All the fun of the feirm

By the end of the month the majority of the family will have spent some time on a farm. If we were in an episode of the late lamented House the team would have great fun trying to work out which one of us had been exposed to badger.

The elder Nippers are both going to farms on their turasanna scoile. Nipper 2.0 has spent the day today on Glenroe Farm and his verdict is “Awesome!” His favourite part was “touching the guinea pig and the rabbit”. What more could a boy ask for?

Nipper 1.0 will be heading to Greenan Maze. We actually visited this farm last August and I only hope Nipper 1.0 has better luck with the weather this time.

And I spent an extremely pleasant morning last Saturday on Ballindrum Farm in Athy, Co. Kildare thanks to the good folks (Amanda and Gina) in Avonmore. Why you might ask? I wondered that myself. Could it be I am now considered a tweeter of some influence? It certainly not due to my blogging efforts. I suspect it might be because I’m a mum that converses with other mums online much to The Meyler’s chagrin.

Why question these things? Never look a gift cow in the mouth I say and off I took myself with a lovely gang of pop culture and food bloggers (Okay I probably fall right in the middle of those two groups. Lovely to meet and make the reacquaintance of @backpedalling @thisispopbaby @ModernFarmette

@likemamuse2bake @Smorgasblog @cakeinthcountry

@ismiseadam @Culch_ie @PopCultMonster

@mushypea007  @anthonymcg)

The raw material #peakfreshIt was a fascinating and filling morning. We were fed like kings and queens by Mary Gorman, entertained by the golden voiced Joseph Gorman (Mark my words- that kid will be a star!) and then Vincent Gorman showed us around the farm. Despite the inclement weather it was beautiful. How lucky we are in Ireland to have such luscious gorgeousness never more than an hour away. That very lusciousness (read rain), we were told, is a major contributing factor in the production of Ireland’s delicious milk. But even Vincent said you can have too much of a good thing (read rain). I have been on dairy farms before but it was really fascinating to see how technological and traceable the farming is. The farming practiced by the Gorman’s is good for the cows, good for the land and ultimately good for the consumer of their dairy products. The farm was spotless and everything was in its place.

5 day old calf @juleser #peakfreshWell nearly everything… Vincent did admit that for all their watchful care of their cows that a few months previously there had been some shenanigans among the youngsters of the herd and well, nature took its course. This meant we got to see some super cute calves though so no complaints from us!

All the Bó lined up for judging #peakfreshWe rounded off the day with some Make and Do – always a big hit with me and I think our friends in Avonmore were surprised by how seriously we all took this part of the day! I took it embarrassingly seriously. Basically Avonmore are running an online competition to celebrate the fact that one million glasses of milk are drunk in Ireland a day. (Yes! One MILLION! A DAY!) In order to encourage me to write about this they sent me (along with my invitation to the farm) a litre of milk, a glass and a kit to make my very own Bó.

My finished Bó #peakfresh #bocomp I didn't win. The guy who got someone else to knit a hat did. I'm not bitter...Now I have to say I was a little dubious about this but after seeing the way those bloggers got stuck in I’m thinking those Avonmore ladies have their heads screwed on! It’s perfect timing with the summer holidays rolling in and the appalling weather with it. You can get your own kit and find out how to enter the competition over on the PeakFresh website. You will even see my little entry over there (I did mention I took it a little seriously) If it keeps your kids half as quiet as those bloggers then you are onto a winner.

So yes this post may be proudly sponsored by Avonmore and based on what I heard and saw on Saturday I have no qualms recommending Avonmore products to you. Will I be purchasing Avonmore products myself from now on? Well with a 50c difference in price between this and the Irish produced own brand in our local supermarket, four 2 litres of milk, adjusting for holidays, means a €100.00 saving per year. Economics trumps warm fuzzy feelings every time. Sorry Avonmore.

Curl up & dye (Poll)

Barber Chair Bad Hair BookI really regret not going to the hairdressers while I awaited the arrival of Nipper 3.0. A little bit of discomfort leaning back for a hairwash would have been better than the other option: a home dye job. I absolutely hate dyeing (dying? y’see it’s not even uncomplicated when writing about it!) my hair at home. Absolutely. Hate. It. It’s so messy and the results are always hit and miss. But the economics of it really make it difficult in these straitened times to justify the trip to the hairdresser. Compare €175 or so that I paid for my last trip to the hairdresser (dye, wash, cut & blowdry, magazines, a couple of cups of tea in a city centre salon) with €10.00 for a 10 minute dye job. Even given the questionable results and mess saved and all the salon’s overheads this is a massive difference. Don’t get me wrong: I love going to the salon. I usually make an extra effort with my make-up (who wants to sit staring at their barefaced self in a mirror for 2 hours?) and couple a trip to the salon with a shopping trip. I’ve been going to the same hairstylist* for well over 10 years, following her from salon to salon and couldn’t recommend her enough. I also know that her skills are not easily gained and that this is what I am paying for. I did mention that it can take up to two hours to do a complete job. All told then €175.00 is conceivably not a huge amount for two hours work.

But the long and the short of it is that  a trip to the hairdressers is a treat for me. I got to wondering whether other women were in the same boat. Do you dye your own hair, get it done regularly or a mix of both? So I created a poll to see how you treat your hair! Also if you have any tips for stress-free home dyeing please do share in the comments below. PLEASE for the sake of my sanitaryware if nothing else!


Photo above owned by geishaboy500 (cc)

A Beautie-ful surprise

Finally back on Irish soil after a five am start to Beauvais this morning (how bad says you). I’m sitting in Superquinn car park feeling a lot worse for wear. Himself is in the supermarket picking up the homecoming essentials with Nipper 2.0. Nipper 1.0 is awakening none too happy from a snooze and Nipper 3.0 (Beta) is kicking the bejaysus outta me after a day on the go has kept it lulled into silence. I decide to check my Twitter because that is my default activity during moments of inactivity. I am thrilled to receive this tweet:

Well done to LittleQuiz winners  @enormous and @kevism this week ::

I won €250 worth of  yet to be revealed cosmetic fabulousness as well as the Beautie Guide to Gorgeous so it’s the prize that will just go on giving. I love reading beauty tips so really looking forward to diving right in. One less thing I have to drop hints about this Crimble! Or possibly many less things – I’ll keep you posted about what I receive and what I think of them.

 I love LittleQuiz and enter it every week (except I skipped the week of the mobile phone even though I’m a big fan of LouderVoice, the company who were running it. Cosmetics I need, a second phone I do not.) I think it’s such a simple but clever idea. I get an email newsletter or I’ll see a tweet every week about the latest competition. As the tagline goes, “Know a little, win a lot.” I answer three questions, log-in and I’m done. I also always tweet about it and leave a comment on the blog because then I’m also in with a chance of winning €100 cash or a bag of goodies. If this has convinced you head on over and sign up. Although I shouldn’t really encourage you as it lessens my chances of winning all the goodies!

I’ve done well this year entering blogging, commenting and twittering competitions, having won tickets to Puppetfest and €150 from Made in Hollywood for a caption competition. Bloggers and twitterers are often given cool prizes to give away, sometimes giving items away after reviewing them. While the blogger may have reach of their own, competitions often give them greater reach as news of their “generosity” spreads. It also gives companies a boost as news of their generosity spreads and they can gather twitter followers, blog readers, site visitors, social network fans or whatever they’re having themselves. I think this is a great example of how a brand can spread the same message across numerous channels and achieve results on all of them. I also reckon you have (but only currently and not for long) a much better chance of winning a prize from a blogger or twitterer then you might in say an Irish Times phone-in competition. I have no scientific basis for assertion this but I can tell you honestly that I never won a thing in my life before I started entering competitions online. I really hope I don’t get hooked! If this is not reason enough for you to start blogging & tweeting yourself  or, at the very least, commenting, then I don’t know what is!

Uhoh! Bacardi Breezer firefighting team will be in overdrive

I cannot believe this ad and social media campaign. I think a lot of comments to the post on Jezebel – Bacardi Ad Uses Misogyny To Sell Alcohol To Women – Bacardi get an ugly girlfriend are very interesting, especially those which I will  categorise as the “beauty is not the be-all and end-all” comments.

The mind boggles! Did the advertising team working for Bacardi think that women would admire the honesty of Bacardi, telling it like it is? Not featuring half naked women on beaches as per usual? Do they really think I am going to buy Bacardi because they understand my motivations for having friends? They bloody well do not! When I think of my female friends (and anyone will tell you that most of my friends are female, it’s just the way I am wired) how they look does not feature among the reasons I am friendly with them. Naturally I am happy for them when they get an outfit/ haircut/ shoes that makes them feel and look great. Naturally I listen to their concerns about their body issues and they listen to my occasional moans. We try to think of things to help each other improve but ultimately it doesn’t matter. If a friend lost or put on weight or other dramatic changes occurred in their body I would be concerned about them because it’s rare that such changes are merely physiological. I would expect my friends to have the same concern for me.

Anyone with half a brain knows that advertising is manipulative. It occurs to me that Bacardi may not care that most women will revile them, and possibly revile them publicly online, for this stunt. Maybe it’s part of the brand awareness raising. Personally I would prefer to be manipulated by a witty campaign* or even by a glamorous, escapist campaign (see above, semi-naked, beaches comment) rather than a flipping alcoholic beverage company saying to me, “You are totally shallow. Have some Bacardi!” I mean what the **** sort of brand is that? Your life is so vacuous, you will need alcohol such as Bacardi to give it meaning? I actually bought some white rum at the weekend to make mojitos and I am very glad I did not but this brand.

Maybe there will be comments here and elsewhere along the lines of “Oh girl where is your sense of humour?” and I always feel perplexed by such comments. No-one can tell me something is funny if I don’t find it so. Even if you explain to me and especially if you have to explain to me why it is funny, the moment has passed. Plainly I am not the only person who thinks this campaign has completely missed the mark. Even if I was, there would still be no point in asking me the whereabouts of my sense of humour.

Is it not bad enough that women are constantly bombarded with unreal, airbrushed images of unattainable beauty but now we are being given a catalogue of what amounts to being ugly according to Bacardi? Cross-eyed? Yuck! Cellulite? You minger! Red hair? God help us!

Okay maybe I am an unwitting pawn in their social media campaign and they intended to rustle up some online notice with this campaign but generally it’s better to try for a positive reaction. This campaign is so, so, deeply wrong and misconceived. I hate to say this in the current economic environment but I hope Bacardi are firing their ad execs asses right now.

I thought a quick poll might help those ad execs understand why their asses are getting fired. Of course I might be wrong and you all might think it’s hilarious!

*Did they or did they not run the series of ads about Jamaicans being really laid back? They were great! They did not – it was Malibu. Hurrah I can continue unabated with my rant!