Friday 27 February 2015

A Toothy Tale

Sometimes the stars align and everything is in order; your angels, guardian or otherwise, have your back.  The traffic lights are green.  Car keys are where they are supposed to be.  You remember to defrost the chicken for dinner.  There’s even toilet roll in the bathroom, for crying out loud.

This week, dear reader, was nothing like that at all.  Not even remotely.

All of the traffic lights were red.   I forgot about the chicken.  I also forgot about the pasta sauce.  We ran out of bathroom tissue.  Rationing half a pint of milk between four boys for breakfast is no joke.

Then Smallest Boy slipped on the decking.  Came down, face first on the silver thing (technical term) at the bottom of the door.  Gashed open his upper lip and twisted one of his gorgeous, perfect little milk teeth out of his gum.

What does a parent do in a situation like that?

I’ll tell you.

You panic.  Just let it out.  Get it out of the way and then get on with the job in hand.

There was blood on little hands as they reached up to assess the damage.  My ears were assaulted by his howls.  Three other boys came thundering in to see what all the fuss was about.

Raced off to the bathroom to wash off the mess and tried to calm the boy.

It was 7.40am and very clear a dentist was needed.

A gel pack created in the image of George from Peppa Pig uselessly pressed against his lip.  Nurofen was spooned into him and the only other thing that could be done was assure him we can go soon.  Soon.

Pancakes were flipped and toothpaste daubed onto toothbrushes.  Runners were handed to them with instructions to put them on quick.  Coats next.

Finally the boys got dropped off at school and I reached the emergency dental clinic at 9am.

We were the first there.  Smallest Boy couldn’t talk properly but he was in much better form.

We were seen very quickly. 

He looked so small sitting in that big chair.  Completely lost.  He shouldn’t have been there at all but it was turning into a big adventure for him.

I found myself looking around for surgical spirits to calm my racing heart. 

Smallest Boy was so good.  So calm.  The dentist and nurse were wonderful with him.  

There wasn’t a bother on him as he was handed dark glasses to wear and the chair tilted backwards.

From that angle I could see how loose and unstable his tooth was and then words like “reposition” “numbing” and “can cause distress” were mentioned.

Shit!  It is in situations like this I need someone else to make the decisions for me.  But there was no-one else.

My most pressing question was, if I put him through the upset of having his face numbed and his tooth pushed back in, and he sucks his thumb only to push it back out again, is it really worth it?

I didn’t think so.  I was clutching at all of the straws.  Anything so my almost four year old didn’t have to experience an injection in his mouth if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

The dentist asked him if she could touch his tooth.  He had no problem with that so she gave it a little test reposition. 

He didn’t budge.  She tried it some more.  Still no reaction. In fact he was holding his lucky pebble up to the light and twisting it around.

lucky pebble.  

The dentist kept pushing.  And pushing.  Then he was asked to bite down on a wad of cotton as some dental gel was brushed on his gum.

It was in!  Not perfectly straight but a lot better than it had been three minutes before. 

Without a needle.

What a relief.  I can still feel it, hours later.

We have to watch for a possible infection over the next while and take him straight back at the first sign of a bubble on his gum.  Also if it becomes loose again.   We could be looking at a grey tooth until it falls out but that is a small price to pay if we can save it in the first place.

An hour later he was sucking his thumb with no obvious sign of discomfort; his tooth was and still is fine.

Not a very nice start to the weekend but as far as first visits to the dentist go, this one was pretty good.

My smoothie having a smoothie

Monday 23 February 2015

A Vomity Looking Mess

I MADE A culinary promise to myself last year not to buy any more cook books.  I had loads.  And loads.  I never used them yet the pressure to cook something from those books was immense.    Something that couldn’t wouldn’t be eaten. So I got rid of them and a part of me felt better immediately.    

I also swore that under absolutely no circumstances, would I attempt to make something that requires unpronounceable ingredients which are then placed in the cupboard and left to gather dust.  Never to be used again.   Pink Himalayan salt, anyone? 

Then I totally went and broke my promise.

I knew just by looking at the picture, my kids would run screaming from something that looked like that when it was plonked down in front of them.

I just knew it. 

Yes I plonk.

Not a pea or a carrot in sight.  It appealed to me immensely.  It was a one pot wonder and looked mighty damn tasty to boot.

What did I do?  I caved and bought the ingredients that would never be used again, is what I did.  Why don’t they sell cardamom pods by the dozen instead of in a large jar? 

Coriander?  A herb that will wither and die as I look at it.

Anyway, I began to make the dish.  Herbs, seeds and spices began to pop and the kitchen was filled with a gorgeous aroma.

Smallest Boy wandered in.  “What’s that smell?”  His nose was scrunched up.

“That, my boy, is your dinner.”

“Yok.  Don’t like it.” 

And that was just from the smell.  Which was lovely I might add.

But then I added the natural yogurt and watched as the whole thing split into a vomity looking mess.

I refused to give up hope. It still smelled good.  I told myself it might, by some miracle, glue itself back together again during the oven-ing process and resemble something like the picture in the book.

It didn’t.

I gave it precisely forty minutes in the oven.  I peeled back the tin foil with my head cocked to one side, eyeing it hopefully.

Please. Please.  Please. 

But no.

If it is possible for a vomity looking curry to split even further, it happened in my le creuset.  Do not be fooled.  Those fancy ovenware dishes do nothing to enhance the cooking process.

It was vile looking. 

Maybe it will taste better than it looked I thought as I plucked a piece of withered looking beef out of the bile. 

Nope, tough and leathery.  Tasted exactly as it looked.

I briefly toyed with eating the juices and pretending it was soup. 

I wasn’t able to.

I shoved it away.  I should have just gone with roast chicken the way I always do.  But I wanted a break. I wanted something that didn’t involve peeling carrots and turnips and spuds and cooking them and making gravy.


I learned my lesson.

And then the phone rang and it looked suspiciously like the school number.

It was.

Great joy.  Forget about the reason for the phone call; one of the boys had come a cropper in the school yard and fell onto his head. He’ll be grand, I told myself.  Go on in there and collect him.

No-one need ever know about the vomity mess I was going to serve up for dinner. 

I got away with it.

Toasted sandwiches it is so.

And roast chicken will do quite nicely tomorrow.

Thank you.

Friday 20 February 2015

Bringing The Kids to the Pub

IF YOU ARE Irish, this question won’t seem so odd to you.  But, can you remember being brought to the pub as a child?

Even typing that out seems so incorrect.  Who on earth, in this day and age, takes their child to the pub? 

Whatever about it being ethically wrong (in my opinion) you are leaving yourself wide open for the world and her mother to come down on you in a judgemental avalanche.   

Guess what we did Saturday evening?  Valentines evening to be exact.

We took our four boys to the pub at 6pm.  For a Fizzy Mineral and a Packet of CrispsTM

It wasn’t planned. 

We were going into the (empty) lounge from the street entrance and I remember fervently hoping and praying that no-one we knew was driving past.  I was a bit embarrassed, if I’m to be honest.  I wasn’t totally comfortable and I felt the aforementioned judgement raining down on me.

What happened was we decided to take the boys in for a pizza.  We do it every so often as a treat.  There is a wonderful Italian restaurant in our hometown and their pizzas are amazing, to say the least.  Absolutely scrumptious.  Our boys put away a 12” each.  With room for ice cream afterwards.

I thought we were being clever with our showing up before 6pm with the intention of being finished in an hour.  Just in time for the valentines rush.

Nope.  Not clever.  All of the tables were booked out. 

No room at the inn for a family of six. 

So we opted for a takeout instead.  It was going to take fifteen minutes and instead of our boys making off with the helium balloons and lifting the romantic trinkets from the many tables, we decided to take them across the road for a drink.

Yes, to the pub.

We don’t even have diluted juice in our house so the opportunity for a fizzy orange was grabbed with both hands.

Smallest Boy isn’t keen though and he had his Mi Wadi.  Propped up at the bar between the two of us. 

God I love a glass of Guinness.

But it brought back the memories of my previous question and as was par for the course for our generation, both Mister Husband and I would have been “brought” to the pub on special occasions.

Typically after a Communion or a christening.  I can remember being brought once because a bottle of port was needed for Christmas baking. 

Mister Husband recalled being sick as a, well, dog, after a Communion visit.  Lots of friendly people bought him and his siblings packets of Tayto and glasses of orange.  He said it wasn’t pretty.  I believed him.

And then Lovely Liam sparked another memory when he asked if he could have his pizza in the pub. 

Personally I was on for that but of course it wasn’t an option.  It did remind me of having a Chinese propped up at the bar in Murphy’s after a Kildare match.  We ordered it from the Chinese across the road and Brendan gave us plates and everything. 

Those were good times. 

So for those who saw us slink into the lounge on Valentines evening, that’s what we were at.  Honest. Just killing time.  I swear.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Smash Ash Wednesday

So today is Ash Wednesday.  The first day of yet another Christian festival; the preparation for Easter Sunday where you daub ashes on your forehead and deprive yourself of something nice for forty days and forty nights. 

I have celebrated (I use this term loosely) Ash Wednesday and Lent for years.  At least when I was in school as there was no escape.  Similar to having studied (again a loose reference) Irish for the duration of my education yet only possessing a handful of words and zero conversational Irish, I had to google the actual meaning of Lent and also why [on earth] ashes are smeared on foreheads.

And this is what I unearthed.  In biblical times ashes were associated with grief and mourning.  In Old Testament times ashes were used for repentance. Folk would sit in them, roll around in them and – gak - even put them in their food.

God save us!

I mean, come on!  Who comes up with this stuff?  Really?  The mind, and I’ve got a small one, boggles.  Mine is well and truly boggled.  My flabber has never been so gasted.

I was chatting to someone the other day and she said her first holy communicant daughter has “gone all holy” on her.  She’s talking about giving up sweets for Lent.  She reckons she won’t last a week.

Some people think this is great discipline for their kids. 

I think it is mean.  Pure and simple.

What’s the point?  Isn’t life penance enough sometimes?  Why would you deprive yourself of something nice and the end of a long day?  Or decide that a minor should, just because you think it’s fitting?


So here’s something.  An idea.  I may have mentioned this last year too.

On this Ash Wednesday, instead of denying yourself your caffeine fix, your morning marmalade, your scant glass of wine in the evening or your beloved chocolate for the next four weeks or whatever it is, why not take up something instead.

Buy a suspended coffee in your local participating café.  Hold a door open for someone.  Better still, let someone get the lights before they change.  Maybe decide not to complain or give out.  Don’t have something nice to say?  Zip it instead. 

Go for a walk every day.  Make sure you drink at least 6 glasses of water daily.  Decide to take the stairs instead of the lift.  Do a school run for someone.  Ooooooohhh, do a school run for someone!

Offer to babysit.  Not at night time.  Offer to mind the kids whilst their parents enjoy a decadent lunch in the hotel down the road.  Tell them not to hurry back. Or even tell them to go for a breakfast coffee if the thought of minding kids for two hours during daylight makes you reach for your inhaler.      

Get the picture? 

And give yourself bonus points if doing something nice for someone means you have been inconvenienced.

You can always go home afterwards and cheer yourself up with coffee/chocolate/wine or all three!

See?  Shur, why would you be going giving up treats for forty days and forty nights?  It makes no sense at all.

Monday 16 February 2015

Rock Frocks Review

When you click onto Rock Frocks website this is what you see:

“Make sure you are looking your 1950s style or Rockabilly best at the lowest possible prices.  Save money and look awesome – what’s not to love!”

With dresses starting at €55 and shoes at €70 I can fully attest to that!  And if it’s good enough for Imelda May - she shops there you know – it’s good enough for me.

It’s pretty obvious the rockabilly look isn’t complete without a petticoat but I have to be honest about something; I’m a bit scared of the petticoat.    But the absolute beauty of the dresses in Rock Frocks is they can be worn either with or without it.

Equally if you don’t feel up to rockin’ the rockabilly look, there is an abundance of glorious and classic Audrey Hepburn style dresses to choose from.

Rock Frocks are based in my hometown and it is run by Catherine (Cat) Dooley and her partner Colm Holligan.

Initially an online business with the pair showcasing their products in their apartment. Success was quick resulting in the decision to expand their showroom space into a bricks and mortar store, located on the picturesque Barrow Quay, Athy, Co. Kildare.  It is right in the centre of town which means parking is readily available.

I celebrate my birthday in December and last year I decided to treat myself.  I ended up in Rock Frocks and came out with two gorgeous dresses for my troubles.

Amazing with brown boots


That was great fun but this was even better.  In February I chanced my arm and entered a Valentine’s competition on the Rock Frocks Facebook page to be in with an opportunity to win a dress of my choosing. All I had to do was pen a Valentines poem. 

I was one of two lucky winners!  I won me a rock frock!

It fairly made my day I can tell you.  And I spent most of it on line trying to pick my dress. 

An added bonus to having already bought something in store meant I was familiar with their sizes so I was able to cherry pick the dress I wanted. 

Of course, it didn’t stop me turning down the chance to go into the shop myself and try on the dress.   When I went in there was a bridal party present and the shop was busy.  But nothing was too much trouble for Cat.  Discreet and utterly professional at all times, she had time to chat to me but was aware of her other customers and ready to assist at a moments notice.  

The shop itself reflects its contents; gorgeous! Lovely décor with the walls covered in kitsch paper.  The stock is beautifully laid out so you are not hit with a confusing assortment of clothes as soon as you walk in. 

Rock Frocks, Athy, Co. Kildare

There are two spacious changing rooms in the back with full length mirrors.  And another in the hallway.  Petticoats and shoes are available for you to try on with your dress to make sure you get the full impact of your purchase.

It is definitely worth mentioning the extremely pocket friendly prices again.  Your wallet will not suffer from a trip to Rock Frocks.  You can get wedding, graduation, christening, Christmas, 21st party ready or even just treat yourself to a new frock and killer heels for under €150.  Now if that doesn’t rock your world, I don’t know what will.

The aforementioned petticoats are available in a range of colours including candy pink, royal blue, black, red and of course white for just €40.

There is also an impressive range of accessories including handbags from €25 plus sunglasses to complete the look.  And if you have a Mini Miss, there is a gorgeous section on the website especially for her.

Really, all styles, sizes and tastes are catered for and by the time you are finished you will be feeling your Imelda May or Audrey Hepburn best.

I have not been paid for this review.  All opinions are my own.    

The lovely Cat.  She rocks!

And in case you’re wondering what bagged me my gorgeous dress (squee!) I rewrote the words to Meghan Trainor’s All About the Base.  You don’t want to read it because you’ll have an ear worm for the rest of the day.  I drove my boys MAD singing along online with my version.

Friday 13 February 2015

Valentine Farce

Valentine’s Day was the pox for me in school.  I hated it.  I don’t know why I felt its non- worth so much; probably because even at 42 years young I still have not received a secret Valentine’s Day card in the post. 

I’m so over it now.

No, really.

Really I am.  Honestly.

Now that I am older and somewhat wiser, I have come to recognise it’s a load of old tosh and one big mad marketing gimmick.

It is!

No, really it is.

I would much rather a surprise bottle of wine mid-week a few times a month, over a lavish dinner, bunch of flowers and Belgian chocolate once a year because the calendar dictates it.

I would.

No, really.   

Today I had the chance to pick up a few bits all by myself and I happened to notice lots of menfolk, of varying ages, doing their Valentine’s Day shopping.

Boxes of Thornton’s chocolates were just €6 in Tesco’s.  The boyos were snapping them up.

Stingy fuckers.

At €6, I’d expect one of those a week!  Why wait till Valentine’s Day?

Another chap in Easons was paying for a teddy bear almost as tall as he was.  Ok, he could have had a small daughter and it was a gift for her, but I highly doubt it. 

A fekin teddy bear for several tens of euros? 

I’ll have the money please.

I wanted to stop into Penneys on the way home but Smallest Boy wasn’t keen so I was spared from watching the thongs and naughty underwear being snapped up.

However, I did happen upon an excellent idea today courtesy of Sara from Where is My Mind Gone?

She went and did something nice something nice for herself for Valentine’s Day.  Just for herself.  Because she’s worth it you see.

And so are you.

So tomorrow is Hallmark Day Valentine’s Day.  Go out there and treat yourself for a change.  Don’t wait for your partner or kids to do it for you.

Not that they should.

Not that they shouldn’t either I hasten to add

But I definitely think you should do it for yourself.  After all if you don’t think you’re worth it, no-one else will!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday 9 February 2015

5 Reasons Why Monday Can Suck

YEAH, SO MONDAY isn’t known for its sense of humour.  And I’m well aware there are more than five reasons why it can suck.  In fact there are probably five hundred and fifty five reasons why Monday can suck but I would like you to stick around to the end so I’m keeping it to five.  Also it’s Monday and I don’t want to really piss on your day.

Here are my five reasons why Monday can suck. 

Because it can.  Particularly if you’ve had a nice weekend, Monday can seem all the harder.  Nice can cover a multitude of things depending on what you’re into.  It may have been a restful weekend with everyone spending Sunday in their jammies and getting take-outs.  There might have been a nice family gathering.  Possibly a rare night out with a meal and a few drinks.  Doesn’t matter, all of the bon homie is wiped with the arrival of Monday and the dawning of the rest of the week.

Oh no you didn’t!  But of course you did.  Empty the bottle of wine, that is.  And maybe open another.  Yes, it was a great idea at the time but wine is a bit like a tub of Pringles; once you pop you can’t stop.  Or in this case, once you pour you want more. There’s nothing like a hangover of any description to kick start Monday morning.       

It’s still winter/spring.  Which is lovely and all but similar to when there’s too much month left at the end of the money, there is still too much winter left at the start of February.  Daffodils may be flowering, snowdrops too.  Even with that noticeable stretch in the evenings, mornings are still pitch black and no-one wants to get out of bed when it’s like this.  Especially on Monday.  Particularly on Monday.

Everyone is tired.  Regardless of the weekend and what went on, it is an unwritten rule that one shalt be bolloxed on Monday morning.  You’re up and walking around, true, but you’re also putting hair removal cream on your toothbrush instead of toothpaste and three sips into your coffee you realise it’s fekin Bisto and not coffee granules.  It will be at least eleven o’clock before your head catches up with your body.  At least. As for the kids.  I won’t draw pictures but you know what I mean.

You have to cook.  Due to the take-out pizzas over the weekend and the oven chips and nuggets dinner on Saturday, some type of vegetable and protein needs to appear in order to avoid scurvy and rickets.  In fact it is necessary to force yourself into doing a bit of housework in general.  Those bathrooms will not clean themselves and if the kids want socks and underwear for the rest of the week, the laundry really should be sorted out.

There’s no denying Monday gets really bad press but the good thing is it only lasts for 24 little hours.  And if you’re really very exceptionally lucky you might be asleep for nine of those.  Every week has to start somewhere and it may as well be Monday.  I’ll suck it up if you will.

Saturday 7 February 2015

Make'n Poo!

A recipe book with a difference!
“IS THERE SCHOOL tomorrow?” Lovely Liam asked last evening at 7pm ish.

I contemplated my answer.  His breath may be warm and sweet but I did not want it on my face at 6.30am Saturday morning, telling me “I might be a bit hungry.”

So I lied and told him yes, there is school in the morning.

It worked.  He stayed in his bed until 8am but Smallest Boy did not.

He obviously didn’t hear me or care that there was *supposed to be* school in the morning.  He woke yelling for me at precisely 5.26am.

I know! 

For fuck sake. 

It’s Saturday.  For fuck sake.

I took him downstairs, shut the door to the living room, put Clifford The Big Red Fucking Dog on Netflix and plonked him onto the couch to watch it. 

I lay in the armchair the other side of the room and promptly fell back asleep.

“I’m hungry” was whispered into my face at 7.30am and I hauled my sleepy arse up and off to make him Weetabix.

It wasn’t too bad though.  I took the dog out for a glorious run and was back in the house before 9am.

I also managed to complete the weekly shop by myself and was home in plenty of time for Lovely Liam to go to gymnastics.

The afternoon was spent trying to get Smallest Boy to take a nap.  He wasn’t a bit interested until a game with the dog earned him a little nip on his hand.  There were some tears before he curled up on the armchair. The same one I slept in this morning and this happened in under five seconds.

I’ll give him an hour.  No more and no less.

I sat down to write this blog post and then I entered a competition to win a lovely dress from Rock Frocks.  Imelda May shops there you know.  See here if you fancy entering yourself.  
The closing date 10th February. 

I made some meringues for dessert tomorrow and Iarla made some poo. As you do. 

 From this book. 

Here are the instructions and the recipe if you fancy making some yourself. 

It was a pretty productive day in the end.  And the best part is yet to come.  A nice bottle of white wine.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and if you haven’t already, make sure you do something nice for yourself.