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