Monday, 29 February 2016

Dragon's Den Interviews

Dragon's Den is a television series.

Dragon's Den is a show where entrepreneurs with business ideas pitch them to the wealthy investors known as "The Dragons".

If you feel you'd like to apply for the show visit and click on the "request info pack"

The pack includes; the investing for profit guide, patent advice & how to patent an idea, confidentiality agreements and idea submission forms.

I wish all budding entrepreneurs the best of luck for the future!

I have recently been in contact with several people who appeared on the show, some who received investments from a dragon(s), some who were offered investments but turned them down and some who were rejected however all entrepreneurs I've spoken to went on to build their business and make it a success.

My first interview is with the Blue Badge Company, a company that enchances independence in the everyday lives of people with disabilities. 40% of the people working for the company have domestic responsibilities or a disability of some sort. The staff consists of many wonderful and talented people and let's not forget the team mascot who is a beautiful white dog called Bodhi.


                                                                              Blue Badge Company 

It all started in 2011 when two friends sat in the bedroom of a small house in Bristol, hand stitching specially designed wallets for disabled parking permits. Fed up with what we saw as the universally dull, clinical products available to disabled consumers, my friend, a Blue Badge holder, and I aimed to create colourful display wallets that would inject some style into the disability market. Thanks to better healthcare and an ageing population, the number of elderly and disabled consumers is growing fast, but until now they have been largely overlooked by major retailers and been limited in choice to dull, clinical products that say more about their disability than personality and tastes. We set up Blue Badge Company to change this and happily high street stores seem to be waking up to the growing demand from disabled consumers for stylish and desirable products.

The Dragons loved our brand and products, but I declined Touker Suleyman’s offer as he wanted to take our manufacturing overseas, and we are all about being Made In The UK! So I left the den empty handed, but thankfully Blue Badge Company has been reaping the benefits ever since. The show made far more people aware of our beautiful products and orders have flooded in ever since.

We are proud to be UK manufacturers and all of our parking permit holders are handmade in our workroom in Bristol. About 40% of our workforce either has a disability or is a primary caregiver, which ensures the team has a first-hand appreciation of various disabilities from mental health issues to physical impairments. I believe a company is only as strong as the team behind it. Providing work for people who find it more difficult to access employment really boosts personal confidence and team moral.

Our best selling product so far has been our Navy Drill parking permit cover, which is popular with kids and adults, men and women alike! We are also seeing more and more orders come in for our practical cushioned lap trays that come in fabulous fabrics to brighten up the everyday!

We are really excited to keep innovating to improve people’s experience of everyday life. We have just launched a new range of colourful folding walking sticks with matching carry cases, as well as toiletry bags and purses, ideal for storing everything from lipstick and shower gel to painkillers and medical equipment that our customers need to have with them at all times.

Please visit Blue Badge Company at: badge ______________________________________________ 

What is your business name? AWAKE Chocolate

Contact details - Matt Schnarr, co-founder and managing partner

When and why was the business established - Founded in 2012 to provide people a great tasting alternative to coffee and energy drinks. 

What products do you sell - AWAKE Chocolate bars and bites. AWAKE Energy Granola (sold in 2,000 Walmart USA stores, see

Where are your products manufactured - Made in Canada

What was your experiences of being on Dragons Den - It was and continues to be great. David Chilton invested in our business and continues to be a great friend, mentor and advisor. 

What are your plans for the future of the business - Continue to launch great tasting ways to wake up. Grow our awareness and distribution across North America. (NEW!)

What Is AWAKE Video

Hyper Activities Video

AWAKE on Dragons Den



Sunday, 28 February 2016

Adam Croft

Adam Croft, is an author and actor who has won critical acclaim plus 3 Amazon bestsellers.
His "Kempston Hardwick mystery books" have been adapted into audio plays starring well known people on British television.

I personally have read two of his books; Too Close For Comfort and Rough Justice.
Too Close For Comfort is about a murder squad trying to solve the murder of a known prostitute.
Its a little bit short but still a good read with a little twist and mystery along the way.
Rough Justice is about a paedophile who has been found dead, the story makes the reader won "is it justice or something else".
While reading this book I was gripped intensely to each and every page.
I was addicted to this book.

Adam Croft



When did you first become interested in writing
I always have been. I've written stories ever since I was young. I don't remember a first story, as such. It's always been a part of me. I remember writing pirate stories for my brother when I was about 7, and writing scripts for my own soap opera on an old electric typewriter when I was about 11.

How many books have you published
Nine fiction books so far, plus a few non-fiction

Which has been your favourite material to write to date
Probably my psychological thrillers. They're a lot of fun and allow me to write from a first-person perspective and make bizarre things happen to ordinary people.

If you weren't a writer what would you be and why
Because I would never do anything else.

Adam Croft
Author and playwright
Could you kill your wife to save your daughter? 
Get my worldwide bestselling psychological thriller, Her Last Tomorrow.
*4x international bestseller*
View my books on Amazon
View my plays at my publishers' websites: Lazy Bee |TreePress


Friday, 26 February 2016

Pee Wee Pumps

Michelle Holbrook is the creator and founder of Pee Wee Pumps which are "high heeled shoes" for babies aged 0-6 months.

Would you let your baby wear high heeled shoes?
Please comment below with your own personal opinions.

Michelle kindly agreed to an interview.

Michele Holbrook

Business Name:
Pee Wee Pumps


Contact Details: 

When and why did you start this business:
The idea for Pee Wee Pumps first originated in 2009, when founder Michele Holbrook first came across a pair of high heel infant crib shoes.
After telling herself that if she ever had a baby girl that she’d buy them, she was blessed with a beautiful daughter in 2012.
However, she wasn’t able to find the original infant crib heels, and after searching endlessly for a pair, she finally found one on an online auction site.
But to her dismay and disappointment, they were flawed when she received them.
They just wouldn’t stay on her daughter’s feet!
Determined to fix the problem, Michele went right to work modifying the structure of the tiny and fashionable high heels infant crib shoes.
After two years of brainstorming, she finally came up with a totally new design that caters to your baby.
The flexible soft shoe with a collasible heel that will form to your daughter’s foot, whether it’s narrow or wide, while its adjustable strap allows the shoe to stay on and provides a comfortable fit.
They are considered to be a Fun Photo Prop or Cute Fashion Accessory.

Do you cater for both sexes:
We only sell high heels for little girls at the moment

What age group are they aimed at:
0-6 months ONLY

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Pole

When we think of pole dancing, most of us assume its what women do in X-Rated films but that is not always true.

There are four types of pole;
Pole Erotic
Pole Artistic
Pole Fitness
Pole Sport

Pole Erotic is a type of pole dance mainly used within the sex industry and it involves swinging around a pole in lingerie and high heels.
Pole Artistic is a performance art, it combines dance and acrobatics centred on a pole.
Pole Fitness is an extension of pole dancing that uses the pole as a versatile piece of exercise equipment; it improves muscle tone, flexibility, coordination and posture.
Pole Sport is the next level up from Pole Fitness and involves training hard for various competitions.

With all fitness programmes and sports there is the issue of safety.
Before you perform don't drink alcohol, take medications that impair your judgement, use oils or lotions or body make-up.
Don't take part if you have an injury.
Use a crash mat, a grip aid and stay hydrated.
Become CPR certified and make sure that your boss or tutor is CPR certified too.

There is lots of stigma against "the pole" and I'm here to share some information I have gathered and an interview that took place between myself and my good friend Kelly who is a POLE FITNESS DANCER.


This is Kelly's story...

We call it pole fitness!
We do it in levels from bronze to diamond.
Each level you learn different moves starting to invert from silver and then do inverted moves in gold upwards.
Each level we do the moves to a dance which can be sexy, fast, slow etc dependent on the moves.
We then do showcases to show to our nearest and dearest what we've learnt.
I've joined pole to show myself I can... after my operations and never thinking I'd have the leg strength, it makes me feel like I've over come hurdles.
I go once a week at the moment but I hope to up it to twice a week.
I dance at pole effect in Worcester, UK.
I have gained confidence, flexibility and strength.
The sport is very challenging due to pole burn and bruising!!
The more you do a move though the better the pain barrier becomes.
I hope to keep going after my next operation in the summer and one day want to be able to tutor at least bronze level.

(I'd like to take this opportunity to wish Kelly the best of luck with her next operation and I hope she reaches her goal of becoming a Pole Fitness Tutor one day)

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Scotland's Real Life Rapunzel

15 year old Aaron Fernando is a remarkable young lady who has suffered at the hands of bullies, not just girls but boys too.
And why, because Aaron stands out for having beautiful 4ft 4in length hair.
Aaron has kindly agreed to talk to me about being Scotland's Real Life Rapunzel.
As a result of being bullied Aaron is now homeschooled.
Bullying happens for many reasons, in Aaron's case its because of her hair so this blog is to raise awareness on the subject of bullying.

Here is here own story... (And her mother Suzanne's story too)

PRETTY Aaron Fernando reckons she could be Scotland's very own Rapunzel with her lustrous dark locks measuring in at a very impressive 4ft 4ins.
She not only sits on it but it comes down to her CALVES.
Now 15-year-old Aaron, of Ardrossan, Ayrshire, is wondering if indeed she holds the Scottish record for having the longest hair in the land. 
Mum Suzanne, 43, and big sister Jordan, 18 - who both boast waist length hair - think Aaron's hair may well take the lead.
Suzanne said: "I was reading an article last week about a girl in Wales with hair measuring 3ft 6ins which was thought to be the longest hair in Wales. I had never measured Aaron's hair before but I knew her's was longer. So we got out the measuring tape and were amazed to see it was 4ft 4ins long."
Aaron who is 5ft 4ins tall laughed: "I'm only 12 inches taller than my hair. I love having long hair and I've got no plans to have it cut. We've all got long hair in our family, even my dad..
"It can be a pest but the good points outweigh the bad. I usually have it tied back in a plait, because if it was left loose in a wind, it whips around like crazy not just lashing my face but anyone standing near me and that can be pretty painful.
"But my hair's not tuggy, I brush it from the bottom up twice a day.
"I also wash it twice a week which takes about an hour each time using shampoo and conditioner, and once a month I give it an Aussie Miracle hair mask. I also massage the ends with Argan oil and Green teabags."
But Aaron insists she's not a slave to her hair and doesn't spend a fortune on products to keep it in tip top condition.
She smiled: "What wee girl doesn't love the fairy tale Rapunzel? I remember my mum reading it to me saying "Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair..."never thinking that one day I might be Scotland's answer to Rapunzel."
But as well as admiring glances, she's also faced bullies and bitchy comments because she chooses to be different.
Mum Suzanne said: "Aaron is home-schooled by qualified tutors because at school - both primary and secondary - she was bullied rotten. It became very nasty and I could see my wee girl getting more and more miserable, her self confidence ebbing away, and I couldn't sit back and do nothing.
"Of course the bullying was reported to the schools, both Kilbirnie Primary and St Matthew's Academy in Saltcoats, Ayrshire, but it wasn't getting any better, so we chose to have her schooled at home by qualified tutors, and she has blossomed. It wasn't just girls who were giving her a hard time, but boys too and it was getting nastier and nastier.
"It was jealousy and the fact that her long hair singled her out, but she never once thought of chopping it off."
Aaron nodded: "No I'd never cut my hair in fact I'd love to be a hair model. I'd let the stylists do anything they wanted to it - except cut it.
"I don't go to the hairdresser. The only person who is allowed to cut my hair is my mum and she trims it about every six weeks."
Her crowning glory can be an expensive commodity with the family going through vacuum
cleaners at an alarming rate.
Suzanne said: "Well it's not just Aaron's hair. We've all got long hair including my husband Kes. He's from Portugal and works as a computer analyst and while my hair and Jordan's doesn't grow beyond waist length, Kes and Aaron's hair grows so quickly.
"It clogs up the vacuum cleaner and we have to buy a new one every six months. In the shower the drains are cleaned every day. We've also got two dogs, a Labrador and a Patterdale terrier as well as two gerbils, so we're quite a hairy family." 
Aaron said: "Having hair as long as mine doesn't hold me back in any way. I love hanging out with my friends, we go shopping and play games. I love horse riding, I play the guitar, I do archery, go to the gym and love music.
"When I go swimming I just tie my hair up. I am really very busy and of-course I see people looking at my hair, but most are really nice.
"I'm a pescatarian, which means I only eat fish - not meat - and of-course the fish oil is very good for hair, nails and skin
"But I eat a lot of veg and take supplements so my body gets all the nutrients it needs. This is just the way I've been brought up. We live healthily and we're all very active so I think that's the reason we all have such good shiny hair.
"It feels strange to think that my hair is seen as anything other than normal, because that's what it is to me.
"But just like Rapunzel I love to let down my hair."

Wednesday, 17 February 2016


There are approximately 4,200 religions in the whole world and my friend Monica has kindly agreed to discuss with me her religion which is Hinduism.

What is Hinduism?
A religious and cultural tradition of South Asia, which developed from Vedic religion.

Do you have a God?
Lord Krishna

Do you worship animals?
We worship cows

Are Hindus forbidden to eat meat?
Hindu people do not eat beef or meet on Monday and Tuesday, some people are pure full vegetarian

Do Hindus have a bible?
We have holy books, one is called geeta ramayna

What is the "dot" on a Hindus forehead?
That's called tica it is for blessing and peace

Do Hindus have commandments?
Same as the ten commandments in Catholic religion.

Why do Hindus not wear shoes in the temple?
to show reverence

What happens inside a temple?
We do prayers

What clothing do Hindus wear?
Ladies wear sari and men wear dhoti

What happens at a Hindu wedding ceremony?
A Hindu wedding is Vivaha or "Kalyanam"(Sanskrit: विवाह Tamil: கல்யாணம்) and the wedding ceremony is called vivaah sanskar in North India and Kalyanam in South India. Hindus attach a great deal of importance to marriages. The ceremonies are very colourful, and celebrations may extend for several days. The bride's and groom's home - entrance, doors, wall, floor, roof - are sometimes decorated with colors, balloons,and other decorations.
The rituals and process in a Hindu wedding vary widely. Nevertheless, there are a few key rituals common in North Indian Hindu weddings -Kanyadaan, Panigrahana, and Saptapadi, which are respectively, giving away of daughter by the father, voluntarily holding hand near the fire to signify union, and taking seven steps with each step includes a promise to each other before fire. However, these rituals aren't essential part of South Indian Hindu weddings were exchange of garland is main ritual, along with it tying of "Tali" around bride's neck.
The North Indian Hindu wedding ceremony at its core is essentially a Vedic yajna ritual. The primary witness of a Hindu marriage is the fire-deity (or the Sacred Fire) Agni, where as in South Indian tradition reciting holy chant with or without Sacred Fire is very common form of ritual, in the presence of family and friends. The ceremony is traditionally conducted entirely, or at least partially in Sanskrit, considered by Hindus as the language of holy ceremonies. The local language of the bride and groom is also used.
The pre-wedding and post-wedding rituals and celebrations vary by region, preferences or the resources of the groom, bride and their families. They can range from one day to multi-day events. Pre-wedding ceremonies include engagement (involving vagdana or betrothal and lagna-patrawritten declaration), and arrival of the groom's party at the bride's residence, often in the form of a formal procession with dancing and music. The post-wedding ceremonies may include Abhishek, Anna Prashashan, Aashirvadah, and Grihapravesa - the welcoming of the bride to her new home. The wedding marks the start of Grihastha (householder) stage of life for the new couple.
In India, by law and tradition, no Hindu marriage is binding and complete unless the ritual of seven steps and vows in presence of fire (Saptapadi) is completed by the bride and the groom together. This requirement is under debate.
A Hindu wedding is regionally called vivaha (Hindi: विवाह), (Bengali : বিবাহ), (Kannada: ಮದುವೆ (Maduve)), (Telugu: పెళ్లి (pelli), మనువు (manuvu).

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Lately I've been reading online and in the newspapers about young women who have experienced TSS so I decided to write this blog in order to bring awareness to others about this condition.

Toxic Shock Syndrome aka TSS is an acute septicaemia in women that is caused by a bacterial infection from a retained tampon or IUD.

A tampon is a plug of soft material that is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood.

An IUD is otherwise known as a coil, which is a small contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus.

When a tampon or coil is retained, it means it has become stuck or lost inside the body.

Symptoms of TSS are as follows;
High fever
Red eyes
Low blood pressure
Muscle aches
Sore throat

TSS can cause kidney & liver failure plus shock so its important to go to hospital as soon as possible where you will receive intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Some cases of TSS are so severe that the after effects can be those such as;
Gangrene causing the loss of fingers and toes,
Deafness and blindness,
Loss of hair and nails,
Lack of energy for months or even years,
Permanent kidney and liver damage,
Peeling skin
Continual infections,
Psychological and emotional distress.

To reduce the risk of TSS use an alternative form of contraception instead of the coil and use sanitary towels instead of tampons.

The Dangers of Weight Loss Products

Matthew Whitby is a 27 year old Australian man who was unhappy with his weight.
As a result he bought weight loss products online but sadly the out come wasn't great.
Here is my interview with Matthew.

Matthew Whitby


Geraldton, Western Australia

Why did you decide to take weight loss products?
I was unhappy with my weight for a few years and it affected me a lot

What products did you take?
I took the garcinia cambogia tablets for 2 weeks once a day...
The hydroxy burn elite i took one scoop in a shake for 2 1/2 weeks but only one shake every 3 days

Where did you get the products from?
I bought the products online from here (Australia)

What side effects did you have?
Jaundice, so yellow eyes and yellow skin and became really fatigued each day

You were told by the medical profession that you only had two weeks to live, what went through your mind?
Well first it was disbelief and shock as you could imagine but shortly after fear and anxiety is what I felt...its hard to explain in a way

You had to have an emergency liver transplant and had no choice but to accept a liver with "hepatitis b".
What is the outcome?
As far as I know the hepatitis b will not affect me as long as I keep taking the medication I have for it, so it hasn't bothered me to much at all

Is your daily life effected in any way?
Well I will be limited to what work I can do. I usually have jobs with a fair bit of labour so that's limited the amount of jobs I can get and same applies to work. But the biggest affect is mentally trying to cope and get back into a usually routine of working...I do have flash backs every now and then but mentally its very hard to adjust even a year after the transplant

What advice or warnings would you give someone wanting to try weight loss products?
I would advise that you talk to your doctor or specialist before taking anything just show them what you want to take with the ingredient list and how you would use it, like what exercise you would be doing...I would rather people try do it naturally with a good diet, exercise and determination that is one of the messages I'm trying to get across.

Matthew took Garcinia Cambogia Tablets which is a tropical fruit used in weight loss supplements.
He also took Hydroxy Burn Elite which is a high protein, low carb and low fat shake.

According to most brands of Garcinia Cambogia Tablets have failed independent laboratory quality and quantity testing but why are they still available to buy online.

People with a normal liver function can develop liver problems with herbal extract toxicity.
Matthew's doctor said "the green tea extract is the most likely culprit for his liver failure"

According to there have been many cases of liver damage linked to such products.

Matthew now has to take medication for the rest of his life.
He has kindly agreed to this interview so as to spread the word and warn other people of the "dangers of weight loss products"
I personally would like to wish him well for the future.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Cystic Fibrosis CF

I'm writing this blog because I once knew a man named Danny who had CF plus I know someone who has children with this condition and my local charity shop called "Second Thoughts" in Swinford, Co Mayo raising awareness and money for the charity.

Cystic Fibrosis also referred to as CF is a hereditary disorder that affects the exocrine glands.
It affects the lungs and digestive system.
A defective gene along with the protein product cause the body to produce a thick and sticky mucus.
As a result it clogs up the lungs causing lung infections, leading to life a threatening situations.
The mucus obstructs the pancreas which then stops natural enzymes that help the body to break down food and absorb it.
A normal airway has an airway wall that is lined with a thin layer of mucus where as a CF sufferer has a widened airway, bacterial infections, blood in the mucus and thick sticky mucus that blocks the airway.

Those with CF can vary from one person to the next.
One sufferer may have very bad CF and another sufferer may have mild CF.

Some live until their teen age years and other to 50 and beyond.

The organs affected by CF
Sinuses - sinusitis infection.
Lungs - thick and sticky mucus, bacterial infections, widened airway.
Skin - salty sweat.
Liver - blocked biliary ducts.
Pancreas - blocked pancreatic ducts.
Intestines - can not fully absorb nutrients.
Reproductive Organs - complications.

Diagnosis Tests
Immunoreactive Trypsinogen (IRT) is a test performed on new born babies that checks for abnormal levels of IRT Protein in the blood.
Sweat Chloride Test is a test that checks for increased levels of salt in the sweat.
Sputum Test is when a sample of mucus is taken to find out if there is a presence of a lung infection.
Chest Xray is to check swelling in the lungs due to blockages.
CT Scan creates details images by using a combination of xrays.
Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) determines if the lungs are working properly.

Treatments Available.
Mucus Thinning Medications.
Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS).
Bowl Surgery.
Lung Transplant

Chest Physical Therapy - a chest clapper and an inflatable vest.

Approximately 70,000+ children and adults are diagnosed with CF worldwide.

If you wish to make a donation to this worthy cause please visit and click on the DONATE button.

If you live in or the surrounding areas of Swinford, Co Mayo please visit "Second Thoughts" Charity Shop where you can make a donation of goods and/or make a purchase.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Q & A with iRadio Presenter

Oonagh O'Carroll

You should never ask a lady her age.

Why did you become a radio presenter?
I initially started off with a news background , I would have the chats with the male presenters and found that I really enjoyed it.  I learned that I was somewhat creative and could come up with ideas for radio sketches and features.  Eventually I was promoted to a Breakfast show co presenter and have stayed in that role since.

If you weren't a radio presenter, what would you be?
If I wasn't a radio presenter I would love to be an actress.  I was in a youth theatre group and loved being on stage.  I enjoy doing impressions and taking off accents.  I also taught drama to children.

What are the pros and cons of being a radio presenter?
Pros of being a radio presenter include having fun every day.  I laugh every single day and this is great for the soul.  I can be creative and every day is different.  I love talking to the listeners.  It's an adrenaline buzz like no other.
Cons of being a radio presenter include the early mornings.  You never get used to waking at 5 AM.  It can be a pressurised environment to keep listenership figures up consistently.

Who to date has been your favourite guest on iRadio and why?
I have been lucky enough to meet and interview a plethora of famous and amazing people.  Chris O dowd was one of my favourite as he was just so down to earth and was completely up for the crack.  Ed Sheeran was also a gem to interview , his demeanour is so lovely and friendly

What has been the worst and best moment on air?
Best thing to ever happen me on air is probably being surprised by Tommy Bowe and Bressie.  Also listeners came on to wish me the best of luck for my wedding.  That really made me well up.
Worst thing to happen on air is maybe when I used an expletive by accident.

If you could interview anyone on air who would it be and why?
If I could interview anyone it would prob be Jennifer Anniston ... I love her.

(I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Oonagh O'Carroll for taking part in this interview for my blog.
So, thank you Oonagh O'Carroll....
And if by any chance Jenniffer Anniston happens to read my blog, please contact Oonagh O'Carroll at iRadio because she would love to interview you)

And to all my readers if you don't already listen to the radio channel iRadio I highly recommend you do.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Homeless In Ireland

The most common form of homelessness in Ireland (or anywhere) is "sleeping on the streets"

However, despite the fact that some people live in temporary accommodation such as Bed & Breakfast, hostel, night shelter or refuges they are still looked upon as homeless.

These people are surviving homelessness due to alcohol/drug abuse, running away from violence and/or sexual abuse, squatting or if they have been evicted illegally.

People can become homeless due to poverty, unemployment, abusive relationships and/or the breakdown of relationships, death of a loved one or illness are also known reasons.

Also young people leaving foster care often have no where to go and/or understand how to live alone, therefore they become homeless. is in connection with Focus Ireland, is a charity helping the homeless in Ireland.
If you would like to make a donation to this worthy charity you can do so online via the website.
You can also Text Home to 50300 on order to donate €2.00

Did you know that approximately up to 80 families per month are made homelessness.

The reason I have written this blog is because I saw a young man lying in the rain on the street in a sleeping bag outside Insomnia Coffee Shop in Ballsbridge, Dublin yesterday.
I was inside the cafe, he was looking in through the window.
I don't know his story, I am not one to judge but looking at him I felt guilt and pity.
Guilt because I was inside the cafe and had money to buy produce.
Pity because I saw how dirty, cold and wet he looked.
So I did my good deed for the day and bought a hot chocolate drink for €3.50 and I went outside and gave it to him.
He smelt terrible and I wanted to do more but I couldn't.
He thanked me and couldn't stop thanking me.
In my mind I gave him a warn drink, even if it just warmed him up for a few minutes rather than give him money that could be stolen, lost or spent on drugs/alcohol.

Friday, 5 February 2016

A Memorial Tribute in Memory of my Jonathan

Jonathan Thomas Kieran Bruen 
Born April 21st 1990
Died March 3rd 2009

Jonathan was born in England.
He attended Kilmove National School in Mayo Ireland after the family moved there when he was 4 years old.
Two years later the family moved back to England where Jonathan attended St Mary's Roman Catholic School in Evesham, Worcestershire.
Jonathan had many friends and as he progressed into early teen hood he developed a keen interest in music.
Jonathan enjoyed playing the drums and writing his own songs.
At this stage Jonathan was now attending St Benedict's in Alcester, Warwickshire and here he took part in a talent show where he played the drums and his friend sang.
At the age of 15 the family moved back to Ireland where Jonathan attended Youthreach in Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon.
He had a girlfriend named Lara who he loved dearly and even made a music tribute to her which he posted on YouTube.
Jonathan worked in the local solicitors, car dealership garage and computer shop as part of his work experiences.
As children myself and my brother argued 99% of the time, as most siblings do however when he reached his late teens we became very close.
Jonathan and I would text and speak on the phone daily, he would visit my house often.
One Sunday he brought his girlfriend Lara for dinner at my house and then we took my daughter Vivienne to the park.
Jonathan and I would often go for drives in his car.
I remember one time, we went to a garage in Charlestown where we took a new car for a drive, it was so much fun and if course he had no intention in buying it.
Jonathan's goal in life was to become a Gardi  (police) and the night before his death he started work as a night time security guard.
His death had a big impact on me.
The morning after his first night shift at the new job he failed to return home (he was living with my parents).
My mum rang me to ask if I had heard from him, I said "not since last night"
I don't know why, I can't explain the feeling I had when I finished talking to my mum on the phone and I realise most people won't believe me but... 
I rang my "then best friend" and said to her "Jonathan has gone missing, I don't know why but I have a feeling he's had an accident and is lying in a ditch somewhere" she said "don't be stupid, he will turn up soon"
I rang Jonathan but the phone had a dead tone.
An hour passed and I rang my "then best friend" again and voiced my concerns.
She said "if your that worried tell your parents to give his car registration details to the local Gardi"
I rang my mum and told her to do just that.
Within an hour my mum rang me and said she and my dad were on their way to the hospital in Sligo as Jonathan had been involved in a road traffic accident.
I knew my feelings that morning meant something.
I was a single parent, my daughter was in school and I didn't drive nor have transport and Sligo hospital is about an hour+ from where I live.
I rang my dad an hour later and he said Jonathan had been cut out of the car by the fire services.
He was going in and out of consciousness but they hadn't been allowed to see him as yet.
Because I couldn't get to the hospital (despite the fact that relations had gone there and not asked if I wanted a lift), my way of being there was to ring every hour.
And I did just that...
As night approached I kept everything normal for my daughter who was then 9 years old.
I put her to bed and said goodnight.
But I stayed awake all night and continued to ring my dad every hour for an update.
Twice during the night we nearly lost him but he pulled through.
The following morning I took my daughter to school as usual although I had that "feeling" again that something wasn't right.
At 9 am I rang again and this time my dad told me there were complications but Jonathan would be OK.
I felt different and I know those of you reading this won't believe me but its the truth.
Regardless I wanted to stayed positive and keeping hoping all will be fine.
I went and bought Jonathan a get well present, it was a "soft bendable flower" which I thought would be nice to bend around the hospital bed.
He liked things like that.
Anyway over the next couple of hours I rang my dad but there was no reply.
I become worried so I rang the hospital, the ward sister said "I'll get your dad for you he needs to talk to you"
I knew then without hearing any words, I knew Jonathan had died.
I don't know how I knew, I just did.
My dad came to the phone, in a calm tone he said "Jonathan has gone, we've lost him" I knew he was dead but part of me wanted it to be a lie and I said "where's he gone" and then I heard my mum in the back ground screaming and crying.
Dad then said "he's died can you let Charles know I have to go"
Charles is my other brother.
I rang him but his then girlfriend answered, I told her and she said she would tell Charles.
I carried on as normal, I went to my then best friend's house to tell her the news, at 3 pm she tool me to collect my daughter from school.
I sat my daughter in the cat and went to explain to her teacher that she wouldn't be in school for a week due to my 18 year old brother dying.
I then told Vivienne (my daughter) who broke down in tears.
That evening it snowed, I said to Vivienne "that's Jonathan saying hello because he liked the snow and he knew Vivienne did too.
My dad sent his friend to collect us and take us to their house.
My brother Charles and his then girlfriend had flown over from England.
I hugged them and that night myself and Vivienne slept in Jonathan's bed in his room.
I don't know why but my dad was acting normal however he didn't acknowledged me there, I guess it was his grief.
Whereas my mum was hysterical and constantly crying.
The following day Jonathan was laid out in the coffin in the living room at home.
The house was full of relatives and friends, also Jonathan's girlfriend and her family plus people I didn't even know came to pay their respects and they didn't stop until the coffin was taken to the church for the funeral.
The gift I got for Jonathan to take to the hospital I put in the coffin with him.
Charles put money in his pocket telling him to have a pint in heaven and Vivienne put a picture she drew in the coffin.
People kept rubbing Jonathan's face and missing him so the undertaker had to come back to touch up with the make up he used.
Jonathan was meant to be in the coffin at the house for 2 days but mum broke down and didn't want him to leave so they Greed to leave him with us an extra day.
The following day Jonathan had to be taken to the church for the funeral then to the graveyard to be buried.
The family finally said their goodbyes.
Myself and my uncle Mickey (dad's brother) were the remaining two, we gave Jonathan a kiss and said goodbye and we both helped the undertaker put the lid on the coffin.
The church service was emotional and finally I cried, I hadn't done so until that point.
The funeral song at the end of the service was "To Make You Feel My Love" the Gareth Brooks version as Jonathan was a fan of his.
After the funeral we gathered at Durkin's in Ballaghaderreen for tea.
A few days later my parents drove us home.
We had to, we need to get back into our normal routine.
Anyway, as I say, life is what you make it and I'm trying my very best to make mine the best I can in memory if Jonathan.
He is gone but he will never ever be forgotten by all who knew and loved him.

Jonathan I love you.
Love your big sister Samantha.