Category Archives: Entertainment

Review: Ross O’Carroll-Kelly ‘Game Of Throw-ins’

It is so rare that I get to read a book in full these days which is a total shitter because I LOVE books (I even wrote one, remember that craic?!)

Since I’ve had the kiddos, I literally have to leave the country with a book under my arm that I am desperate to read and tell all of my travelling companions to ignore me for the duration of the trip while I devour the pages.

And that is precisely what I did on a recent trip to Marbella (AKA ‘Marbs, dahling’ lol!) when I made a last-minute decision between bringing a rather heavy wedding magazine with me OR bringing the quite heavy new Ross O’Carroll-Kelly with me.

I chose Ross.

(In fairness, there’s fuck-all hilarious about weddings but Ross? I knew I could count on Ross).

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‘Game of Throw-ins’ is the sixteenth – SIXTEENTH! – novel in Paul Howard’s epic series. To date, these annual bestsellers have sold over a million copies and are critically acclaimed as satirical masterpieces.

It isn’t hard to see why – I have been hooked from the beginning as a child of the northside who studied third level on the southside. I get all the lingo, I get all the digs at the ridiculousness of the extreme examples of both, I ADORE the untouchable social commentary in each book and mostly I am in love with the phonetical spellings of all of the different accents that are contained within our little island.

My lovely mum and two gorgeous sisters-in-law who I went abroad with had to put up with my sniggering and guffawing by the pool for the few days that we were there as I forego naps for non-stop page-turning.

I couldn’t BELIEVE when I got to the end and can still feel the absence of my pal Ross who I had grown so fond of during the few days we had together.

Until the next time Ross – YA BIG DOPE!!

Ross O’Carroll-Kely is published by Penguin Ireland and is available in all good book stores.

 

How Tony Robbin’s Netflix Documentary Changed My Life

I once played a comical side-kick to a ‘Life Coach’ from Co. Louth.

He was ‘Batty Ryan’, played by Joe Rooney and I was Katarina, a very scorpy Polish woman who stayed by Batty’s side for mainly suspicious reasons.

Joe Rooney and I endeavoured to take the piss out of the all-too-common ‘Life Coach’ or ‘Guru’ who burst onto the post-Celtic Tiger scene in their thousands circa 2009/2010.

They were going to make things better, you see, change your lives, get you right back up to the top of that corporate ladder and help you be wealthy once more.. if only you would hand over your credit card details.

Joe and I didn’t really buy into that B.S. so we wrote an entire comedy show around it; “Batty Ryan Will Change Your Life!”

The show was brilliant and I enjoyed every single minute of the tours that we did around Ireland. That particular comedy character came to a grounding halt when I got pregnant with Jacob in 2011 as alas, playing Katarina required a few energetic dance routines AND a bit of a physical fist-fist with Batty Ryan.

(Which she won, of course).

But the Tony Robbins ‘I Am Not Your Guru’ documentary caught my eye on Netflix just over a month ago.

It came at a time when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and unsure as to what direction my life was taking.

I had been working long hours away from the kids and as Jacob was about to start primary school, that time away from him was making less and less sense.

There was also some frustration around trying to find the time to get my own things done – setting business plans afoot, getting the house in order after the extension, writing, and spending time with my gorgeous little family.

It just seemed as though those who I mattered the most to, were the ones who were getting the least of me.

So I spent two nights watching the ‘I Am Not Your Guru’ documentary around that time of uncertainty.

I didn’t like it all – some of it was very uncomfortable to watch in the sense that I felt as though his audience members at the ‘Date With Destiny’ event featured were extremely vulnerable and had spent a TONNE of money to be there.

But small parts of it resonated with me. No matter what Tony Robbins intentions are or why he exists as such an important figure to so many people, he is a self-made man who is living a life that he truly believes in and wants to live.

I liked that message a lot and felt inspired to take stock of my surroundings and do the same.

So at 7 am the next morning, I got up and hit the beach for a big walk before Ass Monkey or the kids got up.

I sat there on the sand with the sunrise and cried because I knew I was struggling, unhappy with the balance between work and family and relieved because I knew I was on the verge of a big decision.

Later that day, one of our main full-time staff handed their notice in at our family business Dynamic Cater Care and it was obvious to me: I needed to go back and focus on helping out there while at the same time, calling my own hours.

It took all of 48 hours to make that decision and put the changes in place. When you know, you know…

Jacob has started school and I am now home at 4pm, available to eat dinner with him and Eva, stay on top of what’s happening in school and read their bedtime stories, all cuddled up together the way I needed it to be.

It has made a huge difference to all of us and I genuinely feel like a happier person for it.

So thank you, Mr. Tony Robbins – you might actually be my guru after all.

 

 

3 Signs That Netflix Loves Me More Than Ass Monkey Does

My belief that there is nothing on the telly has recently been confirmed.

As we are (yes, STILL) living with my parents while the house renovation work goes on (and on), we are subject to their own telly-watching habits.

Let me be clear: they have ALL the channels – every last one of them – and yet, every evening pre and post news hour, they flick through pages and pages of offerings from television stations and never land on a single one.

‘Nothing on!’ they’ll grumble, and I wholeheartedly agree. Except for maybe Graham Norton, Celebrity Juice and oh my GOD I loved Bridget and Eamonn on RTE 2 recently.

My folks go to bed nice and early and so we scramble for the remote to get Netflix on. Lovely, soothing, reliable Netflix. They won’t mess you around with ads or re-runs of Keeping Up With The Kardashians so that you’re completely confused as to whether Scott is on or off the scene…oh no.

Netflix has your back. Netflix just started showing AB FAB.

I might be a little bit in love with Netflix, you see, and I believe that it might be a little bit in love with me. I think that my Netflix relationship may be stronger than my other relationship – you know, with that Ass Monkey guy that I’m planning on marrying this year. Here’s why:

1. Netflix Doesn’t Judge

Ok, Ass Monkey doesn’t REALLY judge me either, but would he raise an eyebrow if I wanted to re-watch every single episode of Orange Is The New Black before Season 4 premiers on June 17th? Yes he would. Would Netlix? No, Netflix would let me do my thang.

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2. Netflix Doesn’t Interrupt

Ass Monkey has that habit of either speaking, or rustling some packet or other at high volume, right at the pivotal part of a movie or programme. Imagine, you’re on the last episode of Season 4 of House of Cards. You sat on the edge of your seat for every other one, marvelling at how Claire can look like that when she acts like THAT.. you have just reached the final thirty seconds and himself pops his head in with a ‘I’m just heading out for a pint ok?’ SHADDAP I’M WATCHING MY SHOWS!!

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3. Netflix Has Ab Fab

I feel like this decision was made by Netflix to satisfy me personally. I feel like Netflix knows how much I have ever loved Ab Fab and did it because Netflix loves me too and wants me to be happy. In contrast, Ass Monkey recently asked me if I’d like to watch a documentary with him about the potential existence of alien life form in our solar system. Yep. He doesn’t know me AT ALL.

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I am part of the Netflix Stream Team and I received a years free subscription and an Apple TV in return for reviews and updates on what we watch.

Overdubbed Peppa Pig Is The Best Thing On The Internet Right Now

I love finding things that makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

Sometimes it’s a funny pic online, sometimes it’s something crazy one of my kids is saying or doing and sometimes, it’s when someone fucks Peppa Pig up.

I don’t mean punching the little darling around the snout or anything, I mean taking a clip from a particular episode,  re-writing the script and recording it in a pure, bold Limerick accent.

Facebook page Walshunit is doing just that – staying up late to re-imagine the craic Peppa and family would have if they were pure Limerick. Cue lots of swearing and trips to neighbouring counties on drugs runs.

I have watched every single one already but if I had to pick a favourite, it would be ‘Mammy Pig Smashes Her Hip‘.

I shall let you enjoy below but make sure to put some time aside to go through the others – without the kids of course – these could definitely wreck a little Peppa fan’s piggy dreams ;o)

Mammy pig smashes her hip..

Posted by Walshunit on Saturday, March 19, 2016

Don’t forget to pop by and say hello on our Facebook page – there are chats and giveaways galore x

From Blogger To Paid Writer In 8,000 Easy Steps

I never intended to start a blog.

There, I’ve said it. My great mate Carol Tobin said that I should.

She said that they way I spoke to her about my funny experiences of parenting should be shared, and that I should then get it all into a book.

Carol Tobin does not fuck around and I do not have any intention of not doing what she says.

So I started Raising Ireland and simultaneously began ‘I Forgot To Take My Pill!’ (available now on Amazon and from the boot of my car if you’re interested)

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Just as I was learning how to self-publish the book, the great HerFamily.ie was launched and I was gobsmacked to receive an email from editor Sive O’Brien asking me to be the first guest blogger.

She had been reading my blog, she said, and really liked it.

Weird, right? Like, who the actual f*ck reads our blogs? Just our mates and a few of our Facebook pals who can still stomach us going on and on and on about our kids, right?

So of course, I said yes and when I’d completed my week guest blogging, they were kind enough to plug the book in the lead up to it’s launch.

They have huge following on both Facebook and Twitter so I was like, ‘Score!’

I launched the book in May and it has done modestly well. The absolute highlight of all the publicity around it was bringing cakes into Ryan Tubridy on his radio show and trying my best not to flirt with him (failed a bit, tbh).

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I had a couple of conversations with Sive from HerFamily about going to work with them as a writer over the summer but just couldn’t figure it out with the kids and childcare.

I was bummed. Really bummed.

Then one day in September, I had a message from my childminder outlining the three days a week that she could happily step in and mind the kids.

And two days after that, Sive and I discussed my working for HerFamily.ie on exactly those same three days.

I got a job! A real, paid, get-up-and-put-your-make-up-on-and-go-to-work job that encapsulates everything that I love to do.

I get to write, I get to stand up for mother’s rights, parent’s rights, women’s rights and children’s rights via this huge and strong platform.

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I get to flex my creative muscle. I get to be funny and make comedy sketch videos. I get to have a consistent salary that I can use to put away for stuff for the kids and that ole wedding we’re having at the end of the year.

I think sometimes bloggers thinks that they are regarded as a ‘success’ if they make money through ads on their site or by writing paid pieces, and that is the case for some.

But I truly believe that it’s worth looking at the bigger picture. I have never been paid a penny for anything that I’ve ever written on this blog but because of it, I have landed the job of my dreams.

And that’s good enough for me.

Netflix Review: Bates Motel

When your kids begin to grow up, you know, when they have a bit of awareness of the world around them – I dunno, three, four or so – you start to wonder when might be time to move things along in the privacy stakes. Like, is it still ok to chuck your clothes off if they’re in your room before you get into the shower? And when should you stop getting into the bath with them exactly before it starts getting weird? Should you stop smooching the faces off them for hours until their cheeks are raw, in case it’s too, I dunno, suffocating?  Essentially, what I’ve been wondering is; will my nudieness and smoochiness at some point become…gulp…inappropriate?!

Not at all! I have it sussed, you see. From now on, the answer to any of my worrisome questions about parental closeness with my kids will be: NORMA BATES. Every single creepy move she makes, subtle and all as they are, is precisely what you should plan to avoid with your kids. Bates Motel is directed so well that Vera Farmiga, who plays Norma, doesn’t need to be an obvious dysfunctional human being and hyper-manipulative mother to give us the proverbial willies. She can just stand a little bit too close for comfort to her son Norman (played by the brilliant Freddie Highmore), or kiss him on the lips for a nano-second too long to get the message across, and make you seriously feel those heebie jeebies. It. Is. Perfect.

If you haven’t watched ‘Bates Motel’ yet, there is no better time than this week  – coming up to Hallowe’en! Do it, you definitely won’t regret it.

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Video: When A Baby Teaches A Dance Class

I learned how to dance properly when I was 28. I had done the ole Irish Dancing, the tap and jazz, the modern dance classes (borrrrring!) when I was a child and a teen – sure what young wan didn’t. But it wasn’t until I formed The Pink Panties burlesque troupe with my choreographer friend Marc Cleary, that I actually learned how to move.

We trained for two hours, two nights a week for about six months before we had our first gig and even then, I still didn’t know how to move. I was too uptight, too self-conscious, couldn’t let myself go, my hips wouldn’t move. The total fear on my face at our first gig at a gay night in Break For The Border tells all – I knew I was pretty shit at what I was doing.

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See that really sexy chick on the left? Yeah, that’s not me.

But I didn’t give up. I kept going to rehearsals, I kept looking at the other girls in the troupe who were all amazing dancers and one day, it just clicked. Marc looked at me, smiled and said ‘Go, Shazwanda!’ (that’s where that nick-name started!) and ‘Go’ I went, shaking my booty all the way.

I now totally consider myself an ex-dancer, and credit all that training to regaining my figure (eventually) after both pregnancies. I also incorporate dancing into our lives daily as much as possible. We have a ‘disco light’ in our hall that rotates and throws out colourful lights, and so that gets put on after dinner every day so that the kids and I can have a boogie. It’s almost like a de-stress trigger – no matter what kind of shitty mood we might be in, it can be disabled instantly by a l’il shimmy around our house. What kid doesn’t love to dance, right?

That’s why I love this video, because kids and dancing, and letting them lead the way, should be every day ;o)

Review & Giveaway: ‘The Butterfly Shell’ by Maureen White (YA)

The Butterfly Shell is the first novel from writer, director and drama teacher Maureen White. The blurb, as follows, is cool:

‘There are a few things about me you should know.

I always wear my butterfly shell – even when I’m swimming or sleeping.

I don’t cut myself any more.

And I believe in ghosts’.

Good, innit?!

Being as I am, not a young adult (any more – I think you’re officially out of the gang when you turn *coughs* 38), I haven’t read all of this book but I did read the first few chapters. And it’s really, really good. If you have a young adult living in your home who is into reading and would like a copy of this, please follow the competition details below:

The Butterfly Shell

To Enter:

1. Like Raising Ireland on Facebook

2. Leave a comment telling us why your Young Adult should win this book!

***Competition Closes Midnight on Friday the 14th of August***

Review and Giveaway: ‘Cú Chulainn – A Family Times Fable Book’

I forget how much I love old Irish stories like Fionn agus Na Fionna and the Tuatha Dé Danann until something like the Family Times Fables Book series arrives on my doorstep. Not only do I get to waltz down Celtic memory lane, and my Old Irish studies at University College Dublin, but I am inspired to pass on these fabulous tales to the kids.

And author Wayne Kearns makes that very easy with what he has done here. There are not one, but two books for each tale – one is the story, the text and the beautiful illustrations, and the other is a copy of the first, but left blank for your kids to colour in. I think that is a GREAT idea, because that way, you get to relive the story in a more interactive way, and thus heightening your child’s opportunity to really engage, learn and remember the detail. I say Bravo! to Wayne!

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We have a copy of ‘Cú Chulainn’, including the accompanying colouring book, to giveaway to one lucky reader. To enter:

1. Like Raising Ireland On Facebook

2. Like Family Time Fables On Facebook

3. Drop us a nice comment – As Gaeilge!

**Competition Closes At Midnight On Friday 31st August**

Support #Daddyandme

Daddy, dad, da, pops, father, pater, papa, old man – whatever you call the man who brought you into the world, the time to remember him is fast approaching on Father’s Day, June 21st. Irish charity Anam Cara is asking people to share a special picture of themselves with their Dad using the hashtag #Daddyandme on social media, and to nominate three friends or family members to do the same in order to raise much needed funds.

Fathers’ Day is a particularly difficult time for those Dads who have been bereaved of a child or children. The aim of the #Daddyandme campaign is to raise awareness of the difficulties bereaved Dads face. This June, Anam Cara is asking members of the public to take part in the #Daddyandme campaign and donate €4 by texting SUPPORT to 50300 to raise funds to provide support services to Dads and families who have experienced the death of a child.

International rugby player and #Daddyandme ambassador, Mike Ross said: “As a Dad to two wonderful children, I dread to imagine how I would even begin to cope with the loss of a child. I experienced first-hand the impact that this can have on a family when one of my brothers died eighteen years ago. Not only did I have to deal with my own pain but I also had to witness the impact that it had on my parents and our family unit. Anam Cara provides invaluable support to families at this traumatic time and I’m asking everyone to get behind the #Daddyandme campaign and to help raise funds for this worthy cause.”

Anam Cara is also producing an information leaflet aimed at bereaved Dads, as part of a larger resource pack for bereaved parents. This is in the final draft stage and once published will be distributed to counsellors, social workers, emergency rooms and funeral homes. Unique in that it is written by bereaved Dads themselves, it offers practical guidance through this most devastating of experiences.

Nearly two thirds of Irish people know someone whose child has died but the intense grief associated with the loss of a child lasts much longer than society realises. It’s estimated that in 2014 alone, 2,100 families suffered the loss of a son or daughter.
How Can You Get Involved?
1. Share a picture of you and your Dad on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and include the hashtag #Daddyandme. The photo could be a recently taken selfie or one from the archives!

2. Tag and nominate three friends or companies to do the same

3. Donate and include the following text information in your post or tweet – ‘Text SUPPORT to 50300 to donate €4 to Anam Cara’*

Daddyandme