Author: Oana

It is here…

I’ve run circles around it. I’ve tried to ignore it. I’ve tried to bury it under a pile of comedy shows, in packs of crisps and sweets I’ve been consuming in excess these past few weeks. But oh, I know… I know it won’t go away unless I properly acknowledge it. THE PAIN. You see, this pain is not natural as natural has it. It is not natural for a child to die before his parent so even now, four years on, my instinctive response is to push this pain away. But I’ve learned that it will pounce on me then. Like a sneaky, vicious cat hiding in the shadows, it will come after me. Unless…unless I go for it first. Unless I drag it out of the shadows, expose it and my raw self to the light and say: “I am broken.” Four years ago, the most beautiful boy was born to me. And oh, so many dreams with him. But he was gone before any of those dreams took shape. And from time …

Sweet Gifts for Her at Christmas

Hotel Chocolat, the luxury chocolate brand, doesn’t need any introduction whatsoever. When it comes to flavoursome, created with the intention to spoil chocolate there are hardly any rivals on the market. Its excellent quality, the refined yet bold combinations point to a winner every single time. For the chocolate lover, it is the ultimate treat, the one we dream of when contemplating possible Christmas gifts. To our loved ones and let’s admit it, to ourselves! We all know too well the haggard, lost expression men get when considering possible gifts for the special ladies in their lives. This Christmas I decided to show grace and spare possible meltdowns (on both sides of what could easily become a barricade, and not of love, mind you!)  and point any lost (for ideas!) gentlemen in the right direction when it comes to the dreaded gifts for her. And why would I suggest chocolate, I hear you ask? Well, first of all, because chocolate is soothing to the senses. Hotel Chocolat have created a Christmas range which is appealing …

Girls’ Trip – Movie Review

Six months! I haven’t been blogging for six months! So many things happened with us since. Good things. Emma and myself have settled into our new home and have been making the most of our friendships, work and travels. We were away in Romania last month and had an absolute ball seeing family and friends. I hope I’ll be able to squeeze in a post about it, joy can only be conveyed sometimes in pictures and we have tons of them from our visit home. We have also settled into a visitation arrangement regarding Emma (with the intervention of patient and wise friends) so now, from time to time, this mama gets a bit of time to herself. To gather her thoughts. To catch up with friends. To go watch a movie. To blog. Tonight I went to watch Girls’ Trip. I had read loads of reviews about it, from ScreenCrush calling it “the filthiest and funniest comedy of the summer” and rating it 8/10 to The Times interpreting it as “a raunchy comedy that’s …

Spring drives with Emma around Northern Ireland

One more day and it will be spring, how very exciting! Well, in the calendar, that is, at least, so this is a good time to start pondering on day trips we would be able to take now that the weather is a bit warmer. Chill.ie have challenged me to come up with a list of #hiddendrives within Northern Ireland and although I’m not sure the things I have in mind are very secretive, they are still worth a visit at this time of the year. We are members of the National Trust and a trip to Mount Stewart in spring is as close as you can come to heaven! The drive to Mount Stewart, located on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, takes only 30 minutes from Belfast and it is a lovely journey. Following a three year £8 million restoration programme, this 19th- century house has been significantly transformed, making it a must-see attraction on the island of Ireland. In 2017, Mount Stewart will unveil the newly restored Central Hall floor …

#KnowYourMoney

I have been a single mum for four months now and I’ve learned more about how to manage my money in this time than I had in the 10 years I was married. Being responsible for our budget, expenditure and savings was a very scary thing when I started at the end of October last year but slowly yet surely, I’m getting the hang of this, I think. The first thing I did was keep a very close eye on our bills and reduce them whenever possible. I changed my mobile phone provider and the gas provider as soon as we moved in as I found better deals with competitors. This resulted in a saving of over £20 per month, with very little effort. Keeping a close eye meant also eliminating unnecessary direct debits. In October we still had both Netflix and Now TV billed to my account but upon realising that we rarely used the Now TV I decided to cancel our monthly subscription, saving another £10 per month! I decided to keep my …