Sunday morning. There's another woman in my bed. She is blonde of lock, long of limb, waspy of waist and swan-necked. With a grunt, I remove Barbie from underneath me and chuck her elsewhere, her very presence in the house a reminder that I have failed my daughters miserably.
The heart and the wallet are in the right place - how much more powerful could the 'no makeup selfie' phenomenon be if its head were too
Here's an idea. If we donate, instead of a picture of our pasty, self-satisfied mugs, how about we post or tweet a useful fact about cancer and nominate our friends to do the same? A statistic? A reminder of how vital self-examination is, or the importance of early detection? Information about prevention. How about the words 'Check yourself', with a simple diagram showing how to do it properly?
See why the charity phenomenon didn't wash with me here
Getting help for a mental health issue is no sign of failure – but ignoring it is
"You don't think being told you're displaying textbook symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress would be good news but hey, life's a funny thing".
Something more serious for a change. Read the rest of the article here
Less sex, more hotpot please, Betty...
IMAGINE your lovely, adored old auntie. Reliable, lovable, a bit mad, smelling of sponge cake and armed with a good quip. Now imagine she went off and got herself a trout pout, bathed in Opium and picked up footballers. Got herself, as Blanche Hunt once said, "a skirt no bigger than a belt, too much eyeliner, and roots as dark as her soul". That's 'Coronation Street'.
Find out why this Rover won't be Returning any time soon... here
Is Christian compromise and conversation too much to ask at the last goodbye?
If I had my choice, I'd like Allegri's Miserere, sung by the Choir ofWestminster Abbey. Well, a girl can dream, can't she?
Can a compromise be found between honouring our dead and disrespecting the Catholic church? See article here
Please let the neighbours love Love/Hate
Hands up everyone in Ireland who has a photo of themselves with Nidge? 'Here's me and Nidge on me road'; 'Here's me and Nidge in Superquinn'. It's the new must-have picture, replacing JFK and the Sacred Heart in the icon charts.
POLYJUICE Potion. Tastes like goblin pee, according to Harry Potter, but it does the trick when you want to assume the form of another human being. Must be how JK Rowling did it then. How a glamorous, blonde behemoth of popular fiction morphed into a faceless former plainclothes military policeman scribbling his first effort.
THEY say that in laboratories worldwide, terrifying new threats are being created. Genetic mutations that will bring mankind to its knees. Humans controlled by contagion, shuffling about, pale-skinned and rheumy-eyed. See why you should avoid the old online snake oil salesman HERE
You're the best...no, you're the best....
RECENTLY in our house, we've been enjoying a bedtime story called 'Ever So, Ever So'. It's a triumph-over-adversity tale of a pre-schooler being usurped in her parents' affections and their frankly shoddy treatment of her, subsequent to the arrival of a newborn sister. Do I love one more than the other?! See HERE
Losing some junk from the trunk...
...when it comes to dieting, it seems that the only thing we are consistently capable of losing is the part of our brain that once learned Einstein's definition of insanity – that is, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
SHE'S the last person you'd expect it of, all the same. The one name you'd never think to place in the same sentence as 'petulant' and 'disorderly' – not to mention 'arrested'. That sweetest of hearts, that most appley of pies, Reese Witherspoon. Read the rest HERE_
Nobody expected the LPT calculator...not like this!
...But even if you asked Felix Baumgartner to drop a dried leaf out of his pocket the next time he's up on the edge of space, and took a rough stab at where it might land, it would still be more of an exact science than the fun new Guesstimation Game that's been invented by the Revenue Commissioners.
Play if you dare - enter the puzzling world of the LPT Calculator here
ROLL up, roll up! Come marvel at the spectacle! Gaze upon the regal protuberance! Wonder at the amazing travelling foetus and its pretty, polished, hostess! Look at her silken hair, gasp at her coat that still fits! Behold, a pregnant woman – before your very eyes!
OH we're all very funny all the same, though, aren't we? "Getting the trots", "and they're off", "stable diets" and all that. Genuinely. The jokes were funny at first but after three days can we not admit that we are officially now flogging a dead one? Plus, isn't it about time we all got off the high one too?
WHY isn't there a catchy name for January 2? This year it could have been Lose-The-Will-To-Live-Wednesday. Next year we might look forward to Torture Thursday. Is there any word that's bad enough to describe that first day of official back-to-business of the new year – all memories of the cosy Christmas cocoon obliterated in seconds by the alarm clock about an hour after you've finally managed to drop off to sleep having spent the night in a tangle of sweat and dread?
SO when does it officially end, then? When do you ask folk how they "got over it"? Is it now or was it December 27? When do the reviews of the year start in earnest? When you're finally gazing at the carcass of a large bird that you've grown to know intimately and wondering "brown or black bin"? When there's no earthly chance of unearthing a caramel cup?
See why Christmas was better when someone else did all the hard work here
Ryanair - doing exactly what they've said on the tin
THE first time I flew, I was given boiled sweets by a fragrant lady who said I was a great girl, tightened my seatbelt and got me some free juice. I think Gabriel's Oboe played in the background...
It was a luxury experience for a six-year-old, enjoyed at great expense. So much expense, in fact, that only two of us were chosen to fly and the remainder of the family were packed into the Hillman Avenger to make the lengthy sea voyage to join us at our destination. Which was Edinburgh.
THERE are simply no words. How do you begin to comprehend how Lorraine Gallagher's arms must ache to hold her girls today, two-thirds of her family gone because her beautiful daughters have tragically taken their own lives.
IF Steve Irwin were still alive, he'd have had an easy day's crocodile hunting yesterday. All he'd have had to do was follow the tracks of their tears as 'heartbroken' 2DayFM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian went on TV to show their remorseful faces to the world following the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.
TOUGH but fair, they said. Girding our loins against painful cuts, readying us for added austerity. Deep down we knew that they had to be up to something, that there was a curve ball coming.
See how the government cork-screwed us in Budget 2013 here
It's not one's baby - it's our baby!
IT'S the lying that gets to you. The excuses, half-truths, the 'stomach bugs'. Forget bringing a newborn home – it's the secret early days of pregnancy that'll stress you out.
It's always a huge relief, therefore, to get it off your chest, particularly at this time of year. The initial euphoria of discovering a Christmas pregnancy is soon replaced with trauma after tiny trauma as you politely sidestep the smoked salmon, shun the cheeseboard, develop a 'really bad head cold' and endure the carrot-flavoured evil of non-alcoholic beer so that you look like you're drinking alcohol. Because well, if you're not boozing, then you may as well just whip out the positive Clearblue there and then.
Only women made of iron can stick it out before finally caving at the sight of another Baileys and 'fessing up. In some ways, it must be a sigh of relief for Kate and Wills to have made their panicked announcement on Monday afternoon, well before they had intended.
SOME things are inherently Irish. Tayto. Hurling. Calling a ham and cheese pastry by the French word for ham.
And then there's that one special night every year for all the boys and girls. The night when, if you're very good, and don't thump your sister, you can stay up to watch the Irish phenomenon that is The Toy Show.
THEY say that once, a cop pulled Chuck Norris over and the cop was lucky to get a warning. That cop might have been Jimmy McNulty or John McClane. Maybe even the one from 'The Terminator' but I'll tell you who it wasn't. Sarah Lund.
Even a celebrity attention-seeker can be a health role model
Where would we be without Twitter? While the Twitbox is mainly filled with inanities – 'amusing' quotes, marketing messages and occasional mudslinging – it has its uses. It can be a rallying cry to search for a missing person; an awareness and fundraising tool; a relevant indicator of the mood of the masses.
Hands up who has so far this year invoked the Santa Clause? The one where 'he won't come if you don't behave/ he sees you when you're sleeping/ he's making a list and checking it twice'?
Well, forget it. Because this Christmas, there's a whole new humbug with which to threaten your kids. And it's not Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch or the guy who makes the Snowman melt at the end every single year. Top of the grumpy list for 2012 is none other than the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles etc etc. It's Il Papa.
WE might be an island out in the middle of nowhere with a reputation for heavy drinking and terrible financial management. It's mainly freezing and damp. Our national food might look like an oil slick with bits of squirrel and a few carrots in it; our national drink is the same colour as tar -- but for some reason, for some time now, the Americans have liked to come see us.
THE older I get, the happier I am, I think. The slippage southward of physical attributes is a minor inconvenience when compared with mid-life benefits such as self-confidence and good old cop on. I would take any form of physical decrepitude over being a kid again.
Being a teenager is the loneliest island -- the insecurity, the having-to-look-cool-when-you-have-no-idea-what-the-hell-is-going-on-ness of those formative years makes me shudder.
IT'S a coveted thing, this old dignity lark. We all want it -- to live with it, to grow old with it, to die with it. Previous generations put up and shut up and in doing this came across as slightly more dignified than this one. Because we want to talk all the time, don't we? We're all jumping up and down to be heard for fear of being forgotten, or ignored, or simply because someone has said that it will help.
SO much for sugar and spice and all things nice. Girls -- all pink and glittery and kind and gentle. Well not any more, it seems. The alarming and repugnant footage which went viral on the internet of two Cork schoolgirls fighting for the amusement of a baying mob seems to prove that nowadays camera phones, a stinking attitude to life and an alarming lack of self-respect are, in 2012, what little girls are made of. Read the rest of the story here
IF you google it, the scene is called 'Rear Window -- The Kiss'. Shot in technicolour, the camera pans around the view from the window and settles on a snoozing Jimmy Stewart, over whom an ominous shadow looms, growing closer.
IN JK Rowling's house this week, one of two scenarios is playing out. The first is that she's feeding titbits of truffles to her unicorns, saying "What's the worst that can happen?"; the second is that she's nervous. Pacing a little bit. Chewing her nails. Possibly to the extent that the next time she's seen in public she'll look like the Venus de Milo. Because this Thursday, 'The Casual Vacancy' -- her first book since 'Potter' -- is out and the world will find out if Joanne Kathleen Rowling is, in fact, a one-trick pony.
Am I just a neigh-sayer (!)? See the rest of the article here
THE last time I checked, I was female. And as such, according to the handbook, my favourite pastime should be clothes shopping. The rules indicate that I should constantly want to stride purposefully to the nearest shops, all the while threatening my credit card playfully. I say "should", of course. I am not averse to having new things -- quite the opposite. It's just the prospect of going out there in order to obtain them appeals to me only slightly less than gutting fish or cleaning out the brown bin.
'INTRODUCE lots of air'. That's it. That's all I remember from the Dark Ages. From Deirdre Madden's 'All About Home Economics' -- along with making sure your knife was cold and using half the amount of flour to the amount of fat, or vice versa.
Home Economics mainly taught me that if I want an apple tart, I should just go to a bakery but thanks to my Inter Cert, I'm certain that I could make pastry if I really, really wanted to.