Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Hello 2019...Good Riddance 2018

Here we are - Day 1 of 2019. 

I rang in the new year quietly, at home with my sleeping boy and the dog on my lap because he was afraid of the fireworks going off in the estate, the OH unfortunately was stuck at work. We never do anything for New Years anyway, I always like to ring it in quietly with family around me. Earlier in the evening we had all (sister + partner, nieces, god son etc) gone to my parents house for a get together, it was lovely, noisy but lovely.

So like a lot of you I'm sure, I've been thinking about the year ahead while reflecting on the year that's gone by.
What did I learn in 2018 that can improve this new year?
What does 2019 mean for me?

Well, let's start with 2018 - it was a tough year on a different level than before. Nothing huge happened but it was a year where, we as our family of 3, felt everything get on top of us, like the last couple of years of stress and busyness all came to a head and when that happens something has got to give. 
Anxiety levels hit the roof, over thinking, constantly worrying - almost like being stuck in a pressure cooker.
And we did blow and for a while I genuinely couldn't see any way for things to get better. All the plans we'd made for 2018 didn't work out, work took even more precedence than usual but things did get better, it was hard but we stayed hopeful and eventually just towards the end of the year things were slowly beginning to fall into place. 

This year I felt I lost myself for a little while, I found myself questioning and doubting myself way more than I would have before, I found myself letting other people's opinions bother me which is not me, I've always gone against the grain a bit I suppose you could say, I'm usually that person in the room with the different opinion to other 5 people there. I allowed the negative energies of others to seep into my life and once you let that happen it can be hard to get rid of them again.

I was really looking forward to the Christmas break to regroup and work on that, work on protecting myself from others a bit more. I'm a bit of an open book you see, I'll talk to you about anything really but I've learned this year that some people don't deserve that openness, that rawness I guess, when they don't respect it, even worse when it's used against you at a later stage. 

So that brings me to some of my aims for 2019 - this year I need to protect myself a bit more, keep a bit back. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but their opinion should not negatively affect my life. I will sit and chat and debate with anyone on anything but it needs to be respectful at all times and if you can't be then I'm afraid we won't be doing any chatting!

I intend to bring my main focus back to my family unit, my own circle of the OH, boy child and I. We've neglected our family unit for a while now because there was always something else that needed to be done, family days are pretty rare. Work is important, don't get me wrong, it pays the bills but it can't take priority over family anymore.

This year I need to work on my health, both physical and mental, I need to gain strength in both. As I said above, we blew and while things are on the up it's still a work in progress and that includes rebuilding that inner strength and resilience. For me, my most testing environment here will be my work place, I can't change that at the moment and honestly it's no great task to go in there every week, the job is easy, pay is ok etc but I need to learn to separate my private life from my work life, a clear divide and keep it that way. 

My social conscience and awareness were at an all time high in 2018, my eyes were opened to so many issues and injustices and I felt that I couldn't just sit back and sympathise but do nothing. This was most evident during the Repeal The 8th campaign. That campaign nearly broke me as I'm sure it did with a lot of others and there were points throughout the lead up to the referendum that I just wanted to hibernate until it was over and hope the right result was achieved but I just couldn't. I was so passionate about that campaign, I just couldn't give up and stand back and watch others try and win the Yes vote. I had to do it too. As tired as I was, as much as I dreaded the door knocks because of the unpredictable reactions, as wearing as it to constantly have to fight the lies and misinformation from the No side, I still had to do it. I walked miles while canvassing but met some fantastic people along the way and we all kept each other going and we did it, we achieved that Yes vote and hard work really pays off.

2019 brings a lot of exciting opportunities for us and we already have a few things planned but most importantly for me will be the local elections for county council in May. I have been selected as a candidate, I'm truly honoured to have been but I am incredibly nervous. Theres a lot more hard work to do for that yet but I am ready for the challenge and I hope the people in my area get behind me and allow me the chance to be a new face on the scene and hopefully make some positive changes for our area. I am genuinely, really looking forward to it all. 

I hope 2019 brings you everything you've ever hoped for and more.
Happy New Year To You All

Monday, 17 December 2018

Top Gifts for Every Member of the Family

Time to Think About Christmas: Top Gifts for Every Member of the Family

With Christmas not far away I know that most of you will be busy frantically buying presents. To help you to get this task done I have come up with a few present ideas for the whole family.

Gifts for the men in your life
There are plenty of essential items for men available online, as you can see when you click the link. So, if you start your shopping fairly soon, you can buy everything you need for the men in your life without having to leave home.
Start by looking at clothing. Most men don’t go shopping for clothes enough. This could be because they are short on time or money or because they do not like shopping. Either way, you can usually find a gap in your man’s wardrobe that you can fill with a gift. It could be something small like underwear, or a bigger item like a new coat or pair of boots. Workwear or sports clothing are also good options for many men.
Hobby related gifts are always well-received. Anything to do with their favourite sport or team is also usually welcome.

Gifts for women
If you are wondering what to buy your mum or sister start by looking at personal care items. A pot of their favourite moisturiser or anti-wrinkle cream can make a good gift. Hair care products can work too. If you know that your sister, aunt or mum needs a new hair dryer or straighteners, you could buy those for them.
Vouchers for a day out can also make a very good gift. It is a present that requires a bit of thought and shows that you know them well. Try to buy the type of present that allows the person you are buying for to choose when they enjoy their day out. For example, for a theatre lover, a voucher they can use to see any show rather than tickets to a specific performance. This will help to ensure that they can actually take advantage of your present. It also means that they have a little treat to look forward to later and ensures that the joy of Christmas spills over into another part of the year.

Gifts for the kids
In some ways, kids are easy to buy for. They usually tell you exactly what they want. All you have to do is to censor their list a bit and share with friends and relatives the items they really want. If your budget permits, try to make your main present something from their wish list.
Little stocking fillers are always nice, because it gives them more than one thing to open. Some families buy a set of surprise gifts and wrap them in multiple layers of paper then play pass the parcel on Christmas morning. It is a fun way to give everyone an extra gift and prolong the present opening experience.

A few more Christmas gift ideas
Remember that you do not necessarily have to buy all of your gifts. Making some is always an option. It is a great way to really personalize some of your presents.
People love the fact that you have taken the time to make them something unique. There is still enough time to a few simple stocking fillers. Here are some that you can make in just 15 minutes. Most of them are not at all expensive to make. Great if you are on a budget.
If you would like even more gift ideas, you can find a few more by clicking here. I wrote that particular Christmas present article a couple of years ago, but a lot of the items I suggest adding to your shopping list are still readily available in the shops.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Family Activities in East Cork

Throughout Ireland, there are plenty of activities on offer for the family to enjoy, but living in East Cork it’s good to try and find things to do closer to home. I came across this ebook from Chill Insurance  and it got me thinking about the places we’ve been and would like to go. Here’s a list of 3 places to explore right here in East Cork.

Blarney Castle

Children love getting lost in their imagination and what better place to do that than at a medieval castle? Many believe this is simply a place to visit if you like history or architecture but there’s a lot to do.
The Witches Stone, Rock Close, and Gardens all give a feel of enchantment that the little ones will just love, wondering around telling stories and taking in the magical landscapes. The Dungeon is beneath the tower and you can explore this maze of secret passageways, it can be a bit scary for some, especially if you don’t like the dark.
Heading into the castle itself you can discover two differing worlds as the castle was built in two stages.  There are plenty of views to take in too, from different angles of the castle.

Leahys Open Farm

If your children like to run and play all day then Leahys Open Farm is a fantastic place to play and get to know the animals. There are cows, rabbits, birds, and snakes! Don’t worry, they are well trained.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy too, with adventure trails and go karting available. Entry fees are good value at €9.50 per person, and an extra €2 for diggers and crazy golf.
This is a fun day out for the family and the kids are kept busy, as there’s so much to do.

Fota Wildlife Park

This is an educational and fun day out learning about wildlife such as Giraffes, Cheetah and Lions to name a few of the animals that can be found here. There are even wildlife experiences where you can get some behind-the-scenes insight into the daily running’s of the park and feed some of the animals – which apparently is very popular.
These are just a few of the great days out you can enjoy in Cork, but there’s a lot more you can do.