22 January, 2017


I'm just home from seeing Colonel Chris Hadfield (a very happy birthday present from Himself ).

I could listen to the man for as long as he had a voice.  He was wonderful and funny and ...wonderful.

He said two things that have really stuck with me.  The first is: Consider your next decision.  That's all that is ever important, it's all that matters.  Your next decision shapes your life.  Life is made of 'next decisions'.

Secondly: You learn more from failure than success.  It's okay to fail, it's good to fail, that's how you learn.

Sigh, I do admire that man.  

04 May, 2016

It's been 7 hours and 15 days

Tonight at roughly 10pm, our time, radio stations across the world are going to play Nothing Compares 2 U, as sung by Prince himself.
Tomorrow, two weeks ago, I was sitting in the car waiting to collect Harry from school when Matt Cooper announced there was to be a breaking news bulletin.  I kept reading my book, thought it was something to do with the government, except it wasn't.
Prince had died.
My Prince.  
Harry arrived seconds later to find me sobbing.
I cried the whole way home and Himself gave me a hug when I walked back into the house.   I rang Colette and we cried together and then I just sat and listened to the radio.  For hours.
The lads kept looking at me like I was mad (I probably looked mad, I was snotty and red eyed and full of fat tears), I mean, I didn't know him.  I'd never met him but .... I did know him.  He has been part of my life ever since I was given Sign o' the times by my mam.  He has been part of every major event in my life and many of the just normal, boring days.  I woke up the following Friday to the sound of Prince on the radio, a bloody brilliant thing to wake up to ... until I remembered why.  If's funny but, you know how, when someone dies, everyone comes together and remembers funny stories, sad times, gossip and, in many a case, the parties?  Well, that's how it's been here.  I have spoken to so many old friends since that Thursday afternoon.  All conversations starting with 'do you remember?' 
I was lucky enough to see him live 4 times and every time was a blast.  Company was always epic and the music was legendary.  I think I cried for all the happy times I had with his music in the background and all the sad times were his music made me feel better, either from dancing or crying.  

As Prince himself said, Life is just a party and parties aren't meant to last.  

Still hurts though. 

15 April, 2016

.... and then I tried TRX

You know GerA, my gorgeous fabulous strong friend?  Well she does Rip60 which is pretty much TRX by a different name.  I conveniently forget that it's taken my mate a couple of years to get to a fitness level of legend!!  Ger is gorgeous and I want to be equally fabulous and strong (she once kicked me up the arse and it really, really hurt) so decided that 'yeah, I'd been going to the gym fairly regularly (i.e I joined it a week ago), I was ready for TRX'.    I was so ready for TRX I had booked a yoga class in for later ... so I could relax and stretch those achy muscles.
The blurb on the class says it's suitable for all ages, weights, fitness levels etc. etc.  
They lied! 
Apparently TRX was "Born in the Navy SEALs, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRXSuspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user's body weight to complete 100s of exercises."
It also requires a certain level of fitness to start with and a better than I have sense of balance.
The class began with a gentle warm up (I went puce and thought I would die).  The lovely instructor made us do jumping jacks (WHY??) and I wasn't expecting to do jumping jacks ergo wasn't wearing er, any protection from peeing (kids ruin your bladder) and started being nervous.  I also hadn't copped, when I was picking my spot, that I was at the front of the class.  Right in front of the instructor who was teeny tiny and kept looking at me in a worried and perplexed manner.  The girl immediately behind me was trying it out for the first time so I felt relaxed.  Stupidly. She was fitter than me.
We did bicep work, tricep work, we did stuff with our shoulders, legs and .. fuck it was hard.  I exercised muscles I didn't know I had.  It all started to go tits up (literally) when we had to hook our foot into the strap, keeping the strapped suspended leg behind us, we were then to do lunges.  I explained that my balance was pants and er..... 'yeah, I'll give it a go, you're right, I won't know til I try it'.
I fell over.  And got tangled in my straps.  The instructor said 'you weren't lying about balance .... hey, you're not the trampoline girl are you?'.  AAAAARGH.  There is video footage of me boinging off the window. I explained that I was and she advised me to just do normal lunges and 'em, be careful'.  Everyone wanted to know about the trampoline.  I let the instructor tell them.  I went more puce. 
Then we moved onto floor work.  This means you sit on your bum, hook your feet into the straps, cross your right foot over your left and flip over onto your belly.  I got knotted.  Again.
Then you do press ups, mountain climbing or running and planks.  Whilst your legs are suspended.  Balancing on your arms!!!!!  Turns out I have no upper body strength.  I have noodles for arms.  I tried so hard, honest I did but I ended up faceplanting my er, face into the pretendy grass and ... fuck, I wish I could just have died.  Then it was onto stomach work.  I threw up!  I actually got so sore and was trying to hard I puked.  I made it to the loo but still, is there no end to the horror?
Finally it was time for cool down and stretches and I got tangled in my own legs again and ... no yoga.  Home.  I rang Ger and cried down the phone.  She laughed, kindly I hope, and said I was trying too hard and should have a little lie down.  I lay down and cried.

The next day I rang Ger.  I rang her to tell her I couldn't put my clothes on because my arms weren't working.  I swear to God that my arms were like cooked spaghetti, limp and long and useless.  If I thought my useless arms were the worst of my problems I was wrong.  Not only did my arms not work my stomach muscles seemed to have siezed up so the only way I could get out of my bed was to roll s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y onto my belly and slide out of the bed.  Good fuck, even worse was trying to stand up.  Nothing worked.  I'm not lying when I tell you I wore the same socks for three days on the trot because I couldn't bend to reach my feet.  I could change my knickers by shimmying but socks were a no go area. 
Oh, and when I needed to sit down and pee..... I looked like a giraffe trying to drink water.  Legs akimbo and stressed looking.  
The next day I was meant to go to spinning and pump.  That didn't happen.  Instead I moped, ate painkillers and cried softly into cake. 

p.s. It's now been three days and the only bit that is sore is the crook of both elbows.  Time to to back to the gym methinks.  

07 April, 2016

Yeah, that's pretty much me! (Turn up the sound for watching that clip.. for full 'oh sweet jesus' effect)

So, I joined a gym.  Needs must and all that.  Having undergone my assessment.  The chap who did it was lovely.  He was so upbeat and happy with life (I think everyone's life would be so much nicer if they could hang out with a personal trainer all day).  He asked what would it take for me to achieve my goals and I told him 'constant supervision'.  He recommended classes!  He also tried to allay my fears that everyone would be looking at me.  Apparently it's not good for a person's morale to say, as your mammy would, 'Jesus, sure no one is looking at you', so instead he said everyone would be concentrating on their own thing and not to worry. 
Last night I went to my first class.  It was called Rockin' Rebound.  A fancy name for jumping on a mini trampoline.  A trampoline, I'd like to add, that has no handle!!!  I'm still not sure why I thought this would be a good idea, I mean ... I've had a couple of kids, pelvic floor not what it was.  Sneezing can result in a mild 'did I pee panic' so why I thought leppin' up and down (fucking jumping jacks?) would be something worth doing I'll never know. 
Long story short... I know how to get EVERYONE to notice you whilst working out.  Bounce off your trampoline and hit the plate glass window!  Yes, that will guarantee a couple of hundred eyes looking your way.
It's 12 hours later and I'm still puce with the mortification. 
The trampolines are on the first floor, set up beside the TRX station and the chin up bars and ... you know, where all the really fit people hang out.  Anyway, I was bouncing (trying not to pee.. unsuccessfully as it turned out, three quiet cheers for tena lady.. hip, hip ....).  So bouncing away and wondering why I thought this was a good idea when I kind've missed my bounce.   I don't know what happened other than one minute I was going 8, 7, 6, 5 and the next ...?  Oh God!!!!  The next I had bounced right off the bloody thing and hit the plate glass window to my right.  With a squelchy thud!  Much like old wile e up there.
I was so hot and sweaty I think I stuck there for a while.  Then, slowly, slid to the ground.  Whilst sliding downwards I noticed lots of people outside the building looking up, at me.  Me, squashed against the window!!?  Oh.  Sweet.  Jesus. 
Not only were people looking up, the gym had gone quiet (think old western movies when a new cowboy walks into the saloon and even the piano stops playing).

EVERYONE was looking at me.

I may die of puce-ness before the day is out.  Needless to say, I'm not going to the gym today.  Going for a coffee and cake instead, I need comfort x

04 April, 2016

I love you this much .........................

The youngest chap kept talking.  And talking.  And talking.  Before begging him to be quiet I decided to sweeten it with a 'how much do you think I love you?' To which he replied 'Just enough to keep me".

02 January, 2016

I'm bored

I know!!!!! For years we've had to entertain the kids, especially when the weather is as brutal as it is now, but now ... little or no entertaining needed.  No. 1 is off to play poker, No. 2 is playing with No. 3 and ... I'm bored.
Of course, I could tidy the house or some such shite but I really don't want to.  I mean, it just gets undone again so quickly.  Mind you, if I don't tidy on an hourly basis I get stressed and become convinced I am going to end up on Channel 4 on one of those 'manky hoarder house' specials.
I joined a site called Unfuck your Habitat and it sends you reminders to do things e.g. 'clean the counter' (which I clean by moving stuff to the table) and 'clear the table' etc.  It get's me nowhere fast.  The only way I really get into cleaning is if everyone leaves the house and I can mutter about what bastards they are by leaving me home alone to clean, even though that is what I asked them to do.  Or, someone rings to say they are calling around.  I can clean the house in 10 minutes tops in that instance.
Nah, don't want to clean.  Don't want to upload photos or do cake stuff or anything.  
Properly bored.  Do hope this boredom doesn't inspire me to clean out presses and stuff, that always ends up with empty presses and me rocking backwards and forwards in a corner somewhere.  
I could ..... what?  What can I do today?  Afraid to fall back into the telly, watched three seasons of Scandal in two days, and, sad sigh, my eyesight is so shagged I am struggling to read my new book.  Eeeek.  
It's too muddy and filthy to go for a walk in the mountains so what's a girl to do? 
Okay, c'mon Niamh.  Up and .... hello Twitter!


The middle chap has been asking me, nay, hounding me for weeks to work out how to get all his photos off the camera and onto the computer.  That bit was easy btw.  Then it was all "How do I make a stop motion movie???"
Yeah, not so easy.  
Long story short, here's no. 2's first stop motion video.  I, why me?, have to work out how to add audio but I'm alright with that.  It'll be worth the hours of googling just so you can hear the script he put together with no. 3.
Oh, and I got the stand here!


23 December, 2015

Norad make Christmas magical for me ... every year xxx

    Photo source here

I didn't intend to blog today, it's Christmas Day after all but last night . . . well, something really magical happened.  We had everyone over for our annual Christmas Eve dinner and it was a bit sad because it's Eoin and Za's last one here with us for a while and it was also a bit sad because during the year my mam's big serving plates got smashed - not normally a big deal but it was a way of including them.  This year though we invited Himself's family and boosted the numbers up to a whopping 12 adults and 3 kids (my Turkish Delight doesn't count yet as she doesn't need a chair).  It was a great night, kids were delighted with themselves, the gravy was out of this world and the company was second to none.  But the 'magic'?  Well, Himself handed me his phone and said 'you're onto Norad - Santa Tracker'.  There was a lovely man at the end of the phone and I told him who I was and were I was ringing from and then I asked the big question 'When will Santa be here?'  He said 'M'am, he'll be in Dublin, Ireland, between nine and midnight but ONLY if the children are asleep.  He'll call back later if they're not.  He's making good time because of the winds, Happy Christmas Ma'am.  Goodnight.'  To say I nearly peed with excitement.  I love that there are men and women (I rang FOUR times) who are at bases and doing this for all of us.  
I pulled the following article from ABC News. Promise me you'll ring them next year, you can check the whereabouts of the Big Man on 001 719 556 5211.  It's the most wonderful thing ever.

On Christmas Eve, children all around the world will lie awake  wondering if, at any moment, Santa Claus will slide down their chimneys and leave the presents of their dreams. But all they really have to do is call in or go online to find out where Santa and his team of reindeers are at any given moment.
Every year, the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa’s journey around the world, using radar, satellite, fighter aircraft and, of course, a “Santa Cam.”
The tradition began as so many do – by accident. In 1955, a little girl who saw a Sears and Roebuck ad called in to what she thought was a Talk-to-Santa hotline. But she did not hear Santa Claus on the other end of the line.
Instead, she heard Col. Harry Shoup. He was working in the CONAD ops center (NORAD’s predecessor) and was shocked to hear a child’s voice. According to a NORAD spokesperson, John Cornelio, only two people had the number for that line – the president and the four-star  commander.
As it turned out, the department store had printed the wrong number in the ad and alas, a  tradition was born.
“It’s the innocence of the story that makes it so special,” Cornelio said. And Harry Shoup was given a new title- he is known as  Santa Colonel.
Since that innocent phone call more than 50 years ago, NORAD tracks Santa’s progress around the globe, year after year.
To track his journey this Christmas Eve, you can visit the NORAD website, or call in to 877-HI-NORAD.
The NORAD Santa Tracker also uses social media to connect with Santa enthusiasts. NORAD has Facebook and Twitter pages, and a YouTube channel. And this year, for the first time, NORAD has a smart phone application for Andriod and iPhone users.
NORAD expects more than 80,000 phone calls and 20 million people using its website to track Santa this year.
So come Christmas Eve, when not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse, break the silence and see just how close Santa is to bringing joy to your area.

02 November, 2015

Chicken Soup .... the spicy noodle one!

I felt pants and went searching for a chicken soup recipe.  Something that would work on making my post migraine head feel better and, you know, taste great.  This is a combination of several recipes.  I use leftover chicken, as always have left over chicken in the house.  
So, instead of doing the spice thing with raw chicken I put my shredded chicken into a Tupperware tub thing, measure the spices in on top of it and then give it a good shake.

This is what it looks like .....

This is what you need to make it....

All the left over chicken  you can spare, about 400g.  Alternatively you can use 400g of raw chicken thighs (best flavour) or breast.
2 tbsp rapeseed oil, or whatever oil you prefer.
1 tsp ground cumin.
0.5 tsp chili powder.
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper.
0.5 tsp dried oregano.
0.75 tsp oregano, dried.
05 tsp salt.
0.75 tsp ground black pepper.

All of the above is for your chicken.  If using left overs, place the chicken in a lunchbox or tub and chuck the spices on top and give it a good shake.  Omit the olive oil though, you don't need it for left over chicken.
If using raw chicken, Preheat oven to 190c.  Put the chicken on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and sprinkle with spices. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time.  Once cooked, pull into small chunks using two forks

For your soup you need:

2 tbsp oil.  
3/5 carrots, peeled and sliced.
3 stalks of celery, diced.  I NEVER use celery, 'tis an evil vegetable.
1 large onion, diced.
10 cloves of garlic, crushed/minced?!
Pinch of salt.
1 litre of chicken stock, i.e. water and two stockpots.
1 pint of water .... for good measure.
1 bay leaf.
Juice of one lemon.
Noodles or pasta 

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Add carrots, celery (nope), and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, until onion is soft.  Add garlic and salt and cook for another minute before adding the bay leaf, water and chicken stock. Increase the heat to high, bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are just how you like them (i.e. a bit of bite).  Stir in cooked chicken and lemon juice. Taste soup to adjust seasonings, then serve at once.

As for the noodles/pasta I cook them separately, according to packet instructions, and dish out into bowls before adding the soup. That way people can have what they want and the noodles//pasta don't get disgustingly soft.  


p.s. you can add whatever veggie you fancy and it really is gorgeous. 

16 June, 2015

Wouldn't you love to just . . . ..

..... be honest?  I sent a very polite email to someone recently telling them I was disappointed in how they had wasted my time in asking for several quotes but then ditching me at the 11th hour.
What I really wanted to say was 'Fuck you, you fucking fuck' but that, it would seem, is not professional.
I price around but would never let anyone go so far as to start working for me and then say 'er, no, you're grand'.  Have this overwhelming urge to send her an invoice for time spent to date on working out how her bloody mickey mouse head should be made etc.  Plus the logistics of making a cake that no one will eat but instead will smash.  Grrrrrr.