Thursday 17 May 2018

Review: 1st Early Ed - "Fun in the Car"

Michelle Waldron is a lady I have known for some time in the world of social media. Since I began my venture to set up my business, Darcy the Dingo, Michelle has always has been very supportive and full of great words of encouragement. When asked if I'd like to review her audio album on the blog I was delighted to. 

Brief Background

As a Montessori Directress, Michelle has over 25 years experience working in various areas within the early education childcare sector. With her love for creative children's writing and story telling her business was born. 
On the site you will find not only original poems and stories written by Michelle but also ideas of things to do with your children and her audio album "Fun in the Car" 

Fun in the Car

As a mum, for me nursery rhymes can become very repetitive and on many occasion when I've heard them for the 100th time, they've driven me somewhat crazy so listening to "Fun in the Car",I must say was quite refreshing. 

The album is aimed at 3-6 year olds and has 9 tracks which are original poems and stories written and narrated by Michelle and have lovely background sounds to compliment each one. 
When your child is with you in the car or maybe just simply enjoying some time out, they can interact as they listen to each track. While listening your child can have fun learning and not only that, there are fun facts about various places which you may visit and it will help to increase your child's vocabulary along with their observational skills.

The little chirps verdict! 

The Chirps are 6 and 4 now and when we listened to the album initially we listened to it together snuggled on the sofa so we could take it all in together. 

The eldest chirp will be 7 in July so I was conscious of his thoughts being older than his sister and he's firm on his likes and dislikes. While initially he felt it was a bit young, on listening to the full album, he thought it was nice and was something he didn't mind listening to again with his sister in the car or at home. 

The littlest chirp thought it was lovely and it is something that she will listen to many times. She loved the sounds within each story and when she heard "Trip to the Woods" she asked me to pause it to run upstairs to get her own little teddy, Pinky, to join in.

For me, as the big Chirp, as mentioned above, I felt it was refreshing to listen to and I loved how it encouraged children to use their imagination and observe their surroundings whether it is in the car or just simply at home snuggled up with you. 

If you wish to download "Fun in the Car" you can purchase it here for 9.99 

I was asked to review "Fun in the Car" and received the audio download for this purpose and all opinions are my own. I received no payment for this review. 

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Refreshing memories!

Growing up for both my husband and I, sitting at the table for a family meal was always important and even more so for special occasions. At the dinner table there were many conversations, disagreements, lots of laughter but most of all there was a family together who were in great company. Now, with a family of our own, this is something that has become very important to us that our children experienced this and hopefully they too will have great memories like we do.  

Recently, my in-laws purchased a new dining suite so when asked if we would like to take their old one we were quite happy too! The table and chairs are over 30 years old and hold many precious memories for my husband such as Christmas dinners with his Grandparents who unfortunately are no longer with us. And since we met, it holds many memories for me too. While we loved the table as is, we wanted to give it a new lease of life for it's new home with us. 

So, one of our first tasks was to begin with the table top and begin striping it back. For us we thought this was going one of the easier steps but as you can see from some of the images below there was a little bit more too it. We used Nitromors three times with no real luck so my husband took to the sander to remove what was left ...... and 4 hours later, it was ready for waxing! Before I reveal how it looked, I will fill you in on the stages in between ;-)


While the table was transforming, I begun on the chairs. Once the chairs were cleaned they were ready for their new lease of life.We chose to use Johnstone's Paint's Chalky furniture paint from their Revive range for the chairs and base of the table. For the Carver chairs we used Dusty Morning, the other four chairs we used Antique Sage and then for the base of the table we used Cushion White. I'd never used chalky paints before and was anxious if I'm honest in case I did it wrong or I was disappointed with the result. As I painted, I couldn't of been more wrong. As per Johnstone's Paint, it is very forgiving and I must say I think they are right. 


With the chairs being so dark and we wanted more of a solid finish, I used 4 coats of Dusty morning on the Carver chairs and 3 of the Antique Sage on the other chairs. The great thing above the paint was that within 30 minutes they were touch dry and you could repaint again within 4 hours so the whole process took no time at all. And once we were happy with the look we wanted each chair was finished using the Johnstone's Paint Clear Finishing Wax from their Revive range. 

Now that the chairs were complete, it was time to finish the table. After all of my husbands hard work in stripping it back, it was my turn to use Johnston's Paint Sepia Wax on the table top. This was such an easy task to do. I simply went went the grain of wood initially and then in circular movements to ensure the wax got into each grain of wood. 
Once that was complete, I began with the base of the table. The Cushion White just needed 2 coats and again once it was ready, we used the the clear wax to finish. 

To say we are delighted with the transformation is an understatement and so much easier than we thought, maybe not the table top but so worth those time to get the job done right. 

Our table has been given a new lease of life for another 30 years or more and I look forward to lots of laughter, discussions and disagreements but most of all time with my family making lots of memories with them to cherish. 

I was gifted this paint from Johnstone's paint to take part in their Do-ers Campaign to show you how easy it is to transform a piece of furniture from old to new for you. 

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Positively Inspired!

Keep Positive

The last few months for me have been I'm delighted to say full of many positives. Like many life can throw some "spanners in the works" which I've experienced many of including over the last few months but with the positive ones outweighing them recently, I'm glad to say, things are looking good! 

So when it comes to these positive vibes, where do I begin? Well, as many of you know from recent posts which you can read here, I was accepted and took part in the Acorns programme

Over the six months of taking part in Acorns, I went through highs a lows battling in ways with myself but thanks to fantastic support from our lead and the great women in our group, I moved forward and I'm continually doing so. With their support I've rejuvenated myself for me. And with a rejuvenated me, Darcy the Dingo can only benefit and move forward like I am! 
On Tuesday 17th April, I proudly became an official Acorns 3 and I cried with delight as I received my certificate. Receiving my certificate was a reminder of how determined I am! After two declines for my application for Acorns pilot and Acorns 2, I succeeded to be a proud member for Acorns 3! So as I cried when I received my certificate it was a reminder to me to never give up and always believe! 

                      "If it's to be, it's up to me!"
Officially Acorns 3! 

If you are thinking if setting up a business in rural Ireland or have already started a business I would highly recommend that you register your interest in taking part in the Acorns programme and you can register your interest here 

Another great positive milestone was going away for our first weekend child free! Some of you may think, how is this a milestone but to me I believe it is. Since becoming pregnant on our eldest in November of 2010, myself and my husband have had two nights away totaling about 36 hours in all! I'd like to say that that time away was 100% for us but it was for a Christmas party which I was heavily pregnant on our youngest and the second night was for a wedding and with no offence to both nights, for me, they're not time away really! 
So with a family member celebrating 60 years of marriage in our #HomefromHome, we took advantage and made it a weekend break for ourselves, and what a great weekend it was! 

Achill, Co. Mayo

The weather was superb which I still can't believe for the first week in April, and we were lucky enough to share one of the nights with greats friends and show off beautiful Curraun and Achill to them in Co. Mayo  which they'd never visited. 
As my husband said on our drive home, with our first weekend away, "the stars aligned in every way" We'd great weather, company and more importantly time for ourselves too as a couple! 


Another positive for me was becoming a member of Women's Inspire Network which you can learn more about here. I'd held myself back for sometime in becoming a member partially as there was a cost which is minimal but also because I felt in some ways, what have I to contribute to help others? 
Do ya know what, while I may not hold a profession in the eyes of some, I do actually have a lot more than I think to offer and more importantly I'm open to learning not only to promote my business but for me! 
I've been a member for a few weeks and over the last week alone, becoming a member has ticked all the right boxes! I've received great support including a one to one chat with Samantha Kelly aka The Tweeting Goddess and today, I was part of a brainstorming session which was set up to support for me to help give me feedback and ideas for my business which I received lots of. Members of the group took time away from their day to help me which was a fantastic support for me. 

So, with all of these positives I can't help but feel inspired and I want to revive YourAnInspiration and rename it #InspiringOthers. So, keep your eyes peeled as there are some great participants lined up to share their inspirations and hopefully inspire you too! 

So, if you are a fellow Acorn, member of Women's Inspire Network or feel you can inspire others then email to take part! 

Saturday 10 March 2018

Netflix: Ladies leading the way!

What a week! We'd International Women's Day on Thursday 8th March and this Sunday,  11th March is Mother's Day! So, ladies why not take some time out either for yourself, with your partner or friends and watch some leading ladies on Netflix! Here are some of my top picks. 

1. The Crown

The Crown follows Queen Elizabeth II's reign and the various events that occurred both politically and in her own personal life. Queen Elizabeth was just 25 when she took the throne and the series gives a different insight as to how she adapts to the throne and to the monarchy itself. Not only does it offer a different insight to the Queen herself but also Prince Philip and Princess Margaret whom also are adapting and rebelling in their own ways.  
Personally, I can't recommend The Crown enough and I've yet to meet talk to someone who hasn't enjoyed it. 

2. Godless

Looking for a female wild west badass? Well then Mary Agnes has you covered! Mary Agnes gets rid of the corset and men for pants and begins to date women. Through out she is outsmarting, out-drawing and out-performing any men who cross her path. 
This is one that I will be taking time out to watch with my husband because lets face it, who doesn't like the Wild West.

3. Alias Grace

Alias Grace is based on the historical fiction novel by Margaret Atwood. The 6 part series is about the Irish murderess Grace Marks who was imprisoned for life for murder. When she was visited by Doctor Simon Jordan who wanted to study her mind she told him she'd lost all of her memories but maybe it was that she'd rather not remember. 

So these are just some of my top picks and I wold love to hear some of your top Netflix recommendations.  

I received a Netflix subscription and an Apple TV from the Netflix Stream Team. All views and comments are my own 


Sunday 31 December 2017

Reviewing the Inspiration!

Like many, New Years Eve tends to be a time where we reflect on the year that has passed and wonder what the New Year will hold for us. 

As years go 2017 overall hasn't been a bad one. It's had it's ups and downs and at times it has knocked me sideways but overall it's given me some things back which I thought I'd lost. 

For some time, I've wanted to write about some people and things that occurred that have inspired me over the last year and motivated me all the more for 2018!

Karen Geraghty aka Yankee Doodle Paddy / @blissbakery 

Many of you will know Karen from her blog Yankee Doodle Paddy and from social media as @blissbakery. I first got to know Karen from following her on Snapchat and immediately I thought "What a lady". Karen has a wonderful attitude to life and always looks for the good there is and spreads love to all who know and follow her. 
When we met earlier this year, I have to say I wasn't disappointed. The Karen you see on social media is exactly who you get and more! Karen just oozes smiles and positive energy that you can't help but to soak it up and bring it with you. 
I feel very blessed to know Karen and love how on a daily basis she inspires me as she does many I'm sure whether it be in her cooking or with her words of love and wisdom. She's a true lady and I feel very lucky to call her my friend. 

Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd

Another lady who many will know from social media, Pippa's Fashion Factories and Ireland AM to name a few. 
Jennifer is you young woman, proud mum to her mini skin nerd and in the last year since becoming her own boss she has gone from strength to strength and stronger. Between her Cleanse off Mitt, her personalised online skin consultations with her Nerdettes, appearances both on TV and and events and now a new book to arrive on our shelves in 2018, she truly has become a remarkable woman and one to keep a close eye on for the future. 
I met Jennifer at an Image event earlier this year and stepped away feeling, I've met a lady who is going to have great successes and will be grounded throughout. Jennifer works very hard for what she has achieved to date and I've no doubt as her brand grows, she will continue to inspire many throughout her journey.  

New Frontiers Phase 1 

I remember the day when I read the email from DIT Grangegorman to say I was accepted to New Frontiers Phase 1. It was a Monday afternoon and I was with our son while we waited for his little sister to finish her ballet lesson. To say I was delighted on receiving the email was an understatement! It was my first time to apply for New Frontiers Phase 1 so to be accepted was fantastic as I knew it was the kick start I needed. 

Taking part in New Frontiers made me think not only about my business Darcy the Dingo in a new way but also about myself. In setting up a business you can become quite lost and sometimes you need a little redirection to help you get back on track and New Frontiers certainly helped kick start this for me. 

Curraun, Co. Mayo

As some of you may know Mayo for me is my home from home, and more specifically Curraun is. Curraun is where my mother and her family were reared along with many of my cousins and now for our family it is the place we love to visit for our holidays every year. 

This year, Mayo gave me a lot more than previous years and that was to unwind more and to take in what truely was around me. When you are sitting listening to the radio in the evening and looking out onto Clare Island and a school of Dolphins passes you can't help but feel blessed. Visiting Mayo is always a simple and relaxing holiday but this year taking an extra week to soak up all of what Mayo has to offer made it perfection. Mayo this year, gave me a lot of clarity on things and reminded me again that I can and will move forward and all will be great.  


Acorns was for me one of my high points of 2017. When I read the email that I was accepted I cried. It was my 3rd time to apply and my final chance to join the amazing women who are part of Acorns. 

When I met the wonderful Paula Fitzsimons who was behind the setting up of Acorns, she shook my hand and congratulated me that I kept trying and didn't give up on applying for the programme. Hearing her say that gave me such a boost and ignited my confidence which I'd mislaid during the months prior. 
Every lady I met just oozed inspiration, motivation and confidence which you couldn't help but to feed off it and thrive. 

Within our round table we have a wonderful lead in Alison Ritchie, Managing Director of Polar Ice. She's such a lady and has helped spur me on, along with my colleagues to move me and Darcy the Dingo forward. I feel very lucky with the great ladies that form our roundtable who are as follows;

Being accepted to Acorns has made me feel part of something so much bigger and when I see great women such as Nicki Hoyne of My Shining Armour, Niamh Hogan of Holos Skincare, Geraldine Byrne of Mediskin, Claire Molloy of Sweet Living Kilkenny and Jo Browne of Jo Browne to name but a few and seeing how they have progressed I feel all the more inspired as what the future holds for me. 

Brian Kelly aka my husband, father to our children and my rock

And my best inspiration of 2017 I've saved for last! My wonderful husband! Brian has put up with many of my up's and downs not only in 2017 but since 2004 and still as always he is by my side supporting me and our family. 
He's a true rock to me and there's many times I'd love to shake him in a good way as he doesn't realise what an inspiration he is to us. No matter what he is there and he always does his level best to be there for any appointments our children may have and help me when I need it to attend meetings etc for my business. 

I feel very blessed and proud to call Brian my husband and I know that with him by my side, there is greatness ahead ;-)

So, as we draw near to the end of 2017, what will 2018 bring? If I'm honest, who knows, but one thing I do know is it's going to be a great year! While there'll be lots of hard work, there will also be lots of fun and a trip or two to Mayo and most important of all, everything that is done will not just be for me but our family. 

I'd like to wish you a wonderful New Year and I hope that all you dream of comes true for you and your loved ones 

Friday 8 December 2017

Now is the time!

As many of you know who follow me or chatted to me, I've been working on #secretproject for some time which many of you now know as Darcy the Dingo! When I revealed what #secretproject was, I was so excited and was ready to share Darcy the Dingo with all. 
Through one thing or another it didn't go as planned and as time progressed and life got in the way, I lost a lot of confidence in my own self if I'm honest! 

Last week when I met up with my fellow Acorns and our Lead, Alison Ritchie, I was filled with mixed emotions. While I'd my goals set and prepared from our initial meeting and was excited to see everyone, I was nervous too.

Deep down I'm excited about Darcy the Dingo and I know I'm not a failure in my own self and I've a "few brain cells" I can rub together but I'd lost confidence to move forward and take the steps I've needed to just start! 

Thanks to our Acorns round table talks last week, I'm now trying to stop overthinking, reducing how much I listen to everyone's "advice" and I'm just going to DO IT!

So, thanks to my fellow Acorns and also support of family and friends, I'm now doing it!

So, today, I finally have on sale, subscriptions for Darcy the Dingo and also an additional gift option which you can shop for here

Today, I feel proud, proud that I've finally just done it, even if it's not how I planned, I'm delighted to be moving forward and gaining back confidence in me! 

I must say a massive thank you too, to my fellow Acorns for pushing me in the right direction and also family and friends for helping me to take the leap and JUST DO IT! 

If I'm honest , for the last week after saying to my fellow Acorns, "Ok, I'll do it, I'II have a pre-sale / launch"! when I said the words, I shook and in many ways, I've hidden myself from admitting to those words and trying to figure out ways to get out of what I said but in saying that, it's a great thing to have happened! I'm now getting out there, I'm going to MOVE FORWARD  and I'm really looking forward to the journey! 

Sunday 19 November 2017

Review: Luggwoods Santa Experience

Yesterday we were invited to visit Santa's Enchanted Forest at Luggwood's and I must say we weren't disappointed! 

Neither Logan or Elise knew where we going so when we arrived and they saw the festive lights and signs for "Elves at play" there excitement levels soared knowing then they were meeting the main man Santa! 


Before boarding the train to go through the enchanted forest Logan and Elise got their faces painted by some helpful Elves and after that our journey began! The Elves greeted us and welcomed us on board the train and from that moment on the children were entertained and drawn in by the magic of Christmas. 

As we journeyed on the train, there was singing and fun with the Elves, the waking of the fairies and the saving of Christmas! When we arrived at Luggwoods barn we were greeted by none other than Mrs. Claus! We gathered inside to listen to her stories, saw the Elves workshop and danced with them on stage!

From there, there was more singing and we entered another room to get ready to meet Santa. As we waited we wrote and posted our letters to Santa, got a pic with the Elf on the shelf and there was Hot Chocolate and Santa's sleigh where you could also have a picture taken. 


The time came for us to meet the main man and both Logan and Elise were so excited. For us, it was big deal for Elise meeting with Santa as she has a big fear of beards (as per hubby, it's known as pogonophobia!). This year she began to get over her fear thanks to her godfather so for her to go in and high five Santa with ease made it for us! 
We got to have a few minutes to chat to Santa which was lovely and of course Logan and Elise received a gift. 

When we said our goodbyes to Santa, we were led by the Elf, out towards a room where the children were entertained with a disco and we collected our family photo with Santa before boarding the train back.  

To quote Logan on the way home "I didn't like it, I loved it" and I must say, I have to agree! It was such a lovely experience for all of the family and I look forward to seeing how Elise gets on with Santa next year ;-)

The whole experience lasted about 90 minutes and from start to finish the children were entertained throughout! 

If you haven't booked your visit to Santa yet, follow the link here 
to book your families ticket at Luggwoods. 

Disclaimer: I was invited to Luggwoods as a guest and all views are my own