Fiona Cassidy

Fiona Cassidy
Author, Mother, Thirty Something...

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

School's In.....

I don't know about the rest of you but the day the school gates reopen I'm going to be there waving a 'I'm so happy I could squeal' flag and sending my children in with gusto. It seems like an eternity since the end of June when the prospect of being able to spend quality time with them was attractive and the fact that there would be no early rises to meet bus times seemed like heaven. Two months with them at home, however, (under my feet and lying in bed until the closing credits for 'This Morning' are well and truly over) although enjoyable, has been a long time (really wants to say loooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnng in a dramatic tone of voice but is afraid that said children may read blog and feign illness in order to stay under the feet for a while longer.)

We've had a good summer. We spent the best part of the month of July in Ballycastle (and no, we weren't there at the weekend when they were rioting in the wasn't us, I swear) where we toured around, shopped, spent time with family and friends and basically took the opportunity to relax and enjoy being carefree in each other's company. We've also had a good August where we've managed to entertain the children, there have been sleepovers aplenty and generally I've never been out of the car adorning my chauffeurs hat whilst trying to keep everyone amused!

Now, I KNOW I'm going to have a good September as I will be concentrating on getting my house back to normal as at the moment it resembles something that has been used for bomb disposal purposes. There will be no teenagers (with their signature smell of feet and general sweatiness) lying in bed until the early afternoon making the upstairs of my home look like a wake house from the outside and once they leave on the bus (sniff, I'm going to pine for them so much) I can go home and get back into my school routine of tidying the house, settling down with a mug of coffee and a pancake (I'm partial to the lemon and raisin variety) and perhaps getting some writing done!!

Aine (soon to be mad four year old) is also starting playschool this month and I think I may collapse with shock at the fact that for some two and a half hours a day my time will be my own and I can do exactly what I like!!!!

I love my children dearly but the old saying is definitely true...absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder! I will look forward to my weekends and the quality time we shall spend with each other then but during the week I shall live by the motto that I will appreciate them so much more in the evenings when they are not cluttering up the house and making the place look untidy during the day whilst asking endless questions the answers to which usually create more work for me!

The new term has begun....WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

When Blood is Thinner than Water

If you've read my biography or seen the blurb of my latest book Anyone for Me? then you'll know that I'm adopted and also that I'm blessed at having the parents I do. Things that others take for granted I don't. I know that life could've been very different for me had my angels not been looking after me and steering me in the right direction as a only have to read some of the horror stories about the children's institutions of the 70's to know that I've had it good!

So what exactly have my adoptive parents done for me that birth parents wouldn't do for their children?

Well...let's see...since I was a baby they have nurtured me and loved me. They have fed me and clothed me. They have given me values and principles and taught me the difference between right and wrong and how to treat others. They have instilled in me a love of reading and the importance of my faith but most of all they have paved the way for me becoming a mother and I can only hope that I can make my children feel as loved and valued as I have always done!

As for blood being thicker than water.....that's a can love someone as your own child even though you didn't give birth to them and sometimes if you're lucky (as my parents have been) that love is reciprocated one hundred fold!

Perhaps there are some poor unfortunates out there who have given unconditional love to a child who is not their own but in their care for whatever reason (foster parent, step-parent, adoptive parent)but haven't had the fact appreciated or you, I say, don't lose made a commitment, you accepted the challenge, you did your best and that's all you can do and something that not everyone would be willing or able to do so commend yourself for trying and never lose faith!

By the way my books are comedies...I'm just in philosophic form and in the mood for putting the world to should be glad I'm pregnant and therefore not indulging in a glass of wine as that's when my analysis of situations would become very detailed and repetitive....and repetitive...did I say that before?!

Friday, 27 August 2010


What is sensible about it I wonder? For those of you who don't live in my corner of the world Sense is the name of a teenage disco that my daughter Una (she who is pictured pursing the lips 'posh' style and looking everywhere but the camera) and her friends are attending tonight and to say that there would have been less fuss getting ready for a wedding would be an understatement!

False tan...when I was 13 I would have presumed you were talking about a pair of orange looking tights as opposed to the stuff that I was slathering on legs with a mitt that was too feckin big and kept sliding off!

Then there was the make-up...I am sure that Boots themselves would have needed fourteen members of staff to re-stock their shelves with what was spread all over my kitchen worktops and table in preparation for this night out not to mention the glitter that I will no doubt still be grinding into the floor and finding on my clothes until Christmas?!

Then there was the curl or not to spray or not to pass out with the fumes of sticky hair mist that were invading the air and in danger of making us all high...although Una and her friends were high enough for us all I think?!

As for Philip he took to our bed with the stress/strain/ and general disbelief of it all and was only heard from when we were leaving ranting from the top of the stairs about not letting boys within a ten mile radius or there'd be trouble, which was most helpful?!

I then adorned my Friday night chauffeurs hat and left the motley crew off at their desired destination.

I've decided to write about this now as I haven't picked them up yet and seriously don't want to turn into my mother with my disbelief at what 'young people' (oh dear...too late...I'm there already) are wearing or not wearing these days! Dropping them off was enough and I was already in danger of screwing down the window and enquiring if a few aspiring disco goers had got dressed in the dark or basically had come from homes where their mothers were blind???? In my day (oops there I go again) you would have been 'kilt' (sorry killed) for parading yourself in such a way!

It will be interesting to see what I'll be blogging about tomorrow! If I ignore the subject altogether you can presume one of two things I am either too traumatised to discuss it or have decided to relive my teenage years and embrace the fact that my daughter is simply going to be a woman of the world at a much younger age than me!!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek...have to go...trauma is settling in already.

Six year old gets book deal...

I was browsing through my homepage earlier when this headline grabbed my attention! A six year old has managed to secure what the rest of us have strived to do for years...his mum is an author and understandably delighted!!

Right Aine...get your thinking cap on girl!!!

Read this remarkable story HERE

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Making the most of life....

I have just been humbled to within an inch of my life after reading the blog of a young lady who is not only an MS sufferer but 11 weeks away from giving birth and coping with it in the best way she can whilst the rest of us would probably be given to ranting if we had half the chance!

Her name is Catherine and she is a friend and work colleague of my fellow 'Northern girl' Claire Allan...take a look at her blog and be thankful and learn by her example...we all have obstacles to face in life and we might as well deal with them with dignity in the hope that we're an inspiration or comfort to others! Catherine, I, for one, take my hat off to you and wish you all the very best with your baby and the other crucial decisions you'll have to make over the next few months!

You can read Catherine's blog HERE

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Bumps and Queues...

Well as you may have guessed already from my first post there is a little something on the horizon in the form of a new baby which will please God be making an appearance sometime at the start of March...on my daddy's birthday to be exact...although probably not because once the doctor gives you a date your baby must be straining to listen from within the womb, tugging on the cord and laughing manically whilst plotting to arrive either unexpectedly early or stress inducingly late!!!

I went to my 'booking in' appointment at my local hospital today and Philip came with moan, yap and generally give out about the length of the queue, how many men weren't there (whilst he was) and the fact that he couldn't smoke exactly where he was sitting! More than once I had to give him 'the look'. Ye know the one ladies, where you fix your man with a stare that would cauterise metal and hope that he gets the hint and shuts the feck up!

'Why did they tell you to be here at 2.00 when they've no intention of taking you?' himself grumbled as if he was the one battling morning sickness (a term that must have been developed by a man because its not true), the urge to go to the toilet every five seconds and a hunger for tomato soup which vanished the minute we left the hospital!!

'Because that's the time the clinic starts dear and I'm sure they're doing their best and not creating a delay just to specifically annoy you!' I sigh in frustration wishing I had left him at home or at work (wherever he was quietest!)

Eventually I am called and have the pleasure of being poked, prodded, pricked (steady on), weighed, measured and grilled about my family history which was difficult as I don't have any...poor adopted child you see! This was a rather unusual answer, however, and one that their computer was unwilling to accept...obviously they don't deal with too many orphans then?!

That whole exercise took the guts of an hour and by the time I got back to the waiting area, complete with puncture holes and pregnancy pack, himself, was doing a good impression of a Rotweiller sucking a stewed lemon!

Suddenly we are called into another room where we see the doctor and again we talk about my pregnancy history, including the fact that we lost a baby last year, and suddenly himself stops manically time watching and becomes the man I love as he grips my hand and reassures me that my scan will be perfect!

The doctor applies the jelly and all of a sudden out of the darkness of my insides being monitored I see my tiny baby doing a double pike somersault whilst using the wall of my uterus as a spring board....and at that point I know and Philip knows (even though he won't admit it) that if we had had to wait ten hours that it would have been worth it!

He still maintains that there's no way he's coming to the next one...we'll see?!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Northern Wit...

A fellow writer forwarded me an email this morning in which somebody had commented that the most humorous writers of the moment (myself included) were all hailing from north of the border and I was interested in exploring just why that might be!

Is it because we don't take life as seriously as everyone else and have learnt to laugh at ourselves (because thats what everybody else has been doing for years!)? Is it because we've been known to take life too seriously in the past and that the legacy of 'the troubles' have convinced us that life is simply too short not to have a good belly rupturing giggle now and again? Or does it come with the territory? If you have 'Norn Iron' roots and are brought up in these parts are you instantly in the queue to receive a large dose of wit, humour and general merriment (although now that I think about it maybe some of us got more than others...some people must definitely have got re-routed and ended up in the 'sarcastic, spiteful knobhead with a bad attitude you could trip over' queue?!

In my experience us Northerners have a language all of our own. We are easily identifiable in a crowd with our 'broad as your boot' accents and way of pronouncing things (just ask Claire Allan to do her rendition of 'Beautiful' in a Derry accent and you'll see what I mean right away...ahem!) We have our own brand of wit, which I am immensely proud of and perhaps because the six counties are such a small unit its part of our unique charm that we are able to make people laugh with our observations and quirky take on life!

I'm not speaking for anyone else, nor am I dismissing the great work that is being carried out by our southern counterparts, I'm simply offering a theory but it fills me with pride when I hear that the Northerners are making an impact and that in particular we're bringing a smile to the faces of others!

Laugh...its the healthiest exercise of all! Good for body, spirit and mind!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Saturday with the kids....

Sometimes it's the smallest most unplanned things in life that can be the most important and indeed the most enjoyable!

We decided yesterday morning (on a whim, as you do) to take ourselves away to the big smoke for the day where I would be able to go into Easons and visit Anyone for Me? (signed copies can now be purchased in both Belfast and Craigavon...shameless plug!) and the children would be able to visit their grandparents in Glengormley (which incidentally if you don't know is the takeout capital of the north...its the equivalent of the Curry Mile it has so many fast food outlets these days?!)

We went to Castlecourt first where Citybeat were running a talent competition and people were singing live in the centre (some were good...others tried very hard God love them.) Aine (mad three year old) got her face painted as a mad tiger, we got food (KFC for everyone else and a warm chicken salad from Pizza Hut for me) and Ciaran and Una both bought portable radios for £1 which they listened to in conjunction with the radio in the car the whole way to their granny's house and the whole way home! We were missing a few children yesterday for one reason or another so didn't have the entire crew with us which made a lovely change as there was no fighting or threatening behaviour which was like a breath of fresh air!

Granny was her usual self and morphed straight into 'hostess on speed' mode and spent the rest of her evening servicing every need and want you can think of from toilet attendant to cook to card dealer and eventually to bowling companion when we went to the Sportsbowl for an hour (whilst I clock watched as there was no way I was missing the first installment of X Factor!)

Sausages, beans and chips on a tray in fornt of the televison (whilst cringing and watching crazy people do mad versions of Duffy songs?! Seriously what the hell was that all about?!) and my happiness was complete (except for the fact that I'd have loved to have stayed and been tucked into bed!) Complete except for one thing of course and that was when the children told us that they'd had 'the best day ever' in the car on the way home...which is, as every Mammy knows, what its all about!!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Insomnia...why it is so tiring!

Hello friends,

It is eight minutes past seven on a Saturday morning and all my children (including the mad three year old) and my other half are asleep. I hear you asking the question...then please do tell us why you are up at this ungodly hour and not enjoying the peace in you bed?

I didn't actually sleep badly last night, if truth be told, which is quite a rare occurence for me as I have never been the world's best or heaviest sleeper. Drop a pin on the carpet in a room two miles away and I'm likely to sit bolt upright in bed looking startled and wondering who let the bomb off! I also detest snoring (and the grinding of teeth) cue everyone to look in Philip's direction and give him a foul look as he is guilty of both (sometimes at the same time which is no mean feat but not a party piece to be admired either...believe me!)

When I can't sleep I normally write (which is precisely why I'm talking to you now!) and most of my creativity with regards to my novels takes place when everyone else is 'out cold'. Although I do appreciate getting some work done I am so envious of those people who can sit on a sofa and 'nod off' (everyone look at Philip again please!) as nothing in the world would be less likely to happen to me! If any of my family were to come in and find me snoozing on the sofa I have a feeling that emergency services might recieve a frantic call and mirrors would be getting used to check for breathing!

Of course when the crazy toddler (did I say that out loud...) sorry I mean when my darling little daughter appears at the top of the stairs in approximately half an hour demanding breakfast and Fireman Sam and not necessarily in that order then I'll be tired and bed will seem like the most attractive place in the world but as with everything else on Murphy's list of warped laws by then it will be too late...the day will have started and the cycle will begin again!

'Philip stop snoring NOW....grrrrrr.'


Dungannon (my local town) has arrived....we finally have a Poundland which opened yesterday and is being given the seal of approval by Chastity Dingle herself who is coming all the way from Emmerdale to draw the masses tomorrow! I was in for the first time today and was mightily impressed at the bargains to be had!

Strangely though, there seems to be a certain breed of person who is a wee bit slow on the uptake or who signage evades and this type of person feels the need to go up to a cashier and ask 'how much is that?'

Ahem...well let me see now...the shop is called POUNDland, every poster in the shop advertises merchandise at a POUND and every child within squealing distance is in with their pocket money loudly proclaiming their delight at being able to get such treats for a POUND!

How much does it cost mate?....I couldn't possibly say?!

Stranger than Fiction

When I write characters for my books I like to use my imagination to create people who have funny little idiosyncracies and behave in the most peculiar manner, after all life would be very boring if we were all the same?! Problem is, though, that in actual fact some people that you encounter in life are more vindictive, disturbed and poisonous than anything a creative mind could produce.

I am one of those people who believe in treating everyone the same and I don't change my moods with the wind either. We've all encountered those individuals who will speak to you one day and then ignore you the next and I have to say that it is a very bizarre way of conducting yourself!

When I write I can control what the characters in my books do and say and I can also arrange for them to have a comeuppance when they go too far and need a sharp shock to bring them back to reality and 'put manners on them' as we say in the north! Unfortunately in real life its not possible to exercise such artistic licence which is an awful pity as some people would benefit from a few lessons in that department!

People do fascinate me and I do confess to being an avid people watcher but have to admit that although I'm not easily shocked certain persons in life continue to amaze me with their blatant disregard for others and I can only hope that someone out there holding a giant pen will sort them all out one day!

As for me I'll continue to do what my Mammy always said was a good idea and treat everyone else the way I'd like to be treated....with decency, respect and manners!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Wasps...why we don't get on!

Hello friends,

I am becoming increasingly unnerved at the amount of black and yellow winged creatures we have buzzing around us at the moment. I know that wasps in general probably don't have a big fan base but I have to admit to being totally terrified of them! As with most things in life that scare us half to death there was an 'incident' involving me, 'it' and the entire canteen where I worked at the time! I must have carried the little fecker in on my shirt, it must then have navigated its way down my back where it stung me and I performed an impromptu strip for my workmates in an effort to get away from it.

There was a first aider...there was vinegar and...there was much fuss. However, it wasn't until I heard the words "Oh my God her lips are turning blue," that I started getting concerned. Anaphylactic shock...I had never actually heard of it before but now I was a victim. By the time I got to casualty I had a trout pout that Katie Price would have been proud of and my tongue had swollen as had my throat which was all very alarming. I spent several minutes being attended before I was taken by ambulance to another hospital where a drip was administered and I had to stay for two nights. When I got home if you'd shook me I would probably have rattled I had that much medication to take to counteract the venom that had been pumped into my system! I now have to carry an adrenelin injection with me which buys me time until I can get to hospital. I love it when I start a new job and have to declare that I possess one of these and that if I get stung someone may well have to plunge it into the muscle in my thigh...needless to say windows are kept closed at ALL times!

When I see a wasp these days you will therefore understand why I don't react in an altogether rational manner...ahem! My poor family have been forced on occasions to pretend they don't know me and that I'm just a screaming nutjob that's following them whilst doing an Indian wardance and shreiking 'get away from me' in petrified tones as if Freddie Kreugar himself is chasing me!

I do warn you though...the next person to say 'ach sure its only a wee thing and it's probably more scared of you than you are of it' is going to get thumped. Hard. Try to be understanding, try to be empathetic and unless you have a death wish DO NOT under any circumstances tell me to stay still...because if I don't kill you...the wasp just might!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

About time the girl got a blog page....

Hi everyone,

Am a relative newbie at this lark but like everything else in life I'll give it a go once and if I like it I'll stay....and I do believe I like it! You can look forward to seeing my quirky observations on life (and there will be plenty...I have lots to say plus I am the mother of two teenagers and a toddler and part-time cleaning lady/housekeeper/chauffeur/carer/clothes buyer and confidante to my partners teenage children so an official woman of the world!) I also need some light relief in the darker hours (like when all the teenagers are in the house at once and the testosterone, oestrogen and general awkwardness may well overpower me....arrrrrrggghhhh.) I also write it any wonder I write books? I think you'll find not! I have lots to write about! I'm a mother, I'm an adopted child who has never found her birth mother and most of the time I'm so tired I think I must be mad but I'm someone who nevertheless enjoys life and loves to laugh! Oh yes I love to laugh as I employ the philosophy that laughing is much better than crying any day of the week and judging by the reviews I've been getting so far my readers agree with me!

My second book Anyone for Me? came out on 2nd August and this past few weeks have been rather crazy to say the least but I have a feeling that I'm going to have to reign myself in a little as important things are on the horizon (taps side of nose in a furtive manner) and all will become clear soon!

As this is my very first blog I would like to include in it some things that may be of interest to you...for instance my good friend and fellow author Claire Allan has just landed herself a Norwegian book deal for her second book Feels Like Maybe....the question on everyone's will she communicate with the Norwegians?...nah...we're wondering how exactly the lovely Nordic people are going to translate the word 'feck' because quite frankly the book wouldn't be the same without it!!

I was in Belfast last week (recording my very first vomit inducing TV appearance which turned out well in the end) and met the lovely Sharon Owens for the first time...that's her and I pictured above doncha know! She is a legend in my eyes (Oh God I'm turning into one of my children...everyone is a legend according to their figure of speech these days) but Sharon truly is one and I was delighted to meet her! Dream come true if you must know! I've spent many a happy day curled up with The Teahouse on Mulberry Street, The Ballroom on Magnolia Street and The Tavern on Maple Street - all wonderful books set in Belfast that everyone should take a look at!

Off to bed now where I am currently reading Ciara Geraghty's new book Becoming Scarlett! Just finished Roisin Meaney's Love in the Making last night and it was's lovely actually having time to read these days although I'm sure if my lovely agent Emma Walsh happens to read this she'll be asking where exactly I'm getting the time as I have a book to write in ooooooh around three months?! On second thoughts maybe I should bring the laptop to bed (where I will manage to hit Philip up the chin with it at least three times) and leave Ciara where she is for now!

Catch you all later I hope!

Fiona xx