Mrs Brown …and Irish mammies.

I am an Irish mammy and for those of you who don’t know what this  is exactly, I would like to tell you.

Unlike other mammies  we are not always right , but we are never wrong or so my own mother used to say!!

Wooden Spoons

We are the boss of the house and also of the extended family and we usually rule with a wooden spoon. But despite all the harshness , we are undoubtedly the softest mammies of all and we are blessed with a great sense of humour , a sharp tongue and the patience of a saint that enables us to cope with anything that’s thrown our way. Now, don’t get me wrong , I know all mothers love their children unconditionally but,  God  took pity on  the  Irish mammy gave us a little extra. Not much changes over the years except the ”goings on” in the family but the solutions are much the same. Either a good clip on the head, a severe talking to otherwise known as a bolloking and when all else fails a strong cup of tea which has always proved to be the one thing that makes  everything ok.

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Years ago the daddy of the house or the older brother whoever was the bread-winner got the best meat for dinner and the rest of the family got the cheaper cuts. Your only goal at meal times was to have a job so you could hand up house keeping money and get the nice meat reserved for the money makers in the house. You also had to go according to age ,and the amount of house keeping that was handed to the mother, let me explain:

Main bread-winner dad or in the event of his death , the eldest brother or sister got A pork chop, or the breast of a chicken or on a really special occasion a piece of mouth-watering steak.

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Then it followed according to age , older boys got 3 sausages and more spuds(potatoes).Next in line got 2 sausages and then the youngest had mashed potato and gravy. See what I mean :). You never went hungry, if there was a bag of potatoes and a tray of eggs you could have meals for the whole week.  And so it went on, the girls and boys all had chores but the sibling who was working was spared and they were  occasionally served tea after ”a hard days work”. On the rare occasion there was desert it was divided out in a similar manner. As the years went on and more siblings contributed to the house keeping, the menu became better, the portions bigger and the once rivalry for the best dinner stopped. Except that is why there was a ”fry”. In Ireland that means a full Irish breakfast, and on Saturday or Sunday this was the meal everyone waited for , it was also first come best fed , so you can imagine the craic on those mornings for rashers of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, fried bread and black and white pudding. When you couldn’t eat any more you were ushered off to Mass in your best outfit and hat or mantilla. The customary inquisition about the ceremony and what priest said Mass was part of mammy’s duty every Sunday. That way she knew you went and knew your soul was safe.

irish-breakfast

Irish mammies have their own language that all Irish kids know and understand:

She instinctively knows when a coat is needed,

If an Irish mammy asks “are you not bringing a coat?”, you should bring a coat.

She is always up to speed on the weather forecast and has a talent for knowing when it’s going to rain.

She can tell when something is completely dry.

When it has been spun in the washing machine, hung out on the line with a good breeze, then aired on the clothes horse, a week in the airing cupboard and then ironed. Lastly she will do the chin test. Press the item against her chin and will then declare ”that’s dry alright”.

She has a cure for all ailments.

Flat 7 up/ Sprite cures all tummy upsets, bugs anything.

Don’t sit on a damp wall or a radiator or you will get a cold in your kidneys——-

the answer to these problems====wear 2 pairs of knickers.

She knows the Power of Prayer.

Lost items, pray to Saint Anthony.

Don’t know what to do, pray to Saint Rita (Patron saint of hopeless cases)

Need anything at all, pray to Padre  Pio.

MY favourite one is:  Make sure you have clean underwear on , in case you get knocked down and have to go to the hospital. I don’t want the doctors thinking you have a mother who doesn’t care about you!!!!!

The list goes on and on…………………………

All things Irish plan

When I had my own family not much changed except for the meat and portions. Everyone got the same . Our Sunday breakfast was the same scramble to fill your plate and your mug full of freshly made tea, none of this coffee business with a fry. It was the time we all chatted about the week , the disco the  night before , who was wearing what, who shifted who (kissed).  There was no  inquisition but a freedom to go to Mass or not.

The Bank of Mammy is always open, and loans were/are made regularly with the promise ” I will pay you back when I get my cheque” this is still a standing joke at home , and if the loans had ever been paid back they were remade 100 times over. Your were /are also the financial advisor, councillor, organiser, referee , baby sitter,and taxi service.  Collection from the pub was/is another Irish mammy’s job, especially if you don’t live in the town. You have to have a lift in and out if you want any kind of social life. It can be compared to a school run. Bale as many people into the car , hopefully all going the same direction, try to get parking near the pub is impossible due to the other cars of parents equally pissed off that they have to drive out in their pjs in an effort to make sure the kids get home safely. But its done week in week out.

 

Irish mammies worry about what they will leave their children when they die, A house that’s to be divided, money equally divided too , jewellery and of course the bank account that has the funeral money in it. We don’t want to put added pressure on the kids to worry about  who has enough money to bury you.!!! It will be hard enough for them when you die.  Ohh  we are a dying breed.  Will the younger generation continue the Irish mammy traditions?  or,  like me keep some, and make new ones too. We will have to wait and see.

 

Stress free travelling, my top tips.

As promised here are my tips for stress free travelling.

  1. RTFP……..read the fine print before buying your ticket. Terms and conditions are boring , but there for a reason , so be sure you know what you are really buying.
  2. Print or save on your phone  your boarding pass .Online check-in saves time and you can go directly  to the bag drop then to the departure lounge.
  3. Make sure you have all relevant documents, passport, visa etc etc. Parental consent if needed. Medical evidence for any prescription drugs.
  4. For short trips , keep to hand luggage and 1 other bag. If you travel alone and you don’t mind where you sit don’t pay extra to choose a seat. In flight food can be costly on short flights save money and skip it. With your boarding pass in hand you go straight to the departure gate.
  5. For longer flights, vacuum seal your cases, check the weight is within your allowance as extra weight is costly at the airport.
  6. Ask if its possible to have your luggage sent directly to your final destination, you can save lots of time on connecting flights if you don’t have to collect luggage and check- in at the next airport. If you use the same airline for all flights or airlines that are affiliated with each other it should be no problem.
  7. Make sure you leave at least 2 hours between connecting flights in case of flight delays or there could be  a long distance to walk to the connecting flight, or it may be in another Terminal.
  8. Keep some mini wet wipes and deodorant wipes in your handbag and your cosmetics in a see through make- up bag . Available in Pennys @ 5.99€. Saves you having to put them into the plastic bags at the airport.
  9. makeup bag
  10. Try to wear slip on shoes, no belts (if possible),This saves time at the baggage scanning where you have to take off shoes and belts. Have your laptop out of its case, your  see-through make up bag  and jacket off and ready to go on the tray . All these small things help you to navigate your way to boarding your flight in a fast efficient way and hopefully with no stress.
  11. Be mindful that even though you may be in the departure lounge your gate may change so listen to announcements and always check the information boards , that have live  updates.
  12. Make sure you have coins for the baggage trolley at the carousel area.
  13. NOW ALL THAT’S LEFT TO DO IS ENJOY YOUR FLIGHT.

Dear women……did you know.

Everything heals….                                .thBBIB039F

Your body heals,

Your heart heals,

Your mind heals.

Wounds heal, your soul repairs  itself.

Your happiness is always going to come back.

Bad times don’t last.

Be patient.

Stay strong.

Love yourself.

Fly me to the moon, or anywhere for that matter.

I love , love , love flying……I mean the actual flying!!! I am completely sympathetic for all those who have a fear of flying as I know exactly what they are missing out on.

Lot’s of us look at flying as a means to getting from  A to B and, it’s a necessary evil(so to speak) mode of transport to go to foreign or far away places.

For me, this is the exciting part of travelling. I just love the feeling I have when I arrive at the airport, the sense of “right, off you go again”. I never mind the hustle and bustle, the queues, the noise, the announcements that you can’t understand hahhaha. Way back when I was a novice at travelling, I let everything get to me , overwhelm me and stress me out. But as time went on and airport services improved I decided to embrace the whole experience. To find ways to make the airport time a part of the experience , rather than the boring part of the journey. I looked for ways to beat the crowd, to make sure that my baggage, my documents etc were all correct and wouldn’t slow me down.

I tried all the hacks in the book to get as much stuff into my suitcase, without going over the allocated weight. I rolled, folded, bunched, vacuum packed , you name it , I tried it. But to be honest it never made that much of a difference. The weight was almost always the same and I ALWAYS came home with at least 3 outfits I hadn’t worn and shoes that never even left the suitcase. Now I can pack at the drop of a hat, with everything I need for the journey, and with enough of everything.

I am what some people call a “lazy traveller”. I like to check in my bags and have them sent on directly to my final destination airport, no pulling or dragging luggage around airports or hand luggage that has to be lugged up into the overhead cabins. No, I like to have my bag, my laptop inside, a few munchies, a pen and notebook and that’s it. Everything else can go in the cargo hold, so I am free to wander around the duty-free, have a coffee, relax in the waiting lounge, even just go to the loo without having to manoeuvre even a small case to get into the cubicle. It’s great now with the options available, from standard check in to online check-ins , print your own boarding pass or have it on your mobile. Bag drop, go straight to departure….simple….no fuss , no stress. I am lucky to be very familiar with lots of airports, to know where sells the best coffee, where the comfy seats are, and if I’m buying any duty free, where it is, so I can find it with no hassle. I think the airports are doing a great job to make things as easy as possible for passengers and if you stay within their guidelines then you will have no problems. Before you start thinking I may be crazy , I am talking about a solo  traveller. Of course if you have kids, young or old there is an added element of stress but the same basic rules apply. Albeit you must have extra hand luggage with tablets, games, books etc to entertain the kids during the flight , but I suggest a quick check as to what the airline has for kids while on board, might save some money and bag space. I have noticed too that for many, as soon as bags are checked-in , there is an overwhelming need to eat or drink , even if you have had  food before you leave your home. Depending on the length of the flight, I usually eat before I leave the house and  have a coffee while I wait for the gate to open. On short trips , that usually does the trick for me as I try to keep a budget. The food offered on short flights can be expensive and not filling , and if it’s and hour or so flight time , you can spend that money when you get to your destination and get better value. On long haul trips, food is normally served one hour into the flight , so again coffee is fine for me and I can enjoy the food on board( normally included in your ticket price), and most airlines offer really nice food. As I have said, I usually have a budget so I work things out  so that I’m never hungry travelling, I am not scrimping just because I have a budget. It is easy to get caught up in the moment , especially  when holiday travelling, to blow a huge amount of money before you even board the plane. For the seasoned travellers, they know how to take advantage of whats on offer at the airport.

Another peeve many travellers have is when the plane stops. Who stays seated till the sign is switched off????  It’s like we’re under starters orders…….and it’s a race to passport control. Me, I wait till everyones scramble for overhead bags has finished before I stand up. People are huffing and puffing waiting for ground crew to put the stairs in place so we can disembark. I wonder has anyone ever taken the time to watch these guys(haven’t seen a woman doing this job …yet)?? They are like ants, each know what they have to do,  they rush to get the stairs in place, check the security of the plane , wheels, engine and stairs before letting us off. They work hard and fast and for those of you who complain that the 5 minute or less wait is too much , think, “could I do it any quicker?”. So don’t stress at this stage either, everyone is going to the same place…..PASSPORT CONTROL. Not just your flight, but passengers from every flight, so rushing like mad generally doesn’t help at all, except to cause more stress.

Just when you thought this was sounding like an ad for airports, I have finally come to the part that does concern me. Luggage damage. Over the years I have had many cases damaged coming off the flight to the carousel and unfortunately I have never been compensated for any . However, it is not the fault of the airport as generally baggage handling is out- sourced to private companies. It is  time – consuming and repetitive  filling out forms, with many phone calls, to different people every time, and normally in vain, to try and get compensation of any kind. So, I have found that  vacuum sealing your cases really helps minimize the chance of damage. The cost varies from airport to airport , but it is usually from 15 to 20 euros per case. So it might be worthwhile doing this, especially if your luggage is expensive. And finally, passport control……..there are never enough officers on duty to check passports and so it results in mile long queues…..every airport seems to be the same. Has nobody brought this up at a managers meeting for airport services??? Obviously security is paramount at airports, but it would help to have more staff on at peak air traffic times.

Back to the flying, I love the sound of the engines revving before take off and the sound as the aircraft accelerates down the runway ready to leap into the skies. I am amazed every time at the sheer engineering that it takes to lift this machine into the air. I am equally amazed at the landing procedure. The prepare for descent is when either the excitement of  arriving in a new place or coming home starts. I always try to get a window seat to see the flaps go down, hear the undercarriage open to allow the landing wheels to extend out  and of course to see the view as the plane approaches the landing strip.

 

 

Read my top tips to stress free travelling tomorrow.

 

There’s no place like home

In my culture on your  21st birthday  you get the “key of the door” to your home (usually your family home), and theoretically that means you can come and go as you please, you have  freedom!!! Unfortunately, we don’t realise it’s  importance or it’s relevance till we get much older. Ireland is a nation of house owners,  and good or bad we aspire to become a house owner as young as we can afford to.  Although it has become increasingly difficult for young people to get onto the property ladder and rental seems to be the mainstream housing at the moment.

But non the less we all want to have our own home. A place to call our own, the key that opens the door to your peace of mind, your privacy, and your sanity. A place where you can close the door behind you and drop your bag , kick off your shoes , undo your bra and exhale.

 

Home means different things to different people, and also the meaning changes as we get older. For example, when my children were young my home was a place of madness, a miss mash of coming and going to football matches, music lessons, band rehearsals, kick boxing, dancing and drama as well as uninvited friends for dinner , usually it was my dinner they got. Various music being played all the time and I often referred to my home as being akin to Hueston Station. ( A busy train station in Dublin).

As they got older and left the nest, so to speak , my home became a place where the madness still existed, but only at the weekend. A place to drop in for tea and chats, a place to come to when things went belly up with boyfriends or girlfriends and space was needed before the make-ups were made and of course the odd Sunday dinner. For me it was nice to have quiet times…finally, but I must admit it was boring  with nothing or no one to shout at to be quiet or turn the music down.

Now, my large family home has been sold, and I am keen to have a smaller place to call home. A place to hang my hat …..a base, small enough to keep clean and tidy. Big enough to have my friends to stay for weekends, or my grandchildren for sleep overs but that’s it.  It’s not important to have “the house”. What is important is a place to call home, not the size or what’s in it, because there will always be love in it. A place where I can kick off my shoes, drop my coat wherever I want, watch TV till the early hours if I choose, drink wine every night with friends if I want .. because this is my home, my place. The door will always be open to my family and friends but it will also be a door I can close when I need to shut out the world.

 

Who are you??

 

make a list

 

Who do you want to be??

Make a list of all the things you can do to get you to the person you want to be.

Make one action from this list……….TODAY.

One step at a time.

You CAN do it.

It’s in your hands.

It’s not as easy as you think but not as hard as you’d imagine.

Don’t make a permanent decision for a temporary emotion.decisions