First a wedding dress, then a maternity dress, now I'm just trying to fit into ANY dress.

Threading: You’ll wish you were dead

I’ve never really been a beauty treatment type of person. I love a bit of make-up and skin care products but when it comes to treatment I’ve just never really bothered.

I’ve never had a wax or a massage, I don’t use fake tan, I’ve only ever had one facial and I’ve had a manicure about four times in my life.

But over the last while on social media and even just among my friends in real life there’s been a lot of talk about eyebrows. First thin eyebrows were in, then fuller ones, people pluck them, wax them, thread them. But I’ve only ever had my eyebrows ‘done’ once before, for my wedding four years ago.

Since then, nothing. I’ve just left them to their own devices. But all this eyebrow talk got me looking at mine more critically and wondering if getting them shaped would be really so bad.

I had a childfree day on Sunday and have been saving for the past few months for a winter coat, so I decided while I was out shopping that I’d get my eyebrows done while I was there.

I made an appointment to have them threaded at The Body Shop after hearing great things about the technique, the main selling point (for me) being that it was cheap and really really fast.

Before the appointment I asked a few friends if it hurt getting them done and most people said it was a bit sore and ouchy but nothing to write home about.

They lied.

I went in to the shop at my appointment time and was met by a smiling therapist who almost immediately sat me down in the chair, with a sympathetic glance. I think she knew she had a runner on her hands.

Nervously I lay back, enjoying the cooling gel she rubbed on before hand thinking ‘Now this isn’t so bad at …’




What the fuck is she … this is …sweet baby Jesus save me …


Midway through the torture a woman came into the shop and spoke to the therapist wondering about appointment times.

I tried to warn her, I really did, but all that came out was an anguished keening noise – I was helpless to save her.

If I had thought getting the top of my eyebrows done was bad, I had felt nothing yet. She started on the hairs under my eyebrow, closest to my eyelid and honestly, I wished for the sweet release of death.

Snatches of childhood prayers came back to me as I mumbled the Our Father incoherently, digging my nails into my palm.

“Are you ok?” the therapist asked gently, patting me reassuringly on the shoulder, before moving on to my left eye.

I wanted to leap up and leave but I couldn’t go around with half my face done so I bravely gritted my teeth and answered her: “Mmdmmmgmggllllll” It was the most I could manage.

She moved her gentle hands across my face and it started again.


For the love of all that is HOLY!


Sweating now, I dug deep into my reserves for the home stretch knowing that it couldn’t go on much longer.


And just like that, she was done. She wiped soothing cooling gel across my eyebrows to calm the pain and sat me up so I could see for myself.

“Oh!” I exclaimed “They’re lovely! Oh!”

She must be used to this reaction because she gave another gentle smile and nodded beatifically.

They were lovely. Neat, arched, shaped, nothing too mad looking. And they made my eyes look a little more open and bright – though that could have been the tears, too.

I felt like I had been in that chair for several decades, but the reality is that my appointment took literally six minutes from start to finish and that included paying.

So overall, threading hurts like a motherfucker, you’ll wish you were dead while it’s happening but it’s really fast, it’s cheap and the results are great.

Here’s a Before and After pic for you, for comparison. It’s nothing dramatic, but they look nice and tidy and shaped.

Eyebrows Before

Eyebrows Before

Eyebrows After

Eyebrows After


The boy on the beach

A PICTURE surfaced yesterday of a little boy washed up on a beach in Turkey after the boat he was travelling in with his family capsized.

His name was Aylan Kurdi and he was three years old. His family is Syrian and they were fleeing the war in Syria, a conflict which has already claimed millions of lives.

I’m not going to post that picture here – he was somebody’s little boy and it’s not my place to use his image. Instead I’m going to post a picture of another little boy on a beach.

My boy.

Beach blog Sean 1Beach blog Sean 2









Holiday blog S on beach

This is Seán. He’s almost the same age as Aylan and he associates beaches with sandcastles and seashells, with paddling and splashing.

By accident of birth and geography, Seán lives a happy, safe, sunny life. A beach isn’t a place of horror to him. It shouldn’t be a place of horror for anybody. Children shouldn’t be washing up on beaches, they should be playing on them.

I don’t have any of the answers. I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s happening in Syria or other devastated parts of the world. I don’t know the politics or the complexities or the details of treaties and regulations. I’m not a politician or an economist or a world leader. I don’t know how we’re going to solve all of this. I don’t know very much at all.

All I know is that when I saw that heart stopping picture of tiny Aylan, I saw my boy reflected in him. And I almost couldn’t bear it.

There are however some things I can do to help those in need; some practical things that might help to ease their suffering. And if you can, these are things you can do too.

I donated here, a nationwide campaign to get some supplies to refugees at Calais, with surplus being sent to other border countries such as Hungary.

There are local Facebook pages associated with this campaign for Dublin, Cork, Clare and Armagh.

I signed this, asking Enda Kenny to increase the number of refugees Ireland can take in.

Other organisations such as UNICEF and the Red Cross are also asking for donations to help refugees coming into Europe and also those still in Syria.

It’s not much, but it’s something and it might make a difference. Please give what you can.

Callais linky badge

Members of The Irish Parenting Bloggers network have come together in a blog-hop to share their thoughts on the current crisis and to let people know what they can do to help. Click on the blue button below to read our posts and please feel free to spread the word by sharing on social media platforms using the hashtag #ReadFeelAct.

Please share our posts with the hashtag #ReadFeelAct and do whatever you can to help.
As well as writing about this issue, members of the Irish Parenting Bloggers network have also organised a virtual coffee (or tea!) morning for next Friday, September 11, to raise funds for the Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign. Details of the event are here. It’s a public event so you don’t have to be on Facebook to take part. And because it’s virtual you don’t even have to leave your couch. Please click the link, read more and take part.


What time is it Mister Wolf?

MOST people set an alarm to get themselves up in the morning – in this house we’re starting a new experiment this week where we’re setting an alarm to remind ourselves to go to bed.

We’re a disaster when it comes to going to sleep, gobshites, the pair of us.

I can’t even blame The Beast – for whatever reason the Gods of Sleep smiled upon us and he’s a good sleeper, goes down handy enough for the night and sleeps through. So it’s not him keeping me awake or depriving me of my precious zzz-eds.

It’s me. And Yer Man. And Infomercials.

While The Beast is a good sleeper, he’s doesn’t go down until late (around 9pm/9.30pm) though he sleeps then until 8.30am the next morning. But by the time we get him down, half the night is gone and really, we should be packing up for bed ourselves.

But we don’t. After he goes up we take a bit of ‘me time’ – I’ll do a bit of blogging and social media, Yer Man will play a bit of Championship Manager and then before we know it, it’s nearly midnight and we haven’t said a word to each other all night.

So we’ll plop onto the sofa for a chat and end up staying up even later, flicking through the channels trying to find something to watch even for half an hour.

Enter Infomercials.

It’s become a bit of an obsession at this stage. I’m actually getting a bit afraid at how much we enjoy them and naturally, the shite-er the product, the more we like them.

There’s nothing we like more than slagging the arse off a product, mocking anyone who’d even consider buying one.

Yer Man’s current object of scorn is the Nutribullet – you can’t turn on the telly after midnight without seeing an ad for this magic blender yoke that claims to make vegetable water taste nice.

Alarm blog nutribullet

“What’s he putting in there now? Beetroot? With cabbage? Ah for fuck’s sake that’s vile,” he’ll gasp, eyes bulging, glued to the telly. “That’s a pile o’ piss so it is.”

“Isn’t it,” he’ll demand suddenly turning to me wild eyed, “Isn’t it a pile o’ piss?”

And I’ll have to agree and repeat “pile o’ piss” soothingly until he shuts up. (Though actually, secretly, I wouldn’t mind a Nutribullet.)

Another favourite is the garden hose that starts off really small but expands as you fill it. Phallic-tastic!

And don’t start me on the mineral make up that covers birthmarks and turns ordinary women into supermodels, I have to get me some of THAT. Or the steam mop that cleans everything from your oven hob to your floors to your fanny (not really). I’m obsessed with it. Obsessed.

We’ll reluctantly head to bed then in the wee hours aghast at how, yet again, we’ve let the time run away from us. It wasn’t so bad in the summer as Yer Man was off but now that it’s term time again, and he’s back to working his three jobs, something has to change.

So from tonight we’re pulling The Beast’s bedtime back slightly (even just 15 minutes) and I’m setting a first alarm for 11pm to remind us it’s time to turn off the laptops and actually have a chat and watch some TV on the couch; then a second alarm for 40 minutes later to tell us to go to bed.

http://go to sleep gif

The aim is to be in bed asleep by midnight every night during the week. That might sound really late to some of you but for us it’ll afford Yer Man 7.5 hours sleep and me 8.5 hours every night and hopefully we’ll see some positive benefits.

Operation Put Down The Infomercials And Go The Fuck To Sleep (OPDTIAGTFTS) begins tonight. We’ll see how long it lasts.

The kid is alright

This kid is alright

THE Beast has taken to smacking his lips and saying ‘Ahhh, that’s Bass’ whenever he takes a sip of his drink, in an uncanny imitation of our former Taoiseach.

It’s very unsettling.

He also says cheerfully ‘Down the hatch!’ and ‘Eat up everybody!’ whenever he sees anybody eating or drinking anything, even when we’re out in public.

If you’ve ever been in a restaurant and a small blonde boy has enthusiastically cheered you on throughout your meal, that was us, and I apologise.

I’m not really sure where he picked up these phrases, most probably parroting us or his grandparents or cousins, but I probably should be worried that he’s already an advertiser’s dream.

I worry a lot actually. Mainly about my own prowess as a mother. And hearing him rattle off advertising slogans for beer from the 80s doesn’t really help my confidence.

When he was a tiny baby and I was ill with post natal depression, I was forced to put myself first, to get myself well so that I could care for him. So beyond feeding, changing and loving him, I didn’t worry about a whole lot else. And I didn’t DO a whole lot else with him either.

Now though, it’s different. I’ve recovered (for now) from PND, I am well again and I feel strong in that sense – but now I have to actually mother him.

The responsibility has moved on from quite literally keeping him alive, to actually nurturing him. To actually teaching him things. To actually knowing what the fuck I’m doing.

And I often fear that I don’t.

He was ill recently, with a fever that rocketed to 40.9 degrees (105F) and in my utter panic I physically looked over my shoulder for a more adulty adult to help me.

An abstract part of my brain thought ‘God, poor little thing, his mother is going to have to do something about that temperature’ before realising with a start that I was his mother and it was I who was going to have to do something about it.

So I did. With shaking hands I administered Calpol, took off both our t-shirts so he could cuddle next to me skin-to-skin to help regulate his temperature and for comfort, and then laid him down to rest in his cool bedroom, sitting up holding his hand for the rest of the night.

The temperature dropped after a few hours and he slept and within a few days was right as rain again. I even managed to get him to the doctor and to get a urine sample out of him (The Beast, not the doctor, that’d be just plain weird). And ridiculous as it sounds I was proud of myself for managing to mind him while he was ill, something every mother in the world does every day, probably without thinking about it.

Having a baby is a huge responsibility and it starts the moment the baby enters the world; but for me, the responsibility hadn’t really bothered me up until this point when The Beast has started to turn from a helpless baby into a little person, a person I am responsible for, that I have to guide through life.

I even spoke to my GP about it, a few months ago, that while I felt recovered from the PND and ready to move on with my life that I still didn’t feel like a good mother.

He looked at me kindly from over his spectacles and told me my problem was simply confidence, that he suspected I was a “very good mother indeed” but that lack of confidence can hold anybody back.

He spoke to me then about possible counselling to come to terms with my new life now as a mother and while I don’t feel like I need that quite yet, I do have that in my back pocket for future reference.

For now, instead, I’ve been slowly trying to build my own confidence by focusing on the things that I’m doing right with my son.

Ok, so he winks and spouts 80s advertising slogans like a politician in training, watches too much TV, is stubborn as a mule and has an unhealthy obsession with Milkyway chocolate stars, but he can also count to ten, ream off his colours, name any animal in a farmyard and a fair few in the Zoo too.

I did that.

He knows all the words to the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song, can name all the trains and their associated numbers, and can recite most of his Thomas books off by heart. He says please and thank you and excuse me when he burps.

I did that.

He adores hopscotch, the slide, chalk drawing, stickers, examining leaves in the woods, collecting sticks by the stream and feeding the ducks and he’s never happier than when he’s digging in mud making up elaborate games for his toys.

I did that.

He’s happy and healthy and loved and smart and funny and crazy and full of chat and goes to bed each night knowing that he is the light of our lives.

I did that.

At least, I did some of that. I suppose that’s all any of us can do, isn’t it, keep moving forward, keep trying.

And for now anyway, the kid is alright.

We’re going to the Zoo, you can come too…


IS there anything better than a birthday party?

Well, perhaps a triple birthday party. For adorable baby elephants. That would probably trump your common or garden birthday party.

Dublin Zoo in association with the Natural Confectionery Company is hosting a weekend of celebrations this weekend (August 22 & 23) to mark the first birthday of Asian elephant calves Kavi, Ashoka and Samiya.

We were invited along this morning before the Zoo opened to get a sneak peek at the elephant family while they had their breakfast and their morning shower.


Following breakfast and some yummy jellies (I’m not going to lie, I scoffed the lot before the child could even blink) we set off for the Kaziranga Forest Trail to watch the adorable baby elephants while they started their day.



Zookeeper Gerry Creighton introduced us to the whole family before turning on the giant hose that washes and cools the elephants as well as giving them a much-needed drink.

After we had our fill of the elephants we set off around the rest of the Zoo where the activities for the rest of the day were just starting up. There was a live DJ, arts and crafts, face painting and giant board games like Jenga, Connect Four and Lego. The Beast was more interested in the animals and various playgrounds so we didn’t linger in these areas for too long, but the children taking part certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves.


The birthday festivities continue tomorrow, Sunday, and they’re well worth a visit. Visit Dublin Zoo for more info.









SnapChat – Current Obsession Level – Nuclear

SO as if I hadn’t found enough ways to waste my time on the Internet already, I only went and joined SnapChat.

I know.

Listen, I know.

I know it’s only for the young people and the cool people, but it’s like this – I’m a nosey hoor and if something gives me the opportunity to see inside other people’s lives in real time then I’m going to take that and run with it.

SnapChat is kind of like a mix of other social media, all rolled into one – a little Facebook, a little Twitter, a little Instagram, in one neat 30-second package.

You can post videos and pictures, chat to others, sent private messages, but it all disappears from your ‘Story’ (kind of like your FB timeline) within 24-hours and then you start all over again.

Snapchat shiny hair

The main thing I like about it however is that mainly people post videos so you get to hear their voices, see their faces and nose inside their homes as well.

I’ll level with you, half the time I’m not listening to your snaps, I’m avidly looking at the shelf behind your head in your video to see what stuff you have in your sitting room.

I also joined mainly because a lot of bloggers joined it and I always like getting to know other bloggers more, seeing where they work, what makes them tick and SnapChat really is a great way to do that. (Of course not everyone there is a blogger, I just happen to follow a lot of them.)

I started blogging way back in 2005 – on a now defunct blog – when a lot of bloggers were anonymous or used pseudonyms, before social media really took off here.

I remember going to the first ever Irish Blog Awards in Dublin and the big buzz of the night was whether or not the acclaimed blogger Twenty Major was going to show up; whether or not he was a real person and whether or not he was even a he. (He didn’t show that year, but he did the next and he IS a he and he’s very nice and handsome.)

Anyway, the point I’m getting at was that at that time blogging was more about online personas, there was a bit of mystery there and people didn’t really know much about the blogger behind the blogs. You read a blog because you liked the subject matter or the person’s style of writing, but by and large, unless you knew them in real life, you didn’t know a huge amount about the individual blogger.

These days it’s different, I think, because we have so many new ways to interact with each other on so many different platforms, we’re getting a more rounded view of the person behind the blog. It’s still all about that blog (’bout that blog no treble) but with a little added personality thrown in.

Enter SnapChat.

Here, above other social media platforms, is where you’ll find your personalities. And, you know what, you might find in the end that you don’t actually like those personalities, but dammit Jim, they’re real.

Unlike some other forms of social media SnapChat is particularly true to life. People post from their beds, their sofas, with hangovers, with make up halfway down their faces, under shit fluorescent lighting in their offices, hashtag, no filter. Ok, you’ll get the odd gorgeous specimen in full make-up with perfect lighting, complaining like an enormous liar that she looks like shit but they’re few and far between.

Snapchat eggs on bagel

I also love it for its immediacy. You snap, you post, people see it, it’s over, move on. It’s fast, chatty, buzzy and very entertaining.

This week particularly it’s kept me company as I’ve been recovering from surgery and I’ve really got more of a feel for it and am enjoying it even more now.

One slight downside – which isn’t really even a downside – is that there are no ‘like’ or ‘favourite’ buttons on SnapChat – if you like something, or find a person funny, you actually have to get off your hole and send them a message to say that. But personally I think that kind of forces you to engage with your followers and interact a bit more.

I know it's a selfie. I had to, ok?

I know it’s a selfie. I had to, ok?

I’m still finding my way around it and mainly post pictures of my breakfast and my face and videos of me telling embarrassing bum surgery stories, but it’s fast becoming my newest obsession.

I follow a lot of people on SnapChat and enjoy all of their stories but here are a few of my favourites: @lovelygirlybits, @rosemarymaccabe, @covetedmess, @cunninghamlaura, @deefur, @hollywooddublin, @itscherrysue, @jamespatrice, @paulieblogger, @the_jayrow, @lorrainehaigney, @sharonleavy, @seraemily, @thebeauttruth, @waxpertsellen, @yazglitter, @sarawimm, @robo_jojo. There are loads there I’m forgetting, but these will start you off anyway and if you want to follow me, I’m on @beatingblog.

Tell me, are you on SnapChat? Let me what you think of it, in the comments.

How did he do that? Murf the Magician – Review

Murf the Magician

Murf the Magician

WE had The Beast’s Christening at the weekend. A bit late, I know, he was almost old enough to conduct the ceremony himself, but sure that’s just how it worked out.

Anyway, when we were planning the day and going through the guest list we realised we’d have a clatter of kids at it and felt the cold clutch of fear around our hearts when we thought about entertaining them for a whole afternoon in a pub.

It’s also no fun being a kid and being forced to sit quietly while the adults enjoy themselves so we decided we’d put on a bit of a show for our younger guests.

Enter Murf the Magician.

The Basics:

Murf is a professional full-time close up magician who also caters for adult parties and events. He performs a mix of card tricks and conjuring tricks, and engages the kids with some comedy along the way.

He was already set up when we arrived at our venue and quickly got the show under way, assuring the children that they could be as involved as they liked. If they wanted to help out with the tricks, they could, if they wanted to just sit and watch, that was ok too.

The Show:

There were card tricks and wand tricks, cards that appeared in a puff of smoke, play rabbits that changed colour before our eyes amid screams of laughter and excitement.

There was a can of Coke that was emptied into a glass and then magically (seriously) refilled before our very eyes. I’m still trying to work out how he did that one and lots of other tricks too that the kids were able to get involved in, too many to mention.

I won’t give away too much but after the grand finale one of my nieces turned to me with eyes like saucers and ended her sentence with ‘and then the rabbit just appeared!’

Making balloon animals. Excuse the blurry photo, I don't haz the skills!

Making balloon animals. Excuse the blurry photo, I don’t haz the skills!


Overall we were so impressed with Murf the Magician. He was professional and friendly and only needed to be told each child’s name once before remembering them for the rest of the show, never once mixing them up.

The children were enthralled, absolutely enthralled by him, and joined in enthusiastically. The sleight of hand stuff was just amazing, very impressive.

We give him a bit fat ten out of ten and absolutely would recommend him to a friend.

For further details visit Murf the Magician or call 086-4416200. For adult events including weddings, parties and corporate events visit Event Magic


***Disclosure. I live close to Murf the Magician and know him in real life. However, I was not obliged to write this review nor was I paid or compensated for it. As always, with any review on this blog, all opinions are honest and my own.


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