Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Just About Five

The last hours of four are ticking away and in the morning I'll have a pair of bright-eyed five-year-olds bouncing on my head and demanding their birthday gifts.

All week, as I've been bustling about preparing for their party, I've been feeling little pangs of disbelief. It's five years since they surprised us by arriving five weeks early. Five years since I became a Mother. Five years since time sped up and began to fly faster than I ever knew it could. How on earth is that possible?

This morning Sábha was lolling around in a fleecy onesie and I could I see her soft-cheeked babyness as clear as day. In her sleep, I can see Lile look exactly as she did as a newborn. But nowadays it is only when they are in their most placid and vulnerable state that I can see their babyhood. In the always-moving daytime they are all 'little girl'.

They whisper to each other in the back seat of the car, collapsing in fits of giggles every five seconds. They play together for hours, creating elaborate plot lines for the characters they embody and the toys they manipulate. They are best friends. And worst enemies. So similar in some ways. And yet, so utterly different.

I thought I'd try to capture a little bit about them both here tonight. Just a snapshot of the people they are at four... So I can try and remember how it was before big, huge five arrived and changed everything!


Lile, at almost five, loves to draw. She'd choose paper and pen over most things in life and it is a joy to watch how she creates. Her other favourite thing is to play and, my goodness, can that girl play. Her penchant is for miniature things. Figurines of small animals. Little chairs to sit them on. Tiny cups for them to drink from. She spends hours and hours immersed in her own little world.

Lile, at very nearly five, chooses her own outfit everyday because, apparently, I don't do a good enough job. Mention the word 'tracksuit' to her and she'll start to cry. I am already dreading breaking it to her that she'll have to wear one to school in September...

Lile doesn't go out of her way to make friends, or impress people. She likes to observe from the sidelines and join in when she feels like it. I suppose it can look like shyness. But when she decides she likes you, you'll be greatly rewarded. With more affection than you can handle. My favourite example of this is that every Friday, she makes sure that she gets some one-on-one time with her Great-Grandmother. Lile goes into her Great-nana's small living room and pulls the door behind her. Outside, in the kitchen, I listen to them laugh and natter together. It is one of my favourite sounds in the world.

Lile is funny. She has that quick wit I always admire in people and never managed to master myself. I always think of the perfect retort three days after the fact. Lile listens well and is always ready with a play on words or smart-ass comment. Today she told me she was enjoying her 'self-conscious yoghurt'... who knows what conversation she had been listening in on...

Lile's Catchphrase "Can I draw for a little while?" (often at 4am)


Sábha, at almost five, loves to move. From the moment she wakes up every morning she is on the go. Dancing, twirling, tumbling and climbing. And she's got the bruises to prove it. Not that she cares. Her other favourite thing is music. If she's not demanding we play her favourite videos on "New Tube", she's singing her own, perfectly rhyming, songs at the top of her lungs or 'helping' her Daddy play his guitar. She can identify a guitar solo at fifty paces and 'heavy metal' is her favourite. Though she's partial to a bit of Katy Perry too.

Sábha, at very nearly five, is not very interested in clothes. Or hairstyles. Or 'stuff' in general, actually. She gets as enthusiastic about pebbles and feathers as she does about new toys. And if I put a potato sack on her instead of a dress, I doubt she'd even notice. I'm not even vaguely worried about telling her about her school uniform.

Sábha is a joy. She always knows the right thing to say in any situation, makes friends quickly and easily and charms everyone she meets. She really LOVES her friends. I can see it in her eyes as she rushes up to hug her 'bestie' at the Naíonra gate and at how excited she gets when I tell her we'll be seeing her cousins. She's absolutely a 'people person'.

Sábha is clever and bright. She remembers all kinds of facts and regularly astounds me with her knowledge. She also has a great memory for really random things - like the fact that "Vanish Gold makes your whites 3-sades (shades) whiter'... She's an advertisers dream.

Sábha's Catchphrase: "This is the best day EVER" (announced every. single. day.)

Five years ago tomorrow, at 9.30am (Lile) and 9.33am (Sábha) I met my favourite people in the world. I can't adequately capture all of their unique them-ness in just a few hundred words and a couple of photos, but believe me when I tell you that they're the best thing that's ever happened to me.

They are challenging and crazy and exhausting and magical and I can't even imagine the past five years without them. Happy FIVE, my darlings!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Cinderella: A Review

I was lucky enough to be invited to a special screening of Disney's new Cinderella movie this week. It was a fantastic night, with drinks and nibbles beforehand and even a glimpse of the glass slipper!

I brought my sister along with me... mostly because she's pregnant and I could make her be the designated driver... but also because I knew she'd enjoy going to a 'kid's' movie as much as I would. I also made her photograph me in my terrible 'red carpet' pose and buy me chocolate. I'm such a considerate date.

I had heard rumours that the film, directed by Kenneth Brannagh, was very beautiful and as I'm a massive fan of fairytales anyway, I was excited to get a sneak peek before it opens here on March 27th (just in time for the Easter holidays!). I was not disappointed. The whisperings were all true. It is truly a feast for the eyes that had me mesmerised from beginning to end.

The sets are intricate and enticing and I basically want to move into Cinderella's family home. The castle's gorgeous too - but seriously - Cinderella's dead mother was one hell of an interior designer. 

Look at the WALLS not the baddies!
The costumes are amazing too, especially Cate Blanchett's stepmother garb. It's hard to pin down what era the designer was going for in the movie with some outfits looking like they came from the 1800's, other's could have been from any period between the 1920's and the 1940's and still others looking like Jean Paul Gaultier could have put them down the runway in more recent times (I'm referring to the stepsister's underwear with that last reference, in case you're wondering.) It's a timeless look, I guess. Like the story itself.

But a movie is not all about 'look' it has to have a good plot too. We ALL know the Cinderella story. Or at least some version of it. This movie follows the animated version quite closely - but without the musical numbers - and has a little bit of a modern twist. Like... the prince liking Cinderella as a person more than the fact that she's pretty. Which was comforting to know.

Here's the basic plot outline:
After her father unexpectedly dies, young Ella (Lily James) finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters, who reduce her to scullery maid. Despite her circumstances, she refuses to despair. An invitation to a palace ball gives Ella hope that she might reunite with the dashing stranger (Richard Madden) she met in the woods, but her stepmother prevents her from going. Help arrives in the form of a kindly beggar woman who has a magic touch for ordinary things.
And here's the trailer for an even better taste of what to expect:

One word of warning. There is a lot of VERY MOVING moments in this movie (aka Death). You might want to warn anyone overly sensitive... or any hormonal pregnant women in your company before you go. My poor, pregnant sister WEPT through more or less the entire thing. I was choking back tears (and maybe a few giggles at her expense) beside her but I only held back because I had put on eyeliner for the first time in months and was afraid of what might happen if the waterworks really got going!

But if you fancy letting yourself be swept away by fantasy and brought back to that childhood part of yourself that knows that all you need in life is to "have courage, be kind and believe in just a little bit of magic..." - Cinderella is definitely worth a watch.

Disclosure: I was given two tickets to this screening by Disney Ireland. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions, as always, are my own.


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