Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Show - Unbreakable #KimmySchmidt - coming to #Netflix ...... real SOON!!

I guess the title says it all really but you might want to hear a little more? Right? Well here's the blurb.....

'After living in a cult for fifteen years, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper - The Office/Bridesmaids) decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. Armed with just a backpack, light-up sneakers, and a couple of way-past-due library books, she’s ready to take on a world she didn't even think existed anymore.'

It sounds like a lot of fun and with the involvement of Tina Fey it's bound to make us all laugh. A lot!

The people at Netflix wondered about the unbreakable moments we mums had in our lives. We've all had some, right? I've definitely had my fair share I can tell you!

In order to celebrate the launch of this great show the wonderful Looking for Blue Sky invited me to share these unbreakable moments of mine, and so I have a little guest post over on hers right now, if you'd like to take a peek! And maybe leave a little comment?! A share or retweet would be fabulous too and would make the people over at Netflix very happy indeed! They love hashtags too, so they do, like #KimmySchmidt, #Netflix and #unbreakablemums !!

Many thanks and I hope you enjoy reading it!

Thanks for the opportunity Looking for Blue Sky, it was fun!

And if you're signed up to Netflix then tune in on March 6th and let us know what you think!

As far as I'm concerned we #unbreakablemums rule the world and so I leave you with the words of Kimmy herself:

'Look out world, nothing can stop us now'!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Very Patient Boy and his Dream Gaming Machine........

We all know the saying that 'good things come to those who wait' don't we? Well, I know a boy who has waited rather a long time for something that he really wanted.

Since last summer he has schemed and dreamed - and tormented regaled his parents - about building something very special for himself, and how he'd fund it.

He researched with constant trawls through Google and YouTube until he was quite satisfied that he'd sourced the exact, all singing-and-all-dancing, parts and components to build his very own Dream Gaming Machine. Custom made to suit his own very precise demands of course!

He then began to wear down convince his parents that this was indeed the best use of his resources and talents, and that at the tender age of fourteen he was very much up to the job. Oh, and Christmas was the best time of the year to do this. Besides, having a birthday so close to Christmas would help his finances somewhat! He really had got it all worked out and had put so much time and effort into it, how could we say no?! Words whispered like 'college' and 'Computer Science' also helped ;-)

And soon after the ordeal of placing a rather long 'Santa List' for this Dream Gaming Machine of his began. This involved researching the online site with the best deals on offer for each item of said list, and with the best transport costs too. After much head-scratching and nights spent on this task an order was finally placed with, who also offered free delivery!

And with this order the patience game began in earnest.

Although the order was placed just in time for a Christmas delivery as two items were out of stock, a fact not divulged when the order was placed, the dispatch was delayed. My constant interaction with the company, mainly through twitter, resulted in the rest of the order being delivered. Tip #1: if placing an order with this company, especially a long one, don't pay with PayPal as the whole order must be in stock for dispatch to occur.

And so Christmas and his birthday passed swiftly by, with no presents for the now fifteen year old.

However shortly after Christmas, and while he was still on school holidays, many boxes arrived, minus two items of course, and the great build began.

Online research is all very well and good, and YouTube videos are a wonderful visual, but the actuality of building something like this can be a little different, to say the least! And while he did sort out a lot of problems himself we also had some helpful advice from the son of a facebook friend (you know who you are) to whom I am most grateful. Of course I too was hovering as usual in the background, also available on demand. Peace was maintained and a patient demeanor encouraged, as I gently pushed the viewing of this build as an 'ongoing project'; as opposed to a 'let's build it NOW and just play' approach.

The excitement when those fans eventually turned and the power lights lit up was contagious! Hell, I even jumped for joy!

And then came the hugest disappointment of all..... Stoopid mum had clicked the wrong button on the order form and we had the wrong operating system. It took six weeks for (the main UK company) to accept a return of this item so that I could buy the correct one - I'm not that stoopid! - and for them to find it in their massive warehouse. My persistence prevailed, with constant Twitter DMs to the company and finally, with the February midterm break almost complete, the Dream Gaming Machine is up and running! Albeit with our old keyboard and mouse. His new ones, also all-singing-and-all-dancing and with accompanying bells and whistles, are winging their way to us as I type! Tip #2; It is not Dabs policy to accept a return of OS product keys. Building up a good rapport with their twitter customer service team is a good plan. We are now on first name terms! 

The boy was also very patient while awaiting the delivery of his delayed birthday present, the coolest gaming chair ever, from GT Omega Racing......!!

To build your own PC at the all-knowing yet tender age of fifteen is quite an achievement, and rather a massive learning curve too. Just think of all the knowledge he has accumulated during this process, without even realising it?

The delay taught that instant gratification is not the only game in town.

The PC case may have been lying idle but it was also available to open and examine, to ensure all parts were still working, to marvel at his creation, and to set the curious mind wondering at all the inter-linking components of this thing of great beauty and wonderment.

Building your own PC and taking time over the project can therefore open the mind to further interests. I could almost hear the brain cogs grinding as the mind of a gaming teenager switches from butchering adversaries (sorry, no other way to describe it) to thoughts like: 'I wonder how that Intel core processor works exactly?' And  then I can almost see new avenues open up on the career path ahead of him.....

And a series of Computer Coding classes from the Academy of Code should help open up those avenues even more.

As for me? Well, I can honestly say that I now know more about computers and how they're built than I will ever need to know. I swear, words like Corsair, MSI Motherboards, SSD and Graphic Cards - and their functions and capabilities - now trip merrily off my tongue these days, almost as easily as 'a glass of Pinot Grigio please'! 

And we both learned that all good things do come to those who wait.

And that patience is indeed a virtue!

Now, pass me that glass of Pinot Grigio please!!

I think I've earned it!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

'Thankful Thursday' and 'Reasons to Be Cheerful' #R2BC .......

It's always nice to join in these Linkys from time to time, especially when you've had a particular busy or stressful week. And I most certainly consider two weeks spent baby-sitting, cajoling, bribing, 'supporting' a 'studious' young fledgling man-child, sitting his mock Junior Certificate examinations, to be one such week. 
Note: all words written in italics, and captured in parenthesis, need to be read with a massive grain of salt!

However, we have both survived the week, albeit with a very tired brain for him and a few more grey hairs for me!

During weeks like that there's nothing more wonderful than taking the time to really savour the lovely moments that sometimes drop unexpectedly into our lives......

The Beach

Like the glorious sun that rose behind me, like a great orange fiery ball, on the recent morning school runs; urging me to hurry home so that I could dash down to the beach and simply enjoy this magical sunrise....

And to see to waves come crashing in on the stonework - from an old railway line perhaps? - while the now-risen sun glints sharply on the beach below....

You may have noticed that the sun features highly in my blog and social media updates. I simply cannot resist the power of the sun. It's like a beacon of hope and good cheer in my life.

The Foggy Day

But it's not always about the sun shining on the Irish Sea, or waves splashing on our stony beach.
I still paid a visit on a recent  misty morning, allowing the wispy strands of fog envelop me as I watched a lone seagull floating along the calm, glassy sea. 

I felt the calming effects of the gentle waves cascading on to the beach and shivered as I saw the seagull duck himself, time and time again, into the icy sea waters, on this bitterly cold morning. Then I smiled to myself as I watched him skipping over the water and eventually swooping in to join all his pals on a nearby sandbank. A lovely, lovely moment...... 

Simply Walking

Although I highly rate beaches, sunrises and sunsets as part of my now almost daily strolls, it's not actually all about them either. Sometimes it's about simply walking. Now that I can. I've spent enough months being unable to do so to now enjoy the simple act of going for a short, enjoyable stroll; unaided by both crutch or human accompaniment. I enjoy the solitude, it allows me to work on allowing my busy, busy mind to stop. Look around me, watch squirrels scramble up trees, listen to the surrounding bird-song and take time-out to allow the beach sounds, sights and smells wash over me before I begin my walk in the park. Of course I completely try to block out the sounds of rummaging in the undergrowth as I stroll, convincing myself that it's squirrels or birds.... and not r.a.t.s. !!

A Great Day out with Good Friends

Again, this is something I've been unable to do since last summer and I have missed my forays into town to catch up with friends, to go see a show; or to do both! And that's exactly what I did last Saturday, with a trip into Bord Gais Energy Theatre to see a mostly enjoyable matinee production of Jesus Christ Superstar, with some wonderful showgal pals of mine. Suffice it to say that the day was filled with chats, tales of yore, much laughter, food, 'some' wine, lots of good cheer; and culminated in a memorable all-encompassing, world-problem-solving conversation in a lift, of all places. In a lift that we held up, quite literally, and ultimately resulted in a group of middle-aged women - although we would never accept this totally unrepresentative moniker! - reduced into a right heap, emitting teen-like howls of laughter, to the bafflement of two passing waiters!! 

This day will definitely go down in the annals of 'Best Girly Days Out - EVER'

Looking Forward

And so the last two weeks sped by, with lovely, memorable moments strewn through the chaos, keeping my sanity pretty much intact. It's clear that within the madness there was much to be thankful for and cheerful about.

And it's not over yet.

One more exam and the dreaded Mocks are finally completed.

There is wine chilling in the fridge.

While a Midterm break and a Valentine's and birthday weekend also beckons ;-)

And that makes me very thankful and very, very cheerful indeed!!

I'm delighted to be able to link to both these wonderful linkys this week and my thanks to  Ojo's World and Mummy From The Heart  for hosting.

 Happy Valentines Day to  you all,

Saturday, February 7, 2015

It's Okay to Slap Your Child - The Pope Says So ......

Yes, it's true. The Chief Commander, the CEO of the Catholic church has spoken. He who is in charge of our spiritual well-being, of instilling our Christian beliefs with strains of  'treat others as you would have them treat you'  has had his say.

You would think they might want to pull away from statements like that,  given the recent history of the Catholic church.

But maybe it's okay to reprimand your child with a gentle tap on the hand, or a little smack on the bottom, for bad behaviour? Admittedly I felt similarly, before I had my child and when he was a tiny baby, way before any reprimanding was necessary.  And a lot of reprimanding was necessary, as things turned out. It does send a definite message and let's be honest most of us, particularly those of you from my generation, grew up with this parenting tenet being completely acceptable. I mean, we all turned out okay, right? Most of us are well-balanced .... and most definitely polite and  well behaved.

Yet such reprimanding has since been banned from our schools. Schools (in Ireland) that have been until very recently, sharing control with the Catholic church.

And exactly what message does a tap on the hand and a smack on the bottom send to a child anyway? It may stop them from repeating the considered unacceptable behaviour, simply because they don't want to be slapped, but it doesn't necessarily teach them why they shouldn't do it, does it?

Which is something I've been very strong on with my child. A slap solves nothing and as things evolved I became more interested in exploring other means of attaining the preferred behaviours. It's a never-ending and ongoing study it must be said, and one's patience is very much tested in these teenage years, believe me! Oh, how you feel at times that a good slap would sort them out, put manners on them....

It may have put manners on me in  my time, but it also instilled the feelings of fear, distrust and long-term dislike. Not the basis for a good child-parent relationship, and not a road I want to travel with my child.

There's a very fine line between a gentle tap or little smack becoming abuse.

I continue to find other ways to instill good behaviour and respect, and always with an explanation as to why the behaviour is unacceptable, accompanied with a suggestion of a more appropriate way for him to deal with his feelings. Besides, he's bigger than me now! 

This statement from our Pope may give parents, who believe that slapping their children is okay, a reason to 'slap' them a little more - 'it's okay, the Pope says so, besides I didn't slap him/her on the face'. 

Slapping a child on the face would 'humiliate' them, says the Pope.

I would consider that slapping a child regularly, anywhere, would be humiliating. One of the reasons it's banned from our schools.

In conclusion I really feel that this papal statement is ill-judged, particularly in these difficult economic times. When families are still suffering from lack of job security and financial difficulties, and are under extreme pressure. Some parents in these circumstances are driven to drinking.... and this can lead to a gentle tap and a little smack becoming way more than that.

And what about parents dealing with Special Needs children, who have extreme behavioural difficulties due to underlying diagnoses, and are at breaking point? What message does it send to them?

So, is this 'Papal Parental Advice' helpful? From a man of such high stature - a man who has no experience of parenting, it must be said. Is it not setting the clock back..... decades?

Or perhaps it's in vogue with biblical teachings, to quote the well known proverb: 'spare the rod and spoil the child'.  Explained as: 'If one does not discipline a child, he or she will never learn obedience and good manners' .

If disciplining means slapping - and there are other ways to discipline -  then I don't agree and in fact, would prefer to say ....

But that's just me.

I'm sure there are those of you who think differently?

Take care,

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

This Helicopter Needs to Land.....

It's a long road that leads from lovely sweet baby-ness, meandering to 'vigorous' toddler-hood - then heads straight on to the highway to hell all-knowing teendom.

And it all passes by in the blink of an eye.....

How can it be that one day I'm holding the cutest baby to ever grace this earth in my arms, and the next thing he's suddenly sitting his Junior Certificate mock examinations - at the ever-so-wise age of fifteen?!

Whatever road your journey has brought you on we've all - parents and children alike - worked really hard to suddenly arrive at our current destination. We've coddled and cuddled them in their sweet baby-ness time, steered and guided them through the willful and 'vigorous' toddler-hood years, and maybe a bit of all the above all along the highway to all-knowing teendom. Most, but not all it must be said, have pretty much been lead by the hand and were dropped, collected and minded all along the route.

On the journey we lead and encourage them to attend to their school and life responsibilities and to do the best they can, but somewhere along the way their independence, that we've nurtured and promoted, blossoms and they want to make their own decisions. Their own time-schedules. In their own time.

After all, you can bring a horse to water and all that but you cannot make it study. Or something like that....

Besides there's a whole world of a difference between a willful toddler and a willful teenager you know!

And at some stage the parenting helicopter must stop hovering and land.

There comes a time when we need to stand back and let them make their own mistakes. In their own time. As they wish.

It's very, very hard though.

I suspect that this Jazzy Chinook may need to be shot down!!

But we'll live in the hope that the forthcoming Transition Year will help guide us to a safe landing.

So that the fledgling man-child can man-up and begin his maiden flight.

Meanwhile there are some time-and-patience-consuming state exams to take care of, which means that this parenting helicopter may need to do some 'selective-hovering' for another wee while; to suit demands from both sides ;-)

And wine may be had.

By me, not the fledgling man-child!

Take care,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Jazzy 'Slims With Tina' - Part 2

Week 1 of my 'Slim With Tina' kickstarter course has been completed, and Week 2 has begun - with my renewed commitment!

I thought I'd tell you how it's going......

What's it All About? 

It's about changing our attitude to food. Food is but nutrition to fuel our bodies. It's up to us to choose what we ingest. It's up to us to make the right, healthy choices. On a daily basis. And that includes weekends. Those two/three days are my Achilles heel....

It's about reading labels, avoiding certain foodstuffs and learning all about the available healthy options.

It's about visualising our end goals and considering all our lifestyle choices, including our sleep patterns.

It's about increasing our water intake, and reducing those daily coffees.... sorry!

As part of this course Tina imparts all sorts of inspiring quotes, helpful links, delicious recipes and informative emails to our little group; keeping us motivated and interested. All written from personal experience , and in encouraging and non-bossy tones! 


There are quite a few life changes to be made in order for this new way of living to be successful, and they don't all have to be made in one day!

Weight-loss is the bonus, healthy living being the ultimate aim. 

In order to achieve that goal certain foods are to be avoided (sugar, wheat and processed foods mainly) but the array of healthier alternatives are astoundingly tasty! Nutritious and delicious - honestly.

If you've previously painstakingly counted your Pro-Points or Syns, then the first change you must make is to Stop. Right there! Banish the guilt and have that handful of nuts or half an avocado instead of a low-fat, but sugar containing, biscuit or bar for snack time.

Give yourself permission to have those couple of spoonfuls of seriously delicious, full fat Glenisk Natural Greek Yogurt with fruit or in a porridge smoothie; instead of some zero-fat, and sugar containing, alternative. I honestly had no idea how gorgeous natural, full-fat, yogurt could be.....

It's quite empowering actually, all this 'freedom' to eat healthily, and I'm finding the healthy options to be surprisingly filling too.

          Potato and Leek Soup with Spelt and Flaxseed Bread, from the 'Slim With Tina' Book. I'd never have eaten this on Weightwatchers!

These changes can be made slowly, they are lifelong changes after all and that is what I'm doing. I'm concentrating on Breakfasts, snacks and lunches and really enjoying the healthy options. There's a few more new and interesting recipes that I'm keen to try out too. Dinner options are a little tricky as I really don't want to go back to the days of making two or three different dinners. But I will deal with dinner changes soon, possibly converting some family members in the process!

So, How Did I do?

To be honest it's been a bit of the good, the great and not so good. But that's all down to me. I need to get my head back in the game, re-adjust my attitude to food and to re-set my mindset.

I found the changes easy during the week, but not so at the weekend, and on Day 2 I had my seriously doubting moments.

I mean it all seems quite airy fairy, doesn't it? How on earth can this work? I'm eating what is considered high in 'fat' and to be avoided at all costs on some diets, yet I'm supposed to lose weight?

Then two things happened.....

1) I stood on the scales, to prove that this was a waste of my time and I couldn't possibly continue - told you this would be an honest review - to find that I was down two pounds! In two days!

2) I came across a programme on the '10 Best Diets of the World' on TV last Saturday night and found it very interesting. Italy, France (with red wine, duck fat and pastries on the menu!) and Japan featured but, over-all, the country with the healthiest diet in the world  was ...... Iceland.
It was noted that the one thing that all ten countries had in common was that they all avoided processed food.

And just like that I was back on board, again.

After I finished my couple glasses of wine first, of course.....

And after I'd digested the fact that in eight days, after all the weekend madness, my overall weight loss was just one pound.

Good result really, when you think about it.

What's Next?

  • Stay motivated. Think of the lovely, wholesome food that I'm, mainly, consuming and how good it is for me
  • Stay with it at weekends - don't let that Achilles heel of mine trip me up and lead me astray!
  • Keep up my exercise, limited though it is. 
  • Read up on the Lifestyle and Sleep advice. I'm really looking forward to that section of the book as off-the wall sleep patterns feature prominently in my life. Through my food diary I think I might have found one connection.....

And think of my end goals, visualise them.....

And think of Iceland...... the country, not the food store!

Sounds so easy, doesn't it?

Take care,

NOTE:  You can read 'Slim With Tina January Kickstart' - My Journey, Part 1 here. 

Disclosure:  I have received a complementary place on this kickstarter course and a complementary copy of Tina's 'Slim With Tina' book, and in return I have agreed to share my journey with you over the next few weeks. Which is a fun, if slightly revealing, prospect for me! As usual my review will be an honest one. Wish me luck now!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Calm Between Two Storms.....

It was such a stormy night here in Ireland last night as Storm Rachel battered our country.  It is still, almost 24 hours later, very windy outside. Storm Rachel is quite the raging storm.

This morning, we on the more protected East side of the country woke up to a bright and sunny day, albeit with some stormy wild winds still howling.

And it seemed that a 'storm' abounded both outdoors and in .....

But the indoors version was just the usual 'storm' of getting a teenager out of bed and out the door to school on time. As I'm sure occurs in a lot of houses! All tall and testosterone-y, with bustling limbs going up and down the stairs many times - like it was a prescribed morning exercise - eventually getting out the door, all weighed down with a heavy book-filled bag. Phew. This is a daily 'storm', fueled by my inability to tell the time precisely (not correctly .... p.r.e.c.i.s.e.l.y). In my defense there are five time pieces - including my watch and phone - in my small kitchen, all proudly declaring a precise time of their own choosing. And yes, you guessed it, none of them are in agreement. In order to resolve this contentious issue I will be having a conversation with the talking clock soon ..... and 'he' better know his seconds from his minutes. P.r.e.c.i.s.e.l.y.

However, this 'storm' abated the minute I waved 'toodles' at the back end of a swiftly departing bus, while the outside one was gathering even more momentum.

But, deceivingly it was such a lovely sunny morning. And as I drove away from my village - after lots of calming tea with toast and comforting scrambled egg - I could see the slivers of winter sunbeams dancing through the old tall trees just ahead of me. They teasingly beckoned me forward, to come see the winter sunshine show in its full glory.... Just up ahead ... Keep driving... You're nearly there...

I could feel the calm and joy descend, embracing  me as I approached the bend in the road ahead. And as the road straightened out in front of me, the glorious winter sun appeared in all it's brilliance .......

It really was magnificent, it made my day all the brighter and spurned me on to spend a little time outdoors.

Which is exactly what I did by taking a bit of  a stroll along a very blustery Bray Seafront, buffeted with massive gusts of wind that saw the sea spray from the crashing waves cast about like birds spreading seeds.....

A  lovely morning, a perfect antidote to whatever ails you.

And while Storm Rachel's anger has abated somewhat, after quite a stormy afternoon, she's still flaffing about with her howling winds, refusing to leave our shores.

And all indoors is far, far quieter......

Take care,