Panic Button!

I often wondered whether or not I should post about mental health issues as I wasn’t sure if I would have anything worth talking about but having lived with panic attacks for numerous years and now I feel that I have finally gotten rid of the monkey, (which for me I honestly thought that my case was beyond repair) then maybe people who are still suffering would like to hear my story?

My first ever panic attack happened on the last day of primary school. We were all excited to be leaving school, well the boys were the girls I remember were crying a lot that day! 12:00 couldn’t come quick enough. I remember we all brought in plain white t-shirts so that we could go around getting it signed by everyone. It was a fun day and when the clock struck 12, we were let loose.

Usually I would have waited for my younger brother but that day I didn’t. I reached half way home and all of a sudden I got this intense fear creeping up my spine. When I reached the park, I was locked in a state of extreme fear and I had to run the rest of the way home.

My secondary school was a good bit away so I had to get a school bus which I could manage but not without my sister who was 2 years ahead of me. So whenever she’d be off sick with tummy cramps, it was such an ordeal for me to get to the bus stop. Again I had to run down the road.

Every Wednesday we got a half day meaning that the only way I could get home was to go through town with my sister and her friends. And if I missed her ( I never told anyone of my struggles) I would have to find a someone from my class to get home with. My friends always wanted to go around town visit some clothes shops whereas all I wanted was to get home as fast as possible.


But in my first year I could go around town with them but I could never go home by myself and this got me into trouble with my grandmother because she’d be waiting for me with my dinner. During 2nd and 3rd year I couldn’t even go through town anymore on the Wednesdays I always had to wait to get a lift home from my friend. There was one Wednesday when I missed my friend, my sister had also gone home so I hurried back into the school with the idea of saying to a teacher that I didn’t feel well and could I order a taxi. I went in and found that there was one boy who lived 10mins from my house. He was a bit of a nerd basically he was someone who I would never befriend. He was doing his homework and said that the school bus still comes at the usual time on Wednesdays, 3:45. So I started to do what he did every Wednesday to avoid going through town, even if it meant coming home later.

My main problem was open spaces. I’d get quite panicky in shopping centres, if stuck at a busy junction waiting for the lights to turn green or on the motorway. It was hard! And I was still feeling like this up until maybe 3 months ago. What worked wonders for me was, I stopped putting 2 large teaspoons of sugar in my tea and on my cereal in the mornings. That little change in my diet has been a miracle cure, it really has. Since I made this simple change, I’m much more relaxed when travelling and I haven’t had a panic attack since.


Buzz is the Word

My daughter and friends attended their first disco last month. I admit, I was a bit weary about letting her go so I got in touch with the disco organisers and they put my mind at ease on a number of issues.

Hi Michael, thank you for your message. We have been running this disco successfully since 2009, and we have very good male and female supervision, and we run a tight ship. We do question all the kids as they enter, and we get them to apply for membership by filling in their name, school, mobile & a parent’s contact details. We look forward to welcoming your daughter & her friends to the disco tonight.

The disco is called Buzz and is in the Clontarf Rugby Club so it’s not even close to any main roads where pubs and such would be located. It’s strictly for 6th classes only and no boy with a whisper of a tash would ever get in. All children were dropped off and again all were collected, none were allowed to walk home and there were no rowdy teenagers about either, which was also a good thing! If any parents have any sort of anxiety about letting their child go, and I can understand why you might, but in all honesty there is no need for it whatsoever. It’s just a harmless disco for them to enjoy and boy did they. As they said when they replied to me, they do run a real tight ship, which is comforting to know and to see.
It runs from 8pm to half 10 on a weekend every month and I have not a bad thing to say about it at all. If your child wants to go to the next one, rather than doing a Google search ring them up to voice your concerns and I’m sure they’ll only be too happy to put that mind of yours at ease.

The next disco is this Friday the 13th.

Facial Approval

Whenever I see someone who is much younger than me with a thick beard I do feel a little bit envious when all that I can grow is wiry whiskers. I have tried to sport one but I just look ridiculous and I suppose it’s a good thing as herself dislikes any facial hair. So for the most part I’m a clean-shaved man, which I’m fine with because I’ll never be able to grow a full hipster style no matter how hard I strain, which I should stop doing as it makes me a bit lightheaded. I did try to make it appear thicker once. How? Well I would have been only 23 at the time and I had beard of sorts… so to make it look fuller I applied my mother’s mascara. I even made sure it was waterproof too but during the day while at the course I was doing, the guys there were giving me a little bit of a party as it was my birthday and I had forgotten that I had the mascara on until I was hugged and kissed on the cheek by a few older women. I noticed one was vigorously rubbing her mouth and she looked like a bulldog sucking on a lemon. Yeah, so if you’ve got a thick growth grow one but if you don’t, don’t. There is no option C. Having said that though it did look good, from a distance. 

But for most women, they actually love a man with a beard and there are some scientific studies to show this. Whether it’s a mark of maturity or masculinity or attractiveness or whatever the reason for the most part, they do prefer a man with facial hair and I don’t mean patchy and wiry (See above. For us, we can just furgetabouit), even if it’s just stubble, although men with stubble are perceived as being more of a fling/sex partner (maybe this is because of the bad-boy image that comes with the stubble look) as apposed to a man with a longer/fuller beard who are thought of as being more of the paternal type. And I think this to be true, especially when I think back to being a kid, I never saw one of mates dad with designer stubble, it was either a full-beard with grey in the chin or nothing.

Men have similar judgments of facial hair, except that they found full beards as appealing as heavy stubble. Men also noted a greater perception of masculinity as facial hair increased. So men with beards look pretty cool providing they are groomed well and not just grown out of laziness with the moustache hair curling into the mouth.

I setup a small group-chat on Facebook Messenger with my friends that I know of who have beards just to find out what their other halves think on their facial hair. All of their wives loves them. One shaved his beard and when his wife seen him, she told him to never shave again. So below I complied the best styles and how to achieve them. Disclaimer: I know I’m not qualified to talk about beard styling given my reasons outlined above. However, if I did, this is how I’d go about achieving the desired look. 

1. The Balboa

You need to grow a full beard in order for you to have ample hair for shaping. Do not shave for 4 weeks or until the beard has fully grown. You also need to grow a mustache. It requires careful sculpting so you need good razors to achieve the look. You can use a disposable or an electric razor to take off the hair on the sides, and a straight razor to shape the Balbo beard style appropriately.
The Van Dyke

2. Long Stubble

Just don’t shave your beard and mustache for 1 to 2 days. After that period, just trim it to keep its short length. If you grow hair above your cheeks, just shave it habitually to maintain the look. You can also shave the hair growing on your neck area, keeping the stubbles focused just around the lower area of your face. One of the easiest looks to maintain. 
Long stubble beard

4. The Bandholz

Growing a Bandholz require patience. At first, you will look patchy and unkempt especially during the first 4 months. You need to have the patience to keep it untouched. Throw away your razor and scissors; you won’t need them for months. Just let it grow until it reaches the maximum length you can genetically grow. You can start shaping and cutting it 7 months after, or you can keep it as is, depending on your preferences. What is nice about the Bandholz is that you can keep it freely unlike other beard styles.

The Bandholz beard
I’d love to hear what you guys think and feel free to tell me if I’m talking sh*t.

The Bolds On Holiday book review

By Julian Clary

Easons €9.80

The Bolds book cover

About the author: Julian Clary is a comedian, entertainer and novelist, who has toured across the world with his one-man shows. He became a household name in the late 1980s, and remains one of the country’s most popular (and least predictable) entertainers. Julian has appeared on numerous popular TV shows including Celebrity Big Brother (which he won), Strictly Come Dancing, This Morning, QI, Have I Got News For You and is a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Just a Minute. He has starred in West End productions of Taboo and Cabaret, and appears in panto most years – he loves wearing silly clothes and lots of make up! Julian also narrates the Little Princess children’s television series. He lives in Kent with his husband, dogs and several chickens.

About the illustrator: David Roberts is an award-winning illustrator who has earned great acclaim for his distinctive style. He was born in Liverpool and studied fashion design at university in Manchester. After graduating, he worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator, but always felt his true calling was in children’s books. David finally realised his dream when his first book was published in 1998, and since then he has collaborated with some of Britain’s finest children’s authors, including Julia Donaldson, Sally Gardner, Philip Ardagh and Jacqueline Wilson. He is also the creator of the popular Dirty Bertie books. He lives in London with his husband. His book Little Red was shortlisted for the 2005 Kate Greenaway Medal. In 2006 he won the Nestle Children’s Book Prize Gold Award for his line drawings in Mouse Noses on Toast.

Synopsis: It’s the summer holidays, and the hairiest family in Teddington decide to take a well-earned holiday by the seaside. With their extended hyena family in tow, they head on down to Cornwall for a spot of camping. But it’s never long before trouble sniffs these hyenas out, and Bobby is mistaken for a pup and snatched by a wicked dognapper. The Bolds will need all their ingenuity to hunt her down and rescue all the pilfered pooches. But can these hyenas-in-disguise save the day, without letting the cat out of the bag?

The story is about a family of hyenas trying desperately hard to conceal their canine features to blend in with the humans and (as most families are) this family is disfunctional to say the least. There is a lot of things happening in this book and moves at a fast pace. From a mad-cap sports day, to a wounded leg, to dogs, to holidays, to dognappers, to reading about new friends. The family really are harmless but I wouldn’t want to leave next door to them as an adult BUT as a kid I’d love it what with all the excitement that always follows them around!

I suppose if you wanted to delve a little deeper into what I think Julian was trying to convey in this story, that it doesn’t matter where people come from, what they look (be it hairy or otherwise!) or what their religious beliefs are, it’s the person that you should get to know. That’s just mean overthinking it when I look at Syrian refugees coming to a foreign land to live. Smile and be friendly, guys.

It’s a fun little book for both boys and girls aged between 9 to 12 years. The Christmas cracker jokes are corny but then again have you ever read one that wasn’t? It’s filled with funny moments that will have your inner child in stitches. I tried hard not to “laugh out loud” but I did find myself sniggering. Well worth buying for the little person in your life.

iPhone 8 is here… And will be gone soon!

In case you have been living under a rock you will have noticed that the new iPhone is out now. But what’s the big fuss about it? Well… it’s now made from glass, you know that material that shatters when you drop it? Yep, GLASS. Oh I’m sure that it has some sort of new fandango within the glass to stop it breaking but it doesn’t get away from the fact that it is glass. The boyos in Samsung have this already with their Galaxy phones.

The world’s most popular camera, now even better

Pretty bold claims but how much better is it actually? Well it’s a 12MP camera the 8 Plus has wide-angle and telephoto cameras. Digital zoom up to 5x the Plus has up to 10x.

Both models:

  1. Optical image stabilisation
  2. Six-element lens
  3. Quad-LED True Tone flash with slow sync
  4. Panorama (up to 63MP)
  5. Sapphire crystal lens cover
  6. Backside illumination sensor
  7. Hybrid IR filter
  8. Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  9. Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  10. Live Photos with stabilisation
  11. Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
  12. Improved local tone mapping
  13. Body and face detection
  14. Exposure control
  15. Noise reduction
  16. Auto HDR for photos
  17. Auto image stabilisation
  18. Burst mode (whatever that is)
  19. Timer mode – how can they claim this as new feature?

While all the above is pretty fancy, your average person doesn’t care about all the bells and whistles and the majority will just use the camera to take selfies, look how awesome my bod is gym pictures or the obligatory d*ck snaps. And then there’s these kind of people:

If you want to be a photographer invest in a SLR camera. But it’s now got wireless charging again this is nothing new as Samsung has had this for quite some time.

The price of the phone is over a €1,000 I mean for that price you could put the money towards a used car.

As much as I love Apple products I’m just not wowed anymore. I mean, I used to love watching the keynotes but now it’s just boring. What Apple need to do is develop an iPhone to captivate the imagination of everyone just like the very first iPhone. I mean the way that device changed the way we communicate was unbelievable. But instead they are adding little do-das and gimmicks that are only a novelty. In 2 months time the iPhone X will be available, and what’s so special with that? They’ve removed the Home button. In 2 months time that iPhone 8 of yours will be outdated, obsolete!

Ultimate Treehouse 

Two storey treehouse
Flashes of Light Photography

At HUNYO I don’t have a reward for the best dad, yet but if I did have one in my hand I would definitely hand it over to Adam Boyd from Highland, Michigan, USA. Adam built a treehouse and I use the term “treehouse” lightly because you wouldn’t fit that in a tree but what it actually is it’s a playhouse and again I use the term “playhouse” lightly because that doesn’t look anything like any playhouse I remember seeing when I was younger. Back when I was a kid there was a tree that was out my backgarden well it wasn’t actually in my garden it was in Harrison’s just next door. But it was so big that it rested on top of our shed. We’d climb the wall and get on to the roof of the shed where we’d then get into the tree. It was fun and ignited our imagination.

The playhouse is 24 feet tall and would put any apartment in Dublin City to shame. I suppose when his daughters are grown up he could rent it out! The workmanship and the detail is quite remarkable. I wonder what the neighbours would say.

Ultimate tree house
Flashes of Light Photography

They say the family spend everyday in it, I’m surprised that they haven’t moved in especially when it’s probably better furnished than your house.

Inside the two storey treehouse
Flashes of Light Photography

Daughters, Avery and Violet I’m sure are the cool kids in crèche when all they’ve got would probably be a square box with bricks as furniture and maybe a broken tea set filled with dirty water.

Inside the two storey treehouse
Flashes of Light Photography

Boyd, who is president of ATB Building Inc, uploaded a selection of photos of the house onto Facebook, where it quickly attracted a lot of attention. Currently, the post has been shared almost 50,000 times.

Rear view of treehouse
Flashes of Light Photography

With a slide to the rear of the building I can only imagine the brownie points that this dad won. What would they say to their daughters when they are disciplining them, go to your room or to your house?!