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  • Shopping | Writing, life and other animals
    Cheshire Oaks Outlet Centre Priceless Posted by Calvin at 9 52 Tagged with Cheshire Oaks Photos shopping Urinals Nice is not enough Children Evening Echo Column Parenting Writing 1 Response Dec 24 2008 Image via Wikipedia Written last week for the Christmas Eve WOW supplement in the Evening Echo By the time you read this it will be Christmas Eve Now there s a scary thought especially since I haven t bought any of my Christmas presents yet Like most men I leave my shopping until last minute and that means lots of stressful running around a few days before the main event dashing from shop to shop with a vague hope that inspiration will strike at any moment If past experience is anything to go by it won t and I ll end up with something nice Nice is a really naff word never more so than when applied to a Christmas present Nice is neither one thing nor the other it s a pale pretender in comparison to more powerful descriptive words like inspired awesome outstanding brilliant Nice is never going to be just what I always wanted Nice inevitably is an also ran just good enough to be acceptable but not good enough to be noteworthy This year I want to do better than nice That shouldn t be too difficult because the only presents I have to worry about are my wife s from me and from the girls She sorts everything else out In fairness the presents from the girls are no problem either I ll just take them into town one day point out a few suitable bits and bobs organic soaps loofahs and the like wrap them up put them under the tree job done It s the present from me that s wrecking my head as usual I ve had months to pick up the the subtle signs and weeks to decipher the more blatant hinting Yet here I am just a week before Christmas with nothing bought and only a couple of vague notions swimming around in the vacuum that was once my brain I suspect I m not alone Men in general are appalling at Buying presents Ask us to choose something for ourselves and we ll be calm decisive and direct but ask us to pick out a present for a loved one and suddenly we re mindless quivering wrecks It s like flicking a switch that induces instant lobotomy And so I m floundering again this Christmas It s too late to order anything online an option that came to my rescue in the nick of time last year Last night I bit the bullet and asked for some direct input Forget the subtlety this was an emergency and I needed some hard data to work with So she got out the laptop and up popped the Tiffany and Co website I felt the blood drain from my face In terms of high risk Christmas shopping Jewellery is

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/shopping/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Brand new year, same old humdrum | Writing, life and other animals
    less This time last year 2009 was looking tantalizingly promising and I found myself eager with anticipation Today after the year that s just passed I find myself gazing into 2010 with unfettered indifference What is it about the start of a new year that engenders so much hope in so many people We look at it as a new start but really it s just the passing of another day a seamless transition to more of the same Look around What s changed The date and that s pretty much all There s nothing inherently special about New Year We can all choose to make changes in our lives at any time of the year I guess what makes the transition from one year to another a little more significant in that regard is its symbolism It is the start of something new and for a lot of people that can serve as a catalyst for re evaluation and positive action For many more it s a good excuse to get drunk and make a series of vague promises easily made and just as easily broken How many of us will make significant positive change this year How many New Year s Resolutions will you make how many will you keep How many have you ever kept By and large the whole New Year s Resolution thing is a bad idea We make them because we re stickers for tradition and slaves to convention and because for a fleeting time at the start of the year doing so makes us feel good about ourselves and our noble intentions but it doesn t last We soon fall back into old habits and the fact that we haven t had the strength of character to persevere with our New Year convictions leaves us feeling worse about ourselves than we did before So my suggestion for a New Year s Resolution this year is to resolve not to make any New Year s Resolutions at all Trust me you ll be much better off If you eschew my advice and decide to make a few regardless for goodness sakes keep them to yourself That way at least you can pretend you chose not to make any resolutions and you alone will know how spectacularly you ve failed I love Christmas and all the festive frivolity that surrounds it but New Year is a pretty rubbish holiday and while 2010 is likely to be a better year for many of us than the one we ve just departed somehow I can t bring myself to embrace the excitement As I ponder all of this New Year whimsy I glance at the children and see three individuals refreshingly unencumbered by all this nonsense Shielded from the worst of what the year throws their way by the insulating buffer of good parents for them every year is a happy one and the prospects for the new year are always bright They live in the comfortable

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/2010/01/19/brand-new-year-same-old-humdrum/ (2016-02-15)
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  • 2009 | Writing, life and other animals
    year is to resolve not to make any New Year s Resolutions at all Trust me you ll be much better off If you eschew my advice and decide to make a few regardless for goodness sakes keep them to yourself That way at least you can pretend you chose not to make any resolutions and you alone will know how spectacularly you ve failed I love Christmas and all the festive frivolity that surrounds it but New Year is a pretty rubbish holiday and while 2010 is likely to be a better year for many of us than the one we ve just departed somehow I can t bring myself to embrace the excitement As I ponder all of this New Year whimsy I glance at the children and see three individuals refreshingly unencumbered by all this nonsense Shielded from the worst of what the year throws their way by the insulating buffer of good parents for them every year is a happy one and the prospects for the new year are always bright They live in the comfortable bubble of consistency that we provide blissfully oblivious to the ups and downs of our topsy turvy world You ve got to envy them that Happy New Year Posted by Calvin at 0 02 Tagged with 2009 2010 New Year Resolutions Ice skating fingers blades and other worries Children Evening Echo Column Events family Parenting Reviews No Responses Dec 09 2009 It s official I still have all of my extremities I know this because I ve counted them Two arms two legs eight fingers two thumbs and ten toes Three weeks ago it had seemed like such a good idea My wife was browsing the Cork on Ice website and asked if I d be up for going ice skating with the gang Sitting at home in a warm living room saying yes had been easy Now the day had arrived though I was feeling a bit less assertive Me blades and a large expanse of cold wet slippery stuff not a good combination I ve been ice skating maybe three times in my life The first was as a child when we were taken to a huge Ice rink in North Wales on a school trip As with most unpleasant experiences my mind has obscured most of the details All I remember is clinging white knuckled to the edge of the rink making my way inch by painful inch around the perimeter In my mind s eye all I could see was images of bloody skate blades and severed fingers From the moment I stepped onto the ice I remember praying for the experience to end The next time was a friend s birthday party When I found out we were going ice skating it was all that my parents could do to convince me to go This time I was a little braver and actually let go of the side Big mistake I spent more time spread

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/2009/ (2016-02-15)
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  • 2010 | Writing, life and other animals
    people We look at it as a new start but really it s just the passing of another day a seamless transition to more of the same Look around What s changed The date and that s pretty much all There s nothing inherently special about New Year We can all choose to make changes in our lives at any time of the year I guess what makes the transition from one year to another a little more significant in that regard is its symbolism It is the start of something new and for a lot of people that can serve as a catalyst for re evaluation and positive action For many more it s a good excuse to get drunk and make a series of vague promises easily made and just as easily broken How many of us will make significant positive change this year How many New Year s Resolutions will you make how many will you keep How many have you ever kept By and large the whole New Year s Resolution thing is a bad idea We make them because we re stickers for tradition and slaves to convention and because for a fleeting time at the start of the year doing so makes us feel good about ourselves and our noble intentions but it doesn t last We soon fall back into old habits and the fact that we haven t had the strength of character to persevere with our New Year convictions leaves us feeling worse about ourselves than we did before So my suggestion for a New Year s Resolution this year is to resolve not to make any New Year s Resolutions at all Trust me you ll be much better off If you eschew my advice and decide to make a

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/2010/ (2016-02-15)
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  • New Year | Writing, life and other animals
    and positive action For many more it s a good excuse to get drunk and make a series of vague promises easily made and just as easily broken How many of us will make significant positive change this year How many New Year s Resolutions will you make how many will you keep How many have you ever kept By and large the whole New Year s Resolution thing is a bad idea We make them because we re stickers for tradition and slaves to convention and because for a fleeting time at the start of the year doing so makes us feel good about ourselves and our noble intentions but it doesn t last We soon fall back into old habits and the fact that we haven t had the strength of character to persevere with our New Year convictions leaves us feeling worse about ourselves than we did before So my suggestion for a New Year s Resolution this year is to resolve not to make any New Year s Resolutions at all Trust me you ll be much better off If you eschew my advice and decide to make a few regardless for goodness sakes keep them to yourself That way at least you can pretend you chose not to make any resolutions and you alone will know how spectacularly you ve failed I love Christmas and all the festive frivolity that surrounds it but New Year is a pretty rubbish holiday and while 2010 is likely to be a better year for many of us than the one we ve just departed somehow I can t bring myself to embrace the excitement As I ponder all of this New Year whimsy I glance at the children and see three individuals refreshingly unencumbered by all this nonsense Shielded from the worst of what the year throws their way by the insulating buffer of good parents for them every year is a happy one and the prospects for the new year are always bright They live in the comfortable bubble of consistency that we provide blissfully oblivious to the ups and downs of our topsy turvy world You ve got to envy them that Happy New Year Posted by Calvin at 0 02 Tagged with 2009 2010 New Year Resolutions Another one bites the dust Children Evening Echo Column holiday Rant No Responses Dec 31 2008 Image by Leorex via Flickr That s it then by the time you read this 2008 will be coming to a close In the wake of the Christmas festivities it s only natural for us to reflect on the events of the bygone year The ups and downs the side to sides the struggles and the joys the challenges and the achievements all done and dusted For us 2008 has been an interesting and productive year We got a lot of work done around the house Stuff we d been meaning to get around to for years is now finally sorted It

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/new-year/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Christmas… done! | Writing, life and other animals
    enough to make anyone lose their appetite They re all at it Nigela Jamie Rachel Hugh Gordon and the ludicrously experimental Heston to name but a few Mr Blumenthal might run one of the world s best restaurants but it s very much a case of don t try this at home kids when it comes to his food That said at least celebrity chefs are showing you how to cook Christmassy things which is at somewhat relevant and potentially worthwhile Much worse are the concoctions some bright spark at a TV production department came up with Melding the popular genres of cooking reality television and celebrity voyeurism must have seemed like a good idea on paper but Celebrity Come Dine With Me can only be described as car crash telly at it s very worst or perhaps best depending on your viewpoint The weirdest thing about these shows is how difficult it is to turn over when you happen to land on one of them There s something perversely compelling about watching other people make complete idiots out of themselves Somehow it makes you feel better about life Food of course is a fundamental part of any Irish Christmas and it s no different in our house We have a ludicrously large ham the extravagant little embellishments that elevate Christmas Dinner above the average Sunday roast and lots of little luxury items that wouldn t normally be lurking in the fridge But the most important thing about food at Christmas or at any other time of the year for that matter apart from the fundamental necessity of sustenance is its ability to bring people together Eating together is a crucial part of family life one that s being constantly eroded as people struggle to balance incredibly demanding work schedules

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/2010/01/18/christmas-done/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Celebrity Chefs | Writing, life and other animals
    ethos and philosophy behind it but could probably do without the lame one liners Others like Jamie Oliver come up with great recipes that really are easy to cook at home if you can endure the cheeky chappy facade Actually as I type this I have a Jamie Oliver Christmas jerk ham joint in the oven Yum Even with Gordon Ramsey who is perhaps the most egotistical of the bunch you have to appreciate his consummate skill in the kitchen and his unequivocal passion for great food despite his caustic language and bullying autocratic style TV chefs span the gamut from the sublime to the truly ridiculous The week before Christmas for example I was unfortunate enough to land on The Hairy Bikers while channel flicking they were cooking up the twelve days of Christmas which sounds like a pretty solid concept for a festive cooking show until you realise that this is The Hairy Bikers and that they re insisting on spicing things up by punctuating the actual cooking with assorted seasonal pranks This included cavorting across the stage in leotards with the cast of Lord of the Dance It was enough to make anyone lose their appetite Continue

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/celebrity-chefs/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Christmas | Writing, life and other animals
    been ice skating maybe three times in my life The first was as a child when we were taken to a huge Ice rink in North Wales on a school trip As with most unpleasant experiences my mind has obscured most of the details All I remember is clinging white knuckled to the edge of the rink making my way inch by painful inch around the perimeter In my mind s eye all I could see was images of bloody skate blades and severed fingers From the moment I stepped onto the ice I remember praying for the experience to end The next time was a friend s birthday party When I found out we were going ice skating it was all that my parents could do to convince me to go This time I was a little braver and actually let go of the side Big mistake I spent more time spread eagled on the ice than I did actually skating Cold wet and miserable I vowed never to set foot on an ice rink again Continue reading Posted by Calvin at 11 37 Tagged with 2009 Christmas Cork evening echo family ice skating Parenting Better late late or never Children Christmas Evening Echo Column family Reviews TV No Responses Dec 03 2009 The Late Late Toy Show is an Irish institution That doesn t necessarily mean it s a good thing just that it s an inescapable one As inevitable as death taxes corruption tribunals and election posters the Late Late Toy Show is one in a long list of things that parents all over the country have to suffer but would generally prefer to avoid Having skilfully managed to sidestep the live airing on Friday night the girls had friends staying over and were so engrossed in play that they forgot about it I thought that we might get away with it this year but thanks to the wonders of modern technology there was no chance of that The next day we had a family viewing of the show over the Internet With the computer hooked up to the flat screen telly and RTE Player streaming full screen it was almost as good as viewing the live show Lucky me Continue reading Posted by Calvin at 14 35 Tagged with Christmas late late RTE Ryan Tubridy Toy Show Pat Phelan still making like Santa Christmas Competitions Uncategorized No Responses Dec 31 2008 Image by Stéfan via Flickr Pat Phelan has decided that Christmas isn t over yet and is making like Santa giving away a brand new phone and LCD TV on his blog Just head on over and leave a comment on Pat s post before tomorrow evening to be in with a chance to win And don t forget if you have an old phone knocking around do some good and donate it to The Jack Jill Foundation Good luck Posted by Calvin at 17 45 Tagged with Christmas competition Nokia N79 Pat Phelan Nice is not enough Children Evening Echo Column Parenting Writing 1 Response Dec 24 2008 Image via Wikipedia Written last week for the Christmas Eve WOW supplement in the Evening Echo By the time you read this it will be Christmas Eve Now there s a scary thought especially since I haven t bought any of my Christmas presents yet Like most men I leave my shopping until last minute and that means lots of stressful running around a few days before the main event dashing from shop to shop with a vague hope that inspiration will strike at any moment If past experience is anything to go by it won t and I ll end up with something nice Nice is a really naff word never more so than when applied to a Christmas present Nice is neither one thing nor the other it s a pale pretender in comparison to more powerful descriptive words like inspired awesome outstanding brilliant Nice is never going to be just what I always wanted Nice inevitably is an also ran just good enough to be acceptable but not good enough to be noteworthy This year I want to do better than nice That shouldn t be too difficult because the only presents I have to worry about are my wife s from me and from the girls She sorts everything else out In fairness the presents from the girls are no problem either I ll just take them into town one day point out a few suitable bits and bobs organic soaps loofahs and the like wrap them up put them under the tree job done It s the present from me that s wrecking my head as usual I ve had months to pick up the the subtle signs and weeks to decipher the more blatant hinting Yet here I am just a week before Christmas with nothing bought and only a couple of vague notions swimming around in the vacuum that was once my brain I suspect I m not alone Men in general are appalling at Buying presents Ask us to choose something for ourselves and we ll be calm decisive and direct but ask us to pick out a present for a loved one and suddenly we re mindless quivering wrecks It s like flicking a switch that induces instant lobotomy And so I m floundering again this Christmas It s too late to order anything online an option that came to my rescue in the nick of time last year Last night I bit the bullet and asked for some direct input Forget the subtlety this was an emergency and I needed some hard data to work with So she got out the laptop and up popped the Tiffany and Co website I felt the blood drain from my face In terms of high risk Christmas shopping Jewellery is second only to clothes I spent one summer in a former life working at Ratner s the Jewellers not

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/christmas/ (2016-02-15)
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