Nails and grooming are important for even the busiest mother. Even if you don't wear nail varnish, at least to have your nails filed and buffed will give you a little boost every time you see them. I tried a shellac mani-pedi in the summer, and loved the high shine, low-maintenance finish, although small cracks appeared after a couple of days. I ended up peeling it off after about 2 weeks, taking the top layer of my nails with it. The salon I had it done in was doing a deal for manicure and pedicure for only 35 euros, with free removal.
Every season Chanel leads the pack with a must-have nail colour. Last winter saw the Particuliere, the mink/grey colour that adorned the nails of fashionistas both sides of the pond. This summer they brought out Mimosa, a jaunty yellow, which looks surprisingly flattering with a tan, even on pale Irish skin. If you don't fancy forking out over 20 euros for a shade you may not wear often check out the "dupes" (duplicate colours) in the budget ranges. Barry M are great for this, available in Boots for under 5 euro.
If like me, your nail varnish collection spans the last decade, some pre-dating the boom and recession, you may like to explore the world of the Franken. This is a term popular with nail-savvy bloggers to explain mixing your own colour (a la Dr. Frankenstein). You can use a bottle top / blob onto paper, or go the whole hog and mix the colours right in the bottle. A few things to remember if doing the latter: Always add the darker colour to the lighter, shake well as you go along, and test the colour on the nails, as the new shade won't necessarily show in the bottle. Add a few drops at a time, and consider adding a brown/ black to darken, or white to lighten if needed. Nail polishes that seem past their sell-by date can be revived with a few drops of nail varnish remover.
Time-saving tip: Invest in a bottle of Seche Vite (Boots, around 13 euro), this is a topcoat that dries your nails in seconds, so you can pick up your baby/ rummage in your bag and not worry about ruining your manicure.