Women

Women

It’s hard to believe the newest lady in my life has already been in the world five months. Life with Lucille so far has entailed endless nappy changes, crying, cuddles, rocking, bouncing, lots of firsts, lots of questions and not a lot of answers. At times I feel my heart is going to explode with happiness and all the other times it feels like my head will explode with the ‘what ifs?’.

It really is amazing to watch Lucille develop. I describe it as one of those beautifully shot David Attenborough films. Every day there is something new. A new movement, a new discovery, a new expression. And then there are some expressions that I recognise. A cheeky glance, a smile, an inquisitive stare and even an evil eye! For someone I’m still getting to know, this familiarity can catch me off guard and I can’t help think of how lucky she is to have these characteristics but even more so, how important it is for her to know who gave them to her.

Before Lucille had even arrived I was astounded at the kindness, generosity and love shown to me and her by the incredible women around me. I often think of how these women will fit into Lucille’s life and how it is my responsibility to ensure that they have a role. I’m determined for her  to be surrounded by intelligence, empathy, humor and strength. By women who will support, encourage and challenge her. I need her to see that these are not exceptional women; they are simply women and I’m very fortunate to know them.

But what about the women who have left us, who I see in her daily? How will she know what they gave her? My mind has gone back to a piece I wrote some two years ago for a jewellery company, Song of Jewellery. A lot has happened since I wrote that piece. Just as I had to say goodbye to more amazing women, I said hello to another. I’m sharing this piece again as this is just one example of memories I will share with Lucille. Memories of women that will become familiar to her, even if through my eyes. If she has their qualities she sure is going to know who she got them from!

Wonderful Woman, Wonderful Jewellery

It’s hard to start this piece about my late Nonna’s earrings without saying ‘I feel she is with me when I wear them’. For someone who is not religious or spiritual, I find this statement conflicting yet true.

I inherited many things from my Nonna, that’s grandmother in italian. Her generosity, stubbornness, I’d like to say her charm, her love for cooking, her plastic turquoise powder container and her earrings. A woman so influential on my life that I am spoilt with endless memories of her. Memories of time spent with her, watching, listening, laughing, at times disagreeing with her ways and her with mine.

Life has moved on and I have taken a path that means I am now living away from my family. Physical reminders of Nonna are limited and my memories are even more precious. Her earrings, a pair of small diamonds encased by gold that fall just below my earlobe ignite such love and longing it at times can be overwhelming. I close my eyes and see her wearing them, standing in the kitchen, preparing a meal fit for royalty and in her mind, that’s what her family was. I can see her smile as I arrive to her house and hear her voice calling my name in her own inimitable way. She would ask if I’ve eaten and in the space of our usual greeting of hugs and kisses, the coffee was on and I was going to be fed whether I was hungry or not.

Just five months ago I married my Irish love in New York. Just the two of us on an adventure which has been the nature of our entire relationship. Even though it was just the two of us, we had reminders of our loved ones including Nonna. Before any decisions were made for such a momentous day I knew I would be wearing her earrings, regardless of what the rest of my outfit looked like. I did wear them and they were perfect.

As precious as these earrings are I don’t just save them for special occasions. I wear them often because I want to share their beauty and hers with anyone who asks, ‘Your earrings are gorgeous! Where did you get them from?’

xo

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Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Baby


Bye Bye Pregnancy, Hello Baby

Part Two

Here it is Part Two of my Pregnancy Wrap Up which has taken longer to publish than Part One! Now would be a good time to read Part One if you haven’t already. Part two is slightly different as I’m going to spill the beans on some of the other highs and lows I experienced while Lucille called my body home. Keep in mind this is my experience of pregnancy; I’m well aware others may have different views and different experiences but I think it’s important to share all the same. Continue reading

Home is Nowhere

Home is…. Nowhere?

Life

You’ve probably gathered by now that I have recently moved abode. Unfortunately the move wasn’t by choice. If I’m honest it has been rather a traumatic few months so before I go on to how I’m trying to make my new place a home I want to share with you how I ended up in the middle of Ireland’s housing crisis.

If you had the misfortune of being around me at all the past year you would know that I had only two things to talk about: My housing situation and an ill family member. Not surprisingly, I was consumed by both. We got word last year that the rented house we were living in was being sold. A house that five years ago sat empty because no one wanted it due to its poor condition and decor. Not that this that bothered Mr B and I. In fact we were delighted to find a three-bedroom house in a good area and because of its poor condition we were even able to negotiate the rent down. It became our home.

If you live in Ireland, you will know the country is embroiled in a housing crisis. The simple version of it is supply and demand. Add to that the economic effects of the financial crisis as well as the unregulated rental market (although there have been some changes in recent times and one can only hope this continues!) the country as a result has seen a wave of new homeless. As a grown woman with a decent job, I ended up a part of it. Of course it’s a home owner’s prerogative to sell their house but any renter who has received similar news probably wonders the same things: Is the house really getting sold or is it a way to get new tenants in at a higher rent? How accommodating do I have to be for viewings and strangers traipsing through my home seeing as this is not my decision? How are we going to afford to live somewhere else? The answers or the inconvenience didn’t matter as it was happening whether we were on board or not.

With the news that we had to leave our ugly but lovely home we had two options; buy or rent. We decided to take the plunge and try to purchase our own home, the cheaper option of the two. For the next few months we spent every waking minute looking for a house. If you have every looked to purchase your own home you will understand how stressful and consuming it can be. With our endless research and pros and cons lists, what started out as an adventure turned into a race against the clock. Some Saturdays felt like we were on the Amazing Race, often going to four different house viewings scheduled all around the same time! Despite all the daydreaming and way too many hours spent on Pinterest, none of this was exciting or thrilling. Our lists went out the window and we were now in a situation of having to buy a property not necessarily wanting to. It seemed every other person in the buyers market was looking at the properties we were (how dare they!) and with the volume of people at each viewing anyone would think they were giving away houses! And then there were the offers. Offers were usually at least fifty thousand euro over the asking price and that was just the first viewing! This was not a fun time.

Fast forward to December, December 23rd to be precise and we found ourselves in yet another bidding war. Needless to say you know how that ended. Another house (there were four in total)  that we attempted to buy but walked away empty-handed. Part of the process I know, but we needed somewhere to live and that is all I could think about. We had hoped to make that special purchase and move from our beloved rental to what was going to be our beloved home but seeing as that wasn’t going to happen we had to come up with a new plan. We made the decision to join the hunt for a new rental property and take a break from house hunting and with that decision I felt a little sense of relief.

Not for long! I thought I knew what the rental market had to offer. Small spaces, extortionate rents and millions of people competing for the same thing. We found all of that and more! I don’t know why I was shocked. Some of my friends had been through it, the housing crisis was in the news daily and yet I was completely and utterly shocked at what we faced. I was losing my faith in humanity as we went to viewing after viewing after viewing. The combination of greed and desperation made me want to live in my car. Something I often joked about but something I was seriously considering. As my disdain for humankind increased I found the complete opposite in my friends, family and acquaintances. The kindness shown to Mr B and I blew my mind. The offers of a place to stay, the thoughts of asking those around them if they knew anyone that could help, the offers of storage space and mostly importantly an ear to listen to my endless worries, rambles and let’s not forget, the tears! I couldn’t reconcile the two extremes and both made me cry. For very different reasons of course.

I haven’t felt like myself since this whole housing situation started and I often found it hard to function. Between work, family commitments and life in general I started to wonder if this was what life as an adult was? I was consumed with worry and I had no control over it. A difficult thing to manage seeing as I love to control nearly everything (happy to admit it) and so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I could control. Turns out there wasn’t much. I know we aren’t the only ones in this situation. Everyone has a story, a crisis or heart-ache of some sort. Sometimes these things are better shared but up until now, I couldn’t really say everything I wanted as I didn’t have the words. Literally. Anyone who was brave enough to ask me ‘have you found somewhere to live?’ will be all too familiar with the crazed look on my face that greeted them. Smiling and nodding saying ‘no but it will all be fine. It will all be fine’. Either that or I burst in to tears and it’s really hard to write when you’re crying and snotty. Trust me I made a few attempts and you’ll be glad I spared you.

So here I am, still believing home is where you make it but I have to admit in all of my adventures, it never occurred to me that I would have nowhere to make my home. Although I would never choose to live where we find ourselves now or pay the amount we have to in rent, I remind myself it is not the worst option we faced. I also know that we are extremely lucky to have somewhere to call home and this won’t be the last crisis that will present it’s disgusting, ugly, mouldy head. I’m hoping there will be less mould in the next crisis.

With all that said it is now time to take a breath and make the most of our cherished possessions in the four walls we live in. It is these things after all that ignite memories of past adventures, places we’ve yet to explore and our loved ones and they are what make up our home. These and a few nice cushions!

xo

P.S. If you find yourself in a similar situation or think I could lend a hand in any way please get in touch.  You can leave a comment below or email me directly at lovetomtom@outlook.com and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. 

A lovetomtom Christmas

A lovetomtom Christmas

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is here which means catch ups, too much food and PRESENTS! You all know by now I’m not that fond of Christmas but boy do I love getting presents! And buying them for that matter.

I started this year’s gift guide by going back to my very first Christmas post and my feelings remain the same. So whether it’s a phone call or a cookbook, a toy or clothes I’m throwing a few ideas your way.

Be sure to click the photographs below for all the details, photographers, prices and why I think these would be great gifts.

#alovetomtomchristmas

alovetomtomchristmas

alovetomtomchristmas

#alovetomtomchristmas

#alovetomtomchristmas

#alovetomtomchristmas

#alovetomtomchristmas

November's Beauty Bag

There are a few I haven’t included so for my family members, look away now. Everyone else click here to see what other goodies are in this year’s gift guide.

xo

 

Hello

#lovetomtomSBD

November

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

Before anyone tells me off for saying the ‘C’ word, the only reason I’m bringing it up is because it sparked this month’s same but different.

Whether I like it or not Christmas is here and it’s not even December. Although I’m not a fan of Christmas one part I do like about it is writing Christmas cards. This got me thinking. Why is it that I put time aside to write Christmas cards yet I don’t write cards, or letters any other time of the year? With that, I’m starting early and writing my Christmas cards in November but adding a little extra something special.

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

It’s a good thing I like stationary as it will come in handy for what’s ahead this month.  I’ll be pulling out all the stationary I’ve collected over the years and putting it to good use. Not just stationary though; postcards, wrapping paper, writing paper, photographs, pictures, doodles, sketches, napkins, my list goes on. Anything I can write on or turn into a card is going in the mail. My loved ones are going to get something that reminds me of them or even something they can write on and send back to me!

#lovetomtomSBD Nov

Time to turn the computer off and get writing!

xo

September’s Beauty Buys

September’s Beauty Bag

This month has been a fun one beauty wise mostly because there’s a few gifts inside and who doesn’t love presents?!

A dear friend of mine returned from her holidays in the USA and presented me with that all too familiar black and white striped bag. I knew I was going to like whatever was inside and I wasn’t disappointed. Finally I have my hands on the original Beauty Blender. I know I am slow to the game with this one but I’m here eventually. I had no idea how to use it so I did a bit of research. What I found was rather interesting. I found some very positive information and then I found some frightening information about germs and bugs! At this point I  literally closed the lid of my laptop and washed my makeup brushes. But let’s pretend I know nothing about bugs in Beauty Blenders, I have positive things to say about this little wonder sponge. The application is easy, although I feel it takes me a little longer than using my fingers or a brush to apply foundation but the finish is just amazing! I hate to use words such as ‘flawless’ but that is what I feel the finish is; flawless. It is definitely worth my time both in the application and in taking care of it. Thank you Mrs Fox for knowing me so well!

September's Beauty Bag

Next is another gift from a special friend who spoils me often. This time she treated me to this amazing North America Hemp Co. Shine Spray. You know by now I don’t like too much fuss when it comes to my hair and there are only a few hair products I will give my time to and this is one of them. When I remember, I like to use an oil in my hair (despite my hair being on the oily side) because of the fact that I blow dry it everyday. This oil is definitely a keeper. The smell is beyond words and it does a great job at protecting my hair from the heat. It has all sorts of other benefits like being gluten, sulphate and paraben free and it’s vegan. A great product all round. Again, thank you Mrs M for always looking out for me, and my hair!

September's Beauty Bag

The next item in this month’s beauty bag is one I bought mainly because of the packaging rather than the product. If you haven’t come across Lidl’s range of beauty products, you are missing out.  Cien Nail Polish Remover comes in a plastic, non-spill push-pump bottle that I’m absolutely in love with. Not to take away from my much loved Boujois Magic Nail Polish Remover, the Cien Nail Polish Remover for the bottle alone is definitely staying in my beauty bag. The actual nail polish remover is pretty good too.

September's Beauty Bag

September's Beauty Bag

Last up this month is not a newbie, in fact it’s a regular in my beauty bag. Hawiian Tropic Tanning Oil feels like a guilty pleasure but one I love and generally use all year round. It did take a back seat to Nuxe Sun SPF 30 Tanning Oil this summer but with winter just around the corner, the golden oil and delicious summer smell of Hawiian Tropic is going to help me stay in my happy place, even if I’m freezing.

September's Beauty Bag

You may remember last month I spoke about Lancôme’s Juicy Shaker. I’m sad to report that it is still on my wishlist. Rather a busy month indeed but don’t worry, I have actually penciled in a day of shopping in my diary so this lip gem will be mine!  I’ll keep you posted.

xo

lovetomtomSBD

lovetomtom

Same but Different

February’s lovetomtom same but different was all about love, celebrations, family, friends and the main man himself, the real lovetomom. I had so much fun discovering new ways to celebrate all these things the month just flew by. Before I get cracking on with March’s #lovetomtomSBD, take a look at the last few snaps of February’s #lovetomtomSBD. 

Don’t forget to follow lovetomtom on Instragram to see how I’m getting on each month. Stay tuned to see what I have in stall for March! I’m excited although I get the sense I’m going to say that every month.

xo

#lovetomtomSBD

Same but different

February

It’s the first February post for #lovetomtomSBD and it should come as no surprise that I’m starting with the real lovetomtom. Don’t worry I am not going to spend the whole month talking about how much I love him – I may be the only one interested in that but it is the perfect way to kick off #lovetomtomSBD.

The reason I’m starting with the real lovetomtom is because this month he celebrates his birthday and that got me thinking about birthdays, celebrations, family, friends and love. These things are always on my mind, mostly because living away from home I miss a lot of them.

#lovetomtomSBD

Virtual taste test and he even wanted to share! Thanks Mrs P for letting me use this picture.

The difference this time round is that I’m going to ninja kick my homesickness and find lots of fun ways to be crazy in love with my amazing nephew, to celebrating all sorts of things and to stay in touch with loved ones, near and far.

Don’t forget to join in and tag all the ways you are going to enjoy your celebrations, birthdays, family, friends and love with #lovetomtomSBD

xo

Wishlist

Wishlist

Eyes are the window

Mecca

My wishlist seems to be getting longer and longer these days with not much coming off it. It’s filled with things that I’m saving for, things that are a bit too expensive but nice to look at and things that I will never own but are still nice to look at! I added a few things to it last month (check them out here) and again some more items in the past couple of weeks thanks to Pinterest and Instagrambut I am delighted to say I finally got to take something off the list!

I had a friend stay with me recently and not only was I over the moon to see her but when she pulled out that shiny pink Mecca bag, I’ll be honest I gave a little squeal. To be fair my squeal was mostly because it was so thoughtful and generous that she had taken the time not only to read my blog but go to the effort of getting me a gift that she knew I would love.

Stlla

Inside the beautiful pink Mecca bag was this amazing Stila Eyes are the window palette.  I first saw this Stila eyeshadow palette thanks to makeup artist Harriet Hadfield from Harry Makes it up. I couldn’t believe I found a palette filled entirely with matte shades and after seeing it in person I just knew I had to have it! Before I get to the eyeshadows I must talk about the packaging. I’m not usually that fussed with packaging. Really, it’s what’s inside that counts but in this case, Stila have done such a beautiful job. Everything about it is stunning. The clean lines of the mirrored case, the ‘cheat sheet’ inside showing how to create different looks and the thing that topped it off, the protector sheet with the wise words of Albert Einstein printed on it. This is one of those items that really needs to be left out on display. So beautiful in fact I hesitated using it so as not to mess it up, but with a deep clean of my makeup brushes, I couldn’t resist!

Besides the packaging, I have only good things to say about the product itself. The palette feels like it was made for me with all twelve shades being matte and there is not a sparkle in sight, just the way I like it! There are other palettes in the Stila Eyes are the window collection so if you are looking for a bit of shimmer, you’re not forgotten. This palette is made up of nude/taupe type shades, some grey smokey shades, some lovely pink/peachy shades and then the deep, warm shades. Unlike other palettes I have seen, I know every shade in this palette is going to get a good workout both for everyday and for that extra special occasion.

Stila Mind

You can see why this is so special to me. I’m one lucky lady that’s for sure!

xo