Tales From My Throne

I’m going to write a children’s book. It’s going to be a collection of short stories called ‘Tales from the Toilet Seat’.

What ever it seems to be about children. And I know it’s not only mine. The most urgent of requests. The story that just can’t wait a minute to be told. That drawing that I need to see right now. All coincide with my trips to the loo.

When my mother comes over the first thing I do is run up to use the loo for the sheer luxury of doing it alone. No matter how many times I ask for privacy it falls on deaf ears.

So now it’s become the norm. I check homework. I button up clothes. I brush hairs and I snap chat all from my throne on a daily basis. It’s not pretty but it’s the way it is.

I remember the luxury of the days sitting on the loo reading magazines until my legs went numb. Praying they wouldn’t go from under me as I used the bath to prop me as I regained some sort of feeling.

Now it’s in quickly, pleading for privacy and exit with the niggling feeling that you are not quite finished. So from my throne to yours ( if you are reading this on the loo that is ) Have a great weekend.

What is Yulefest?

For those of you who don’t know, I am based in the Medieval Capital of Ireland. That’s Kilkenny! As with towns and city’s across the world huge efforts are put into making sure that Kilkenny is an attractive place to visit. Luckily we have the year round attractions from Kilkenny Castle to The Smithwicks Experience to keep people more than entertained.

However, that wasn’t enough for us here in The Marble City. We wanted to make Kilkenny’s shine even brighter and came up with the fantastic initiative of Yulefest. Last year was it’s inaugural schedule and it kind of snuck under the radar for the most part. This year there’s no missing it. You can’t turn a corner without seeing the gorgeous Yulefest logo peeping out at you. This is in no small part to the Festival Manager Paula Lawler who is working her toosh off to make sure one and all know exactly what Yulefest is.

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So what is Yulefest when it’s at home? To quote www.visitkilkenny.ie

Yulefest is Kilkenny’s all-inclusive Christmas festival and will run throughout the month of December with a super exciting program.

Split into three themed weeks there is a vast array of events to chose from. Medieval WeekCultural Week and Arts Week all have amazing events planned and some of them are absolutely free. Click on any of the links to book tickets to go see Paul Brady or perhaps Craft Fairs are your thing? Whatever you fancy Yulefest won’t fail to deliver.

Of course what would any Yuletide be without a bit of Ice Skating. Kilkenny On Ice is a family run business and has been around a while now. Hopefully Yuletide will bring tourists to the facility and they won’t be long about realising it’s one of the best rinks in the country.

The Dates To Skate (1)

For the duration of the festivities the centre of the city called The Parade has been brought to life. There’s a glorious Big Wheel if you have the head for it and some Artisan Food stalls which won’t make it easy for you to fit into your little black dress for the staff party.

I am just so impressed with the variety of events for the whole family. There’s just too many to mention. I hope that people come out and support this initiative. I think it’s a uniquely Irish quality that we complain and complain about the lack of events and then don’t bother to support them when they are on. The website is www.yulefestkilkenny.ie and their Facebook Page will keep you up to date with all there is on offer.

I hoping to get to a couple of events myself and I’ll make sure I take a few snaps to share with you. If you do anything Yulefesty… make sure and let me know! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Why is the bad stuff easier to remember?

I’m doing my best to instill confidence in my children. I don’t want to rear cocky know it alls that think they are better than anyone else. I want them to be quietly confident in who they are. I point out their good attributes and reinforce the notion that it’s what you know…. not what other people say. I want them to have a strong sense of who they are.

I want them to know that their value is not found in the opinions of others.

All very noble idea’s I’m sure you’ll agree. The problem is the bad stuff seems to stick better than the good stuff. We are living in a critical age. Everything seems to be open to the opinions of others. Nobody seems to realise that there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

I find this to be especially the case with the appearance of others. I get it. It’s the first thing you notice about someone. In order to build relationships we usually compliment another person on some aspect of their appearance. When we become familiar it almost goes the other way. We feel we have the right to point out everything that we don’t approve of.

I wear what I like. I don’t dress for the pleasure of others. As a result I don’t really care what you think. I appreciate creative criticism like, I prefer a different shape on you or the blue one is better but it doesn’t mean that my mind would be swayed. I wasn’t always like that. That is something that has come with practice and age. I remember crying to my mother because my runners were not cool. I felt inadequate like people were laughing at me. I don’t want my children to feel that pressure from their peers. I hope their sense of self will be stronger than mine was. My son came down the stairs wearing two shirts one day. I just said you look cool. Thoroughly amused by his individual taste.

I never felt like I had any talent. I couldn’t sing or draw. Since I started blogging people have been very complimentary of my ‘talent’. I couldn’t accept it. Sure anyone could write if they wanted to. I think it’s important to nurture what you are good at because it does feel good. I hope the children will have faith in their abilities. Faith I am still struggling to find.

It goes without saying that I think my lads are just gorgeous balls of perfection. For some strange reason I place a lot of emphasis on looks. I think more attractive people get on better in life. I was never the pretty one of the group. In fact I was just telling a friend today about being on a quiz on the tele where I had to live in a glass house in the centre of Dublin city. (long story) At the end of each night you’d compete to win a quiz to stay on another 24hrs. I won so I got a new opponent. His first words to me as he entered the house were

My girlfriend was so relieved when she saw I was going to be in here with you because she was worried that I would be in here with someone attractive

If someone said that to me now it wouldn’t knock a funk out of me. Again something that has come with practice and age. Back then I was crushed and it took me a while to get over that. I hope to instill in my children that your looks are not what defines you. It’s your heart that makes you beautiful.

I can’t protect them from every bad experience that comes their way. I wish I could shield them from meanness and judgement and the feelings that they are not good enough. Instead I am going to try and teach them to focus on the positive aspects of life. To have faith in themselves and that they are no better or no worse than anyone else.

In short… don’t let the bad stuff stick!

When the house falls silent because it’s child free,
All manner of noises crawl out to haunt me.
There’s a beep that pipes up every 30 seconds or so,
I lay flat eyes opened counting that’s how I know.
The radiator is clicking as the temperature cools, 
Replacing deep child breathe and avoidance of drool.
What I hear so clear and loudest over them all,
Is the silence in each room bathroom,bedrooms and hall.
No crying for mammy to come fix my bed,
Or can I sleep in your room I was good like you said.
Luckily tomorrow the mayhem returns times three,
Then I’ll long for the silence and the noises that haunt me.

We Have No Fireplace, How Will Santa Deliver Our Toys?

≈I was sent this product, all opinion are my own!≈

I’ve tried so hard to resist mentioning the big C!!! I do think year after year it’s starting earlier and earlier and my fear is it will ruin the magic. That being said I do enjoy it… see I still haven’t said the word!!!

There are loads of gimmicks that try and get parents to part with their hard earned cash. That Elf on the Shelf being one!!!! Normally I love a bit of devilment but I have enough to remember without being in bed at night and remembering that I forgot to move the bloody doll.

So I pass on lots of fads because I don’t have that extra money or the extra energy that many require. Years ago things were so much more simple and not everything was as complicated.

One complication I came across a couple of years ago was when we moved into our new home and pride of place in our sitting room was a flue-less gas fire! Sounds cool eh? Well it really is, until you are trying to come up with a story to explain how Santa delivers his toys to a house with no fireplace!

The usual excuses were spouted. Santa finds a way. He’s magic. We leave a key out! Each one met with skepticism or perhaps it was just that I thought they were feeble explanations so I didn’t sell the ideas as well as I could.

Then boom like a gift from the Gods I came across Santa’s Magical Fireplace. This gorgeous concept contains a small replica of a red fireplace, vile of magic dust and a stunning book to read. The glossy book with a rhyming story explains how Santa can get into the homes of children without chimney’s or fireplaces.

They scratched at their heads,

and  tugged at their beards,

some ideas accepted , but others too weird,

But at last, cried EUREKA!!! with a smile on their face,

They’d invented Santa’s Magical Fireplace!

My kids fell in love. We spent at least fifteen minutes trying to figure out what wall we were going to put the fireplace on. ‘Its going to get four feet tall!’ exclaimed my eldest.

Although Santa had managed other years…… this year we were helping him save his energy because we were doing the magic.

fireplace

From a parents point of view (that’s me) I love the fact it came with a book. It’s going to be our bedtime story on Christmas Eve  I didn’t say it!!! I didn’t! Damn it. We will sit together and read the book on the night we put it out for the Big Man and I think it’s the beginning of a new little tradition.

I was lucky enough to have one sent to me but you can get your Magical Fireplace from www.santasmagicalfireplace.com

My kids saw me argue….so what?

We all know the idealism that comes when you are expecting your first child is inspiring. With subsequent children these standards slip considerably. Baby one has matching socks and vests and baby three is lucky to have socks at all. It doesn’t mean you love the last one any less. It’s just the more life piles on something has to give.

Our minds are so saturated with rules and regulations in order to excel at life. It’s overwhelming. I f I were to do everything ‘right’ in a day I reckon I’d get about two hours sleep if I was lucky. So every day we prioritise what we can do that day and the cycle continues day in and day out.

Years ago there weren’t as many rules. As long as your children were fed and clean from time to time you were doing a good job. Now you need a degree in child psychology to rear children. Last week I read that saying good boy to your child could have damaging side effects.

I sometimes find myself at a loss.

With that in mind I try my best to rear my children through the gauntlet of do’s and do not’s and I haven’t managed to kill one yet.  There are a few rules that I would surmise most parents try to stick to.

Try and not curse around the children. It’s not the best use of our language skills and funny and all as it is to hear your two and a half year old repeat the word bitch most people discourage it, once they have finished laughing.

Make an attempt at feeding them healthy food. It’s difficult but strawberries and banana’s dipped in chocolate still counts doesn’t it?

The reason I’m writing this is because I broke one of the cardinal rules of child rearing in this day and age.

I had an argument in front of the children.

A discussion between two adults became heated and escalated quickly. My voice rose as it does when I’m angry and my sparring partner asked me to keep my voice down and not in front of the children.

When the exchange was over and both parties had cooled down we both expressed regret about the fact that our children witnessed the row. Then I had time to reflect and I thought, do you know what? What bloody harm did it do?

Now I’d like to make clear that I’m not talking about abusive relationships or households that live in terror all the time. I’m just talking about an odd row once in a blue moon where grown up’s fail to agree and lose control.

What they actually witnessed was two adults having a disagreement. There were raised voices and red faces and then it was resolved. The two adults reconciled and life went on. This is what happens in life. To shield children from it completely is not doing them any favours.

Many children have no coping mechanisms at all. This notion that the children would be traumatised irked me.

The world is a tough place and if we over protect our children we are failing to prepare them for real life. Surely that’s worse parenting than having them witness the odd row?

 

The end

I’ve had a very emotional day. The course that has consumed my life for little over a year has come to an end. I cried before it began because I didn’t want to leave my daughter. I’m crying now it’s over because I will miss my friends.

Groups of women are notoriously bitchy. We were lucky. There was  bitchiness all right, that’s just nature’s way, but in between that nonsense we all supported each other to get through was is an extremely tough course despite popular opinion.

I’ve had the courtesy of getting to know people from all different backgrounds. A kaleidoscope of personalities no two alike and all as equally as fascinating. These ladies will be my friends and my support system in my chosen career. I feel very lucky.

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Let me tell you now if you think getting into the Beauty Industry is a soft alternative to college    think again. I’ve been to college numerous times and this is not the easy alternative. It’s detailed, it’s skilled but it’s also a lot of fun.

I’ve never enjoyed learning as much. I feel as though I’ve found something I love. All I have to do now is gain confidence in my abilities. Where’s the course for that?

The last thing I want to talk about is the course tutor Grace Power. She will kill me for this but the course is over so I’ll take my chances. Without a shadow of a doubt I would not have completed this course if it was not for her guidance, support and influence.

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher so the profession rates highly in my list of jobs I am in awe of. Today the girls wanted me to speak and I couldn’t because I didn’t think I’d be able to hold in the emotions.

I’ve learned so much from Grace. I’ve learned to take responsibility for my own decisions. I’ve learned I should be kinder to myself. I’ve learned that love is better than anger. I’ve learned to listen to the universe, it gives you signs if you are open to them. I’ve learned I’m not the only one with an eventful life. I’ve learned to allow people to make their own decisions.

Lastly I’ve learned I no longer want to be a teacher!! If I had to put up with what Grace had to put up with I’d be in Mountjoy and that was just me, never mind the other trainees.

So thank you Grace and thank you to everyone that I’ve met through the course.

It was an absolute pleasure. Now if anyone wants any treatments you’ll find me in Kieran O’ Gorman Hair, Beauty and Day Spa on Friday’s and Saturdays from December! Ask for Caroline though ’cause I’m wrecked!!!!

My Breasts Have Been Measured

I’m off to a wedding on Sunday and I’m very excited. I purchased a gorgeous dress. Well it would be gorgeous on someone else. I look like 5 pounds of shit shoved into a 4 pound bag but there’s nothing I can do about that now. It’s a raspberry asymmetrical dress. Short at the front long at the back and is extremely comfortable.

I have had the nails done, the hair done, eyelash extensions and the last thing on my list was to get good undergarments to make sure the dress sits as well as it can.

Off I went to a local lingerie shop in Kilkenny called Belle Femme. Walking into these places is always intimidating for me. When you are my size, bras are mostly functional. You can’t just pick one up on a whim because the majority of shops don’t cater for the bigger bust. So you see rows of delicate items and just think… I don’t belong.

However I trusted my friends who told me this was the place to go so I braved it out and in I went. A warm greeting awaited me and I was whisked behind a pair of luxurious curtains to be measured for my over the shoulder boulder holder. The impeccably turned out Bridget asked me to remove my top and bra…..

Jesus Bridget buy a girl a drink at least!

I started to witter on about every time I’ve bought a bra since I was 16 and Bridget worked her magic. ‘I don’t use tape to measure’ she assured me as if she was some sort of breast jedi who could sense their size just by being in their presence. And surely enough without so much as asking me what size I thought I was, I was wearing a bra that did everything you hoped a bra would do.

They had shape, they were raised off my belly and they were secure in their pleasantly pleasing black lace brassiere. I was so impressed. The bra didn’t resemble something I’ve seen elderly women wear back in the 50’s. Usually it’s all flesh coloured and full cups not a hint of an underwire anywhere. This was stylish and modern. I tried on my dress and the difference was noticeable. I had a shape and I was thrilled. Bridget left me to get myself dressed and putting on the old bra was such an anti climax.

Back to saggy baggy boobies!

Before Bridget took my purchase to pack it beautifully in delicate tissue and a branded carrier bag I managed to catch a glimpse of what size bra my breasts were worthy of. Well I nearly fainted 40HH…. who knew the letters even went up that far! Holy knocker lockers that is epic. I’m heading back to Bridget next month to get fitted for an everyday bra and I can’t wait. I just hope she doesn’t add any more letters onto the size!

Tom Humphries’ Lenient Sentence Is Shocking

On more than one occasion this week I have had the thought that the world is regressing and not progressing. One occasion was when a senator declared that women shouldn’t play rugby that’s it’s a game more suited to men. I sighed. Another was when a controversial young man returned home after being released from a prison to what seemed like a hero’s welcome? I sighed. The most recent incident was when I watched a television show where a guest remarked that a convicted paedophile deserves compassion and sympathy.  I didn’t sigh.

I was fuming.

Our history of child protection is this country is laughable. In the 18th century children were kidnapped and sold to America, considered a valuable commodity. Orphans who found themselves in Industrial schools were abused. The long term crimes that happened within the Catholic Church have been well publicised. The fact that there are 3000 homeless children in the country speaks volumes.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been shocked all those things considered. Still I wanted to jump down the tube and shake the man speaking to within an inch of his life. The man in question being the notorious Eamonn Dunphy. Not a stranger to being controversial but usually with regards to sporting events which don’t register on my list of things to take seriously.

The subject was the sentencing of Tom Humphries, a former Irish Times journalist, who was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for grooming a teenage girl and sexually abusing her. Dunphy passed comment that the man’s life is essentially over and that he’ll never work again.

‘he has to live with the shame’.

I wanted to scream at the television…… and your point is? Humphries groomed a fourteen year old child over months and months eventually leading to sexual encounters. He deserves to carry that shame and in my opinion deserves to spend more than two-and-a-half years in prison.

Over a three month period he sent that child 16000 text messages after getting her number through a third party. To put that another way that’s just under 200 text messages a day! This wasn’t a lapse in judgement. This was a premeditated, consistent, persistent and predatory hunting of a young girl to satisfy his needs.

The smell of privilege was stifling as I listened to people talk about that man. If this was Billy from Darndale on the dole there would be no such concern for the perpetrator of the crime. The judge spent more time talking about the effects this was going to have on the convict than on the poor girl who had to live through this ordeal.

I cannot fathom how the judge went into a room to make her decision and her mind wandered towards the criminal and not the child.

His life mattered more because he had a greater social standing?

I can’t say that without seething in anger. Our children have been wronged for so long but it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Not when you see results like these coming through the courts. Our children deserved better, they deserve better and I hope the sentence is repealed to highlight the injustice of what has just occurred.