Netflix – What we’re watching in June.

When I was about six, I woke up on Christmas morning to find a Minnie The Minx costume. Not like your 100% polyester supermarket ones now, this was hand knitted. By Mrs. Claus herself no less. (Someone wasn’t getting the credit she deserves).

Off I went to mass and everywhere else, in my black knitted mini, my black and red jumper, and a black headband with the word ‘minx’ knitted into it; just in case it wasn’t completely clear who I was in the Beano and Dandy mad eighties.

DennisTheMenaceI was an avid Beano fan and so was my Dad before me. While I made dinner the other evening the boys were happily flicking around their profile on Netflix. Suddenly, a familiar call rang out from the living room. No, not “mammy he’s hitting me”, but “Oi Gnasher, come back!”. I rushed in, to find yet another reboot of Dennis The Menace gracing the small screen, and my two little boys glued to it. I sat down to watch for a few minutes, delighted that they’d found it. Walter is no softy in this 2013 edition, but the sight of Dennis with his old-school catapult was enough to make me smile. It makes a change from the formulaic sweetness of Dora The Explorer and Go! Diego Go!, two of their other current favourites. And frankly, I prefer anything over Horrid Henry, the primary parental menace of our times. (I’ve banned him in our house.)

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Next up on the viewing list for me and the husband is the latest Netflix Original Series Sense8 – it’s from the creative minds of The Wachowskis (the lads behind The Matrix​ trilogy) so it’s bound to be a bit nuts, fun and visually ground breaking. I do love the odd bit of fantasy and sci-fi so this looks like just the ticket when all the shows on regular telly are finishing up for the summer.

Sense8 is centered around eight characters that live in different cities around the world who experience a violent vision, and soon find themselves mentally connected by this experience. They are suddenly able to see and talk to each other as though they were in the same place, and have access to each other’s deepest secrets. Not only must these eight adapt to this new ability and to each other, they must figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, while being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them.

As soon as I get a bit of time to myself, I’m planning on diving into another one that ticks the fantasy box, but this time it’s a fairy tale world in Once Upon A Time. I’ve had too many recommendations of it now to ignore it any longer. It’s seems like lots of parents are enjoying this show with their older kids, but I can’t be hanging around waiting for mine to grow up so I’m going ahead and watching it solo.

None of it might get a look in at all though – The big one for me this June is Orange Is The New Black back for a third season from June 12th. Yippee!

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Moi, Sylda & Deb (pic courtesy of Olivia)

There was a proper knees up in Dublin last saturday night. And yes it is blog awards-300x300related because it was the Glenisk 2015 Irish Parenting Blogger Awards. I even got a blow-dry. It was that big a deal. The night itself was a gorgeous meal in one of Dublin’s finest brunch spots, Odessa, followed by the awards ceremony up on their roof terrace. Hot mommas and the odd partner was the order of the night as we all got dickied up and put our game faces on. Mind The Baby MC’ed the night, and organised the whole shebang with Mama.ie and a team of energetic multi skilled bloggers. (ie. not me)

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We were all (quiz) winners. With Kate & Sinead (pic courtesy of Laura)

Proper Fud sadly didn’t make it past the long list, but the big advantage of that was I was able to fully enjoy the night with no nerves. I even won the House of Bloggers quiz, with 2 rides, I mean friends Sinead & Kate making up our team. Despite the competition being approximately a cumulative thirty years younger than us, our fastest fingers first and encyclopaedic blog knowledge netted me another years Netflix subscription. That should keep me in quality telly at least until Frank Underwood gets impeached or Piper Chapman gets parole.

There was some uh-mazing things in our party bags (as they must be called in my house); beauty goodies for tired mama faces, M&S vouchers (me), Mr. Price vouchers (earmarked for outdoor toys), Bear Yoyos, Glenisk vouchers, awesome personalised One4All cards and not forgetting glorious IPB aprons! But the piece de resistance for me was a Lottie doll courtesy of MyKidsTime.

The young fella in this house is a massive fan of those toy reveal videos on YouTube, so him and I thought the unveiling of Lottie the perfect chance for him to make his own little review video. And of course the other, younger fella got his voice heard too. We’re ain’t slick, but we sure did have fun: without further ado, it’s Dominic Tube!

I love Lottie, she’s a proper little girl shape, is age appropriate, wears relatable kids clothes and has won a tonne of awards. We might just have to buy her friend Finn too. As a special treat for friends-of-bloggers there is a full range of Lottie Dolls available on www.mykidstimestore.com.Use discount code IPBA2015 (valid until May 31st) for 10% off all Lottie Dolls and accessories.

All the well deserved winners are listed here, and include some of my personal favourites in there. Enjoy!

Unbreakable Me

I’ve written before about some great female-led dramas on Netflix, so it goes without saying I’m pretty excited about their upcoming new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt especially with the incomparable Tina Fey as the creative force behind it.

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After living in a cult for fifteen years, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper – The Office) decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. Armed with just a backpack, light-up sneakers, and a couple of way-past-due library books, she’s ready to take on a world she didn’t even think existed anymore.

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Elements of this sound a bit familiar to me. I was feeling pretty breakable in the run up to leaving my cult job at the end of last year. I had spent fourteen years on and off in the same job, one year abroad and two-baby-having stints giving me respite from the treadmill. Oh it was rut central round here for sure; scrabbling through each week, getting to work on time, try to leave work on time to get to crèche on time. An hour to play with the kids before some bedtime stories and a quick cat nap on the floor of their room while they settled down before oh yeah…tomorrow’s lunches. My soul was sapped, and I saw no evolution in my near future.

So when the dark rumours of redundancy started to surface in the office I spent a weekend doing sums and seeing a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Change! Taking charge of my own future felt so empowering even if taking the plunge into the unknown is really scary.

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Would I immediately look for another job, one that fulfilled me career progression wise? Or would I stay at home with the kids full time for a bit, something I swore I would never be suited to? How would I cope with two crazy little dudes and a distinct lack of adult company and the correct temperature coffee?

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I’m two months into my new life. Client requests and urgent deadlines are gone out the window to be replaced with statements like “Everyone has to have a clean bum before we start to make muffins”. Yep, I heard myself say that the other day.

So I haven’t moved from a bunker to New York like Kimmy, but still, the small differences are great; I’m there for my boys, doing school picks ups and hanging out in playgrounds, the three of us having impromptu dance parties and (inevitably stressful) baking sessions. It’s not all fun; there’s been some long cold wet days where we all get each other’s nerves and I feel like one of the boys will put the other in A&E by the end of the day but my spirits are lifted knowing how much potential my life has now.

The rate of change has gathered pace since leaving my job – I’ve been accepted onto a course so I’m going back to college part time next month. I don’t know how I’ll balance it all – there’s little in the coffers for student life and childcare but compared to how I felt last year what’s ahead feel pretty exhilarating.

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So excuse me while I indulge in the future. I’m feeling pretty Unbreakable myself right now.

All 13 episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will premiere on Netflix on Friday, 6 March.

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Seasonal healthy eating for kids. Not an easy task.

Netflix-KingJulien
At a premiere, y’know, the usual.

We had no less than four events in the calendar for young people this weekend. We visited Santa as a family in the Phoenix Park.  We attended a kids movie night in my son’s school.  We went to a Netflix premiere (swit swoo) and finally, attended the local GAA club’s Christmas Party.

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Strong Women on your Tellybox.

I don’t get much in the way of lady conversation round our house.  My only attempts to converse with a female are met with a faint meow by way of response.  The Bechdel Test will not be passed within our four walls, but fear not solo-female-household dwellers!  I found a bunch of things to watch on Netflix that do.

To pass the Bechdel Test, the film or show must have two or more named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.

So I have to do my bit for the sisterhood, and counterbalance all the testosterone on the telly with my very own not completely comprehensive Netflix Strong Females list.  Just so the small men of my house know there’s plenty of kickass women out there besides moi.  My husband is well aware of this fact, I wouldn’t have married him if he wasn’t.

Just a note,  in picking out what is and isn’t suitable for kids, I’ve found the website Common Sense Media really handy.  When you’re watching TV the channels are generally themed by age, but on Netflix there can be a bit of a mish mash of content within the Kids section.

So without further ado:

Orange Is The New BlackOITNB

The big daddy, sorry, mommy, of female driven character ensemble pieces, and also, a Netflix Original.  The main character Piper started to annoy me a bit in series two but the back stories of the other women make for an overall more interesting second series.

The BridgeTheBridge

Swedish/Danish original version obviously. This Scandinavian crime drama is amazing, and Sofia Helin’s character Saga Noren is the reason.

The Good WifeTheGoodWife

Alicia and Kalinda are fierce.  End of.  My husband prefers this show to me. Good character development is good character development, regardless of gender.

Frances HaFrancesHa

Frances Ha is like if the tv show Girls had a feature film cousin with an even messier life.

Arrested Development

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Oh I’m not entirely sure about the conversations in this, and whether it strictly passes the test across the multiples series.  But I love the three generations of women in the Bluth family: Lucille, her daughter Lindsay, and Lindsay’s long suffering daughter Maeby Fünke.

And for the kids (as well as you):

The Hunger GamesHungerGames

J-Law rocking a bow and arrow as well as some top notch style.

BraveBrave

Merida and her mum kicking ass and taking names. Of course, a young lady can be kick ass without resorting to weaponry.

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No weapons, but they can fly. Seriously cool sisters here – I discovered these girls when I was twenty (I worked in a Warner Brothers store). Now I enjoy Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup  with my four year old boy.  Don’t let their cutesy names fool you. 

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All images courtesy of Netflix.com

Netflix. A family obsessed.

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We are mad for Netflix here. Requests are shouted for particular shows and hey presto, they appear! The line has firmly blurred between what’s actually on TV now, in the moment, and what we can just summon up between our Sky and Netflix subscriptions. Though I’m not sure such a line ever even existed for my digital native offspring. Only two channnels in my day, sure they don’t know they’re born, mutter mutter grumble etc.

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