Do you have a new baby or toddler? Do you live in Dublin or Wicklow? Would you like to get to know some other mums locally? ClapHandies are running pop-up Play and Coffee mornings across 25 venues across Dublin and Wicklow (From Ballbriggan to Wicklow town and every thing in between!). – See more at:



Toddlers and questions?? Wow I honestly never expected so many. I have heard about the ‘but why?’ and ‘what’s that?’ but I really believe that James is taking it to another level. We were driving past St Patrick’s Cathedral and he asked what it was. I said it was a large church called a cathedral and he asked ‘what do people go there for?’ I said to pray and he asked ‘Why?’ I replied ‘because they’re Catholic’ and he said ‘are we an Atholic?’ ‘Yes’ I said and with a very concerning look he replied ‘well why don’t we go?’ I never expected to be caught out by a 2 year old and as any mature parent like me would do in this situation I told him to ask Nana.

But honestly I never realized I was going to have to start studying to raise a toddler. Thank god for Google and IPhones. To add to my increasing fear of not having enough knowledge general or otherwise to raise a toddler my sister very helpfully bought him a book full of Australian animals of which I knew about three names. ‘Wow’ I thought to myself and I spent a lot of time working in Australia clearly not absorbing the culture or animal names at all but then I remembered I could probably name nearly every bar and nightclub, districts they’re in and which ones were good and bad. That’s something to be proud off, right?

On average toddlers ask about 300 questions a day from the minute they wake until bedtime. It is really wonderful to see them develop and experience everything for the first time. The buds on the trees and the real beauty in the simple things that we take for granted which got me thinking that maybe we could learn a thing or two from all these questions. Most of all appreciating the simple things we’re surrounded with every day of our lives. For me I’m rediscovering my inner child and oh yeah.. finding out I’m a hippocrate.


This wooden bear is always smiling, but he’s happiest when fully dressed! Getting dressed won’t be such a puzzle once zipping, buckling, snapping, lacing and tying, and other dressing skills are mastered. Each skill is contained on a separate, wooden puzzle piece for easy practice. Develop fine motor and life skills with this great activity. €17.95

I just bought these to help make the transition from nappies to pants easier. They are made using Dribble Bubbs technology, for more information on this amazing absorbent and waterproof design €14.80


Hi Alison,

I had a baby 6 months ago and have a summer wedding coming up. Can you recommend and good underwear to help me feel a bit more confident?


Hi Tara,

Well I’m a huge fan of all shape underwear and infact I wore the Lytess Sculpt and Slim shape-wear for the VIP awards. Infused with caffeine and Shea Butter, Lytess Sculpt and Slim technology works continuously to remove fat and moisturize, leaving you slimmer and smoother. At the same time, this shapewear is invisible and comfortable under clothing. Using a stretchy knit, specially designed to take the exact shape of your body Lytess Sculpt & Slim provides great support and unique comfort while working to shift those extra inches. Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna and Beyoncé have long recognised that shapewear is a lifesaver for scrutinising paparazzi lens and making any gown, red carpet ready. Enjoy your wedding!



Feel confident in the Lytess Corrective Shorty. €49.90


THROWING a Babyshower. If you’re pregnant or you know someone who is then there is no better way to celebrate the expected arrival than to host a baby shower. Blooming Baby Showers is a unique brand that is offering mums-to-be a charming range of beautiful stationery and party ware €3.49 – €14.99 DOWNLOADING the ‘Postnatal Pilates by Reform Apps’. There are 3 apps with short manageable workouts that will help build self-esteem and increase energy levels. Each of the App workouts contain a series of specific exercises designed to gently build deep abdominal and lower back strength and assist with recovery from pregnancy and childbirth. Life is a Workout…especially if you are a new mum. A fit body and mind will help you adjust to being a new Mum.

I’m really looking forward to attending this course with Joanna Fortune. Having worked with Joanna for over a year now her ability to inspire and encourage parents (including me!) in the most positive way is very unique. If anyone would like to join us on Saturday just get in touch!!

1 Day Parenting Course this Saturday 6th July, limited places remain. This Course will be run by Joanna Fortune who is a Clinical Psychotherapist with more than 12 years experience working with children, adolescents and parents. She is a specialist in early attachment and the parent-child relationship and runs the Solamh Parent Child Relationship Clinic in Dublin and is a regular contributor in the media on these issues. You can read more about Joanna on or

This course is about accessing what is working and building on that and thinking about “why” and what motivates are approach and where that might come from. This 1 Day course will cover the early emotional and psychological development of children and provide participants with the insights to interpret and understand the behaviours of their children as well as the practical skills to respond and resolve these at home.

 This course will cover:

*Child Development (general over view)

*Understanding and Reading Children’s Behaviour

*How to (practically) develop self-esteem and tackle bullying

*Managing Transitions

*Effective Discipline

*Quality versus Quantity Time with children

*The Power of Play

This is about making small changes to see big differences, it is about less tears and more laughs!

The next Parenting 1 day Course is Saturday 6th July 2013 in the Avila Centre Donnybrook, Dublin 4. The cost for the day is €130 per person or €220 for a couple and this is inclusive of lunch/refreshments and detailed handouts. Places are strictly limited and assigned on a first come first served basis so advance booking is recommended. Contact us on 01-6976568 or email to book your place or make an enquiry.


Why can’t I ever do things by halves?? I was complaining to Sarah Mac Lachlann from Pilates Performance that I didn’t feel I was getting results quick enough and she informed me I actually needed to make my classes. Hmm I thought, now that makes sense!! I decided to do three classes in a row and the morning after the first class James jumped on me to say good morning. I screamed and frightened the life out of the poor child. Ouch get off Mummy please. My muscles were sore to even touch. “What’s wrong?” James said. “Mummy did Pilates” I said, to which James replied “Oh Mummy a lattes is very bad” At that very moment I really felt my two year old was speaking the truth. However I did go back and I feel great. Sometimes I really find it a huge effort to be good. By that I mean eat well, exercise and go to bed early but when you do it you unleash those hidden happy hormones and they tingle through your body and you feel a rush of happiness and a sense of achievement.

You see we’re all kids really and we need to feed our inner child and make ourselves proud. I hear a lot of Mums beat themselves up about what they’re not doing. This week try this instead… Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about how you parent or live replace it with a positive thought or phrase. This can be incredibly hard to begin with but watch the difference it makes to both you and the kids. Potty training is also around the corner for me and I haven’t a clue so please mail me with any tips and tricks you have?? I need other mummies to help right now!! Everything I read seems to give conflicting advice as usual. I think he’s ready but it’s only my first so what do I know? I’m having dreams (nightmares) of a urine soaked house, car and more washing than one human can cope with. Dramatic? Me?… Never!!

TotsBots are undoubtedly the King of Cool when it comes to designing cloth nappies, so it comes with great excitement that the brand is now launching their new and improved Swimtots –Swimtots are a trendy, practical, comfortable and affordable solution for water babies everywhere! Bring on the summer!

RRP: €11.70 (+p&p) Stockist:


Puppy Pursuit contains ten active games to encourage the development of memory, patterning, sequencing, colour recognition and matching skills. Canine activities children will be begging to play!  €21.95



Hi Alison,

Do you use SPF on your face every day or just when you are abroad or in the sun?

Kelli Dublin

Hi Kelli,

The Number One cause of premature skin ageing is sun exposure. Clinical signs of photoaged skin include the appearance of dark spots, uneven skin tone and overall loss of radiance. 40% of the people never use sun protection because they dislike the heavy feel of certain sun protection on their faces or like me they experience irritation or allergic reactions to certain chemical sun filters. However, SkinCeuticals has a brand new product called Mineral Radiance UV Defense spf 50 which will be on shelves in June and even better its tinted so for busy Mums it has everything in one. I use it first thing to drop James to creche so I don’t scare people with the white just out of bed look and if the sun ever did come out I’d be protected. It’s also lightweight and suitable for sensitive skin.

PREVENT. CORRECT. PROTECT With Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF 50 – RRP €43.00


Kangaroos don’t come cuter than this. Joey is €10.50 and available from


WE’RE GETTING EXCITED ABOUT The Just 4 Kids Show Coming to the RDS 25/26th May. The Show will feature a huge free fun zone led by Let’s Go Camps, a workshop zone, a technology and science zone, a library zone, a seminar zone and a host of exhibition stands to browse through. Be inspired, be informed and be involved with so much to do you’ll want to stay all day!  A fun and educational day out for all the family awaits visit

KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE with an IDME wristband. Great for any outing where your child might get separated from you. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, on holiday, a birthday party, school tour or just a visit to the shops, your child will have potentially life saving information at hand. €12.99

Well if you had told me 3 years ago I would be unable to sleep because I was so excited about going to a baby fair I would have had you committed…. No, really I would and so would anyone who knows me! However that is simply what happened last week. I just returned from the Nursery Fair in Harrogate near Leeds and it was so exciting. There are so many new products on the market and struggling to fold your buggy will soon be a thing of the past, as you will soon do it with the touch of a button.

Being single, 35 and James past the baby stage no man was safe near me as the broody feelings ran through my body. I asked Zarah did she find every man as attractive as I did? From her look I guessed not. However I then thought it through and realized that making such a rash decision was probably wrong after all I had just had my palm read at the mind, body and spirit festival and was told I had twins in my future. When this memory returned I took a vow of celibacy and that’s where we are today. I have left a small window open for prince charming I just hope I’m not to busy to notice if he ever decides to pass by.

On a more serious note the fair was a wake up call to really do your research continually. The parenting industry moves at an incredibly fast rate but I’ll do my best to keep you informed. At the moment it’s moving as fast as James mouth, which never stops and some of the sentences are shocking. There are fingers being pointed and I have been informed that I make him angry. This is usually when I interrupt him (if you don’t mind) or say no. I will not let my 2 year old win. If you think this makes me sound immature you would be 100% right but I’m not going down without a fight. I’ll keep you posted or if I lose James will be writing this column next week!!

Found this gem in Harrogate. Simple and genius: a dribble bib and teether in one. Soft, absorbent, reversible and comforting for your teething tot. We have enough bits and pieces to take with us so I simply love products like this, which make our lives easier.  Check out for more information and watch the video! €11.85

These wonderful storage boxes come all the way from Australia and are
exclusive to Cherish Me in Ireland . They are made from durable canvas
material and they come in a range of different styles and sizes so a
great way store all those toys and keep their rooms organised.

They also stock matching wall stickers to complete the look and it’s a
great way to capture their imagination and bring their room to life.
From €42.00 to €52.00


Hi Alison,

I read recently that you were doing a detox – perhaps in the last month . Do you mind me asking what type it was and did you find it good? Thanks, Colette

Hi Colette,

I’m not a big fan of just juicing and being hungry so when I detox I cut out all sugar, white products and alcohol and increase fruit, veg and brown/wholemeal products. I also introduce healthier products as part of a healthier lifestyle. I’ve recently discovered Chia. Chia is a complete food, which contains the highest plant source of omega-3 with soluble and insoluble fibre, protein and antioxidants to help get your heart, mind and body in shape. The main health benefits associated with Chia Bia include; reduced blood pressure, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and improved concentration and energy levels. Chia Bia can also help promote weight loss as the seeds can absorb 12 times their weight in water; this results in a gel forming in the stomach that slows the absorption of carbohydrates and leaves you feeling fuller for longer helping you avoid the 3pm slump! You can use it in baking as the seeds are tasteless or I simply add it to my cereal.


Chia Bia is available in Dunnes Stores, Supervalu and in all good health stores nationwide. Visit for more on information on Chia Bia.


Yes To Baby Carrots Shampoo+Body Wash Yes To a Soft Clean that’s as delicious as your little munchkin (is that possible?!). Yes to softening organic melon, moisturising vitamin E and nourishing carrot oil. Yes to 100% natural ingredients because Mama Nature knows best. Yes to being tear-free too (of course). Price €9.16


 ATTENDING PARENTING CLASSES in the mid-west.  As a mum yourself The first year after your baby was born you have endless questions which is why GP: Dr Maire Finn is offering new parenting classes for first time mum’s and dad’s. The classes will cover a wide variety of topics from breast/bottle feeding problems to dealing with bumps and bruises and everything else in between, as well as talks on mum’s post natal health. Contact Ennis family medical center (065) 6840388 for more information

TAKING a mum break. In order to give, you must make sure that you are replenished you need to step back, recharge, and take breaks. Try this daily care product, Human+Kind All-in-one Body Oil. It is the ultimate multi-purpose beauty oil created to treat arms, thighs, buttocks, tummies and décolletage.  It has an instantly uplifting and energising fragrance that stimulates the senses. €14.95

I’m trying to figure out why my bladder is so near my eyes these days. I often think because I buried my emotions for so long there was a backlog of tears or else I’m simply drinking to much… water that is!!! I had a crap birthday; no ones fault and I was feeling really sorry for myself. I was actually just feeling very sad all week. In the midst of my frustration my friend Orla without even realizing made me smile and cry for all the right reasons. As often happens I had no one to mind James so Orla took him again! Senan, Orlas son is the same age as James and it is often at this point I am dumped as James “bef Friend”. Very fickle and not very loyal you might think or very smart depending, which way you look at it.

I got home from work and was greeted by a birthday cake (meant to be a surprise but James couldn’t wait to tell me) I acted totally shocked and did such a good job I’m rethinking my acting career. We decided to have a sleepover and the next morning Orla and her hubby took James to rugby tots with Senan and let me have a lie in. Then they brought me back coffee and my favourite bagel. To top that on mother’s day a card was posted through my letterbox and it was from James. “Senans Mum did that with me” James said at which point I started crying.

It really is the little things in life that we overlook every day. I’m not sure Orla even realizes just what she did. Even with my Mum and good friends I struggle so much as a single Mum. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed I can barely breathe. However I have been assured that I’m not alone and by this I mean my friends who are married have admitted to feeling exactly the same way. It’s good to know you’re not alone. Taking one day at a time and beginning Deepak/Oprahs 21 day meditation challenge is keeping me focused but I am reminded again how easy we fall but I am also reminded how the kindness of others can turn a persons life around and most of the time they don’t even know it.


I just love this 3 in 1 Activity Mat available in various colours. €94.95

This is an activity mat with a difference though as it folds into 3 positions:

1. Activity mat from 0 -6 months

2. Play mat 0-12 months

3. Mini sofa 1-4 years

It’s also machine washable and rolls up for easy storage!!

Available from Piquant Baby & Kids Store, Powerscourt Centre, Dublin


No more slipping and struggling with tongs. These simple but genius Innosense Unique Silicon Tongs are another little step towards making mums life a bit easier – €3.99 Mothercare



Hi Alison,

My little girl has a constant cough and it feels like the winter has gone on forever. With all this debate about antibiotics recently have you come across any natural alternatives?


Pamela Dublin

Hi Pamela,

First of all you always need to check with your doctor and explain your reservations about antibiotics. Midwife Maggie Evans recommends for babies over 12 months that you “Listen” to the cough – a “whoop” (whooping cough), “barking” (croup), or “wheezy” (bronchiolitis)
Croup, a common winter cough, in children is relieved by moist air – try inhaling air in a steamy bathroom, outside or open the freezer door for a few minutes. A cool air vapouriser in the bedroom is also effective.

Allow the body’s immune system to respond to a simple cough – ensure ample rest, dilute fluids, nourishing food and patience. You can also try a cough remedy, especially those containing honey and lemon. Honey is well known not only for its great taste, but also for being a great natural remedy. Honey may indeed help with sore throats and nighttime coughs in children and that’s why I use Nelsons Sootha, a honey rich formula with zesty lemon. Nelsons Sootha cough syrup is free of artificial colourings or flavourings and does not cause drowsiness. Suitable for children aged 12 month onwards. Bryonia, more commonly known as Bryony, is a yellow flowering climbing plant, which has been used in homeopathic tradition for the symptomatic relief of coughs.



Nelsons Sootha is available from independent health stores and pharmacies nationwide
RRP €7.25


If you suffer from allergies like me you’ll need these so you can see your children Optrex SOOTHING Eye Drops – RRP €4.67


Visiting animal farms and getting outside, as it’s a great time of the year for your child to learn about new life and growth. You might even catch a lamb being born! Plant seeds in the garden or make a bird feeder. USING Aveeno Dermexa to soothe and hydrate skin. Providing relief from dry, red, and, itchy skin, it is suitable for babies from as little as three months of age. BUYING ‘pre-loved’ designer kids clothes at recession prices — from designers like Chloe, Baby Dior, Catamini, Ralph Lauren, Timberland and more. 

Last week as I was driving James to crèche and a very strange thing happened. James started screaming: “Ouch Mummy it hurts. It’s so bright.  Make it go away.” The first thing any paranoid freak of a mother like me thinks about is meningitis. But being in Ireland the actual culprit here was the sun. Yes you heard me THE SUN. This is how you know your child has been reared in Ireland. The sun in all its glory with its vitamin D and ability to enhance moods was alien to my child. We have been to Spain but he obviously doesn’t remember and over the winter months had turned into a mole. Considering James is equally as dramatic as me it didn’t end there. When we got to crèche he started to touch the windowsill where the sun was shining, completely unable to understand the heat he was feeling on his body and the lack of heat on the windowsill.  We now have daily chats about this rare but very welcome new addition to our lives. I tell stories about far off countries that we will travel to where the sun shines every day and turns your skin a different colour so that you actually look good. I add in here you can take off your clothes, put on your swimming trunks and swim in the sea or pool. This story might be premature as we are not going anywhere for quite a while and every morning James asks when can we go to the sun and swim.

It is at this point I understand that children unlike adults actually live in the moment instead of wishing their lives away like us. It is also at this moment I realize I should keep my dreams of a holiday in my head where they belong. Unfortunately I feel the damage has been done and for the foreseeable future my days will start with the same question. When can we fly on the aeroplane to see the sun? I will not cry every time James asks this question but act happy as I slide over the curtains and peak out hoping that by some miracle Ireland was moved closer to Spain or Africa. A little birdie told me we are having a hot Summer this year and considering I would swallow a brick or maybe I just want to believe I have changed my story and told James there will be no need for a plane as soon right here in little old Ireland we’ll be in shorts and tee shirts, eating ice-cream and dancing through daisy’s.


I love SHOOBEES, the soft leather shoes with non-slip soles that keep your baby safe when on the move. The shoe sole is brushed suede and thin enough for the baby’s feet to spread, grip, and balance naturally, giving the ‘bare foot’ feeling and the confidence little ones need to take those first steps. There are over 20 styles to choose from and they are perfect for use around the house or in crèches and child-minders. Prices from €12 for 0-6 months sale stock using the code 06SHOOBEES and €15.95 for the latest designs, with FREE DELIVERY WORLDWIDE.


With the weather starting to improve and maybe travel on the horizon you will need the washable, squashable and now personalized Totseat. Perfect for cafes and restaurants with no highchairs. Your baby will also feel like a big person sitting in his or her own chair- independence with a twist!! €29.99



Hi Alison,

I’m at the weaning stage with my first baby and I was wondering if you have any tips for when you’re out and about. I make all my food myself on a Sunday for the week. Any storage tips??

Thanks, Amy

Hi Amy,

I’m so excited to tell you about a brand new product called Fill n squeeze. You won’t need to worry about any extra cooking and will be able to incorporate preparation in two simple steps. Having prepared the family meal, pop it in the Fill n Squeeze jug, prepare it using the masher provided or a hand blender, fill the pouch, and then squeeze when the time is right! The same process can be taken to prepare fruit or vegetable purees, fruit smoothies and much more!  As well as the ease of preparing delicious homemade baby food the clear benefit of parental control will be important for many families. Not only will parents know exactly what their child is eating, but to be able to tailor the meals for little ones need and allergies is a great help. It is also cost effective which is currently very important. The brands re-sealable pouches are an extremely convenient solution to store, freeze and warm food.



 Fill n Squeeze €22.90 for starter pack (pouch filler jug, plunger (which doubles up as a masher), jug closure cap, 5 x 150ml Squeeze Pouches, sterile and ready to use.) €4 for Refill pack +€6.90 p&p
Stockist: Jojo Maman and



This Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless Mascara gives you eyelashes to die for. €9.95


BIDDING ON THE LINDT GOLD BUNNY AUCTION – the Lindt Gold Bunny Auction returns and is set to get fans fighting for the limited ceramic gold bunnies signed by their favourite celebs including The script, Robbie Williams and JLS. All proceeds from the Auction go directly to Temple Street Children’s Hospital and all final bid winners not only get to take home their signed Lindt Gold Bunny but also a Lindt Gold bunny hamper worth €100 Go to  ‘LIKE’ the Lindt Chocolate Ireland Facebook page and get bidding! DANCING around our sitting rooms as it helps to express feelings and emotions. It also gets the creative juices flowing, builds confidence and is great fun. So crank up the music and get shake that booty!


Trips to the doctor, antibiotics and a lot less money in my pocket now. As a parent in Ireland sometimes you literally can’t breathe without spending money. To top it off my friend in London who’s a working Mum of two proudly declared that her childcare is free and oh yeah so is the doctor. My mind wandered off to sandy beaches and cocktails when I dreamt of what I could do with all the extra money I would have each month if I lived anywhere else at all.

However I did decide to live here so my aim is to do everything to keep myself healthy and happy of course. James now sleeps in my bed all the time and if I were being honest I wouldn’t have it any other way. He wakes in the middle of the night and asks for a tug (hug) or a tuddle (cuddle) and my heart melts. I know this age won’t last forever so I’m trying to enjoy every minute. However life is not all plain sailing as James’ acting has improved dramatically. I asked my sister Laura who’s an actress had she been giving him secret lessons but she said no! He stands there pre fake tantrum trying with all his might to squeeze a tear out and then just as the tear breaks through he drops to the ground for the grand finale. I have learnt/chosen to ignore this at home but in the doctors I was shocked when this was coupled with “dut up!!” Excuse me I said trying to hold in the laughter from pure shock. When I asked him where he heard it he said Spongebob. I explained it was bold and made me feel sad. Now every few minutes James asks me am I sad and declares that he’s happy and wants me to be happy. I have reassured him I’m probably the happiest Mum in the world and have decided heck if I don’t feel it I’ll fake it. Anything for my little man and hey as the saying goes fake it till you feel it!!!


As mothers day approaches I love this Bia Beauty Mother & Baby gift set contains eye gel for a sleep-deprived new mum, a luxurious body butter that will diminish stretch marks and is perfect for a relaxing massage, and baby cream which can be used all over the body to soothe and comfort the little one and encourage sleep. €45 from and pharmacies nationwide.


Finally a vest that’s actually discreet for breastfeeding! Marianne Valiente, creator of Feed Me Mummy said “after the confidence issues I had with breastfeeding in public, when I came up with this vest I just had to share it with other Mums” I wish it had been 2 years ago!!



Hi Alison,

I was wondering if you ever used a sling with James. There’s so many to choose from and are they really worth it?


Angela, Cork


Hi Angela,

I tried so many slings and actually found them great. You need to find one that suits you. Its fantastic to keep them close and you also have your hands free.. Imagine! Check out They will lend you slings from all over the world till you figure out which one you like. Cherish me have also just introduced the Award-winning ERGObaby carrier. It’s really comfortable to wear and most importantly holds the baby in the correct position to support baby’s hip, pelvis, and spine growth. ERGOBABY keeps baby safe, close, and comfortable and allows you to enjoy your bonding experience with your baby and you can even be breast feed while babies in the carrier. Unlike many carriers on the market this one can be worn 3 ways on your front, hip or on your back and holds a child up to 20kg!






Get your body set for Summer with Total Body Lift, €46 by Clarins



SUPPORTING ARC Cancer Support Centre for their inaugural “Green Nose Day” on the 9th of March 2013. Green noses will be sold both inside and outside the Aviva Stadium for 2 EURO before the Ireland v France rugby match. ARC Cancer Support Centre provides support to people affected by cancer and their loved ones and they helped my family enormously when my own Dad was sick. WEARING Alex and Ani eco-friendly, positive energy stacking bracelets made with positive intentions. A perfect gift for new Mums. Choose Mom for generosity, heroism and love.