Hit the beach not the (data) breach

Personally I think holidays should be sacred but some people just can’t switch off. It did occur to me lately that being freelance might mean less of the free as I no longer have a team of colleagues to support me. This infographic caught my eye however as it details how employees circumvent security measure to make their mobile lives easier. So while an employer might be hearted by the 45% increase in productivity offered by mobile devices the $5.5m quoted as the average cost of a data breach might have them lashing around the office snapping up tablets and phones like a crazed Christmas Eve shopper.

Suits you sir!

Ah the Irish Summer! Well so far this year we cannot complain too much. Most primary schools will finish up this week so expect a turn for the miserable in no short time. This year, however, I am uber-prepared. I have a list of things to do, I’ve sorted the toys and with quiet optimism I have purchased* a pair of children’s wetsuits from Puddleducks. I say quiet optimism because, while I hope to hit the beach, I am presuming it will be cold enough to require said wetsuits. About 3 years ago I bought a wetsuit for Himself so that he could “enjoy” surfing when visiting friends in Donegal even in November. Either the wetsuit or male bravado enabled him to stay in the water for up to 3 hours while myself and the other surf wag chased children up and down the beach purely for the purposes of keeping us all warm. We soon realised after one weekend in Donegal when the kids were paddling with their Puddleducks raincoats on and nothing else (I kid you not!) that wetsuits were a no-brainer for the Irish weather.

Last year we holidayed in lovely Lahinch. (I never did rustle up the energy to post about the lovely holiday we had there. We rented a holiday home in Ballyellery from Trident Holiday Homes. Photo on right was the view from the cottage on one of the truly Irish days 🙂 Ask me if you need more details.) Lahinch is a major surf destination so Himself and some of our friends had a great time. Yet again I missed an opportunity to surf as I was pregnant and too bloody tired even though I wasn’t so far gone. The weather was only okay at the time and we looked at wetsuits in the surf shops in town. The available range wasn’t great in Lahinch and even the second hand ones were pricy so we left it. However there were a number of days where we had to quit the beach as children’s lips turned blue!

I sent a tweet to Puddleducks earlier this year asking them if they were planning to stock wetsuits ever and Aedan replied to me that they were researching the options. A while later Suzanne contacted me and said they were sourcing two different types of wetsuits from suppliers and would I like to try them out. We opted for the full length suits in XSmall and Small. They have since launched a range of different beach products including these suits, a shorty version and various UV suits and beach shoes.

Due to the fact that their father has a wetsuit the Nippers were already favourably inclined. Considering the pair of them had to date refused to even put a two in the water we were concerned that it would be money badly spent regardless. Well the Nippers seemed to think that these suits would make them invincible and Nipper 2.0 even had great plans to go bodyboarding! (Where does he get these ideas!) Their first outing was literally a wash out which involved a real Irish picnic in the car before putting on all our raingear for a walk and some sandcastling in the rain on the beach. Our next outing was on one of the hottest days in this recent hot spell. My sister and I rustled the two of them up after school and headed for Sandycove. While I wouldn’t recommend Sandycove for a hot day, even midweek it was jammed, it was perfect to get the boys in the water in their suits. It’s a very calm inlet which helped them get over any reservations they might have had.

They played happily for the 2.5 hours that we were there in and out of the water. No blue lips and we are saving a fortune in suncream! The suits are great and a good fit with some growing space in them. The Nippers are very different shapes and both at the smaller end of the scale for their age. You can see from the photos that the limbs require a little turning up. Nipper 1.0 is whip thin and so we managed to pull the suit onto him no bother. Nipper 2.0 still has some of his baby fat (he recently turned 4) so we struggled a fair bit to get him into his. Let me put it like this: a child who was disinclined to put on their suit would win that particular battle! That would be my only issue with the XSmall size – it doesn’t seem to allow for the fact that a child that age might be likely to have a little more pudge. Add neoprene, however stretchy, to the mix and there’s a bit of heave ho-ing. But they were both very easy to remove and because of their size far easier to rinse than an adults. In fact I rinsed them in the sink and there is no way you would fit even a small adult suit into a sink.

We subsequently spent an afternoon on Curracloe strand in Co. Wexford which was far less sheltered and there was a stiff breeze that day. Again they played very happily in and out of the water although Nipper 2.0’s courage failed him somewhat. (Who’s talking about bodyboarding now, eh?!) Of course, I put them all to shame by swimming in plain ol’ togs. Due to the ongoing fluctuations in my body weight over the last 8 years there has been no point in getting a wetsuit for myself!

At €35.99 for the suits I think they are well worth it. They seem to be well made (I’m not expert) and include all the features you would expect on a wetsuit: tight ankles and cuffs and a turtle neck with adjustable fastener. The zip is sturdy with a strap for closing and it tucks away neatly. All the tech specs are included in the Puddleducks listing. Look at it like this: on an overcast day you might decide that the beach is just too cold for the kids so you go to the swimming pool. In Lahinch last year that notched up €21.00 for 3 of us. Alternatively if you compare it to the cost of suncream at circa €10.00 per bottle which may get wiped off as soon as it’s on it’s also a far longer lasting bargain. I also really believe it’s the way forward for holidaying in Ireland. I’m the only family member who doesn’t have a suit but I noticed in Lahinch last year that most of the families were all kitted out in them and many of them were not surfing at all, just swimming.

*Disclosure: I received these suits at cost-price from Puddleducks.

My Blog Awards thank you speech

I finally made it to the Blog Awards. After years of trying but never managing to avoid the clash with An TĂłstal or my own birthday plans I finally made it. I’m hoping that the fact that I trekked from Dublin to Cork will make me seem less of a blogger wannabe.

I also took a more active role this year even though I had previously offered to help judge the Irish Language category in particular. This year, after a gruelling vetting process (ahem!) I was accepted as a judge of the 2009 Irish Blog Awards. Maybe there should be a gruelling vetting process because it’s a gruelling judging process. I think I’m too nice to be a judge. I was inclined to think, “Ah sure you made the effort.” Okay I was inclined to think that for the first five. Then I turned into a vicious bitch and by blog number 18 I was thinking, “Call that blogging? Yer ma!” and then I went back and recalculated the first five in that mood. And that was just round 1 and I abstained from judging two blogs because I do not speaky the soccer. However the second round was, in a way, easier because I had two categories so I was able to focus more. Overall however I was very impressed with the quality of the blogs and enjoyed discovering new blogs that I don’t already read. One of the criteria for judging the blogs is community which I judged based on the interaction with commenters. As a result I have decided that I am going to email all my family and friends and have at them for not following and commenting on this blog which I create with them in mind. Why else would I include the “subscribe by email” option except for that bunch of luddites? (See my cunning tactic there?)

Off I tripped to Cork on the 7pm train to stay with my good friend the Corkonian Architect in her beautiful home (pictured right). Big thanks to her for putting me up and for coming along for the best Saturday night out I’ve had in a long time. (The MBA zombie and two snot nosed brats aren’t much competition to be fair.) As mentioned in the previous post we went for a walk and then back home to get ready for the Ladies Cocktail Party at the bizarrely yet attractively appointed Cork International Airport Hotel. A big thank you to the hostess with the mostest, Sabrina Dent for the lovely afternoon in the genteel company of some lovely ladies. (What happens at the tea party and all that…). Big ups to the chaps in Curious Wines who I subsequently had very interesting chats with – thanks guys: if I was babbling it was because you gave Sabrina too much wine. It would have been rude not to drink it. However there was plenty to eat as well and I shnarfed a couple of divine muffins from PĂ­osa Cake (I particularly like these creations although they were surprisingly not present on Saturday…) Thanks also to Ciara from FindaConferenceVenue.com for the cool “I refuse to participate in a recesssion” badge!

Then onto the main event which was, put simply, a really fun night. I was even asked to pose by the photographer from the Evening Echo. However I lessened the likelihood of imminent Cork celebrity (even though I had a real Corkonian beside me) by bickering with the photographer about the total demerits of my leaning against the car to have my photo taken. (I mentioned the bizarre interior, didn’t I?) He didn’t understand my issue (what kind of a photographer man has never seen a Pirelli calendar?) but demurred and moved us elsewhere.

The thing I loved the most about the Blog Awards was the diversity of people in attendance: young, old, from all walks of life and areas of interest. This is a reflection of the diversity of the blogs out there and I would imagine over the coming few months, as people are laid off or their hours are cut down, we could see an explosion of blogs. I like to think that the sense of community that these people will gain from this hobby will sustain them and possibly spawn plenty of new ways of living.

We got goodies on the night too including polystyrene speech bubbles from Made In Hollywood and an invitation to enter a competition. Here’s my attempt to win EUR150. I promise I’ll give the child a tenner if I win.

My entry for the Made in Hollywood competition
My entry for the Made in Hollywood competition

And lastly thanks to Damien and all his crew for all the hard work they put in – not least in the intros to each award.

And of course you know who I forgot in my thank you speech? My darling husband, Himself, for doing the single dad thing for the weekend.

My own private photoblog tour

Originally uploaded by anmhor

As part of the annual Irish Blog Awards a photo tour is usually organised. I didn’t make the official tour but went for an invigorating walk in glorious sunshine with the Corkonian Architect. It was truly gorgeous and all the photos were taken with my Nokia E51 because I left my camera in the house.

However this walk involved a very strange synchronicity. The architect never told me where we were going and when we arrived, I exclaimed, “I’ve been here before!” But the strangest thing about it is that while I get very few comments on my blog, I got one once about Nohoval Cove which is where she had brought me! Isn’t that an amazing coinkydink?

Athbhliain faoi shéan is faoi mhaise daoibh

An t-am seo anuraidh bhĂ­ mĂ© ag ullmhĂş le gabháil ar ais ag obair tar Ă©is saoire máithreachais. FĂ©ach mar a chasann rotha mhĂłr an tsaoil! NĂ­ chuimhin liom an raibh aon dea-rĂşin agam anuraidh. Má bhĂ­ tá siad bainte amach agam nĂł nĂ­ raibh siad tábhachtach go leor chun strĂł a chur orm. Gach seans gur luaigh mĂ© rud Ă©igin faoi Spáinnis a fhoghlaim mar a dhĂ©anaim chuile bhliain. NĂł b’fhĂ©idir go raibh nĂłta dĂ©anta agam dom fĂ©in faoin suĂ­omh seo a athdhearadh. Hmmm. Tabharfaidh mĂ© faoi ach ná dĂ©an dearmad riamh go b’Ă© ainm an tsuĂ­mh cĂ©anna “One of these days…”
In ionad dea-rúin i mbliana tá mé chun cúpla rud a bhreac síos a bhfuil mé ag súil go mór leo i mbliana. Fuair mé r-phost ó mo chara sa Nua-Shealainn ar maidin ina raibh a leithéid luaite agus ceapaim gur bealach uathúil agus dearfach é chun tabhairt faoin athfhéachaint atá nádúrtha dúinn go léir ag an am seo den bhliain.

I got an email from a friend in New Zealand this morning in which she listed the events that she is looking forward to in 2008 – I thought it was a unique way to express the reflective spirit that is only natural at this time of year.

  • My birthday – I always look forward to it.
  • My new job – whatever it turns out to be it will be a challenge and an adventure
  • Himself’s new job – ditto!
  • S ramping up his conversationa skills – I look forward to greater insight to his strange little mind.
  • G starting school – agus tá sĂşil agam go scaoilfidh a theanga Gaeilge dá bharr.
  • All the new babbies
  • All the weddings and the fact that I am not a bridesmaid means that I will be able to enjoy myself thoroughly and not suffer any friendship fallout.
  • Camping, here and abroad
  • Meeting my cousin E’s son for the first time
  • Visiting Cousin B in NYC
  • Summer in Ireland
  • Autumn

That should keep us going for a while!

My big pressie from Himself this year was a webcam (hello you don’t know me if you don’t know that I am a geek) so if you Skype me in future you can see me. Hurrah. Here’s a sample of what I look like on my webcam. Glamorous huh? Especially with the laundry in the background.

We had a great holiday. Santa Clause was a big hit this year (if I may say so myself) and we got some great presents from family and friends. A few too many chocolates and far too much baking on my part means that it’ll be Weight Watchers not-so-anonymous for the foreseeable future. However when I did weigh myself last night, it wasn’t quite so drastic as I expected. Speaking of food I must go and do the shopping.