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Sunday, December 30, 2007

I am sad

Epiphany moment: one of the things that makes me saddest about being single is not what I, expected it to be; it is that of the constant questioning - it's truly fucking horrible. I'm actually quite used to not having the loving couple / just had a baby /what I miss about being single conversations with my attached friends. What I hate recently is the self-questioning that is guaranteed when one is single at at a certain age;
  • Am I too fat - absolutely yes
  • Am I too old-fashioned - definitely; I cannot make the first move, it's just not in me, equally I will not chase a man - sorry but it just is not me, for all the brash exterior - I am quite old-fashioned behind it all but then a phrase that is burned into my brain is that of; "flee and they shall follow, follow and they shall flee" - not a prude by any means but will not chase a man -just can't!!
  • Am I too fussy - I honestly don't think so; yes, I ignore the assholes, equally I give the others a chance but I'm open to correction on this one - to be fair I ain't overrun with the opportunity to do either!
  • Am I too honest - sometimes I think so - I've never been a game-player and I'm not sure that it's a strong point in the dating game
  • Do I smoke too much - absolutely
  • Do I drink too much - perhaps but have always been able to mind myself and know what's going on but on the minus side can drink a lot of men under the table - not exactly conducive to the wanting to look after you syndrome in men!
  • Am I too independent - sometimes - mouthy, opinionated and well-able to look after myself but definitely more open to co-dependent living than may be expected
  • Am I waiting for the un-obtainable - I don't think so but again, I am open to correction - yes I do want someone to love me for who I am, to see beyond the (sometimes) brash exterior and to be fair, many of my best friends have that - nothing perfect, but they are in relationships where neither expects the other to be perfect, where staying in the relationship requires work but where at the end of the day they love/admire/respect each other enough to do so and see beyond the inevitable disagreements that couples have and have latched onto something deeper in that person and trust them deeply.
  • Am I a pain in the ass/opinionated - absolutely, if you like simple conversation and a 'yes' woman
  • Am I lazy - yes sometimes but I will do a hell of a lot for people I care about - to be fair more than I do for myself!
So many questions, too little time, as I could spurt out a list of questions (self-questioning!) as long as my arm but will spare both myself and my one or two readers that pain. Just like everyone else I think I'm fairly well able to judge myself but perhaps I should call for a second, third or even fourth opinion on that one!

Answers on a postcard please!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Review of The Best of Andrea Bocelli - Vivere, CD

The Best of Andrea Bocelli - Vivere, CD
"Fell in love with the song "Time to say Goodbye" a long time ago but have been pleasantly surprised at how 'accessible' this wonderful offering of classical music has been - now have more than a few favourites on this CD - Dare to live (Vivere) with..."
Fell in love with Bocelli's rendition of "Time to say Goodbye" and treated myself to his 'best of' cd thinking I'd replay my one favourite tune all the time - not so!  This CD is a wonderfully accessible compilation of some wonderful classical music - well worth adding to your CD collection!
Rated 5/5 on Dec 29 2007
Vote on curly k's Reviews at LouderVoice

Friday, December 28, 2007

What a lovely Christmas!

Whilst I couldn't agree more with Damien, I too, am very glad that 2007 is almost over, it's not been a great year for me, I am, however, looking forward to 2008. 2007 is a year I have found much more of a struggle than ever before; I had a break-up of the longest relationship I've had in a number of years, have had bigger arthritis flare-ups than ever before, have hit the not-so-magic age of 35 as a single woman and more importantly struggled more to cope mentally with a long-term chronic illness and hitting 35 and still being single than I ever expected myself to but thankfully I have scraped through as ever :) and like Damien am just more than happy to see the back end of this year.

On a much more positive not I have also had a lovely, peaceful Christmas and realise that to be able to say that is a blessing, as Christmas is such a hard time for many people. The usual family Christmas went unbelievably smoothly and was a day that we all really enjoyed, I was delighted to hear from someone I shared a house with years ago who I hadn't heard from in recent years and I was lucky enough to spend some really nice evenings with both friends and family as well as feeling really special getting some lovely thoughtful gifts - it all bodes well for 2008 - bring it on!

The only low note over the festive season is that I am truly worried about a very, very close and special friend. She is going through a really tough time and I don't know how to help her, I don't want to alienate her but as her friend I can see she is suffering from from depression and suggesting she gets some help has gone down like a lead balloon but she is not herself and I only hope and pray I can find the right words to help her seek the help she needs without alienating her.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trócaire - Global Gifts

I don't usually act on emails asking for plugs but when you get one that is from a really good cause such as Trócaire how can you resist? Alan Whelan, their Web Editor must be truly searching the Irish Blogosphere to have happened upon That Friday Feeling, so hats off to him and his hard work! We've all heard about Global Gifts but do we actually take the time to send one? Well, if you haven't yet done so, there is still time. Trócaire cannot now guarantee postal delivery of Global Gifts before Christmas but you can still buy one and have it delivered electronically as an e-card. So, go on, give something with true meaning this Christmas.

Even if you have all your Christmas pressies bought why not do what I've just done and spend a few spare euros on a small extra gift - sure you'd spend it on a few pints! (You can buy global gifts for as little as €15, which will result in some chicks being delivered to some needy family)

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If you love design check these two out!

Have just discovered Design Undercover via the email I received from Trócaire and I'm loving it! Nathalie has an eye for truly beautiful pieces and points to where one can obtain same in her posts, including various Dublin stores. Now I know where to go for design inspiration when I'm next decorating. Nathalie says she has a passion for Interior Design but to be fair her passion for all design is apparent in every post. Well worth a visit if you have an eye for beautiful things.

Also, happened upon Robert Ryan's website via Design Undercover and indeed Trocaire. Robert has designed the lovely cards that Trocaire are using this year for their Global Gifts. Another site well worth a visit - the attached photo is off a commissioned work that Robert completed for Vogue - UK, need I say more?

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Monday, December 17, 2007

What you need to know about hotel room glasses!

This video is shocking for anyone who's stayed in a hotel and used the bathroom glasses or coffee cups in the rooms. Jesus, hadn't even thought of this - eeeugghhh!

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Betcha my liver hates Christmas!

My liver will be glad when Christmas is over and it will get a break. Currently at 2 xmas parties and one birthday party down in just over a week and still counting. Only another dinner party and two further nights out to go before Christmas. My liver (and indeed my wallet) will be glad when it's all over!

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Free Rice for the hungry by simply improving your vocabulary!

Free Rice is well worth a visit. If like me, you enjoy word-games and improving your vocabulary you can simply click on the right meaning for words and earn free rice for some of the world's impoverished and hungry at the same time. What a great idea, you can do something useful whilst playing on the internet.

For each word you get right 20 grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to fight world hunger. Go over and give it a try, you can see how good your vocabulary actually is and help others at the same time.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Revenue giveth and Revenue take away!

Have been in bed feeling truly rotten all day, one of those bugs doing the rounds has floored me. I have, in recent years gained the uncanny ability to catch every one of them going around - one of the joys of immuno-suppressant drugs!

But something happened today which has never happened to me before - Revenue are giving me money - sort of!! Having crawled out of the leaba and limped downstairs I noticed I had received two letters in the post today - both from Revenue.

1st letter read something like this:
Dear Curly K,
It has come to our attention that you are a crippled (arthritis), bloated & farty (IBS) PAYE taxpayer who we pretty much have by the goolies (if you had any) with regard to all your monies. This is of course due to the fact that firstly we get at your wages at source (we do love PAYE! and secondly because we have no reason to lesson the blow - well, you have not procreated, have chosen to have illnesses that are not tax-deductable etc.) However, we have now decided to throw you a bone, given your ahem, diabolical state of health and dependence on drugs. This letter is to tell you that our most efficient colleagues over in the HSE have informed us just how much money you spent on your (legal) drugs in 2006 alone. You do not need to do anything but because we here in Revenue are as efficient as our counterparts in the HSE we will shortly be forwarding you a cheque for €250 to do with what you will.
Yours generously,
The Irish Revenue Commissioners

2nd letter read something as follows:
Dear Curly K,
Your formerly new car (we believe you call her Betsy - how original!) is no longer new, as of next January, and we will once again be expecting you pay motor tax for said vehicle. However, despite your informed decision to go for a smaller engine size and as efficient emissions as you could afford, unfortunately you did this too early so will still have to pay the €251 per annum based on your 1198 cc engine rather than €150 based on your emissions. This, we feel, should teach you not to pre-empt Government Budget decisions - you pious wannabe green upstart.
Yours gleefully,
The Irish Revenue Commissioners.

So, as you can see, Revenue giveth and Revenue taketh away!

P.S. I should point out that anytime I have had to contact Revenue in the last few years I have found them to be very helpful and friendly to be fair.

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Best PC Security Suite that is Vista compatible?

So, the trial version of McAfee and indeed the downloaded trial version of Windows OneCare have run out on my relatively new laptop which operates on Windows Vista and I want to get the best possible Security Suite onto it but which is best and also compatible with Vista? Of course, McAfee and Norton are best-sellers but I certainly won't be buying Norton having previously found it quite finicky on compatability with various software so I'm guessing it's not a good mix with the also finicky Vista. McAfee hasn't thusfar caused me major problems with Vista but then I'm not a 100% sure it's completely compatible with Vista and therefore working to full capacity. I've heard some good things about Kaspersky but have also heard it can interfere with Messenger.

I also want to ensure that whatever I spend my hard-earned cash on is more than just a mere anti-virus, that it has firewall, anti-spyware etc. capability as well, i.e. that it is giving me as much bang for my buck as is possible.

Any suggestions from more technically adept bloggers would be very welcome.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Mooncup and Keepers

As it was my birthday last week I asked my sister for a Mooncup as my present. My regular reader(s) will know that I ain't exactly known for rushing into quickly actioning many of the things I plan to get around to doing in my life. It is two years since I read a post from Doris about Mooncups and decided that I must get one and try it out.

I am with Doris in her sentiments not to put warnings for the squeamish on posts like this - Doris says "tosh" and I say bugger it, I am an adult woman and make no apologies for discussing periods and sanitary protection. I am well past being embarrassed by periods as I was ten when I first got mine so 24 years on it's all old hat to me.
What I cannot believe is that there is very little out there about either Mooncups or Keepers. Mooncups are made from surgical grade silicone and Keepers are made from latex rubber. They are an environmentally friendly alternative to both sanitary towels and tampons as they are re-usable menstrual cups which are worn internally to collect the menstrual flow.

If like me, you are a cynic you could be forgiven for thinking that there are a lot of big market brands out there in sanitary protection ware who have a lot to lose if these products gain market share. Financially the money that can be given to marketing the big brands in sanitary towels and tampons is huge so it isn't really surprising that there hasn't been much fanfare around a re-usable product which doesn't hold the same recurring profits for the retailers who stock them as they last approximately 10 years

I have not yet received my Mooncup but plan on doing a review as soon as possible after I first receive and use it. At this moment in time I cannot see how it could be more messy or uncomfortable than sanitary towels or any more intricate to insert than a tampon. Time will tell.

The Irish Independent - dependent on Bloggers?

Value Ireland Blog has pointed out how an article about shopping around for cheaper insurance which was published by the Irish Independent bears an uncanny resemblance to Value Ireland Blog's own article on the same topic.

As ever, Damien Mulley is right on topic having picked up on Value Ireland's post re this obvious plagiarism and also pointing out the recent attacks which have been made on Bloggers by the Irish Independent. The inimitable Bock The Robber has clearly laid out the blatant plagiarism of the article showing side by side the quotes from each.

Not only was it flagrant plagiarism it was truly lazy plagiarism; no attempt was even made to re-phrase the quotes taken from Value Ireland. An utter disgrace from a supposedly professional writer and publication.

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Breast screening scandal continues!

After all the outrage, scandal and indeed incredulity we have witnessed in the last few months with regard to the appalling treatment of women attending for breast cancer screening in this country nothing has changed.

On the 24th October I read a post from one brave young Irish mother who had found a lump in her breast and was also experiencing bleeding. Now, in this day and age we have all been warned enough about signs that need to be checked IMMEDIATELY - having a lump in your breast and bleeding is one such signal- no medical education or experience required! On presenting her referral for an ultra-sound at her local hospital she was told to "try Mullingar" as in the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, but it could take up to three weeks.

So, what had happened by the 6th November - nothing; an ultra-sound request had been returned to her GP! And then she was informed she was being referred to the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise! This was smack bang in the middle of all the horrific revelations about Portlaoise and just prior to the Breast Service being pulled from that hospital. So you would think that the HSE would at least try to get things right and have put proper referral systems for women in the Midlands in place. Well as of the 1st December to quote this brave lady herself ".....I am still waiting for an appointment with the breast people. I'm still bleeding and still have some other stuff going on. No one cares."


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Being 35!

So the moment has come, the clock has ticked twelve and I am now officially 35 - middle-aged? More than likely given that I'm a very overweight smoker who enjoys a drink and ain't addicted to either exercise or fresh fruit and vegetables!!!!

There are some very positive things about being 35 and where I am at in my life right now:
  • I'm young enough (and lucky enought) to still have my parents around and old enough to know how blessed that makes me
  • I know who my real friends are
  • I've been blessed with wonderful siblings (most of the time!) along with the joy of two beautiful, smart, funny nieces and a darling, inquisitive nephew
  • I'm settled into my career path for now, happy in my job (I've had some where the thoughts of going into work was nausea inducing!) and am doing ok at it
  • I am lucky enough to have enough money not to have to worry about it in my current situation
  • I own my own little house where I have great neighbours, a lovely garden and a fantastic view (all I need is Kim & Aggie to keep the feckin place clean!)
  • I have been able to visit a lot of wonderful places but would love to visit so many more - still have a few more continents to hit at the very least (can't believe I've not yet made it to the USA!)
  • I can now manage my curly hair instead of it managing me
  • And most importantly I have now come to terms with the fact that I will never wear that devastatingly short mini that I always dreamed of wearing for one-night only, this is not actually because of my gi-normous ass and thunder thighs although they were a contibuting factor in this acceptance, rather it is because I've faced the fact that I genetically have cankles! (thanks Ma!)

On the other hand, whilst I've never particularly minded getting older, am not one of those women who gets offended when asked her age (unlike the other women in my family - sorry girls!) and am not overly worried about being 35 per se, as a single, thus-far barren woman it does represent a marker in my life. According to fertility statistics my chances of ever being a mum are on a very, very slippery slope from here on in - strange when you consider to all intents and purposes all that has changed is the hand on a clock. I am no different than I was at 11.59pm but statistically my reproductive organs are on the road to nowhere! But enough about that subject my previous post Baby Race covers my thoughts on that topic - mind you it is frighening that it's from almost 2 years ago and I'm still in the same situation (albeit with a year long relationship in-between!)

Anyway, onwards and upwards, this could be the year;

  • The year I meet a life partner
  • The year I become a size 12 again
  • The year I become addicted to exercise
  • The year I give up smoking
  • The year I begin to welcome fruit and vegetables into my life as part of a healthy balanced diet
  • The year I become a clean freak and my house and office sparkle in their orderly tidiness
Or, what the heck, the year I wear that devastatingly short mini!!! - ''Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!"

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Review of Carlinn Gallery

Carlinn Gallery,
Dundalk Street,
County Louth,

"Lovely little art gallery nestled right in the heart of Carlingford. A place you can walk in and browse without feeling like you're intruding - warm and friendly staff. Well worth a visit when in Carlingford."

As someone who loves art but doesn't know a lot about it art galleries have always seemed inaccessible and often a bit hoiety-toiety. Not so the Carlinn Gallery, it is a lovely little gallery nestled in the heart of beautiful Carlingford County Louth.

They have some great exhibitions and lots of fantastic art pieces ranging from huge canvases down to very small reasonably priced pieces by younger, less well known artists. Most importantly it is a place you feel free to walk into and browse around. The reception is warm and friendly from staf and you can browse freely without someone following you around. Well worth a visit if you happen to be in that beautiful part of the world.

Rated 5/5 on Dec 03 2007
Vote on curly k's Reviews at LouderVoice

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Adding bookmarking options to your posts!

Have just spent stupid amount of time trying to add the option to bookmark my posts into my blog template! Was just trying to write up a simple walkthrough for other gobshites like myself who aren't technical people but Blogger won't let me (aghhhhh!) - some of the text was the html stuff for changing template to do this. It's too late and I'm too tired to even try to fix it now but if you do want a walkthrough from a fellow blog novice let me know and I will try again after I get some sleep!

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Philip Pankov

Regular readers will notice the new face of That Friday Feeling mostly inspired by this photo from Philip Pankov Photography. Philip specialises in beautiful Black & White photos from Ireland. He is originally from Russia but has now made Ireland his home where he lives in Greystones. He has studied extensively and has studied photography at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art & Design as well as earning degrees from both Trinity and UCD.

"After he started widely exhibiting in late 90s, Pankov’s work rapidly garnered substantial recognition with the Irish population who were enchanted with his shamrock-free depiction of their country. More recently, Pankov’s work has gained increasing popularity worldwide and is now held in private and corporate collections throughout Europe, North America, and Japan. (See www.philpankov.com for more information).

All of his photographs are hand-printed by the artist himself and processed to museum archival standards. Working exclusively with traditional medium-format black-and-white film allows Philip to produce ultra high-resolution images that capture minute details with striking sharpness." (Photo Techniques Magazine, USA January 2007)

His site www.philpankov.com is well worth a visit to have a look at his wonderful images for yourself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mourinho for Irish Football Team Manager!

Sky News doorstepped Jose Mourinho about the English Football Manager job and he didn't openly rule himself out for the position. Apparently there is already somewhat of a campaign started to get Mouriho into the role. So why not start a campaign to get Mourinho into the current vacancy with the FAI and have someone interesting, with an international profile and proven track record as our Irish Team Manager?

Just a thought! I, for one, would love to see him in the role - Satisfaça sim!

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Photo (c) http://news.sky.com/

Review of Arrange me a marriage, BBC2

"Aneela Rahman presents this highly interesting programme in which she tutors British Singletons and their families and friends through a similiar process to that used in modern Asian arranged marriages."

Aneela RahmanArrange me a marriage is not a dating show, more it is an interesting and indeed thought-provoking programme about how single 30 & 40 somethings in today's western society can learn more than a thing or two from the process used to arrange marriages in modern Asian society.

Aneela is warm, frank and practical in her role as a facilitator in aiding the singletons to use their existing network of family and friends to find suitable partners. One of the main premises of the show is that no-one knows you better than those who care for you - your family and friends. They are roped into re-assessing their own network of friends and acquaintances to find suitable partners for their loved one.

Establishing compatability in key areas such as family values, life goals, class and education is pivotal to the process employed - "Lots of people in Britain hook up in a bar or a club, but you wouldn't buy a house or car drunk, so why would you expect to find a life partner that way?" (Aneela, The Daily Mail)

Rahman is not afraid to be frank, detached and to the point with both the singletons and their friends and family whilst still being empathetic, warm and very likeable. Not quite a documentary and certainly not reality tv - the programme format is also entertaining. Well worth a look and more importantly well worth learning from if, like me you are a 30-something singleton!

Photo (c) www.dailymail.co.uk

Rated 4/5 on Nov 29 2007
Vote on curly k's Reviews at LouderVoice

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Review of Ireland AM, TV3

"Ireland's only breakfast tv show. Generally a pleasant start to the day with good banter among the presenters, some excellent featured items but far too much sport for my liking!"

Almost every morning I tune into Ireland AM prior to dragging myself out of my bed. It's great to catch up on Irish news first thing in the morning and they have regular headlines throughout the show. There are also regular fashion and soap slots as well as some excellent feature items.

Initially, I didn't particularly warm to the show's lead anchor, Mark Cagney but he definitely grows on you and is certainly a seasoned professional in his role! Throughout the show there is an ongoing relaxed and entertaining banter amongst all four main anchors; Cagney, Sinead Desmond, Alan Hughes and Aidan Cooney. Sinead Desmond is relatively new to the secondary anchor role having been preceeded in previous years by Grainne Seoige, Amanda Byram, Emma Buckley, Maura Derrane and Claire Byrne (not necessarily in that particular order) so there has been quite a lot of personnel change in a relatively short time since the programme began in 1999.

One big criticism I would have is that the sports news is far too long - often outlasting the actual news updates. For a dedicated non-active/sporty person it is irritating to have so much sports coverage throughout the show.

Overall, however, the show is quite watchable and generally informative with a good atmosphere generated among the presenters, not a bad way to start your day!

Rated 3/5 on Nov 28 2007
Vote on curly k's Reviews at LouderVoice

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

That Friday Feeling is a "noisy blog"!

Just stumbled upon a post (albeit a little late - it's from last April!) from Dublin.net which lists some of "noisiest blogs" in the Irish Blogosphere and unbelievably this blog is listed at number 35 out of 100!!! It is by their own admission a dodgy first attempt to pull together local blogs but they have ranked based on the number of links as tracked by Yahoo (via comments, backlinks etc)!

They mention that there are a couple of surprises in the list and boy is this blog one of them, no more so than to me especially given that the likes of Damien Mulley isn't on the list!!!

Nevertheless. all acknowledgments gratefully received!!

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LouderVoice - check it out!

LouderVoice is a new Irish site that allows people to review anything from wine to new shoes in an easy and accessible manner. LouderVoice is Bandon blow-in, Conor O'Neill's latest venture and passion.

The official blurb is that it is a "community-driven web-site for finding, writing and sharing user reviews. It is the hub that connects people, knowledge, interests and places. Users can publish, find, rate, bookmark, share and subscribe to reviews. They can finally harness the distributed expertise in blogs and social networks to assist in their purchases." They have recently enabled early support for mini-reviews which are posted by reviewers using SMS and IM via Twitter and similar sites.

However, more simply put for the less techy/web/twitter/jaiku.... amongst us you can simply sign-up and publish reviews on LouderVoice via your mobile phone through a simple sms text message. It is that easy once you're registered - you simply write your text and send it to a mobile number and hey presto its published on LouderVoice. For bloggers there is the added advantage of registering your current blog and simply writing your review through LouderVoice. It is then simultaneously published on both your own blog and LouderVoice - two for the price of one. You can see how it publishes to your blog in my review of Nigella Express below.

If Damien Mulley has taken the time to profile them on his latest venture Profile Ireland where he gives coverage to Irish Tech companies, mostly concentrating on startups but also looking at established though young tech companies, then you know they are doing something right!

They have made it to the final 30 of the Le Web 3 Start-Up competition in Paris in December. They are the only Irish company to make it through to the December 11th event - good luck guys!

As Conor says "Text Your Loves and Loathings to LouderVoice" - go on, you know you want to!

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Review of Nigella Express, BBC 2

"In general great receipes but absolute drivel to watch!"

Up until recently I'd really liked Nigella Lawson, I liked her down-to-earth style, her great attitude to food and cooking, her love of comfort foods and even the fact that whilst she is far from the recently popular concept of beauty i.e. very young, very skinny, very bronzed and very blonde she exuded the alluring appeal of a real, beautiful woman!

However, her recent outing in Nigella Express, where she supposedly showcases quick and easy food, is appalling. It's so set-up, false and twee its actually nauseating.

Give it a miss and buy the book where at least you can see what she has to offer receipe wise without the torture of having to watch her fawn to the camera, salivate over the food and pretend to have enough annoying friends and family to sink the Titantic!

Rated 1/5 on Nov 27 2007
Vote on curly k's Reviews at LouderVoice

Monday, November 26, 2007

Do Irish voters only care when money is involved?

It is truly astounding that in 1982 an attempt to put VAT on children's shoes brought down John Bruton's Fine Gael government and yet it appears that scandal after scandal with regard to health services in this country are allowed to go on and on with no-one facing any consequences or taking any responsibility (other than 1 Radiographer - who let's face it cannot be solely responsible for the farce that cancer screening in Portlaoise Hospital has become!).

It is sad reflection on the way we, as a society have gone in the intervening years since 1982. Obviously the mighty pound or euro was always king, as the bottom line of the VAT on children's shoes was of course money, however, I do think that the scandals we have witnessed in the last number of months would surely have brought down governments in the 1970s and 1980s. Our total obsession with the Celtic Tiger economy and fast-paced life in recent years has undoubtedly had some horrible side-effects on our sense of morals, equality, community and doing what is right.

It is unbelievable that we as a democratic society have not yet demanded more. When Fiannna Fail was returned to power in the last election, the majority of Irish voters refused to hold the government responsible for the shambles that is our health service. The truly appalling and outrageous state of our health service and the numerous scandals with regard to the likes of mammograms, ultrasounds, dirty hospitals and indeed the constant reduction and elimination of various services in many hospitals around the country were ignored because in general most people are relatively well-off and comfortable today in comparison to the the 1970s, 1980s and even the early 1990s.

Mary Harney has said that she will not resign but that if the Dail fires her that is a different matter, which lets face it, is as likely as me becoming a svelte size 10 this side of Christmas!

We should all hang our head in shame;
  • shame for those who have lost their lives because they were turned away from hospitals,
  • shame for women who lost their wombs because of one doctors ego-mania,
  • shame for the far too numerous women in this country who have spent the last number of weeks waiting for re-assessment,
  • shame for those women who now have finally had a cancer diagnosis,
  • shame for those patients who have died or live with the after-effects of MRSA and other super-bugs,
  • shame for those currently fighting cancer who have on the one hand been told that treatment in centers of excellence improves their chances whilst on the other hand none of the other requisite infrastructure for accommodation and travel to back up their treatment has been put in place

and shame that we will undoubtedly allow the new health strategy for larger regional hospitals to be put in place again without the requisite infrastructure (adequate numbers of ambulances and trained paramedics, air-ambulances etc.) to back up the improved chances of treatment in these centres of excellence with the critical mass of population.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

35 approacheth and way too fast!

So I'm not going to do one of those "reflective" posts - I'm pretty clear on the important things that are missing from my life (a life partner and children) and of course the many blessings I am lucky to have in my life (fantastic family and friends, the joy of nieces and nephews, a job I like with great colleagues, living in a community I like with wonderful neighbours, my own home....)

Rather I just wanted to warn ye all in plenty of time so I can get lots of pressies! And to state I'm well prepared for day my potential fertility starts to officially nose-dive big time.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

And that's why he is the Stig!

So I missed Top Gear's first episode in the current series a few weeks ago and am just playing catch up via the BBC Sign Zone's graveyard shift this morning. (Ok, I have no life sitting at home alone at 3.30am drinking glass of wine and watching Sign Zone but what the hell!) During the episode they road test the new VW Golf W12 650 bhp which I have to say wouldn't rock my boat - ugly car, honestly and I really like Golfs but leave them as they are thank you very much!

Anyway, Jeremy takes the W12 for a few laps and completely fails to take any corner in the thing without ending up facing the wrong way. Undoubtably this is because the thing doesn't corner (for us mere ordinary mortals). However, despite the obvious problems with cornering at speed with the W12 the Stig manages not to end up facing backwards on any corner.

It is a clip that demonstrates his (or her!) sheer genius as a driver compared to the rest of us or indeed compared to even Mr. Clarkson, who, let's face it, has driven a wider variety of cars than most of us can dare dream about. Classic!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fog light - use them in FOG!

What is it with fog-lights in this country? Recently there is an epidemic of gobshites driving with their fog-lights on, full blast in perfect weather conditions! It's not only annoying for other road-users it's actually against best practice, dangerous, arrogant and frivolous! For those assholes - the hint is in the name FOG-lights i.e. these lights should not be used unless there is fog or at the very least very poor visability but no, there are an increasing number of what can only be termed as gobshites (excuse my french!) who insist on using fog-lights regardless of weather and visability conditions, with no consideration for the fact that they are blinding all other drivers - all too often to simply show-off one of at least three things: (a) the car they are driving is older than they are but full of beautiful (in their eyes!) modifications (b) the car they are driving is a high-end jeep / people-carrier or executive saloon or (c) they're too fucking stupid to realise that firstly it ain't foggy and secondly they're blinding other road users!

And as Forrest Gump would say "that's all I have to say about that!"
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Get a man "what does"!!!

A lot of people who have bought houses in new estates in the last number of years will be all too familiar with my previous garden problem. It was full of what can only be described as rubble-filled clay with some poor grass/weeds and moss on top. Not exactly pretty to look at and almost impossible to work with. Initially when I moved in three years ago I raked it, planted more grass seed and generally gave myself some back-breaking evenings trying to make a silk purse out a sow's ear.

In the end the feed/weed and lawn seed that I put into it seemed to work but then it seemed like only the weeds were gaining benefit and taking over. Friends who had partners had had their equivalent blocks of weeds rotivated, re-seeded etc. but me taking on to rotivate was simply not an option with my arthritis and chronic laziness!

So at the beginning of September I took the plunge and got a man "what does" in to fix the disaster that was my garden. I only wish I'd taken before pictures. By then after our wet miserable summer I had given up on the garden and it was simply a jungle of waist-high weeds. I had gotten a number of quotes and knew exactly what I wanted done. I ended up going with the most expensive quote for a couple of reasons; I instantly felt the guy was trustworthy and straight as a dye, also he immediately "got" what I wanted and even better suggested other things to put the polish on the final product.

All I can say is that sometimes you get what you pay for and I sure did. The night before the father and son team were due to start in my garden I arrived home late to discover all the materials in my garden. They had been dropped off after their full days work. Next morning they arrived early and worked unbelievably hard for the next two and half days through rain and whatever the weather threw at them. These two guys were not afraid of hard work, very, very hard work. I managed to get two hardworking guys, well qualified in their trade who were a pleasure to have around - honest, trustworthy and delivering what they promised on time without any hassle whatsoever! So, if you can, find a good man "what does" is my advice.

And as you can see the results speak for themselves. The grass is still a little patchy as it's only growing in and the empty plastic bottles are my addition to keep the cats of the soil when it was freshly turned - grrrrr!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Wine Connoisseur or simply an Alcoholic?

Last weekend a friend went to France for work and happened to pick up a substantial amount of booze en-route as he went on the ferry. I duly placed an order for wine with him and it has now arrived. So instead of the normal 10 - 12 bottles of wine that I usually have in my house I now have a grand total of 33 bottles of wine and two 10-litre boxes of wine including some Saumur, Muscadet, Vouvray, Crozes Hermitage, Châteauneuf du Pape and five bottles of Champagne (a woman can never have too much Champagne in my humble opinion).

Either I'm on my way to becoming the next Oz Clarke or a rip-roaring alcoholic - time will tell, meanwhile where's the corkscrew?...........

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Photo (c) Andreas Georgiou - http://www.sxc.hu/profile/andgeo

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


A year ago I posted on this blog reminiscing about a childhood bike/pedal car toy. I had tried and failed to find any mention of it anywhere on the web but knew it was called an Ugly Bug and made by Raleigh. Well thanks to Brian (who to be fair sent this to me 2 months ago) I have been reassured that I am not going insane or indeed heading for early dementia - concrete proof above. Brian, who was the head of Concept Design at Raleigh Toys in the 1970's kindly forwarded the above photo of my favourite childhood toy. Ahh, it's so true, they really don't make them like they used to! My own Ugly Bug gave endless hours of entertainment not only to me but to other members of my family for years - they really built them to last so this is a tribute to all the guys at Raleigh and all their hard work years ago! Not sure if the young 'uns of today would be so enthusiastic with all their techy, flashy toys but boy that Ugly Bug was one fun toy in it's day!

BTW: Hope this is not again a once every six/seven months post to blog and that I will return to the blogosphere!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Five little known facts about Curly K

My eccentric Spanish friend Manuel Stimulation has tagged me to reveal five little known facts about myself so here goes:
  1. I was once caught with my knickers down at my knees in public! I was about seven or eight at the time and we'd been sent down the road to look for a missing dog or child, I honestly can't remember. Anyway off we went in search of the missing being and got to the end of our road and onto the next road where there was a factory located at the time. We went into the field where the factory was and I needed to wee really badly so with a little encouragement from the others I assumed the position and was mid pee when a man from the factory came around the corner to move us out of the field - die! I don't think I've ever been as embarrassed since!
  2. I was pretty much a goody goody at school and never mitched or got in trouble with the teachers. I only got put in detention once for not cleaning the classroom when rostered to do so and that only happened because it was the first day back after the holidays and I honestly didn't know I was supposed to!
  3. I once lost out on a pay-rise because I went out for a drink with a guy - that drink cost me about £2,000 IR. I was on a business trip abroad with my boss and clients and this guy had joined our company several times and offered to show us around as he was working in the country on a long-term contract. At the time the clients said "You go, you're the young one in the group, us oldies aren't interested..." my boss agreed with the clients and said I should go but I subsequently learned, after I had left the company that she held back my pay-rise because I had gone out for the drink!!!
  4. I've recently developed a slight sunglasses fetish - hey when you're fat with broad feet it's a hell of a lot easier than having a shoe or clothes fetish!
  5. Sometimes when my brain is in overdrive and I'm having a thinking overload day I wonder if I'm normal - is that normal?

So there you have it, five little known facts about me, clearly not as exciting as Manuel's but what can I do! I therefore tag CatGirl, Conor, Paige, Doris and Omani. Feel free not to do it and likewise if I haven't tagged you and you would like to share with the group go ahead!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Reflect & Review!

So on my return to blogging after my short sojourn I was going through some old posts and came upon a post from January 2006 where I listed some of the things I needed to do then and I decided to go through it and see where I'm at. I certainly can't be accused of over-doing things by the looks of it;

  • Finish report one, which is in draft form, for work - CHECK
  • Decide what clothes etc. I need to take on my forthcoming work trip (I always aim to travel as light as possible) and ensure all the clothes that I need to bring are clean and ready to go - CHECK
  • Start three other reports for work that are way, way, way overdue - CHECK
  • Clean my house from top to bottom (as I've mentioned before housework ain't my forte in life) before Kim & Aggie seriously come to visit - CHECK BUT NOW DUE AGAIN
  • Write a reference that someone asked me for ages ago - CHECK
  • Visit my friends that live up the country and I haven't seen in too long - CHECK
  • Attend for a necessary blood test that is at least two months overdue - CHECK BUT DUE AGAIN
  • Do a serious de-clutter on my wardrobe and everywhere else - PART CHECK, LIKE IRISH RAIL - A LOT DONE, A LOT MORE TO DO!!!
  • Get my car door fixed (not my fault, some blind prat reversed into me!) - CHECK (WELL SOMEONE ELSE'S PROBLEM NOW!)
  • Change my mortgage to obtain better rate of interest (better get someone who could be bothered to understand all that double dutch about interest rates to come with me) - CHECK TO FIRST PART
  • Find someone who could be bothered to understand all that rubbish about interest rates - IN THE END SOME THINGS YOU'RE BETTER OFF DOING YOURSELF!
  • Trade-in my car for a newer model - CHECK, CHECK, CHECK - BETSY IS A BEAUTY!
  • Call a plumber / fix-it person to repair the boiler, install my oven (it's a long story but suffice to say I don't bake a lot!!), repair what I suspect is leak in my attic, put up a blind and some shelve (oh and ALL my photos and pictures) and fix my outside light. - CHECK TO OVEN ONLY - WELL NO POINT IN RUSHING INTO THESE THINGS!
  • Get someone to redesign some of the storage in my kitchen, whoever designed the current one obviously has never stood in a kitchen - it just doesn't work! - AS IF THIS WOULD BE CHECKED WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH STILL OUTSTANDING!
  • Ensure guttering is mended and cleaned - I THINK YOU KNOW WHERE I'M GOING ALREADY - AS IF!
  • Buy a dishwasher - AS ABOVE
  • Plant my garden for the spring - WHAT DO YOU THINK?
  • Go to the physio for my back as advised by the bleedin doctor - COULDN'T I SPEND THE TIME I'D SPEND IN PYSIO OUT SOCIALISING OR SOME OTHER SUCH WORTHY USE?
  • Try to meet a funny, charming man with a mind and personality - CHECK AT PRESENT- HOORAH, HOORAH, HOORAH!

Guess some day I'll become organised, efficient and a complete health & cleaning freak - live in hope, die in despair as they say!!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Six months, where have they gone?

I said I would be back, didn't think I'd be away for so long but hey c'est la vie! Curly K is back in the blogosphere! So, where did I go for six months (I can't believe it has been that long!)? Well, work was busy, dial-up is a pain in the arse and I was trying to sort several things out (changing mortgage, buying a car....), thought I'd get a lot more done in the time but that's the story of my life!

Firstly, apologies to those who I have really missed but not kept up with as I've not been online; CatGirl; Omani; JL; Doris; Conor; Treasa; et al; your blogs are part of the reason it's taken me so long to come back, I felt I should have kept up daily and didn't - so where does one pick up? The longer you leave it the more guilty you feel and the more work to catch up you believe you have. So for now I've decided I'll just try again from the start and play catch-up as and when I can.

I hear the Blog Awards were brilliant (how could I have missed Conor O'Neill dancing whilst inebriated??) Also, it seems there are lots of great new blogs I have to get to read but all in good time.

So what have I been up to? Good question - here goes. Changed mortgage - nightmare which went on for months. Initially was going with EBS via a general finance broker - they (EBS) broke my heart; to be fair if I'd gone via the local EBS broker it would have been fine but alas I didn't do so chosing, as I thought at the time, the best possible option in an independent broker. But EBS corporate in their fatcat headquaters had other ideas; put her through the mill, ask every in-depth question you can think off and then tell her fuck that - you have to pay the fees we said we would pay. Two months after the ordeal began!!! Two good things I can say about the whole experience, the broker I dealt with had the decency not to charge me for house valuation that they had paid for as they recognised the shit I'd been through and most importantly the fact that local banking/mortgaging etc. is best. I cannot speak highly enough about the manager of my local TSB, a gentleman, efficient, easy to deal with and talk to and a breath of fresh air in mortgage application terms! All sorted in less than a week as opposed to almost three months with EBS corporate and nothing but being treated like a leper to show for the trauma!

So mortgage change in place I did what I thought I'd never do; I bought a spanking new car - Betsy II - a Seat Ibiza 1.2 Metallic Black and a complete beauty! She is fantastic everything I hoped for and more!

Further to my post of the 23rd August last year (scary) I went on my date, met a fantastic guy and have been seeing him since! He's clever (sometimes too clever!), funny, attractive, doesn't talk for the sake of talking (unlike me!) and intriguing. We're very different which is brilliant sometimes and challenging for us both at other times! It's really good to be able to sit beside someone in silence for a long time and feel comfortable, it can also drive me to distraction as he can sit without saying anything for a hell of a lot longer than I can! When we're good, we're really good, as for when we're not; we could drive each other to distraction by our misinterpretation of our differences to the other!

Work has been really busy and I'm glad I don't have to travel again for a wee while, arriving home to Dublin Airport on the 22nd of December was not my idea of fun! I'm waiting anxiously for several friends to have their babies, get engaged... and the best news for me right now (friends impending births notwithstanding of course!) is that I'm finally getting on a sun holiday after four years! I can't wait!

Do let me know what you guys have been up to! Talk soon.