June 2018 | The Northern Irish Mum

Friday, 15 June 2018

Charity swap haul/ unboxing

Oh I am bubbling with excitement to share this fun little haul with you all. If you follow me on instagram, you may have spotted a few stories over the recent month about a fun little collab I had been working on with the wonderful Yammy Mackin!  I've followed Yammy on youtube for a number of years & then connected with her via instagram. Bonding over all things, from eco and sustainable fashion, to babywearing & nappies. We have a very similar style in choices of toys and clothes we purchase for our kids. And have similar thoughts on parenting & generally how we are going about raising our little tribes. Yammy is just one of those amazing women, who is just so strong and inspiring. Someone who, I feel so lucky to have connected and formed a little friendship with!

Yammy has recently expanded into the world of written blogging alongside her youtube and we had thrown around the idea of collaborating on something for a little while now. Then about a month ago we came up with the idea of doing a little kids charity swap. Both Yammy and I are fans of more sustainable fashion and being more conscious when purchasing clothes. One way we have both found to do this is to shop preloved or through our local Charity shops. With this in mind we set a little challenge for one another, to buy each others kids some clothes but with the combined budget of £15. So £15 for clothes for two kids, bought either from preloved groups on fb, off ebay or in our local charity shops. I absolutely loved shopping for her two gorgeous boys Sebastian and Albert and of course I couldn't forget little bump too. I tried super hard to stick to the £15 and think I went over by about 60p or something. I sourced the clothes from about three different charity shops in my local area and then two items online from preloved group and ebay. If you would like to see what I got Yammy's boys hit this link here and pop over to see her youtube video with her first reactions opening the parcel!! I was so nervous to see what she thought, especially about my "wild card" jeans!!!
But lets get onto the amazing haul that arrived in the post from Yammy for my little's this week!!
Up first is the lovely bits for "Babs". Including these gorgeous floral Jeggings from Gap. I think these are my favourite item out of the clothes for her. They are totally her style, really comfy, great quality and honestly look like brand new!
Yammy also picked her up another pair of blue leggings, which are perfect for the summer. Babs lives in leggings in the spring and summer, wearing them under skirts or dresses and with t-shirts. She had actually outgrown her other navy pair so these arrived at the perfect time!
Next up a beautiful Cat jumper. If you know babs, you will know two things, firstly her favourite colour is pink, always pink, it has been since she was about three and second she is obsessed with cats. She is desperate for a kitten, but as we have two guinea pigs and a dog currently, getting a kitten doesn't look likely anytime soon! She will just have to make do with a pink cat jumper instead! All jokes aside she loves this! Although her size 5-6 it is on the larger side which is great as, not only is it perfect for cooler evenings now but I am hoping it will still fit come autumn time too! love this with the  leggings above!

Keeping with the knitted theme how amazing is this skirt!!! The detail on the hem is gorgeous! It twirls when you spin round, which is requirement number one for babs. It's super soft and comfy and light enough for summer but also will be lovely layered with tights and boots come autumn too!
The final item for babs was this lovely H&M butterfly light jumper. H&M is one of my favourite brands for kids clothes. They are good quality the company is one that is more conscious, which I like. The sizing is good. This top is really lovely!
I'm so impressed with Yammy's picks for babs, all of these items I would have picked up for her myself!! Now onto OJ's haul!

How gorgeous are these!!! Im loving the grey leggings with the little seals on the knee! Adorable! The whale trousers are so sweet! I've actually got a little t-shirt with a whale applique which will match perfectly with these! And the mustard dino print leggings from Zara are amazing! My favourite colour on OJ is mustard he has a gorgeous little mustard beanie from H&M which will look so good teamed with these and the lovely little gap top below!
I love how Yammy has purchased pieces that can all be mixed and matched to make outfits. This little gap top is so nice and will go perfectly with all three pairs of leggings. And I love this little zip up hoodie with the cutest little bear ears on the hood!! Again perfect for mix and mixing with.

This t-shirt is one of my favourite items from the haul, look at the safari pictures in the binocular lenses, how cool is that! But I have saved the best to last. Both babs and I let out a "OHHHHH" when this next item came out of the parcel bag.
 A little bird zip up top with rainbow detail! YES! Isn't it stunning. I have actually unsuccessfully bid on these tops before on ebay and on preloved pages and never been lucky enough to nab one for OJ so when this arrived to say I was over the moon is actually an understatement! Such a perfect pick for him! Couldn't have chosen better myself! So thank you Yammy you superstar!

I hope this post has inspired you to give shopping preloved or charity shop a go. Step out of your comfort zone, maybe cast out of your mind your notions of what it means to shop charity or "second hand". I know for some it can be associated in a negative or almost taboo way, but honestly it can be the most fun and positive shopping experience you will have. There are amazing bargains to be had, you never know what great wee item you will find, the proof is above. All of this came in around or just slightly over budget. Under £20 for two kids is really budget friendly but also really eco-friendly and a sustainable way to buy clothes. So give it a go! If you'd like to see what we sent Yammy just pop over watch her video!

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Tom Duffy's Circus- The greatest show?

Last night I took "babs" for her first visit to Tom Duffy's Circus. She was totally beside herself with excitement in the car. She just couldn't wait and she actually squealed when she caught the first glimpse of the big tent on the hill. She literally skipped into the field towards the tent, she was so excited. Taking in every little detail and commenting on them to me. The lights at the box office, the illustrations adoring the lorries & vans, the colour of the outside of the tent, the uniforms the duffys crew had on.  You name it she noticed it. She pointed out even the tiniest details to me, she was just taking it all in. She gasped when the tent curtain went up & we walked in. And that just made my heart so happy! It was so lovely seeing her react with the same amazement, I remember feeling when I was her age going into Duffy's circus tent.

Having not been to the Circus in about ten years or more, I was unsure how it would live up to my memories of it. Duffys Circus was always one of the highlights of my summers growing up. The tent would appear as if by magic in the fields across from our house, for a few days each summer. I remember playing in the garden on the swing set, pretending to be a trapeze artist, whilst we listened to the music drifting out across the field from the big top. When I was little the circus seemed like such a magical awe inspiring place and to be honest I was a little bit apprehensive whether "babs" would come away with the same feelings or would she and I both be disappointed?
We took our seats .. (I had pre-purchased tickets online, which was so handy. Arrived early no real queue's, we just walked up to ticket office and handed over the reference number & got the tickets. We bought seats in the grandstand, and being early had the pick of seats. Nothing really obstructed our view, where we were sat (middle seats right at the back of the left hand grandstand). We had a little discount ticket, she had brought home from school, which gave her a free ticket when an adult ticket was purchased. I think there are a number of different discounts running at different times throughout their shows, so worth checking out local newspapers and having a wee look on their facebook page for those.  Especially if you have a couple of kids with you.).. We had about half hour to wait before it started, which gave "babs" ample time to have a good look around her before the show began. She also of course had to make a little trip to the circus shop for candy floss and bought a little flashing light being sold by the crew walking around. Both of which I was pleasantly surprised to find, were really reasonably priced. Likewise everything was so fresh looking, the tent, the lighting, the seating etc.  Before the show had even started "babs" declared it was the best night ever!

So onto the show! The last Duffy's show I had seen they still had tigers as part of the acts, which as a child, used to amaze & terrify me in equal measure! But with adjusting times, attitudes (my own included) and new laws around animals in circus's, the tigers and other "exotic" animals are no longer part of their shows.  They do however still have some animals including beautiful  ponies & horses and a gorgeous array of dogs. All of which looked to me to be healthy & happy whilst in the ring (They also were not out for long periods either, just short routines, which the audience seemed to enjoy). Babs favourite animal was actually the teeny tinest poodle who ran around the outside of the ring jumping tiny little fences. So cute! 

The show is so much more than animals though. There's a brilliant variety of performances, from the  duffy brothers in the  wheel of death, which was amazing, heart in the mouth, are they crazy?! Type performance. To the clowns, who were really funny & I loved that they were not intimidating at all. Years ago I remember being a bit afraid of the circus clowns but "babs" wasn't, she laughed along & even when the clown came up beside us she wasn't even slightly worried. There are also various aerial artists, which are always my favourite to watch. I loved that one girl did a routine with instrumental music from the greatest showman! And there were a group of female aerial artists on a globe type rig which "babs" loved and a fantastic troupe from Brazil I think, on trapeze's, who were just amazing. The kenyan boys were super entertaining and had everyone dancing along. There was also a glow dazzle act with lights, which had all the kids raving it up with the circus glow lights (which at £5 each actually was a heck of alot cheaper than I expected to pay for them, having seen similar on sale at disney on ice performances for £15+). These plus the other acts overall provided a great fun family orientated show!

In this day and age with technology & tv and gaming etc I did wonder if the Circus would feel "outdated" not as exciting or entertaining anymore?  But I was wrong. The whole circus is more than just a show, but a real immersive experience. A mix of childhood nostalgia, good old fashioned fun, but also a show that is modern and exciting. "Babs" had the  best time ever! She has been bitten by the magic of the circus, (she actually asked to just drive past the circus this evening one more time before it leaves, which we did). We will definitely be back next year when the Circus rolls back into town and I'd highly recommend seeing the show if it is in a town near you this summer.

*This is not in collaboration or sponsored by duffys, we purchased our own tickets* Just my honest opinions on a great family show.
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