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Musings, Women's Issues

The Missed Period

October 9, 2018

Wouldn’t that be a hilarious title for one of those Biff and Kipper books?

My period was due on the 22nd of September.. I know this because I have a cute little app that keeps track of my cycle with love hearts and a singing bluebird. I was pissed off as I was due to fly to Lisbon that very day with my gals for a two night mini break which we try to do yearly (we’ve done it twice).

I used up some of my precious case weight with pads and tampons and waddled to the airport with a giant in-case-of-a-sudden-haemorrhage maxi pad in my size 16 period knickers. I spent the weekend changing pads, checking pads, checking apps and wondering where the feck it had got to.

Eight days later and I did a test… he had a vasectomy but I googled and seemingly many the baby are born when the tubes reattach or something. ‘I’ll fucking kill him if his tubes regenerated …what an asshole!’ I said aloud to the offending test. The first line appeared to let me know the test was working and my next thought was ‘the bloody legislation hasn’t even gone through!’ 

Two minutes later and no second line.. ‘so what does it all mean?’  I wailed to Ossie later, medicinal wine in hand… ‘I’m fucking menopausal.. that’s it!.. Jesus I’m burning up.. is my face red?? I’m having a hot flush… I’m having some fast track menopause that’ll last a week and then I’ll be done.’  I was also experiencing a gross prickly skin feeling like bad goosebumps… a quick google and I diagnosed myself peri-menopausal. Other side effects are memory loss… I have that….weight gain… yes (nothing to do with the pure carb and wine diet I’ve been on lately.

I mistakenly told many people in work about my late period which by then was 15 days (this may come as a shock… but I have no filter).          I was wearing white pants in a bid to entice the bastard out.

I met Margaret for lunch and she helpfully told me about something she’d just read online about false negatives and that she’d send on the link… there was a hint of glee in her voice. She then proceeded to tell me how when she was pregnant with her daughter that two tests and a drs visit proved negative. If one more person said.. maybe you’ll have your girl I was going to get violent. I bought another pregnancy test and 6 boxes of menopause plus vitamins. The test was negative again but I made a doctors appointment to be sure to be sure.

I went in clutching my wee sample and told my doctor that *gasp* *shock* *horror* I was 17 days late!!!! She laughed at my panic and said that it was very normal and that many the woman had sat in front of her with the same problem. She checked my wee and took a heartbeat too long to tell me it was negative.. ‘you’re sure I’m not going to be one of those girls that goes through a whole pregnancy unaware before giving birth in a toilet while straining for what I thought to be a problematic dump?    No… definitely not pregnant.

‘So…. I’m menopausal’ I sighed resignedly and produced my vitamins from my handbag. ‘Whoa’ she said… ‘you need to be without a period for two years before we’d consider menopause.’ 

‘But I’ve all these vitamins’ I said a little teary… calling on that moment with Julia Roberts in the snooty clothes store in Pretty Woman for emotional inspiration.

The doctor explained that a period is a strange creature that sometimes decides to protect us from it’s carnage. Mine, we decided wanted me to have a carefree time in Lisbon… gallivanting in white trousers on roller skates. It didn’t realise that it’s absence was far more detrimental.

I got home from the doctors…. went to the toilet and there it was! Like the final scene from Are You There God it’s Me Margaret (if I remember it correctly).

I have decided that my period is sentient…. a lying, sadistic man… I have named it Brett.

Ugggh and I still have to return those vitamins and pretend they were for my Mam who has now passed through menopause and wants to switch them for glucosamine or something.

All new vitamin suggestions welcome.


Mental Health, Musings

A Rant Within A Rant (like inception but dumb)

October 21, 2017

I have a problem… well I have many, but at the moment I can not stop reading online comments; I get no pleasure from this but it’s like when you have a spot brewing (you know those bruised under-the-skinners) and you can’t help poking at it to see how much it hurts.

I know people can be assholes, I’m not naive, but sometimes online people are a special breed of asshole. This week all the newspapers shared the news of Ibrahim Halawa’s release and I knew when I saw lots of angry face emojis that there would be a load of racial, scare-mongering comments… there was… loads of them.  I read them almost with one eye closed and then I’d come across a lovely, exasperated person trying their best to plead a case for humanity and how Irishness now came in many shapes (I’m a pear) and colours but nope they’d be shot down with desperate grammar and shouty caps.

Who are these people? Why would you be so angry that you’d sit down at a computer or phone and engage in arguments that don’t involve you or your life in any way? Are we angrier now? Or is it that everyone now has a platform? I suppose years ago the only outlet Joe Soap had for venting his opinions were on Point of View or in the comment section of newspapers and that involved buying a stamp and making a trip to the post office. Then there would be no immediate kick back from people with differing opinions so they’d have to have an angry wank or watch Jerry Springer.

My Mam has a saying for every occasion like most mothers but her favourite is ‘if you’ve nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’. Now that should be the universal web motto. Although she is constantly embroiled in battles online about Trump; You’ve never met someone who hates him more… she stays up late watching American news channels and throwing things at the TV but I think the UWM (universal web motto.. yep I’m trying to make it a thing) could be put aside for Trump bashing.

I occasionally write for The M Word and when I see the shite that Maia has slung at her time and again for some perceived violation of the mammy code, I have to sit on my hands so as not to tell them to fuck the fuck off.  I once got a major backlash because I used a picture of my kids in car seats and their jackets were too bulky… people were delighted to point it out and smugly pat themselves on their perfect backs that they’d never be that reckless. Maia was great on the Late Late last night but still a lot of people made a point about being pissed off she dared to call some kids assholes… some comments teetered on novella territory. Guess what? Kids are assholes, they’re selfish, demanding, messy and ungrateful! I even wrote an entire post about it called assholery ; Nonetheless, we all love them but if some profanity helps us day to day then shout it sister! Maybe that’s what the mammy comment brigade need to do more of so they’re less uptight in threads. I had a woman complain that my article was too complainy the other day…. the irony passed her by but I’m glad she decided to leave that one negative comment amidst the nice ones just to keep me awake with self loathing that night.

I’m all for bitching behind someone’s back… that’s cathartic… I hate people who want to tell you to your face like that’s admirable… it’s not, it’s fucking awful… please wait till I’m out of earshot and then go bananas.

So, I’m going to try to steer clear of all comments and threads for awhile until I feel that all is well with the world. NO anti-vaxxers, no NRA and no pro life asswipes. I will watch some quality TV, read some gentle Stephen King and pretend all is well with the world.


Mental Health, Musings

I’m not one for drama… but….

April 28, 2017

As I sat in a friend’s kitchen crying this week over a million problems that had combined to floor me, she commented that drama seemed to follow me. ‘Do you think I’m a drama queen?‘ I asked, mortified. ‘No’, she said, ‘I genuinely thing that drama seeks you out and that you definitely don’t want or need it.’

This was from Rebecca, a girl that started as my childminder back when I was in the shit of it with a nine month old, a two year old and a five year old…. we are now good friends and even though she is 18 years younger than me, she is wise beyond her years.

So.. let’s see, in the time that she has known me (4 years)… She has helped out as my baby had a cranial vault remodelling (as bad as it sounds) at a year old. She looked after my youngest when I was in hospital for a week having a different part of my body remodelled.

The brakes failed on my car a couple of years ago coming into Ashbourne and I ended up on top of the roundabout… thinking I was dead with two of the kids in the car. We got away with minor injuries, considering, but I am a very nervous driver to this day. If you pass me on the road.. which you will as I drive well within the limits.. don’t laugh at my straight- backed- posture and holding in a poo face (the odds are, I am holding in a poo.. but this is also my driving face).

I was mugged in December.. yep a proper mugging. Myself and my neighbour were on our way home from a meal out with the girls and a car pulled up beside us and two hooded junkies hopped out. Do you know what they said? ‘girls yiz are about to be mugged’.

They wrestled our bags from us and threw us to the ground and sped off. They got my brand new upgrade, and my wallet… with ALL my cards, including drivers licence… same as my neighbour. It was shocking… so shocking that we both wet ourselves (any excuse) and then had to waddle to the police station to make statements. Oh and my neighbour had gotten chips, which the fuckers also took. The police put the incident on a local facebook page and it did read rather dramatically and when I told Rebecca it was me, she said she should have known.

She rang the other day to say she was visiting so I decided I’d better get off the bed and stop playing Fallout Shelter (do not download this.. it is beyond addictive). I grabbed three half full (I’m an optimist) glasses of water and made my way down the stairs. My slipper went from under me and in my panic I elbowed a framed picture of the boys, shattering it and cutting myself. I hit 3 steps with my arse and the waters flew in the air, splattering me (mainly my crotch.. but I swear I didn’t wet myself this time). Koray heard the scream and came out to enquire what the google play password was. ‘I can’t give it to you as I’ve broken my back and the last time your brother bought 900 gems for Hungry Shark Evolution that cost €42.99 .. now go find the ibuprofen for mammy.’

Ossie arrived home to me standing at the door with a tea towel on my elbow and reeking of Deep Heat. ‘Don’t you fucking dare hurt yourself’ he said ‘or I’m staying in the hospital with you’… not words of love but terror at being left alone with the kids.

I had my wisdom tooth out in February.. of course it was growing horizontal under the gum and she had to really dig for it. I ended up with a dry socket and if anyone has had one of these packed… you know pain. I ploughed through pain killers and I was swollen, bruised and miserable.. the other impacted wisdom tooth has started to hurt and it can fuck right off.

I’m depressed.. I’ve come off sertraline as it was making me dopier than usual and am about to embark on lexapro. I went to the doctor yesterday and she said ‘girl you better try to have fun no matter what you do‘.. but she’s a fool. No, she’s lovely and I cried and said.. ‘see.. see, this keeps happening, it’s so fucking embarrassing’. I explained a difficult work situation I’m having and problems a member of my family is having (sorry to be mysterious but I’d be in further trouble if I discussed the former problem as freedom of speech is not very well respected there and the latter is not my problem to discuss). So when I was done bawling with the doctor, I’d to go have a smear with the nurse. The nurse turned out to be a lady I know well, her boys are in the same school as mine and she is super nice; it didn’t make it any easier to show her my fanny and I felt I had to preempt with the procedures I’d had done in case she got a fright. I’m not saying my fanny has a Frankenstein appearance but I have never looked at it with a speculum. She asked how everything was and I put on my Aisling mask and smiled and joked as if all was right with the world and it was only on going to the bathroom directly afterwards that I noticed mascara had streamed down my face. I also realise now that I gave said nurse my blog details and she may read this… sorry but I was sad and didn’t want to share my misery and you are lovely and you have a gentle smear technique.

My husband has recently started training as he was morphing into quite the fat bastard.. there is gym equipment everywhere, competing for space with lego and he looks really good so I’ve asked him to help me; I haven’t been this big since I was pregnant. He is very strict and as I’m doing weights he tuts and exclaims that I’m really bad and he’s never seen such low muscle tone while grabbing at my bat wings or back fat. Then when I get something right he says ‘good girl’ like Georgie Burgess. I channel my homicidal feelings into the workout so I should be like 1980s Jane Fonda (I’d even settle for now Jane Fonda) in a few weeks.

I almost forgot The Cat… people up the road moved out leaving approx 9 very young cats behind. Along with some other neighbours, I’ve been minding them and managed to get all neutered.. not easy to catch a wild cat. Anyway I was feeling like the Mother Teresa (I know she was actually horrible… can i get suggestions for a new go-to-good-person please?) of the cat world. That was until I backed over one in my driveway… ugghh it was awful.. the crunch, the screams. I stared out the window in silent horror as the poor kitty flailed about the driveway spraying blood like  a Quentin Tarantino movie. The other kitties stood next to him and stared at me in silent loathing. I got out of the car and ran in a circle for awhile till I spotted a lady walking up the street. I lunged at her bawling and thankfully she was calm and had some Slavic stoicism. She asked for a black bag.. ‘but he’s not dead‘ I shouted. ‘He vill be soon’ she said pulling up her sleeves. I ran for the black bags and she shouted ‘we vill need two’. She bagged up the unfortunate cat and left him by my bins. She washed her hands and gave me her card.. she’s a manicurist and had spotted the state of my nails. I would later drop her in an Aldi number 1 candle and some flowers. When Ossie woke up that day I told him there was a body in the boot and the car was covered in blood and he dealt with it all a little too professionally. It was awful and I still can’t process that I’ve taken a life.. let’s not include spiders or flies in this… or wasps. I even became vegetarian for 3 full days. I still have four cats.. they let me feed them but won’t tolerate my touch.. grudgey bastards.

Now, you’re all up to date.. no drama to see here.. move along.


love thy neighbour (but don’t covet them)

November 17, 2015

Reading the comments section online is always a bad idea and I try to steer clear… I try.. promise but sometimes I lose it and have a reaction similar to one of my kids, a typed tantrum (they can’t type but if they could I’m sure they would type a tantrum).

During the marriage referendum, a homophobic tweet would catch my eye and I’d be drawn to the tweeter’s page where I’d almost have to sit on my hands to stop myself telling them what bloody eejits they were/are.

The 8th amendment situation causes similar feelings although I did abate some of my primal instincts (Is being a keyboard warrior a primal instinct?) by tweeting my period status to Enda Kenny.

When that picture of the little drowned Syrian boy surfaced, I was engulfed in sadness and despair; It hit me particularly hard as I have a 3 year old boy and to think he would be denied a chance at life because of a bunch of warmongering dickheads was both incomprehensible and shocking.

What I found almost more shocking was the attitude of some people …while sympathetic, they chimed “what about our own?” as if helping refugees or Irish people in need was a Sophie’s Choice situation. Can’t we do both? I’d a few hairy comment moments I’ll admit but I was angry and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.


1425_3I don’t claim to be fully versed in world politics, in fact I have always had an ostrich mentality and would read the Daily Mail showbiz page and count it as news. In my defense, I  stopped with the Daily Mail long ago when I realised they are right wing bigots and there’s only so much “news” relating to a Kardashian’s ass that one can stand. My news source is normally my Mam or my husband, both of whom watch Al Jazeera and other proper news channels. As I approach 40, I have been known to listen to Newstalk on the way to work unless Wilson Philips or George Michael are playing on Q102 in which case I am SINGING.

I’m annoyed alot of the time (peri-menopause)… but mostly by ignorance and ignorant people have very big mouths and very bad grammar. I read statuses of people I know and if they spouted the shite that’s on their facebook pages in my company I may be liable to hit them…. it’s a reflex… as I’ve explained to all those in work with pending lawsuits.

There is an uneasy feeling in the air at the moment, a growing one of islamophobia,  I understand why, really I do…  but you guys need to understand that these psychos do not represent the Muslim people, they represent..well…psychos… I know you have heard this a million times and are now raising your eyes to heaven (no pun intended) and thinking… another liberal telling us to let crazy terrorists run loose in our beautiful isle that has never known any terrorism. 

Fly_closeI am an atheist, to me the root of most evil is religion (and veins…gross)… any of them, maybe not Buddhism but I can’t be sure; I don’t want to think I’m gassing a grandparent when using fly and wasp spray.  We only need to look at this country to see the divisive effect of religion. I grew up Catholic, am baptised, communioned, confirmed novena’d etc; I will not be continuing these traditions with my kids as I want no part of an institution that places little or no value on the rights of children or women. This is my problem with most organised and disorganised religions; they prey on the weak….just ask Tom Cruise;  Women are seen as a threat of some kind and so subjugated, made to cover up, put up and shut up. Also.. a guy in the sky controlling everything…really? And in light of recent events, he must be a bit of an asshole, right?

My husband was born and bred a Muslim… he feels exactly as I do and I feel extremely lucky to have a like-minded mate. If he stood in the way of my kids eating sausages or forced them to pray, I’d be gone as would he if I talked about them receiving the body and blood of Christ or praying before food or bedtime. It’s a big enough struggle for them to brush their teeth! We don’t need a book of rules to live by, we are teaching our kids to be kind and tolerant and they retaliate by being neither but they’ll learn by example… we hope!

house-of-virgin-maryI lived in Turkey for a long time and have many family and friends who practice their faith and I respect that. I find the call to prayer quite soothing as are the bells of the church and I’m not averse to some hymns. People who practice their faith are generally lovely, peaceful people who choose to believe in god and an afterlife for whatever reason…. mostly cultural ones and to assuage a fear of death. They, along with the rest of us are horrified with the horrific acts being carried out in their faith’s name and should not be made to feel ashamed. I attended many friend’s marriage’s in the Virgin Mary house in Turkey (the house Mary supposedly lived out her final years… my rep spiel coming back to me). Always Irish girls marrying Turkish men….those guys can’t get enough of our freckles! I was struck by the respect the Muslim side of the family had for the Catholic traditions and for some reason always got goosebumps when the priest would say.. “I am joining two great religions in matrimony”. In saying that…. me and Ossie would glance at each other and whisper ”we’re not doing this”… We had a very unromantic government ceremony that requires it’s own post but I will talk him into a gorgeously romantic humanist ceremony one day where we will eat sausage rolls, swat flies and covet our neighbour’s servants with glorious abandon.

giphy (28)I guess I’m trying to talk about tolerance…something I really need to work on personally. Look past labels… gay, muslim, unmarried mothers, travellers, refugees, ginger…whatever and be kind and understand that a person can be fabulous or an asshole regardless of creed or preferences. The current climate of distrust and division has been carefully cultivated but we can all do something about that by arming ourselves with knowledge and showing compassion.



the work situation; summer nights part 2

September 7, 2015

While sitting in our apartment reception in Kusadasi regaling our Sunworld rep with stories of our recent romantic trysts, Yvonne casually enquired how much it would be to stay an extra week. Cath made a phone call and returned with the price of €100 each and we both had credit cards in our hands within seconds.

0007a725-642We then tried to figure out what to do with the work situation. We both worked in a pyramid scheme style charity mugging office; you know the guys who attack you on the street to sign you up for monthly payments to different charities? Well I was admin and Yvonne was one of the bosses but there were bosses above her and owners etc, all very tenuous. Cath was still sitting there doing her paperwork (little did I know that I would be doing the exact same job in just a few years) and half listening to our ramblings when I asked her the following loaded question “what would happen if a person’s passport got stolen over here”. She put her work to one side and leaned forward conspiratorially and said “it’d take at least a week to replace”. We whooped and cheered and Yvonne was nominated to make the call (because I’m a complete chicken-shit and as a culchie she is obviously a born mammy who says greashhh (great) a lot and puts ketchup on stew).

The bosses were dubious at first but Yvonne created a great back-story involving the crowded markets and Oliver Twist style pick-pocketing children . I think she may have even squeezed out a few tears and said “do you think we want to be stuck in this bloody country for another week?”. That done, we ordered drinks and high-fived. We headed to bar street that night excited to tell our holiday romances the news that they were to be graced with our increasingly freckled company for another week.

b9e27b8646862c36518442e80d8602bfYvonne’s guy didn’t look so happy and confided in me when she went to the toilet that girls are supposed to come here for a good time and not a long time. I was shocked and fearful for my man’s reaction but he was thrilled and picked me up and spun me, like a movie… a bit cheesy but I was delighted with myself and tried to contain it for Yvonne who was seriously pissed off and angrily milling the rosé into her.

gtj54zwsx3ccbutkc3znWe had a few trips booked that week and one of them was a boat trip. I really didn’t want to go as i’d had only had an hours sleep but we had paid for it so Yvonne dragged my ass onto the bus. We picked the top deck of the boat and lay down thinking to get some sleep. I was just dozing when Yvonne seized my arm in a vice grip and started stage whispering something; I sat up and she mouthed what looked like shit shit shit frantically…I looked behind her and saw our boss’s husband and son. What the fuck! Were they there on a recon mission or was it simply a freaky coincidence? Possibly if we weren’t crippled with hangover fear we may have gone over to them to enquire but we spent the next 7 hours wearing sunglasses and swathed in sarongs and towels. Eventually the rep working the boat (Maggie) came over to see if were we ok (little did I know that I’d be doing her job by the following year) and possibly to check if it was a Weekend at Bernies situation. We explained our predicament and she sympathetically laughed her pants off. We escaped the boat but they had more then likely seen us and then we got a bit indignant… I mean even if our passports had actually been stolen we were still entitled to enjoy ourselves, right?

Our stolen week passed blissfully, I won’t bore you with details of sunsets, hand-holding and balmy summer nights. Yvonne meanwhile had shook off her romantic disappointment and was enjoying the balmy nights herself, but that’s her story to tell.

9e8eee1548487f037d2d955337328534As the week was drawing to a close, I spotted Cath in reception and asked how much for another week. She said it was still €100 each and raised her eyebrows in disbelief that we were asking. Myself and Yvonne had a conference in our apartment and it took longer to agree this time, maybe a full 15 seconds but we needed to establish a watertight plan. We ran down and quizzed Cath on passport replacement protocol… “well it would have to be done through Ankara…” “but the paperwork could take more than a week, right??? ““Ye-ah it could definitely and our flights are only at weekends”. Brilliant, high 5s all around and this time it was only fair that I make the work call as Yvonne stood by chain-smoking and biting her nails. I won’t lie, it was a difficult call but oscar worthy…. I channelled Sally Field in Not Without My Daughter. I also had to call my Mam who at this stage thought I was living in a harem smoking opium, she was on the verge of sending my Dad after me in the style of Liam Neeson but there was a Dublin game on that weekend and he couldn’t miss it. The most difficult call I made however was to my cousin Jen to tell her I wouldn’t be making the Justin Timberlake concert, she still holds a grudge but in the pursuit of true love there will always be casualties. 

Eurovision_2003_Sertab_Erener_Everyway_that_I_canOur last week was even better culminating in Turkey winning the eurovision and  leaving was the hardest thing I ever had to do (I cried all the way home, a scene to be repeated many times in the future). Promises were exchanged and I resolved to be back in a few months; there was just the small matter of holding on to my job and rebuilding bridges with family and a cousin to attend to.

To be continued

Happy DiariesMummascribbles



August 31, 2015

I have recently completed a furniture shift upstairs; I moved Conall into the box room and the two smallies into the bigger room. This required dismantling the bunks and making them into two single beds. I had planned this for awhile; it was keeping me awake at night but I knew I’d need another pair of hands and I was reticent to bring it up with himself because I had begged and yes, wept for those bunks a year previously. I drew plans, printed blueprints and used my feminine wiles, bringing it up at the right moment while passing him a beer.

He put up a half-arsed argument about the room being too small etc but I shushed him (Marilyn Monroe style) and he was putty in my hands.

alan-keys-17245580There was a frantic search for alan keys that on a normal day would inhabit every surface of the house; I stepped up in my role as dictator, I mean overseer of the operation and shouted instructions at my browbeaten husband. The beds were placed side by side and my heart sank as I thought “shit the room is too small and how long do I continue with this charade before putting the bunks back together?” Ossie looked at me quizzically and I went into damage control mode; “Of course it looks small now but with some rearranging it’ll be just perfect”.

629d31d709208eee4d4982bb843d2901With the donkey work done, he excused himself and I spent the next two days up to my armpits in clothes and hangers. The problem with having 3 kids of the same sex is trying to sort through their clothes; I have to look at each tag to check the age to see whose wardrobe it goes into. I can’t throw anything out or give it to charity as I have to keep it for the next in line. I love when Rian grows out of something because then it is gone, gone, gone!

I had some amazing space-freeing-up ideas.. I got a chest of drawers into the bottom of Conall’s wardrobe, result. The room still looks small but it’s liveable and the two smallies are super-cute in their twin beds at night giggling to each other and my big boy is happy to have his own space.

yellow ikea couchI get such a kick from moving furniture around and it’s all due to the queen of dissatisfaction, my mother. By the age of 4, I had lived in 4 houses (none of them rented), and I grew up with the threat of moving my whole life, although it took her another 30 odd years to get around to it. Our house was in a constant state of flux; I remember my Dad once with a lump hammer knocking down a dividing wall that must have pissed her off greatly. Couches were her thing and they would be replaced very frequently and moved to a different room almost weekly before moving on to a grateful relative (I’m hoping she gets sick of the gorgeous couch she currently has in her sitting room (pictured above, although not her sitting room,  she wouldn’t allow the clutter) although I know my sister also has her eye on it; she’s had it 3 years now, way past it’s expiry date). A conservatory was built and then torn down to make way for an extension that left us with approximately 5 inches of back garden (that was paved then decked, then cobble-locked). My Mam is not one for handbags or holidays but she loves to decorate and is aptly the home page on her laptop; she missed her calling in real estate. My sister is the same and I’ll often drop by and she’ll answer the door drenched in sweat saying she’s moving the bedrooms around (unless that’s code for something).

stuva-loft-bed-with-drawer-doors-white__0275594_PE413874_S4I have a new plan for Conall’s room that requires a mid-sleeper with a wardrobe and desk under it; it’s my mam’s fault as she cut a page out of the argos catalogue and told me to look for a similar one in ikea. She is now redecorating vicariously and once I’ve paid off my renovated fanny, I’ll start on the is date night, a nice terminology for both of us being in the same room for more then 3 hours. I will get some alcohol and Remo’s chicken wings and when my lovely husband is slightly inebriated I will broach the subject although I do need a new couch too (seriously I’m washing the covers fortnightly and it’s threadbare and gross). I can’t even sit in my scuzzy sitting room any more, I just go to bed when the kids do as I’m depressed looking at the ripped wallpaper, broken lamps and stained everything else. Can someone please send a team of interior decorators from the telly to surprise do up my house (not Peter Andre though, it’d be hard to remove all that baby oil and tan off my new furniture) while I rest in a spa. My mam could oversee the whole operation.


Motherhood, Musings

Ben 10 tried to wreck our holiday; our family trip to turkey part 3

August 19, 2015

We pulled up to the Seapearl Hotel and fell out of the van like the Clampetts. Orlagh was waiting and as Ossie said goodbye to his big brother Mehmet she saw me put my sunglasses on (lady code for crying) and she put her own on sympathetically.. she’s nice like that; I like to surround myself with emotional basketcases, makes me feel semi- normal.the-beverly-hillbillies-truck

We were portered (is that a word?) to our room which was amazing as it was a family room; 3 single beds in one and a double in the other for all the hot stuff me and the husband may get up to.

I fell onto the phone and ordered a bottle of wine.. Sultaniye, the absolute best and Ossie braced himself for the car crash that was inevitable. The wine arrived and I poured some for me and Orlagh and I sipped (glugged) as I unpacked. We made our way down to the poolside for the evening entertainment and I ordered vodkas while chain smoking. Ossie wisely took the smallies to bed and Conall threw himself into the kids competition with gusto. I got the hiccups and could not do anything to get rid of them bar take my un-detoxed self off to bed.giphy (4)

The kids loved the pool, Koray’s swimming lessons paid off and he swam like a little fish, while Conall looked on shocked. He tantrumed and blamed me for cancelling his lessons but if any of you remember I had to as he would become hysterical if he left the safety of the steps. It was a kick up the arse for him to see his little brother so proficient and he pushed his limits even putting his face in the water and I couldn’t have been prouder. I kept telling him that fear is the only thing that could stop him swimming (A fine parenting moment I congratulated myself) so he’d focus on that. I felt a bit frumpy with my togs but had nothing to worry about when I saw the size of some of the ladies squashed in tiny bikinis; I envied their swagger.

There was motherhood in all its examples poolside and I became a  bit of a voyeur. There was the breastfeeding hippy, that always seemed 100% focused on her kids… I admired her and was desperate for her approval although she copped me on my one night out dressed up sans kids, having a fag waiting on my taxi at the front of the hotel and I almost kneeled down in front of her to beg for forgiveness. She trounced off with her baby swathed to her chest in organic, breathable cotton. There was also a huge group of sun-bed hoggers from Dublin close by. There were many, many kids, some in nappies and the mammy was able to sunbathe uninterrupted all day. She had a gorgeous figure which was adorned with belly rings and fancy fringed bikinis. There was always a matching kimono/kaftan; her hair would be in an immaculate hun-bun, eyelashes attached and tan even. I could see the Dad always legging it around after the kids but I admired her Idon’tgiveafuck attitude. I don’t think my sizeable arse sat on the sun lounger for more than 5 minutes at a time and that was with Ossie’s help. “Mam I want an ice-cream, mam watch this, mam get in, mam I need a poo, mam…fuck off (Rian).”

I must have bought them every conceivable inflatable device for 2 minutes peace, along with all varieties of ice/pops and fizzy drinks… I made the mistake of ordering Conall a cocktail one night called a Ben 10… green juice with a sparkler and the 3 of them had me hounded all holiday for Ben bloody 10s.

MCDONALDS_KUSADASIOne day I was sick of sitting around the hotel and suggested bringing them into town; Ossie looked at me as if I’d suggested bringing them to a country club for a round of golf. We had the double buggy and decided to head for dinner… they all shouted McDonalds (including Ossie) and my vision of a nice family meal dissipated. We sat in the air conditioning of Mcdonald’s in a row looking out the window. I could see a restaurant (Planet Yucca) across the street and watched sadly as couples on their holiday in their going out clothes (mostly white) perused the menu leisurely outside. I tried to block out the sounds of my kids screeching over a sibling pinch, being looked at the wrong way or spilling their juice everywhere. I snapped back and cleaned them up, hurled some abuse at my startled husband and we made our way up one of the shopping streets. giphy (5)Conall spotted a Grand Theft Auto t-shirt. He has never played this game but decided he needed it so he lay on the ground screaming like Veruca Salt as we looked helplessly at each other. People were stepping over him and looking at us as if we were the shitest parents ever. We tried reasoning, some force but by jesus he wanted the t-shirt. The sweat was pumping off us and things got a little ugly … To my shame I said to my much-put-upon husband through gritted teeth “just buy him the fucking t-shirt” which he did and when Conall emerged smiling from the shop it took every ounce of my maternal strength not to punch his smug little face. We then went to get their haircuts in an old friend’s barber shop. The three of them went mental and tried to trash the place (I blame Ben 10)… Ahmet (the owner) looked at me as in “Are you ok?” and I just said quietly “what happened to my life?” He laughed as people with grown up kids tend to. 

I haven’t even gotten to my amazing night out or the incident in the lift with the cocktail…. it’s coming

To be continued…

Motherhood, Musings

Summer Bummer

July 2, 2015

I loathe all school holidays but the Summer ones have a special place on my hate list (just above the ice-cream man and below anti-vaxxers. I am writing this at 10pm from the top step of my stairs, tummy rumbling as my 3 are all awake and insistant that they are not tired. They ran the length and breadth of the streets all day, sweating profusely as neighbours commented “they’ll sleep tonight”. It may have something to do with the amount of ice-cream and sugary drinks they consumed, it may be the brightness or the sticky heat but they are not tired. If it were winter I would have had 2 glorious hours of kid-free time under my belt by now; I feel like moving to Sweden for 24 hour darkness.

“ Mam there’s a monster” “Mam I need more water” “Mam…. mam… mam”.


                  Reasons I hate Summer10003006_10153180856043138_6873644945176506878_n


  • Sun-cream; I am a paranoid wreck when it comes to protecting the kids… which factor? I think 50 but my husband who grew up in Turkey never seeing a bottle of sun-cream argues with me that they need vitamin D. I opt for 30 and apply it as his eyes bore into my back. How often should I reapply? In the meantime I have forgotten myself and fried my neck and arms sufficiently farmerish. I always seem to apply the factor when I feel the burn as if it has reversing effects. I don’t remember my parents using cream on us and plenty of scaldings happened on Wexford holidays. The only time I can remember seeing this magical potion was when we went on our first foreign holiday to Majorca when I was 12. It was such a novelty to go on holidays in the 80s that your extended family would turn up at the airport to watch your plane land and greet you as if it were an episode of Coming Home For Christmas. The quality of your holiday was judged by the colour you had gotten and if you were still white or pink you would hang your head in shame as those sliding doors in arrivals opened. krapiva
  • The Outdoors: You are branded the shittiest parent ever if your kids don’t partake in some outdoorsy fun or at least a Summer Camp. My CV list of hobbies are as follows; cinema, reading and art; I also throw in walking so I don’t look like a slob but it’s only because they can’t prove I don’t walk or catch me out with probing questions on what team I walk for etc. Letting them out to play on the road is torturous. They beat each other, whinge and scream which is nothing unusual, only now they have my neighbours as an audience. Today I used 5 plasters for scraped knees due to miscellaneous falls; Rian ran into a bush of nettles and I asked a 10 year old kid what I should do? He rubbed his leg with a dock leaf and then applied aloe vera gel from a plant in his garden… I was thinking Zirtek and sudocrem but mini Bear Grylls sorted it. At one point I deluded myself into thinking I could relax on my porch (broken bit of a step) and watch them with a mocha and my phone. Koray put a cigarette butt he found in the garden in my fresh mocha and anytime I glanced at my phone they yelled “put the phone away Mam and watch me do this sick trick on my bike”. Then comes time for getting them in and I’m like a fishwife screaming their names. Eventually I’ll put one in a rugby hold and get him in the house and begin the chase for number 2 when I notice number 1 has escaped and the merry dance continues for an hour before I unleash PMS Aisling to the stunned shock of the crowd. Why do we all feel the need to take the kids to a zillion fun places over the holidays? I am agog at the tagging that goes on on facebook and have thought to do some fake tagging just to keep up… like Aisling and kids at the museum, the theatre, the fucking Guggenheim. When I was a kid we went to the pub and got a bottle of red lemonade and a packet of crisps between us and if it was sunny it was a beer garden. Bring those days back… I’m starting a petition on 00.08.44 (1)
  • The Paddling Pool: The bane of my life. A sniff of hot weather and they’re stripped to their nip and in the freezing, disgusting water. They don’t like it clean, they half fill it with muck, possibly a progressive skin treatment; I may bottle it and make my fortune. They also like to run in and out of the house with their mucky feet, slipping and half breaking their neck and the sound barrier.
  • The fact that Rian still wakes at 6am regardless of what time he goes to bed, hence I don’t even have the compensation of a lie-in.
  • The Flies: that is all.
  • The Late Evenings: Every night for months I will be asked “why am I going to bed when it’s bright?” “Why can I hear my friends out?” BECAUSE IT’S BLOODY SUMMER, GET INTO BED!!! I have blackout blinds and curtains but to no avail…I’m thinking of painting the windows black or removing them altogether.BBQ
  • BBQs: My husband is in caveman heaven as he cooks meat and drinks beer; meanwhile, in the kitchen I am chopping salads, microwaving potatoes, cleaning kids bums, getting drinks, cutlery etc ready.
  • The Sweating: I am bad enough at the moment with my imagined peri-menopause but the Summer has me in a perpetual lather and not in a glowy, movie way. My hair is stuck to me and my face is puce… I can’t even put makeup on as it slides off, I’m a hot mess. The kids are just as bad and my laundry load has tripled with sweaty sheets, paddling-pool remnants and sun-cream staining.whisky-foxtrot
  • Ireland: We are so excited by the prospect of good weather that everything comes to a standstill: Tesco gets sold out of Bundys; everyone seems to be carrying a 6 pack (beer definitely not the other kind) and decorum goes out the window. Women love to wear a vest top in the summer, pity they can’t have a decent bra to go with it; it’s like Jeremy Kyle, why do all the women wear dirty grey bras under their vests? Men think they’re built like Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love when they are really like Mr. Bean… my eyes, keep your tops on, I can’t bear it. Then there’s all the talk of the weather continuing? ending? dirty_windows_01
  • Damn sunniness showing up the filth of my house and particularly my windows. The bins stink and attract flies which I spend half my day swatting with a flip-flop or spraying till we have to evacuate the house due to fumes.
  • Self-maintenance: All that pruning, painting, filing, dyeing, waxing, buffing, moisturising, calorie-counting… makes me want to put on Pjs and eat Wispas.

I’m a Winter person, I like artificial heat and lighting. I like my kids in bed at 7.30, too cold to get out of their quilts. I love flannel sheets and winter boots. I enjoy Christmas and dark evenings and wine at 5pm cos it’s night, right? My kids want to go out? Sorry it’s lashing, snowing, hailstoning I say smugly… now get back in front of that Xbox and play Minecraft.
Continue Reading…


School, Sour milk and sweaty knitting

June 15, 2015

The school that our children go to is very different to the one my generation attended. I was in school from 1980 till 1993 and even though beatings were outlawed; aggression, sneering and sarcasm were not.

Primary school was fine for me as I enjoyed learning and didn’t find the work too difficult, with the exception of Irish. I have looked back with rose-tinted glasses and actually used the phrase “best days of my life”. It is only since my son started primary and I see the changes in teaching methods and attitudes that I now look back on my days with disbelief and some black humour of course.

DSC01811_largeI went to an all girls catholic school that my Mam had gone to. She had nothing but hatred for the place so I presume she sent me there as some kind of social experiment. She told me one night after a few drinks and a lot of preamble that she’d been made to stay back a year because she couldn’t recite the creed (Apollo? I’m nearly sure this was pre-Rocky and I don’t know of any other Creed?). The nun flipped as a glitch in her mind-control exercise was exposed and inflicted maximum punishment. The unbelievable thing is the shame she still carries as an adult for this ridiculous “crime”. I know I’ll get a phone call after publishing this giving out that I’ve exposed her darkest secret. It’s not Prince of Tides Mam, move on.

It hadn’t changed much from her days interior design wise with dark mahogany and little sunlight. The desks still had a hole for an ancient inkwell and if you were unlucky enough to get a backless one, you’d spend the school year picking your books up off the floor. There were large religious statues and iconography everywhere and strangely enough some what I think in hindsight were  Salvador Dali prints that slipped by the censors. There was one near the junior classes of a little naked woman in a cage that we would point at and giggle.

smoking-nunsWe were lucky that nuns were a dying breed at this stage and there was only a handful.. the principal, Sr. Marcelina, stayed ensconced in her office mostly, emerging only at lunch to lean on the frame of our classroom door and blink repeatedly while berating us for speaking.  There was Sr. Sibena, a cranky, portly little nun that was spotted more than once in the local off-licence. Then there was Sr. Catherine, tall and manly who was famous for picking her nose. Rumour had it she flicked it right into the mouth of a student once, but that’s hearsay. They sound exaggerated like Roald Dahl characters but they existed. I didn’t have the pleasure of their teaching but had two run-ins with Sibena…(did we nickname her ribena? I hope so).

1103037_Knitting_Kit_07HShe visited our decrepit first class prefab bi-weekly for knitting. I’m one of those tight, sweaty knitters whose needles squeak and wool is damp. She was walking up and down behind us observing our progress (may I state that we were 7). I dropped a stitch and she smacked me across the back of my head and the knitting went flying. That night my Mam got it out of me with her gestapo methods and I begged her not to say anything but next knitting class there was a knock on the door. My Mam was all smiles and said, “Sr, may I have a word?” It all looked civilized to me and Sr Sibena was profuse (and shaky) in her apology when she returned. Turns out my Mam was only short of pinning her against the wall and told her she’d had to endure that kind of bullshit (I’m paraphrasing, may have been an F bomb) when she attended by her lot (said something derogatory about nuns, possibly using dried up and in need of a good something) and she wouldn’t stand by and let it happen to her daughter. If anyone was hitting me up-side the head, she was and not a stranger. She had that scary Mam smile the whole time and an air of Tony Soprano that I’d say had Sabina running to the offy that afternoon. children-christmas-tree-drawing-11788335Another time she caught me drawing a Xmas tree on my notebook just before we broke for holidays. She held it above her head by the corner as if she’d found hardcore porn and shouted “Idling is the devil’s tool” to the class. A fucking Christmas tree!

The teachers weren’t much better. I won’t name them as some are still alive and probably working for the Iona Institute and we all know how litigious that lot are. Back to first class and I had and have strangely flexible legs for one so short and unfit and like to sit in hippy-like contortions. One day the teacher roared FREEZE for no reason at all and we were all frozen in our seats, unaware of what had happened but nervous nonetheless… she patrolled our desks and found me sitting with my legs folded under me. I was made an example of and shamed.. I’m unsure why she was upset, perhaps because she was a tub of lard and would have induced a deep vein thrombosis in this position.. again I’m speculating. I spent the rest of my school career prepared for another freeze and possibly my adult life.

tootsiemrsdoubtfire__140417010005Third class and the shit hit the (non working) fan. We had a teacher who I still believe could have been a man pretending to be a woman for the job, like Tootsie or Mrs Doubtfire but without the glamour and niceness. To my 9 year old self, she resembled a “woman” whom life had continually disappointed her… a last minute jilt at the alter, Bobby Ewing choosing Pam, missing out on a job with the KGB. She had a hatred of bad handwriting and segregated the class into good and bad handwriters. I was a bad handwriter, very bad; I still have trouble deciphering something I’ve written myself but my Mam placated me saying doctors are the worst. I can still see the list she nailed (blue-tacked) to the wall as proud as Martin Luther and his 95 theocrats. My name had many stars after it, not good ones, black evil ones.

tip1I’m not sure why but I had been signed up to school lunches, my mother must have been delusional as at home I lived on a staple diet of marmalade sandwiches, crackers and minestrone cup of soups. I may get this wrong but Wednesday and Friday were currant bun days (everyone got excited for these disgusting “cakes” until a mouse hopped out of the bag one day) Monday and Thursdays were corn beef sandwiches (more jelly and gritty stuff than meat) and the other day was cheese ( a substance I would not have eaten even if served by Michael J. Fox holding a care bear). The milk was my main issue but you had to be ingenious hiding unwanted lunch. We were made to write our number (yes we were all assigned a number from the role book at the start of the year, a nod to previous successful childcare institutions like Auschwitz) on a folded up part of the carton. I had used the outside postbox for some disposal but one carton I hid somewhere in the jacks. Possibly a week had passed and Mrs Cowfire called me to the top of the class. She then pulled said carton of milk from her desk like a magician and brandished it about asking what was the meaning of it. I tried to stammer that I didn’t like milk but she was foaming at the mouth at this stage. “Drink it” she said calmly. “But it’s old…” “Drink it!” I took a sip of the lumpy grossness and started gagging, I may have puked but my recollection ends there as does any chance I ever had of liking milk.

fry64th, 5th and 6th class we had the same teacher who we all loved and I always looked back fondly on till a latecomer to our class and a still-friend put me straight. Orla had come from a “normal” mixed school to our class when she was 10 or 11. She was terrified by our stepford class and how we would all answer in unison and be willing to rat each other out just for the glory. She spoke very quietly and when she would answer a question we would all chant “we can’t hear you” while teacher looked on smugly. She would then be made to go outside the door and answer the question from the other side. When the teacher asked a question we would become rabid in our fanaticism. We’d leave our desks and all swarm hers saying “teacher, teacher, teacher teacher” while waving our hands in her face. She once picked me and I had no idea of the question, I was just caught up in the adulation and frenzy.

There were so many undiagnosed kids back then, possibly dyslexic, spectrum, ADHD and all sorts of learning difficulties and they were ridiculed primarily by the teachers. We can all remember a teacher calling someone’s name to read and thinking “oh fuck this is going to be painful”. The poor kid would stammer through their reading with no prompt or help at all. We did have a learning support teacher but we had no understanding of why she was carting these poor kids off and branded them as stupid and not as needing a little extra help.

When it all got too much for our stressed out, patience-less wardens/ cult leaders they retired to the staff room, a place of mythical legends where no student dared to tread. If you had to knock at the door and it had better be a good reason like someone had fallen into a coma or a skirt had been pulled up, you would be enveloped in a thick cloud of nicotine that would have you high for the day and more than a little asthmatic.


nieuwefotossIndividuality and creativity were not nurtured in school at this time. As we got older and our Stockholm Syndrome took hold, we became “big girls”… the name you were given in 6th class, lucky we were immune to patronising. We made sure the younger ones didn’t speak during lunch; we enforced invisible barriers between yards and told on anyone who may have pulled up skirts in the yard.

There are many differences in schools today, mainly that sadistic teachers know they would be filmed on the kid’s mobile phone, shamed on social media and then sacked. Teachers are generally lovely and although overwhelmed try to do their best by each child.

Learning supports are done more subtly now with kids even feeling jealous of my son being taken out for some Wii time when he’s getting antsy. There still isn’t much room for individuality and I get that. Most classes are at the 30+ mark and having everyone toe the line and recite as one makes things run more smoothly.

I do like the positive vibe I get from my son’s school though and he seems happy. He’s rewarded with stars and praised when he does well and this is the main difference in 30 years. I find it difficult to remember any praise in primary bar the comments relayed back by my Mam after a positive parent-teacher meeting, the teachers in their Irishness found it difficult to praise you to your face. It is much easier for me to remember the negative things and still identify as a bad handwriter, shit at Irish and crappy hider of food.


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Guest Post, Jen's Movie Musings

Top 5 rom-coms

June 13, 2015

Romantic Comedies or Rom-Coms tend to leave a very bad taste in my mouth, like when you take a sip of the wrong cup of tea and it’s sugared or not depending on your preference. They’re predictable, unoriginal, and more often than not neither funny nor romantic. So I thought about the worst offenders and where it all tends to go wrong;

I then realised it would be a very, very long list and I’d probably have to watch a lot of them all the way through, which could induce nausea, headaches and possible seizures.

However, I decided to remain positive and have compiled a good old fashioned top 5 list.

I’ve applauded where they went right (usually by not casting Katherine Heigl) and tried not to include the really obvious ones: When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, Pretty Woman and the very re-watchable Dirty Dancing (it lacks the comedy aspect but let’s have a moment’s silence for the charismatic and always wonderful Patrick Swayze….).

You may find a gem here that you’ve never seen or you might have a suggestion for me. So, in no particular order, here we go…


Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)giphy (9)

In a time when it seem rom-coms are constantly popping up and one is more indistinguishable from the last this is a breath of fresh air. I think there’s 2 ways the bigwigs in Hollywood go about making rom-coms. One is when they need a vehicle for someone. “People can’t get enough Katherine Heigl at the moment, let’s get her in something asap with whatever actor is hot right now…Gerard Butler? Sure he’ll do.” 

The other is when they have an actual well-written script, a director who cares about his work and most importantly great casting. We’re used to seeing Ryan Gosling all broody and serious (The Notebook, Blue Valentine) and this is a welcome change. He’s charming, funny, well-dressed (and ab-ed) even though he’s kind of a dick. Steve Carrell, is the hapless everyman in his ill fitting chinos and sneaker combo.  When Cal’s (Carrell) wife leaves him, suave womanizer Jacob (Gosling) takes pity on him after observing him in his local meat market (bar) and takes him under his wing. He gives him a makeover and all the moves he needs to become a ladies man. It’s kind of like Clueless for guys, but it’s got real heart, great laughs and a few little twists. Julianne Moore and Emma Stone round out the cast with some fiery red hair and womanly charms. Fun for the whole family, except kids, really not appropriate for kids.

Jerry Maguire (1996)giphy (10)

“You had me at Hello”. Enough said. No? Okay. Cameron Crowe has always done the rom-com well, in a cool, thoughtful, non-cheesy way.  I could equally have picked Say Anything but my Tom Cruise affection always leads me to include one of his movies in any list I make. And this is probably my favourite. Cruise as sports agent Maguire whose love life, work life and life in general is falling apart thanks to his growing a conscience while managing to hold onto one client and employee. The path of both relationships are rocky and this movie is actually a romance and a bromance as Jerry falls for Dorothy and her cute little boy, just as much as Rod “show me the money” Tidwell, the football player. Everyone knows the famous quotes, and you’ve most likely seen this one if you’re a non-rock-dwelling-human, but it’s always worth a rewatch. Cuba Gooding Jr brings the comedy and there’s more than a few lump-in-the-throat moments.  And a great Springsteen song to boot. What more could you want?

Groundhog Day (1993)giphy (11)

Is this a rom-com i hear you ask? Well, yes of course. It may air more on the side of comedy than romance but that’s down to the always hilarious Bill Murray. But the general story is of a man trying to win over a woman who is initially less than enamoured with him in some extraordinary circumstances. Bill Murray’s Phil Connors lives the same day, Groundhog Day, over and over again; no matter what he does he wakes at 6am to Sonny & Cher’s “I Got you Babe”. Phil and his producer Rita and cameraman Larry get snowed in in Pennsylvania when sent to do a weather segment on famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.  As Phil relives this day over and over he starts to use it to his advantage to try to win over Rita (Andie MacDowell). Things get a little dark for Phil at one point but for the most part this is hilarious family entertainment at it’s best.  An interesting note of trivia, Bill Murray seemingly has a reputation for losing enthusiasm for a project as it goes on, so director Harold Ramis (Bill’s pal from Ghostbusters and Stripes) filmed it backwards so he’d be upbeat and happy for the final scenes and get grumpier for the burnt out weatherman at the start.


The Princess Bride (1987)giphy (12)

One of my favourite films of all time;  this is the ultimate romantic comedy. Its got love and romance in spades between a young Robin Wright (before the Penn was added then dropped) as Princess Buttercup and Cary Elwes as sword wielding Wesley.  Buttercup and Wesley’s true love is in jeopardy after they are separated for some years, but nothing, not even Rodents of Unusual Size, 6 fingered men, or death will come between them.  It’s laced with clever humour, classic one-liners and magical performances (Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin is wonderful) and cameos by a host of comedians from the time (look closely, some are disguised). This is from director Rob Reiner, Mr. When Harry Met Sally, and in my opinion this gem is superior as it has a little fantasy mixed in. Definitely one for the whole family, and will delight one and all. That’s it, I’m off to watch it again.


Oh, wait, I said 5.


27 Dresses (2008)

Just joking…this is a Heigl-free list.


Chasing Amy (1997)giphy (13)

You may be familiar with the serious actor/director Ben Affleck getting snubbed by Oscar and squeezing his manly jaw into the batsuit, but he got his start with cult fav Kevin Smith. After a small part in Smith’s Mallrats, Affleck is his main man in this offbeat, romantic comedy. Affleck plays Holden (I’m sure there’s Catcher in the Rye implications here but lets not over-analyse) who writes a somewhat successful comic book with his bestie forever Banky (Jason Lee). On a typical night out they meet Alyssa (90s hot girl Joey Lauren Adams), a cool chick who turns both their heads even though she is a lesbian. Ignoring this, Holden falls in love with her and has to deal with a jealous best friend, a girl with a checkered past and his own insecurities. This movie definitely showcases Ben’s acting chops and watching it now it’s no surprise that he has such clout in the acting world today. Jason Lee is the funny, sarcastic best friend, a job he did so well there was danger of him being forever typecast until he broke free with My Name is Earl . (why did you break free?)  As always with Kevin Smith there’s a little visit from Jay and Silent Bob (his alter ego) and watch out for an appearance from Ben’s pal Matt Damon. Overall, this is a welcome alternative to the boy meets girl rom-com but beware there is a lot of F-bombs and sexually explicit conversations so send the kids to bed early.  In fact, unless it’s a Richard Curtis rom-com, send them to bed… they can watch youtube there instead of being exposed to any filth on your watch.


As I thought about romantic comedies for this list, I realised the definition has changed. Originally, they were comedies with a romantic tone but now, the romance aspect has become the dominant theme. You could hardly call Maid in Manhattan or Love Actually a comedy, but rather cute, vapid romantic stories.  I think this is the part of the genre that has turned me off when actually some of my favourite films could be classified as rom-coms…. I Love You Phillip Morris, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Lars and the Real Girl (more Gosling), Beautiful Girls, Tootsie and okay let’s throw in Knocked Up, Katherine’s not all bad.  I concede that it is not the most well-rounded of lists and confess that my knowledge of the classics is very shaky (I only cover my own lifespan, starting from the late 70s). I’m sure Roman Holiday or something Clark Gable-y would be much more respected but it’s all subjective. It’s nice to know I can now go forward with an open mind and continue to enjoy the best of this category.


Motherhood, Musings, Women's Issues

hospital bag

May 25, 2015

When people approach me in work with their maternity hospital lists (it’s a large chemist in case that needs explaining), it’s all I can do to keep a straight face…. so much useless shit and euphemisms. Let me walk you through some of the current recommended items for a pregnant lady’s hospital bag and explain the reality.               If you are currently expecting your first child, stop reading immediately, there is nothing to see here, these are not the droids you’re looking for.

sat 10 25 02Loose fitting nightdress or an old long t-shirt; Good advice indeed. Many deluded girls buy beautiful, expensive pyjamas with visions of a 1950s movie where they will be handed a 6 month old child after 2 pushes and smile radiantly at their partner without creasing their silk nighties. I have previously mentioned the story of my Mam destroying her elegant nightdress after a vigorous enema when labouring on me (always thrown in my face in an argument). The reality is that after birth your nightdress is fit for a Damien Hirst exhibition or an incineration. There will be all kinds of body fluids on it… blood, sweat, vernix, vomit and if you’re very unlucky like my Mam, your own shite. I recommend wearing your partner’s favourite t-shirt.


Womens-Disposable-Briefs-for-Heavy-Incontinence-G88080FRSPDisposable underwear and maternity pads; again, good advice. I have had many ladies ask for maternity pads and visibly flinch when they see the ginormity of them and proceed to ask where the regular maxi pads are. How can I explain without scaring them that they will bleed like a stuck pig (I’ve never understood this expression and I am definitely not googling it) and it’s not like a regular period bleed, it’s a years worth of periods in a couple of weeks. Good luck switching one pad for the next, a game of roulette in itself. My post-baby bed wear has always consisted of disposable pants made sexier with a naval to base of spine pad and a giant nursing bra stuffed with breast pads. Nothing sexier than a lady who has just given birth, I may pitch a calender idea.


ar4950Cotton wool: This causes a lot of concern for new parents. They are being told by every parenting blog and health professional to stock up on cotton wool balls. They’re not entirely sure why but they know that these along with Vaseline are mandatory when having a baby. My seasoned sister told me to get wipes but I was afraid and opted for the cotton wool balls. The nurses have some serious issues with wipes (too 21st century and easy to use) and go Ratched on you if they see you with them. You are “encouraged” to procure cooled, boiled water and cotton wool to clean the baby’s bum. It proved so stressful and time-consuming that on baby 2 and 3 , I’d gotten brave. If they approached with a scornful eye on my wipes, I’d counter quickly with “he’s not my first”. This seemed to sate them and I’d already earned major nursey points by breast-feeding (well done Mum!… gotta love the patronising). You also had to use cotton wool and water for bathing the baby and I was itching to get at them with some Johnsons but waited till home as I didn’t want to push my luck and have social services arrive at the hospital for my flagrant disregard for 1960s midwifery.

 Hair bobbins and brush.. “yes I spent all three of my labours brushing my hair and trying out new hairstyles, I actually learnt how to french plait and fishtail”… said no mother ever!


Now to the ridiculous….


Massage oil or lotion for if you would like to be massaged during labour.

Young pregnant woman enjoying in spa treatment. perineum_massage_oilI wanted to punch my husband in the face if he accidentally brushed off my leg but to each their own. Speaking of massage, in the weeks before birth it is recommended to massage your perineum which involves knuckles and vaginas and is supposed to help prevent an episiotomy. My enormous girth prevented me from being physically able to do this and it was not something I was willing to ask for outside help on as I already felt like a big, unsexy lump and that would feel like rubbing salt into the would (kinda literally). Also if I’m using the massage card, I ‘d rather my feet or lower back but I did have a serious episiotomy so perhaps I should have given the unpleasantness a try.


Snacks and drinks; toast-tea-17767981I cannot believe that any woman could think of food while a watermelon is making it’s torturous way through her body with a spectacular exit strategy. There is nothing on earth like the tea and toast you receive when all is done but during the ordeal I’m too busy vomiting down the front of my sodden nightie, rabid on gas and air and trying to ignore the 6 million tubes I have inserted into every orifice to think about an egg salad sandwich. It was a joy however to watch my husband snack on Mars bars and play angry birds on his phone while giving my leg an occasional sympathetic squeeze.

 Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as a CD you have made… No, just no. I am not bringing my baby into the world with knobby, pretentious music. Will you have me suppress my screams like Katie Holmes, have candles lit, whale music playing and a doula? I can’t, I’d be scarlet for myself, I’m too Irish. I like to spend the downtime whinging and my third was born to the sound of farting. It was uncontrollable and shocking but I wasn’t apologising. This explains a lot as Rian does seem soothed by gassy noises.


Arnica cream. Although there’s no conclusive evidence that it works, some women report that arnica cream helps to reduce the bruising and helps the healing process. Don’t apply the cream to broken skin. I don’t understand this… where do you suggest I apply it… I’m broken … everywhere.


A water spray for your face to cool you down, ha, it’s not my face that needs cooling but I suppose it would prove a hard marketing campaign for cooling your “ring of fire” although I know a catchy jingle. going-home outfit; Kate Middleton has set the bar high for this one. Maybe I’m a freak but I was still fat for months after having a baby so the maternity clothes I arrive in fit me quite snugly on the way out, normally leggings and a long shapeless top… come to think of it, 2 years later I’m still wearing that particular uniform. Unfortunately there wasn’t a hairdresser/ make-up artist/ stylist available in the Rotunda and I certainly wouldn’t have worn a lemon dress for varied reasons (partly because yellow makes me look washy and mostly because it’s not conducive for hiding haemorrhages).

So, when packing for the hospital all you need are a couple of nasty old t-shirts, huge pads (for everywhere), leggings, wipes and a birthing partner to abuse horribly. All the rest are bells and whistles designed to distract you from the messy task in hand. I’m not forgetting the baby bag but that’s full of sensible stuff and doesn’t warrant a slagging. I have concentrated on the negative aspects of birth but anyone who knows me, knows I actually love labour, the last part when you see your little creation for the first time, it’s a feeling like no other and the unfathomable horror that got you to that point blurs and fades.

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Dental Dramas

May 18, 2015

I’ve just been to the dentist with my son Conall, 7. He was writhing in agony with a toothache and I had to make an emergency appointment. He’s been to the dentist once before but panicked every time she came near his mouth. I hadn’t mentioned he had aspergers as I didn’t think it was necessary but when I did tell her she changed tack completely and started explaining what she was doing to him as if he had a PHd in  dentistry. japanesedigestivesThis peaked his interest and she managed to do a full check. She did warn him about the dangers of biscuits and he grieved all the way home, sobbing over “jam in the middles” and custard creams. He soon forgot her warning and any time I left the room I could hear the lid being prised open on the biscuit tin (I have developed superhuman skills since having kids and one of my powers is to be able to hear trouble almost before it happens, similar to the BFG but without the elephant ears). On this most recent trip Conall tried desperately to be brave but anxiety kicked in. The dentist, a different guy this time was so understanding and has recommended we see a paediatric dentist that specialises in anxious kids. It seems he needs a crown. It got me thinking about my experiences with dentists as a kid and how I wish I’d seen someone a bit gentle that dealt with my anxiety.

From a young age, dentists were the bane of my life. If you saw the mouth of teeth I’ve ended up with I’m sure you’d concur. Even when I had baby teeth I was told there were too many and I had to have 4 removed by gas aged 5. Anyone who’s ever been knocked out by gas, can you please confirm that it has the same smell as a dry-cleaners? It was an unpleasant experience sweetened by a gummed dairy milk and a plethora/smorgasbord of fancy paper.

unknownI was a desperate chicken-shit of a kid (no brothers, oldest child and a protective mother) and any time I had a loose tooth I would be hysterical. My Dad would threaten to tie string around it and attach it to the door handle, then slam the door, possibly tearing half my jaw off. I once had a front tooth hanging from my gum that I wouldn’t let anyone near, surprisingly, considering my options. downloadI was vomiting with the shock until my Mam dragged me to the dentist who told me to close my eyes and hey presto (he actually said that, this was at the height of Paul Daniel’s fame and everyone thought they were a magician, I’m just glad he didn’t say “You’ll like it – not a lot, but you’ll like it.” that would’ve been creepy) when I opened them, he had magically removed the tooth. I’m sure my mother was dying to get her hands on the wooden spoon.

My second teeth grew in and they didn’t stop growing. Everyone would comment that I’d gotten my Aunty Barbara’s teeth (who never looked anything but beautiful and glamorous). My Mam would exonerate her side of the family, admitting liability for cankles and bunions (got both of them) but not cartoon sized teeth. She was fond of blaming my thumb-sucking also.

I was quickly marched to the local dental clinic and signed up for braces. I think this was a relatively new treatment in the 1980s as there didn’t seem to be a waiting list. The dentist took nasty impressions of my teeth in between drags on his cigar.140228_avarang-d83de

It was decided 2 more teeth should go as here were just too many. I began to wonder if I was one of those cases where I was supposed to be a twin but I’d absorbed the other one in utero, well it’s teeth anyway. I was twelve at the time and my Dad brought me to the clinic as my Mam was never any good in a crisis. I had my Philip’s yellow and turquoise walkman on and Jason Donovan came on the radio singing “you can put your faith in me” and I took great strength from this saintly man’s words and survived a functioning alcoholic stabbing me with needles and gouging my teeth out, gloveless and tasting of Hamlets.

KidWillyThe following week I was fitted with my retainer.I was in school in first year and had just landed the part of Tybalt in our class play.  I attended rehearsals lisping like a true thespian. The drama teacher asked me to remove the brace not impressed with Sylvester the cat does Shakespeare. A year or so later I was referred to an orthodontist in town. The building had what looked like bullet-proof glass, with an inch of nicotine to give them a frosted effect. I was given a set of braces (train tracks as they were known then) not dissimilar to the ones that Willy Wonka wore as a kid. I wore them for two years, followed by night-time wearing of the retainer. My teeth looked ok when they were removed but they made their way back to pre-brace status in a disappointingly short time.

unknown (1)I was always so self conscious and pictures of me as a kid show me grimacing rather than smiling. My sister knew it was my achilles heel and called me goofy; I countered her witticisms with FAT and we’d both cry. I was nervous in the company of young kids or old people as I knew them to be scarily honest and to be avoided at all costs. Everyone gets some cross to bear in their excruciating teenage years, weight, acne, big ears… mine was an overbite.

syrian-hamster_000008437184hooting-chimpIt was when I lived in Turkey that I began to develop a thicker skin. People there will comment on the obvious, there are no white lies, they tell it like it is. You may have a huge spot that you’ve squeezed, applied tea-tree, concealed with 3 inches of make-up but every person you meet that day will point and say “what happened?” in a genuinely concerned way. My husband would call me hamster and make toothy little faces at me. I was shocked at first and probably huffed for ages but I learnt to point out his ears and resemblance to a chimp and all was good. He even bought me a hamster called Jimmy that we loved but lost (genuinely, possibly down the back of the couch).


arnoldschwarzenegger2helen-worth-awi-1001On a routine visit to a fancy, new cosmetic dentist a few years back, my dental issues were finally clarified. He examined my teeth and said “let’s address the overbite”. My knee-jerk reaction was to shout FAT in his face but I calmed myself. I inquired about an invisalign and he said it wouldn’t fix anything. The problem is my jaw. The bottom half needs to be broken and moved forward and then all will be good. A few things ran through my mind…. 6 weeks of liquidised food, that would facilitate a hefty weight loss; what if I ended up with a jaw like Arnie?; Is that preferable to Gail from Corrie?

The decision was taken out of my hands when I got pregnant and my cosmetic dentistry has become a pipe dream. Maybe I can treat myself after my 40th and get a designer jaw to match my designer bits.