Just go the fuck to sleep

I remember when it was this easy!

I remember when it was this easy!

 

Thursday, August 14, 2014. A suburban house, somewhere in Celbridge. The night time routine has begun.

9pm: Look what Mama has! A bobba all for Seán. *nestle into chair with contented suckling baby, feeling like Earth Mother*

9.15pm: Let’s read your books now before bed. Look! That’s not my bear! His claws are too shiny. *cuddle sweetly scented baby and feel smug about picture perfect family moment*

9.30pm: Say night night to Daddy now, it’s time for bed. Oh that’s a big yawn for a small boy. Come on to bed sleepy head.

9.31pm: Sit in chair next to cot, turn off light.

9.42pm: Look at clock on phone. Wonder if baby is anywhere near asleep yet. Hear baby giggling to self.

9.52pm: *next door’s front door opens and youngster starts calling her sister*

“OLGA! OOOOLLLLGGGGGAAAAAAAA!

Mam says you’re to come in.

What?

Now, she said.

What?

I DON’T KNOW! OOOOLLLLLGGGAAAAAAA!”

10pm: Unclench jaw, attempt to relax in the dark.

10.12pm: Attempt to leave room as baby’s breathing has slowed.

10.13pm: Re-enter room 30 seconds later as baby has an absolute mickey fit because you attempted to leave the room.

10.15pm: Look at Twitter on screen so dim you almost make yourself blind trying to read.

10.20pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth. Think silently to self ‘please go to sleep baby’.

10.22pm: Look at Facebook, remembering to turn off volume just in time. Damn autoplay.

10.25pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth.

10.26pm: *battery is low, connect your charger*

10.28pm: Look at Twitter again. Sign at all the TV programmes you’re missing while sitting in the dark.

10.30pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth. Think silently to self ‘For the love of GOD go to sleep’

10.32pm: *battery is critically low, connect your charger*

10.33pm: Delivery driver arrives two houses up, leaves car door open with loud music playing. Has jocular exchange with punter at the door.

10.35pm: Spend two minutes fantasising about tracking down delivery driver and punching him in the throat.

10.37pm: Phone turns self off.

10.39pm: Put soother back in baby’s mouth. Think silently to self ‘Just go the fuck to sleep!’

10.45pm: Baby flips over onto side and almost headbutts self against cot bars. Breathing become slow, deep and even. Wonder briefly if baby is concussed. Decide on balance of probabilities he isn’t. Cross fingers.

10.48pm: Slowly stand up from chair. Listen to heart beating like the clappers with The Fear that baby will wake.

10.50pm: Creep from room stealth like, ninja style, without making a sound.

11pm: Collapse on to sofa.

You know that guy, right?

Benefit mascara full face

HAVE you ever really wanted to like something, but no matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to fall for it?

Like that colleague at work that everybody else thinks is hilarious but you want to punch in the throat repeatedly until you are quite sure he is dead? You know that guy, right?

For me, it’s the Benefit Cosmetics brand. I just can’t get along with it. And I’m GRIEF STRICKEN about it.

I so want to love it, I really do. Everyone raves about it and the stuff comes in lovely little nifty packages and all, but at this stage, I’m just going to have to give up.

I haven’t tried the whole range, of course, but the things I did try, I just couldn’t get along with.

For example, I recently won a competition and got three Benefit products to try – a Stay Flawless primer, their Lollitint lip colour and their new Gimme Brow eyebrow stuff. Out of the three, only the eyebrow stuff was any good. That was nice enough, deffo filled in the brows without leaving you with Scouse brow.

But the primer was the worst make up product I’ve ever tried in my very long life. It was like rubbing Pritt Stick all over your face. A horrible glue-y sticky stuff that made ALL the other products stick to it in big clumps. Big brown patches of bronzer, big pink cheeks, there was no blending with this stuff. It was awful.

The Lollitint was a lovely colour but when I put it on my cheeks, three lines as directed on the packaging, it INSTANTLY set on my face before I could rub it in, leaving me with three visible lines on each cheek, like war paint. When I used it on my lips, it stung really badly.

I’ve also used a concealer and a highlighter over the years which simply didn’t live up to the hype.

Which brings me to my most recent – and sadly last – Benefit product. Their cult They’re Real mascara.

This stuff is supposed to be the business, makes you look like you’re wearing false lashes, volume, length, curl, the works. So good that people won’t believe they’re your own lashes, so they won’t.

So I rocked up to Boots, shelled over the €26, got home, put it on, looked at myself in the mirror and thought.

Meh.

Benefit on the left, nothing on the right

Benefit on the left, nothing on the right

Benefit on the left, nothing on the right

Benefit on the left, nothing on the right

Both eyes in 'They're Real'

Both eyes in ‘They’re Real’

Ah lads, it’s just a mascara. I’ve had similar effects from other mascaras I’ve used, better actually, at a fraction of the cost. I found the texture very messy and wet, it clumped on my lashes and clogged them all together, it went all over my eye lid and under my eyes. In short, a disaster. I had to do a major clean up job with a cotton bud before I could leave the house.

An example of other mascaras which, in my opinion, have done just as good a job

An example of other mascaras which, in my opinion, have done just as good a job

An example of other mascaras which, in my opinion, have done just as good a job

An example of other mascaras which, in my opinion, have done just as good a job

An example of other mascaras which, in my opinion, have done just as good a job

An example of other mascaras which, in my opinion, have done just as good a job

 

I’m lucky in that I have naturally dark eyelashes and they’re long enough, so I knew that the transformation wouldn’t be as dramatic for me as it might be fore another person who has fair or short eye lashes, but I expected something more. It’s not so much that the mascara isn’t good or doesn’t work – it does, my eyelashes were defined – it’s just that I didn’t think it was deserving of its cult status as the Best Mascara in the Universe Ever. I didn’t see what was so different about it.

I will say though that the one claim that it did live up to was that it didn’t budge at all, all day. So that was good. But unfortunately I don’t think that one positive is worth the hefty price tag.

So with a heavy heart I say, Benefit, it’s good night from me.

The one true ring

A ring on jewellery box

THERE’S a bit of a tradition these days where a woman who gives birth is a given a bit of bling from her partner after the event, a kind of thank you for going through labour. A ‘push present’ is what it’s commonly known as, particularly in the States and it’s generally a ring, sometimes an eternity ring.

Personally, if you can afford it and you want it, I’m all for it. Not the ‘push present’ part, sure I didn’t push at all, but more as an acknowledgement that Mama had a hard job to do, a long nine months and then a birth. When a baby is born, presents for the little mite pour in, but there’s rarely anything for the woman sitting in the corner shellshocked.

The woman who will never laugh or sneeze again without releasing a little bit of wee into her knickers.

Of course, your beautiful baby is a reminder that you’ve given birth and is present enough, but I’m sure the majority of women can just as easily enjoy their gorgeous babies with a rock on their fingers as they can without.

Yer Man had been all eager to get me something and we spent several Saturdays going in and out of jewellers looking for something nice, but to no avail.

A ring close up

I had decided I wanted an amethyst ring – it’s a stone I’ve always loved, but is also the birthstone of February, the month in which my Dad passed away. I know that sounds very morbid, but the death of my Dad and the birth of my son are intrinsically linked for me, coming so closely together.

I was seven months pregnant when Dad died, he had been ill for the majority of my pregnancy and I had hoped he’d live to meet his grandson, but it wasn’t to be.

While that February was full of grief and mourning, there was also a sense of hope and new life as our family waited to welcome Seán into the world. As one leaves, another enters. So I wanted to honour my Dad by remembering his passing, in conjunction with remembering Seán’s entrance.

We saw a number of gorgeous rings, but they weren’t quite right. Too big. Too flashy. Too vulgar.

As we browsed I could hear my Dad in my head, the way he’d say something to be polite, but mean the exact opposite.

“Oh that’s a nice sturdy ring now.” (You’d take someone’s eye out with that)

“It’s very shiny, isn’t it?” (You can see that from space)

“Very nice, very nice.” (You spent HOW MUCH?!)

I had almost settled on one, but then decided against it. It just wasn’t right. I kind of forgot all about it then for a while, there’s no time limit on these things.

A ring on hand

Then today while shopping in town, I found it.

Tiny, delicate, three exquisite little amethysts on a plain gold-plated band, so unusual, so different, so simple. I fell instantly in love with it. And I knew that my Dad, who always chose simple over showy, would love it too.

It’s from Accessorise on Grafton Street and it was only €16, something I also know my thrifty Dad would have approved of.

It’s Dad’s birthday on Monday; he would have been 72. I wish you was still here Dad so I could buy you a present, but this will have to do.

The one true ring, for Seán and for you.

Shameless plug – Vote for me!

Awards banner

I’M so chuffed to announce today that I’ve been nominated in the Blog Awards Ireland ‘Best Blog Post’ category for a post I wrote about post natal depression.

I had no idea I had been nominated until I received an email to say I had been, and I didn’t know for which post until this morning when the Longlist was released. And boy, is it a long list!

There are loads of brilliant blogs and posts in the running for this and I’m so so happy to be among them. I’m also so happy that it is that particular post I was nominated for. It’s a post that means a lot to me.

It was written as a visceral response to an interview with the journalist John Waters which I read in the Sunday Independent where he said he didn’t believe in depression, that the condition was ‘made up’. I was hopping mad, I couldn’t sit still and the words just poured out of me.

I couldn’t let that go, I couldn’t sit and read that article and do nothing. Depression does exist, it’s very real and it affects millions of people very day. So it means so much to me that it was deemed worthy of a nomination.

The way the Best Blog Post category works is that there is a two week ‘public voting’ section where the long list will be whittled down to ten finalists. After that then, the ten finalists will be judged by a panel of judges and the winner announced at the awards ceremony in October.

This is where the shameless plug comes in – I’d love it if you could vote for me to be a finalist. All you have to do is follow this link and click on the little circle beside Beating Myself Into A Dress and then click Vote. That’s it! Ah sure go on, what else would you be doing of a Friday afternoon? And if you don’t vote for me, well, I’ll just have to get Mammy Dunne after you and she’s a whizz with the oul wooden spoon so she is.

Thank you in advance for your vote and for your support and most of all for reading the blog. I appreciate it so much.

Baby steps

 

THE Beast started walking this week, just like that, all by himself.

He returned from his holidays down in Wexford on Tuesday, pulled himself up on the sofa and just took off towards me, not a bother on him.

Like a drunk uncle at a wedding he tottered and weaved and swayed but managed to stay on his feet and by his second or third try he was already running.

Two days later and he’s almost an expert. Next stop the Olympics – seriously, I’m going to become one of those pushy parents who insist that their kids actually LIKE alfalfa sprouts and doing 17 hours of training a day. Love it so they do.

It’s been a funny week because by his sudden progress to walking, my son has taught me a valuable lesson. About baby steps.

He’s almost 16 months and truth be told we had been getting a little anxious that he hadn’t shown any interest in walking. I’m a member of a few different parenting groups and forums and most of their little ones around the same age as Seán were up and walking by 12 months.

One mother I know turned around one day to see her nine month old casually strolling around the kitchen. Now THAT kid is destined for a bright future.

But Seán, not so much. He was perfectly content to bum around the place, shuffling as fast as his arse would allow him, not a notion of using his legs at all. He took his first independent steps about six weeks ago, got a bit of a fright and point blank refused to do it again, until this week.

Of course, rationally I knew that there was nothing wrong with him, but I was getting impatient. All it amounted to however was Seán doing things his way, at his own pace, nothing more, nothing less. Baby steps.

When I realised this, something clicked in my own head, something that had been niggling away in there, compounded by an article I read in a newspaper about childbirth.

Among other things, the article asserted that women feel ‘euphoric’ after giving birth, full of pride and accomplishment and that birth opens a ‘trapdoor’ of emotion and love in you that you didn’t know you possessed.

That had annoyed me because I hadn’t felt that after giving birth. In fact I hadn’t felt very much at all. I felt simply relieved that it was all over.

I had an emergency c-section so spent a couple of hours in recovery before being brought up to the ward and being reunited with my husband and baby. In the recovery room, I slept. I felt happy, of COURSE I did, that I had a baby, but I wasn’t pining for him. I could happily have stayed in recovery another few hours, it was warm and peaceful in there.

I felt tired and sore and sick and stiff up on the ward, and very overwhelmed that I was going to have to look after this tiny baby, when I still couldn’t feel my legs. I remember holding him in my arms, looking down at his perfect peachy little face, smiling and saying to my husband: ‘Hand me that basin, I’m going to puke.’ That’s how it was for his first few hours.

When the nurse arrived to ask if I wanted the baby brought down to the nursery for a while so that I could sleep off the epidural, I jumped (not literally) at the chance and handed him off to her. He was about six hours old at that stage, but it truly didn’t cross my mind to keep him with me. I needed the rest and time to recover.

When I got out of hospital, as I’ve written about before, I unfortunately suffered from post natal depression as well as a sudden bout of acute pancreatitis so again wasn’t able to give myself 100 per cent to my son. I entrusted him to family while I sorted myself out.

At that stage while I knew that something deep and primal within in me loved my son, with all my heart, I hadn’t yet fallen IN love with him. That took longer to come.

That bond, that feeling that your heart is so full that it might explode from love, came later. Much later.

I have, at times, beaten myself up about this. How could I not be in love with my own flesh and blood? How could I not want to spend every waking moment with him? How could I put myself first, when I should have been sacrificing myself for him?

The only answer I have is that it’s what I had to do, to get through. Love for me was a slow burn, I had to give it time to grow, forcing it wouldn’t work.

Now this week as I watch my son literally walking to the beat of his own drum I can say that I’m in love with my son, that the bond of motherhood holds us together in her silken web, that he is an extension of me.

It took time. It took me doing things at my own pace, just like my son. It took those around me giving me that time. It took baby steps.

Baby steps.

I want to beat her to death with her own shoe

All the gossip

Here are five things that have annoyed me this week. Feel free to add your own!

1. People who don’t know the meaning of the words ‘single file’. They walk so closely passing you by that they’re practically rubbing up against your full length. Get off me, you perverts. I’m talking to you, ignorant bastards at the Zoo. You’re not the only ones in the world, watch where you’re going!

2. On a related note, people who stand in the middle of the aisle in the supermarket so that you can neither pass in front of them or behind them. Blithely they ignore you as you bellow ‘excuse me, sorry’ on a loop. If you hear on the news about a woman in North Kildare who went postal in a supermarket, that’ll be me.

3. The woman on the ad for Hot Press on the radio. It’s the way she says it ‘Hat Prass’ in a smug, self satisfied tone. I want to beat her to death with her own shoe.

4. Avocados. One minute they’re rock hard, the next flies are buzzing round them. There’s a window of about 54 seconds where they’re perfect to eat, but if you miss that window, that’s your lot. See also: pears.

5. Vague-booking/sub-Tweeting on Facebook or Twitter. Stop that. Not because it’s rude, but because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT! I need to know all your business and your gossip, so no more of it please, just tell me all the gossip.

Oak Alley Maynooth – Spicy but Pricey – Review

Oak Alley review restaurant

Welcome to a new occasional feature on the blog – restaurant reviews! I’m going to try to steer clear of better known establishments and focus instead on more local cafes and restaurants. I’m kicking off the series with a review of the Oak Alley in Maynooth, Kildare, which opened earlier this year.

WE HAD great plans for our day off when The Beast was on holidays with his grandparents but when the alarm went off we said ‘feck that’ rolled over and went back to sleep.

Thus our day of fun filled activity turned into a massive lie in followed by hours slobbing on the couch with the laptop, until we finally peeled ourselves away and threw ourselves under the shower, emerging into the early evening, blinking against the light.

‘Food,’ sez I ‘we need food so let’s go somewhere nice for our dinner.’

‘Do I need to dress up,’ Yer Man asked, gesturing at his scruffy jeans.

‘Not at all,’ I said pointing at my own greasy knotty hair and crumpled t-shirt ‘we’re grand as we are, sure we’re only going local.’

So off we tripped to Maynooth, a few minutes drive from us, which boasts a whole hape of restaurants along the Main Street. It was only about 6.30pm but as it was a Bank Holiday Monday the town was busy.

We happened upon the Oak Alley Restaurant and Cocktail  Bar and decided to give it a go as we had never been there before. We were only inside the door when we realised that indeed’n we SHOULD have dressed up and we were easily the scruffiest pair this place had ever seen.

Undaunted by the state of us however, the waiter seated us promptly in the spacious, cool, elegant dining room. We were seated towards the back which I liked as it allowed me a great view of the room as I am a nosey bint for research purposes.

The restaurant doesn’t sport a menu outside the door so we weren’t sure what kind of cuisine they offered and were pleasantly surprised when we discovered it was cajun/creole, something neither of us had much experience of.

The menu offered things like Jerk Chicken Wings, Crab Claws and even Alligator and Vegetable skewers for starters then there is a burger section, a steak section, a section ‘From the Deep South’ which includes pork belly ribs and then there’s a range of curries from the West Indies as main courses.

I decided on the BubbaGump Shrimp to start followed by the 10oz Rib Eye steak, while Yer Man plumped for the Oak Alley Fish Cakes and the Sticky Pork Belly Ribs.

My shrimp came served in a bowl in a spicy – though not overly hot – tomato creole sauce and was very tasty – plump, meaty prawns complemented the robust sauce nicely. My only quibble was that there was only about four prawns in the dish and it really could have done with a hunk of fresh bread to mop up the delicious sauce. At €9 for the dish, I felt a little let down.

Yer Man’s fishcakes however were much more satisfactory. Two thick crab and prawn meat patties served with an aubergine relish were fresh and soft and delicate and you could really taste the prawns. In fact Yer Man was lucky to get any at all, as when I had finished my own starter, I dived on his.

Attentive and, frankly, handsome staff whisked our plates away and replaced our knives and forks before bringing out the next course. (Seriously, you guys, where do you get your staff? All of them to a man (and woman) were young and gorgeous. Bravo!)

Oak Alley review steak

My steak came accompanied by Homecut Southern Fries, chunky fluffy spicy slabs of deliciousness, and a little jar of flavoursome peppersauce along with a wee side salad. I had asked for my steak to be cooked medium and it was a little overdone, but the meat was still lovely, soft and melt in the mouth.

His ribs were outstanding. A whole rack piled high onto the plate, falling apart as soon as they were touched, combined with the aforementioned fries and a whole fresh corn on the cob. He almost gibbered with delight when he started eating.

‘How is it?’ I asked through a mouthful of steak.

‘This corn … it’s like .. it’s like … it’s like ICECREAM,’ he moaned, hoovering up another creamy bite. ‘Hands down best corn and ribs I’ve ever had.’

Oak Alley review ribs

Full to bursting we decided to make absolute pigs of ourselves and ordered a dessert to share. This was the part of the evening I had almost been dreading, so disappointed am I by most Irish restaurant desserts which are usually tired and predictable. (I swear to God, if I see one more Tarta Fantastica on a menu I’ll beat someone to death with it.)

Not so at Oak Alley – there’s an extensive list of desserts, including the obligatory Mississippi Mud Pie, as well as a Carrot Lime and Walnut Cake and a selection of ice-creams including Vanilla Bourbon and Jack Daniels.

Oak Alley review cheesecake

We opted for the Chicago Baked Doorstep Cheesecake and weren’t disappointed. A thick slab of cheesecake that was creamy, crumbly and sweet arrived at the table along with a scoop of the vanilla bourbon ice-cream, served in a dark chocolate mug. It’s rare to get a good baked cheesecake these days, restaurants usually favour the tasteless overwhipped fridge variety which I’m not a huge fan of, so this dessert was a delight.

The only downside to the evening however was the price – ah lads, it’s expensive. There’s no getting away from it. Yes the food is good, the decor is beautiful and staff are lovely but it costs. On average starters are around the €10 mark while mains are around €20, so it ain’t cheap. In fairness though, Oak Alley isn’t presenting itself as cheap and cheerful so nobody is being duped, but if you go here, as my late Dad used to say, bring your chequebook. In fact, bring two chequebooks.

Our bill for two starters, two main courses, one dessert and two Cokes came to €76. (There is also an Early Bird Menu of two courses for €18.)

There is also an extensive wine menu and a full cocktail bar, which we didn’t sample this time.

Overall, we were most impressed by our visit to Oak Alley and will certainly return and recommend to a friend. We happily award the restaurant Five Stuffed Bellies out of Five for the food and service, but have to award only Three Stuffed Bellies out of Five for value for money.