Is the Grass always Greener?

Travel icons

I am definitely a bit of a traveller at heart, a gypsy you might say. It could be to do with being Irish, as a Nation we have traditionally been searching for places that give us a more fruitful existence. And we have put our roots down all over the world. For such a small country geographically, our reach is vast, how many of you reading this today have Irish heritage?

But on the other side of this, Family is everything to me. So I, like many others live with this strange pull between two ideals – to explore and find the places in the world that work for us, and to be close to our nearest and dearest, especially as they reach those difficult elderly years.

I came to Cairns, in Tropical Far North Queensland via a circuitous route ¬†(two years in Fiji, nice!) in 2010, the year I turned 40, so it felt like a life changing experience form the start. We were meant to be here for a two year contract (I won’t bore you with the details) but we’re still here. Life just seemed to settle in, in a really nice way and the thought of moving that life became unthinkable.

If someone had told me before I left Ireland that I was leaving to live on the other side of the World forever, I would have said, “no way!”. But it’s different when you allow yourself to gradually dip your toe in the water of another life and realise that it’s not so bad, in fact it’s pretty fine.

We do travel to Ireland quite often but the irony now is that I don’t feel I belong there anymore. People don’t like the fact that you’ve chosen to live somewhere else, they take it as a personal insult, as if you’re saying, “you live in a place that isn’t good enough for me.” That is so NOT the case. Whereas I find that the people I have met on my travels understand the phenomenon and what drives us to move.

I can’t escape the fact that I miss my family and life-long friends from home, I don’t miss the actual place. The day will come soon when the inevitable happens and I truly don’t know how that’s going to feel. But on the other hand, I look at my young family growing up in such a beautiful, peaceful environment and I know that I have to do the right thing for them.

And finally, the world is becoming such a small place with technology and communications, this really helps to keep the family circles together. I know it’s not the same but it’s better than the days of letters and exorbitant, long-distance calls.

We are all Global Citizens after all….




Tell it like it is

There is nothing like the relief that a new parent feels when told post partem that their long anticipated bundle of joy is in fact ‘perfect’. Ten fingers, ten toes, those beautiful words that fills us with inner peace and joy. But not for long because now starts a lifetime of worry about what could possibly go or be wrong. 

 And when one of those all important developmental milestones isn’t met? That’s what happened with my son, George. There was no babbling or cooing or ‘da da’, ‘ma ma’.  

 Every week we made all sorts of excuses as did our doctor and others. Friends and family all had different theories but all ultimately amounting to the fact that everything was completely normal, children all develop at different speeds., etc., etc.

I am eternally grateful to an Australian GP who picked up th lack of words at sixteen months and listened to my concerns. That is where our journey began, trying to find out whatever’s wrong, if anything, and what we could do. 

The first thing to do was have George’s hearing checked.  I was convinced this was the issue as there is some serious deafness on his father’s side of the family. But no it was perfect. 

Next stop was a Speech Pathologist or ‘Speechie’ as they are known in Australia. After a long questionnaire and observation it was determined that yes, George did have issues but because he was so young it was impossible to give diagnosis. Because as we already know, children all develop at different speeds…..

In fact therapy at this early age wasn’t even recommended as there was no evidence to suggest that it did any good. So what more could we do? We decided to start therapy anyway, in the hope that some good would come out of it. I couldn’t just wait. 

We had a couple of difficult years, George became resistant and didn’t particularly cooperate, upon reflection the personality of the Speechie wasn’t best suited to an active preschooler. She did however refer him to an early intervention kindergarten program for kids with learning needs. This was an amazing experience for all of us and George was lucky enough to have two years of this before school. 

During this time however we still weren’t sure what was wrong, it was suggested by a professional that it could be Verbal Dyspraxia, meaning that George would perhaps never speak properly, only with the aid of a translating device. We were devastated but still nothing was definitive. 

After a bit of a break from Speech Pathology, we changed to a new therapist. This time was different – George was older and Monica, the Speechie, just got his personality. But school was looming and that was the next worry. Monica, the school and I liaised very closely in anticipation of issues and I had been warned to expect problems with reading as this is closely linked with speech issues. 

But George held his own in the Prep year and made incredible progress with his talking and in fact everything. I am writing this today as he has just received an award for outstanding reading in school and his latest Speech assessment is showing excellent results, well within normal parameters, in fact in some areas, advanced! We are beyond proud. 

My advice to parents? Never give up and believe in your instincts and the determination of little children. 

A Beautiful Peat Face Mask Experience!


You have to try this mask from Ogra, it’s so much more than another face mask. Well first of all it’s made from 100% Irish peat, yes, the black stuff from the ground. That’s all there is in it, there is no smell, which surprised me at first, I thought I was going to have to endure an earthy, slightly unpleasant odour but not at all. A beautician friend tells me that this is especially great as salons can then add their own tailored scents, depending on the treatment. Who would have thought? Personally I like the zero smell,natural approach.

Anyway, this has become part of my weekend routine and always use it before a night out or if I want to look particularly radiant. I have perfected the application and so I thought I’d share it. The peat tends to dry in the jar once the seal has been broken, so before every application I add water to get the right consistency. This should be ‘gloopy’ and falling off your fingers but not too runny. Your skin should be spotlessly clean and the mask can be applied all over, minding the delicate eye area. This works particularly well on the neck and d√©colletage, don’t be afraid to slap it on, you’ll be thankful!

Wash your hands and prepare to relax for 15 minutes. I like to lie on my bed and read something nice, generally unwind…. But this is important – the mask will tingle like crazy, I find a quick spritz with a water spray helps this and keeps it moist and comfortable. The active ingredients in the peat are working!

The best way to remove the mask is in the shower, rub your face and ‘masked’ area with warm water. This has the extra benefit of exfoliating your skin beautifully.

Now see how you glow! And appear instantly more youthful, never mind feel amazing. The best follow up is Ogra’s Anti-ageing moisturiser which will also tingle and zing (more fab peat ingredients). You’ll be in great form heading out for the night, I have to confess, I’m a bit of an addict!

To find out more about Ogra in Australia

#facemaskfun #organicpeat #naturalskincare #vegan #antiageing
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