Giveaway Winners and Ché Phoenix's 3 month update :)

Congratulations to Felicia Brite who is the lucky winner of my Smiling Tree Toys giveaway, she requested the cute airplane shape teether for her son :)

And congratulations to Wendy who won my Evergrowing giveaway :) She chose the beautiful lavender coloured pendant, just stunning :)

Ché Phoenix's 3 month update

This little man just makes me want to explode with happiness! I know all mums probably say this but I think he is just the specialist, most gorgeous, funniest, happiest, cuddliest, smartest, BEST baby in the world! I love every single thing he does!

  • how he smiles and laughs in his sleep
  • the way he snorts (makes me laugh every time!)
  • how he chews and dribbles on anything you put near his mouth
  • his coos, squeaks and gobble-d-gook sentences
  • how he loves to stand up when you hold his hands
  • how hard he tries to crawl when he's on his tummy
  • the way he hides, playing peeka-boo under my t-shirt when I'm feeding him
  • how he doesn't cry for his 6am feed, just wakes us up by sucking like crazy on his fist
  • how friendly and comfortable he is with strangers
  • his super chubby legs and how he's always kicking
oh the list could go on forever! We love him. So much! Happy 3 months my boy xxx


This is the second of three awesome giveaways I'm hosting then I'll be back to regular blogging so make the most of it this week and make sure you enter them!

Melissa is the creative mind behind EverGrowing on Etsy, some of you might know her better as Bee Girl from Sky Mided and Ever Growing but either way she's a very talented and interesting person who is fast becoming my favourite 'cyber pal' :) The quotes are from her etsy shop,
"I am learning how to enjoy all of the stumbles on this beautiful journey of mine! By profession, I happily work for a youth serving non-profit, doing my best to be part of the change I wish to see in the world."
"I believe that we are all ever growing and changing and I am so glad to be right where I am in this moment." 
She set up her online shop back in 2011 and it has developed into a beautiful extension of her personality, she sells (gorgeous) baby blankets and mug warmers that she crochets herself as well as 3D and 2D paintings.
"Given that I love all things handmade and have a variety of interests, my shop reflects that truth in that it doesn't have just one specific theme. For now, there are a variety of paintings, pendants and crocheted items to be found in this space..." 
But my favourite and her most popular items have to be her unique pendants, I have one and LOVE it so much!

The story behind how these 3D trees came to life, I think, adds an extra special dimension to them. I love to know the story behind something handcrafted, because everything handcrafted has a story :)
"A few years ago, I participated in a 14 hour silent meditation retreat at the Upaya Zen Center. During my meditation, I kept seeing images of three dimensional trees on canvas. Not knowing where the image came form, or what to do with it, I wound up doing nothing with the idea for almost a year. One day, I had an "a-ha" moment in which I remembered my dad's joint compound sitting in my garage waiting to be returned to him. I pulled it out and began experimenting with it on canvas. And so was born the 3D trees on canvas I had seen in my meditations!
Beautiful hey? Well one lucky reader will win one of their very own! To enter the draw just visit her shop, have a look around and leave a comment below saying which one you'd like to win!

For additional entries you can also -

  •  like EverGrowing on Facebook 
  •  follow Melissa on Twitter 
  •  follow Melissa on Pinterest 
  •  follow Melissa on Instagram
  •  subscribe to the Sky Minded and Ever Growing Blog (via email or Google Friend Connect) 
You'll need to leave a separate comment below for each of your additional entries to be included. The winner will be announced Saturday the 18th May (along with the Smiling Tree Toys winner, see last post!) GOOD LUCK :)


Smiling tree toys have been kind enough to participate in a giveaway! How great is that?! I found their business last year when I was looking for some natural toys for our baby to give to Al on his birthday. I loved them so much we used them in my pregnancy shoot too :)

There is so much I want to tell you about this company but lets start with the toys!

The toys are so special, each one is handcrafted with love and care in the family workshop.
"The woodshop hums all day long with the happy sounds of toy making, reggae music, and a laughing little girl." 

Their family own an organic farm and they use the camelina oil they produce to finish the toys, they use all local materials and keep the environmental impact of their business as low as possible.
"From sustainably harvested American hardwoods, to our homegrown organic camelina oil/beeswax finish, to natural cotton drawstring bags made-in-the-USA, we ensure every aspect of Smiling Tree Toys is respectful of and gentle on mother earth. We wouldn’t have it any other way."

That means the toys are safe for your babies too, let them suck and chew away with no need to worry about what chemicals they have been in contact with. The finish is 100% organic, food grade and homegrown.

Now about the people behind the business, Justin and Kathleen are an inspiration, they spent two years volunteering in the peace corps in Niger (wow) and they donate money from each toy sold to Peace corps youth projects. Just when I was wondering if this couple could get any cooler I saw this - 

so yes, they can! This is their gorgeous daughter Amana, she helps out with the mail run and I'm sure she's a great muse and toy tester! Lucky girl :)

So now that you're in love with the companies ethos, the products, the process and the whole family head on over and support a small business!

Now for my giveaway, you could win a natural wooden teether of your choice! Plus have it personalised! And delivered anywhere in the world! If you don't have a teething babe of your own I'm sure you know of someone who would love it as a gift for theirs.

Here's how you can enter -

Check out this link and tell me in the comments section below which shape teether you'd like to win. Easy!

For additional entries you can also -
  •  like Smiling Tree Toys on Facebook 
  •  follow Smiling Tree Toys on Twitter 
  •  follow Smiling Tree Toys on Pinterest 
  •  subscribe to the Smiling Tree Toys Blog (via email or Google Friend Connect) 
You'll need to leave a separate comment below for each of your additional entries to be included. The winner will be announced Saturday the 18th May :) GOOD LUCK :)

Best friends :)

Some friends you just feel so lucky to have - the type that fly from Australia to be at your wedding (in Ireland) then 2 years later come all the way back to meet your new baby. Aza came to stay last week, it was awesome :) 

"Hmmm this guy looks nice, not 100% sure yet though..."

"OK I'm sure, yes I love him, he's so funny!"
Aza and I went to school together and are super-close, brother sister style. He was there through the punk rocker stage, the feminist stage, the "I'm never gonna have kids" stage (hard to believe hey?!) plus we lived together twice. So to see him all these years later, and us both all grown up, and him bonding with my son is just amazing, makes me a bit emotional actually, and Ché Phoenix totally loves him! 

While he was here we mostly just relaxed and chatted, Aza is really intelligent and a good conversationalist so we got into some interesting discussions :) But we did go to the new Titanic museum in Belfast one day and took a drive up the coast on another. We went to Bushmills (yes we stocked up on whiskey!), the Giants Causeway and followed the coastline home, it was a great day.

Aza likes to pretend he doesn't like kids, or babies. Maybe he doesn't like MOST babies but even if he won't admit it, I know he loves Ché Phoenix, come on, how could you not?

An Irish castle!

In November 2008 Al whisked me away to Lough Eske Castle in County Donegal (Ireland) where he asked me to marry him, there was rose petals, candles a stunning diamond ring and he got down on one knee as well - it was pure fairy tale stuff! We went back to the castle (which is also a 5* hotel and spa) for lunch on our wee road trip last week.

We take Ché Phoenix everywhere with us, usually in the wrap, but if we're going for a meal he just chills out or sleeps in his car seat while we eat then sits up with us the rest of the time, joining in the conversations, making friends and making us laugh. We love to have him as part of our dates :)

Ché made an exciting discovery on this holiday too - his hands! It's so cute to watch him stare at them then slowly bring them to his mouth for a good chew lol Everywhere we go with him people tell us how beautiful he is and how happy and content he seems 'you wouldn't even know he was here, theres not been a peep outa him' is a sentence we hear a lot! A friendly waitress took an especially strong liking to him and took him off for a walk around the restaurant and behind the bar to meet the other staff, he loved it!

It was so amazing to go back to that place. We have done so much in the years since then and to think, at that time, we hadn't even started to dream of some of the things we have already achieved! We were barely even thinking of our wedding around that time. We were planning our travels to Africa and Italy, not knowing we would end up back in Ireland a few years later ready to settle down and start our family :)

And here we are back again, happier and more in love than ever :)

Irish beaches are the best :P

Al had told me about this beach on the west coast where he and his sister had learned how to drive when they were kids, I don't know why but I never imagined you would still be able to drive on it! No restrictions, no permits, no nothing! The road literally just turns into beach, I couldn't believe it! It's called Rossnowlagh Beach and it's one of Europes best blue flag surf spots, hard to imagine in the winter 7 meter waves frequently roll in!

I had never driven on the beach before - it's so much fun! Especially when its a quiet day and you can just do what you want! I did some circles and big figure of 8's! The entire beach is tidal so the sand is pretty hard and you don't need a 4 wheel drive like most beaches.

I tried a few times to get a good panoramic but they all went weird at the end! We stopped for a cup of tea and to write in the sand :) Thats our wee car there on the right btw, the super dirty one, we wash it about every 6 months :)

Ché Phoenix loves road trips, he sleeps most of the time we're in the car but not all of it, he looks out the window and kicks his crinkly chicken toy that we put at his feet. When we stop we always get him out for a wee cuddle, some fresh air and to take in the views, he really looks around and seems to know we're in a new place. He is such a smart, alert baby when I look at him I'm just so amazed that I grew him LOL 

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