Lollies lollies everywhere! Claudi & Fin Review

Claudi & Fin lollies available in Ireland now

Claudi & Fin lollies available in Ireland now

A WHILE ago The Beast decided that he wasn’t going to eat any dairy anymore. Apart from cheese, which he adores, he went on an all out strike.

Any time I introduced anything with yogurt, cream, milk, he looked at me like it was weapons grade plutonium and point blank refused to even entertain it.

I wasn’t overly worried as he has a balanced diet and I add milk to things like scrambled eggs, baking, soups, curries, plus all the cheese so I didn’t think too much about it and let it go.

But from a handiness point of view I missed it. It’s so handy to throw a yogurt into a bag when you’re heading off for the day, or to lob a dollop of cream into a pan of pasta, and hey pretso, dinner. But The Beast would just give me a look that clearly said ‘I have spoken’ so that was that.

However when I was approached by Claudi & Fin – newly launching their brand of frozen yogurt lollies into Ireland this week – and asked to review their product, I jumped at the chance to sample their wares, thinking that this might be a way to reintroduce an element of dairy.

And yeah, I also wanted to eat them myself, enormous heifer that I am. So, to the review.

The Pitch:

Claudi & Fin lollies are the brainchild of UK businesswomen Lucy Woodhouse and Meriel Kehoe who were looking for a tasty treat to give their kids (after whom the lollies are named) every now and again but couldn’t find anything in the shops that wasn’t full of junk.

So they bought up a load of fruit and yogurt, got their blenders out and made their own. And as the saying goes the rest is history.

The Product:

The frozen lollies come in strawberry and mango flavour and contain full fat Greek style yogurt, full fat whole milk and fruit puree and some sugar. They come in box of four and are presented in a gorgeous sweet little box with an illustration of the lollies on the front. I’ve doled out loads of these lollies to pals to try and EVERYONE has commented on the packaging, it’s really lovely.

Nutritional information

Nutritional information

The first thing I did when I received my samples of the lollies is check the ingredients and was happy to see a short list of ingredients with no artificial ingredients, no sweeteners and no E numbers or junk. The lollies also contain 30 per cent of your RDA of Vitamin D, something Irish children can be lacking in, so that was all good.

Cautiously, as if disarming a bomb, I unwrapped a strawberry lolly for The Beast and handed it to him.

“Look! Lolly! On a stick!” I gurned, with a demented encouraging face on me. Silently thinking ‘Eat the lolly eat the lolly eat the lolly.’

Cautiously, he examined the lolly, suspiciously glancing up at my rictus face. Achingly slowly he picked it up and even more slowly he brought it to his mouth and took a first lick …

The Verdict:

Well, see for yourself.

Can't get it in fast enough now

Can’t get it in fast enough now

First taste!

First taste!

Mmmmm these are nice!

Mmmmm these are nice!



HE LIKED THEM! It took a while, he’s not used to food on a stick, but before long he was licking with gusto and even grabbing the lolly with his other hand and licking it off his fingers. Success! He didn’t finish his, it was a bit too big for him, but he really enjoyed the amount he ate.

I really liked them too, as did Yer Man. Creamy, fruity and not too sweet, they’re delicious. Both flavours are lovely but the mango one tastes like a Solero and is very very moreish.

I gave some to my neighbour for her four boys and she reports a very enthusiastic two thumbs up, with the boys demanding to try both flavours one after the other, just to make sure that they were nice. Research, you see!

My other pal reported happy children too, with her little man liking the “ellow” ones best!


Overall, I’m very impressed with Claudi & Fin lollies. They are, of course, a treat and not something you’d give after every single meal, but as an occasional snack they’re perfect. I’m sure some of you are thinking that you could whizz some up in your blenders yourselves rather than buying them, and you’re quite right. You could. The question is though, could you be arsed? For the convenience of being able to pick these up in the shops and having all the work done for you, not to mention not having to clean out the bloody blender, these can’t be beat. So Claudi & Fin, I salute you, it’s a very definite ten out of ten from me.

Claudi & Fin lollies are now available in Ireland in Centra and SuperValu stores and are priced €3.50 for a box of four. Visit for more.



Disclosure: I was approached by Claudi and Fin to sample and review these lollies. I was sent samples free of charge. However I was not paid for this post, and all opinions are my own and an honest and accurate reflection of my thoughts on the product.

How (not) to go shopping with a toddler

Mag article me and S 23 months 2

Like butter wouldn’t melt …


WE’VE all been there – a dull Wednesday afternoon, you open the fridge and half heartedly poke around hoping to find something to eat for that evening’s dinner.

There is nothing.

Unless mouldy tomatoes served on a bed of cardboard and gone off milk is suddenly a ‘thing’. And frankly, I wouldn’t put anything past the hipsters.

So anyway, you make the decision to go to the supermarket even though you’re on your own with the kid and even utter the immortal words ‘sure how hard could it be?’

Brimming with determination you get your coat and shoes on, make sure you have your keys and then Ninja tackle the two-year-old to the floor while shoving his arms into his coat and ripping the velcro on his shoes open with your teeth.

“We nare gooooinnng *pant* to the shhhooo *ouch* ppps. Put yer *yelp* cooaat nnnnnnn,” you bellow restraining the child like you learnt in juvie a book.

Both suitably attired you decide to bring the buggy in case the child gets tired so he can climb aboard and slumber peacefully while you browse.

*rolls eyes at own naivety*

It takes 15 minutes to get out the door as you negotiate how many toys the child is allowed to bring with him. You finally settle on 17, following an all out shrieking mickey fit on his part. And, let’s be honest, on yours.

Red faced and sweating you make it into the supermarket and for the first five minutes you glide serenely up and down the aisle.

‘This isn’t so bad,’ you think to yourself, as the child occupies himself eating the snack you have cleverly packed before you left the house.

You throw a few items into your basket and then, stupidly, make eye contact with your toddler. Big mistake. Huge.

The child suddenly realises that he may not be the centre of your attention and starts making attempts to escape.



Down and play!

His demands reach ear splitting level so you eventually release him from the instrument of torture buggy and tell him to hold on to your hand as you walk along.


That happens.


Not at ALL.

First chance he gets, he’s doing his Ronnie Delaney impression, legging it into the fruit and veg section and instantly disappearing behind a display of melons.


Where the fuck is he?

You finally find him playing with a kumquat which he will not relinquish under any circumstances. You remind him of all the lovely toys you brought with you, 17 in all, but he is adamant. He despises those toys. He wants this kumquat. You will buy it for him and let him keep it and you will like it.

You don’t even know what a kumquat is. You vaguely think it might taste like chicken.


Bastard kumquats

Bastard kumquats

Exhausted you try to continue with your shopping, holding tightly onto the child with one hand, while manoeuvering the buggy and the basket with the other.

You end up having to headbutt your groceries off the shelf into your basket as it’s the only appendage you have free.

Concussed, you make your way to the till and in your confused state you decide to check out using the self service tills.

Like a fucking gobshite.

Unexpected item in bagging area.

Please wait for assistance.

Unexpected item in bagging area.

Please take your items.

Unexpected item in bagging area.

Please take your items.


All the while you’re frantically trying to get the machine to take your crumpled twenty, while attempting to stop the toddler from scaling the tower of baskets.

Defeated, you stumble home, bowed and bloodied with a shrieking toddler triumphantly holding a kumquat attached to your face. And naturally, when you get home you realise you left your bag of shopping in the supermarket.

You eat mouldy tomatoes for dinner. Followed by fucking kumquat.

And you learn a valuable lesson. The only way to bring a toddler shopping with you is to leave him at home with his other parent or a grandmother. Or, you know, the postman, anyone at all once you don’t have to endure shopping with a toddler.

It’s the only way. Trust me.

Taking the plunge

Mama and Sean with stickers

THERE’S a tradition here in Ireland every Christmas Day where people gather at The 40 Foot, a bathing spot on the coast, to do a charity swim in aid of whatever particular cause they feel passionate about.

It makes the news every year and every year I look on in amazement thinking fair play, because trust me, although we’re in Europe, the Irish Sea is never warm. There are no balmy Mediterranean temperatures here. Think ‘going for a swim in your freezer’ and you’d be halfway there.

I’ve always wondered what goes through the swimmers’ minds before they take the plunge into the icy waters, whether they want to back out or whether they relish the challenge.

Yesterday I got a flash of insight into what it might be like to line up to take a dip into the unknown as I decided, with the help of my doctor, to come off my anti-depressant medication.

(Ok, it’s not the same as leaping into the Irish Sea in deepest winter, but work with me here, it’s an analogy!)

This is a big deal for me. I had never had depression nor taken antidepressants before I had my son, so post natal depression was my first experience of it and it terrified me.

The meds helped so much, they worked quickly and they helped me to feel back to myself. I’ve been on them for roughly 18 months now and at various points I wondered about coming off them but never felt quite ready.

My fear is that I only feel well now because of the meds, not because I’m actually well. I worry that the occasional down days I have means that I’m still ill, that I’m not healed yet.

My doctor assures me that all of this is normal, that even people who have never had depression can have down days, that this isn’t a reason to continue to take meds that I might not really need.

We had a long chat – I’m sure the rest of the patients in the waiting room were making Voodoo dolls out of me I was in there that long – but he was so kind and so helpful that I now feel ready to take the plunge.

For the next month I’m going to be weaning off my meds, reducing the dose down to nothing and after that I’ll be on my own.

I’m excited and terrified all at the same time. But I really do feel like I’m ready. I’m sick of post natal depression, I really am. It robbed me of so much and I’m tired of giving it space in my head and in my heart.

I’m done. It may take its last breath because over the next month I’m going to be inching closer and closer to the edge of the waves, then I’m jumping in and washing it all away.

Of course there’s a chance I might sink, but I’m really hoping I can find the courage to swim.

(How’re you all liking these swimming analogies? Doing anything for ya? Anybody? No? No? Ok, I’ll stop now.)

The curse of being a parent

I’M going to have to stop cursing. At least out loud.

I know, it’s a fucking pain in the hoop, but I’m living with a little parrot these days so I can’t afford to be caught out.

The Beast is repeating EVERYTHING he hears, soaking up words and phrases like a sponge and spitting them back out with aplomb.

It’s adorable when he repeats ‘Love you Seán’ to me or ‘Careful pet’ when he hears his Nana cautioning him not to run headlong into the door.

Or when he’s cuddled next to me reading his favourite book and repeating the words from memory. That’s pretty fun too.

However, I doubt him exclaiming ‘Fucking thundercunts’ out loud in Tesco would go down too well with the general public. Or his father.

He’s already learned ‘ah shite’ from me (where are you going with that Mother of the Year Award?) and I’d like that to be the only bad word he ever learns, if I can

It’s not going to be easy. I love cursing. No, really, I do. It comes really naturally to me and I adore finding a new curse word (see ‘thundercunts’ above) and using it to punctuate my sentences.

A couple of years ago, before I was even a mother, I tried to give up cursing for Lent. It seemed to be such a simple thing to do, but I lasted about four days before I was at it again. It proved almost impossible.

It might have something to do with growing up around my Da, who found it almost offensive to go more than about five sentences before throwing in an oul bollix or two.

Or it could be to do with being Irish – as a nation we’re fairly prolific when it comes to swearing, it’s almost a national pastime.

Or maybe I’m just a vulgar bitch. (It’s probably mainly that last one actually.)

Whatever it is, it’ll have to stop. Adults can choose to swear or not swear, but children are generally only repeating what they hear and I don’t think it’s fair to teach them a word and then not allow them to use it or chastise them for using it. So I’m going to have to bite the bullet and watch my tongue.

I guess, as much as I love cursing – and I fucking love cursing – I don’t want my beautiful, innocent, gentle, blue eyed boy to follow in my footsteps in this regard. I love him more.

Fuck it anyway.

It seems I’m going to have to actually actively parent him. So far we’ve gotten away with simply ‘keeping him alive’ but now that he’s getting older it looks like I’m going to have to put in a bit more effort.

So good bye all you geebags and bitches. Farewell bastards and bollixes and arses and cunts. It was nice knowing you, you fucking dickhead assholes.

From now on it’s going to be like a Disney movie in my house, clean and serene, calm and measured. The cursing stops here.

And ain’t that a mother fucker?

I guess that’s what it was

IN 2009, my husband and I bought our first home together.

We slogged through the never ending paperwork and solicitor appointments, filled in the insurance forms and tricked the bank into lending us the necessary money.

We moved in on a sunny Sunday in June and never looked back. We love this house and over the past few years we’ve turned it into a home.

So 2009 was a great year in many respects – we became home owners, went mad in IKEA (who DOESN’T need 4,000 napkins?) and argued over who’s turn it was to put out the compost bin – but it was also the year in which I was bullied at work.

It wasn’t overt. Nothing was ever said to my face. I wasn’t physically harmed, or screamed at, nor did I ever fear I would be. It wasn’t anything like that.

I was working in a local newspaper, freelancing actually, between there and a few other jobs at the time. Sometimes I would cover if a journalist was out sick, summer holidays, that kind of thing.

I also wrote a weekly column, one I had been approached by the newspaper to write, about life as a single woman, and then my subsequent relationship and engagement.

One day I was asked by the paper to cover a shift as a journalist had left. I was told to sit at a particular desk and told to open the email account on the computer to see what mails had come in, that I might get some stories out of.

One of the more recent mails in the box had my name and the name of my column in the subject line. I opened it to discover it was part of a ’round robin’ mail between several of my colleagues, both in my department and another department. It appears, that every week when I would email in my column, it would be circulated to this particular bunch of people and they’d slag it off.

They didn’t like the column, or indeed it seems, me. They didn’t like how I wrote or what I wrote about. In this particular stream of emails that I saw there was reference made to what they thought I did sexually with my (now) husband.

One colleague would also include a friend of his in the correspondence, someone I had never met, who didn’t work in our company. This friend, joining in the fun of slagging me off, believed that my writing was so bad that it would be better for the world if I ended up being the next Jean-Dominique Bauby , the former editor in chief of French Elle magazine who had a stroke and was left paralysed, before he eventually died. (Not before writing a bestselling book, but I don’t think it was that part of his legacy this person was wishing on me.)

I was devastated. But more than that, I was mortified. I had no idea that any of this was going on. It had been going on for months. Every time I emailed in my column, they tore it apart and trashed me. What killed me most of all is that, as I was freelancing and not regularly in the office, I didn’t really know any of these people. I had to ask another colleague the surname of one of the men involved. And one of the women involved from another department was so new to the company that I had never met her and didn’t even know what she looked like.

I had been in and out of that office, minding my own business, never thinking that these people thought so little of me, when all the time this had been going on. I felt sick with embarrassment sitting at that desk. I blushed to the roots of my hair and had to go to the bathroom to compose myself.

I complained to my direct supervisor who was very kind and was upset to think this had been going on without her knowledge. From there it was passed to senior management and, as can happen with these things, nothing more really happened.

I was assured that the behaviour was unacceptable and that each of those involved would be reprimanded. As far as I’m aware, they were spoken to and given a copy of the company’s computer policy – it seems the company was more concerned that the bullying had taken place on work time and on work PCs, than the actual bullying itself.

A senior manager then told me that each of the people involved had expressed a wish to apologise to me – but no mechanism for this was suggested or set up. I don’t know if it was expected that I would initiate the conversation or something, but I was so embarrassed that I just let it go.

So in the end, nobody ever apologised.

I received a one line letter in the post subsequently from the company, advising me that they had received my complaint and the matter had been resolved. And that was the end of that.

Only it wasn’t resolved. I had bills to pay, I was house hunting, I had to continue to work and one of the places offering me regular work was this company. I had no choice, I needed the money, so I had to go back in there.

It was really hard. Very few people spoke to me, except about work matters. I felt very isolated and alone. The story spread through the office and while nobody said it to my face, everyone knew about it and the feeling I got was that I was in the wrong for complaining about it. I felt physically sick every morning going to work – and in fact vomited several times from nerves – and as before I was excruciatingly embarrassed. I stopped talking and engaging with people, I didn’t go to any work nights out, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t sit with those people and pretend to enjoy myself.

That sounds very dramatic, I know – but I can’t find the words to convey how excruciating it was to work there knowing how they felt about me. Knowing that they thought I was a joke. That they thought so little of me that when their spitefulness came to light, they didn’t even have the grace to apologise.

I know there are far worse instances of bullying and in fact I even feel uncomfortable calling it that – but it hurt me a lot, it felt like bullying, so I guess that’s what it was.

The following year, the company changed hands and the new owner cut back on staff so I was no longer needed there. It was the push I needed to go. In hindsight I should never have gone back to work there, it wasn’t good for me, but I had never been out of work in my life before then, so I clung on to the job and the security. When I walked out of that building on my last day, I took a deep breath and it felt like the first easy breath I had taken in a long time.

There is no particular reason why I’m writing about this tonight, I guess I just felt like talking about it. Apart from my family and a few friends, not very many people know about this. I didn’t discuss it in public or on social media at the time, but it’s been six years now and I suppose it’s always been there in the background, weighing a bit on me.

I really don’t want sympathy or pity, I’m not writing this for any ‘poor yous’ it’s just a story I wanted to tell. So now I have. And thanks for listening.

About a Boy

My boy

My boy

THE Beast decided today that he wasn’t going to have a nap.

I can only liken the panic I felt to that felt when I was being rushed to theatre to have an emergency c-section.

I felt short of breath, horrified, I had a sour stomach. I could not believe this was happening.

He lay there, occasionally opening an eye to see if I was still there, still, but resolutely NOT asleep.

After a while I sighed and pulled back the curtains and said ‘You’re not going to sleep today, are you?’

“Seán AWAKE!” he bellowed, delighted with himself, before hopping off to destroy the place play.

He’s always been a good sleeper; sometimes his naps would be short 45 minute bursts, but every day without fail he would drift off and there would be peace – and an episode of Say Yes to the Dress – for a while.

It seems things, they are a-changing. Of course he’ll probably nap fine tomorrow, but it’s a symptom of the fact that he’s getting older. He’s almost two now, so of course he’s not going to sleep as much as a tiny baby does.

I don’t want him to get older. I don’t want him to grow up. Is that a terrible thing to wish? I want to put a brick on his head, to stop him stretching.

When he was a newborn and I was so desperately ill with post natal depression, I couldn’t wait for him to grow up. Anything other than that endless cycle of feeds and night-time wakings. Anything other than the self-doubt and the questions and the fear and the constant wondering if he was ok.

But then time passed, as it does. And time healed, as it does. And I started to enjoy the baby cuddles and carting him around in his sling and being close to him.

Suddenly I didn’t want time to pass anymore. I wanted him to stay as he was, a little bundle parked on my chest. But of course he grew and started solid food and sat up and crawled and walked and talked.

It was ok for a while because he was still a baby, still my baby. But now as he approaches two, I see him turning into a little boy. A big boy. He can feed himself and hold a conversation, play independently, run and jump and cause mischief. And apparently he can get through the day without needing a nap.

I think this time there is no going back. This time he really is growing up and there will be no stopping him. All those dark, oppressive nights when I wished his life away are finally catching up to me and the regret is overwhelming.

The past isn’t a place to live though – and I would never want to go back there, back to her, to me, then.

So I can only look forward to hopefully wonderful times. Not with a baby, but with a boy. My boy.

My amazing boy.

Fifty Shades of Shite – Vol IX – The Finale

50 shades pic

The final chapter of my Fifty Shades of Grey parody, in which I wonder what it’d be like if Christian Grey was a Dubliner.


Fifty Shades of Shite – Vol IX


Git Grey checked his Blackberry and saw that Ana was off the plane and on her way to his apartment in the Docklands. Great; he hadn’t seen her in a few days since he followed her to London so he was looking forward to their reunion.

Wait till she saw what he had in store for her tonight, she was going to go mental for it. It was always the quiet ones. All that ‘Oh Git you’re smothering me, Oh Git you’re stalking me, Oh Git move it a bit to the left’  was all just a pretence; she loved it really.

Running to the door as the bell chimed, Git’s Inner God adjusted his gooter and leered at Ana as the door swung open to reveal her in all her porcelain-skinned glory.

‘Hi Git,’ she said, a bit wearily, nervous no doubt after the last time she had been in his Playroom.

‘Howaya love,’ Git said, pulling her by the hand in the room. ‘Jayze, ya look gorgeous. That’s a nice dress but it’d look nicer on my bedroom floor, wha’?!’

Delighted with himself, Git went in for the kill as his Inner God got the lads round for a poker night, grabbing Ana’s breasts and behind desperately, shoving his tongue down her throat.

‘I need to have you right now Ana, come into the Playroom,’ he begged, unable to control himself anymore.

Leading her into the cool dimness of his playroom, Git wasted no time removing Ana’s clothes and whipping off his top so that they were both naked in seconds.

‘Lie down on the bed Ana,’ he breathed, moving to the mahogany wardrobe beside the enormous super-king-sized bed and taking out a blindfold and a soft leather crop.

Bending over her, Git gently tied the blindfold around Ana’s eyes then shackled her to the bed so she couldn’t move.

‘Relax,’ he breathed, ‘you’re going to love this.’

Ana strained to hear as Git moved around the room again, her ears picking up the sound of a CD being put into Git’s stereo, the soft hiss filling the air from the surround-sound speakers.

‘Now, Ana,’ Git said, returning to the bed. ‘I’m gonna ride you in time to the music. This is one of my favourite songs, are you ready?’

Ana squirmed as the familiar beat eased out of the speakers. ‘Yeah yeah yeah yeah…‘ the music pounded, getting louder as Git traced the leather crop all over Ana’s naked body.

Slapping her nipples with a sharp belt of the crop Git crooned along to the song, getting more excited as the tempo increased.

She was a sexy lady, she had to get her thrill.

Thwack! He hit Ana’s inner thigh, his eyes glittering with excitement.

Back in the house for the year 2000, yeah, yeah, funky yeah.

Raising his crop, Git enthusiastically whipped Ana’s glistening skin, breathing harshly as he watched her splayed before him.

She’s a craic, she’s a craic, she’s a maniac.

Ana moaned as the music swelled, struggling against her shackles.

Are you ready now, move to the groove. Put your hands in the air. One simple question to answer. Are. You. Ready?

Git could take no more, throwing the crop to the side as he dove onto the bed next to Ana. He had to have her.

Sliding deep inside her, he kept up the rhythm of the music, sweat breaking out on his forehead.

She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor. And she’s dancin’. And she’s dancin’ like she’s never did before. RIGHT HERE ON THE DUBLIN DANCEFLOOR.

All Git could feel was Ana’s body under him and the beat of the music all around him. This was incredible, he was almost at the edge.

She said put your hands in the air. Side to side like you just don’t care.

‘Sing with me, Ana,’ Git implored, barely hanging on by his fingernails. ‘Please, I’m begging you.’

Wanting to please him, Ana cleared her throat and joined in, the music reaching a climax as they both roared.

Oggie, Oggie, Oggie, Oi! Oi! Oi!

‘Oh Ana,’ Git moaned. ‘I’m right there, I’m almost there.’


Giving one last enormous thrust of his hips, Git poured his love juice into Ana, holding her close as they both shuddered with pleasure and the final strains of the music faded away.

‘That was fuckin’ amazing,’ Git said, as he gently loosened her shackles and removed Ana’s blindfold, his Inner God dead to the world on the sofa after that performance.

Ana looked taken aback as she sat up, admitting ‘Actually… it wasn’t bad’, almost as though she couldn’t believe the words coming out of her mouth.

Overcome with emotion, Ana looked at Git, his handsome face relaxing as he fell almost into sleep. A strange feeling burbled up inside of her, something she’d never felt before.

‘Git,’ she said, shocked. ‘Git, I think … I think … I think I love you!’

Shite. He knew this was going to happen, after that night in London.

‘Ah right, Ana, that’s well, that’s … Listen, I don’t think I’m the man for you, I don’t deserve your love. We don’t want to rush things, sure we don’t?’ Git couldn’t get his clothes on fast enough.

Mortified, Ana jumped out of bed and dressed quickly, unable to look at Git.

‘If that’s the way you want it,’ she said, ‘I don’t think we can be friends. Better to just make a clean break.’

Grabbing her bag, she ran from the room, slamming the door to the apartment, the sound echoing around the penthouse.

Git sighed and flopped down on to the couch. That was the end of that, so. He probably should go after her, he thought, persuade her to come back to him. The place WAS a bit quiet without her.

Idly, his glance landed on his mobile phone, as he thought about calling her. Nah, probably better to let her cool off though, think things through for a few days, you know how dramatic burds can be. Feeling better and suddenly energised, Git grabbed the phone and tapped out a message. He sent it off to his mates, his former good humour returning.

‘Alright lads? Who’s on for Coppers tonight?’

Git grinned as the replies rolled in. This was going to be epic. And as for Ana? Ah, he’d deal with that in the morning.