Doggy Differences…

A certain fellow frou-frou lover and follower in Honolulu, (Aloha Tom and Max!), has requested more photos and blogs about my two wee fluffy daughters so here goes…

How different can two dogs be?

The answer…


Lily, the beautiful Bichon, (AKA The Love Of My Life), is the prettiest, fluffiest little creature you could ever lay eyes on. Even our vet calls her Princess, Sex in the City girl, or The Southern Belle.

Sums her up pretty well I reckon.









Poppy, the scruffy Cavachon, (AKA The Interloper), is cute in a way that only a ragged little tramp can be.

IMG_9665photophoto 1






Lily prances around on her tippy toes, ballerina-esque, delicate and graceful and light on her feet.


Poppy… well, Poppy bounds around aimlessly, jaws permanently agape in a joyous, if slightly backward-looking grin.

There are no photos of poppy in movement as we simply cannot track her fast  enough. So I offer you a pic that all dog parents will identify with...

There are no photos of Poppy in movement as we simply cannot track her fast enough. So I offer you a pic that all dog parents will identify with…


Poppy will lick you into the middle of next week, given half the chance.

To receive a lick from Lily is a rare and precious experience. So much so, that when either the OH or I receive one we have  been known to gasp and whisper delightedly to each other, “She licked me!”.

One very inconvenient and particular difference between my two little girls is their attitude to grooming…

Poor little Lily came to our home at 18months old. I have told you all before about the suspected bad treatment she may have received there, arriving here with matted fur and a completely knotted up tail that needed to be shaved right down to the skin.

As a result she has never embraced being groomed, which unfortunately for her, (and us), is a frequent but evil necessity to keep the tight corkscrew curls that Bichon Frise sport under control.

From day one, she bared her tiny little teeth when the slicker brush made an appearance.

At first the OH and I found this quite comical. Trust me, being growled at by a tiny 4.5 kilo white ball of fluff, with the minutest wee teeth you could imagine, is really very funny. However, as we came to realise the level of distress and pain the grooming process was causing her, we, needless to say, became much less amused by the experience.

Even our highly qualified groomer found her a challenge to cope with, and I hate to say that the dreaded muzzle made several appearances on her six-weekly visits for torture. It even got to the stage that, after an enjoyable walk to the groomers, I had to physically lift and carry her up the driveway, as she dug her little paws into the tarmac and refused to move once it dawned on her where she was.


The odd thing however is that Lily does LOVE a bath! Once she sees the warm bubbles she cannot wait to get into her little tub and sit wallowing in the luxury, while I massage her with shampoo, (paraben-free, of course!), and rinse her off with fresh warm water.

And the blow-dry following the bath! Words cannot begin to describe the joyous rolling around she does as we point the hairdryer at her little belly and ears. After a spell of crazy back-rolling around, she sits and faces the jet of warm air, her dark brown eyes closed in pleasure. It’s a delight to watch and always makes us laugh.

photo 1


Conversely, Poppy will do the classic four-legs-splayed-at-the-edge-of-the-tub to avoid being lowered into her bath water. Once we finally get all four legs in, the battle really starts.

Once again, I can offer no photographic evidence that Poppy has ever been bathed as the event itself is an ordeal enough without risking my iPhone being drowned in the mayhem. Hence, another dog parent scenario we all know too well.

Once again, I can offer no photographic evidence that Poppy has ever been bathed as the event itself is an ordeal enough without risking my iPhone being drowned in the mayhem. Hence, another dog parent scenario we all know too well.

Whereas I can easily bath Lily solo, it takes the two of us to wrestle Poppy into the tub and keep her there. The constant struggle to get out never ends, and it is with relief, for all three of us, that we towel her off at the end of the ordeal.

She runs terrified from the hairdryer and we have adjusted to endure the  l’eau de wet dog smell instead. We are aware that winter is coming and she will simply have to face her fear of the dryer once the air turns colder. Bad luck Poppy!

damp doggies

damp doggies


we need a bath momma!







As with everything, Poppy is the polar opposite to Lily when it comes to being brushed. When she spies the brush being brought out she dances with delight, spinning in excited circles and trying to jump up onto the grooming counter we have in out utility room. She would happily sit all day and be brushed. She doesn’t even flinch if we come across a knot or small matt and seems to find the teasing out of it quite enjoyable, like a good satisfying scratch.

We have tried brushing Poppy ahead of Lily, to help Lily see it can indeed be a nice experience… but our Lily is no fool! She will watch Poppy being brushed, but when we turn to pick Lily up she turns to run with a look that says, “Not me you guys! Just coz The Interloper is a sucker doesn’t make me one!”.

I will leave you with some before and after photos of the two girls from their recent jaunt to the groomers and, just because it always makes me smile, a picture of the time Lily came home from there with a very fashion-forward look. Her face says it all I think…

photo 2

why momma? whyyyyy?

note: I did NOT ask the groomer to humiliate Lily in such an awful way! Pic taken by groomer before I arrived to collect my wee girl

Processed with Moldiv

I have yet to describe the most striking difference between my two little girls… food.

Stay tuned for the next doggie-blog, where I will give you the low-down on the differences between the dog who will eat LITERALLY anything, and the one who requires homemade, hand-fed delicacies all of her own.

Nope, no prizes if you guess it correctly!






Doggie Photo App

I am soooooo heading over to look this up! Lily is such a diva for photos. She looks at me beautifully until I get the camera app open and then, nope! She turns away and refuses to pose. Thanks for the heads up… X


Have you seen the new app called “BarkCam?”

Now here is an example of technology at its finest. BarkCam is an iPhone app that, according to a story in the LA Times, “helps people take pictures of mischievous dogs who’d rather frolic around than pose for a picture.”

The Times story goes on to say, “Before the photo is snapped, the app emits one of several sounds that should get a dog’s ears to perk up and pay attention in the right direction. Meows and squeaky toy sounds are other options.”

This sounds great! Max is a master at turning his head just as a photo is snapped. He delights in being photogenic until the moment of truth when he suddenly has to look away, lick his butt or start scratching his ear.

Perhaps they have a sound of a can of dog food being opened, a…

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Nobody Puts KittyKat in the Corner… except they did

The stage musical of one of my all time favourite films, Dirty Dancing, was touring Ireland this summer.

It reminded me of the time I had tickets for the show.

Yes, you read that correctly.

I had tickets.

Not, ‘it reminded me of the time I saw the show’…




November 2010. It was my birthday.

The very lovely OH practically danced with excitement as he presented me with an envelope. He knew what a big fan of the film I was, and how much I wanted to see the live stage show.

To say I was overjoyed at the sight of the tickets is the understatement of the century.

I squealed with delight, did my own little victory dance and threw my arms around his neck, smothering him in grateful kisses.

The seats were the best in the house, centre-stage, third row.

We started making plans about booking an hotel for the night, planning where we would eat out first, what I would wear…

Still shocked and in disbelief I studied the tickets again.

Something was wrong…

The tickets were not for January 2011.

The show was playing January-February 2012.

I had to wait over a year to see my show!

The OH was mortified that he hadn’t noticed the date while booking the tickets. Red faced and apologizing profusely he cursed himself for his error.

I didn’t care. I laughed out loud and told him, what did it matter?
We would still see the show; it was just a longer wait, that’s all.
At least we hadn’t actually booked the hotel!

It was with long-awaited delight that I booked the hotel in December 2011 for our Big Night Out in January.

I read Menu Pages, scanning reviews of the best places to eat.
I carefully selected something to wear that would be warm and comfortable but still look cool for night.

I was beyond excited!

The day of the show rolled around. I could not wait to drive to the city and get the experience started.

We arrived early and dropped off our bags at the hotel.
In high spirits we wandered around the city, window-shopping and just soaking up the atmosphere, looking forward to the evening ahead.

After getting ourselves all dolled up at the hotel we ate a delicious Italian meal and enjoyed a glass of wine before we walked down the quays to the theatre.

As we walked, we saw the people who had been to the early showing coming against us. We smugly giggled and pondered why would some people opt for the early show instead of making a big night of it? We had chosen the better option and boy did we feel pleased with ourselves about it.

We enjoyed a massively overpriced glass of wine in the theatre bar before the show, happily people-watching and discussing what we had read about the live show and what other shows we should look into seeing next.

Then it was finally time to take our seats.

This was a brand new, state of the art theatre and, wow!, the money that had been spent was evident everywhere. We sat in our fantastic seats and gazed around us at the stunning architecture and décor.
We must have looked like slack jawed yokels from the sticks!

I became aware of a woman hovering next to me and I glanced up at her, smiling because I was having a wonderful evening so far.

So far…

“Excuse me, I think you are in my seat,” she said.

With great confidence, I replied, “No, you must have made a mistake, here look,” offering her my ticket stub, which clearly showed that, yes indeed I was in the correct seat.

Looking very annoyed she turned and stomped off.

The lady next to me smiled and did the universal eye-roll thing to indicate her sympathy with me. I laughed and told her, “I have waited literally years to see this, no one is moving me from this seat!”

We laughed together. Two fans about to have the night of our lives. The OH squeezed my hand and we smiled at each other.

I noticed an official looking woman making her way through the row towards me, behind her was Irate Woman with whom I had just had the seat debate with.

Official Woman asked to see my ticket. I handed it over, feeling annoyed with both of these women who seemed to want to ruin my night.

“I’m sorry Madam, there seems to have been a mistake. Your ticket was for the previous show, at 5pm,” Official Woman hands me my ticket and points at the time printed on it.

5pm Showing.
Access slow-motion mode…
I feel the world spin around me.
My hearing goes slightly odd, as if my head is underwater.
I feel dizzy.
This cannot be happening!

The OH leaned across me, all manly and with a “Don’t worry babe, I got this” vibe about him.

He asked what the problem was, inspected the ticket and I watched as the blood drained from his face as he too realised our huge blunder.

Our tickets were for the 5pm showing, not the 8pm showing we were currently seated in.

Shamefacedly, we bundled up our coats and my bag and tried to exit with a morsel of dignity intact.

Irate Woman gave me a thin, mean smile.

My new neighbour/friend studiously avoided my eyes as I scooted past her.

We appealed to Official Woman with our story of woe, at the box office in the theatre foyer. She was very sympathetic, and very generously offered to redeem our tickets for the following night, as long as we attended the 5pm showing.

Delighted and grateful, we snapped up her offer and left to wander the icy streets of the city and contemplate our mistake.

Despondent and despairing, the OH was beyond embarrassed that, not only had he booked the tickets and got the year wrong, he had now managed to take me to the wrong showing as well. The absurdity of it all hit me and I burst into uncontrollable giggles. This could only happen to us!

Deciding we were lucky to have a second, (or would that be a third?), chance, we returned to the hotel and began what turned out to be an epic night of boozing…

The following morning I felt every single drink I had consumed the night before.

Thumping head, sick stomach, aching muscles, dry throat…

The OH was due in at work that day, so I tagged along to his office, as I simply couldn’t face a morning of walking around the city. He left me to surf the web at his desk while he went about his workday, running from one meeting to another.

When he returned at lunchtime, I saw the shock on his face.

I knew I had been feeling dreadful but his expression confirmed that I must have looked like death as well.

This was much, much more than a hangover. This was me, being properly SICK. My throat was so swollen I was struggling to swallow even sips of water.

He pleaded with me to consider going to see our ill-fated show anyway, but I simply knew that was never going to happen.
I was barely able to stand, let alone make it down to the theatre.

With heavy hearts, he cancelled the rest of his working day, we packed up and he practically carried me to the car to return home.

It turned out that I had the worst chest and throat infection of my life, one that took three separate rounds of antibiotics to clear up and nearly hospitalized me.

I was still recovering two months later, so it was pretty evident I would not have made it through the show, even if we had stayed for it.

As I said at the beginning of this sorry little tale, Dirty Dancing The Musical returned to the very same theatre this summer.

When we heard this news, the OH and I looked at each other, shared an eyebrow raise and both burst out laughing.

“Well?” he said.

“You can never go back,” I replied…



Striving for Balance…


Here we go again…

An hour ago, just as I think I am beginning to accept my body, I fall prey to a wobbly moment and, in a self destructive moment of madness, decide to try on a pair of combat trousers that, this time last year, were hanging loosely around my then-slim hips.

This morning, for some unfathomable, self-loathing reason, I decided to see how they fit.

As you can probably tell from my melancholy tone, the button and the buttonhole simply refused to meet. After much huffing and puffing, as I eventually forced them together, I was appalled to look in the mirror at the surplus of flesh that spilled over the waistband… Muffin Top? Forget it… This was Pound Cake top.

I have been aware, over the past year or thereabouts, that my health habits, diet and exercise regimes have slipped from being uber-disciplined and rigorous to being, well, basically slovenly and hedonistic.

I am one of those women that probably inspires resentment in other women. I am still a healthy weight and size by all accounts. The jeans I wear are an Irish size 6, I wear dress size 6-8, and generally opt for size small in most clothes.

The combats and jeans that I can no longer fit into were all from the kids department, age 11-12 years.

Standing at 153cm tall, although I am child-size in height, I am very aware that I am a fully-grown woman, and I shouldn’t be overly concerned about having hips, a gently rounded belly and a full bosom.

However I struggle with it almost daily.

The fact that I once was tiny enough to fit into a prepubescent’s clothes makes me feel that I should still be able to do so.

The swell of overflowing boob that spills from my bra cup makes me feel, not sexy or womanly, just fat and flabby. If I would go and buy a new, bigger bra the problem would be solved… But that would be admitting defeat.

I am torn between accepting I am a well-proportioned, relatively healthy and fit woman, not a prepubescent child.

I remember being so very tiny that I had to sleep with a pillow between my knees because of the discomfort of the bones rubbing against each other.

I remember finding it painful to lie on my back at times because of my spine. I frequently knocked my protruding hipbones against the worktop and kitchen cabinets, bearing bruises most days.

When a friend who hadn’t seen me in a while told me I looked like Skeletor I was unfazed, perhaps even slightly pleased. I revelled in my thigh gap, my sharp clavicles and my razor-like cheekbones.

I wonder why I found such self-punishment so rewarding?

Now, on one level, I understand that, despite sporting some extra, untoned flab, I am most likely healthier now than I was then.

However, if I am honest, I miss the days of wearing my clothes and never having to suck in my tummy. The days of light, small boobs that didn’t need a bra. The days of trousers slipping down to rest on my hipbones rather than clinging to my waist as they do now.

I wish I could accept my body as it is.

I worry that if I cannot, I will either return to a weight that was pretty unhealthy and unrealistic. A weight that only came as a result of incredible discipline, self-denial and exercise.

I have been indulging too much and exercising too little because my life has morphed into one I am not happy with. I have not employed good coping mechanisms and am now seeing the outcomes from bad decision-making.

I can start to see now a pattern – the self-punishment I inflicted on myself via denial is being reflected and repeated in my lack of self-love and self-care that has resulted in me making bad diet and lifestyle choices.

My challenge will be to return to some of my old healthy habits but not to go to the extremes I did in the past. I must cease with the extremes I am practising now and regain some balance in my life.

This will be a massive challenge for me.

I am a creature of extremes.

With me, it is black or it is white.

I do not do grey.

Will I succeed?

To be honest, I really do not know.

This time next year, will I be in an even worse position because the challenge will be too much for me? Will I have returned to being a woman in a child’s body? Will I be bigger and even more unhappy? Should I simply throw out all the clothes bearing a tag with 11-12years on them?

Or will I, as I dearly hope, be happy, healthy and at peace with myself?

Stay tuned… I’ll keep y’all posted.

Wish me luck!



Fantasies of a Suburban Housewife…

photoHave you ever gotten the urge to run away?

To escape from your life?

To flee the everyday, habitual drudgery of your existence?

I frequently revel in the fantasy of leaving my house one day with my bank and credit card and a few basic items, jumping on a bus to the airport and simply buying a ticket for the first flight I see.

I will land in my new home with no plans and no past, only possibilities.

I can be anyone I wish to be.

What name do I choose?

How will I dress?

What aspects of me do I reveal and what do I keep hidden?

In my fantasy I will meet a stranger… male of course.

He is dangerous and wild, and I will let him seduce me. I will do things with him, and allow him to do things to me that I have never experienced before with anyone else. I will be reckless and uninhibited.

This is because to him, I am anonymous.

He knows nothing of me. He holds no knowledge of my past.

He knows only the woman I appear to be.

Can you imagine the freedom of being anonymous?

Can you feel the excitement of the prospect of reinventing yourself, free of other people’s memories, assumptions and judgements about you? My heart races at the prospect.

I did enjoy a few years of wild and reckless fun with some highly entertaining and exciting Bad Boys before I settled down to a life of suburban domesticity with the OH, who, bless his heart, is the polar opposite of a Bad Boy.

I wonder why I have this fantasy to escape my life sometimes?

Is it a longing to return to my youth?

Is it a craving for danger and excitement that daily cooking and cleaning simply cannot satisfy?

Or, maybe, do I need to reassess my life, take a good look at it and decide if I need to make changes?

Perhaps, it is normal to dream of an alternative life?

After all, how many of us do not have a small Walter Mitty aspect to us?

Am I alone in this urge to escape, to run away, to reinvent myself, without the limitations and constrictions of the past?