Fiona Cassidy

Fiona Cassidy
Author, Mother, Thirty Something...

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Counting Your Blessings

I know that I'm occasionally prone to whinging about my children and how messy/untidy/annoying/loud they are but when all is said and done they're mine, they're all healthy, happy and well and fit to enjoy life to the full and that is a blessing not to be sniffed at. Several sad events have taken place recently within my own community which have made me abruptly sit up and evaluate my life and in doing so I've come to the conclusion that although it has been hard there are people not too far away from me who have suffered terrible losses within the past few months that will undoubtedly be difficult and traumatic to deal with.

There is nothing more heartbreaking than the sudden death of a young and much loved child and as a mother myself I cannot begin to even comprehend the anguish and pain that must be experienced by parents in this situation. Equally as distressing is the sight of someone you love fading away before your eyes through an agressively short illness and what makes that situation even more harrowing is when it is a well respected, highly though of person in the prime of life who did a lot for the area and leaves behind a devoted wife and three young children.

Life can be very cruel and it's at times like these that I do question what the plan is and why certain people seem to sail through life whilst others are constantly burdened with heartache and sorrow.

Today I value my family and friends and I keep in my thoughts and prayers those who are struggling to come to terms with sadness and grief.

Friday, 23 March 2012

One Man's Treasure....

Like every woman in the world there's nothing I enjoy more than getting a good bargain and I couldn't resist sharing this with you! I bought this beautiful red bag on Monday and have been showered with compliments since (I even got stopped in the street by a girl who mistook it for a Paul's Boutique creation demanding to know where I got it as apparently 'red ones are a bitch to get hold off'.) Hee which point my joy was multiplied one hundred fold!!

Now are yis all ready for this....I paid the princely sum of £3.00 for it in one of my local charity shops (Drop Inn Ministries on the Dungannon Road)! It had literally been brought in about ten minutes before I arrived for my weekly snoop and I was rather delighted I must say!!

I find second hand shops, vintage boutiques and charity outlets all completely fascinating! Perhaps it's the writer in me coming to the fore...but I love to imagine who owned the items before they were relegated to the black bin bags, why they had them in the first place, why they're getting rid of them and then why the person buying them has a need for them...lots of questions and the possibility of a thousand answers....great craic trying to figure it all out as you nosy through everything!

I also adore the sense of adventure and the idea that when you go in you never know what to expect! There are some very quirky and obscure items out there for the taking....and I usually do!

To date some of the weird and wonderful stuff I have bought include....a Senseo Coffee Maker (that works like a dream that I paid £5.00 bit RRP upwards on £60), a set of wicker furniture for my conservatory, a TV cabinet, glass tables, a purple children's sofa bed, numerous items of clothing including a gorgeous cream trench coat (with the labels still on and bought for £6...ha), some very funky cardigans and scarves and some lovely pieces of jewellrey!

And just think...not only are you getting more for your money but what cash you do give is going towards a good cause....another reason for the feel good factor (along with knowing that you've got the deal of the century!)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

One Fired Every Minute.....

Wednesday evening is now my favourite TV night and will be for the foreseeable future as long as I have Lord Sugar and his wanna be business partners keeping me entertained on The Apprentice along with the shennanigans from the labour ward on One Born Every Minute!

I have to say though that it takes a certain type of person to want to willingly partake in such shows and I most definitely wouldn't be one of them...leave me on the other side of the screen to laugh, cringe and sometimes shed a wee tear at what's happening in TV land but as for ever even contemplating joining in....ooooh I don't think so!

As I am not a business person in any sense of the word nor do I have any ambitions to accomplish world domination with my superior savvy or well tuned accumen I can only watch open mouthed as others literally climb over the top of one another in an attempt to land a job! I have to laugh at some of the statements they come out with though in their attempts to impress the man himself....

"I deserve to be Lord Sugar's business partner because I have a degree in rocket science, have my own market stall that brings in an annual turnover of six million pounds a year and have the single most overbearing, domineering and up my own arse attitude of anybody in the world which means that I will murder anyone who gets in my way" (and all whilst wearing a sharply tailored suit and killer heels....and that's just the fellas).

But anyway.....I love it love it love it and am addicted to the show and end up squealing at the TV in angst depending on the task and/or how annoying the contestants happen to be....remember Stuart Brand...nuff said methinks!

Now over to my other pleasure....One Born Every Minute...sweet feckin' Jaysus, Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey....not for a million pound or a pension would I even think about letting a camera anywhere near me whilst there are rumblings in the fandango department! It's bad enough to have to lay yourself bare (literally) for medical personnel but to do it knowing that the nation will see you at your most vulnerable/angry/hysterical/....and in some cases stoned on gas and would take a braver woman than me and I'm quite well behaved when I'm in labour! Besides if there had been a film crew present at the last delivery they would have missed quite a bit of the action as they wouldn't have all fitted in the lift! Long the post I wrote for April last year!

It fascinates me how everyone can be so normal when they know millions of people will be in on the act....have to say though the character who took me to the fair completely was the foreign girl who kept chasing her husband out of the room...."tell Victor to leave" (poor man) because in Lithuania ladies don't have babies in front of their menfolk!! Ahem....hate to point out to ye lovie but if ye want privacy beaming out images of your nether bits on Channel four of a Wednesday evening isn't going to secure it! Poor oul Victor...hope he was tuning in that night!

This programme has other benefits though....if you happen to be the mother of a teenage girl....let her watch it with you (especially during a forceps delivery...bahahahaha).....there will be much hiding behind cushions, shredding the said cushion with teeth and best of all legs will be clamped shut and there will be talk of never ever ever having children! Not that I never want her to have babies...of course I do....I just don't want it to happen anytime soon and watching someone getting delivered with legs in stirrups with the aid of a pair of ginormous salad tongs will definitely ensure that the event is prolonged until the time is right!!

Now where is that remote.....

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Feis Factor.....

It's Tuesday the 20th March and the X Factor tour bus has arrived in a small Co. Tyrone town to listen to thousands of hopefuls audition to become the next pop sensation......

Oh awright's Tuesday the 20th March and it's that time of year again when the Dungannon Feis gets underway and all the local children partake in singing, doing drama and reciting poems in both English and Irish and this morning our very enthusiastic little five year old took to the stage (as pupil no. 24) and sang her little heart out (for all of three seconds....there was only four lines to the song but hey it was enough to prove she has 'it'!)

Before the event we left the house in a fug of gel spray (to keep Aine's unruly hair sitting properly), deodorant (for mammy and daddy who obviously needed the strength of Sure to keep the nerves at bay) and much talk of how important it is to participate in these things even if you don't win....oh and don't be fiddling with your skirt, taking out your pigtails or picking anything you shouldn't...ahem.

We practised the very important song all the way in the car, (I declare to God if you ask me the tune of it ten years from now I'll still remember about to burst into a hum as I write this so fresh is it in my head!) arrived at the Des Fox Pavilion in Edendork and then it was all systems go until our wee woman (three from the end) made her contribution!

There's nothing like a group of shiny and sparkling ribbon clad little girls lisping and lilting their way through a song to bring a smile to your face of a Tuesday morning and they all did brilliantly! No forgotten words...and very proud mammies and daddies (with video cameras and iPhones at the ready to record the event!)

When they had all done their bit it was time for the ajudicator (who we shall refer to as Simon Cowell for the craic) to make her all important decision and ten minutes later after much cogitation and deliberation (in the manner of Lloyd Grossman)the announcements were made!

There were certificates, three third place medals (of which our little lady was one), two second place medallists and a very talented little first place winner!

And to say that no. 24's Mammy and Daddy were bursting with excitement would be an understatement! Little Mix's combined parentage couldn't have smiled any harder!

Then it was outside to be papped by the press (or have the photo taken by the Tyrone Times in our case!)

Our wee Aine....a star in the making?! Well we think so anyway!

Now we just have to get through the English and Irish poems....!

Monday, 19 March 2012

St. Patrick's Weekend

Yep.....we're all Oirish and proud in our house!!

Friday, 16 March 2012

OCD or Just Tidier than Everybody Else?

I admit to being a tiny bit of a clean freak but have to say that I just like things to be tidy, neat and hygienic and that it drives me absolutely insane when people use things and either leave them lying at their arse or don’t put them back in the right place?!

Like, I mean, seriously how hard is it to make a cup of coffee and then put away the sugar and the milk, wipe down the counter and put the spoon in the dishwasher????? Doesn’t sound like an insurmountable task to me but to my teenagers its fecking rocket science.

Also (am now in full rant mode) does anyone else have children who understand the phrase ‘go and hang that up please’ to be translated as stuff it in a drawer or shove it into the tiniest crevice you can find at the top of the wardrobe so that every bit of ironing is truly destroyed? And they do this even though they know I will check...sometimes I think they like to see me morph into a Tasmanian Devil of an evening!
Nmmmmmmmgggggggghhhhhhh.....don’t exactly know how to write a snarl but that’s my attempt!

Towels are also the bane of my life....I seem to spend hours washing the damn things as my children must be convinced that they have very contagious skin diseases that mean when a towel has been used once it absolutely definitely could not be dried on a radiator and used again! And said skin disorder also prevents them from lifting towel off floor along with sweaty clothes or washing out the bath and God forbid that they might put a lid on the shampoo or notice that the toothpaste is oozing?

And then to add insult to injury when you complain about their lack of care or tell them they’re lazy they turn round and tell you that you’re the one with the problem!!!!
“I think you need checked out Mammy. That OCD of yours is gettin’ out of hand.”
This statement is followed by much sniggering (from them) and even more internal combustion from me!

The reason why I am writing about this at this particular time is because my mad five year old spilt coke on the kitchen floor this evening (which I mopped earlier) and before I had a chance to open my beak she turned round and said “calm calm Mammy.” Of course this was met with much mirth and high hilarity from the rest of the crew who had the energy to roll around (as they hadn’t spent all day cleaning) and were oblivious to the one year old emptying the contents of the turf basket all over the living room floor (also freshly washed today....nmmmmmmmmmggggggggghhhhhhhh)

Now talking of babies (ones who have just learned to crawl)....if they could be employed I would give them the task of hunting down every last little speck of microscopic dirt and then order them to deposit it in the bin as opposed to attempting to give their mother a stroke when they decide to try and swallow it and subsequently gag and then vomit (all over the same clean feckin’ floor!)

And as for teenage girls.....Sweet Jaysus but they are messy articles....I said to my fifteen year old daughter recently that she would never get a man such was the mess of her room and she answered me airily by saying that was going to bag a millionaire and employ a maid?!.....that’s another thing I hate about teenagers....they always have an answer for you!

Anyway...I do love my children really (when they’re sleeping....ahem)! No really I do but I like a clean house as well and don’t think that there’s anything unusual about that? What mother doesn’t want to provide a clean and habitable environment for her young (who don’t appreciate it and couldn’t care less if they lived in a bog).....on second thoughts maybe I should go and get a 9 to 5 number and forget about the housework?
Or perhaps I should start writing book number 4....Anyone for Dust?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Anyone for Secrets?......the book is finished and now life can back to normal...sort of?!

Hey folks,

How shall I start....Happy Halloween, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine's Day and Happy Birthday to me....whew that's a lot of events to have missed writing about whilst I've been busy getting book no 3 Anyone for Secrets? finished and to say that I'm relieved and completely delerious with happiness would be an understatement!

Writing this book (and trying to find reasons not to write this book) have led me on one hell of a journey!

Without going into too much detail 2011 was a bit of a crap year for me...anything that could go wrong inevitably did and my stress levels were rather high! Just to clarify....d'ye know the ad where Skittles keep exploding everywhere...well that would be comparable to what my blood pressure was doing to my head on a regular basis!! But hey....I'm still standing and so is everybody else in our rather mad household so I guess someone somewhere must have been looking down on us!

But anyway...getting back to the's amazing the excuses you can find not to write when you're not in the mood or when your head is so full of other things that you have the attention span of a flea and can't sit still for two seconds...

You can -:

Clean out the fridge
Defrost the freezer
Take a toothbrush to the grouting in the bathroom
Fill black binliners full of unwanted clothes for charity
Manically sort out cupboards and hotpresses
Walk the dog (even if you don't own a dog you can borrow somebody elses)

In other words you can have a very clean and shiny house which you would have the peace and contentment to enjoy if there wasn't a feckin' laptop sitting in the corner winking at you incessantly and sending out waves telling you that you need to write 50,000 more words before the book is finished!

If truth be told I actually completed the first draft of this book some time ago but was deeply unhappy with it as I felt that my own personal problems may have been affecting my writing to a certain characters were all very angry and said feck a lot! (Think Father Jack on a good day here!)

Thankfully, however, with the help of my ever patient agent...the gorgeous Emma Walsh and the nice people at Poolbeg I was given the time and space I needed to get into a better frame of mind and now I have re-written most of the book and am now much happier with the results! I even did a little dance when I pressed the send button on my email on Sunday and sent my manuscript on its merry way...whoop whoop!

And so life has indeed returned to normal and my version of life being normal is life being mad but with three teenagers (where hormones ensure that everything is a tragedy), a mad Wii obsessed five year old and a one year old who has just learned the art of head butting....what d'ya expect??

But as long as everyone is healthy, happy and content then I feel likewise and thankfully the status quo has now been restored as have I!!

The girl is back...and she's loving it!!