Life got a bit mad and away from me so the Covid-19 quarantine diaries are kind of gone for now – it’s not that nothing happened, but a whole lot of it is repetitive. So instead, this time, I’m opting for a snapshot – less detail, more of the important stuff. Because believe me, you don’t need to know about the million Pokemon characters I’ve been learning about of late…
My dad died three and a half months ago. On the 15th of March, three days after I received the phone call telling me he had crashed his van and they thought it might be something to do with his heart, we made the decision that matched his wishes to end his time being kept alive by machines. He was 57 years old. I am still having trouble remembering he is gone. Grief during this time has been… an experience.
Quarantine has kept on going. The Coronavirus COVID-19 has taken over the news, and changed everything about how we conduct our lives. The past month had already been hectic and dramatic, between graduating college, getting engaged and losing my dad, but that was only Month 1 of dealing with Coronavirus in our lives. I’ve decided to keep on this record of the time, so that hopefully it will be something to look back on, to show the way we got through this crazy time. This period of life, the month after losing my dad, was one that was definitely more tough than I even expected, and involved a whole lot of putting one foot in front of the other. However, there were little things of note, so here’s a part 2 to the Quarantine Diaries.
We are currently living through a period which will undoubtedly enter the history books. There are moments in life that everyone has the “where were you when” memories attached to, and the happenings of the last month or so have definitely been categorised as that. Our country (along with many others) is under a lockdown – perhaps not by name, but definitely in principle. We are in war-time mode – deaths reported daily as statistics we wait for, new case reports, sheltering in safe zones. I’ve found it hard to write recently but I think for posterity it would be wise to get my thoughts on it all down – thoughts I can show Eliott when he is older, a record of what we have lived through, this quarantine period. I’ve gotten some inspiration from Sinead at Bumbles of Rice, who did a diary format of her last month and a bit, and followed it up after, so I will be borrowing that style to get this all down.
The Quarantine Diaries – Part 1.
I had lots of plans for blog posts this January. It was to be the re-starting of my writing, there have been lots of changes and I wanted to tell everyone about them. I have more time for writing, time that isn’t sucked into academic writing and college work, and a job that was draining my soul. There are drafts that I started writing of recaps of our life over the last year so that we were all caught up to date. But January came and took my breath away a little, by taking a man I love so dearly and ending his story a bit sooner than any of us were ready for. Read More
It’s the last day of April, so I’m definitely late to the parade on this challenge, but I thought to compile the whole month as a blog post would be a nice way to put all these recommendations and listings together! This challenge on Twitter was initiated by @Jabberwocky808 and has been joined in by a multitude of readers with thousands of suggestions. Here’s my addition to the Reading Irish Women Challenge.
I’ve been blogging a lot less than I wanted of late, it’s been busy. I’ve been getting into strides with college work, epidemiology is kicking my ass, and when it isn’t, my body is deciding to take over. And that’s all before dealing with the junior tyrant who resides in our house half the time. It seems he’s on a job share with our very sweet, funny four year old. An eternal balance that I’ll write about at some stage when I figure out what exactly I’m doing (he may be 18 by the time I figure that one out). October has been a month of lots of change. Here’s just a snapshot of what we’ve been up to.
I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts of late that I’ve gotten fully sunken into.
The people from Spotlight in the Boston Globe (yes, the same people that the film is about) are doing an excellent investigation into the case of Aaron Hernandez, the NFL player who was convicted of murder and died by suicide in 2017, called Gladiator. It goes beyond the case itself and looks into Football Inc to see what exactly caused the horrific acts which took place and what could have been done to prevent them.
CBC have done an incredible podcast series called “Uncover: Escaping NXIVM” which I’ve barely been able to stop listening to – but definitely isn’t one for in the car with kids as it contains some VERY adult themes. In the investigative podcast series about the “wellness” group which the authorities have now labelled a cult, they look into its leader, Keith Raniere, and one woman’s journey to get out.It discovers what drew Sarah Edmondson to Raniere and his followers and how she ended up turning on him. Not one for the squeamish but definitely a compelling story.
On a less serious side of things, Eliott has been OBSESSED with the song Shotgun by George Ezra. It’s been playing here A LOT. I still can’t believe his face matches his voice, but whatever, it’s a VERY catchy song. And very cute when my four year old, who knows three lines, is singing it happily.
I’ve finally immersed myself in The Crown. I know, I know, I came SO late to this party but I LOVE it.
We’ve also been watching the third series of The Good Place. We’re rather resentful for the weekly wait between episodes, because we arrived rather late to the game and got to binge watch the first two seasons. So it feels AWFULLY forking unfair to have to wait a week between episodes. But they are TV gold and so so worth it. I NEED a Janet in my life.
For the coming month, we’re getting stuck into the final series of House of Cards. (For those not up to date, please be aware that the trailer is for the final series of the show and therefore may have spoilers!)
I’ve been doing a lot of academic reading this month as the Masters is proving to be VERY full on (as I probably should have expected). However, I have had a few good reads which I will compile into a much fuller book review post. Here are just some of them in brief
The Importance Of Being Aisling – the much-awaited sequel to Oh My God What A Complete Aisling. I have a lot to say about this book, but in short – I thought it was even better than the first. Total heart warmer of a read.
All American Murder by James Patterson. Yeah, this one wasn’t such a heart-warmer but it was fascinating. It also dealt with the case of Aaron Hernandez. I’d read the book before starting the podcast so I’m kind of getting a 360 look at the whole case. As a crime writer, Patterson certainly knows how to use the language to keep people gripped and at times it feels difficult to remember that this all happened, it’s all real and these are actual people’s lives and deaths.
The Magic Moment by Niall Breslin. This one was a kids book purchase, introducing children to mindfulness and giving a way to deal with fears, like a fear of the swimming pool. I thought it was a really charming read and a good introduction for kids, one which our four year old is learning day by day.
A whole lot of coffee. And probably not enough water. Must strive to do better. Next month will be better!
Layers. Because between the changeable weather, buildings that have blasting heat on one second and walls made of glass letting out heat the next and medication causing hot flashes, I seem to be an every-season-in-one-day kinda girl these days. Much as I love my wooly jumpers (and I LOVE them, so cosy), having to attempt to discreetly pat down my forehead from sweat-gate while in a meeting with people I would like to work with is MORTIFYING and not worth it.
I’ve recently discovered a penchant for Massaman curry. I don’t do spicy food, so curries have never really been my thing, but oh my god, I have found the food for my death row meal. Now if I could just figure out how to make my own perfect one from scratch so that the local Thai place doesn’t wind up just setting up a direct debit, that would be wonderful. Any suggestions for a good recipe?
In September, I started a part time masters in Public Health. It’s very full on and I’m currently trying to get my head around epidemiology, which is basically statistics on steroids. It’s not been easy, and hasn’t been helped by the brain fog that I’ve been experiencing, but I am enjoying having something to focus on that isn’t my pain levels or my frustrations at life. I’m also looking forward to getting to get stuck into my chosen research topic over the next few months – how I’m going to juggle it with work, parenting and everything else is yet to be determined but fingers crossed it will all fall into place.
Last month, I got a rather incredible surprise by being awarded Best Parenting Blog in the Blog Awards Ireland! I wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony, thanks to a pesky presentation in college, so the very lovely Sinead from Bumbles of Rice collected the award on my behalf.
I am beyond thrilled that my little corner of the internet has been considered to be something more than just the place I put my ramblings. I started writing this blog almost five years ago and never really saw it becoming what it has done then. Back then I was just pregnant, hormonal and needing a place to vent. It’s become a place where I’ve shared my experiences, gotten to meet others who have been there, done that and had their t-shirt puked on. I’ve met incredible people who have not only become online friends but some of them “real life” friends as well. So winning the award has really put a smile on my face and I am so thankful that others out there like what I write.
Darker evenings encouraging the Netflix binges of new shows and reading of books, once we manage to get the little man to get into bed.
Hallowe’en this year was also a bit of fun, given that it was Eliott’s first that he properly got into. He dressed up as Catboy from the PJ Masks in full costume and had a ball trick or treating!
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This CatBoy enjoyed his first ever trick or treating and is now stuck into his first ever viewing of Halloweentown, absolutely ignoring all the sweets…. #allhallowseve #catboy #pjmasks #pjmaskscostume #pjmaskshalloween #trickortreating #dressuptime #parentsofig #pjmasksallshouthooray #catboycostume
Cold weather (well, changeable weather) has a habit of making my muscles and joints seize in not fun ways. So, there’s that. Also, the seemingly unending whinge. If anyone fancies taking on a four year old, perhaps as a tool for an abstinence-encouraging part of a sex ed programme in secondary schools, he’s open for bookings. He’s lovely really. There are just a LOT of emotions built up in his tiny frame. And he’s not exactly rocking this whole “extra hour” thing by any means. But who needs sleep?
I’m a big fan of podcasts for when I’m driving or just pottering around the house. I listen to a variety of things, lots of true crime, some political and some just inane. Other posts I’ve written about podcasts I listen to seem to have been popular on here (especially my true crime podcast posts), so I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of what I’ve been listening to of late, in the hopes of passing on some of the ones I’m evangelical about recently! I’d also love to hear recommendations from others. I am always looking for something new to listen to on my travels.
So, where to begin?
When you have a baby, people are full of advice. Actually, once you get that stick to turn blue and start to tell people, the advice is free-flowing. You can’t eat this, you can’t do that, and if you’re not doing that then YOUR CHILD IS DOOMED. As you can imagine, most of this advice is unsolicited, and a fair portion of it isn’t exactly welcomed. As a first time mother at the age of 22, I felt like I had a huge luminous sign above my head saying “SHE HASN’T A CLUE”, based on the amount of absolute strangers popping up with advice on how to raise my child. Read More
So, today is Leaving Cert Results Day. Students will open envelopes after months of waiting and agonising, and the knowledge of those results will be here. It’s a day that has both students and parents on edge. At 9am, in schools around the country, the wait will be over. It’s something I remember vividly, that wait, the going into the school. I remember walking into the principals office, him handing me the envelope and telling me he hoped I was happy with them, and walking out into the hall to open them. A mixture of emotions filled the hall – some were ecstatic, others less so. One girl sobbed in disappointment, openly.
I don’t remember the exact results I got in my Leaving Cert. In fact, when I was asked a while ago by someone what subjects I did, it took more than a few minutes of thought to remember them all. It’s now 9 years ago. It has faded from mattering, pretty much within the first few weeks of going to college. For the amount of pressure I put on myself for it, the future me is looking back and wondering just what was it for.
As a parent to a four-year-old, we spend a lot of time at Soft Play. It’s a necessary evil. The Irish weather doesn’t allow for playground hijinks as much as we need, and the alternative is absolutely wrecking my house (and my head). So, off to Soft Play we go. He loves it, he’s a daredevil mad to be climbing higher and higher. Me? My love is somewhat less obvious. For me, soft play raises more questions than it answers. Here are just some of them.
Podcasts are one of my favourite ways to unwind. I’ve written before about my love of true crime podcasts, but lately, I have extended my interests beyond the dark and dreadful. Not that they’ve got anywhere (as you’ll see in my list), but having lots of light in there too helps me to get an upbeat side to life! Here’s what podcasts I have been listening to most of late – unless stated otherwise, they’re available on most of the podcast apps so you should find them wherever you listen to yours.
This post has taken me a long time to write. I’ve previously written about my struggles with mental health, and with my journey through life with chronic pain, and in my head this feels like it should be an extension of it. This post was started in April and has been living in my drafts ever since – down to things changing, trying to do more research, trying to wait until I had an answer. And so, here I am, in mid July, feeling like we’ve not really moved on that much, living with life with no diagnosis to show for it. Read More
In less than two weeks, we will know the result of the referendum which proposes to repeal the 8th Amendment in the Irish constitution. The end is nigh, people, it is DECISION time. For those left undecided, it’s time to get making up their minds. A hashtag caught my eye in the last few days, #whoneedsyouryes. It was sparked by a campaign from the National Women’s Council of Ireland under the same name, and contains powerful stories and thought provoking insights from people thinking about this referendum. If you haven’t already, I compel you to read through at least some of the tweets. For me, I wrote what I could fit into the character limit as one of the categories of people I believe my yes will be for on the 25th. But afterwards, so many more occurred to me, and I felt the need to share them. This is who my yes is for.
As we come up to the referendum which will decide whether or not the 8th Amendment of Bunreacht na hEireann is repealed, there is a whole lot of information being thrown our way. In 1597, Francis Bacon wrote “Knowledge itself is power”, which has been interpreted as saying information is power. However, in the current climate of fake news and scaremongering, the debate as to whether to allow women to decide for themselves what happens to their bodies or to leave it up to the state rages on. What is clear is that the funding for the campaign is unequal, with the conservative leave-it-as-it-is side being able to fund a far larger poster and leafleting campaign than the grassroots activism seen on the Repeal side. With increased funds comes the increased capacity to reach more people – and so it is necessary for those on the side of change to ensure that the truth does out, that these myths and lies and fake statistics are called out for what they are. Read More
I’ve started re-watching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy lately while I’ve been off work. I’ve been a fan of Grey’s Anatomy since the early days and though I fell away from it for a while, I’m straight back in there now. It’s the perfect mish-mash of funny, serious and damn heartbreaking. I’m invested in these people like they’re real, they’ve been a part of my life for a decade.
While re-watching, I’ve noticed in some bits that they’re referring perfectly to how life with a toddler is. So, here’s 22 times that Grey’s Anatomy perfectly summed up what it is like to be a parent to a small child.
In the cast of Life, this leading lady is now mother to a four-year-old boy. He may not look it, or fit the clothes just right, but he’ll tell you very clearly that he’s four. And that means he’s strong, and brave because that’s what “four boys” are. He turned four last Saturday, and we celebrated with a party with some of his friends from his creche in a Cork soft play centre. There was what can loosely be called a PJ Masks cake, at least one set of tears per child who turned up in the two hours and everyone seemed to have fun, so I guess we call it a success! I like the format I did for last year’s birthday post, an update all about him and his life.
Ireland’s national holiday, St Patrick’s Day, falls this Saturday, 17th March. Each year, we celebrate St Patrick, the guy who got the credit for bringing Christianity to Ireland (apparently Palladius didn’t kick up enough of a stink about it). Each year, we have parades and family events as well as a bank holiday. St Patrick’s Day has a reputation for being linked with alcohol consumption, so I’m encouraged to see how many family-friendly events are taking place this year. I did a roundup of the events happening in Cork in previous years and people seemed to find it helpful. Hopefully, this may be of help to you in picking what you are doing with your family that day.
The Beast from The East has been making its way across Ireland. The street value of a sliced pan is high, motivation to go into work is low, and there’s talk of red alerts meaning nobody is going anywhere. Which means the schools are closed, and it’s debatable as to what the escape options are over the next few days. If you’re at home with the kids, this all sounds brilliant for the first 24 hours (or if it’s a threenager, 24 minutes). However, after a while, cabin fever may well kick in. I’ve asked other members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers what they’re planning to do to stave off the crazy cabin fever over the next few days of Snowmageddon – here’s what they’ve come up with.
Since Valentines Day falls midweek this year, it’s possible that any plans, if you’ve got them, will be centred around the weekend. Alternatively, you might just be planning a lovely quiet evening at home. Either way, Netflix has you sorted out with a menu of love stories and romance to snuggle up to this Valentine’s Day. Who knows, the kids might even stay asleep for the whole date night! Grab some microwave popcorn and chocolate, and get stuck in. Here are 21 romantic date night movies on Netflix, ready for your choosing this Valentines Day. Read More
Pancake Tuesday is tomorrow – 13th February. In the past, it was intended as a way to use up all of the eggs, butter and fat before the Lenten fast. These days, it’s much more of an excuse to get pancakes for many meals (or at least one) midweek. Whether you’re a thin crepe with lemon and sugar, or thick American pancakes with all the fixings kind of person, here are a selection of pancake recipes tried and tested by parenting bloggers that you AND your family are sure to love, without any pre-made mixes in sight!
I’m a big crime fan, I have been for years – factual or fictional, I lap it up. What that says about me as a person is another question altogether, but the genre completely fascinates me. I’d love to study Criminology, but thanks to knowing full well I haven’t a hope of ever passing a Garda medical, the practical side of me has left it as an armchair hobby for the moment. The genre has grown massively in popularity in recent years, in particular with documentaries and podcasts. I’ve been enraptured by True Crime podcasts for the last few months, they’ve drawn me in with eyes wide open. I guess everyone is an armchair detective at heart!
Here’s a look at True Crime Podcasts that any fan of the genre will love.
Over the last few years, I’ve tried my hand at a fair amount of chronic illness interventions. Various exercises. Many, many medications. Physiotherapy. Interventions that included big scary needles which hurt like a mo-fo. CBT. Therapy. And throw a few more medications in there. You name it, I’ve probably tried it in my search to end the cycle of chronic pain and depression. It’s been a journey, to use a word that I’m not a particularly big fan of. I’ve tried everything mentioned to me, in the hopes of waking up and having a day with no pain, or a day without thinking dark things. And as far as the depression has gone, it’s mostly been positive. It’s taken some tinkering around with dosages and doctors and therapy but it’s manageable. Chronic pain is a wholly different beast. In my search to find the cure for my pain, I’ve found some halfway fixes, but also discovered some rather awful side effects.
I’d like to start a regular book nook section on this blog of mine. I’m an avid reader, when I’ve got the time, and each year I resolve to make a bit more time of it. In the last year, I’ve joined websites like NetGalley, which has given me more of an impetus to read more. I’ve also started buying EVERYTHING Kindle Deals have to offer – meaning my To Read List is often much larger than my abilities to read it all! So during 2018, I’m going to have a dedicated Book Nook post – the things I’ve been reading, what is next on my list, and other thoughts on reader-y things. There may be other book review posts in between, but there will definitely be at least one a month. So, as always, it’s best to start at the beginning – what have I been reading this month?
As a chronic pain patient, I spend my days willing the pain to feck off and find a new hobby. I’ve got discs bulging in my neck, lower back joints that decide when they want to play ball and unexplained pain in various other places. I’ve tried tonnes of therapies, medications, procedures and am still here, battling away and waiting for a day where I’ll wake up and magically be pain-free. I’ve realized that is unlikely to happen. When I said that to a doctor a year ago, when I was discussing my plans for returning to work, I was told it was an awfully negative outlook to have “for someone so young”. They saw my realism as a thing to count as a negative attitude instead of just deciding that it’s something I’ll have to figure out how to live with instead of in spite of. In contrast to that, it seems that the new wave of thought for pain management doctors is “pain acceptance”, where the patient is being told that instead of pursuing medical cures to their pain, that accepting it and finding holistic methods to deal with it and live with it are better options. This is being met with some opposition, in particular in the USA, where there is lots of talk about the growing opioid issue at the moment.