Fiona Cassidy

Fiona Cassidy
Author, Mother, Thirty Something...

Thursday, 30 September 2010

It Will Be Perfect....

Dear Claire,

As a fellow Northern girl, a good friend, a grateful confidante and sharer of many laughs over the past few years I am thrilled to be going along to support you this evening as you host your first ever book launch!!

We have been through a lot together since we met all those years ago on the Write-On Irish Girls writing forum and I was so delighted to find another norn compatriot along with Emma H and the lovely Jacqui who was to join us later!

I have watched you blossom from the very early days where you took the amazing success of your first novel completely in your stride whilst trying to help other authors who may have been struggling (like me maybe...ahem!) You have always been generous with your advice and encouragement which is probably why when I got 'theeeeee email' from Poolbeg you knew I'd been offered a three book deal before any of my friends and why you nearly got your ear blew off and could probably hear me squealing in Derry without the aid of a phone receiever!! Your subsequent novels have also been resounding successes and your band of loyal followers continues to grow which you have your witty personality, generosity towards others as well as your books to thank!!

Then there has been all the craic and laughs on our library tour...with much talk of children, husbands with glazed over eyes, Simon Cowell and hairy men from Donegal! I have enjoyed these nights immensely not least because I actually get to see you in person as opposed to chatting to you at work where you answer your phone with such gusto...."Hello Reporters!!!"

Having had an exclusive preview of 'It's Got to be Perfect'...I'm predicting that it will be just that....perfect!!

I think what I might be trying to say is that I am very very proud of my you my dear and cannot wait to see you revel in the glory you are so deserving off this evening surrounded by your family, friends and admirers!

Don't sweat...It Will Be Perfect!!

All my love and best wishes!

Fiona/Fionnuala/Fionnooddles xxxxxxxx

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Happy Belated Birthday Aine

My little girl turned four last Monday and along with gaining another year she seems to have acquired the ability to buy and sell everyone around her and her vocabulary has expanded overnight....with her favourite words being 'take me to the shop/park/town'...'I want to wear a dress'....'I'm not wearing that top'...'Look, it's a horsey'...'I want a dog'....and 'Is my party ready yet?' which I have been listening to on a 400 decibel loop since last Monday (note to self: in future be sensible and do not tell child that she is having a party five days before it is due to happen therefore avoiding constant questions and endless hankering which results in mother requiring sedation in order to cope.)

On Monday morning she was kissed to within an inch of her life and entertained with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday by her parents who were remembering what they were doing on the 20th September delerious with happiness (and pethedine) nursing my stitches in the midwifery led unit in Craigavon hospital and looking at my baby in wonderment. Philip nursing his stitches (God love him he had an operation on his spine the day before I gave birth so the gas and air ran empty rather quickly that night) whilst thinking how brilliant I was (first time he had witnessed a natural birth y'see therefore has viewed me in a new light ever since) whilst trying to clean the house and waiting for the community nurse to call out and pack his wound...perhaps we're better not dwelling on that aspect of things too much...ahem!

The last four years with our precious daughter have been truly amazing and I have relished, delighted and savoured every moment and look forward to many more happy years ahead hoping that God spares us all! As for her Daddy...well I may as well fade into insignificance when he's around as she truly adores him and the feeling is more than mutual believe me! Her siblings feel the same and I would dread to be the one who ever hurts her in the future as her team of protective bodyguards will be on standby ready to pounce!

Happy Birthday Baby! Love you loads xxxxxxx

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Sickie Bad...No Weel

No I'm not speaking Swahilly folks...the title is simply my attempt at Scotch Irish (or copying Philip's father who hails from Larne where they're all great Russ Abbot impersonators)....I digress...basically Philip and I are sick! We've got the dreaded 'bug' and it ain't pretty! Who, may I ask please came up with the idea of calling a nasty dose of vomiting and diarrhoea 'a bug'? A 'bug' conjours up the image of something cute, like a ladybird, instead of a dreaded stomach churning exercise in seeing who can bond with the toilet bowl the most and fastest, I might add (to date I have been the winner with the help of my slippers which practically take on an energy all of their own and help me to slide gracefully into the loo before chucking up with rather less elegance!?)

Even though the thought of spending three days in bed with my beloved sounds like a real treat I'd rather not be doing it as we simultaneously moan about how crap the other one is feeling. To be fair Philip has been much worse than me, however, as I am pregnant and have already had to put up with four and a half months of engaging in this ritual I think its grossly unfair and feel like I should get the most sympathy. On the other hand, though, Philip hasn't been broke in like I have and as he's a man (and we all know how rubbish they are at coping with sickness) maybe he just has the edge!

Wish us a speedy recovery friends and congratulate my daughter Una aka Florence Nightingale on doing a superb job of holding us all together and seeing to our every whim! She's wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember but is now making noises about changing direction....for the life of me...I can't think why?!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Camille's Appeal

If you're having a bad day, stressing about things that maybe seem important but on the grand scale of things really don't matter as much as you think they do or are prone to whinging, huffing or generally thinking you have it rough...don't! Spare a thought for these wonderfully brave people and their gorgeous little daughter Camille!

Camille's Appeal

I'm back!!!!!!

Back from where I hear you ask...I'll tell you where....back from the black abyss that is being without an internet connection for two feckin weeks that's where...grrrr!

I must tell you that I did attempt to blog on my Blackberry at one stage and did actually manage quite well (apart from the letter 'c' which insisted on sticking). It wasn't the longest post I've ever written but it was time consuming none the less so I was glad to check the spelling and click the 'Publish Post' icon except that that would be too easy (for me that is...cos everything's complicated for me...ahem!) I have to give some credit and say that it published something...the title....and nothing feckin else. Only the phone is quite valuable and was my only source of recieving emails I have a feeling that I would have been using it for target practice I was so cross...let's just say that if I'd had a swear box handy it would have been overflowing and the charity of my choice would have been very grateful for getting their new minibus!

Since losing my connection (along with my mind) I've discovered how dependent we've all become on t'internet. Even my children were suffering as several pieces of homework couldn't be done at home (which they were totally devestated about naturally...along with the fact that MSN had disappeared which was nothing less than a tragedy.) Please explain to me why teenagers feel the need to phone each other to tell the other person to go on MSN when they could stay on the phone and have a chat using normal everyday language which doesn't require the use of endless smiley faces and spelling everything wrong?! Yhuuu git mi meanin... ;) ;) ;)

Anyway I'm back now and Sky have been forgiven for their tardiness (just about)! The postman nearly got snogged on the doorstep this morning when I realised what was in 'the package' and the other half was summoned home regardless of whether or not he was teaching this afternoon....get pregnant hormonally imbalanced wife (who may or may not kill you if disobeyed) connected to the internet again or prepare for class...he was home less than 20 minutes after he got the call...Ha...I have the power!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Where does brown sauce come from?

I love easy questions....where do apples come from? How is milk made? How do we get water?.....not a problem! Where do we get brown sauce from.....hmmmm!

Aine: What's that?
Mammy: That's brown sauce pet.
Aine: But where does it come from?
Mammy: comes from a factory where people put it in a bottle?
Aine: What's a factory? (jumps up and down whilst asking question.)
Mammy: A place where people put brown sauce into bottles (sighs wearily.)
Aine: Why?
Mammy: Because that's what they do?
Aine: Why? (wearing an impish grin safe in the knowledge that Mammy has one nerve left.)
Mammy: Go and ask Daddy.
Aine: Daddy doesn't know. He says you know everything!

Mammy shall be reminding Daddy that he said this every day for the rest of his life and demanding that it be written down!! As for the question asker...she's still no further forward in her quest to find out about the origins of brown sauce but it's okay...she now wants to know why Daddys have hair on their chest and when she can expect hers...sometimes there are just no answers to be had?!

Monday, 6 September 2010

And there's one for everybody in the audience...

Anyone who recieves RTE and is familiar with The Late Late Show will understand my delight at the return of my Friday night fix of Ryan Tubridy and guests along with his competitions, free giveaways with the punchline...'there's one for everybody in the audience' and musical interludes (although the last one was Jedward...long pause for effect....what were you thinking?!)

Now, if Ryan Tubridy happens to be reading this (I am nothing if not most optimistic about my followers) I have to say that I'm a big fan and have been all my life since the day of Gay Byrne!! My point being that if there happened to be an opening for an author to talk about her books or her very interesting life what with having a mad family and being a poor adopted child with famous relations (people would kill to hear the stories I have to tell y'know...seriously!) then obviously I'd be delighted to sit in the big leather chair! Besides my best friend Carrie-Ann (who is also another Late Late fanatic) would simply be beside herself with delight as naturally I'd have to bring her along....go know you want to...even if only for her sake...she doesn't get out much God love her!

I shall be waiting most patiently for an invitation or failing that maybe I'll just continue to bask in the glow of making it on to the Seven Thirty Show on UTV with the lovely Malachi Cush and Tina Campbell or perhaps I'll just stick to dreaming...sigh

Retro Sweets

I could blame my pregnancy. I could blame my sweet tooth or I could blame the fact that when I was growing up we were lucky enough to have an old fashioned sweet shop in the village where I went to grammar school but when I stumbled upon this website for Retro sweets my taste buds went into orbit! Refreshers, chocolate mint lollipops, fizzy strawberry belts and Wham bars. Sweet Peanuts, Rhubarb and Custards, Strawberry Sherbets, Brandy Balls that would have burnt the beak of ye and Apple Tarts that were all weighed by the quarter and put in a white paper bag! Opal Fruits (yes Opal fruits folks...none of this Starburst craic) and Marathon bars(Snickers what??)

To share in my cravings or if you happen to be in a nostalgic mood have a look for yourselves HERE in sweetie heaven nom yom yom...

Do we have to go yet Mammy?

Usually the most commonly used words in a child's vocabulary are...."Are we there yet?" which is normally accompanied by a low whinge and a sigh that sounds like a brattle of thunder! Therefore I have to admit to being somewhat unused to being asked in the same whiney tone..."Do we have to leave yet?" especially when the phrase is with reference to school (the result of too many years listening to grumpy teenagers talking about their education with much hostility and moodiness!)

My little girl started playschool today and has been like a jumping bean of anticipation since she got her uniform last week! She was absolutely bursting with enthusiasm from first light and I would have needed a talking clock on stand by as quoting the time every two minutes is seriously not my idea of fun!!

I gave her a bath, forced her to eat her porridge (she loves porridge...Goldilocks wouldn't have a look in!) in her dressing gown for fear of the cleanliness of her uniform being short lived and then finally popped the yellow t-shirt and blue fleece over her head...dressing her has never been easier!!

She posed for photos (as you can see) and was as proud as punch going out to the car with her new schoolbag on her back before stopping to show Granny and Granda the transformation from mere three year old to grinning school goer!

As expected she took the whole process in her stride and was most concerned that I was going to stay with her for the entire session instead of simply dropping her off and leaving her (parents were allowed to stay today but I only stayed for around 20 mins or rather until Aine kicked me out!) I watched with pride as she drew pictures, played with water, pursed her lips and made a brrrrrum brrrrrum sound with a digger in the sand and even offered comfort to another little girl who was missing her mammy (clearly Aine is the expert in not missing her Mammy...ahem!)

I came back to collect her and was greeted with a horrified expression and the words "I'm not going home yet?" I think she might just be looking forward to going back tomorrow! As for the rest of them...they're moaning already...perhaps I should take them to playschool again and see if the infectious delight it seems to bring out in the young works on their grumpy siblings...leave me alone...I can dream!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Oh to be a Child Again...

Is there anyone else in the world who at certian times wishes they could rewind the clock and go back to their childhood where they were safe, secure and a grown up was on hand to look after and worry about 'all the grown up stuff' and read endless stories from the Enid Blyton Bedtime Collection (or maybe that was just me?!)

There are, of course, advantages to being an adult and having your own independence and life but occasionally I would love to crawl back to the safety of the crook of my Mammy and Daddy's arms where I would feel truly content and worry about nothing.

When you're a child, a young teenager, in particular, you yearn for the day that you'll be able to open your own front door with your own front door key and eat as much junk food as you want at whatever time of the day you desire (I was easily pleased and my aspirations were quite reserved as you can wild parties for me...well maybe a few?!)

When you're an adult, however, and the pressures of the world and the actions of other people become too much to bear it's nice to regress and think about a time when life was simple and carefree...I'm very lucky that I have that haven to visit in my head...others mightn't be as lucky!

Wish me a happy trip....I'm off to hear my daddy's dulcet tones telling me the story of 'Dame Lucky's Umbrella' and to remember how lovely it used to be to curl up after Mass on a Sunday and watch The Waltons!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

I want my doh doh.....

If I was partial to a 'doh doh' I would probably be wanting it at this moment in time as I'm tired and want to go to bed soon but as I am an adult and not giving birth to Tom Cruise's child (we all remember dummy-gate in the labour ward do we not?) thankfully I don't need one!

My dummy obsessed daughter, however, is another matter entirely or at least she was as I'm happy to report that as of two days ago we are now a dummy free zone! I am officially in shock and can't quite believe that after nearly four years of doing the best Maggie Simpson impression in the country that she has actually relented!!

For months now we've been coming up with convoluted plans involving 'putting the dummy in the bin' ceremonies followed by 'going to get treats because you're such a big girl now' bribes but in reality we held the answer all along....accidentally and unintentionally leave the dummy in the creche on her last day there when she knows she's not going back and when you realise what you've done slap your head and wonder why you didn't think of it all along?!

Of course we went through 'a bad period' (I'm censoring the words that were actually used in case any of you are easily offended) that evening where our little girl constantly demanded her dummy, was told for the zillionth time (through gritted teeth) that it was gone and then gurned (pronounced guuuurrrrned by all self respecting Belfast people), refused to look at anyone and shock horror wouldn't even give her beloved daddy a night night kiss because he was obviously in the very very very bad books!

However, she must have undergone a transformation that night (or subliminal hypotherapy?) as it hasn't been mentioned since and will be staying that way...NO MORE least not for around six months anyway until the new baby comes and the process starts all over again...bring it on!!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Happy Birthday Philip....

Today is Philip's 42nd birthday although he doesn't behave like he's a day over 21...ahem! I want the world to know what a wonderful man I have and what I wish for him for the next the way, with regards to the photograph I think it's important that you know he's on his knees (where he belongs) as all 6 foot of him tends to make me look like a shruken elf! Good things come in small packages doncha know (and the first smartarse to say 'poison' is getting thumped!!)

Firstly I wish him love and risk of making you all boke I have to be honest and say that he is the love of my life and my soulmate and I want to see that gorgeous big broad grin of his throughout the year to come!

My children Colm and Una got him a card yesterday which was worded very said that 'the world would be a better place if there were more Dad's like him!' (Just so as you understand...Philip isn't Colm and Una's biological father but he might as well be...there's a saying in the world that's very true...any man can be a father but it takes a very special man to be a Daddy!)

Whilst we're on the subject of birthdays, I just can't resist digressing, our daughter Aine got her first birthday present yesterday from her Godfather Finbarr (who she referred to as 'God' for his entire visit! He left our house intending to go straight home and inform his children of his new he felt it was information they really needed to know!!) It's Aine's birthday on 20th September when she will turn 4 and hopefully leave the madness of being 3 behind her but I'm not convinced...more on that later?!

But getting back to Philip...within the next year I hope all his hopes and dreams come true...he's mad after a speed boat and calls my writing his 'speed boat fund'...God love his wee cotton socks...I could hardly afford to buy him a dinghy at the minute but I'm sure he'll continue to live in hope as will I, entirely for his sake of course as I'm not bothered (aye right!)

Happy Birthday my darling...and here's to the next year which please God will see you becoming a father again and hold lots of other treats with your mad family....I really really hope you get your speed boat xxxxxxxx