish its freedom from political control or influence and from all other vested interests, whether commercial, religious, social or cultural."

I will no longer publicise or support any RTE programming. I will no longer follow your social media accounts. I will not be tuning in to see your news, your soaps, or your endless repeats. I will not listen to your radio stations. I will not be watching any of your one-sided debates in the run up to the debate on same-sex marriage.



Sharon Leavy

Twitter@shannairl


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday - My Diary: The One with Morag Prunty

August 2. Location: Bedroom. Mood: Jumpy.

Welcome!!!! To the wonderful array of information that is...........

USELESS BITS OF CRAP PART 1!!
The first installment of a regular useless column.

1. Morag Prunty's favourite drink is a cup of tea on a hot day.
2. Fuck this.




Stone x

************************************************************



WHO is Morag Prunty?!



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday - My Diary: The One With Birdshite Woman

July 12th. Location: Couch. Mood: Blah.
My eyes are not focusing in any sense of the word. Trying to find something shite to keep me awake, having one of them McBeal moments where I'm seeing Shay Given and Robbie Keane everywhere. But not dancing  in nappies. Don't even 'member bringing the flags over to the couch, too comfortable to go to bed and my ass is wet coz my shorts weren't dry because our central heating system is shite. But I wanted to wear my shorts so what the hey. Ooh South Park or Double Jeopardy? Hmmm, ok.

South Park VS Double Jeopardy. Gladiators.........READY!


Result: Double Jeopardy wins because South Park is a repeat....oh but one I haven't seen. Balls. Watchin da film. But it ain't on yet. SIGH. POXY TV STATION. Gonna stop writing now. G'bye.

It's STILL NOT ON. Thinking about *illegible scribble*

Ugh, that bloody looks like it says Greg. IT'S NOT GREG, FYI YOU NOSY COW, GREG IS DISGUSTING.

I will now attempt to write my name in Greek.

*random Greek letters*

And for all I know that could mean Birdshite woman. That is me. I am birdshite woman.

I am be pleasing to write to diary in future perhaps in tomorrow, when light of day it is. In moment madness it is taking over the eyes (μάτια - eyes - WOOOO!!) goodnight my friend, I be speak to you sooner.

Ooh, ooh, films on. Eyes are, however, not co-operating.

Until next time, Stone x

********************************************************************



Again with the patriotism - wrapping myself in flags seems to be an ongoing theme here, no idea why. And the bloody Greek - WHY THE GREEK?! More to the point, WHERE THE HELL WAS I GETTING THE GREEK?! Also no idea why I was trying to stay awake when I was rather tired.

Have no recollection of ever encountering anyone named Greg. This page contained a doodle of someone with a very sharp nose and two Bosco cheeks. Maybe Greg? Sorry, Greg.

Yes, I signed off as Stone. As in Sharon Stone. So.Much.Cringe.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Twin Essentials: Tiny Love Gymini Total Playground

Not Sponsored or Paid | No Samples

Hi!

I know when I found out I was expecting twins (at 27 weeks, talk about a shock) that I hadn't a clue what to buy. We kinda started with two car seats and worked our way up from there. By the time the boys were about 6-8 weeks old, they were either on the floor on a blanket, in their baskets, or in rocker chairs. Which was grand - until they started to focus on toys and look for a little more stimulation. I already had an activity gym but it wasn't big enough for two babies, and it took up a lot of space. Enter google, and enter the Tiny Love Gymini Total Playground. Or, the best €65 odd quid I've spent in a long time.

[Source: amazon.co.uk]
Suitable for birth and big enough for two (or possibly three), the playmat features detachable activity bars that snap into place. The sides also snap together to create a boundary, or you can leave them flat and gain 50% more playmat space. There's a mirror and a battery-operated musical toy with a pad for tummy time or for kicking. There are lots of detachable toys hung from the bars, and plenty of room to add more or to move them around. My boys seem to love the lion, for some strange reason! There's a squeaker in the sheep on the mat, and some crinkly flaps (bet you never thought I'd use that phrase on this blog). The duck makes a noise when batted as well.


I bought this for just under £58 on amazon here, with free super saver delivery. It arrived via An Post within 4 days. It also comes with a plastic carry bag so you can fold it up and bring it with you if you're going to another house. I find it absolutely invaluable and we would genuinely be lost without it. It's even big enough for the boys when one is asleep and one still wants to play - there's loads of room to move one over and let him snooze away while the other lad has a great time kicking and grabbing.


Seriously, if you know anyone having twins, this would make such a fantastic present - I know it's expensive, but honest to god even if you clubbed together with someone else and got it, the parents would be forever in your debt. The boys are 15 weeks now and they spend ages cooing and gurgling away at the toys or at themselves in the mirror, I wish I had bought it sooner.


In my humble opinion, this is definitely an essential. It's safe, washable, roomy, stimulating, and everything can be taken off, moved around, or changed.

I'd have gone crazy weeks ago without it.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday - My Diary: The One Where It's All A Bit Greek



June 15th. Location: Bedroom. Mood: Learny.
Ooh, ooh, knowledge girl. Observe.

δέκα ημέρες, δέκα νύχτες - ten days, ten nights.
Θέλω να σε δω - I want to see you. Pronounced thelo no se do. (Thelo no se do, army man.)
γεια - Hi.
δεσμεύουν τα μάτια μου - Bind my eyes.
Χριστούγεννα - Christmas.

So proud of myself right now.

Bit jealous of Samantha Mumba, every time I turn the radio on her song is on it. I bet if I was on Let Me Entertain You I'd have had a better song by now. Definitely wouldn't be able to wear what she's wearing in the video. Or jump across rooves [sic]. Wouldn't really like having to go all over the world either. Or be in Smash Hits answering shite questions. I really wish my hair was as long as hers though, I could put my little plaits in again and Aoife's Mam wouldn't piss herself.


*Up Da Irish Team 4EVA*

***********************************************************************



Right. Were we playing Greece or what?! Absolutely no idea what that's about. Not a clue. Opening line is suspiciously Buffyspeak-ish. No doodles on this page!

Let Me Entertain You was a short-lived talent show on Irish television, presented, I'm almost certain, by Gerry Ryan. My sister and I sang something together, recorded it on tape and sent it in as an application to be on the show - I still have the generic rejection letter somewhere, but when the show came out I watched it and seethed at any female contestant who was on it. Including a young Samantha Mumba.

Can't for the life of me remember what the song was, but more than likely something off  Now 43  - we used to get these tapes between us and swap them every so often. My favourite song off that tape was this one:



Tuuunnneee!!!

Again, hair problems - I decided dreadlocks would be a good look (here - Keith Duffy and Faye Tozer went down the same very, very wrong path) so I spent HOURS putting tiny tiny plaits in my hair and left them in for a whole summer.When I took them out I looked like Sideshow Bob and somehow thought I looked absolutely fabulous. My friend Aoife's Mam worked in the library and nearly wet herself when she saw me. No photographic evidence exists THANKFULLY.





Sunday, January 5, 2014

The 52 Week Saving Challenge - 2 Versions

Hi!

I spent over €2,000 on stuff I didn't need last year. Does that shock you? Because it shocked me. I didn't even go through an itemised list - that figure is based on an average of €40 a week on stuff like books, nail polish, make up, candles, clothes, "bargains" I come across in the Supermarket, impulse buys, cups of takeaway coffee, newspapers, DVDs - things I don't need. I'd actually say that €40 a week is putting it mildly, especially in December or when I have extra cash. I seem to blow money the second I get it, so I'm determined to stop buying this year and save some money instead. Every time I see a "big" item I'd love to get (a tablet, or a games console, or a new phone) I think it'll take me forever to save up for it, I get half way there, then blow the whole lot in bloody Penneys on socks that lose their partners within a week, nail polish I already own (yep, did it), scarves I wear twice, dresses that don't fit, or stuff for the kids that won't fit them in a month. NO MORE!!

I've seen these 52-week challenges cropping up everywhere over the past week or two. For the more hardcore, this is one that will guarantee you almost €1400 in savings by the end of 2014 if you stick to it:

[Source: honuhealth.com

The idea is that you save €1 (or $1 or £1 depending on what currency you use) in week 1, €2 in week 2, €3 in week 3, and so on. The problem with this plan, as someone rightly pointed out to me on twitter, is that while it's relatively easy for the first half of the year, it's hellish in December. I've seen some people saying that they're going to work it backwards, big savings first, but January is a tight month in general so this won't work for me either. What I'm going to do is save something off the list every week. That way I can save the bigger amounts when I feel I can afford to. I'm using an empty formula can so I won't be able to see the money building up. When it goes into the can, it's gone. It's not coming out until the end of the year, at which point I'll use it for one or two decent things instead of a year's worth of crap.

There is a milder challenge that may be a better option if the above one seems too daunting - it's a children's version, but a savings pot of €340 isn't to be sneezed at!

[Source:4hatsandfrugal.com]

There are hundreds of versions out there! Hopefully I'll have a full can by the end of the year.




Saturday, January 4, 2014

NOTD: China Glaze - Blue Bells Ring + Bargain Alert!

Hi!

I've had these swatches ready for about a week and forgot all about them, so I thought I'd share them today. Blue Bells Ring is from China Glaze's 2012 Holiday Joy collection. I recently received it as part of a gorgeous Secret Santa package from a nail group I'm a member of. Thanks Michelle!


How many coats would you say that is?

ONE. Yep, one. This is a stunning foil that looks completely different on the nail. In the bottle, I must admit, it didn't call my name immediately. Silver-toned colours don't really suit my skintone, so I wasn't expecting this to work for me at all. Instead, I got such a nice surprise - the silver settled and this striking blue came to the top. It's gorgeous.


See the difference? Oddly enough, when I was removing the polish, the first swipe of a cotton pad left me with the colour that's in the bottle, the light silvery blue. More pics:


Direct sunlight:




That last picture was indoors, in the evening, with a flash. You can see how it almost glows when light hits it, it's a really special polish. I'm so grateful to the lovely (and uber talented nail blogger) Michelle for picking this out for me because I don't think I'd have ever picked it up based on the bottle and I adore it.

You can pick this polish up now on beautyemporium.ie for the absolute bargain price of €3.75 - trust me, it's a must-have. 




Thursday, January 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday - My Diary: The One With The Super-cool Philosopher.

Hi!

We're getting some work done in the attic at the moment, which meant that we had to completely empty it out this week. Amidst the bags of clothes that should have been fecked out long ago, was a box of stuff I'd brought up from my Mum's house at some stage. In it were remnants from my teenage years - Alanis Morrissette's Jagged Little Pill and Blur's The Great Escape on tape; A collage of loads of pictures of Scott Robinson from Five; a dried up bottle of Lancome Vernis Zapping peel-off nail polish; a signed photo of David Boreanaz; a Discman; and two notebooks I used as diaries.

Several people have said there's no way they'd be able to read their diaries back let alone type them up online - rest assured, my dignity went out the window when I was pregnant, so please, embrace the cringe with me and have a laugh.

Things you need to know before reading this:

I definitely hadn't had a first kiss or boyfriend at this stage.
I thought Sledge was an appropriate nickname for my sister. (Sister Sledge - lets all groan together at that).
I called myself Stone. (Sharon Stone. Continue the groaning.)
I spent 99% of my time in my room. Eating.
I watched an awful lot of American telly.
I was apparently quite patriotic at the time.


***Contains Swearing***

June 13th. Location: Bedroom. Mood: Confused.
I know that every time I write a diary that I always - okay, skip the shady introduction shit. I'm not a 12 year old. Blah blah mushy stuff first on the agenda, I saw my man again today. Yeah, that's right. The Shay Given lookalike with the army haircut and the earring and the sexy smile. Blah Blah. Give me a week and I'll have 4gotten him. Sledge gave me a book on Brooklyn Beckham 2 read and quite honestly I can't make much sense of it. Back in 5, I think I need a poo. Fucking pistachios.
This FUCKING PEN KEEPS WASting - hah, got my own back. Arsehole pen. Okay, the reason why I'm sitting on my bed wrapped in an Ireland flag, smoking myself to intensive care and watching Emmerdale? Complete boredom. You ever notice how if you leave shampoo standing, it goes all nice and tidy in the bottom of the bottle? If you look closely, there's a tiny curve in the middle of what seems to be perfectly straight. That's my theory on humanity. No matter how close you look, there's always something that's not quite right. Something.......bendy. I love you army haircut man. AS IF HE EVEN NOTICED ME, BLAHHHH. 

This page included a doodle of the Irish flag and a little box that said "sexy, soooo sexy".

*DIES OF CRINGE*


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Book Challenge!

Hi!

I'm always trying to read more books, so I've decided that this year I'm going to start tackling some books on the mother of all book lists - 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. There's a new tab up the top of the blog, called "1001 Books". There you will find the list of all the books as of 2012 (it's updated every 2 years but there are some deleted from the list at every edit so it is always kept at 1001) and I'm going to use random.org to pick one book at a time to read. I had presumed when first finding the list that I'd have read hundreds - but I was shocked to see that wasn't anything near accurate! I've only read a handful, and some of them I've only read once, maybe twice, 10 or 15 years ago. I'll review the books here as I go along, and update on Goodreads too. I'm going to reserve the right to refuse any choice I deem......well, boring. I'm not going to be doing War & Peace anytime soon, sorry Tolstoy. I will re-read any book I can't remember well enough to review. I recently re-read Stephen King's The Shining and I was SO glad I did, because it's making the follow-up Doctor Sleep even more enjoyable.

So - what's first on the list?


Number 856 on the list is Erewhon by Samuel Butler.


According to Amazon.com:


Erewhon (an anagram of "nowhere") is a faraway land where sickness is a punishable crime, criminals receive compassionate medical treatment, and machines are banned (for fear they'll evolve and become the masters of man). Butler's entertaining and thought-provoking Utopian novel takes aim at such hallowed institutions as family, church and mechanical progress; its remarkable prescience in anticipating future sociological trends adds a special relevance for today's readers. Written in 1872.

Review to come!

Please tell me if you decide to join in, I'd love if more people got involved. Most, if not all, of the books can be downloaded as free e-books or borrowed from a library so it doesn't have to cost anything.

I'm also going to do the 100 books challenge on Goodreads - I shortened my challenge last year to 50, and I managed to read 41. Hopefully I can complete it this year! If you'd like to be my friend, please send me a request here.

Erewhon is available free of charge here.