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.

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a week!

I don’t even know where to begin. It all started last week when I received  a notification in The M Word writers group saying that The Pat Kenny Show were looking to contact me with a view to speaking on the show.

Sorry what?….. where? who me? I couldn’t quite process the information. Turns out one of the shows producers is a fan of The M Word and read a piece that I wrote and it was very relevant to the topic of their show this week. My article How the Social Welfare System has Treated Me was about the positive effect that the system has had on my life.

Off I trotted up to the TV3 studios with my fellow blogger Niamh from The Mammy Blog at my side for support. I did my piece and I didn’t vomit so that’s a bonus. It was a cool little midweek adventure to be on the tele and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Pat kenny show

The following evening I was off to the VbyVery Bloggers Awards in The Academy in Dublin. The M Word was nominated for The Best Parenting Blog in the commerical category and guess what?

WE WON!!!!!

I feel honoured to be a part of something so successful and I’m excited for what the future holds. The women that contribute are some of the most interesting women I have ever met. I feel like I’ve known them all my life. They are a constant support for me and my writing and the fountain of knowledge between them all is so vast I can’t wait to dive in!!!

Then last night I attended the 40th celebration of one of my closest friends. Patsie is a mother of five and makes it look very easy. Always looking for the fun in life it’s rare you’d hear her complain. It was a wonderful celebration.

The main theme of the week is the amount of awesome women I have in my life. I feel blessed. Now I’m not going outside the door until 2020 sometime because I am exhausted. I have no stamina!!!!   jsklfa;sd fasjklfa    sorry I drifted off and my head hit the keyboard. Time for a nap I think.

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Repeal the 8th-An Opinion

I am not a political person. I don’t really understand the lingo. I don’t understand the party dynamics.

I didn’t vote on anything until I was over the age of thirty because I didn’t see the point. Now I’m a parent that is running a home and rearing children that has changed. I see how the decisions made by those in power can affect the lives of those at ground level. As far as educating myself on the intricacies of political systems I have a long way to go.

But I’m trying.

There’s one issue that is swarming around my social media and the campaign is entitled Repeal the 8th. Everywhere I look there’s a digital influencer urging me to Repeal the 8th and I had no idea what that meant. Off I went to take a look and it made me examine my own belief on the issue of abortion.

Firstly I needed to look at this 8th. The 8th of course is the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland. The Constitution consists of the fundamental rules that govern how a country is run. No other law can contradict what is set out in the Constitution. The Eight Amendment recognises that the life of the unborn is equal to that of the mother.

This means that no laws that allow abortion can be introduced into legislation. Sitting in my home with my three children it was difficult to put myself in the position of someone who did not want to continue with a pregnancy. For me it was something that I could not do. I believe that from the moment of conception that it’s a baby. Throughout my pregnancies if any referred to bump as a fetus I was visibly irritated. Don’t speak about my child as if it’s some sort of a medical condition.

This is the miracle of life going on here.

Yet despite my own beliefs I believe I am pro choice. I acknowledge that many people don’t believe that it’s a baby from conception and that’s perfectly ok. I believe that there should be a cutoff point of around twelve weeks for abortions without complications and then on a case by case basis after that with the focus always being on the life of the mother.

I do feel like my stance on the issue is a little contradictory. It’s such a complicated issue I can’t pack it into a tiny little box. I visited an exhibition in Dublin and there was a display of every stage of the development of the baby in the womb and the rate at which a baby develops is so rapid. That is what leads me to the opinion that the timescale needs to be quite small.

The real reason why I consider myself pro choice is because even though I could never have an abortion under any circumstances I do not have the right to make that decision for anyone else. There’s always the argument that some people will use it as a form of contraception but unfortunately you cannot legislate for the irresponsible behaviour of a minority.

There are women who couldn’t bear the thoughts of raising a child with a disability. They are entitled to feel that way. There are young girls who fall pregnant by accident and would be disowned by their families with no way to provide for a child. There are women in abusive relationships that couldn’t cope with another mouth to feed in a hostile environment.

They deserve to make their own choice.

The victims who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest deserve to regain autonomy over their bodies.

Even though I’ll never be in a position to have an abortion the attitude in Ireland of not on my doorstep is archaic. Let our women be at home surrounded by people who love and support them after going through one of the most difficult things any woman will go through. So come referendum day I’ll be proudly voting to Repeal the 8th.

The Why!

Well here  I am about to start another new project. I’m a divil for starting things that I never finish. Me mother said I probably wouldn’t have finished my pregnancies  had I a choice. Which brings me to the reasons why I have started this page.

I woke up one morning the mother of three children. No it wasn’t some freak accident that made me inherit three wonderful gifts. I bore them, I birthed them (is that a word) and I’m rearing them alone. It’s just I don’t think it ever really dawned on me that I was a parent. Fully, wholly and completely responsible for the lives of not one…. not two….. but three children.

WTF

So this little blog is going to be a reflection of my everyday reality being a single mother to three children. My struggle and successes. Continue reading “The Why!”