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!!!!

The Day Ophelia Came To Visit

Ireland was hit by a natural emergency today. This is something that I have never experienced. The weather people were almost jittery with the adrenalin reporting on the first ever severe weather warning for the whole country. Schools and crèches closed and the majority of retails outlets sent their staff home early.

Pictures surfaced of many of the country’s main thoroughfares looking like ghost towns.

I’m not the type of person to worry about events like this. I did throw my bins in the shed. Purely because I didn’t want to have to send the children out to chase down our recycling. I most certainly wouldn’t have picked it up. My Dad tied down the trampoline and I got the shopping in. Other than that I was looking forward to the day at home with the children and it didn’t hold much space in my mind.

We have two port holes, one in the hall and one in the bathroom to let light in these windowless rooms. When the wind blows hard they crack like my knees in the mornings. It’s a loud noise. It wouldn’t go unnoticed.

Once this began, my eldest was visibly shaken.

He proceeded to go to every window and draw all the curtains. He barricaded the front door with his bike and the hoover. That was the first time the hoover was touched in weeks. He went upstairs and he hid in my room. My initial reaction was amusement. Thinking this was a bit of an excitement on a Monday until I walked into my room and he was trembling.

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I pulled him over onto my bed and I asked him what was worrying him. I have to admit my knee jerk response is to just bark at him not to be silly and to just get on with things.  Then I saw the fear in his eyes. I would have given anything to take it away. He said he was afraid that something bad would happen. He looked out at our little Willow tree and was devastated to see it leaning over almost to the ground.

I reassured him we were safe. We were indoors and nothing would happen to us. As for our tree or our trampoline or our shed that is all only stuff.

As long as the people you love are safe, stuff doesn’t matter.

Listening to his fears and acknowledging how he felt worked so much better than being dismissive.

The storm came and went. There was about four minutes where we had no internet and that was harrowing but we got through it together. Seriously though, people bitch and moan daily about one thing or another.  At least three people lost their lives today. Business, education and services should never take priority over life.

All that matters at the end of the day is that your loved ones are safe. Thanks to the powers that be everyone I care about is safe tonight. All I have left to do is binge on my hurricane supplies. Surely calories don’t count in a national emergency!!!

How the Social Welfare System has Treated Me

When I was 13 or 14 everyone I knew had a little part time job. It was either after school or at the weekends but everyone worked. Well back then, it was also a big part of your social life and you’d look forward to going to work everyday. Thankfully that continued well into adulthood. When college didn’t work out for me (that’s a nice way of saying I dropped out) I secured a job with the H.S.E. and worked there for over ten years.

Then life threw me a curve ball as life tends to do.

My relationship broke down and I had to move to Kilkenny with two boys in tow and a baby in my belly. I had no way of commuting to my job in North County Dublin. I had to resign. This was uncharted territory for me. I had never been unemployed before and it all happened so quick. I had no savings. No reserves. No way of providing for my growing family.

I had massive support; my mother took us in and provided for us as best she could. Then the realisation came that I was going to have to apply for social welfare of some sort or another. I had no clue but I wasn’t long about finding out. The forms were so long that they practically asked what underwear I had on when I lost my virginity, but I persevered and filled them in to the best of my ability.  It would take up to 6 weeks to hear if I qualified for my One Parent Family Payment.

In the mean time, my Mam and I were finding it tough to manage trying to plan for a new baby. We found out about the Community Welfare Officer – someone who can award interim payments in special circumstances. I had to go down and ask for help. Now I can’t say this aspect was pleasant.

Well none of it is pleasant, but I found this humiliating. I told the guy who didn’t know me from Adam that I was in trouble and needed help. Overcome by the situation I burst into tears. Not gentle ones. The big ugly face ones that could drown a small child.

He listened, took the evidence that I had brought with me and presented me with a cheque. He would continue to issue me with the cheques weekly until my case was decided. If I was denied I would have to pay the money back.

I left that office relieved. I didn’t want to be a burden on my mother. I couldn’t work for now and I genuinely needed help. I know that there are many complaints about how the systems work in this country. I can only speak from my own experience. The forms are a nightmare. The staff can be hard to approach. It feels like an invasion of your privacy. They look for the same documentation year after year.

However without it, I don’t know where I’d be.

I think the general feeling is that when people are on Social Welfare they get a bit cosy and don’t want to work, and to be honest I can totally see how that would be the case. I could have happily stayed at home for another few years and lived a pleasant life on what the government provides for me. But I am not that type of person. I want more in life. I am currently in full-time education in order to help me get back into the workforce. My course in Beauty Therapy is fully funded by a government scheme, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to get away from the kids  up skill.

It hasn’t been easy and it’s not the way I saw my life going. I never thought I would need Social Welfare. It may not be a popular opinion, but the Social Welfare system worked for me.

 

Deep Thoughts

Some blog posts come naturally, they flow and I could write them in twenty minutes at the most. For some reason this one is tough, I just don’t know where to begin. My natural tendency is to write about topics from a light hearted stance. However there is little humour to be found in the subject of mental health.

Even to say the words. I have mental health issues. They get a little stuck in my throat somehow.

I am not ashamed.

I’m an open person I wear my heart on my sleeve but somehow that sentence doesn’t fit me? There are a number of reasons for that.

I don’t really fit the stereotype. The perception is that I’m outgoing, confident and full of the joys of life. Well there was a period in my life that none of those words could have been used to describe me. I can’t remember the first time I felt depressed. It started with bouts of crying. I’m a girl sure  that’s just hormones. I was either pre menstrual, menstrual or post menstrual. But that was the point. There was no end to it. I felt sad all the time. Continue reading “Deep Thoughts”

The Raging Roads

I love to go for an aul drive. Hit the minty highway as my Da used to say I have happy memories of my Dad letting down the back seat for us to sleep after a day trip to Dublin. In those days Dublin seemed a lot further away. It wasn’t something you’d do on a whim. It took planning and time and you’d make sure the neighbours knew you were going because who knew if you’d come back. I remember my father triple checking, the oil, and the wheels to set about on our adventure to the big smoke. We knew we had hit Dublin when you’d see the big ball and then the McDonalds sign on the long mile road. Kilkenny didn’t have a McDonalds at the time so it was as good as being in a foreign country.

My grandfather used to bring us on a drive out the Kells to buy batch bread and as we picked the middle out of the loaf there was this bridge he’d drive over at speed and his head would hit off the roof and our arses lifted off the seats and we just thought he was the coolest most daring Grandad anyone had ever! So in essence all my childhood associations with driving were fantastic. None of us had car seats it was squeeze in as many children as you can. My Uncle even had a hole in the floor of his car that we’d all fight to sit over so that we could watch the road fly by. We knew no danger.

We are not the worst in the world for deaths on our road and we have greatly improved. In the year I was born there were over 500 deaths down to 165 the year before last but the reason I thought to talk about driving and roads has got to do with the way the deaths are reported. It’s only recently that I heard a news report mention the actual road itself. I drive the road from Kilkenny to Abbeyleix a lot and there are large sections of road without so much as a cat’s eye to guide the way. It’s so dark that drivers who don’t know the road really well crawl at a snail’s pace which can be equally as dangerous as driving too fast.

We are a wet country… it rains a lot!!!! But it seems to come as a shock to our roads when a drop of water hits them and instead of letting it slide off and soak in somewhere. the roads like to gather the fallen rain in large amounts. Are they worried that driving windy roads in the dark with no illumination wasn’t enough of a challenge… they thought let’s throw in a few water hazards while we are at it.

They say that driving while tired is nearly as bad as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But once you get on a motorway in Ireland you could hit France before you could find somewhere safe to pull in and get a rest. There are various junctions in Kilkenny where the road markings are wrong or contradict what I learned in my rules of the road book all those many years ago. It really frustrates me.

The placements of pedestrian crossings are just laughable. At one junction you have to turn right from being perched on a hill only to turn to be hit bang in the face with the possibility of a mother her six kids and two dogs trying to cross the road.

I get that we are all human. Most of us have made what could be classed as a silly mistake, taken our eyes of the road or pulled out when we shouldn’t have but the state of our roads are a disgrace. Road markings are missing unfinished or simply worn away. I sometime wonder if the people who plan and construct the roads have ever been in a car in their lives. To prevent accidents you have to put the best of precautions in place. Sometimes it just feels to me like the roads are being designed to be against us.

Teenage Delusions

So motherhood happened. Not once but three times. Yet despite my experience I really don’t feel like a mother nor do I feel like a grown up. It’s like a poster I saw on Facebook. I think they call them memes or something even though I have no idea what that means or how to pronounce it. When a crisis occurs and you look for someone more adulty than you. Woah there Nelly. I’m the adult. Well I must have missed that memo.

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My son told me I was just a kid cause I still had a Mammy and Daddy.  And yes he used the word kid. Because, yes he watches too much American television. He even asked me for candy one day. I was like I’ll candy stripe your arse for you and attempted to get him to watch Fraggle Rock on tg4. That’ll snap any Yankee notions out of ya boyo.  By his estimation I’m not an adult and I’m beginning to think he’s wise beyond his years. Continue reading “Teenage Delusions”

And they call it Puppy….. insanity!

 

 

 

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You have your hands full

These words are directed to me at least once a day. I get it. Three children is a lot. The fact that I’m no longer with their Dad probably makes it seem like more. I don’t do as much as I should from a motherly perspective but between the jigs and the reels life is fairly busy. When they go to their father’s I really do enjoy the peace. The doing nothing way of life suits me down to a tee ( or is it tea ??). In the midst of one of these marathon nothing sessions in which I relish  a post that often pops up in my newsfeed reared it’s head again.

The post was a heart felt plea from Cara Rescue Dogs for foster homes for puppies in their care. Now I’m not overly mad about animals and I’m not overly mad about the number 1 and number 2 that comes from said animals. I’m not overly mad on the smell of dog hair, dog breathe or dog farts. That being said my fingers started moving and I was texting and I was having some sort of a turn because the next thing I knew I was going to be considered as a foster parent for two very small puppies.

How the hell did that happen!!!

Sunday afternoon at 5pm after a home check was completed I became the rather petrified carer of two teeny balls of fluff. One brown and white the other black and white. Cara provides everything you need to take care of the pups for how ever long they are with you. All you have to do is love them. Well feeding and watering them wouldn’t go a miss either but you know what I mean.

The best part is the children had no clue and when they arrived home at 6pm tired and hungry after a busy weekend I was gonna reveal two puppies. Sure what could go wrong?

Two minutes after my grand reveal all hell broke loose someon wet themselves there was whimpering and begging  and that was just the children ( that joke never gets old). The two boys didn’t end up in bed until ten. Yes, Monday morning was torture.

Once everyone calmed and settled in the lovely part of the experience began. I have never heard the children laugh so much. The TV has hardly been on in days and the house has never been as clean. I’m really enjoying having the dogs as my guests.

Our little  fur babies are called Flake and Krispy kindly named by Karla at Cara. My children keep calling her Caramel so Aunty Caramel gave us our dogs to mind. I have explained to them that the dogs won’t be staying and I am fully aware that they will be upset but I’m hoping they will see the good that we are doing. Let’s face it they get upset when I give them the wrong the wrong coloured bowl for breakfast so I’m prepared for the hysteria.

I suppose the purpose of fostering for me is to see if I’m willing to put the work in that is needed to care for a dog. I don’t want to be the type that takes on an animal and realise that it doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle or my children especially. That’s one of the reasons why Cara are kept so busy. People think it’s all cuddles and sleeping. It’s far from it. I can tell you one thing though it’s very rewarding. I’m teaching my children about giving back in this world. Doing what you can when you can. How to care for something other than yourself. Also how important it is to respect other living things. I’m hoping this will be something that I can do regularly.

Cara Rescue Dogs Facebook page is <<<<< there if you click on the link. You’ll find everything you need to know all the contact details. If you feel like taking on a dog is not for you there are loads of ways to donate. You’ll feel great and you’ll make some dog’s day. I would like to just say that it’s a completely vouluntary orgainsation run by people with full time jobs and familys and lives of their own so if you have more than you need build a bigger table… not a higher fence.

Be well

Ellen

 

 

 

Service with a Smirk

Although I am a stay at home mother  every year at Christmas I am fortunate enough to get work in the local Ice Rink. Every year the owners recognise the skills that I have and implore me to become a vital part of a vibrant team of young ambitious workers. There’s that and the fact that the owners are my aunt and uncle!! Either way I love being a part of the work force even for such a short time.

Serving the public is not for the faint of heart. The vast majority of people are kind and courteous, wait their turn and are grateful for anything that you can do for them. Then there are the others……

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A great source of amusement at the box office was the numerous people who would attempt to get a ticket at a reduced rate. 12 and over is a adult ticket so therefore logic would dictate you had to be 11 to get the more appealing price for a child. Men at least 6 foot tall with a mustache would plead innocence when challenged about their age. You gotta  love a trier.

Standing in the skate dock one afternoon a lady on the ice grabbed my attention. She sat her child over the barrier and said to me without a smile on her face said. ‘Is he supposed to have skates on him?’ It took me a minute to actually understand the situation. She had come to a rink, paid €13 to bring her child out on the ice and somehow thought that he did not have to put ice skates on to go ice skating on ice. My jaw still drops when I think about that one.

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Working behind the shop could be full of fun. Once such phenomenon is the six giggling teens who all want a diet coke and a bar. Here’s the catch… they all stand behind one another and order individually… the…. exact….same….thing. No chance of…. Oh while you are over there all five of us want drinks. Nope. They would rather see my little legs work like a flintstone outcast over and back and over and back. On the plus side it was great exercise.

Well it’s all said and done for another year and I feel lucky to have been a part of the team. It gave me an outlet from the children and also made me feel very lucky to be able to stay at home and watch them grow. See you all for the next big freeze!!!

 

 

 

 

 

10 Thing you didn’t care you didn’t know about me!

Everyone loves a bit of trivia.

So when I’m a famous blogger and they are writing table quiz questions about me, you might just wanna commit these facts to memory so that you will that top prize of a €25 car valeting voucher.

  1. I’m named Ellen after my grandmother. I didn’t meet another Ellen until I was in my twenties. Now there are many versions floating around, Elle, Ellie and Ella. I was the original… make no mistake about that.
  2. For ten years I worked with people with Intellectual Disabilities. I think that’s where I used up my patience quota because Lord knows I have none left for my children.
  3. Keith Duffy hosted a quiz on the tele called the The Box and yours truly was on it. I lived in a box (large conservatory) in Dublin city center for 48 hrs and I won €2000
  4. My children’s full names are Kyle Gus, Finn Conan and Macy Ellen. Each one was overdue, Kyle 11 days, Finn 4 days and Macy a whopping 14 days. Guess I have a cosy womb! Well we all have our talents!
  5. My favourite group are Steps. No you didn’t hear me wrong yes Steps. And yes I do know all the routines and don’t say so do you just because you know the Tragedy one.
  6. In order to win a 2 hour cruise while on the Gold Coast I had to flash my sizeable assets to a club rep. Noone could afford to buy a ticket to come with me so I never went.
  7. Both my father and my sister don’t drink. My sister is a pioneer which means she has never even tasted alcohol since she took her confirmation pledge. I know I don’t understand it either.
  8. In primary school my favourite sandwich filling was Panda chocolate spread and Luncheon meat. Is there any wonder that I’m fat.
  9. I was once engaged to be married. We never made it up the aisle. Or as I like to put it. He put the bling on it but he never put the ring on it.
  10. I’m a qualified Nail Technician and Make Up Artist but not currently practicing. I’m focusing on being a mother right now. Oh writing a wee blog.. check it out you might enjoy it. https://blushbellyandbabies.wordpress.com/about/

So there are ten things you didn’t care that you did not know about me.

Thanks for reading

Be well

Ellen ( the original )

Poetic Licence

I always liked English in school. I’m sure my English teachers would disagree because i was lazy and lacked focus. I love the meanings of words. Song lyrics especially. And now that I have children their books delight me. My favourite being ones that are written as rhymes.

Once upon a time a friend of mine asked me to be her bridesmaid. As you can imagine every conversation was wedding related from the dresses to the desserts. We were discussing the communion reflection Continue reading “Poetic Licence”